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Ballesteros penalised

Virginia Water: Seve Ballesteros pulled out of the Volvo PGA Championship because of illness on Thursday, the day after he was fined and reprimanded by the European Tour following clashes with officials this season.

The 46-year-old Spaniard, winner of five major championships, issued a statement saying he was suffering from cold and flu symptoms.

Ballesteros received his reprimand for ignoring a one-shot penalty and incorrectly filing a scorecard at the Italian Open three weeks ago. The unspecified fine was for breaching Tour regulations in criticising officials in public at April’s Madeira Island Open.

“He put his side of the story and we have spoken to all the relevant parties,” Mark James, chairman of the tour tournament committee, said on Wednesday.

“We know he was making a stand and not trying to cheat (in Italy). The view of the committee was unanimous but it is with reluctance that we ever fine someone like Seve. The atmosphere of the hearing was fine and Seve put his case...with eloquence and vigour.”

Chelsea chasing Batistuta

London: Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri was reported on Thursday to be poised to sign Argentine striker Gabriel Batistuta from AS Roma. The 34-year-old striker, on loan to Inter Milan, becomes a free agent in June and has already said he would like to play in the English Premier League.

Batistuta started his Italian career in 1991 with Fiorentina, but was loaned out to Inter after a disappointing third term with Roma. His scored 54 goals in 78 appearances for Argentina.

However, Ranieri told the Sun:“We need players with more experience so we can do better in the Champions League.”

Latin showdown in Germany

Duesseldorf: Argentina and Chile set up a Latin American showdown for Blue Group supremacy at the World Team Cup after both teams won their second successive ties on a day when favourites Spain were knocked out.

Argentina maintained their perfect record with a 3-0 victory over hosts Germany, while Nicolas Massu and Fernando Gonzalez inspired Chile to a whitewash over Sweden.

The winner of Friday’s match between the two will top the Blue Group and advance to Saturday’s final. Spain’s title chances ended when Carlos Moya and Alex Corretja lost the deciding doubles 6-3, 6-4 to Jiri Novak and Radek Stepanek.

Mongia to marry

Chhindwara: India batsman Dinesh Mongia is to wed Aarti Chandak in Chandigarh on May 27.

The 23-year-old Aarti, doing a management course in Chandigarh and born in Berdi village near here, and Mongia were engaged and the marriage was slated to be held on April 23. However, the ceremony got postponed as Mongia was picked to play the tri-series in Dhaka.

Tomasson ruled out

Copenhagen: Denmark striker Jon Dahl Tomasson will miss next month’s Euro 2004 Group 2 qualifier against Norway because of injury, local media reported Thursday.

The AC Milan player injured his shoulder in the first leg of the Italian Cup final against Roma on Tuesday and now faces an operation, Danish tabloid B.T. said.

Sport on Screen

Cricket, England vs Zimbabwe — First Test, Day II live from 3.12 pm on ESPN Cricket, West Indies vs Australia — Highlights from 9 am on STAR Sports Soccer, Spanish League — Highlights from 8.30 pm on STAR Sports.


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