Wednesday 29 February 2012

Melbourne F1 Future too Costly

Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One commercial rights holder, appears ready to axe the Australian Grand Prix unless it becomes a night race. The 81-year-old is prepared to honour the contract with the organisers at Melbourne's Albert Park that runs through to 2015, but beyond that the stakes are likely be raised.

Ecclestone said the race is "probably the least viable of all the races we have" given the time difference to the European market, and with other venues waiting in the wings. "We have a contract which we will respect, so up until 2015 we are in good shape," Ecclestone said. "

"After then, we really don't know. If we were to have a divorce from our friends in Melbourne we would probably be walking away from Australia. Because I can't see how Adelaide could make it [a night race] happen, or anywhere else, if Melbourne can't.

"We have other races ready to take the place of Australia, which we don't want to happen. But it would be wrong of me to have to report to our board: 'Terribly sorry about this but we have to walk away from wherever to retain Australia.'"

Ecclestone's posturing could be the final straw for Melbourne in particular as city officials have long complained about the financial losses incurred in recent years.

Given the additional costs required to install lighting, such as that currently used in Singapore, it is likely that would be too much for taxpayers to absorb.

Formers Players to Honour Speed

A host of former Wales football internationals will honour Gary Speed at the late manager's memorial match.

Ryan Giggs, John Hartson, Mark Hughes, Neville Southall and Robbie Savage are among up to 50 stars to be introduced at half-time on Wednesday night.

Wales will play Costa Rica with 21,000 tickets sold by Wednesday lunchtime for the match at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The Wales manager's body was found hanged in the garage at his home near Chester last November.

The coroner at his inquest said he could not be satisfied the 42-year-old former Premier League star intended to kill himself.

The Football Association of Wales has said it wants the fixture to be a celebration of Speed's life.

Welsh musicians including Super Furry Animals, Bryn Terfel and Only Men Aloud will also perform ahead of the match.

A number of charities will also benefit from the match after being nominated by Speed's family.

Cancer support charity MacMillan and the Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm), which looks to help reduce suicides among men under 35, will benefit financially from the match.

The Daisy Garland, a charity involved with lives touched by epilepsy and Wrexham FC under-15 boys academy, where Speed's son Ed is a member, will also benefit.

The Craig Bellamy Foundation in Sierra Leone - set up by the Liverpool player who will captain Wales for the game - has asked for a donation of playing kit and equipment.

Former international Matthew Jones will also be completing a half-marathon at the stadium and collecting funds for the Spinal Injuries Association.

He will be competing in full marathons in the future, having originally been encouraged to do so by Speed.

Following Speed's death last year, there was an outpouring of grief in the footballing community.

Fans at grounds around the country took part in tributes to the former Welsh captain, who played for a number of Premier League clubs, including Leeds, Newcastle, Everton, and Bolton, and managed Sheffield United.

18:40 GMT: Fourth St Traffic
18:55: Super Furry Animals
19:20: Mike Peters
19:30: Bryn Terfel with the Risca Male Voice Choir

Blistering Pace Set in Volvo

Groupama sailing team, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing all posted blistering 24-hour runs of more than 500 nautical miles as the southbound stampede continued.

"Sailing this way is fun, and it’s what everyone thinks about when they sign up to sail around the world" - Amory Ross, PUMA Ocean Racing

Ken Read’s crew on PUMA had double the reason to celebrate this morning – not only have they moved up the rankings into second place behind Groupama, they were also the first team to smash the 500-mile mark.

PUMA sailed 522.14nm at an average speed of 21.7 knots in the 24 hours up to 0340 UTC.

Leg leaders Groupama answered back with a run of 501nm averaging 20.9 knots, while fifth-placed Abu Dhabi posted 507nm at an average of 21.1 knots.

“523 miles in 24 hours is a lot of miles for a sailboat,” said PUMA media crew member Amory Ross.

“That’s averaging 22 miles-per-hour over the last day, and it’ll likely improve over the next few hours, too. Not so bad for close reaching in 20 knots of breeze and an awful sea state.

“It’s also the most our Mar Mostro has logged this race (we were unfortunate to miss the high speed run into Cape Town with some minor mast problems).

“It feels good to be going fast, psychologically at least! Sailing this way is fun, and it’s what everyone thinks about when they sign up to sail around the world.

“It’s also a return to the painful existence of slamming and crashing, only this time it’s sunny, wet, and getting hotter by the hour.”

PUMA’s run doesn’t beat CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand’s current race record of 554nm during Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Town which earned them the IWC Speed Record Challenge trophy for the leg and puts them in contention for the overall award, handed to the team which posts the biggest 24-hour distance over the course of the nine legs.

The 24-hour distance world record of 596.6nm was set by Ericsson 4 in the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race.

Two Blues Players Bailed in Cardiff

Two Welsh rugby internationals are among four people arrested after an incident in Cardiff hours after Wales' weekend Twickenham victory.

Cardiff Blues winger Tom James, 24, and fly-half Ceri Sweeney, 32, were arrested and bailed after a man was assaulted early on Sunday.

Police said a 26-year-old man needed stitches for a facial wound after an incident in Greyfriars Place.

Blues chief executive Richard Holland said: "There was an incident."

South Wales Police have not named the players, but say two men aged 24 and two other men aged 27 and 32 were arrested.

Neither Sweeney, who played the last of his 35 Tests in 2007, or James, who has won 10 caps since 2007, are part of the current Wales squad competing in the Six Nations Championship.

BBC Wales understands the alleged assault took place outside the Tiger Tiger club.

Blues chief executive Holland added: "There was an incident but until the police have concluded formalities from their side there is no statement to make on it."

Police said a second man, aged 27, was also assaulted at around 01:20 GMT.

Ireland Unchanged for Paris Return

Ireland have named an unchanged team for Sunday's rearranged Six Nations match against France in Paris.

Irish coach Declan Kidney has resisted the temptation to include scrum-half Eoin Reddan, who impressed after coming on as a replacement against Italy.

Rob Kearney, Gordon D'Arcy, Cian Healy and Sean O'Brien have all overcome minor knocks and are included in the starting XV.

The game was postponed on 11 February because of a frozen pitch.

Kearney had been suffering from a slight groin injury while D'Arcy took a blow to the shoulder during the convincing win over the Italians.

Healy has been training regularly after receiving a blow to the jaw, while O'Brien also trained this week after having a scan on an ankle injury.

"The players are better for having 80 minutes under their belts after a two-week break," said Kidney.

"The end result of our deliberations is an unchanged team but there was a fair bit of analysing and weighing up done before that decision was reached.

"The lads who came on had strong claims for a place as they made a positive impact and did exceptionally well after they came on."

Irish captain Paul O'Connell added that the French "are deadly if you give them an opportunity".

"You can't turn over easy ball to them as they are very dangerous," said the Munster lock.

"We played well against Italy, especially in the second half, and there has been a good intensity to our training.

"It will be a hostile environment in Paris but we are bringing plenty of experience and although it will be a tough challenge, it is one we are looking forward to."

France have won their opening two games against Italy and Scotland while Ireland lost to Wales, but then saw off the Italians in Dublin.

Ireland: R Kearney; T Bowe, K Earls, G D'Arcy, A Trimble; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, M Ross; D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell; S Ferris, S O'Brien, J Heaslip.
Replacements: S Cronin, T Court, D Ryan, P O'Mahony, E Reddan, R O'Gara, F McFadden.

Mulgrew Makes Scotland Debut

Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew will earn his first Scotland cap after being named in Craig Levein's starting line-up for the friendly in Slovenia.

He and Russell Martin are at full-back, with captain Gary Caldwell and Christophe Berra in the centre.

James McArthur, Charlie Adam and James Morrison are in central midfield, with James Forrest and Jamie Mackie likely to be in support of a single striker.

That will be Craig Mackail-Smith, with Allan McGregor continuing in goal.

Kenny Miller has been rested following his exertions during Cardiff City's Carling Cup final defeat by Liverpool after extra-time and penalties on Sunday.

QPR's Mackie could partner Brighton striker Mackail-Smith should Levein decide to adopt a more attacking 4-4-2 formation, with West Brom's Morrison out wide.

Also in Miller's absence, Caldwell will captain Scotland for the first time from the start of a game.

Liverpool's Adam also featured at Wembley, as did Cardiff midfielder Don Cowie.

However, Levein said: "Kenny, in particular, I will be a little more careful with.

"He put an awful lot of work into the game on Sunday - I thought was fantastic.

"I've got three players who are very tired, as you can imagine, after the game, but Kenny's the one - he's into his 30s - and I'll be more careful with him than I will with the other two."

Indeed, Adam will start in midfield along with in-form Morrison and McArthur, despite the Wigan Athletic midfielder having been a late replacement in the squad for Celtic's Scott Brown.

Levein was also forced into altering his plans following injuries to Aston Villa's Alan Hutton and Sunderland's Phil Bardsley.

Bristol City's Richard Foster had been a late addition to the travelling party as cover, but Mulgrew will debut at left-back and Martin earns a second cap on the right.

"It was disappointing to lose two important players in Alan Hutton and Phil Bardsley," said the coach.

"The exciting thing for me is that the two replacements, Russell Martin, who plays in the Premiership with Norwich, and Charlie Mulgrew at Celtic, who is at the top of his game just now.

"And what an opportunity for them to come and show they are worthy of a starting place.

"I wanted to bring someone else in as cover and Ricky is perfect for that because he can play both right and left back."

McGregor has been named in goal despite the continuing uncertainty about players' jobs at Rangers, with the club's administrators poised to announce job cuts.

"He's had a few issues through the years but has always managed to turn up here and be focussed on his job," said Levein.

"I have no fears for him at all. He is a strong character."

Caldwell will be making his 47th appearance for Scotland and admitted it would be a special night leading out the team, with Miller on the bench and Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher sidelined through illness.

"I've never started the game as captain," he said.

"Obviously Fletch is the captain and Kenny is the vice-captain, so it is an honour to get it.

"But they are obviously the men in possession and I am 100% behind them, but to get it for one night will be special."

Scotland team to face Slovenia : McGregor, Martin, Mulgrew, Caldwell, Berra, McArthur, Adam, Morrison, Forrest, Mackie, Mackail-Smith.

Scotland squad
Goalkeepers: Allan McGregor (Rangers) Craig Gordon (Sunderland) Matt Gilks (Blackpool)
Defenders: Christophe Berra (Wolverhampton Wanderers) Gary Caldwell (Wigan Athletic) Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic) Grant Hanley (Blackburn Rovers) Russell Martin (Norwich City) Richard Foster (Bristol City)
Midfielders: Charlie Adam (Liverpool) Barry Bannan (Aston Villa) Don Cowie (Cardiff City) Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion) James Forrest (Celtic) Barry Robson (Middlesbrough) James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion) Robert Snodgrass (Leeds United) James McArthur (Wigan)
Forwards: David Goodwillie (Blackburn Rovers) Kenny Miller (Cardiff City) Jamie Mackie (Queens Park Rangers) Craig Mackail-Smith (Brighton and Hove Albion)

Ramsey Wants Wales Bellamy

Captain Aaron Ramsey has urged Craig Bellamy to continue his Wales career as Wednesday's Gary Speed Memorial Match could be his final international.

Liverpool striker Bellamy is the stand-in Welsh skipper for the friendly with Costa Rica in Cardiff as the Arsenal midfielder is out with ankle trouble.

Bellamy is considering his Wales future but they hope he stays until the end of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

"Craig has been a massive part of our success," said Ramsey

"He has proven he still has the ability to cause a threat and and he has huge experience.

"We hope he stays because he still has a lot to offer and he could be a major part in the future success of Wales."

Bellamy last skippered Wales in their Euro 2012 opening qualifying defeat in Montenegro in September 2010 before resigning from the Wales captaincy in December 2010.

The 32-year-old is fifth in Wales' all-time top goal-scorer list with 19 goals and leads Wales in what could be the Cardiff-born player's 68th and final international in his home town.

Chris Coleman has talked to Bellamy about extending his international career but the Wales manager is still unsure whether he will continue although Coleman is "positive."

Bellamy was particularly close to late manager Speed, his former Wales and Newcastle team-mate, and was deeply affected by his death in November 2011 so has not committed himself beyond this fixture.

"When he's ready, he'll come out and say what he wants to do," said Coleman.

"I have to try and put myself in Craig's shoes. He has known Gary a long time and was very close to him and his family.

"He came out of retirement for Gary. And Gary is not here now. It's not an easy one for him.

"I won't take it to heart if he comes out and says that he won't do it. I will understand. I hope that's not the situation.

"I've known Bellers a long time. I'm not saying our relationship is the same as it was with Gary's. But he knows me and the way I work.

"It doesn't have to be a love affair to work. Not that I dislike Craig because I like him. I have a lot of respect for him.

"I hope he stays with us because we need a Craig Bellamy, like most teams do on and off the park.

"You know what his mentality is like, he's a winner, he wants things done right.

"Personally I want Craig to stay and I hope he does. I will do my best to keep him because we're a better team and a better squad with him about.

"I think the talks have been positive but it is not for me to say, it is up to Craig when he says yes or no.

"But Craig knows how important he is to the group. I won't push him but I imagine his mind is already made up and when he is ready he'll come out and say it."

Bellamy has missed internationals since his Wales debut against Jamaica in 1998 due to his long-standing knee problems and Coleman insists: "I can't say just turn up for friendlies.

"I agree international football should retire you and I think you have to turn up to every game unless you are injured.

"Craig has played a lot of football and has had knee problems so that needs to be looked at. But he has won a lot of caps and has paid his dues."

Davis Northern Ireland Captain

Steven Davis has been named as the new Northern Ireland captain ahead of Wednesday's friendly with Norway.

The Rangers midfielder said he wanted to be the permanent skipper after leading NI against Estonia in October.

Former NI captain Aaron Hughes is back in the squad after coming out of retirement but new boss Michael O'Neill has opted to go with Davis.

Norway captain Brede Hangeland has pulled out due to a thigh injury, with Celtic's Thomas Rogne taking his place.

The Fulham defender was forced out after feeling discomfort in his thigh during training on Tuesday.

Rogne will win his first cap for Norway at Windsor Park after being drafted into the team.

He is one of four British-based players set to start, with Hangeland's Cottagers team-mate John Arne-Riise in the side alongside Blackburn's Morten Gamst Pedersen and Erik Huseklepp, who is on loan at Birmingham from Portsmouth.

Northern Ireland duo Warren Feeney and Craig Cathcart will miss the Belfast game.

Plymouth striker Feeney has a calf strain while Blackpool defender Cathcart misses the game because of a hamstring injury.

New manager O'Neill, who will be in charge for the first time, has not yet called up any replacements for the Windsor Park match.

"We picked a 24-man squad to allow us the luxury of one or two withdrawals, because we knew there were games at the weekend," said O'Neill.

"We have lads on standby in case anything else happens."

Jonny Evans and Davis were excused from training on Monday morning after playing for their clubs on Sunday.

Northern Ireland face a tough World Cup qualifying group which includes Portugal, Russia and Israel with only the winners guaranteed passage through to the finals in Brazil.

Northern Ireland squad: L Camp (Nottingham Forest), A Mannus (St Johnstone), M McGovern (Falkirk); J Evans (Manchester United), G McAuley (West Brom), M Duff (Burnley), S Ferguson (Newcastle), R McGivern (Bristol City, loan), A Hughes (Fulham), L Hodson (Watford); J Carson (Ipswich), S Davis (Rangers), D Shiels (Kilmarnock), S Clingan (Coventry), G McCann (Peterborough), C Evans (Hull), N McGinn (Brentford, loan), P McCourt (Celtic); D Healy (Rangers), J McQuoid (Burnley, loan), J Ward (Derby), M Paterson (Burnley).

Captain Parker Gets England Call

Scott Parker has been named England captain by Stuart Pearce for Wednesday night's friendly international against Holland at Wembley.

The Tottenham midfielder takes the armband after Chelsea defender John Terry was stripped of the role by the Football Association earlier this month.

Pearce is in interim charge of the national side in the wake of Fabio Capello's decision to quit his post as he was unhappy with his employer's decision to remove Terry from the position.

Parker taking the armband marks a remarkable rise for the former Charlton, Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham midfielder, who has only recently established himself in the England side.

The 31-year-old moved to White Hart Lane in the summer following the Hammers' relegation and has proved to be an integral member of Harry Redknapp's squad with his impressive displays in the centre of midfield.

Parker's performances have clearly turned the head of Pearce, with the former England international selecting the holding midfielder ahead of the claims of rival candidates such as Steven Gerrard, Joe Hart, Gareth Barry and James Milner.

Redknapp is widely expected to be named as Capello's long-term successor with the Three Lions, which could see Parker remain as the team's on-field leader for the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine this summer.

Pearce hinted that Parker was in the frame earlier in the week, when he admitted that the man voted his country's Player of the Year by the fans had been 'outstanding' for England over the past 12 months.

Volvo Race in Speed Distance Record

The 24-hour speed distance record for the current edition of the Volvo Ocean Race is under threat as the fleet face four days hurtling south at up to 30 knots.

“Finally it feels like the Volvo Ocean Race. No more drifting around or upwind sailing -- just raw power, soaking decks and high speeds" - Ian Walker, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand set the bar at 554.16 nm during Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Town – but as the six teams power south through the Pacific Ocean trade winds the record could tumble.

Volvo Ocean Race chief meteorologist Gonzalo Infante said the latest weather and routing models suggest that several of the teams stand a chance of bettering CAMPER’s record over the next few days -- particularly those able to sail wider angles in the east.

“It’s going to be very close but it’s very possible the record could fall in the next few days,” Infante said. "Breaking through the 500nm barrier is dependent on tactics and medium-term strategy - whether the teams choose to stay east or cash in their position for speed.”

The arrival of the solid north-easterly trade winds benefitted the easterly boats first with leg leaders Franck Cammas’ Groupama sailing team extending their advantage at the front to 55 nautical miles (nm) in the 1300 UTC position report.

To the west of the fleet Chris Nicholson’s second placed CAMPER and Iker Martínez’s third placed Team Telefónica continue to struggle to match the speeds of the trio in the east.

Ken Read’s PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG and Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing who have both clocked up peak speeds over 25 knots.

On Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian Walker could hardly contain his delight at the opportunity to capitalise on the eastern investment they had made, often in light and tricky conditions.

“Finally it feels like the Volvo Ocean Race,” Walker said. “No more drifting around or upwind sailing -- just raw power, soaking decks and high speeds.

“Fortunately all the easting we have strived for over the past week allows us to sail as wide an angle as we are. The wind is 25 knots and building. Boat speeds fluctuate between 18 and 30 knots. The miles to the finish are now tumbling fast which makes the soaking on deck well worth it.”

PUMA navigator Tom Addis said the crew was enjoying the chance to unleash the full potential of their boat in the open ocean.

“It’s been fantastic, fast reaching,” Addis said. “We’re back in open water, no shipping, no fishing nets, no debris to dodge. We’re just letting the boat rip doing 22, 23 knots, reaching with bow up. It’s what these boats are good at so that’s always a nice feeling.”

Addis added that PUMA were aware that they must keep up their breakneck pace for the next few days if their northern ‘further but faster’ strategy was ultimately to work.

“Opportunity is ahead for us starting from now, for sure, especially after all our hard work to get east,” he said.

“After all this torture we’re going to finally have wider and faster angles than most of the guys, so we should be gaining by the hour. We’ve put in the hard work, and now it’s time to reap the rewards.

“When you travel the most miles in a leg like we have, I guess you’ve got to expect to put some good runs on the board. We had 26 knots earlier, we may get close again but it’s likely to just average 20 knots plus.

Team Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson said although his crew were in sixth they had done well to stay in the hunt but were now facing some big losses in a drag race against the more powerful newer boats.

“We’ve worked very hard through the change of positions to be among the pack, we’ve led at times and we’ve been last at times, but now we’re faced with the reality of the speed of these new generation boats,” Sanderson said. “They’re going in excess of a knot faster than us, and they’re just going to sail on by.

“We’re all very competitive sailors and we’re all used to winning, but now we’re just not fast enough through the water after battling for the last week to keep up.

“One knot difference is big – you’re talking a 24-mile difference each day. Over the next three or four days with the trades, it’s a little bit scary. It’s going to be 100 miles in those three or four days.”

The fleet still have more than 3,500 nm to go to the finish in Auckland and are expected to arrive around March 9.

Sinfield and Rhinos go to Eton

A Malaysian prince is now among the followers of rugby league as a direct result of Leeds Rhinos' ground-breaking visit to Eton College.

A week after Jamie Peacock went to Buckingham Palace to receive his MBE from the Queen, captain Kevin Sinfield and two of his team-mates went to Eton to beat the drum for rugby league.

Sinfield, who recently delivered a motivational speech to England's rugby union team, addressed Eton's Sports Society on Monday night, following in the footsteps of Sir Steve Redgrave, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Sir Bobby Robson, Sir Clive Woodward and Geoffrey Boycott.

On Tuesday he addressed the pupils at the famous public school before taking a coaching clinic with Rhinos team-mates Zak Hardaker and Kallum Watkins on the playing fields at the school.

The idea for the visit came from one of the pupils, Elliott Charles, who is from Leeds and a keen Rhinos fan, and the Super League champions were only too happy to oblige.

Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington, who accompanied the three players on the two-day trip to Windsor, said: "This was a tremendous honour for Kevin and the Leeds Rhinos and it went down really well.

"They have 1,300 young people and they were keen to learn more about helping them to develop their potential.

"They appreciated the synergy and were fascinated to learn the secret behind helping youngsters reach their potential."

Eton has long been at the heart of the English establishment since its formation by Henry VI in 1440, with a host of old Etonians holding the highest offices in the country since then, including Prime Minister David Cameron, and the Leeds contingent got a glimpse into some of its idiosyncrasies.

"They stamped their feet during our meetings, which is one of their rituals and a sign of appreciation," said Hetherington. "They don't clap."

Sinfield, who won widespread praise for his talk to the England squad, said he was less nervous about Monday night's occasion.

"I quite enjoyed it," he said. "I was happy with the reception I got. I gave them an insight into our sport and the requirements of rugby league players and our responsibilities.

"I like to think it went down well. They sort of embraced what I was saying, which was quite gratifying."

Having introduced the Eton pupils to rugby league, Leeds are now clearly hoping to reap benefits down the line and Hetherington is keen to build on the unlikely relationship.

"It's not a one-off visit," he said. "Now we've established a partnership, we'll be looking to strengthen the link and get them more involved in rugby league.

"There's an invitation for the staff and boys to come to Headingley and the Prince of Malaysia, who came up to introduce himself to us, and Billy Lloyd Webber, son of the famous producer Andrew, are already followers of Zak Hardaker on Twitter."

It's Tried and Trusted Trapattoni

Republic of Ireland senior team manager Giovanni Trapattoni is adamant that the players that secured Euro 2012 qualification deserve their chance to start against Czech Republic on Wednesday.

Darren O'Dea and Shane Long come in for the injured duo Richard Dunne and Kevin Doyle, yet the side has the look of one which the Italian may have in mind for the championship opener against Croatia in Poznan on June 10.

Trapattoni admitted as much when he spoke on the eve of the game about preparing properly for the competitive tournament which is now less than four months away.

His aim of a performance and result against the Czechs is not restricted to it providing a confidence booster for the Euros but also to maintain Ireland's rise up the rankings.

The Ireland manager does plan to utilise his substitutes during the friendly, and uncapped duo James McClean and Shane Duffy have been name-checked as possible entrants from the bench.

"I will start with the group that helped us qualify for the final tournament," said Trapattoni.

"First, we have to have respect for the players who have contributed to qualification. This group has played well and they have played always.

"In the second half I may use some of the younger players. Maybe Shane Duffy and James McClean. We can bring them into our system and help them understand better what we usually do on the pitch.

"The result is important because it helps our ranking. The enthusiasm I have seen from the players in the last few days tells me we can achieve a result.

"We wish to win the game but we must have balance. When our strikers lose the ball, they must come back and defend too."

Republic of Ireland: Given (Aston Villa); O'Shea (Sunderland), St Ledger (Leicester City), O'Dea (Leeds United), Ward (Wolves); Duff (Fulham), Whelan (Stoke City), Andrews (Ipswich Town), McGeady (Spartak Moscow); Keane (LA Galaxy), Long (West Bromwich Albion).

Czech Republic: Petr Čech; Theodor Gebre Selassie, Tomáš Sivok, Michal Kadlec, David Limberský; Jaroslav Plašil, Petr Jiráček; Milan Petržela, Jiri Štajner, Jan Rezek; Milan Baroš.

Brad Keselowski Keeps Car Phone

NASCAR said Tuesday Brad Keselowski can keep his cellphone in his race car during events, and all drivers are encouraged to use social media.

Keselowski drew worldwide attention for posting on Twitter during a red-flag period in Monday night's season-opening Daytona 500. He posted pictures, answered questions and kept fans informed of what was happening during the stoppage that lasted just over two hours.

The tweeting gained Keselowski roughly 140,000 followers during the race.

But there was concern having a phone violated NASCAR rules. Teams are prohibited from having recording devices in the car that are not for competition purposes, and two-way communication devices are supposed to be analog only.

NASCAR said Keselowski had not violated any rules and can keep his phone.

"NASCAR will not penalize Brad Keselowski for his use of Twitter during last night's Daytona 500," NASCAR said in a statement. "Nothing we've seen from Brad violates any current rules pertaining to the use of social media during races. As such, he won't be penalized. We encourage our drivers to use social media to express themselves as long as they do so without risking their safety or that of others."

Nicklaus Target Took Tiger Toll

Tiger Woods' quest to break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major championships weighed heavily on the former world No. 1 golfer, his former swing coach, Hank Haney, said in a book excerpt released Tuesday.

"There was more urgency and less fun. ... He never mentioned Nicklaus' record, but it started to weigh more heavily at every major," Hank Haney wrote in "The Big Miss," his book about his time coaching Woods. "And Tiger's actions indicated he believed he had less time to do it than everyone thought."

In an excerpt from his up and coming book, Haney detailed Woods' extreme workouts and how they intersected with his fascination with the military.

"Tiger did two tandem parachute jumps, engaged in hand-to-hand combat exercises, went on four-mile runs wearing combat boots, and did drills in a wind tunnel," Haney wrote about four days Woods spent in special-ops training at Fort Bragg, N.C. "Tiger loved it, but his physical therapist, Keith Kleven, went a little crazy worrying about the further damage Tiger might be doing to his left knee.

"One morning I was in the kitchen when he came back from a long run around [his Orlando-area home at] Isleworth, and I noticed he was wearing Army boots. Tiger admitted that he'd worn the heavy shoes before on the same route. 'I beat my best time,' he said."

Woods grew up in a military family. His father, Earl Woods, was a Green Beret. According to Haney, Woods was seriously considering becoming a Navy SEAL, one of the military's most physically and mentally demanding units.

"I didn't know how he'd go about it, but when he talked about it, it was clear he had a plan," wrote Haney. "I thought, wow, here is Tiger Woods, greatest athlete on the planet, maybe the greatest athlete ever, right in the middle of his prime, basically ready to leave it all behind for a military life."

"Based on the excerpts published today, Hank Haney's claim that his book is about golf is clearly false," Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said in a statement. "His armchair psychology about Tiger, on matters he admits they didn't even discuss, is ridiculous.

"Because of his father, it's no secret that Tiger has always had high respect for the military, so for Haney to twist that admiration into something negative is disrespectful. The disruptive timing of this book shows that Haney's self-promotion is more important to him than any other person or tournament. What's been written violates the trust between a coach and player and someone also once considered a friend."

Woods earned 57 top-10 finishes in 78 tournaments with 29 victories, including six major championship wins, after he started working with Haney in 2005. During their partnership, Woods finished worse than 30th only nine times, including missed cuts.

Manny Mayweather All Bout Money

A trumpet blared a fanfare to introduce Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto as fans at the Apollo Theatre cheered the start of Tuesday's news conference to promote their May 5 fight in Las Vegas.

Still, there appeared to be far more interest in the fight that's not happening -- a matchup between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather made clear that whether they meet in the ring is about the money -- breaking down the shares in what could be boxing's richest fight ever.

"Just by speaking to Pacquiao on the phone, I mean, he's not one of the sharpest knives in the drawer," Mayweather said. "He faces Floyd Mayweather, he's not getting 50-50. Not at all. No one is getting 50-50."

While Mayweather urged Pacquiao should "take the test," a reference to his demand for random drug testing, payout appears to be the real sore point between Mayweather on one side, and Pacquiao and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum on the other. Arum has said testing is not an issue.

"Bob Arum likes to match Top Rank fighters with Top Rank fights. He keeps all the money in house," Mayweather said.

This dispute has spilled into federal court. Pacquiao sued Mayweather for defamation in December 2009, alleging Mayweather falsely accused him of using performance-enhancing drugs. Pacquiao spent 12 hours in Las Vegas last week giving depositions in the case.

"If I offered him $30 million, he should be happy," Mayweather said. "If I offered him $30 million and I didn't give money on the back end, why should I? He's with Arum right now, and they're having problems. It's obvious he must not be getting money on the back end."

Mayweather says he's not ducking Pacquiao, who stopped Cotto in the 12th round of their November 2009 fight.

"If I'm scared and I'm a coward, why do you guys want to see me fight?" he said. "Do I want the Pacquiao fight? Absolutely. But it's going to be hard to make the fight because Arum is worried about getting money."

As boxing news conferences go, this was fairly tame. In the second of a series that began Monday in Puerto Rico and end Thursday in Los Angeles, Mayweather and Cotto praised each other and said they respected each other. Video projections proclaimed them "Ring Kings" and "Living Legends." They sat in tall chairs of red velvet with lions on the arm rests.

Mayweather was the snazzier, in white jeans, a black turtleneck sweater, sunglasses. There was bling on his left wrist, and the rapper 50 Cent was part of his onstage entourage. Cotto, who got the bigger cheers, was in a black suit, black shirt and striped tie.

Mayweather defended his Feb. 14 tweet, in which he said: "Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he's Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don't get the same praise."

Mayweather said most of the focus was on the second sentence and the first was largely ignored.

"Do I regret what I said? Absolutely not. I stand by what I said, and I meant what I said," Mayweather said.

Cotto, who has stopped all three of his opponents since losing a welterweight title fight to Pacquiao, thinks the 154-pound weight limit will favor him over Mayweather, who has boxed at lighter classes.

"Power is going to be on my side," Cotto said.

The fight, for the WBA super welterweight title, will take place in Las Vegas and will be televised by HBO pay-per-view. HBO plans a four-episode series leading up to the bout, with the first part to air April 14.

Mayweather is to begin a 90-day jail sentence on June 1 stemming from a domestic violence case.

FFA's Lowy Revoke Gold Licence

Football Federation Australia has revoked the Gold Coast United licence of Clive Palmer but hopes the players will fulfil their obligations for the rest of the season.

FFA chairman Frank Lowy said the governing body took the decision with immediate effect in the wake of Gold Coast owner Clive Palmer's outspoken criticism and breaches of at least three articles of the club participation agreement.

Palmer confirmed the move on Twitter: "Our licence is being rekoved by Frank Lowy and FFA cohorts."

"We intend to fight this ludicrous decision by incompetent FFA in the courts. Frank Lowy is an institution who now belongs in an institution," he tweeted.

The FFA's decision came two hours after Palmer extended a peace offering to Lowy but indicated he'd continue to defy FFA orders regarding the Freedom of Speech logo.

Fox Sports football commentator Robbie Slater said on Twitter: "Clive Palmer hang your head in shame. Well done Frank Lowy and Ben Buckley . Clive you disrespected the game . Bye."

The FFA will now seek to have talks with Gold Coast players to enter an agreement to play the final four games of the 2011-2012 A-League season. The FFA will pay the players' wages.

Wellington Phoenix have also been informed that there could be a real possibility that Sunday's round 22 match against Gold Coast United could be postponed.

The decision effectively means a nine-team competition for the 2012-2013 season, although Lowyleft the door open for the late inclusion of a tenth team.Gold Coast, under new ownership, would be a candidate as would a possible team based in western Sydney.

"We will do our darnest to have a 10-team competition, and I'm reasonably confident of that happening," he said.

FFA chief executive Ben Buckley said the FFA had exhausted all attempts to organise an exit strategy with no assistance from Gold Coast.

He then warned Palmer not to get in the way of the FFA as it tried to ensure a fair outcome for United's players and the rest of the league.

"As you are aware, Gold Coast had material breaches at Skilled Stadium last Saturday night (Freedom of Speech slogan)," said Buckley.

'"Over the past four weeks Gold Coast United has told us repeatedly it wanted to leave the competition at the end of the season.

"During the same period it has issued contradictory statements that it intends to stay while also signalling its intention to breach FFA policies.

"The FFA wants an orderly process where the club could complete its remaining fixtures in 2011-2012. We want to avoid problems with the standings of any of the other nine clubs, and achieve the fairest outcome in the competition.

"If Mr Palmer obstructs this attempt he should stand condemned by the entire football community."

Lowy said FFA were left with no alternative but to terminate the licence.

"I'm profoundly disappointed to have to make this decision ... but I was left with no alternative but to terminate the Gold Coast United licence," he said.

"As custodian of the game we had to act to protect the integrity of the Hyundai A-League on behalf of other nine clubs ... and, most important, the fans.

"We don't know what slogan he's going to put up next week.

"I made repeated attempts this morning to talk to Mr Palmer to make a dignified end to season."