Russia will be represented at Rio Olympics: Official

Moscow, April 7 (IANS) Russia will certainly be represented at the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics, the president of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) Alexander Zhukov has said.

“No doubt, our team will be represented. We hope that our athletes will perform successfully at the Olympics in Rio,” Zhukov said on Wednesday, reports Tass.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is actively working with Russia’s federation and a new committee has been set up that cooperates with the IAAF, he said.

“Most likely, the IAAF council will be convened in June and the final decision will be made on restoring our federation. The possibility of participation of our athletes in Rio will depend on this,” Zhukov said.

“I think that the All-Russia Athletics Federation (ARAF) and the newly created committee actively work with the international federation and the demands that were made are being met. I think that these working contacts should produce a positive result,” he added.

Russin sports was in the centre of doping-related scandals since the fall of 2014. Following a series of high-profile doping scandals involving the ARAF last year, the IAAF suspended the Russian federation’s membership in the global governing body of athletics and put forward six criteria, which the ARAF must implement to restore its membership.

Experts say it is entirely possible that Russian national athletics teams will be suspended from the Rio Olympics this year following the findings of the Independent Commission of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Last month, Russian sports was hit by a new case in a chain of doping-related scandals after some of the country’s athletes tested positive for banned substance Meldonium.

Colombia’s Santa Fe to take on Brazil’s Corinthians

Bogota, April 7 (IANS) Colombian football club Santa Fe will face Brazil’s Corinthians in the second-leg of their Copa Libertadores de America’s group stage match.

The match will take place in the Colombian capital’s El Campin stadium on Thursday night, reports Xinhuan news agency.

Santa Fe will be led by new coach, Alexis Garcia, who replaced Uruguay’s Gerardo Pelusso, who resigned on March 22, according to Cuban news agency Prensa Latina.

Colombian defender Yerry Mina, who was injured, will return to play for Santa Fe. Also, Jonathan Gomez, who was suspended, will be present during the match against the Brazilian squad.

In the first leg on March 2, Corinthians were victorious on home turf beating the Colombian side 1-0.

Currently in Copa Libertadores 2016, Santa Fe is second in its group with seven points, two points behind leaders Corinthians.

Bolivian footballers reject national team call-up for Copa America

La Paz, April 7 (IANS) Players from at least eight of the 12 teams in the Bolivian football league have announced they will not participate in the 2016 Copa America Centennial alleging that they are forced to play for the national team without respect for local clubs.

The tournament will be held in the United States in June, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to Mexican sports daily La Aficion, David Paniagua, legal advisor to Bolivia’s Football Player Association (FABOL), said on Wednesday the players signed a make-or-break statement and rejected any sanctions for them not answering the call of the national team.

“The rights of the players include the fact that if they renounce to the national team before they are called, they will not be sanctioned,” said Paniagua.

The players that signed the resignation statement are from local clubs including Club Petrolero, San Jose, Nacional Potosi, Real Potosi, Blooming, Oriente Petrolero, Sports Boys and Universitario.

Players from Wilstermann, Ciclon, The Strongest and Bolivar have so far not announced their decision.

This week, FABOL leaders will meet with these four clubs to know if they will join the move.

Bolivia is to participate in the 2016 Copa America Centennial, to be held from June 3 to 26 in ten cities of the United States.

Richards behind Sammy in West Indies dispute

St. John’s (Antigua), April 7 (IANS) Batting legend Viv Richards has supported T20 skipper Darren Sammy in his decision to slam the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for its lack of support during the recent World T20 in India.

During the post-match ceremony following the World T20 final on Sunday, Sammy said the team felt “disrespected” by the WICB and had not heard from the Antigua-based organisation during their successful campaign, reports CMC.

“I don’t think Sammy would be a liar. I think Sammy is as honest as they come so it is going to be quite interesting, going forward, to see and to hear exactly what comes from the board,” Richards, who never lost a Test series as the West Indies captain, told the Observer newspaper here on Wednesday.

He continued: “Sammy did what he had to do. It was on his mind and you could see what he said meant a lot; it came from the heart. In my mind, it looked like something planned.”

“Anyone who knows Darren Sammy knows that he is an individual and how he would have led the West Indies cricket from his very start as captain, and sees how committed he is. So I am pleased, in a big way, that he was able to get it off his chest.”

Prior to the squad’s departure for the pre-World Cup training camp in Dubai, Sammy found himself at the centre of a brief impasse between the players and the WICB over remuneration for the tournament.

Acting as the players’ representative, Sammy labelled the pay offer “totally unacceptable” in a letter to the board and asked for a return to the previous pay structure.

The proposal was rejected by the board who said the agreement had already been hammered out with the West Indies Players’ Union (WIPA).

The West Indies created history at the World T20 when they swept both the men’s and women’s titles last Sunday. The women downed three-time defending champions Australia Women by eight wickets while the men followed up with a sensational last over four-wicket victory over England.

Richards said the board now needed to harness the energy from this achievement, along with that of the Under-19s success at the Youth World Cup earlier this year.

“There are some hungry folks out there and especially with the excitement with what would have been created from the three versions like the Under-19, the women’s factor then the men doing what they did on Sunday,” Richards said.

“The interest would certainly be there, so we need to try and get into some areas where we haven’t tapped before to try and find some of these fast bowlers that maybe, can help to make a difference in the future. I don’t think enough of that would have been done in the past.”

FIFA forfeits Kuwait’s matches against Laos and South Korea

Zurich, April 7 (IANS) World football’s governing body FIFA’s disciplinary committee has announced that Kuwait has forfeited its matches against South Korea and Laos in the Asian qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The committee considered that Kuwait has breached articles 31 and 56 of FIFA’s disciplinary code, as well as violating article 6, paragraph 5 of the Regulations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. The Kuwait Football Association has been ordered to pay a fine of CHF 15,000 ($15,700) for each of the two matches on Wednesday, report Efe.

On March 14, FIFA decided to cancel the two matches in Group G of the Asian qualifiers due to an intervention by the Kuwaiti government into the country’s football governance.

Kuwait was scheduled to play against Laos on March 24, and against South Korea on March 29.

Jamaican sports minister wants common ground in WICB, players conflict

Kingston (Jamaica), April 7 (IANS) Jamaican Sports Minister Olivia Grange has called for restraint in the ongoing impasse between the West Indies Cricket Board and the players, and says the two parties need to find common ground.

She was speaking at a welcome reception on Wednesday for Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor, the two Jamaican members of the West Indies team who beat England by four wickets last Sunday in India, to capture the Twenty20 World Cup, reports CMC.

The tensions between the WICB and players were laid bare following the win, with captain Darren Sammy openly criticising the board for its apparent lack of support during the tournament.

Grange said both sides had a major responsibility in the matter.

“Like good parents, the WICB must reposition itself in such a way that its players see the governing body as its chief guardian rather than its Achilles heel,” the minister said.

“The players too must also be cognizant that not receiving best wishes prior to an exam doesn’t mean your parents are uncaring or want you to fail.”

Grange emphasised that the success was as a result of a collective effort by all those involved in the West Indies cricket.

“The West Indies Cricket Board, the players, the coaching and management staff, the fans – and dare I say our critics too – all contributed to this remarkable and historic achievement.”

Samuels was one of the key players in the final, stroking an unbeaten 85 under pressure to help steer the West Indies to victory. He also performed a similar feat in the 2012 final, when they beat hosts Sri Lanka to also win that event.

As usual, however, Samuels courted controversy, with his verbal wrangle with all-rounder Ben Stokes costing him 30 percent of his match fee, following a disciplinary charge by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Grange encouraged Samuels to let his performances speak for themselves.

“Marlon, you are a world class cricketer and proven match winner,” she said, “continue to speak with your bat my son and say nothing else.”

She also lauded Taylor’s contribution to the winning effort noting: “You might have played only one game in this tournament but as a veteran campaigner your guidance and support to the younger bowlers was crucial.”

Grange hoped the capture of the world title could signal the revival of the West Indies cricket.

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