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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Scholes returns to help Man United interim manager Giggs

Sports Shorts: Scholes returns to help Man United interim manager Giggs

Last updated on: April 23, 2014 21:15 IST

Sports Shorts: Scholes returns to help Man United interim manager Giggs

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Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes returned to the club's training ground on Wednesday to help caretaker manager Ryan Giggs prepare for this weekend's Premier League match at home to Norwich City.

Giggs, with whom Scholes shared many title triumphs, was put in charge of the first team for the final four games of the season following the sacking of David Moyes on Tuesday.

With last season's champions in a state of disarray following the abrupt end to Moyes's disappointing 10-month stint in charge, the sight of some of the club's golden generation together again helped lift the mood.

As well as Scholes, Giggs was also joined by Nicky Butt and Phil Neville, who was assistant coach under Moyes, on Wednesday, United said on their website (www.manutd.com).

Between them the quartet made 2,453 appearances for United with Giggs still available, should he be selected, for the final four league games of the season.

Former England midfielder Scholes retired for good at the end of last term, having come out of retirement in January 2012.

Seventh-placed United, who have missed out on qualifying for next season's Champions League, face relegation-threatened Norwich at Old Trafford on Saturday.

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Image: Paul Scholes
Photographs: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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Barcelona transfer ban lifted pending appeal

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Barcelona's ban from transfer market activity, due to last until the end of next season, has been temporarily lifted after the Spanish club appealed the decision, soccer's governing body FIFA said on Wednesday.

FIFA's Appeal Committee said it had granted Barcelona the so-called "suspensive effect" meaning that the sanctions will be lifted until a final decision has been taken.

Earlier this month, the Spanish champions were banned for two consecutive windows and fined 450,000 Swiss francs (302,566.55 pounds) for breaching rules on the international transfer of foreign under-18 players.

The effectively meant the club could not sign any players until July 2015.

FIFA said that due to the complexity of the case, the appeals process, including a possible appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), was unlikely to be exhausted before the opening of the transfer window on July 1.

It had, therefore, allowed the suspensive effect.

"The chairman of the FIFA Appeal Committee, Larry Mussenden, took into consideration the sanctions imposed against the club, the complexity of the matter, the start date of the next registration period - 1 July 2014," FIFA said in a statement.

"The FIFA Appeal Committee does not seem in a position to take a decision on the main issue early enough so that an eventual appeal of the club against its decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport would still be decided before the beginning of the next registration period.

"Consequently, the chairman of the FIFA Appeal Committee considered that the appeal lodged by the club is to be granted suspensive effect."

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Image: Neymar of FC Barcelona with son Davi Lucca (left) and team-mate Lionel Messi with son Thiago
Photographs: David Ramos/Getty Images

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Injured Cech, Terry out for rest of season

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Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech will miss the rest of the season after landing heavily and injuring his right elbow in Tuesday's 0-0 draw with Atletico Madrid in their Champions League semi-final first leg.

Captain John Terry will also be sidelined for the last three Premier League games of the campaign after twisting his ankle in the second half but he could be fit for next month's Champions League final in Lisbon if Chelsea get through.

Czech Republic international Cech was replaced by 41-year-old Mark Schwarzer in the 18th minute at the Vicente Calderon after Atletico midfielder Raul Garcia took a tumble and felled the keeper at a corner.

"Petr Cech was knocked over. I don't remember which player it was but he has an injury that means his season is over," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho told reporters.

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Image: Petr Cech walks off the pitch after being injured during the Champions League semi-final first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Chelsea at Vicente Calderon Stadium on Tuesday
Photographs: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

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'We'll have to get to the final for Terry to be able to play again this season'

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"And John...we'll have to get to the final for him to be able to play again this season."

The injuries represent a blow to second-placed Chelsea's chances of catching Premier League leaders Liverpool who are five points clear of the London club.

The two title rivals meet at Anfield this Sunday.

Understudy Schwarzer deputised for an unwell Cech on Saturday when Chelsea slipped to a shock 2-1 home defeat by bottom club Sunderland.

Australian Schwarzer, making only his second Champions League appearance on Tuesday, became the oldest player to feature in the knockout phase.

The second leg against Atletico is at Stamford Bridge on April 30.

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Image: An injured John Terry of Chelsea receives treatment during the Champions League semi-final first leg match against Club Atletico de Madrid
Photographs: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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Somdev finally tastes success, enters doubles second round at Barcelona Open

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Somdev Devvarman finally tasted success when he won his first round match in the doubles of the ATP 500 Barcelona Open on Wednesday.

He and Croatia’s Ante Pavic beat local wild cards Roberto Bautista Agut and Albert Montanes 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the euro 2,127,035 clay-court tournament.

The victory was Somdev's first in almost two months, and also first in doubles in the 2014 season, having suffered three defeats at the Challenger level.

Somdev-Pavic converted one of three break chances and saved two break-points they faced in the first set.

They dropped serve twice in the second set but broke the Spaniards thrice to clinch the issue in an hour.

They next face the unseeded pair of Jesse Huta Galung of the Netherlands and Stephane Robert of France, who knocked out the fourth seeded Spanish pair of David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco, in the quarter-finals.

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Image: Somdev Devvarman
Photographs: Stanley Chou/Getty Images

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Georgia's Gabashvili stuns Ferrer in Barcelona

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Four-time finalist David Ferrer crashed out in the second round of the Barcelona Open on Wednesday, producing a rusty performance to lose 6-4, 6-2 to Georgia's Teymuraz Gabashvili.

The world number five, who beat fellow-Spaniard Rafael Nadal en route to the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters last week, was a long way from his best against a player 50 players below him on the ATP rankings.

Gabashvili made precious few mistakes, breaking the second seed four times on his way to victory.

"This was one of my best victories, no in fact it is my best ever, beating David Ferrer," the Russian told reporters.

"I went into the game knowing that I had to be steady and controlled which is what I managed to do."

Gabashvili raced into a 3-0 lead in the first set but it appeared as though Ferrer was back on track when he levelled at 3-3. Ferrer, continued to make unforced errors though, and once he went a set behind he looked dispirited.

Third seed Fabio Fognini from Italy also bowed out with a whimper, trailing 6-0 4-0 to Colombian Santiago Giraldo when he retired from the second round match.

Nadal has dominated the Barcelona Open in recent years having won eight out of the last nine tournaments.

He is in action against fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos in the second round on Wednesday.

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Image: Teymuraz Gabashvili
Photographs: Al Bello/Getty Images

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Djokovic likely to be fit for Madrid Masters

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Novak Djokovic has played down fears he will miss this year's French Open, saying the wrist injury he sustained at the Monte Carlo Masters last week is not as serious as first feared.

The Serb, second in the world rankings behind Rafael Nadal, said on his website (www.novakdjokovic.com) that he hoped to be fit to play in the Madrid Masters which starts on May 4.

"Fortunately, the situation with the injury is better than it first seemed," Djokovic, who was beaten by Roger Federer in Monte Carlo, said on Tuesday.

"Doctors assured me that I will be ready for Madrid, then Rome and Roland Garros, just as it has been planned.

"However, I need to continue with the recovery process and full medical treatments. It means I will have to take a short break in order to recover as soon as possible."

Djokovic is looking to win the French Open to complete his set of Grand Slam titles.

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Image: Novak Djokovic of Serbia
Photographs: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

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Leicester seal second-tier title with win at Bolton

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Leicester City celebrated winning the English Championship title on Tuesday with a 1-0 win at Bolton Wanderers that opened an unassailable seven-point lead at the top of the second tier with two matches remaining.

Leicester, who secured a return to the Premier League for the first time since 2004 earlier this month, took the lead in the 62nd minute through Lloyd Dyer's shot into the top corner and held on to celebrate in front of 2,000 travelling fans.

They now have 96 points from 44 games, ahead of Burnley who clinched an automatic promotion spot on Monday with a 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic.

Leicester, owned by Thai businessman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, missed out on automatic promotion last season after winning two of their final 13 matches before being knocked out in the playoffs by Watford after Anthony Knockaert missed a last-minute penalty and City then conceded in a dramatic finish.

Reading moved back into the playoff places with a 2-0 home win over Middlesbrough thanks to an Adam Le Fondre strike and an own goal from George Friend.


Image: Leicester City players celebrate after winning the title
Photographs: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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