Valencia axe Marcelino, hire Celades
MADRID • Marcelino has been sacked as Valencia coach after an indifferent start to the season, with former Spain Under-21 boss Albert Celades replacing him, the Spanish La Liga club said yesterday.
The 54-year-old, who won the King's Cup and secured Champions League football for this season once more, leaves after two campaigns at the helm with the side 10th in the table on four points.
It is the first senior role in club management for Celades, who previously also worked as Julen Lopetegui's assistant during his ill-fated reign at Real Madrid last year. The 43-year-old signed a deal until June 30, 2021.
Inter boss backs fans in race row
GENEVA • Inter Milan chairman Steven Zhang says the principle of non-discrimination is "embedded in the DNA" of the club, after a widely criticised response from ultras fans to striker Romelu Lukaku being racially abused at a game.
Lukaku, who is of African origin, was targeted with monkey chants by Cagliari fans this month. A group of Inter fans later suggested such apparent abuse is not racist in Italy, and is a tactic they also use to unsettle opposing players. Inter's Chinese chairman says the club's inclusive history makes him believe that "a lot of fans, when they did it, the intention was not bad".
S. Korea against 'rising sun' flag
SEOUL • South Korea has called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Japan's "rising sun" flag from being flown at the Tokyo Games next year.
A letter has been sent from the country's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to IOC president Thomas Bach expressing "disappointment and concerns" that the local organising committee in Japan intends to use the flag at Olympic venues. The ministry said the flag defies the peaceful spirit of the Olympics as it was a symbol of Japan's imperialist past.
Ryder giant-killer Barnes dies at 74
LONDON • British golfer Brian Barnes, who memorably beat Jack Nicklaus twice in one day at the Ryder Cup, has died aged 74.
Barnes, one of golf's most colourful characters, died on Monday after a short battle with cancer. He won nine European Tour titles but the defining moment of his career came in the 1975 Ryder Cup against the United States at Laurel Valley, where he famously beat legendary American and 18-time Major winner Nicklaus 4&2 in the morning singles and 2&1 in an afternoon rematch.