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Since 1st March, 1999
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Two-match ban for MacGill

Sydney: Australia Test leg spinner Stuart MacGill has been suspended for two inter-state matches after a heated exchange with an umpire during a one-day game.

MacGill, who has taken 94 wickets in 19 Tests, faced a disciplinary hearing with New South Wales cricket officials on Monday where commissioner Alan Sullivan found the 31-year-old guilty of using crude or abusive language or gestures.

He will miss the next two matches for New South Wales, a four-day game against Victoria starting on February 5 and a one-day match on February 9 against the same team. MacGill was personally counselled by Australian Cricket Board chief executive James Sutherland in October 2001 after he was fined for verbally abusing an umpire in an inter-state match. He was also officially reprimanded after colliding with Ramnaresh Sarwan in the third Test against the West Indies in Adelaide in December, 2000.

Piacenza coach loses job

Rome: Piacenza have sacked coach Andrea Agostinelli after a humiliating 1-4 home defeat by Brescia at the weekend. “Piacenza Football Club announces it has relieved first team coach Andrea Agostinelli of his post,” read a brief statement on the club’s official website on Monday, which made no mention of a successor. Piacenza lie third from bottom of Serie A with just two points from their last eight games. Agostinelli is the fourth Serie A coach this season to lose his job after Torino’s Giancarlo Camolese, Reggina’s Bortolo Mutti and Como’s Loris Dominissini.

Firman frontrunner

London: Jordan hope to announce their second driver this week with Briton Ralph Firman moving into pole position for the job.

Guardian reported that Firman, the 27-year-old Formula Nippon champion, would meet Eddie Jordan on Monday to sign a contract to race alongside Italian Giancarlo Fisichella. Asked about the report, a team spokeswoman said that “at present we have not signed an agreement with any driver. We hope to announce something in the next few days.”

Williams duo in Fed Cup team

New York: US Fed Cup captain Billie Jean King on Sunday named Serena and Venus Williams, the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 players, to the squad that will take on the Czech Republic in the first round from April 26 to 27 in Boston, Massachusets.

Last year, the Americans were upset by Austria in the first round and Jennifer Capriati, then the top player in the world, was kicked off the team after she broke team rules and had a shouting match with King.

English club reports loss

London: Southampton reported a pre-tax loss of £3.8 million for the six months to November 30 on Monday and said that wage costs at the Premier League club were still too high.

Signing Finland goalkeeper Antti Niemi and Swedish defender Michael Svensson last year for £2 million each had triggered the slide into the red, the club said on its website.

Pole vault record

Glasgow: Russia’s Svetlana Feofanova has bettered her own women’s indoors world pole vault record clearing 4.76m at a meeting in Glasgow on Sunday.

Feofanova added one centimetre to the previous best mark, which she set on March 3 last year at the European indoor championships in Vienna. It was her sixth world record indoors.

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