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Pranjic to be kicked out for not shaking hands

»Croatia soccer coach Slaven Bilic has said he will drop Bayern Munich winger Danijel Pranjic because he refused to shake hands with the coaching staff after Wednesday's friendly against Ireland.

"After the match, Pranjic showed discontent with his status in an inappropriate manner. He refused to shake hands with the coaches. We will no longer count on him," Bilic said.
Pranjic was named in the squad but did not play in the friendly in Dublin, which ended in a disappointing goalless draw.

Top trainer in the dock  for breaching rules

»Trainer Howard Johnson, a winner at the Cheltenham Festival three times with the top-class staying hurdler Inglis Drever, was banned for four years on Friday for breaching rules over horse welfare.

Johnson, who also faced charges of administering steroids to three horses in his care, ran a horse called Striking Article eight times after it had undergone a palmar neurectomy.

The procedure involves severing nervous connection to the lower leg to cause numbness and is banned on welfare grounds.

Johnson, 58, had told a disciplinary panel he was not aware of the rule saying the horse should not have run.

Paul Struthers, head of communications for the British Horseracing Authority, said in a statement: "The authority is satisfied that the disciplinary panel has imposed a significant and appropriate sanction for what were two different but very serious offences.

"A four-year disqualification means that Howard Johnson is unable to work in or have any involvement with racing, including a prohibition on entering licensed premises such as training yards or racecourses, not just in Britain but the rest of the world."

Olympic chief Coe unfazed by London riots  

»The London riots will not undermine confidence in the city's ability to stage a trouble-free Olympics next year, organising committee chairman Sebastian Coe has said.
Asked if the violence and looting seen across London since Saturday would lead to doubts about the capital hosting a safe Olympics, Coe told Reuters: "I don't think that for one moment.

"That's not to remotely minimise the disfiguring scenes that we've witnessed on our TV sets and in the media more generally," he said at Wembley Arena on a visit with officials from the International Olympic Committee.

"We have had 205 national Olympic committees with us this week, we have the leadership of the IOC with us and actually it has been quite important for them to have seen that while we have had our challenges in London these events have gone on in an orderly and timely way," Coe said.

Spanish player quits 'rotten' world of football

»Defender Javi Poves has quit La Liga club Sporting Gijon, saying he has taken a stance against a sport he describes as "rotten".

The 24-year-old Spaniard is walking away from the game after rescinding his contract with the north-coast club, for whom he played in the Spanish third tier with Sporting's B team.

"The more you know about football the more you realise it is all about money, that it is rotten and this takes away your enthusiasm," Poves told Spanish daily ABC's website (www.abc.es) on Wednesday.

"What point is there is earning 800 or 1000 euros if you know that you are obtaining it through the suffering of many people."

Poves, who has said he wants to study and to offer his help socially, also called for football's top players to do more to help oters. "There are certain personalities at a world level, Pele, Ronaldinho, (Lionel) Messi who are ambassadors for UNICEF and who on the face of it are very good, but they could do much more" he added.

Respect referees more, say EPL officials

»The conduct of players and managers towards referees will be under even more scrutiny when the Premier League season starts this weekend after officials announced a directive on Thursday aimed at tackling dissent.

Fiery rants at match officials during games and colourful post-match interviews criticising them were common last season, with Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson receiving a touchline ban, and the league wants to address the issue.

"Last season we saw goals galore, twists and turns at both ends of the table, and stadia packed with passionate fans," Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said in a statement.

The league said it was focusing on issues such as players turning their backs on referees or surrounding them, as well as the behaviour of managers towards match officials in the technical area and in post-match interviews.

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