Iran stands third at Futsal World Ranking
Iran jumped up two spots to stand third at the latest Futsal World Ranking.
Collecting 1663 points, the Asian powerhouse followed Brazil (1901pts) and Spain (1781pts) in the ranking.
The twelve-time Asian champion was followed by Argentina, Portugal and Russia, respectively, in the latest edition of the ranking.
On Tuesday, Iran overcame Serbia 4-3 in a friendly tie at the Serbian capital of Belgrade.
A Hossein Tayyebi hat-trick and a goal by skipper Ali-Asghar Hassanzadeh gave Iran the second consecutive victory over the Europeans after Iran had beaten its opponent 6-3 on the preceding night.
West Ham investigates racist abuse of Liverpool striker Salah
West Ham is investigating after a video emerged of a fan racially abusing Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah during Monday’s 1-1 draw at London Stadium.
Egypt striker Salah, 26, was filmed on a mobile phone from a section of home supporters as he was taking a corner, BBC Sport reported.
The footage, taken by a fellow fan, shows expletives directed at Salah including about his Muslim religion.
In a statement, West Ham said it has “a zero tolerance policy to any form of violent or abusive behavior”.
It continued, “We are an inclusive football club.
“Regardless of age, race, religion or belief, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment or disability, everyone is warmly welcomed at London Stadium.
“Anyone identified committing an offence will have their details passed to the police and will face a lifetime ban from London Stadium.
“There is no place for this kind of behavior at our stadium.”
The user who posted the video on Twitter said, “I was disgusted by what I was hearing. People like this deserve no place in our society let alone football matches.”
Police are aware of the incident.
Pacers’ 3-point flurry buries Lakers in James’ worst career loss
The Indiana Pacers have suddenly found a new winning combination.
Not even LeBron James could slow it down Tuesday night, The Associated Press reported.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 24 points and the Pacers tied an NBA franchise-record by making 19 three-pointers in a 136-94 rout over the Los Angeles Lakers — the most lopsided loss James has endured in his 16-year career.
“They scored 33 points off our 19 turnovers and that was from the beginning of the game. We can’t play from behind like that,” James said. “I think it (the jet lag) hit us. That first game flying across the country looked like it had a lot to do with it, but we didn’t come out with the defensive mentality we had the last time we played them and they made us pay for it.”
Twice previously James’ teams had been blown out by 36: Against Washington in April 2008 and in the 2013 NBA Finals against San Antonio. But this was might go down as the most embarrassing of the three.
Indiana led wire-to-wire and never allowed the Lakers to get within single digits after the first basket of the second quarter despite playing without All-Star guard Victor Oladipo and on the tail end of a back-to-back following a four-game trip.
At one point, the Pacers led by 46.
And after James left with 2:06 remaining in the third quarter, coach Luke Walton wisely kept the four-time MVP on the bench for the rest of the night.
James was not himself either after missing 17 of the previous 18 games with an injured groin. He missed three of his first five shots, was beaten three times early on defense and had five first-half turnovers before finishing with 18 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and six turnovers.
JaVale McGee added 16 as the Lakers lost for the sixth time in eight games amid the continuing swirl of trade rumors, something Pacers fans noted by repeatedly chanting “LeBron’s gonna trade you.”
“I know it has to be tough on a lot of our guys — especially our young guys,” James said. “They’ve just never been a part of it and they’re hearing it every single day. I know that the worst thing you could right now is be on social media and I know all young guys love social media. So, that definitely can’t help.”
The Pacers, meanwhile, remained focused on regrouping.
After losing four straight immediately following Oladipo’s season-ending knee injury, they’ve rebounded with three straight wins. On Tuesday, they produced a season-high 69 points in the first half, a season-high single-game total and their widest victory margin of the Eason.
They made it look easy, too.
After Bogdanovic opened the game by scoring all of the Pacers’ points in a 10-2 spurt, the Lakers never recovered. Myles Turner finished with 22 points while Thaddeus Young had 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
“We look at it as another win, but it does feel good,” Young said. “It’s not really about beating them by 42, but we played a complete game.”
UAE denies Briton detained for showing Qatar support
The UAE dismissed reports it had detained a British man for showing support for Qatar at the AFC Asian Cup in the UAE, saying he had been charged for making false assault claims to police.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported that Ali Issa Ahmed was held after being accused of showing sympathy to Qatar after wearing a shirt of its national soccer team to an Asian Cup match in the Persian Gulf Arab state, Reuters reported.
Showing sympathy toward Qatar has been a criminal offence in the UAE since June 2017 when it, along with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, cut ties with Qatar over allegations it supports terrorism. Doha denies the charges.
Britain’s Foreign Office is providing assistance to “a British man arrested in the UAE and we are in touch with the local authorities”, a spokesman said.
The UAE government said in a statement that Ahmed, who they said also has Sudanese citizenship, had gone to a police station in the UAE emirate of Sharjah to complain that he had been harassed and assaulted by supporters of the UAE national side at the tournament.
“The police took him to hospital where a doctor who examined him concluded that his injuries were inconsistent with his account of events and appeared to be self-inflicted,” the government said.
It said Ahmed had later admitted to making false statements and wasting police time after being charged on January 24 and will now be processed through UAE courts.
It was not immediately clear what punishment Ahmed could face if found guilty.
Qatar’s side was supported by thousands of Omanis in the Asian Cup final, which Qatar won. They wore Qatar scarves and shirts.
Qatar was also supported throughout the tournament by a South Korean woman and a Chinese man who dressed in the colors of the Qatar flag.
FIFA says incumbent Infantino is sole candidate for president
FIFA president Gianni Infantino will not face a challenger in June’s elections to the head of world soccer’s governing body, the organization said on Wednesday.
“Following the call for election issued by the FIFA Council on June 10, 2018, FIFA’s member associations have proposed, in due time and form, the following candidate for the presidential election to take place at the 69th FIFA Congress in Paris on June 5, 2019: Mr. Gianni Infantino,” it said in a statement, Reuters reported.
Infantino’s plans for a new expanded Club World Cup and a global Nations League tournament have put him at loggerheads with European confederation UEFA and club organizations.
However, no candidate from Europe emerged to challenge Infantino, the former UEFA General Secretary, who was elected in February, 2016, replacing the banned Sepp Blatter.
The Swiss official beat Asian Football Confederation President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain in the final round of that election after Jordan’s Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and Frenchman Jerome Champagne had been eliminated.
Infantino owed his candidacy to the fact that Europe’s preferred candidate, his former boss and UEFA president Michel Platini, was banned from football along with Blatter for ethics violations. Both men have denied wrongdoing.
UEFA holds their own elections at their congress in Rome today where incumbent, Slovenian lawyer, Aleksander Ceferin is unopposed.
Italy’s Paris rocks to world super-G gold
In-form Italian speed skier Dominik Paris beat a host of high-class rivals including Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal to claim super-G gold at the World Ski Championships on Wednesday.
Paris, whose only previous world medal was a downhill silver in Schladming in 2013, timed 1min 24.20sec down the 2.2km-long Olympia course in bitterly cold conditions as the race lived up to its billing as one of the most unpredictable at these championships, AFP reported.
The 29-year-old had arrived in Are, Sweden, in prime form having notched up three World Cup victories this season – the Bormio speed double and the famed Kitzbuehel downhill for a third time – along with three other podium finishes.
France’s Johan Clarey, 38, tied for silver with Austrian Vincent Kriechmayr, just 0.09sec off Paris’ winning time.
The men’s super-G was touted as one of most open disciplines in Sweden, with five different winners on the World Cup circuit this season and a host of podium finishers capable of pushing for a medal.
The now-injured Austrian Max Franz won in Beaver Creek, Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud in Lake Louise, Svindal in Val Gardena, Paris in Bormio and Germany’s Josef Ferstl in Kitzbuehel.
But Kriechmayr heads the World Cup standings ahead of teammate Matthias Mayer, with Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde in fourth.
Despite the open field, there was heartbreak for Norwegian colossus Svindal, however, who finished in 1.25:12 (+0.92).
“Tough day on the course today,” Svindal said on Instagram.
“Not what I was hoping for... Now aiming for one grande finale on Saturday. The downhill is on!!!”
Svindal, who is to retire after Are, has five world titles to his name, but never the super-G.
After triumphing in the downhill (2007, 2013), combined (2009, 2011) and giant slalom (2007), hopes were high that the popular Norwegian could strike another gold as part of a perfect farewell from the pistes.
But it was not to be, and the 34-year-old was left punching his thighs and shaking his be-helmeted head in frustration as he raced through the finish line in front of a large partisan Nordic crowd.
Svindal’s teammate Jansrud, the 2014 Olympic champion and 2017 silver medalist, had to miss Kitzbuehel after breaking two fingers, but with his hand strapped up, he bravely came down the Are course to finish 1.18sec off Paris.
Austria’s reigning Olympic champion Mayer skied out on the demanding, hard-packed course with initial cloud cover that offered a flat light before lifting to hand a huge advantage to later runners.
Mayer’s compatriot Hannes Reichelt, who won 2015 world super-G gold and 2011 silver, also went out.
Women’s tennis world number one Naomi Osaka pulled out of next week’s Qatar Open with an unspecified back injury.