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Schumi, Sting to grace draw

Frankfurt: Germany’s six-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher and British rock singer Sting will take part in next month’s 2006 World Cup qualifying draw.

Brazilian great Pele will join Fifa president Sepp Blatter among the 3,500 spectators at the December 5 event, one of the first major milestones en route to the finals in Germany. Organising committee officials told a news conference on Tuesday that over 100 countries are taking live TV coverage and several hundred million people are expected to watch the draw. About 700 journalists have registered for the event. Fifa deputy general secretary Jerôme Champagne will preside over the draw but a host of soccer greats, including triple African Player of the Year Abedi Pele of Ghana, will join Schumacher and Sting in making the draw.

James Kirtley claims four

Colombo: England fast-medium bowler James Kirtley took four for 19 from 10 overs against a Sri Lanka President’s XI on Wednesday in the run-up to next week’s first Test.

Left-arm spinner Ashley Giles also bowled himself into form, taking three for 23 as the home side slumped to 142 for eight before the final session was washed out.

Thilan Samaraweera, an off-spinning allrounder pushing for a place in the Sri Lanka Test side, top-scored with 32. Kirtley is in Sri Lanka as cover for James Anderson, who has an ankle injury. “It’s probably a game I didn’t expect to play so the pressure’s been off,” he said.

Eight Indians in main event

Mumbai: Eight Indians, including Davis Cup stars Rohan Bopanna and Harsh Mankad, figure in the men’s singles main draw of the $10,000 prize money ITF Futures here from Monday to Saturday. The Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) secretary Sharad Kannamvar said the other six Indians in the main draw are Vijay Kannan, Sunil Kumar Sipaeya, Mustafa Ghouse, Ajay Ramaswamy, Vinod Sridhar and Nitin Kirtane.

Giggs, Cristiano face hearing

London: Manchester United duo Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo will face a Football Association disciplinary panel on Monday to respond to misconduct charges imposed over their involvement in the fracas which marred the end of the club’s goalless draw with Arsenal in September.

Arsenal players Lauren, Martin Keown, Ray Parlour and Patrick Vieira have already received bans after pleading guilty to charges arising from the clashes which erupted at the final whistle, when a group of Arsenal players jostled and jeered Ruud van Nistelrooy for missing a late penalty.

Ticket prices

Hanoi: Ticket prices for Sunday’s Southeast Asian Games clash in Hanoi between football-mad Vietnam and defending champions Thailand have soared to as much as $50 on the blackmarket. The much anticipated Group A clash takes place at the My Dinh National Stadium, a day after the opening match in Ho Chi Minh City between Indonesia and Laos, who also find themselves in the “group of death”.

On Wednesday, thousands of Vietnamese flocked to the 40,000-seater stadium to try and snap up tickets for Sunday’s game.

Olympic torch

Athens: The Olympics flame will travel where no torch has been before next year after the route of the relay carrying the sacred flame to the 2004 Summer Games in Athens was announced on Wednesday.

For the first time in the history of the Games, the torch will be carried through Africa and South America, the Athens Olympic Organising Committee said.

Sport on Screen

Soccer, Uefa Cup — Live from 11.55 pm on STAR Sports and 1.30 am on ESPN
Soccer, Champions League — From 7.30 am on STAR Sports
Cricket, England vs Sri Lanka — Third ODI, highlights from 6 pm on TEN Sports

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