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Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Ronaldinho for Real in 2004’

Madrid: Paris Saint Germain’s Brazil midfielder Ronaldinho will be transferred to Real Madrid in 2004 but will remain at the French club next season, AS sports newspaper reported on Friday.

AS claim Real Madrid have offered PSG 35 million euros ($ 40 million) for the World Cup winner, who will arrive at the end of next season, which the paper believes is why PSG have not followed up United’s offer of 25 million euros.

Sources close to the club claim Real have already paid a 12-million-euro advance for the 23-year-old though, at an official level, the club is refusing to comment.

Graham forced to withdraw

Sydney: Australian swimmer Elka Graham has been forced to withdraw from this month’s world championships in Barcelona because of a potentially life-threatening heart condition.

Graham, who was entered in the 200 and 400 metres freestyle as well as the 4x100 and 4x200 freestyle relays, was diagnosed with an irregular heart beat and low blood pressure. The 21-year-old’s condition only came to light two weeks ago when she collapsed after a training session at Sydney University and doctors told her she many never swim again.

Graham’s absence is a serious blow to the weakened Australian team already missing former world champions Michael Klim and Petria Thomas because of injuries while Sarah Ryan has decided to concentrate on a new career in broadcasting.

Turkey fined for Euro spat

Nyon: Turkey’s Football Association has been fined 50,000 Swiss francs ($36,950) after trouble during last month’s Euro 2004 qualifier against Macedonia, European soccer’s governing body said on Friday.

Uefa said the fine was imposed for “lack of order and security in the stadium” at the June 11 match in Istanbul.

Macedonia’s FA was fined 10,000 Swiss francs “for the disturbances involving its team during the same match, notably on the occasion of the celebration of the goals scored, contributing to the provocation of the local crowd”.

Muralidharan to play for Kent

Canterbury: Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralidharan will join English county Kent to replace Australian allrounder Andrew Symonds, the club said on Friday.

Muralidharan, 31, will make his debut for Kent against Yorkshire on July 27 in a one-day match. He will initially replace Symonds, who will be on duty with Australia, but will stay until the end of the season. Pakistani paceman Mohammad Sami is due to return home when Symonds rejoins the county in August.

Kent director of cricket Ian Brayshaw said: “We are thrilled to have Murali with us for the latter part of the season. As we found with Steve Waugh last year, to have a player of such international standing has a huge impact throughout the club and it will be a particularly good opportunity for our younger players to learn from one of the world’s greatest bowlers.”

Rogge’s deputy

Prague: Two years after his defeat in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) presidential election, South Korea’s Kim un-Yong returned to the Olympic inner circle Friday when he was elected an IOC vice president. Kim, 71, defeated Norway’s Gerhard Heiberg 55-44 on the final day of the IOC general assembly in Prague. Kim assumes one of the four vice president’s spots on the powerful, policy-making executive board.

Sport on screen

Tri-series, Zimbabwe vs South Africa live from 3.15 pm on ESPN ;Formula One: Qualifying, live from 5.25 pm on STAR Sports ; Cricket: Nasser Hussain: The real story from 6 pm on Ten Sports ; Tennis: Wimbledon Championships from 9 pm on STAR Sports

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