New Man United jersey triggers massive interest

»For much of the soccer world a Manchester United jersey is the equivalent of the little black dress, something every fan's wardrobe must have.

So as United began their four-game North American Tour in Toronto against Celtic on Friday wearing the new kit, their legions of supporters have begun the rush to buy the shirt that the teams says has already set a record for demand.

"It's a massive business," the club's commercial director, Richard Arnold, told Reuters. "A lot of work goes into that, it's a year-round activity. We are already planning what future shirt designs will look like two, three years out."

Designed by Nike and adorned with the logo of their new sponsor Aon, the world's largest insurance brokerage believes the four-year sponsorship deal -- which reports have valued at $120 million to $130 million -- can help the company build its global brand name and boost business.

The sponsorship is viewed as one of the most prestigious in sports due to United's massive popularity and a global fan base that is estimated at 333 million worldwide.

Paul the octopus will remain in Germany
»Octopus oracle Paul’s prescience wasn’t needed to predict how this one would turn out. His aquarium in Germany on Saturday gave a resounding “nein” to a bid to move the celebrity mollusk to Spain.

In response to hundreds of requests to bring Paul to Spain, the Madrid Zoo this week asked Sea Life if it would be willing to make a deal to bring him in as a tribute to the Spanish football team’s victory.

But Sea Life spokeswoman Kerstin Kuehn said there was no way it would happen. “It’s totally out of the question to sell Paul or lend him out,” she said in an e-mail. “Paul will enjoy his greatly deserved retirement in Sea Life in Oberhausen.”

No vuvuzelas at SA rugby venues
»As rugby reclaims its usual place on South Africa's back pages, administrators countrywide are determined to ensure that the controversial vuvuzela plays no part in the sport's post-World Cup future.

The noisy plastic trumpet was a major talking point at the soccer extravaganza but it has since been banned from most rugby venues, including Soccer City, the stadium that hosted the World Cup final and awaits the Springboks next month.

South Africa will play New Zealand's All Blacks in a Tri-Nations match at the renamed 88,000-seater National Stadium on August 21 after the local Golden Lions Rugby Union decided to move the match from their regular home of Ellis Park.

"We've done research and the feedback from players and match officials is that it's very difficult to communicate with the vuvuzela," Golden Lions president Kevin de Klerk told Reuters.

"I know there's still a lot of sentiment around. It's not a personal thing but that's how it stands at this stage in time."

Big Phil back wit a bang in Brazil
»Luiz Felipe Scolari, the last coach to steer Brazil to World Cup victory, has made a triumphant return with Palmeiras in his home country after an eight-year absence in Europe and Asia.

Scolari, until last week a favourite to reclaim the Brazil job after their quarterfinal defeat under Dunga in South Africa, saw his Palmeiras team beat Santos 2-1 in the resumption of the Brazilian championship after the World Cup recess.

Scolari left for Europe after Brazil's record fifth world title in Asia in 2002. He spent six years as Portugal's coach, reaching the Euro 2004 final and the 2006 World Cup semifinals.

The 61-year-old "Felipao" (Big Phil) met with less success at club level in Europe, lasting a mere seven months at Chelsea before being sacked in February 2009.

He next joined Bunyodkor and steered them to the Uzbek title before returning to Brazil.

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