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Minister labels Italian players ‘spoiled class’

»Italy's footballers have been labelled as "spoiled" by a right-wing minister after they threatened to go on strike in a row over players' rights.

The Players Union reacted quickly to the comments, describing them as "nonsense" with no hint yet that a resolution is about to be found to avert the strike ahead of the start of the Serie A season on the weekend of August 27-28.

Earlier this month, the AIC said that the new season would not get under way until a new collective agreement had been signed, guaranteeing players' rights.

But Cabinet Minister Roberto Calderoli said on Wednesday: "If this spoiled class continues with their threat to strike, I propose that, like politicians, they double their solidarity contributions. I don't know if the solidarity contributions are fair or not, but if anyone should pay them, it's the players.”

The solidarity contribution is a temporary tax which is being levied on Italians who earn over 90,000 euros a year.

Sorry Diawara, it wasn’t you, says CAF
»Olympique Marseille defender Souleymane Diawara has had a suspension from the African Nations Cup qualifiers lifted after the Confederation of African Football (CAF) admitted he had been a victim of mistaken identity.

Diawara had been suspended from Senegal's next two Group E qualifiers after the referee reported cautioning him in their last match, a tempestuous goalless draw in Cameroon in June during which two Senegal players were sent off and their coach Amara Traore was sent to the stands.

CAF said it had examined video evidence and found Diawara had not been booked as the Angola referee Helder Martins de Carvalho had reported.

The Cairo-based footballing body said it had been a case of mistaken identity as Diawara had been confused with midfielder Issiar Dia, who has already been suspended for two matches after receiving a red card in the game.

Wenger weeps over Fabregas loss
»Arsenal have lost a "world class player" with the departure of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, manager Arsene Wenger said on Monday at the same time his former club captain was speaking to the media in Spain.

"We have lost a world class player and we are sad about it, we did try to keep him," Wenger told a news conference.

"In the end we had to respect the desire of the player. This club is 125 years old this season and many big players have left the club and the club has gone on.So, we want to show we have the strength and the unity to fight as ever."

He added the move made sense for Fabregas for many reasons. “He comes back to Barcelona, he was educated at Barcelona. His grandfather was part of the (club) committee. He was virtually brought up at Barcelona's creche. On top of that, he is going to a club that has the best team in the world at the moment.  So from that point of view, we can also understand that it has nothing to do with money, it is an affair of the heart.”

Depression, athletes’ darkest secret
»The recent deaths of three North American athletes have nudged the spotlight away from doping and concussions to shine a light on another of elite sport's darkest secrets -- depression.

It has been a tragic off-season for National Hockey League players and fans who have been rocked by the deaths of Canadians Rick Rypien, 27, and 28-year-old Derek Boogaard.

The Olympic community has also been shaken by the suicide of 29-year-old US freestyle skier Jeret 'Speedy' Peterson, a silver medallist in the aerials at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

While drug-testing and concussion prevention are now discussed openly in locker rooms in sports leagues around the world, depression, a disease that affects millions, remains prevalent in professional sport but paid little attention until tragedy strikes.

BWF to go strict on late pull-outs
»Badminton's world governing body is threatening severe penalties for players who cite injury or illness and pull out of matches without good reason when playing someone from their own country.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) made the announcement on Sunday. "If compelling evidence is found of any irregularities the matter will be treated with the utmost gravity by the BWF and severe penalties will be imposed."

BWF chief operating officer Thomas Lund said: "It's an area we take very seriously and it's an area that will be monitored especially during the Olympic qualification period leading up to London 2012." Sanctions could range from taking away world ranking points to suspension.

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