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Newcastle join Ronaldinho hunt

St Etienne: Paris St Germain’s Ronaldinho is benefitting from Brazil’s Confederations Cup elimination to take a holiday just as reports suggest a new club as joined in the hunt to buy him.

Roberto Assis, the World Cup winner’s brother, who is also his agent, has held face-to-face transfer talks with Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd, the French sports daily L’Equipe reported on Tuesday.

Shepherd was said to have invited Assis to his holiday home to explore the possibility of the brazil star moving to the English Premiership club which has qualified for next season’s Champions League.

This comes hot on the heels of an alleged meeting between the 23-year-old player and Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson in Paris last Thursday.

Kewell decision soon

London: Australian international Harry Kewell will say next Monday which club he is joining, with Arsenal favourites to sign the Leeds United forward for £7 million ($11.6 million).

Barcelona had made a move for Kewell as a potential replacement for Marc Overmars, but the Holland winger is now expected to stay at the Nou Camp after fellow-countryman Frank Rijkaard was named coach.

Manchester United had also been linked with Kewell, but Leeds said they have yet to make any official approach for the Australian.

Mexican clampdown

Mexico City: Mexican clubs have voted to allow only one naturalised player a team after discovering that eight people have obtained Mexican nationality with false papers. The Mexican football federation (FMF) will also reduce from five to four the quota of foreign players from the 2004-2005 season.

The announcement followed a meeting of the presidents of Mexico’s 20 first division clubs in Acapulco.

Clubs will still be allowed to register five foreign players, as usual, in the Apertura championship of the 2003-2004 season that starts in August.

There had been no restrictions on naturalised players previously but the FMF discovered last week that eight foreign-born players — four Brazilians, two Uruguayans, a Paraguayan and an Argentine — had obtained Mexican nationality with false documents. The FMF said the players could be struck off for life and that they had informed world body Fifa.

Women’s pro tour pioneer dies

Newport (Rhode Island): Gladys Heldman, whose work in covering and promoting women’s tennis helped pave the way for the start of the women’s pro tour in the US, has died.

She was 81.Gladys died on Sunday at her home in New Mexico, the International Tennis Hall of Fame announced on Monday.

Gladys became involved in tennis after her 1942 marriage to former US junior champion Julius Heldman. In 1953, she founded World Tennis Magazine, and for over two decades, she was a leading promoter of women’s tennis.

She was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1979 for her work on behalf of the sport.

In 1970, Gladys was the driving force behind the Virginia Slims circuit, which enabled women to compete in tournaments separate from men’s events.

No name change

Rome: Florentia Viola, the club born out of the ashes of former Serie A side Fiorentina, have failed in a bid to revert to their historic name.

The Italian Office of Patents and Trademarks refused a request to rename the club with the government office saying the trademark ‘Fiorentina’ was “too generic”, La Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Tuesday.

Florence-based Fiorentina were thrown out of professional football last year and went bankrupt following relegation from Serie A.

The club plans to appeal against the decision.

Vieira confident

London: Arsenal skipper Patrick Vieira is confident he will be fit for the English Premiership side’s opening fixture of the 2003-2004 season against Everton on August 16.

“I expect to return to full training by the end of July,” the French midfielder told the Arsenal website on his 27th birthday.

Football: Best of English Premier League, from noon on ESPN
Tennis, Wimbledon Championships: Day III, live from 4.30 pm on STAR Sports
Cricket, Twenty20 Cup: Kent vs Surrey, from 5.30 pm on ESPN


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