Fuentes says footballers among sports stars who came to clinic


BRIEFS:The Spanish doctor at the centre of a global sports doping scandal has admitted that clients at his Madrid clinic included cyclists, athletes, tennis players, boxers and football stars.

“They were sportspeople of all kinds,” Dr Eufemiano Fuentes told a court in Madrid that is finally trying him seven years after his arrest. “It could be a cyclist from a cycling team, a footballer from a football team, a tennis player or a boxer. There were also athletes.”

Fuentes admitted he routinely kept frozen blood samples from his clients for transfusions but claimed this was to protect them against anaemia and other effects of low red blood cell levels.

The doctor denied any wrongdoing. But he also admitted blood transfusions and tests were often done in hotel rooms. Fuentes is one of five people accused of crimes against public health.

He received a potential blow when the judge agreed that the American cyclist Tyler Hamilton, who has admitted to cheating and pointed the finger at the doctor, would appear as a witness.

Fuentes did not name any of the athletes, football players, boxers or tennis players who used his services. But the whistleblower Jesus Manzano has said that he personally saw prominent football players going into the clinic. They included two well-known players at Spanish clubs and a Spaniard who had played for the national team.

Guardian Service

Mancini’s patience with Balotelli finally snapped

Mario Balotelli will fly to Milan today to complete his €20 million transfer from Manchester City after Roberto Mancini decided it was futile to continue believing the striker would stop letting him down.

Mancini’s patience finally snapped because of the events leading to the late and dangerous challenge on Scott Sinclair that led to the embarrassing series of photographs showing City’s manager grappling with Balotelli during training on January 3rd. Before that training session, Mancini had summoned Balotelli for a heart-to-heart in which he tried to convince the player that he still believed in him.

What followed was so reckless that it convinced Mancini he was fighting a lost cause and that the colleagues who had advised him to give up on Balotelli were correct.

Guardian Service

Redknapp looking to sign Crouch and Odemwingie

Queens Park Rangers will have to significantly increase the bids they have tabled for Peter Crouch and Peter Odemwingie if they are to have any chance of landing either player before the transfer window closes.

Harry Redknapp, the QPR manager, is also hopeful of signing Christopher Samba, the former Blackburn Rovers defender who plays for Anzhi Makhachkala.

Stoke have rejected what they regard as two derisory offers from QPR for Crouch, below, who could be reunited with Redknapp for a fifth time. QPR initially proposed a swap deal involving Jamie Mackie. They then returned with a straight cash bid, which valued Crouch at a fraction of the €11.5 million Stoke paid Tottenham for the striker 18 months ago.

Although both bids were dismissed, Stoke are willing to sell a player who turns 32 today and has struggled in his second season at the club, failing to score in his past 17 appearances.

It is possible that Odemwingie will also move to Loftus Road, although Albion have made it clear that QPR will need to return with a bid considerably higher than the €4 million offer that was dismissed on Monday.

Guardian Service

Ferguson charged by the FA over remarks about official

Alex Ferguson has been charged by the Football Association for comments made about an assistant referee at Tottenham Hotspur on January 20th.

The Manchester United manager was heavily critical of Simon Beck after the 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane, in which Spurs scored their equaliser in stoppage time.

Ferguson expressed his anger that what he regarded as a “clear” penalty to United as Steven Caulker challenged Wayne Rooney on Beck’s side of the field had not been given. Ferguson subsequently claimed his club had “history” with Beck following the official’s failure to rule out a Didier Drogba goal for Chelsea on the grounds of offside in 2010. “There was no way we were going to get a decision from [Beck],” he said.

The FA allege Ferguson “breached FA Rule E3 in that he implied that the match official was motivated by bias”.

Guardian Service

Moses spot on as Nigeria leave it late to advance

Nigeria needed two late penalties from Victor Moses to defeat Ethiopia 2-0 yesterday and set up a quarter-final with African Nations Cup favourites Ivory Coast at the weekend.

All the drama at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace unfolded in an electric final 10 minutes of a tense, fraught match which was being played simultaneously with the other Group C game between Burkina Faso and champions Zambia in Nelspruit.

With 10 minutes remaining Nigeria were facing elimination. Both games were level at 0-0 and with Zambia and Nigeria having identical points and goal records, the former were set to qualify by virtue of a better disciplinary record in terms of red and yellow cards.

That all changed though as Moses was brought down twice within five minutes.

The first penalty went right, the second left and Nigeria were on their way into the knockout round.

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