Monday 30 April 2012

Gambhir in Knight Riders Win

Captain Gautam Gambhir struck a solid 63 to take Kolkata Knight Riders to a comfortable five-wicket victory over two-time defending champion Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.

Gambhir hit one six and six fours in his 52-ball knock as Kolkata scored 5-140 in 19.4 overs after restricting Chennai to 5-139 at the Chidambaram Stadium.

Apart from Gambhir, South African Jacques Kallis also contributed to the win. After bagging the key wickets of Suresh Raina and Dwayne Bravo, he produced a useful knock of 26 and figured in a 70-run second-wicket stand with Gambhir.

The win ensured Kolkata stays in second place with six wins, three losses and a no-result from 10 games. Chennai has four wins, five losses and a no-result.

Donald Returns to the Top

Ferguson Accuses Mancini

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson accused Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini of attempting to influence the match officials in Monday's derby.

City prevailed 1-0 thanks to captain Vincent Kompany's first-half header to take them top of the Premier League table, above United on goal difference with only two games each left to play.

The managers had to be kept apart on the touchline by fourth official Mike Jones after a difference of opinion over Nigel de Jong's foul on Danny Welbeck led to angry words and gestures being exchanged, although the pair did shake hands at the final whistle.

Ferguson told Sky Sports 1HD: "He (Mancini) was badgering the referee the whole game, the fourth official and the linesman, and the minute I go out there...

"He was complaining about referees all week, he can't be complaining tonight, that's for sure."

United boss Ferguson felt his side were poor on the night and conceded the title was now City's to throw away.

"It was feisty, competitive, not a lot of goal chances," the Scot said.

"We're disappointed we never tested their goalkeeper.

"They had more threat as they had more action around the edge of our box."

Ferguson lamented the manner of City's goal, which came from a corner right on the stroke of half-time when Chris Smalling lost Kompany, the man he was supposed to be marking.

"If you lose a goal from a set-piece at this level, you only have yourself to blame for that," he said.

"It was a bad time to lose a goal."

He added: "I think they're in the driver's seat now. They've got to win two games of football.

"It's not over yet, but they've got an eight-goal advantage. It's a big advantage."

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Steven Reid Signs New Deal

West Brom defender Steven Reid has signed a new two-year contract which will keep him at the Hawthorns until the summer of 2014, the club have confirmed.

Reid's current deal was due to run out this summer although the club could have exercised a 12-month option which was in their favour.

But the new deal is a reward for the form Reid displayed before recently undergoing ankle surgery which has sidelined him for the remainder of the campaign.

Former Republic of Ireland international Reid, 31, has operated in midfield for the majority of his career, but he has been successfully converted into a right-back by the Baggies and played a major part in them becoming established in the Premier League.

Reid initially joined West Brom on a month's loan from Blackburn towards the tail-end of the 2009/10 season when they sealed promotion from the Championship.

He completed a permanent switch to Albion that summer when he also announced his retirement from international football after winning 23 caps.

Camper Make Good Progress

CAMPER co-skipper Stu Bannatyne says conditions have been perfect for Volvo Open 70 sailing today with warm weather, flat water and solid breezes making for superb fast sailing as they enter the Doldrums zone.

“We are making our way towards Miami with good speed right now -- we have about 18 knots on the speedo at the moment and we are all very happy,” Bannatyne said this afternoon.

“We have still got a lot of favourable current with us which means the seas are very flat, so we are ripping along in essentially flat water with no strain on the boat at all.

“It’s pretty warm -- most of the guys are just wearing shorts and t-shirts on deck although we are blasting along at 20 knots. Down below it’s not too bad, most of the guys have got fans in their bunks and that’s enough to keep it pretty cool.”

Bannatyne said the CAMPER crew are hoping their fast entry to the Doldrums will herald an equally quick exit.

“We are entering the Doldrums area now and it has all been very well behaved so far,” he said. “There were a few little clouds last night but nothing too serious, we a pretty fortunate.

“Being this far west in the Atlantic is a lot kinder crossing I think. Maybe another 200 miles and then we can say we are clear.”

“Fingers crossed it stays as nice as it is right now -- we have about 15 knots of wind and we are beam reaching and all going nicely.”

However, Bannatyne said the CAMPER crew had little time to relax and enjoy the spectacular sailing because of the three way battle going on between them, leaders PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG and Team Telefónica.

“We have had Telefónica in sight for the last couple of days and it has certainly been some pretty close racing,” Bannatyne said. “PUMA have done a nice job round the corner of Brazil and put themselves in a nice position and made a nice little break on us and Telefónica.

“But they are only around 40 miles ahead and just one bad cloud can chew that sort of distance up pretty quickly so there is still plenty to play for.

“We will work hard over the next couple of days to get through the Doldrum area and into the next part of the race.”

Bannatyne said he believed the result of Leg 6 was far from certain, particularly given the uncertain state of the trade winds.

“The trades are a bit messed up and at this time of year and it’s not uncommon to have a front push down from Florida and mess things up even more from the Bahamas onwards,” he said.

“I remember finishing this race 10 years ago into Miami and we had all sorts of rain clouds and thunderstorms and there were a lot of place changes in that last 150 miles.

“So it is all still on the table at this point.”

At 1600 UTC today CAMPER were in third, 8 nautical miles (nm) behind Team Telefónica and 37 nm adrift of PUMA.

Fourth placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were 96 nm from the lead with Groupama sailing team a further 51 nm back in fifth.

O'Sullivan into Quarter Finals

Three-time world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan needed less than an hour to complete a comfortable 13-6 victory over Mark Williams at the Crucible.

Resuming at 11-5 and needing just two frames to secure a last-eight spot, O'Sullivan exploded out of the blocks with a frame-winning break of 66.

Though Williams took the next frame, O'Sullivan came out on top in a scrappy 19th frame to seal the win.

O'Sullivan will play 2010 champion Neil Robertson in the last eight, while Jones will take on Judd Trump's conquerer Ali Carter.

Coming into the match, two-time champion Williams had lost all three previous World Championship meetings with O'Sullivan and not beaten the former world number one in a ranking event for a decade.

The Welshman led 3-2 in a high-quality opening session but saw O'Sullivan win the last three frames to open up a 5-3 lead.

That became nine in a row as "The Rocket" delivered a stunning passage of cue artistry with breaks of 107, 74, 51, 68, 128 and 93 amid a barrage of blistering potting.

Williams, facing the prospect of losing with a session to spare, rallied with an 86 and took the last frame to force the match into Monday.

However, it served only to delay the inevitable as O'Sullivan won two of the first three frames to wrap up a fine victory.

Williams said: "I knew it was going to be hard and I'd have to win the first four frames.

"If you give Ronnie a sniff of a chance he just knocks in 50s and 60s in a matter of a couple of minutes. It's frightening to watch.

"If Ronnie plays anything like that, there's no-one left in this competition that can give him a good run.

"Robertson is the only man [who can] but he's just so far in front of everybody else that it's frightening."

O'Sullivan agreed that Robertson would pose a big threat, adding: "I think whoever wins this championship will have to beat Neil Robertson, and I've got to play him now.

"Neil's had a brilliant season, he's won the Masters. He's a big-time player and he's proved it on the big stage."

In the evening's other match, Jones resumed with a healthy 10-6 lead over England's Higginson.

However, the Welshman could only look on as Higginson reeled off four straight frames, which included breaks of 54 and 53, to level the match at 10-10.

Jones stopped the rot with a break of 50 to retake the lead before winning the next two frames, which included a sparkling 135, to seal victory.

Frankel Set for Newmarket

Sir Henry Cecil plans to take Frankel for a racecourse gallop at Newmarket on Sunday ahead of his scheduled reappearance in the Lockinge Stakes.

The world's highest-rated Flat horse suffered a leg injury earlier this month and for a brief period there were real concerns about the four-year-old's future racing career.

A subsequent scan revealed the unbeaten nine-time winner had suffered no serious damage though, and he is now back in full work ahead of his likely return in the JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on May 19.

"At the moment everything is going fine and we're going to have a racecourse gallop, hopefully on Sunday at Newmarket. Fingers crossed all goes well and hopefully we'll get to the Lockinge," Cecil told At The Races.

The clash everyone wants to see this summer is Frankel versus the world's second highest-rated racehorse, Australian wonder-mare Black Caviar.

Peter Moody's six-year-old stretched her unbeaten record to 20 last weekend and she is on course to run in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

Although she has largely been campaigned over sprint distances, she has been successful over seven furlongs and connections have not ruled out stepping up to a mile at some stage.

That would leave the door open for a mouthwatering clash with Frankel, with the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood seemingly the only conceivable contest in which the pair could meet.

It is a battle Cecil would relish.

"She's a brilliant filly, obviously, and so consistent," said the trainer.

"It's difficult to assess the form over there. Are they as good over there as here?

"I'd love to meet her. Our only chance to meet her would be if she runs in the Sussex Stakes. I would look forward to it.

"I respect her a lot but I respect my horse as well."

Kompany and City Buzzing

Vincent Kompany was "buzzing" after he scored the winning goal at the Etihad Stadium as Manchester City beat Manchester United 1-0.

The result moved City back to the top of the table on goal difference, with just two games remaining.

The defender was delighted by the result, but knows that the title race is not over yet.

"Absolutely buzzing. We had to work for it. We've been waiting for this moment but it's far from over, we know that," he told Sky Sports.

"But to give our fans two wins over Manchester United this season, we have to finish it off and we have to show it in the next two games."

It was the defender's first goal against Manchester United in nine appearances and he admits he was surprised to get on the score sheet, adding: "I remember someone texting me today and saying I was going to score and I thought he was a lunatic."

Kompany picked up the Man of the Match award, but was keen to downplay his role in the victory.

"This victory goes out to the whole team," he said.

"The performance was great today. I've heard I'm going to pick up Man of the Match but for me it's other players and there were so many great performances and I'm happy for them.

"The chairman came in and had a word with the players and said it doesn't matter what result you have today we're proud of you guys. You've been incredible this season and we feel that we are building for the future, so for us to get this result is a bonus."

Joe Hart was untested in the Manchester City goal as United failed to register a shot on target in a league game for the first time since 2009.

But he admits he went into the game with some trepidation as no-one could avoid the build-up to the game.

"I think you could feel it. Everyone could feel it. There has been a lot of build-up to this for weeks and weeks and weeks outside of the team, but we've concentrated on what we have to do," said Hart.

"We've not been great sometimes but we're on a good run at the moment and we played a very good side there and beat them.

"I think everyone was nervous. They are a good side and fire balls in.

"But when you've got Kompany, and Joleon (Lescott) and Zaba (Pablo Zabaleta) and (Gael) Clichy and Micah (Richards) came on, they are brilliant and I always feel comfortable."

Despite going back to the top of the table, Hart was cautious about any talk of winning the title.

He added: "It doesn't change how we feel and how we go into every game. It's great to win tonight, but Newcastle is now our focus and they are really pumping themselves up in the league.

"The game at St James' Park is going to be tough. They have great support there but hopefully we can push on and get one game closer."

All Blue Moon at Etihad

The Premier League crown may well be heading to the blue half of Manchester after City claimed a title-tilting 1-0 victory over United at the Etihad Stadium on Monday.

The result means that if City win their final two games - at Newcastle on Sunday and at home to QPR on the last day - they will be crowned champions for the first time since 1968.

With such high stakes it was no surprise they started extremely nervously, but Vincent Kompany's header on the stroke of half-time loosened United's stranglehold in a game City richly deserved to win.

The pressure looked to tell on Sir Alex Ferguson Ferguson, who approached Roberto Mancini in a finger-jabbing fury after Nigel de Jong had brought down Danny Welbeck in the second half.

The Italian responded in kind and at one point only fourth official Mike Jones stood between the pair, who after repeated clashes, were eventually pulled apart by their backroom staff.

Tempers had cooled at the final whistle enough for the customary handshake to take place, although the fire mattered little to City.

Just four games after that Arsenal debacle, after which their hopes appeared dead, City are back on top and agonisingly close to their holy grail after completing a league double over their great rivals for only the second time in 42 years.

Although the team sheets indicated Ferguson had adopted a cautious approach and Mancini a more attack-minded one, in fact the opening exchanges provided an alternate view.

With his midfield reinforced by the introduction of Park Ji-sung to a Premier League starting line-up for the first-time since January, Ferguson's side quickly got into their stride and looked capable of carving out a decent opportunity or two.

However, Nani wasted their clearest opportunity when he ignored Phil Jones' overlapping burst and let fly from 35 yards with a shot that was hopelessly off-target.

City meanwhile began sluggishly, their midfield seemingly incapable of stringing a succession of passes together with any regularity.

Samir Nasri was the man who sparked them into life with a couple of mazy dribbles as the hosts started to get near the byline, which always gives defences cause for concern.

Sergio Aguero screwed a volley wide, then Pablo Zabaleta seized on an opportunity he would have been better leaving for Nasri and his shot rolled through to David de Gea.

After all the hype, it was hardly a classic, although as the clock ticked down towards half-time, the United camp presumably reflected they were quite happy at that.

So, to go behind in stoppage time in such orthodox fashion would have been particularly galling for the visitors.

De Gea's frailties under the high ball are well known by now. When David Silva curled over the second of successive corners, a stronger, more confident goalkeeper might have come to punch.

Instead, he left it to his defenders.

Chris Smalling, like Park, making his first start since January after Jonny Evans was ruled out through injury, momentarily lost Kompany on their run from the edge of the box and was still marginally out of position when the Belgian rose to power home from six yards.

It was a devastating goal for United to lose as there had been no obvious indication they were likely to score.

Wayne Rooney looked particularly out of sorts, isolated up front and generally unhappy with the buffeting he was receiving, which had only drawn one yellow card for Kompany.

The second half was only 12 minutes old when Ferguson offered his star man some badly-needed support, replacing Park with Welbeck.

Immediately before the change though United might have found themselves two down when De Gea came for a corner without getting near it and Nasri ended up curling wide of the far post.

Even when the Red Devils did build some attacking momentum, their final pass was either off-target or overhit, ensuring Hart was not tested.

However, with his side well capable of grabbing a second, Mancini's decision to replace Carlos Tevez with De Jong hinted at containment, a very dangerous ploy against this particular set of opponents.

Yaya Toure did thrash a long-range effort wide, his shot close enough to have De Gea scrambling across his goal.

And, in truth, United seemed to have precious few ideas about prising their opponents open.

De Jong's foul on Welbeck brought a yellow card for the Dutchman and sparked the furious touchline row between Ferguson and Mancini. Peace was eventually restored but the visitors failed to feed off their manager's fire.

Toure came agonisingly close to grabbing a second for the Blues and De Gea made an excellent save to deny Gael Clichy.

And despite five minutes' stoppage time, the Blues cruised home, and the songs of celebration began with City two games from glory.

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Lakers Jordan Hill Charged

Los Angeles Lakers forward Jordan Hill has been charged in the choking of a family member while he was still a member of the Rockets, the Houston district attorney's office said in a statement.

Hill will have to make an appearance in Houston to face the charge -- third-degree felony for assault on a family member by choking. The incident took place Feb. 29.

The district attorney's office said that Hill faces a sentence of two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. After paperwork is complete, a warrant for his arrest will be issued.

Hill is currently in Los Angeles, sources tell ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher. The Lakers have an off day in their first-round playoff series against the Nuggets before hosting Denver Tuesday.

Hill was part of the trade that sent Derek Fisher to Houston March 15. The Rockets had a game the date of the incident but Hill did not dress for that game.

As word of the charge, which was first reported by KTRK in Houston, began to spread, two messages were posted on Hill's Twitter account: "Wowwwww," and "Unbelievable!!!!!!!!"

Hill is in his third year in the league out of Arizona. He has career averages of 5.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.

Source: ESPN

Carter Trumped at Crucible

UK champion Judd Trump has suffered a shock 13-12 defeat to Ali Carter in the last 16 of the World Championship quarter-finals at the Crucible.

Resuming 9-7 up, last year's losing finalist Trump edged to within a frame of victory at 12-9.

However, world number 17 Carter bravely fought back to force a decider and then won a scrappy final frame to secure an unlikely victory.

Matthew Stevens also beat Barry Hawkins 13-11 to advance to the quarter-finals.

Carter, who reached the final in 2008, will play either Jamie Jones or Andrew Higginson in the last eight, while Stevens will face Ryan Day after the Welshman beat Cao Yupeng in the second round.

"I'm delighted to get through," Carter told BBC Sport. "All credit to Judd. He pots them from everywhere, but there's more to this game than potting balls from everywhere as I've shown today."

After potting a crucial colour in the deciding frame, Carter punched the air only to make a mistake on the next red which let Trump back in, albeit it needing snookers.

"I've got a lot of experience," he added. "I shouldn't have done the fist-pump but I thought I was home and dry.

"I played a bad shot on the last red. If I had concentrated on getting a good safety, I would have won easy, but it makes it all more sweeter as I had to suffer even more."

World number two Trump was one of the favourites coming into the tournament and looked in fine form as he won six of the afternoon's eight frames on Sunday to transform a 5-3 overnight deficit against Ali Carter into a 9-7 lead.

The 22-year-old left-hander started the final session strongly, winning the opener before being pegged back by Carter, who knocked in a break of 70.

A break of 96 increased Trump's lead to three one more, but Carter refused to be beaten and a knocked in a break of 94 to make it 11-9.

Trump won a scrappy 21st frame to move to within one of victory, but Carter clung on with a break of 81.

Carter won the next to force a decider, which turned into a marathon as both players made mistakes under pressure.

Trump had his chances after Carter's break broke down, and at one stage came to the table needing four snookers. However, it wasn't to be.

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Race Not Over Monday - Carrick

Michael Carrick believes the Premier League title race will not be over irrespective of the outcome of Monday night's Manchester derby.

Reigning champions Manchester United can open up a six-point gap over City with two games to play, if they win at the Etihad Stadium.

However, victory for City would lift Roberto Mancini's side back to the top of the table on goal difference and restore the club's status as favourites for the title.

Carrick has acknowledged the importance of the meeting between the two local rivals, but he does not believe the result will dictate who ends up as champions.

"Whatever happens, the title race won't be over at the final whistle," the midfielder told the club's official website.

"Obviously we're the two main contenders and this is going to be a big three points, but there will still be two games left to play and the way the last couple of weeks have gone, I don't think you can look at the derby as a decider.

"Who knows what might still happen? We can only look at this game as an opportunity to win three points.

"Don't get me wrong, it would be a massive step towards the title if we win, but it won't hand us the trophy."

Carrick is aiming to win his fifth championship in six seasons as a United player, but as he observes, none of them have been achieved with any degree of comfort.

"We are still in a good position," he said. "We're three points in front with three games to go. I think some people have forgotten that.

"Every time we've won the league since I've been here it's gone right down to the last couple of games.

"We've never won it with loads of games to spare. It just doesn't happen. Throughout the season you drop points and you can drop points at any time.

"We went on an incredible run after Christmas and put ourselves into a good position but we still have a job to do."

Celtics Rondo Ejected at Hawks

The Boston Celtics lost Game 1 -- and they may have lost their floor leader for Game 2.

Josh Smith scored 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds as the Atlanta Hawksbuilt a big lead early, then held on for an 83-74 victory over the Celtics in their opener of the Eastern Conference playoffs Sunday night.

But this one will be remembered for what happened in the final minute, not the Hawks' blistering start. While complaining about a call, Boston star Rajon Rondo was ejected for bumping an official and faces a possible suspension when the teams meet again Tuesday night in Atlanta.

"I didn't intentionally chest-bump him, but that's what it appears to be," Rondo said.

The Hawks, who led by as many as 19 in the first half, were clinging to a four-point lead when Rondo lost his cool with 41 seconds remaining. Boston's Brandon Bass was called for a foul on Smith tussling for a loose ball, with both players sprawled on the court out beyond the foul line. Rondo screamed at official Marc Davis, who quickly called a technical. Rondo then bumped Davis with his chest and was tossed out.

A suspension could be coming, too.

Rondo, who scored 20 points and dished out 11 assists, clearly appeared to stick out his chest to strike the official. That's a huge no-no and will almost surely draw the wrath of NBA commissioner David Stern.

"It's out of my control," Rondo said. "Obviously, I want to be there for my teammates but other than that, it's out of my control."

Getting in some immediate lobbying, Celtics coach Doc Rivers saw things a bit differently than the replay showed. Not surprisingly, he doesn't think Rondo deserves a suspension.

"I'm always worried, but I would be surprised if that happens," Rivers said. "I thought Rondo was walking toward Marc, and Marc turned back toward him, and that's when Rondo bumped him. ... That's all it was, in my opinion. But we'll see."

Rondo had a similar take.

"Obviously I was upset about the call and I said some words to Marc. I deserved the first tech," Rondo said. "As I was walking, I thought he stopped. My momentum carried me into him. I even think I tripped on his foot."

At the beginning, the Hawks looked much quicker and faster than the aging Celtics. With every starter outside of Jason Collins contributing at least four points, Atlanta raced to a 20-6 lead with the game just over 5 minutes old. The Hawks twice pushed the margin as high as 19 points and settled for a 49-35 edge at halftime.

Smith totally outplayed Boston's Kevin Garnett over the first two quarters, going into the break with 15 points, 11 rebounds and two assists. Garnett had only two points on 1-of-9 shooting.

"He was an animal," Atlanta coach Larry Drew said of Smith. "When he's playing with that energy, he just makes us so much better."

Smith had to carry the load. The Hawks' other big gun, Joe Johnson, had a miserable night with 11 points on 3-of-15 shooting, committing more turnovers (four) than he made field goals. He was 0 of 9 from 3-point range.

The Hawks got sloppy with the ball and made only 20-of-60 shots after their blistering performance in opening quarter. That allowed the Celtics to edge back into the game, and it looked as though they might just pull off the comeback until Rondo's big blunder.

"We came out like our jerseys were going to win the game, because we're the Celtics," Rivers said. "You've got to play to win the game."

Smith said he was definitely fouled as he scrambled for the loose ball with Bass.

"That was the right call they made," Smith said of the potentially series-altering play. "I'm not sure what happened with Rondo. That will be up to the league to see what he did wrong. You never know what's going to happen, but we'll definitely factor him in going to tomorrow."

Garnett bounced back to put up 20 points and 11 rebounds. Paul Pierce had only 12 points, going 5 of 19 from the field and missing all six of his 3-point attempts.

"For us to win, I have to be a better player," Pierce said. "I was a really big culprit."

Both teams were short-handed.

Celtics guard Ray Allen missed a playoff game for the first time in his career, watching from the bench in a suit and tie because of an ailing right ankle. He would've already had surgery if it was earlier in the year, but the 36-year-old member of Boston's Big Three is hoping to heal in time for possibly his last hurrah in Beantown.

The Hawks, meanwhile, started third-stringer Collins at center. Al Horford missed most of the year with a pectoral injury and has been ruled out for the entire series, and the guy who took his place, rugged Zaza Pachulia, went down late in the regular season with a sprained left foot.

Pachulia famously went forehead-to-forehead with Garnett during an opening-round series in 2008, and the Hawks wondered how they would fare without the Georgian's toughness. Just fine, it turned out.

Of course, the teams were much more closely matched heading into this series than they were in their last playoff meeting. In 2008, the Celtics won 66 games and were the top seed in the East, setting up for a run to their most recent NBA championship. The Hawks were the eighth seed, a team that went 37-45 and made the postseason for the first time in nine years. Still, they managed to push the Celtics to seven games.

This time, Boston won the season series 2-1, the three games decided by a total of 10 points, and Atlanta finished one game ahead in the conference standings to earn home-court advantage.

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Chelsea F1 Sauber Agreement

The lucrative worlds of soccer and Formula One joined forces Monday when Chelsea and Sauber announced a deal that shed light on the unexplained inscriptions on the Swiss team's cars at recent races.

The partnership will see the Champions League finalists and Sauber exchange knowledge in sport science, launch joint commercial initiatives, and share merchandising, marketing and sponsorship opportunities.

Chelsea's crest will appear on Sauber's cars beginning with next week's Spanish Grand Prix, while the Premier League club will show the Sauber logo on advertising boards and interview walls at its home matches, with the aim of increasing the market presence of the teams outside their own sports.

"This is an innovative partnership that will see a football club link up with an F1 team like never before, bringing together two of the world's biggest sports and uniting our fans," Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said.

The announcement makes it clear that Sauber was hinting at the deal with Chelsea, which is nicknamed the Blues, when it had "Out of the Blue" and "True Blue" written on the engine covers of the cars driven by Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi in the last two races, in China and Bahrain.

"The football club benefits from Formula One's television reach which, compared with the Premier League, is much higher and more international," Sauber said in a statement. "Particularly in Asia, Formula One enjoys enormous TV presence and, not least thanks to (Mexican) Sergio Perez, is currently captivating more and more fans in Latin America, as well."

Chelsea, which is managed by Swiss-born Italian coach Roberto Di Matteo, beat Barcelona on aggregate last week to reach the Champions League final. It will play Bayern Munich on May 19.

Sauber has picked up a total of 31 points from the opening four races of the 2012 F1 season.

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Advocaat Quits Russia Post EURO

Russia coach Dick Advocaat reportedly will not extend his contract and will quit after the European Championship.

''After the European Championship, I'll go,'' Advocaat was quoted as saying in the Sprot-Express newspaper on Monday. ''I can't tell you the reason yet, but knowing about all the speculation, I'll say right now, it's not about the money.''

Advocaat signed a two-year contract in April 2010 with an option for two more years and the primary goal of qualifying for Euro 2012, which runs June 8-July 1 in Poland and Ukraine.

Advocaat succeeded fellow Dutchman Guus Hiddink, who led Russia to the semifinals of Euro 2008 but failed to qualify for the World Cup.

In two years under Advocaat, Russia won 10 matches, drew five and lost three.

The team won Group B in qualifying for this summer's tournament and will open against the Czech Republic in Group A on June 8. Poland and Greece are also in the group.

''I haven't told the players yet. I'm sure that this news won't influence our preparation for the Euros,'' Advocaat said.

Russia is scheduled to face Uruguay, Latvia and Italy in tuneup matches before heading to Wroclaw, Poland, for its Euro 2012 opener.

Advocaat took Netherlands to the 1994 World Cup quarterfinals and Euro 2004 semis.

He is the first foreign coach to win a title in Russia - coaching Zenit St. Petersburg to the Russian league title in 2007 and the UEFA Cup championship the next season.

Podolski Joins The Gunners

Germany striker Lukas Podolski will join Arsenal from Cologne for the start of next season for an undisclosed fee.

The 26-year-old international began his career at Cologne in 2002 and joined Bayern Munich four years later before returning to his first club in 2009.

Podolski, who has 95 caps, said: "I'm so happy to be joining Arsenal and the Premier League. They are one of the top clubs in Europe with a huge history.

"There are many top-quality players at Arsenal and their style is fantastic."

He added: "I have made this decision not against FC Cologne but because it is a great opportunity.

"This was not an easy decision for me at all, as Cologne, our fans and the city are something special for me."

The Poland-born forward, who had one year left on his contract, has scored 18 league goals so far this season for a side battling relegation, which is his best ever top-flight return.

He added: "I will always carry FC Cologne in my heart. We need to pool our strengths now and have to be fully focused on our survival in the Bundesliga."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said: "He is a top-class player, a very good finisher and a proven performer at club and international level. He is a very strong player and will provide us with good attacking options."

Arsenal are looking to add to their striking options. While although Robin van Persie has netted 28 to become the Premier League's leading scorer, their next highest scorer is Theo Walcott on eight goals.

Podolski, who will link up with international team-mate Per Mertesacker in north London, played for Germany at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and is set to be part of their squad at Euro 2012.

He has 43 goals from 95 appearances, putting him joint-sixth in Germany's all-time list despite often playing on the left.

Wenger said: "That is a phenomenal record and just shows his quality as a player."

Cologne's executive chairman Claus Horstmann said: "Cologne were prepared to extend Lukas Podolski's contract on the basis of a competitive offer. Nonetheless, this early transfer decision offers scope and planning security for the next season.

"Lukas has left a mark on FC Cologne's reputation and we feel the need to thank him for numerous great football experiences."

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German Official Urges Boycott

A top German official is urging European governments to boycott Euro 2012 soccer championship matches in Ukraine to protest the detention of the country's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen told German tabloid Bild's Monday edition that the "dictatorship" of Ukraine must not be able to use the June championship to prop up its image without reforms.

Bild quoted Roettgen as saying that he thinks "visits by ministers or prime ministers are beyond question under the current circumstances."

Roettgen's remarks were confirmed to The Associated Press on Sunday by his spokeswoman Julika Lendvai. They were the first call by a top European government minister to avoid the matches.

"The Ukrainian government should immediately release Ms. Tymoshenko to freedom," he was further quoted as saying.

The Ukrainian opposition leader is serving a seven-year prison sentence on charges of abusing her powers as prime minister in negotiating an energy deal with Russia. The West has strongly condemned the case as politically motivated and threatened to freeze cooperation with Ukraine.

The environment minister -- who has no direct power on foreign policy matters -- is an ally of conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been very critical of Kiev's handling of the Tymoshenko case herself.

Roettgen is currently campaigning as the conservatives' top candidate in a state election due in mid-May.

Tymoshenko has been on a hunger strike for about 10 days to protest alleged abuse in a Kharkiv prison. She claims that guards punched her in the stomach and twisted her arms and legs while forcibly taking her to a hospital to be treated for debilitating back pain, stemming from an untreated herniated disk.

Tymoshenko denies the abuse of power charges against her, saying they are part of a campaign by President Viktor Yanukovych, her longtime foe, to bar her from politics. Yanukovych has denied involvement in the case.

Germany has been leading the European Union's critical stance on Ukraine over the Tymoshenko case. The government is offering to treat her in Berlin, but Kiev has rejected the offer. Tymoshenko refuses to be treated in Ukraine.

Germany's Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, also in charge of sports, told the AP in an interview Friday that a boycott of the Ukraine matches by top officials seems possible under the current circumstances, but he stopped short of endorsing the idea.

Opposition leader Sigmar Gabriel told Bild that "there can be no normal relations with Ukraine as long as people are jailed and abused in the country for political reasons."

The Social Democrat endorsed calls urging top officials to boycott the matches, "because in the stadiums, they might be sitting next to the secret police or prison directors."