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No roof yet  for US Open

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A massive renovation plan announced for the US Open site will not include a roof over centre court and instead focus on new courts and increased seating, the US Tennis Association announced.

The last four US Open championships finished on a Monday instead of Sunday because of rain delays, raising a clamour for a covered centre court to help keep the schedule on track but the improvement plan does not address that issue.

The decision means the US Open will soon be the only Grand Slam event without rain protection. Center courts at Wimbledon and the Australian Open have retractable roofs, while the French Open has announced plans to cover its main court. Other improvements include a viewing deck that would allow spectators to watch players practice in one direction and view tournament matches on courts facing the other way.


FIFA thumbs up for countdown

»FIFA dismissed on Thursday suggestions that the countdown which precedes the kick-off at Euro 2012 matches encroaches on the referee's authority.

Just before kickoff, a stadium announcer counts down from 10 to one before the referee starts the game, a move which has alarmed traditionalists.

"In general the general co-ordinator as he is called at FIFA Competitions or the Venue Director at UEFA events provides this countdown for the fourth official anyway," a FIFA statement said.

"The fourth official then informs the referee that everything is ready for the referee to start the match. At Euro 2012, this announcement is simply made public to allow the spectators to be part of this experience. The actual starting of the match is still down to the referee.”


Nasser’s mindless headbutt courts ban

»Diego Maradona's Al Wasl club have banned their controversial goalkeeper Majed Nasser for the entire 2012-13 season after he was sent off in the Gulf region's Champions League final for a headbutt.

United Arab Emirates international Nasser was dismissed 10 minutes into the second leg against Bahraini side Al Muharraq. Al Wasl directors described Nasser's behaviour as a "disgraceful act" that was "detrimental, not just to the reputation of Al Wasl, but the country as a whole.” The 28-year-old Nasser has a history of violence and was banned for 17 matches earlier this year for slapping a rival coach, which led to him announcing his retirement from the sport only to backtrack later.

The loss capped a disappointing first season in charge for Argentine great Maradona, who led Al Wasl to eighth in the 12-team standings.


Park turnaround boosts Olympic chances

»Arsenal striker Park Chu-young has boosted his chances of representing South Korea in the London Olympic Games after pledging to do military service.

Park recently obtained a 10-year residence permit from Monaco and delayed his mandatory military service in Korea.

The decision triggered a backlash, prompting the Korean Football Association to leave him out of the national squad for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers this month.

However, the 26-year-old player seemed back in favour again after agreeing to do military service even though he did not elaborate on when he would report for service.

"I am sorry," Park was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency. "As one of the (Korean) people, I will do my sacred military service no matter what."

Head coach Hong Myung-bo too sounded positive about Park's chances of being one of Korea's over-age players for the London Olympics.

"I had a heart-to-heart talk with Park Chu-young after an evaluation match with Syria on June 7," Hong told reporters, adding he was ready to "work with (Park) through difficulties."


Volkswagen halts production for big game

»Poland's Volkswagen plant suspended car production during the Poland versus Russia Euro 2012 game last Tuesday and organised for its employees to watch the gripping match which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Around two thousand workers viewed the game on a big screen sitting in special tribunes and a production belt was shut for the first time since Poland played Germany at the 2006 World Cup.

The suspension caused delays in production.  "Eighty cars less were produced because of the decision but this is not a problem, we will catch it up later," Volkswagen spokesman Piotr Danielewicz said.

"Engagement, mood and loyalty of our employees is the key."
Volkswagen's Poznan plant, established 19 years ago, is the company's second largest factory.

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