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Since 1st March, 1999
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Becks may give Croatia a miss

London: England captain David Beckham may miss the friendly against Croatia on August 20 to give him time to settle at his new club Real Madrid, England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson said on Wednesday. “We haven’t made any decisions about David yet,” Eriksson said on the Football Association’s website. “But we’ll see how things go for David and we’ll make that decision just before we pick the squad.”

England will face Croatia at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road ground in a warm-up for their Euro2004 qualifiers against Macedonia and Liechtenstein in September. Eriksson said he would be interested to see whether new Real coach Carlos Queiroz plays Beckham in his usual position on the right of midfield or in a more central role.

Nine cities bid for 2012

Lausanne: Nine cities have submitted their bids to host the 2012 Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Wednesday.

Havana, Istanbul, Leipzig, London, Madrid, Moscow, New York, Paris and Rio de Janeiro, lodged their bids with the IOC here by the deadline of midnight Tuesday, the IOC said in a statement. The IOC will make their choice in Singapore on July 6, 2005. “We are delighted to field such a long list of prestigious cities,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said. “I believe this reflects the strong image of the Olympic Games and the IOC’s policy of reinvesting revenues in the staging of the Games,” he added.

New meet for Thailand

Bangkok: Thailand will host the first Europe-Asia snooker tournament in August after losing the Thailand Masters which it had held for a decade, officials said Wednesday.

The £70,000 ($115,000) Thailand 2003 Europe versus Asia Challenge will be held in Bangkok from August 27-30. Sindhu Pulsirivong, president of the Asian Confederation of Billiard Sports, said the tournament would have an all-star line-up like seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry, current world No.1 Mark J. Williams and former world champion Ken Doherty.

Ben warms up with Perugia

Rome: Ben Johnson, who was stripped of his 100m gold medal for using drugs at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, has been putting the players of Italian club Serie A Perugia through their paces ahead of Saturday’s Uefa Intertoto Cup match.

The 42-year-old Canadian arrived at the team’s summer training camp in Folgaria on Monday and took the squad through a series of sprint excercises alongside Perugia coach Serse Cosmi.

The Jamaica-born Johnson is believed to have been asked to help the club because of his relationship with Perugia’s new signing Saadi Gaddafi.

Saadi, son of Libyan leader Muammar, was trained by Johnson for a three-month spell in Tripoli three years ago in order to get him fit for the rigours of professional football.

Gaddafi junior, 30, signed a one-year contract with Perugia last month.

Players, ref banned

Rio de Janeiro: Five players and a referee were banned on Tuesday following a brawl in last week’s Brazilian championship derby between Corinthians and Santos which ended with one player going to a police station.

The most severe punishment was handed out to Corinthians defender Fabio Luciano, who was suspended for 60 days.

Referee Salvio Spindola was banned for 20 days.

Sport on screen
Tour de France — Highlights from 8.30 am on ESPN ; Cricket, Sri Lanka vs West Indies — Second Test, Day III highlights from 3 pm on ESPN ; Golf, British Open — Day I, live from 6 pm on TEN Sports ; Pool, World Championship — Live from 6.30 pm on STAR Sports

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