Gallery

Gallery

No pay forces coach to quit job

»French coach Jules Accorsi has left his job in charge of the Central African Republic shortly before they begin their World Cup qualifiers because he has not been paid for months.

Accorsi, whose tenure had seen the country climb more than 100 places in the FIFA rankings, said in a radio interview: "My last salary was in September.

"I had been hoping after talking to senior people in the government that the problem would be sorted out even if they paid a portion but they have not responded. I have finally decided to leave but with much regret."

The Central African Republic host Botswana on June 2 and then play in Ethiopia the following weekend in their opening World Cup qualifiers. South Africa are the other team in their group.

Lotus thwarts Kimi’s rally hopes

»Lotus have ruled out Kimi Raikkonen mixing Formula One and rallying after speculation that he could enter Rally Finland later this year.

The former Renault team lost Polish driver Robert Kubica to life-threatening injuries last year and principal Eric Boullier made clear at the Monaco Grand Prix on Thursday that Raikkonen could not be put at risk. "Contractually he cannot do it. End of story," he said.

"Obviously there is a trauma here after 2011. But we can't allow any contract with the drivers...it's supposed to have a clause where they cannot take any risk because they are so valuable for the team. Rally, skiing, jumping is not allowed."

Kubica, a race winner and rising star in Formula One who was Renault's number one driver, suffered severe leg and hand injuries when he crashed in a minor rally in Italy in February 2011.

The Pole had multiple operations, has not raced since, is now out of contract and has largely disappeared from the public gaze.

Former Ferrari driver Raikkonen returned to Formula One this year with Lotus after two years spent competing in the world rally championship with Citroen.

Euro hosts Ukraine adopt anti-smoking law

»Just an ashtray on the table will cost a Ukrainian restaurant or cafe owner a $1,250 fine under an anti-smoking law adopted on Thursday by Ukraine's parliament, just two weeks before the start of the Euro 2012 soccer championship.

The law, which will bring the former Soviet republic into line with European standards ahead of the month-long Euro-2012 tournament, will ban smoking in all sports buildings, in cafe and restaurants, at bus, tram or train stops, in official buildings and on public transport.

It significantly widened previous 2010 legislation, which prohibits smoking in lifts, hospitals, schools and street underpasses, to include restaurants and cafes.

Until Thursday's law, restaurant and cafe managers had been able to allocate part of their establishments to smokers, but this will now be banned too.  The new law also says special smoking areas can be set up in business enterprises, airports and train stations providing equipment for smoke removal is installed.

Balotelli sees chance of a lifetime at Euro 

»Maverick striker Mario Balotelli sees Euro 2012 as the chance of a lifetime and is determined to repay Italy coach Cesare Prandelli for putting up with his off-the-field antics, he said.

Prandelli has warned his players that he will not tolerate misbehaviour when they are playing for Italy and has already barred Balotelli once from selection because he was serving a suspension with Manchester City. “"I've never been afraid of missing out on the national team, Prandelli has always kept in touch with me," he told reporters.

"The coach has shown great faith in me, he has waited for me and I can't wait for the chance to repay him. The Euro is the chance of my lifetime."

Balotelli, wildly unpredictable with Manchester City, also promised not to get himself sent off during Euro 2012.

“I won't leave the team with 10 men," he said. “I want to give the image of a player who enjoys himself and entertains, as well as that of a successful player in a winning team.
"I'm young, and it's normal to have highs and lows, but I hope to do better for the national team."

Twinkle toes Miyaichi wants to be let loose

»Arsenal's twinkle-toed teenager Ryo Miyaichi has pleaded with Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni to give him a start for the final round of Asian 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
The 19-year-old winger made his long-awaited full international debut as a substitute in Japan's 2-0 friendly victory over Azerbaijan in midweek.

Now Miyaichi, who can run the 100 metres in 10.6 seconds, wants a meatier role when Japan face Oman on June 3 and Jordan on June 8 at home before travelling to Australia four days later.

"Wherever I've played, I've always scored in my second game," Miyaichi told Japan's ‘Sankei Sports’ newspaper. "At Feyenoord and Bolton (on loan from Arsenal) that was the case so it would be great to do it again for Japan."

A goal against Oman would make Miyaichi Japan's youngest goalscorer in World Cup qualifying and Zaccheroni praised his impact after coming on against Azerbaijan. "Miyaichi is very good in one-on-one situations and above all has a great eye for goal," said the Italian. "He can play on both flanks, gives us width and can create chances for us."

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