Bungling brother gets no sympathy from Brownlee

*Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee had little sympathy after younger brother Jonathan was pipped for the world title by Spaniard Javier Gomez last week, describing his sibling as a "tactical numptie" who threw the title away.

Gomez outsprinted the defending champion in a great race in rain-lashed London to secure his third world title but Brownlee senior, whose own hopes of a third world crown were derailed by an ankle injury, could hardly bear to watch the denouement.

Each time 30-year-old Gomez and Jonathan Brownlee passed Alistair, the senior brother pointed to his head to impart a "think" message to the 23-year-old, who admitted after the race that he had a tendency to get over-excited and go off too hard.

"I was watching Jonny and it was so frustrating, all he had to do was sit behind Javier until the last 50 metres and he was going to win," 25-year-old Alistair said after the experienced Spaniard had spent most of the 10km final leg tucked in behind the home favourite.

"When I saw him make his move with about 250 metres to go I thought 'oh no, what an idiot.'

Spanish federation’s hat-trick of sorts

* The Spanish soccer federation (RFEF), flush with cash after the national team's phenomenal run in recent years, intends to forego its state subsidy for the third year in a row in 2014, the government has announced.

The world and European champions have a host of corporate sponsors including German apparel maker adidas, energy company Iberdrola, Movistar, the mobile phone unit of telecoms operator Telefonica, and carmaker Nissan.

The RFEF's latest gesture, which needs approval from the board of directors, means it will have turned down just under five million euros ($6.68 million) it was entitled to for 2012, 2013 and 2014, according to the government sports council (CSD).

"It's yet another thoughtful gesture from (RFEF president) Angel Villar, whom I again thank personally for the sensitivity he has shown in these times when the rest of the federations need help," secretary of state for sport Miguel Cardenal said.

Jackson statue gets the boot from Fulham

* A controversial statue of the late pop star Michael Jackson will be removed from outside Fulham's Craven Cottage ground after fans complained it made the Premier League club look like a laughing stock.

The statue was erected behind the Hammersmith stand by former owner Mohamed Al Fayed in 2011, two years after the singer's death at the age of 50 from an overdose of a surgical anaesthetic and other sedatives.

“Craven Cottage means the world to generations of Fulham supporters, and I have heard from many of them over the past two months," said chairman Shahid Khan, who took over the club in  July. "Our supporters' views on the statue have been made clear. I respect Mr Al Fayed and know he had good intentions in paying an individual tribute. However, the removal of the statue is the right thing for Fulham Football Club."

Real Madrid resort may shift to Abu Dhabi

* A planned $1 billion Real Madrid-branded resort in the United Arab Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah (RAK) has been halted and the project may be switched to Abu Dhabi, a senior executive at the master developer and the club has said.

The 50-hectare (124 acre) attraction was to have been built on the man-made Marjan Island in RAK, 105 kilometres north of its more illustrious neighbour Dubai.

Real Madrid President Florentino Perez and former World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane, now an assistant to coach Carlo Ancelotti, attended the glitzy project launch in March 2012.
Drawings were displayed for a 450-room hotel, a marina and yacht club and a Real Madrid museum, plus an amusement park and a 10,000-capacity stadium.  At the time, Louis-Armand de Rouge, chief executive of Real Madrid Resort Island, a Luxembourg-based company, said the complex would open in January 2015.