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Italy players to protest racism

Milan: The Italian football federation has ordered all games in the country this week to kick off five minutes late to allow players to demonstrate their opposition to racism.

The decision was sparked by Messina's Ivory Coast defender Zoro, who threatened to leave the field in protest against racist jeering from visiting Inter Milan fans in a Serie A match on Sunday.

The federation said that all the midweek Italian Cup fixtures along with next week's league games at all levels down to amateur football would be delayed with the players taking to the field holding banners declaring 'No to Racism'.

CSKA lose sponsor

Moscow: Russia's Sibneft oil company, sold last month by Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, said on Monday it would be terminating its $54-million sponsorship deal with Uefa Cup holders CSKA Moscow.

'The new owner decided that it would make no sense to invest money into advertising the brand of Sibneft on the international or regional level,' Sibneft spokesman Alexei Firsov said. Sibneft's three-year sponsorship contract with CSKA was to have run until March 2007.

Inzaghi issue

Rome: AC Milan striker Filippo Inzaghi played down talk of a return to the Italian national team after scoring a late winner in a 2-1 defeat of Lecce at the weekend.

The 32-year-old striker, who returned to the squad last month after a long lay-off due to injury, came on with just over a quarter of an hour remaining and struck in stoppage time to keep Milan within five points of Serie A leaders Juventus.

'I'm not thinking about the national team at the moment. I'm concentrating on Milan, even if it costs nothing to dream,' he was quoted as saying in an Italian sports paper on Monday.

Zonta deal with Toyota

London: Brazilian Ricardo Zonta has signed a one-year contract extension to stay as Toyota's Formula One test and reserve driver in 2006. 'We enjoyed such a successful year in 2005 and I am sure this trend will continue,' he said in a team statement on Monday.

Toyota finished fourth overall in the 2005 championship, their best performance since entering the sport in 2002, but the success means they will no longer be allowed to run a third car in Friday practice at grand prix weekends.

Barrichello gets No. 11

London: Brazilian Rubens Barrichello will race with his lucky No. 11 at the Honda Formula One team next year after teammate Jenson Button gave up his claim to it.

BAR finished sixth in the 2005 championship, with their drivers allocated race Nos 11 and 12. As the new arrival from former champions Ferrari, Barrichello would have taken No. 12 to the Briton's 11.

Button discovered, however, that the Brazilian had achieved the first race win of his career, all his karting titles and his first victory in the junior Formula Ford championship with the No. 11.

SA skipper in dock

Paris: Springboks skipper John Smit faces a disciplinary hearing in Paris on Tuesday after being cited for elbowing France captain Jerome Thion in Saturday's game at the Stade de France. Thion, who was taken to hospital, will be sidelined for at least six weeks.

•Cricket, WI vs Aus: Third Test, Day V live from 5.58 am on STAR Sports
• Cricket, Eng vs Pak: third Test, Day I live from 10.30 pm on TEN Sports
• Soccer, Premier League: Highlights from 3.30 pm on ESPN


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