Sports Shorts: Barca to sign Valencia defender Mathieu
Valencia's French defender Jeremy Mathieu will join Barcelona for a fee of 20 million euros ($26.9 million), the Catalan club said on Wednesday.
“Mathieu will sign a contract with FC Barcelona for the next four seasons plus a further optional,” Barca said in a statement.
“The cost of the transfer is 20 million euros and the buy-out clause will be 50 million euros ($67.32 million).”
The 30-year-old Mathieu will bolster the centre of Barcelona's defence after they missed out on any major trophies last season and their porous backline was a significant factor.
The Frenchman, who can also play at left back, continues the restructuring of the squad under new coach Luis Enrique.
Striker Luis Suarez, midfielder Ivan Rakitic and keepers Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo have also been signed.
Midfielder Cesc Fabregas and forward Alexis Sanchez have left for Chelsea and Arsenal respectively.
- NEXT: Bolt chides doping officials over Tyson Gay ban
Image: Jeremy Mathieu
Photographs: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Bolt chides doping officials over Tyson Gay ban
Usain Bolt believes anti-doping officials have sent a "bad message to the sport", after American sprinter Tyson Gay received only a one-year ban following a positive test for an anabolic steroid.
"I’m not really happy with the situation and with how it was done," Bolt said.
"I think for someone like Asafa (Powell) to get a ban of 18 months for that (stimulant oxilofrine) and then Tyson Gay get just one year because of cooperating, I think it is sending a bad message into the sport that you can do it (dope) but if you cooperate with us, we’ll reduce the sentence,” the100m and 200m world record holder and six times Olympic gold medallist said.
The sanction, handed to Gay by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), ended in June this year.
Gay, who returned to competition on July 3 and ran 9.93 in the 100 metres at the Lausanne Diamond League meeting, is the world’s joint second fastest man along with Yohan Blake (9.69).
Both the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and track and field’s world governing body, the IAAF, have accepted the controversial ban.
"I don’t think that’s the right way to go because you are pretty much telling people that this is a way out, it’s a way of beating the system, so personally, I don’t think the IAAF dealt with that very well," Bolt said.
- Next: Stoke sign Bojan from Barcelona
Image: Tyson Gay
Photographs: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Stoke sign Bojan from Barcelona
Stoke City have signed one-time Spain international forward Bojan Krkic from Barcelona on a four-year deal, the Premier League side said on Tuesday.
Bojan, 23, was part of Barcelona's youth system and scored 26 goals in 104 league appearances before leaving for AS Roma in 2011, having made his first team debut at 17.
He spent time at AC Milan on loan before rejoining the Catalan side last season.
He did not make an appearance for the La Liga giants and was sent on loan to Dutch champions Ajax Amsterdam, scoring five goals in 32 matches.
Bojan, who won a single Spain cap as a teenager in 2008, becomes Stoke's fifth off-season signing, joining Mame Biram Diouf, Steve Sidwell, Phil Bardsley and Dionatan Teixeira.
Stoke open their league campaign at home to Aston Villa on August 16.
- Next: Blake out for season after surgery
Image: Bojan Krkic
Photographs: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images
Bardet, Van Garderen suffer as Rogers wins Stage 16
Frenchman Romain Bardet and American Tejay van Garderen's Tour de France podium hopes suffered a major blow on Tuesday when they lost considerable ground in the 16th stage won by Australian Michael Rogers.
Rogers gave his Tinkoff-Saxo team their second stage win this year by powering away from a breakaway group in the 237.5-km mountain trek from Carcassonne.
Vincenzo Nibali of Italy retained the overall leader's yellow jersey ahead of Spain's Alejandro Valverde while France's Thibaut Pinot, who was the strongest in the intimidating ascent to the Port de Bales, moved up to third at the expense of compatriot Bardet.
AG2R-La Mondiale rider Bardet, who had promised to blow the race open in the Pyrenees, was unable to sustain the pace in the climb and lost more than 1:40.
Van Garderen also could not follow and lost more than three minutes, but Bardet's team mate Jean-Christophe Peraud could not be shaken off.
"I had good legs, I had to attack," Pinot, whose acceleration in the Port de Bales put all his rivals in the red, told reporters.
"I hope I can stay on the podium (all the way to Paris).
The FDJ.fr rider holds the white jersey for the best Under-25 rider.
Nibali leads Valverde by 4:37 and Pinot by 5:06 ahead of two tough stages in the Pyrenees, with Peraud in fourth 6:08 off the pace while Bardet is 32 seconds further back.
- NEXT: Champions League games moved from Donetsk
Image: Tinkoff-Saxo team rider Michael Rogers of Australia cycles
Photographs: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters
Shakhtar move Champions League games away from Donetsk
Shakhtar Donetsk will shift their headquarters to Kiev and play their Champions League and domestic games in the western city of Lviv to escape from the Ukraine's strife-torn east, CEO Sergei Palkin confirmed.
The Ukraine champions were forced to move from Donetsk, a major industrial city in the East which has become a stronghold of pro-Russian separatists who are fighting army forces controlled by the government.
Offered a choice of four venues by European soccer governing body UEFA, Shakhtar chose to play their games at Lviv Arena, a stadium that hosted matches during the European championship in 2012.
Shakhtar opened the new season with a 2-0 win at rivals Dynamo Kiev in the Super Cup game in Lviv on Tuesday.
The conflict, which was brought into sharp focus by the downing of a Malaysian Airlines flight near Donetsk last week, has rocked the club, with six of its players refusing to return to the country.
Shakhtar, who represent the pro-Russian region of Donbass, face a challenge to win support in western Ukraine.
Palkin agreed Shakhtar did not have the same level of support at the stands in Lviv, located more than a thousand kilometres from Donetsk, as their rivals Dynamo during the season-opener on Tuesday.
“Let us be honest, there was not fifty-fifty support at the stands," he said.
"But I think we could fix it in the future. I mean Lviv, in particular. Because we are planning to hold our domestic and Champions league games here."
Palkin said the club was still working on persuading the five Brazilians and one Argentine who have refused to play in Ukraine.
"We are in the persuasion phase saying Ukraine is safe enough to play and live in," he said. "It is our primary task now as many of them are scared. I hope to get this sorted out. If not, we have the other mechanisms to deal with it."
- NEXT: Jamaica sprinter Blake out for season after surgery
Image: An FC Shakhtar Donetsk supporter cheers during a match
Photographs: Dani Pozo/EuroFootball/Getty Images
Jamaica sprinter Blake out for season after surgery
Jamaica's double Olympic sprint silver medallist Yohan Blake has been ruled out for the rest of the 2014 season after undergoing a surgery on an injured hamstring, coach Glen Mills said on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old sustained the injury in the 100 metres at the Glasgow Grand Prix on July 11.
"Right now he's on crutches, he had to have an operation a couple of days ago," Mills told Reuters.
"The injury was quite severe and the original prognosis was misdiagnosed and he went Germany and when they had a good look, they realised that it was more serious and required surgery, so he'll be out for quite a long time."
Blake, who could not defend his 100m world title in Moscow last year because of a hamstring injury, had opted against racing at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow starting on Wednesday to concentrate on his build-up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
- NEXT: Sock advances at Atlanta Open
Image: Yohan Blake
Photographs: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Wimbledon doubles champion Sock advances at Atlanta Open
Rising U.S. talent Jack Sock eased past Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez 6-2, 6-4 but Uzbek Denis Istomin put a dent in the large home field in the first round of the Atlanta Open on Tuesday.
On a day for the local contenders, 21-year-old Sock, who teamed up with Canadian Vasek Pospisil to win a surprise Wimbledon doubles crown earlier this month, underlined his promise by swatting aside Gonzalez in just over an hour.
Ranked fourth in the U.S. men's pecking order behind world number 12 John Isner, Sam Querrey (61) and Steve Johnson (64), Sock has carried his stellar doubles form into singles in recent weeks, reaching the last four at the Newport International.
Sock's quarter-final upset of Isner at Newport shot his ranking to a career-high 69, three places above his current 72, and the highly-fancied Nebraskan will be eager to maintain his form ahead of next month's U.S. Open.
Americans Robby Ginepri and Tim Smyczek advanced, but sixth seed Istomin was too strong for Rajeev Ram, winning 6-1, 6-4.
The 27-year-old Uzbek number one has yet to crack a maiden ATP title, though has come close in America, reaching the final at San Jose and New Haven in years past.
"I'd like to get that first title and I'd like to get it here," he told reporters.
The Atlanta Open is the start of the U.S. Open Series, a set of tournaments that are a prelude to the year's final grand slam starting on Aug. 25.
In other first round action, hotheaded Australian Marinko Matosevic topped Dominican Republic's Victor Estrella Burgos 6-0, 6-2.
Image: Jack Sock of the US serves
Photographs: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images