Sport by ahmedalyna


                           | pdf edition | Wednesday August 15 2012                                                       Sport
                                                                                                                          Downloaded 22:00 GMT

Manchester United set to complete deal
for Arsenal’s Robin van Persie
Arsenal have confirmed that terms have been agreed with
Manchester United for the sale of Robin van Persie subject to a
medical Page 2

Tottenham’s Luka Modric on way to Real
Madrid for £26m plus add-ons
Real Madrid expect to complete the signing of Luka Modric
imminently for rather less than Tottenham Hotspur’s £40m asking
price Page 3

Andrew Strauss: ‘I feel let down by Kevin
Pietersen, if I’m honest’
An abridged transcript of the press conference in which Andrew
Strauss spoke at length about the Kevin Pietersen affair Page 3

Jermain Defoe’s goal                         Kevin Pietersen                              US Paralympic cyclist           London 2012
gives England victory                        furore could either                          Monica Bascio given             authorities got cyber-
over Italy in Bern                           derail England or draw                       three-month doping              attack warning on eve
Page 5                                       them together Page 6                         ban Page 8                      of Games Page 9

Paralympics 2012:                            San Francisco Giants’                        Kevin Pietersen world           Luca Cumani bidding
Spectacular torch                            Melky Cabrera                                Twenty20 hopes fade             to win Arlington
relay will be started                        gets 50-game drug                            after Andrew Strauss            Million again with
by scouts Page 6                             suspension Page 7                            warning Page 8                  Afsare Page 10 © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                         
Registered in England and Wales. No. 908396. Registered office: PO Box 68164, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1P 2AP
Page 2 G24 Sport                                                                Wednesday August 15 2012              22:00 GMT

                                                                          Ferguson complained last Wednesday that United were
                                                                      getting nowhere with Arsenal in their negotiations, although
Manchester United set to complete deal                                he added that they would “persevere and hope things come our
for Arsenal’s Robin van Persie                                        way”. United returned to indicate that they would pay rather
                                                                      more than their initial £15m bid.
• Arsenal confirm terms agreed for striker’s                              On Wednesday United posted a statement on their website
sale                                                                  saying that “a further announcement will be made” once the
                                                                      medical is completed and personal terms have been agreed.
• Dutchman will travel to Manchester for
                                                                          It has helped United that Van Persie has been eager to join.
medical                                                               He is excited at the prospect of playing with Wayne Rooney,
David Hytner                                                          who has spoken of his admiration for Van Persie. “He’s a
                                                                      fantastic player,” Rooney said. “He’s been amazing for Arsenal
                                                                      over many years. If he does come here, he would be a great
                                                                      additionto the squad.”
                                                                          Van Persie, moreover, buys heavily into United’s tradition
                                                                      and playing style, whereas he is less keen on how City have
                                                                      spent lavishly to accumulate under the Abu Dhabi United
                                                                      Group. He was receptive to the idea of going to Juventus,
                                                                      although he had reservations about Serie A.
                                                                          Arsenal may find it slightly easier to have sold their star
                                                                      player this summer as they have already signed reinforcements.
                                                                      The strikers Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud have arrived for
                                                                      a combined £24m while the attacking midfielder Santi Cazorla
                                                                      has been signed for £12m.
                                                                          Ivan Gazidis, the Arsenal chief executive, described the
Robin van Persie is set to join Manchester United from
                                                                      capture of Podolski as “critical” while Cazorla’s signing has
Arsenal. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
                                                                      created a buzz in the dressing room. Last summer the club did
Arsène Wenger has reluctantly agreed to sell Robin van Persie to      not plan adequately for the departures of Cesc Fábregas and
Manchester United for £23m. Arsenal confirmed on Wednesday            Samir Nasri and were forced into a late sweep of the market.
that a deal had been tied up between the clubs and that the               Van Persie has trained with Arsenal this summer and he
striker will travel to Manchester for a medical and to agree          played as a substitute in Sunday’s 4-0 friendly win away to FC
personal terms.                                                       Köln, even taking the captain’s armband when he came on. His
    The clubs reopened negotiations over the striker on Tuesday       involvement polarised debate among the travelling fans.
night, after which it was merely a question of when Van Persie            He was in Brussels on Wednesday night for Holland’s
became a United player. Sir Alex Ferguson feels the 29-year-old       friendly against Belgium.
could be the signing to help United wrest the Premier League
title back from Manchester City.
    Wenger had done his best to persuade Van Persie to stay
and he was loth to sanction his release to United. But he has

admitted defeat as Van Persie has been adamant he wants to
    Arsenal’s manager, asked on Wednesday night on French TV
whether he would buy another striker, said: “We have already
replaced him in buying [Lukas] Podolski and [Olivier] Giroud.
We are sad to lose a player of his quality but he had one year left
on his contract so we had no choice.”
    Van Persie made his intentions plain with a statement on
                                                                        From Beirut to Big Brother,
4 July, when he said he wanted to win trophies and that he              Murdoch to Millionaire,
and the club “in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal
FC should move forward”. He has forced the club’s hand by
                                                                        discuss the hot topics in the
refusing to extend his contract, which has less than 12 months          media on not one, but two blogs
to run. Arsenal did not want to lose him as a Bosman free agent.
    The Arsenal statement said: “[We]can confirm that terms
                                                                        Organ Grinder and Greenslade
have been agreed for the transfer of Robin van Persie to      
Manchester United. Van Persie will travel to Manchester in
order to agree personal terms and complete a medical ahead of
the proposed move.”                                           
    Arsenal have dug in to get their minimum £20m asking price.         greenslade/
Before they departed for their pre-season tour of Asia on 21 July,
to which Van Persie did not travel, the club had received bids
from United, City and Juventus, none of which was for more
than £15m. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                            
Page  G24 Sport                                                                Wednesday August 15 2012                 22:00 GMT

                                                                     prominent in his thoughts. Moutinho, though, may prove too
                                                                     expensive at €30m (£23.5m). Tottenham have had a bid of £12m
Tottenham’s Luka Modric on way to                                    turned down for M’Vila while they were unsuccessful with a
Real Madrid for £26m plus add-ons                                    €16m (£12.5m) offer for the more attacking midfielder, Gastón
                                                                     Ramírez, of Bologna.
• Daniel Levy still trying to hike up initial
• Villas-Boas targeting Moutinho, Ramírez
                                                                     Andrew Strauss: ‘I feel let down by
and M’Vila                                                           Kevin Pietersen, if I’m honest’
David Hytner
                                                                     An abridged transcript of the press
                                                                     conference in which England’s captain
                                                                     spoke at length about the KP affair
                                                                     Staff and agencies

Luka Modric has been trying to force Daniel Levy and
Tottenham Hotspur to let him go to Real Madrid all summer.
Photograph: Tony O’Brien/Action Images
Real Madrid scent victory in their summer-long pursuit of Luka
Modric and they not only expect to complete his signing in the       The England captain Andrew Strauss speaks to the media
coming days but intend to do so for rather less than Tottenham       ahead of the third Test against South Africa at Lord’s.
Hotspur’s £40m asking price.                                         Photograph: Philip Brown/Reuters
   José Mourinho, the Madrid manager, has grown frustrated           It was hardly the way Andrew Strauss would have chosen to look
at his club’s inability to bring a swift conclusion to the affair,   ahead to his 100th Test. In a press conference that was delayed
which would have allowed him to integrate Modric in his              by almost an hour the England captain was questioned on the
preparations for the new season.                                     latest developments in the Kevin Pietersen saga, shortly after his
   But Madrid have finally made a break-through in the talks         apology had been confirmed. Yet it allowed the 35-year-old to
with Tottenham that had long since felt entrenched, despite          show the off-field qualities that have made him one of England’s
the London club being willing to sell Modric this summer at the      most successful captains – a performance as impressive, in its own
right price. A year ago they refused to sanction his release under   way, as the century he scored in the first Lord’s Test of the summer
any circumstances and rejected a package worth £40m from             against West Indies in May, achieved after he had reacted with
Chelsea.                                                             similar honesty at a pre-match grilling over his poor recent
   Modric’s disillusionment has reached new depths. He               batting form. This is an abridged transcript of the event, held in a
refused to go on Tottenham’s pre-season tour of the United           small lecture theatre in the Lord’s museum behind the pavilion.
States, a show of dissent for which he was fined and, such is his        Can you give us your reaction to the situation now, where
state of mind, the manager, André Villas-Boas, has exiled him to     Kevin has apologised of sorts, and where he now stands with
train away from the first-team squad.                                the England team and yourself?
   The sticking point has been the fee, with the Tottenham               It’s a step forward, it’s a step in the right direction. But this
chairman, Daniel Levy, holding out for as close to £40m as           issue hasn’t just been about the text messages. There’s been
possible and Madrid refusing to go much higher than £30m.            a bit more of a broader issue about trust and mutual respect
Madrid have attempted to offer players in part-exchange,             and that issue I’m very keen to resolve. But it’s not going to be
including the Turkey midfielder Nuri Sahin, who is now close to      resolved overnight. If we’re going to resolve those issues we
joining Liverpool on loan, but Tottenham said that they wanted       need to do it face to face, away from the media spotlight and
cash only.                                                           away from PR companies and press releases. That’s not helping
   The Madrid president, Florentino Pérez, has been confident        any of us at this stage. For the next five or six days my focus has
throughout the summer that he would get his man and the              got to be on the game of cricket that we’re playing this week.
indications from Spain on Wednesday were that the initial fee            When you say it’s not just about texts but a wider issue,
could be as low as £26m, albeit before add-ons. Tottenham can        how did this come about? Was there a particular moment when
be expected to insist on a greater sum.                              Kevin started to become disenfranchised from the team or was
   Tottenham need the money to allow Villas-Boas to complete         it a gradual process?
his squad. His priorities are a new striker and a replacement for        I think the catalyst for all this was obviously Kevin’s press
Modric, with Porto’s João Moutinho and Yann M’Vila of Rennes © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                               
Page  G24 Sport                                                                   Wednesday August 15 2012                22:00 GMT

conference after the Headingley Test match because that’s               criticism?
when the players first got involved in it, and actually to be               I feel a little bit let down by Kevin, if I’m honest, but this
honest that’s when I first really got involved in it. Up ‘til then it   isn’t an issue between me and Kevin. It’s a broader issue than
was a dispute between Kevin and the board over his availability         that and it’s very important that I act in the best interests of
for the IPL and a number of other points. But once the players          the England cricket team. It’s not a personal thing. I’ve actually
become involved in it I certainly become very protective about          always got on very well with Kevin, which is why some of the
our environment … and I’m willing to remain vigilant about              stuff has been quite surprising to me. We’re going to have to
that because I think it’s central to why we’ve become a very            move on and we have to look at everything but we will do that
good side. So these are the issues that we can’t sweep under the        after the Test match.
carpet, that we need to address and hopefully there is a way of             Are you disappointed your milestone has been
addressing them.                                                        overshadowed?
    He talked about politics in the dressing room, said it’s not            I am determined to savour and enjoy it as much as possible.
easy being me. Do you know what he means by that?                       I’m proud of the longevity factor. I’ve been lucky enough to
    Not entirely, no. But I think if we are going to resolve            play for England in one of its best eras ever. I’ve had some
these issues, everyone’s got to take a bit of a long hard look at       incredible highlights in and among those 100 Test matches
how things have developed over the last couple of weeks in              and there have been some tough times as you might expect, I
particular and say, ‘Have we all done everything we can to avoid        suppose. I’m still passionate and excited about representing
this happening?’ We’re all going to be required to look at it that      my country, so it is a lovely milestone to achieve. But that’s it.
way.                                                                    I can’t really think about it too much. If I am distracted by the
    Do you expect him to be available for selection for the             fact it is my 100th Test, match it is not going to help me play
World Twenty20 squad?                                                   well, just as much as what has gone on with Kevin. So all of us
    I don’t know how and when this is going to be resolved. All         need to put this to bed and concentrate on the preparations for
I know is that my particular focus is going to be on the game           making sure we play as well as we can.
of cricket this week, as will the rest of the team’s. I personally          Is your appetite for the captaincy as strong as it was?
think it’s not a process that can be finished overnight.                    Yes absolutely.
    Is your gut feeling that you would like him to play for                 Would Pietersen have played in this Test even if he had
England again?                                                          apologised last weekend?
    “I would like Kevin to play for England again but only if we            I don’t know. Everything happened at a very frenetic pace.
resolve the issues that we need to resolve.                             So ifs and whys are irrelevant. This is the situation we are in and
    Do you sense a hardening of the mood among the other                this is what we have to deal with going forward.ends
players as a result of that Headingley press conference? Has he
alienated himself potentially irrevocably?
    I wouldn’t say that. Cricketers are a pretty forgiving bunch.
But we need to bring stuff out in the open, we can’t just have
it swept under the carpet and I’ve got no idea at this stage how
that’s going to work out. Once the Test match is over maybe the
dust will have settled a little bit and we can map out a pathway
forward. But at this stage that’s not something that I can afford
to be thinking about in too great a detail. I’m sure that people in
the ECB will be trying to think what the way forward is over the
next few days.
    How have you been able to plan for this Test match? This
must be a huge distraction. People will say you haven’t got a
prayer in this Test match?

    Well, people might say that, I would say those people are
misinformed or particularly pessimistic. I sensed with the
players when we met up on Monday night that they were very
relieved that the situation had been dealt with and that they
were particularly keen to get on with preparing for a Test match
and not having to worry about distractions. There’s been a lot of
stuff flying around, a lot of new developments on a day-by-day            Compare and buy
basis, and it’s very hard for the players to not be involved in that      Use our free independent
in some way. Once the decision’s been made it’s been a bit more
easy for the players to concentrate on the game at hand.                  comparison services to switch
    So in that sense it’s better that Kevin Pietersen isn’t playing       suppliers and save money on
this match, isn’t it?
    From our point of view it wasn’t possible for him to play in          all your household bills.
this Test match. That was the decision the selectors took and   
we are very comfortable with the side picked for this game and
we’ll see what happens.
    Do you wonder what you have you done to deserve Kevin’s © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                                
Page  G24 Sport                                                               Wednesday August 15 2012                22:00 GMT

                                                                     in a more advanced position, with Ashley Young and Adam
                                                                     Johnson coming in from wide positions to support Andy
Jermain Defoe’s goal gives England                                   Carroll, at the spearhead of the attack. At times, it worked; in
victory over Italy in Bern                                           other moments all the old issues resurfaced and they were
                                                                     undermined by not distributing the ball well enough.
Daniel Taylor                                                            At least this time it was not an object lesson in how to pass
                                                                     the ball, as had been witnessed when these sides met in Kiev
                                                                     seven and a half weeks ago. Yet England had a difficult start and
                                                                     there were moments in the opening half an hour when Hodgson
                                                                     – out of his dugout, hands firmly planted into his pockets – was
                                                                     obviously agitated.
                                                                         There was certainly not much in terms of penetration from
                                                                     his attacking players during those early exchanges and it was
                                                                     a soft goal to concede, too, and an unimpressive start from
                                                                     Carrick given that he was the player De Rossi outjumped to
                                                                     direct his header beyond Jack Butland.
                                                                         Carrick’s return to the team, after a two-year absence,
                                                                     was designed so England could start taking better care of
                                                                     the ball, rather than because of his ability to make clearing
                                                                     headers inside his own penalty area. All the same, it is part of a
England’s Jermain Defoe scores the goal that brought victory
                                                                     midfielder’s job to do the muck-and-nettles stuff and Carrick,
over Italy, while Ignazio Abate looks on. Photograph: Michael
                                                                     who is taller than De Rossi, will not enjoy the replays of what
Regan/Getty Images
                                                                     happened after Alessandro Diamanti’s corner.
England’s first match since Euro 2012 did not quite amount to            Italy will have similar complaints about Jagielka’s goal but
a brave new world but they can at least reflect on a satisfying      the Everton defender deserves a lot of credit for the way he
evening’s work. Their debutants should be better for the             attacked the ball and read the trajectory of Lampard’s corner.
experience and Roy Hodgson’s team, experimenting with a new          Jagielka was simply quicker and more decisive than his nearest
formation, are entitled to enjoy beating the nation that had         opponent, Federico Balzaretti, throwing himself at the ball to
outplayed them in the Euro 2012 quarter-final .       flash a diving header past Salvatore Sirigu, playing instead of
    This was a far more gentle workout against what amounted         Gianluigi Buffon in Italy’s goal.
to an Italy B team but England recovered well once Daniele               That apart, England’s only first-half efforts from open play
de Rossi’s goal had threatened another ordeal. Phil Jagielka         were from long range, courtesy of Johnson and Lampard. They
equalised after 27 minutes, emulating De Rossi by scoring with       did, however, finish as the stronger team and Lampard came
a header straight from a corner, and England won the match           close to giving them the lead with a curling free-kick onto the
with a wonderful strike from Jermain Defoe, one of six second-       roof of the net.
half substitutes.                                                        Carroll’s contribution was only peripheral before he was
    Another, Ryan Bertrand, had saved England from going             substituted at half-time, replaced by a more agile striker in
behind with a goal-line clearance only seconds before and this       the shape of Jermain Defoe. Ruddy was also brought on and,
was also a good night for the other four players making their        after 55 minutes, the Norwich City goalkeeper produced
first appearances in a senior England team. Jack Butland and         the outstanding save of the match, diving to his right to keep
Tom Cleverley were both in the starting line-up and John Ruddy       out Mattia Destro’s low shot despite seeing the ball late. Shortly
and Jake Livermore won their first caps as substitutes.              afterwards Antonio Nocerino split the England defence to send
    The goal was almost of the blue, Defoe ending a smart            the substitute Federico Peluso running clear through the inside-
break by turning on the ball to elude Ignazio Abate and firing       left channel. His shot went into the side netting and, once
a diagonal shot from 25 yards into the top corner, via Sirigu’s      again, there was the sense that Italy had started the half as the
fingertips.                                                          more accomplished side.
    An international friendly three days before the start of the         For the most part though, it was an evenly contested game
new Premier League season is never going to be remembered            played with the feel of a pre-season encounter. Carrick looked
with any great fondness, particularly one that is staged in a        nice on the ball, as he always does, but did not particularly
two-thirds empty stadium in Switzerland, but this was a night        impose himself on the match. Lampard played well and there
that did at least show Hodgson is not as set in his ways as had      were brief flashes of Johnson’s ability on the wing. But the
perhaps been perceived.                                              frequency of the second-half substitutions did not help the flow
    The clearest indication was in the formation he deployed         of the game and England might have carried more threat going
from the start, abandoning the 4-4-2 system that can seem            forwards if Kyle Walker and Leighton Baines had been more
so outdated in the modern game and trying to find greater            willing to break forward from their full-back positions, as they
fluidity with a new-look 4-2-3-1. England have taken their time      do for their clubs. Another mild criticism is that the crossing
catching up with most of the successful teams in Europe but it       was sometimes poor from decent positions.
is encouraging, all the same, even if it is a work in progress and
there remains plenty of room for improvement.
    Hodgson had Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick as deep-
lying midfielders, collecting the ball from the defence and
trying to set some kind of tempo. Tom Cleverley was playing © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                            
Page  G24 Sport                                                                Wednesday August 15 2012               22:00 GMT

Paralympics 2012: Spectacular torch                                   Kevin Pietersen furore could either
relay will be started by scouts                                       derail England or draw them together

• Organisers reveal first details of the                              • England’s No1 Test status rests on
Paralympic torch relay                                                outcome of Lord’s Test
• Begins with scouts lighting flames on top                           • Graeme Swann likely to replace Steve
of mountains                                                          Finn in XI
Associated Press                                                      Mike Selvey

The 2012 Paralympic Games torch relay will feature 580                Andrew Strauss, who is set to play his 100th Test match for
torchbearers. Photograph: Lewis Stickley/PA                           England, trains at Lord’s on Wednesday. Photograph: Philip
Four Paralympic flames will be created on the summits of              Brown/Reuters
the highest peaks of the home nations, London 2012 have               Whichever player is first into the England dressing room on
announced.                                                            Thursday might want to run his fingertips along a window ledge
   Groups of young disabled and non-disabled scouts will be           to see how much dust has settled after one of the most trying
given the honour of striking the fire-starting rods that will spark   weeks that they, not to mention their supporters, have suffered
the flames on Scafell Pike in England, Snowdon in Wales, Ben          in recent memory.
Nevis in Scotland and Northern Ireland’s Slieve Donard on 22              These five days will go a long way towards seeing how
August.                                                               much Andrew Strauss’s unity of purpose, as he plays out his
   The flames will then be united at Stoke Mandeville, the            100th Test match, will go towards offsetting the loss – whether
spiritual home of the Paralympic movement, during a special           temporary or permanent is yet to be thrashed out – of the
ceremony on 28 August.                                                unique batting talent that is Kevin Pietersen in what is the most
   The result of that ceremony – the London 2012 Paralympic           important Test match they have played since the Sydney Test,
Flame – will then be carried on a 24-hour, 92-mile relay tinyurl.     the final game of the last Ashes series.
com/chn9363 by 580 torchbearers working in teams of five from             On the result hinges not just the outcome of the series,
Stoke Mandeville to the Olympic Stadium.                              and the right to be called the world’s No1 ranked side, but of
   The London 2012 chairman Lord Coe said: “We have created           the brave decision to omit Pietersen. Win and the England
a unique identity for the Paralympic Torch Relay which will be a      management will feel vindicated. Adversity, further fuelled
celebration of courage, determination, inspiration and equality       by the belief that the South Africans slipped Pietersen’s
that every Paralympian represents.                                    “provocative” texts into the public domain, then sat back to
   “By creating the four flames through human endeavour at            admire the handiwork, can make the whole greater than the
the four highest peaks in the UK we will ensure that the spirit of    sum of the parts. In this South Africa may need to be careful
each home nation is represented in the Paralympic Flame.              for what they wish. Lose, on the other hand, and they may still
   “Today we invite people to show their support for the              be vindicated but there will be many more who will argue that
Paralympic Torch Relay, whether it’s taking lanterns along to         they have cut off their nose to spite their face.
a Flame Festival or Celebration, supporting a Torchbearer or              Maybe this would not have seemed such a furore had it
getting together to line the route of the 24-hour relay and help      occurred in the immediate aftermath of England’s disastrous
us lead the way to the Paralympic Games.”                             Oval Test, in which Pietersen was guilty of flabby thinking in
   The Beatles’ Abbey Road crossing, Lord’s, London Zoo and           the first innings and then roughed up in the second, or that
Tower Bridge are some of the landmarks that will be visited           period from March 2009 to December of the following year
during the overnight relay, which will work its way through           where he went without a Test century. But instead it came after
Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire before hitting London.              one of the great cavalier innings of our time and on the back of
The full route has been published on the London 2012 website          that he was viewed not just as an important player but as the .                                                 key one, which is more than a little disrespectful to 10 other
                                                                      members of the team.
                                                                          England may have lost the player most capable of playing a © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                             
Page  G24 Sport                                                               Wednesday August 15 2012               22:00 GMT

match-changing innings but that concept is not necessarily the
same thing as match-winning. When Pietersen scores a century,
of which he has 21, there is very nearly a 50% chance that
                                                                     San Francisco Giants’ Melky Cabrera
England will win, while only once has it resulted in defeat. But     gets 50-game drug suspension
beyond him England have a batting lineup which can boast 71
Test-match hundreds. When Alastair Cook (20 hundreds) scores         All-Star outfielder ‘deeply sorry’ over
a century England have won half the time while losing only           suspension for 50 games without pay after
three times: Strauss has a higher win-per-century ratio than
                                                                     testing positive for testosterone
Pietersen – 11 to 21 – and only a single defeat, under Pietersen’s
captaincy ironically, when he made a century in each innings         Guardian staff and agencies
in Chennai. Five of Jonathan Trott’s seven hundreds have
brought wins and a single defeat; 11 of Ian Bell’s 16 have been
in a winning cause and England have yet to lose when he has
made one.
   There are many facets to winning and losing and Pietersen
will be missed as a high-class player, of course, but he is by no
means indispensable. Replacements can flourish immediately
and it is worth noting that four of the England side – Strauss,
Cook, Trott and Matt Prior – marked their debuts with
   Pietersen’s place will be filled by the returning Jonny
Bairstow which means England will have two batsmen with
only four matches behind them and it might be wise to split
them in the order with Ian Bell at No5. Bairstow was given a
                                                                     Melky Cabrera has been suspended for 50 games without pay.
brief battering by Kemar Roach at Trent Bridge and, wisely,
                                                                     Photograph: Lenny Ignelzi/AP
was pulled from the firing line when South Africa’s pace attack
hove into view, to be replaced first by Ravi Bopara and then         The San Francisco Giants All-Star outfielder Melky Cabrera has
James Taylor, whose debut at Headingley produced only 34             been suspended for 50 games without pay after testing positive
prosaic runs in an audacious partnership with Pietersen but was      for testosterone, Major League Baseball said on Wednesday.
auspicious for all that.                                                 The 28-year-old from the Dominican Republic, who was the
   Significantly, though Bairstow made a fine century against        most valuable player in this year’s All-Star game, was hit with
Australia A last week at a time when Bopara is unavailable, Eoin     the ban for violating MLB’s drug prevention and treatment
Morgan has yet to rehabilitate his technique convincingly, and       program.
Nick Compton, a contender perhaps, is injured.                           Cabrera’s suspension is effective immediately, the baseball
   Whether it is Tim Bresnan or Steve Finn who makes up the          commissioner’s office said in a statement.
pace triumvirate may not be decided until the morning. Finn              In a statement released by the MLB Players Association,
has looked the most likely to discomfit the opposition but the       Cabrera said: “My positive test was the result of my use of a
results have been far from conclusive and it is still Bresnan who    substance I should not have used. I accept my suspension .�.�.
chips away. The pitch will have much to do with it.                  and I will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my
   For once Mick Hunt has had excellent conditions in which          mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco
to prepare his strip and it would be disappointing if it was not     Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down.”
hard and pacy. The problem for England is that, although they            The eight-year big-league veteran is batting .346 with 11
have had a run of wins at Lord’s, there has been little sign of      home runs, 84 runs scored and 60 runs batted in this season.
deterioration in the pitch, with it tending to play better rather        San Francisco is tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for first
than worse. If it looks to have pace in it, Finn could play. But     place in the National League West with a 64-53 record. The
otherwise Bresnan, with the belt and braces of his batting, may      Giants have only 45 games left in the regular season.
retain his place with Finn making way for the return of Graeme           A Giants statement said: “We were extremely disappointed
Swann.                                                               to learn of the suspension of Melky Cabrera for violating
                                                                     Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment
                                                                     Program. We fully support Major League Baseball’s policy and

                                                                     its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs from
                                                                     our game. Per the protocol outline by Major League Baseball’s
                                                                     Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Giants will not comment
                                                                     further on this matter.”

  Fantasy League Classic
  Manage a squad of 16 players and a budget
  of £75 million. £75,000 worth of prizes to
  be won in weekly, monthly and overall
  competitions. Beat your nearest and
  dearest in a friends league. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                           
Page  G24 Sport                                                             Wednesday August 15 2012                22:00 GMT

US Paralympic cyclist Monica Bascio                               Kevin Pietersen world Twenty20 hopes
given three-month doping ban                                      fade after Andrew Strauss warning

Test for substance found in over-the-                             • England captain says problems ‘won’t be
counter medication leads to three-month                           resolved overnight’
sanction for Paralympian                                          • Pietersen dropped due to ‘issue about
Guardian staff and agencies                                       trust and mutual respect’
                                                                  Andy Wilson at Lord’s

The American Paralympic cyclist Monica Bascio tested
positive for a prohibited substance. Photograph: Sarah Lee        Kevin Pietersen’s belated apology will not ensure him a quick
The American Paralympic cyclist Monica Bascio has been            return to the England team, says Andrew Strauss. Photograph:
given a three-month ban after testing positive for a prohibited   Paul Thomas/PA Wire/Press Association Images
substance, the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) said on              Kevin Pietersen has been warned by the England captain,
Wednesday.                                                        Andrew Strauss, that he remains some way from being
   According to Usada, Bascio accepted a sanction for her anti-   welcomed back into the international fold, despite agreeing to
doping rule violation. A Usada statement said: “Bascio’s three-   make a public apology for sending texts to South Africa players
month period of ineligibility began on 26 May 2012.” Bascio has   that he has finally and reluctantly admitted were “provocative”.
thus been disqualified from all competitive results achieved on       Strauss said Pietersen had been dropped for the third Test
and since 25 May, the day before she failed a doping test.        against South Africa at Lord’s because of “a broader issue
   The London 2012 Paralympic Games begin on 29 August and        about trust and mutual respect” than the specific offence
run to 9 September. Bascio, who skied for the US at the 2006      of undermining his captain in texts sent to members of the
and 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, was last month selected for     opposition.
the US team.                                                          England’s Test captain left no doubt that those issues could
   The 42-year-old from Colorado, a 15-time US handcycling        not be resolved before next week at the earliest and refused
champion, tested positive for tuaminoheptane during a UCI         even to give an unconditional welcome to the prospect of
Para-cycling Road World Cup event in Rome, after taking an        Pietersen returning to the team. “I would like Kevin to play for
over-the-counter medication which contained the prohibited        England again but only if we resolve the issues that we need to
substance.                                                        resolve,” Strauss said. That must make Pietersen’s inclusion in
   Usada said tuaminoheptane was classified as a “specified       the 15-man squad to defend England’s world Twenty20 title in
substance”. A reduced sanction can be applied when the athlete    Sri Lanka next month more unlikely than ever. The squad is due
can “establish the source of the substance and prove there was    to be named on Saturday, in the middle of the Test.
no intent to enhance sport performance or mask the use of a           “It’s a step forward, it’s a step in the right direction,”
performance-enhancing substance”.                                 said Strauss, who admitted he felt “let down” by Pietersen’s
   The USA won 14 cycling medals, five of them gold, at the       behaviour. “But this issue hasn’t just been about the text
2008 Paralympics in Beijing.                                      messages. There’s been a bit more of a broader issue about trust
                                                                  and mutual respect and that issue I’m very keen to resolve. But

                                                                  it’s not going to be resolved overnight. If we’re going to resolve
                                                                  those issues, we need to do it face to face away from the media
                                                                  spotlight and away from PR companies and press releases.
                                                                  That’s not helping any of us at this stage. For the next five or six
                                                                  days my focus has got to be on the game of cricket that we’re
  Mystified by mortgages?                                         playing this week.”
  Perplexes by pensions? Confused about                               Pietersen’s apology, which followed days of negotiations,
  your consumer rights?                                           had been published in an England and Wales Cricket Board
  Our experts are on hand to answer all                           statement less than an hour before Strauss fulfilled his pre-
                                                                  match media commitments. “I did send what you might © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                           
Page  G24 Sport                                                                Wednesday August 15 2012               22:00 GMT

call provocative texts to my close friends in the SA team,”
Pietersen was quoted as saying, having refused to make such
an admission when initially requested to do so last Friday,
                                                                      London 2012 authorities got cyber-
before England selected their team for Lord’s.”The texts were         attack warning on eve of Games
meant as banter between close friends. I need to rein myself
in sometimes. I apologise to Straussy and the team for the            Security services warned of possible threat
inappropriate remarks at the press conference [after the second       against Olympic power supply days before
Test at Headingley] and for the texts. I truly didn’t mean to
                                                                      opening ceremony
cause upset or tension, particularly with important games at
stake.”                                                               Richard Norton-Taylor
    But Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket
who has led the attempts to secure Pietersen’s apology,
responded: “We are in receipt of Kevin’s apology, but further
discussions need to take place to establish whether it is possible
to regain the trust and mutual respect required to ensure all
parties are able to focus on playing cricket and to maintain
the unity of purpose that has served us so well in recent
years. Critically, those discussions should take place behind
closed doors, rather than in the media spotlight. A successful
conclusion to this process is in everyone’s best interests and is
required for Kevin Pietersen’s potential selection in all forms of
the game to be considered.”
    South Africa’s captain Graeme Smith, who will equal Allan
Border’s Test record by leading his country for the 93rd time,
                                                                      The Olympic authorities were warned about a potential cyber-
expressed his surprise that what he described as “friendly chat”
                                                                      attack on their power supply days before the Games opening
between Pietersen and a couple of his compatriots – who the
                                                                      ceremony. Photograph: Getty Images
tourists still refuse to name – had caused such a storm. “I find it
quite amazing it’s still going on,” said Smith, who denied that       The security services warned the Olympic authorities about a
his team had been involved in putting the texts into the public       potential cyber-attack on their power supply days before the
domain.                                                               Games opening ceremony, the Guardian has learned.
    “We’ve stayed away from the rubbish,” he added. “I’m                  The warning is believed to have led to an urgent check on a
amazed how this story got out in the first place.” He did not         backup system and test whether it could take the massive strain
offer any suggestions as to how it had.                               from the Olympics lighting and communications networks.
                                                                          The home secretary, Theresa May, earlier this year
                                                                      specifically warned of the possibility of attacks on the Olympics
                                                                      by terrorists stressing in particular the threat from what she
                                                                      called “hacktivists”.
                                                                          A successful attack on the computerised power system
                                                                      would have caused chaos, stopped the ceremony, and blocked
                                                                      all communications.
                                                                          Whitehall sources insist that subsequent investigations
                                                                      showed the threat was not credible. However, it is understood
                                                                      to have provoked enough concern to have prompted an
                                                                      immediate check on the Olympic Park’s backup manually-

                                                                      operated power supply.
                                                                          A government spokesperson told the Guardian: “We do
                                                                      not comment on specific threats. The high profile of the
                                                                      Olympic Games meant that it was a potential target and we put
                                                                      in measures to help protect against such threats and we are
                                                                      committed to ensuring every conceivable preparation is made
  Follow the ups and downs of                                         in order to deliver a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic
  the housing market                                                      The home secretary warned in January that there was “a
  and get details of the latest                                       strong possibility” of a “threat from cybercrime”.

  mortgage deals in our Property                                          She added in a speech to the Royal United Services Institute
                                                                      (Rusi): “We are aware of the threat from so called ‘hacktivist’
  section.                                                            groups. These groups may attempt to target the games and may                                                also attack the websites of high-profile sponsors associated with
                                                                      the Games.”
                                                                          May continued: “We already have our own robust plans in
                                                                      place to deal with a cyber-attack against Games systems. And
                                                                      we are now also working with industry to strengthen their © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                             
Page 10 G24 Sport                                                               Wednesday August 15 2012                22:00 GMT

ability to defend themselves from cyber-attacks.”
    Ministers and officials have repeatedly stressed that most
cyber-attacks come from hostile state agencies, and most of
                                                                     Luca Cumani bidding to win Arlington
those were Chinese or Russian. However, they are unlikely to         Million again with Afsare
have attempted any attack on the Olympics, an event in which
their athletes were to come high in the medals table, ending up,     • Newmarket trainer won valuable event in
respectively, first and fourth.                                      1983 with Tolemeo
    Any perpetrator of a cyber-attack would more likely have
                                                                     • Hayley Turner has rides at prestigious
been an individual, or group of individuals, determined to
provoke havoc and demonstrate their ability to hack into
                                                                     American meeting
powerful and vital computer networks.                                Will Hayler
    “We know we face a real and enduring threat from terrorism
and we know that the Games – as an iconic event – will
represent a target for terrorist groups,” May said in her Rusi
speech. “Our Olympic security plans have been developed
against an assumption that the terrorist threat level at the time
of the games will be severe”.
    The parliamentary intelligence and security committee
(ISC) said in its latest annual report that MI5 had “planned on
the basis of an increased terrorist threat during the Games,
resulting in greater volumes of intelligence to be analysed and
responded to, coupled with a shorter turnaround time and a
lower risk threshold than would normally be applied to such
    The alert before the Olympics opening ceremony underlines
                                                                     Afsare, left, will attempt to give the Newmarket trainer Luca
a widespread feeling of vulnerability across government
                                                                     Cumani another victory in the Arlington Million on Saturday.
departments and agencies towards cyber-attacks. GCHQ, the
                                                                     Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
government’s electronic eavesdropping agency, has a lead role
in cyber “warfare” and staff there have expressed concern about      Luca Cumani, who made history while lining the pockets of
the lack of funds and staff to cope with a growing threat.           patriotic punters when sending Tolomeo to take the 1983
    “Cybersecurity is a fast-paced field and delays in developing    Arlington Million, looks to retrace his successful steps on
our capabilities give our enemies the advantage. We are              Saturday when Afsare lines up in the same race.
therefore concerned that much of the work to protect UK                 Cumani had been based in Newmarket for seven years
interests in cyberspace is still at an early stage,” the ISC said.   when he broke new ground for a British trainer and took the
    Five people were charged with terrorism offences earlier this    sport’s first-ever million-dollar prize in its third year. Tolomeo’s
month but they, and other arrests at the time were not related       late surge under Pat Eddery stole victory – at odds of 90-1
to the Olympics, security and intelligence sources said. The         with British bookmakers – from under the nose of America’s
sources expressed delight that the Olympics passed without an        champion John Henry, twice the winner of the race in other
actual attack.                                                       years.
                                                                        These days that sort of prize money is somewhat less
                                                                     headline-grabbing when set against the payouts offered by
                                                                     the Breeders’ Cup and Dubai World Cup meetings but it is still
                                                                     attractive enough to entice regular raids from Europe.
                                                                        Cumani himself has tried on six further occasions since
                                                                     Tolomeo to win the race, but this year has particularly high

                                                                        “You need a horse with a tough mental constitution and one
                                                                     with a real turn of speed because the home straight is very short
                                                                     and there isn’t long to make your move,” he said. “Afsare has
                                                                     found more consistency this year and, if the ground comes up
  Guardian offers                                                    fast, that won’t worry him. Kieren Fallon knows him well and
                                                                     hopefully he is the right horse for the job – we’ve been thinking
  For a wide selection of homewares,                                 about the race for some time.”
  gifts and gadgets - all at great prices                               America’s racing bible, the Daily Racing Form, regards
  including delivery to your door,                                   this year’s Million as a particularly “mild edition”, which
  visit our Guardian reader offers                                   should encourage Cumani and the connections of the other 13
                                                                     European-trained horses to have travelled out for the meeting.
  website                                                               Hayley Turner rides Wigmore Hall for Michael Bell, on whom                                        she finished fourth 12 months ago after a luckless passage, while
                                                                     the injury-enforced absence of Ryan Moore will also see Turner
                                                                     team up with the David Simcock-trained I’m A Dreamer in the
                                                                     Beverly D Stakes, one of three Grade One events on the card. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                                              
Page 11 G24 Sport                                                    Wednesday August 15 2012   22:00 GMT

    “Hayley has ridden her a couple of times as a three-year-
old and knows her well,” said the trainer’s wife and assistant,
Jennie. “Hopefully it will give us a good opportunity of winning
a first Grade One with this mare, as she has been incredibly
tough and consistent and she really deserves one. She was only
narrowly beaten in a similar race at Woodbine last year and it
makes sense to travel when you consider the prize money on
    “Even if you aren’t in the first four, there is an allowance
for travel costs and the owners will be well looked after on the
    Moore’s absence also opens up a connection for the jockey
Colm O’Donoghue, whose boss, Aidan O’Brien, has three
runners at the meeting. With Jamie Spencer riding Treasure
Beach for O’Brien in the Million, O’Donoghue steps in to
ride Crackerjack King for Marco Botti in the same race and
Jakkalberry for the same stable in the inaugural American St
Leger. A new contest, offering over £250,000 in prize money,
the race will be held over the maximum possible trip at
Arlington of one mile, five and a half furlongs.
    “The racecourse was looking to stage a new contest and,
when they consulted me as to what sort of a race might attract
runners from Europe, I felt that with the Sussex Stakes and the
Prix Jacques Le Marois, there were enough Group One options
over a mile here, so we took the decision to try something new,”
said the International Racing Bureau’s Adrian Beaumont.
    “To some extent it clashes with the Ebor but to get a field of
12 for the first renewal is very encouraging.”
    John Gosden, who trained at the track for 10 years, saddles
Zuider Zee in the race, along with Colombian in the Million and
Joviality in the Beverly D. The trio will all be ridden by William
    Godolphin are unrepresented but found their own cause for
celebration at Deauville on Wednesday when Saint Baudolino
took the Group Two Prix Guillaime D’Ornano for their French
operation. Earning quotes for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
from bookmakers, the Grand Prix de Paris third beat a fair field
with something in hand and could head next for the Prix Niel,
his trainer Andre Fabre’s favoured route to the Arc. © Guardian News and Media Limited 2012                                   

To top