Expelled from Italy's Serie C after 20-0 loss
MILAN • An Italian third division football club that cobbled together a seven-man team and lost 20-0 on Sunday has been thrown out of the league.
Pro Piacenza's first team squad and coaching staff refused to travel for the game at Cuneo owing to unpaid wages, leaving the financially troubled team to start with six teenagers and a 39-year-old physiotherapist - the only players they could find.
After ruling on Monday that some of the players were not registered for the match, Lega Serie C's disciplinary committee disqualified the team from the competition and handed Cuneo a 3-0 walkover win.
Spanish Super Cup to feature four teams
MADRID • The Spanish Super Cup is to undergo a radical transformation under which it will expand to four teams, with two semi-finals and a final all to be played outside Spain, Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales said yesterday.
Rubiales, who became RFEF president last May, also broke with tradition last year by turning the traditional curtain-raiser between the LaLiga champions and the Copa del Rey winners from a two-legged tie into a single game played in Tangier, Morocco, where Barcelona beat Sevilla 2-1.
Fourth Laureus gong for Novak Djokovic
MONACO • Novak Djokovic's stupendous comeback from injury last year, which saw him win two Grand Slam titles, earned him the Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award on Monday.
The Serbian tennis star - who added the Australian Open in January to the Wimbledon and US Open crowns he won in 2018 after coming back from elbow surgery - won the award for a fourth time. American gymnast Simone Biles was named Sportswoman of the Year for a second time, on the back of the 21-year-old's historic achievement last year in adding a fourth all-around world title to her collection.
Kvitova bounces back but Bertens exits
DUBAI • Petra Kvitova recovered from losing a first-set tiebreak to defeat Katerina Siniakova and progress to the third round of tennis' Dubai Championships yesterday.
The second seed saw off her 44th-ranked Czech compatriot 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-4 in over 21/2 hours at the Aviation Club. The 2011 and 2014 Wimbledon champion said she was unfazed about the early start.
Slovak Victoria Kuzmova accounted for Dutch seventh seed Kiki Bertens, winning 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (8-6).