The Executive Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced at a meeting in Berlin that it will examine more closely the possibility of making rugby sevens, squash, in-line skating and karate official disciplines by 2012. IOC President Jacques Rogge further revealed that other sports may be dropped in order to keep the limit of 28 Olympic sports agreed to in 2002. Softball, baseball and the modern pentathlon are favourites to go.
Stade of play
Christophe Dominici inspired a stunning late Stade Francais victory over Biarritz to take his team into the Heineken Cup final. The winger burst through in injury time to score a try that denied Biarritz, who had led throughout, 20-17. They will face Toulouse who beat Leicester Tigers on Sunday afternoon.
Cancer victim Paul Hunter went out of the Embassy World Championships at the Crucible, beaten 10-8 by Michael Holt in the first round. But the 26-year-old World No. 4 vowed to be back after facing a far more important battle against his illness over the coming months.
Former Argentinian national coach Cesar Menotti has vacated his post in charge of Independiente after some disappointing results that see the big club on only nine points.
Much travelled and little loved ex-Holland manager Dick Advocaat informed Bundesliga strugglers Borussia Moenchengladbach of his resignation, six months after accepting the coaching position, via mobile telephone. The Dutchman had been receiving threats from fans.
In Russia, former Lokomotiv Moscow manager Yuri Semin has replaced Georgy Yatsev as national coach. It is believed that the new man will attempt to revive Russia’s flagging international fortunes with a more attacking brand of football.
Goals from Marcus Stewart and Steve Caldwell gave Sunderland the 2-1 victory over Leicester which spelt the end to their two-year Premiership exile. A crowd of almost 35,000 celebrated promotion at the Stadium of Light after an early Maybury strike for the Foxes had threatened to spoil the party.
Celtic beat Rangers in the last Old Firm derby of the season to all but assure themselves the Scottish championship. The scoreline read 2-1 at Ibrox Park at the death but a few frantic closing minutes apart, Celtic were well worth the three points throughout the match.
In Holland, PSV Eindhoven beat Vitesse 3-0 to claim their 18th title with a 17 point advantage over Ajax Amsterdam.
Former Manchester United and France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez, now with Olympic Marseille, has been suspended for three months by the French League Disciplinary Commission forcing him to miss the remainder of the championship programme. The 33-year-old was convicted of spitting at Moroccan referee Abdellah El Achiri during a friendly with Wydad in Casablanca last February.
The UEFA Executive Committee has announced a restructured qualifying phase for the 2008 European Championships. With hosts Austria and Switzerland guaranteed a place, the remaining fifty hopefuls will be divided into seven groups – six comprising seven countries, one of eight – the top two finishers going on to the finals. The process will begin in September 2006.
Following this year’s somewhat controversial staging of the Champions League Final in Istanbul’s Attaturk Stadium, UEFA have opted for a more conservative choice for 2006. The best two clubs in Europe will meet in France’s National Stadium in Saint Denis near Paris next season.