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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Xavi quits, F1 boss agrees to $100m settlement

Sports Shorts: Xavi quits, F1 boss agrees to $100m settlement

Last updated on: August 05, 2014 19:24 IST

Sports Shorts: Spain's star Xavi quits international football

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Spain midfielder Xavi Hernandez has retired from internationals at the age of 34, he said on Tuesday.

The Barcelona player represented his country a record 133 times and helped Spain win the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 European Championships.

"I'm grateful for all those years," Xavi told a news conference.

"It has been a fantastic time. I'm not 20 anymore, but I still have the motivation of a kid."

Xavi was a member of Spain’s squad which failed to get past the first round at this year's World Cup in Brazil.

NEXT: Trial halted after F1 boss agrees to $100m settlement

 


Image: Xavi Hernandez juggles the ball during a training session of the Spain national team
Photographs: David Ramos/Getty Images

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Trial halted after F1 boss agrees to $100m settlement

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A German court on Tuesday halted a bribery trial against Bernie Ecclestone in exchange for his paying a $100 million fee, under the terms of a settlement agreed by prosecutors and the chief executive of Formula One.

Such an agreement is possible in German law, depending on the charges.

It means the 83-year-old Ecclestone preserves his innocence and is spared the prospect of a lengthy trial.

Judge Peter Noll told the court the suspicion of bribery against Ecclestone could not, by and large, be backed up in a trial. He gave Ecclestone one week to pay $100 million - $99 million to the state and $1 million to a children's charity.

"The trial is temporarily suspended until you've honoured your commitments and then it'll be permanently discontinued," Noll said. "If you don't honour your commitments, we'll continue the trial. I assume we'll only ever see each other again on TV."

Ecclestone, 83, replied in English: "Thank you very much. I will honour my commitment."

Ecclestone went on trial in April over allegations he paid a $44 million bribe to a former German banker to facilitate the sale of a major stake in the motor sport business eight years ago.

The former used car salesman, who became a billionaire by building the sport into a global money spinner over the past four decades, denied any wrongdoing.

The state prosecutor told the court earlier on Tuesday that due to Ecclestone's "advanced age" and "other extenuating circumstances", they supported the proposed settlement.

"The charges could not, in important areas, be substantiated," Judge Noll said. He added that any other charges against Ecclestone that remained were not so serious as to warrant the continuation of the trial.

Ecclestone's lawyers applauded the settlement after the court heard more than 100 hours of testimony.

"A conviction of Mr. Ecclestone could not be expected with any likelihood," his lawyers said in a joint statement.

They also dismissed the suggestion that Ecclestone had bought his way out of the trial.

"Through this abandonment, the presumption of innocence in favour of Mr. Ecclestone remains intact ... The monetary compensation is geared to his income and financial situation."

Private equity group CVC, the largest shareholder in Formula One with a stake of 35 percent, has said it would have fired Ecclestone if he were found guilty.

The state prosecutor added that during the course of the trial it was becoming increasingly clear that the bribery charges would be difficult to prove.

If he had been found guilty, the British billionaire could have faced up to 10 years in jail, although a prison term would have been unlikely.

Next: Sushil Kumar most searched during Commonwealth Games


Image: Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone
Photographs: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

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Sushil Kumar most searched during CWG

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The Indian athletes' brilliant performance in the Commonwealth Games created quite a buzz online as well with gold-winning wrestler Sushil Kumar being the most searched on Google.

As the curtain went down on the 20th Commonwealth Games, India notched up 64 medals.

Ranking fifth in the tally after England, Australia, Canada and Scotland, the Indian medal tally stood at 15 Gold, 30 Silver and 19 Bronze medals.

Sushil remained the most searched athlete as the Indian wrestling squad put forward some spectacular performances scooping 13 medals, including five gold medals.

Badminton remained the most searched sporting discipline as Parupalli Kashyap became the first Indian man to win a badminton gold at the Games in 32 years.

It was a historic win as he clinched the gold for India and generated a lot of buzz online. Boxing and Wrestling stood second and third respectively among the highly searched disciplines during the games.

Other Indian athletes, who were widely searched online included Vijender Singh (Boxing), Yogeshwar Dutt (Wrestling), and Vikas Gowda (Athletics) and Parupalli Kashyap (Badminton).

Medals tally: 2014 Commonwealth Games

Complete coverage of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games

Next: No fairytale start for French football's first female coach


Image: Female wrestler lift Sushil Kumar
Photographs: Courtesy: Sushil Kumar/Facebook

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No fairytale start for French football's first female coach

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Corinne Diacre received a bouquet of flowers from her opposite number but ended up on the losing side when she became the first woman to coach a men's soccer team in a competitive professional match in France on Monday.

Diacre, celebrating her 40th birthday, also became the first woman to coach in a game in the top two divisions of European soccer as she made her debut with Clermont Foot in their Ligue 2 match away to Brest.

Despite taking an early lead, her side conceded two second half goals to lose 2-1.

"We made two mistakes on the goals that we conceded, but we did some good things which are promising for the future," Diacre told reporters.

"Brest were in charge of the game and we had to chase the ball too much.”

Next:Have to be taken seriously this season’


Image: Corinne Diacre
Photographs: Courtesy: Clermont Foot 63/Facebook

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'Clermont will have to be taken seriously this season'

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"I'm still happy with my players because they gave so much," added Diacre, who was presented with flowers by Brest coach Alex Dupont before the game.

"I'm proud of their performance tonight. Clermont will have to be taken seriously this season."

Souleymane Sawadogo gave Clermont an eighth minute lead before Brest replied with goals from Bruno Grougi and Alexandre Alphonse after halftime.

Diacre, former captain of the France women's team, took over at the end of June following the surprise resignation of Portugal’s Helena Costa.

Costa became the first female to be named coach of a men's team in the top two divisions of European soccer but quit before taking charge of a game, saying the club had hired players without her knowledge.

Clermont finished 14th in the 20-team table last season.

Next: Dodig enjoys upset win over Isner


Image: Brest coach Alex Dupont present Corinne Diacre with flowers
Photographs: Courtesy: Clermont Foot 63/Facebook

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Rogers Cup: Dodig enjoys upset win over Isner

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Ivan Dodig made a triumphant return from injury with a 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3 upset victory over 10th seeded American John Isner in the opening round of Rogers Cup on Monday after the Croat missed nearly three months with a broken rib.

Dodig, back on court for the first time since retiring in the opening round of the French Open, showed no sign of rust as he consigned Isner to a second consecutive first round loss.

Twice a winner this season, Isner got his North American hard court campaign off to a confident start by picking up a ninth career title two weeks ago in Atlanta.

However, the big-serving American has been misfiring ever since, suffering an early exit to compatriot Steve Johnson last week in Washington, followed by another shock loss in Toronto.

Isner was not the only big name to falter and he was joined in the departure lounge by 14th seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, who was dispatched 7-6 (7), 6-3 by compatriot Feliciano Lopez.

The tournament got off to a stuttering start with morning and afternoon matches interrupted by rain but despite the stormy weather, the two other seeds in action on Day One, Marin Cilic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, progressed into the second round.

Australian former world number one Lleyton Hewitt, twice a winner this season, never found his footing on the Canadian hard court falling 6-1, 6-2 to Frenchman Julien Benneteau, playing his 242nd ATP Tour event and still searching for a first title.

Next: Formula One boss Ecclestone offers $100 mln to end trial


Image: Ivan Dodig of Croatia plays a forehand
Photographs: Renee McKay/Getty Images

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Prognosis for Rio Olympics much better, says IOC's Coates

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Australia's Olympic chief John Coates, who in April branded preparations for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics as the worst ever, said on Tuesday the prognosis was now ‘much, much better’.

Speaking at an event to mark two years until the start of the Rio Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president said Brazil's successful hosting of the football World Cup in June and July had been reassuring.

"I wasn't there but all of the reports to the IOC were good," Coates, who is a member of the IOC's coordination commission for the Rio Games, told a news conference in Sydney.

"We had concerns about the airport and getting around but that all worked, the transport worked.

"It's a different event ... but over the last two months they've really put their foot to the pedal.

"We're back there officially at the end of September for another report but the prognosis is much, much better."

The first Games on the South American continent have been plagued by delays, rising costs and bad communication between different levels of the Brazilian government and organisers, prompting criticism from international sports federations.

Coates said he had received reports from the ongoing sailing test event in Rio that the water quality issue he had raised was being addressed.

He was also encouraged that a private construction firm had been brought in to work on building the Olympic Park, while tenders had finally been awarded and work started on the Deodoro venue cluster, where 11 sports will take place.

Australia's Chef de Mission for the Rio Games Kitty Chiller said there were still problems with planning for the seven sports to be held in the Copocabana cluster, where Australia expects to have about 100 athletes competing.


Image: The Olympic flag at the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro
Photographs: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

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