Magpies snap up Merino on season loan
LONDON • Newcastle United have signed midfielder Mikel Merino from Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund on a season-long loan, the newly promoted English Premier League football club announced yesterday.
The Spain Under-21 international is manager Rafa Benitez's fifth signing of the current transfer window following the arrivals of Christian Atsu, Florian Lejeune, Jacob Murphy and Javier Manquillo.
Hammers' Antonio to miss United opener
LONDON • West Ham midfielder Michail Antonio is recovering ahead of schedule from surgery, but will still miss their opening Premier League game against Manchester United, manager Slaven Bilic said.
Antonio suffered a long-term hamstring injury in April during a 1-0 win over Swansea.
Barton's ban appeal results in 5-month cut
LONDON • Former Burnley midfielder Joey Barton has had his ban for breaking rules concerning betting on matches reduced by almost five months on appeal, the English Football Association (FA) said on Thursday.
Barton was banned for 18 months in April after being charged with placing 1,260 bets on football matches or competitions from 2006 to last year, in breach of FA rules which prohibit players from gambling on games. His fine of £30,000 (S$53,385) still stands.
Williams out of NZ's clash v Australia
WELLINGTON • Centre Sonny Bill Williams will miss the All Blacks' Rugby Championship opener against Australia on Aug 19 after World Rugby clarified his four-game ban for a red card in the British and Irish Lions series.
He was sent off for a dangerous shoulder charge on Lions winger Anthony Watson in the second test in Wellington earlier this month and suspended for four matches. Williams has appealed against it.