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Since 1st March, 1999
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2004 French GP cancelled

Paris: Next year’s French Grand Prix has been cancelled for financial reasons, a regional French newspaper reported on Saturday. Le Journal du Centre newspaper said the prestigious race, held on the Magny-Cours circuit since 1991, has too small a budget to meet the financial demands outlined by the Fia, the sport’s governing body.

“The financial situation does not match the financial guarantees required by (F1 boss) Bernie Ecclestone for 2004,” Michel Charmant, an official for the Nievre region which hosts the race, was quoted as saying.

The race was scheduled for July 11, one of 18 races on the 2004 calendar. The report said that over the last two seasons attendance figures have dropped considerably, leading to financial difficulties. Around 105,000 fans were expected to attend on July 6 this year, but instead, only 88,000 turned up.

Gazza warning for Rooney

Liverpool: Fallen star Paul Gascoigne warned teenage sensation Wayne Rooney on Friday not to put his career at risk by bidding an early farewell to hometown club Everton.

Former England international Gascoigne, who left his roots at Newcastle as a 21-year-old for Tottenham in 1988 before his career eventually went into freefall, believes 17-year-old Rooney should not be tempted by speculation linking him with a big-money move to Chelsea.

“At his age, he’s definitely got to stay with Everton,” said Gascoigne, now 36, and trying to rebuild his career with Wolves. “He’s got to because sometimes you look at the likes of Joe Cole and Damien Duff, who moved to Chelsea in the summer, and they are getting a game every other week.”

Pakistan tie called off

Pune: A water polo fixture involving a Pakistani team in a friendly match against an Indian XI, was cancelled on Saturday following a threat of disruption by a local outfit.

The Pakistani team from the Lahore Management University had to leave abruptly when Patit Pawan Sangathan, a right-wing organisation, warned them that they will not allow staging of the match.

China teenager keen on United

Manchester: Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has revealed that Chinese target Dong Fangzhou wants to come to Manchester United. Ferguson boss has targeted the 18-year-old Dalian Shide striker to bolster the set-up at Old Trafford where youth is now high on Fergie’s priorities.

Shide want their prized asset only to go out on loan and are said to be resisting a permanent deal despite the fact the Chinese club say United have offered over a million pounds.

“We are still negotiating but we are not far away,” Ferguson told the Manchester Evening News. “ The big thing is that he is keen to come to us.”

Nepal pull out

Kathmandu: Nepal have withdrawn from the World Cup soccer qualifying matches, citing financial difficulties, an official said here.

Nepal was scheduled to play Guam on Friday, but the Nepalese team never even left the country, said an official of the All Nepal Football Association. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the main problem was that the team was broke and could not afford the trip.

Extension for Kuhn

Geneva: Koebi Kuhn has signed a two-year contract extension to remain as Switzerland’s national coach until the end of 2005, the Swiss Football Federation (SFV) said on Friday. The SFV opened negotiations with Kuhn following the 2-0 victory over Ireland on October 11 which booked the Swiss a place in the finals of Euro 2004 as Group 10 winners.

“We have shown it was right to opt for a Swiss coach,” SFV president said.

Sport on Screen

Cricket, West Indies vs Zimbabwe, 2nd ODI live from 12.30 pm on ESPN
Cricket, England vs Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI live from 1.30 pm on TEN Sports
Golf, The President’s Cup live from 4 pm on STAR Sports n Soccer, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur vs Aston Villa live from 9.30 pm on ESPN

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