PSL’s newest team is Multan, worth $41.6 million

The Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Thursday welcomed its newest outfit, Multan, which will feature in the third edition of the tournament to be held in 2018.

Dubai-based Schon Group met the reserve price of $5.2 million per year for an eight year contract, in a contest that had 10 bidders. The total contract is therefore worth $41.6 million.

Multan is Pakistan’s fifth largest city. For its rich Islamic and Sufi tradition, it is known as the City of Saints.

Karachi Kings was until now the most expensive team, with the ARY Group purchasing it for $2.6m per year for 10 years.

The other teams of PSL Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi, Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators were purchased for $2.5m, $1.6m, $1.5m and $1.1m respectively.

The Schon group is managed and owned by Nasir Schon and his two sons, who have their family roots in Pakistan.

With the inclusion of a sixth team, the number of matches played in the PSL is also set to be increased. PSL Chairman Najam Sethi is aiming to host at least four matches of the PSL’s third edition in Pakistan.

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Cricket: Spot-fixing trial against five begins

AFP

A tribunal on Monday started hearings into spot-fixing charges against five players who could face life bans if found guilty.

The tribunal convened by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is headed by Justice Asghar Haider. Former Pakistan captain Wasim Bari and ex-PCB chairman Tauqir Zia are also members.

Prosecutors played a tape in which opening batsman Sharjeel Khan admitted having met a bookmaker but denied any wrongdoing.

Sharjeel is one of five players provisionally suspended in the case, which surfaced during the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) tournament staged in the United Arab Emirates in February. He was present during the hearing.

Khalid Latif, Shahzaib Hasan and Nasir Jamshed are also facing charges punishable by a minimum five-year ban and a maximum suspension for life.

In March fast bowler Mohammad Irfan had admitted failing to report an approach to fix a match and was banned for six months, with six more suspended. He was also fined Rs1 million. Another player, Mohammad Nawaz, was also summoned by PCB anti-corruption unit in the spot fixing case but has not yet been charged. Once charged his case would also be submitted before tribunal.

PCB lawyer Taffazul Rizvi said Sharjeel had admitted meeting a bookie along with Khalid.

“He also accepted that man was linked to fixing and that whatever was decided in that meeting panned out in the agreed manner,” Rizvi told reporters.

But Sharjeel in the recorded statement said the fact that he played two dot (non-scoring) balls at a particular point in a game was not linked to spot-fixing.

Spot-fixing involves determining the outcome of a specific part of a match, rather than fixing the result. It can centre on something as minor as the number of wide or dot balls at any particular time. The match in question was Islamabad United’s first in the PSL, in which Sharjeel played two dot balls and scored one run.

The PCB’s anti-corruption unit believes Sharjeel took money to play the dot balls. Witnesses are due to give evidence to the tribunal on Tuesday. Sharjeel’s lawyer Shaigan Ijaz said his client expects a favourable result.

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BCB surprised at PCB decision to call off tour

The PCB said it was cancelling this year’s tour because Bangladesh had not shared with a return visit

Dhaka Tribune

The BCB expressed surprise at Pakistan’s decision to call off their tour of Bangladesh in July-August this year. BCB’s chairman of the media and communications committee however, said they are yet to receive official confirmation from the PCB.

“We are really surprised. Even a month ago we knew that the tour was on. There was a discussion between both board chiefs (Nazmul Hasan and Shaharyar Khan) during this week’s ICC meeting in Dubai. This upcoming series was ours to host, in accordance with the FTP (Future Tours Programme),” said Jalal on Thursday.

“In 2015, the two boards went into a deal according to which we were supposed to play two series in the following two years in Bangladesh,” he added.

According to the board director, Bangladesh don’t want to play in Pakistan and are willing to stick to the previous FTP.

“There was even a financial issue, which was dealt with at the time. They said they wanted to play here (Bangladesh) till 2017. They wanted Bangladesh to play two T20Is in Pakistan before continuing the series here. We don’t want to play there. We want to stick to our schedule, according to which the whole series was supposed to be played in Bangladesh,” explained Jalal.

Jalal informed that they got to know about Pakistan’s decision to call off the Bangladesh tour through media.

“If the series does get officially cancelled, we have to go into discussions with them. We have cleared the financial issues so there’s no need to talk about those things now. We haven’t heard anything from them in official correspondence. We heard it through media that they want to cancel the tour,” he said.

The last time Bangladesh toured Pakistan was in 2007-08, for five ODIs. Since then, Pakistan have toured Bangladesh twice, in 2011-12 and 2015.

The PCB said it was cancelling this year’s tour because Bangladesh had not shared with a return visit. If the tour is finally called off, Bangladesh will have a break in July as there are no fixtures announced yet after the 2017 Champions Trophy.

However, there is a proposed home series against Australia in late August after the CA postponed its FTP tour, which was scheduled for October, 2015.

Pakistan call off tour of Bangladesh

Reuters

Pakistan Cricket Board has called off their scheduled cricket tour of Bangladesh this year, Shaharyar Khan has said.

Bangladesh last toured Pakistan in 2007-08. Pakistan has since traveled to Bangladesh in 2011 and 2015 and were scheduled to play two tests, three ODIs and a Twenty20 International in July and August in the South Asian country.

Khan said Bangladesh had failed to reciprocate Pakistan’s visits with the Bangladesh Cricket Board turning down an invitation to play two T20 internationals in Pakistan.

“We had spoken about the possibility of hosting them (Bangladesh in Pakistan) this year,” the PCB chairman told ESPNcricinfo.

He added: “Pakistan have now toured Bangladesh twice without them reciprocating, and we feel we cannot tour Bangladesh for the third straight time. Therefore, we have decided to postpone the tour, and will explore another window in the next year or so.”

At least 10 gunmen fired on a bus carrying Sri Lanka’s cricket team in 2009 with rifles, grenades and rockets, wounding six players and a British coach, and killing eight locals.

Since then, Pakistan has been forced to play most of its ‘home’ games in the United Arab Emirates.

AC Milan sold to Chinese consortium

AP

The takeover of AC Milan was completed Thursday, with Silvio Berlusconi selling the club to a Chinese consortium after 31 years in charge.

The group, led by Chinese businessman Yonghong Li, has been attempting to buy Milan for some time but the deal has hit a series of delays and the sale has been postponed twice.

“I thank Berlusconi and Fininvest for their trust and the fans for their patience, from today we will build the future,” Li said.

Berlusconi’s holding company, Fininvest, released a statement announcing that it had completed the transfer of its 99.93pc stake in Milan to Rossoneri Sport Luxembourg which was formerly known as Sino-Europe Sports.

“Today’s finalisation gives full effect to the takeover agreement,” Fininvest said in the statement.

The deal, which values Milan at about $800 million, requires the investors to spend $372 million over three years on improvements.

“The buyers have confirmed their commitment to fulfill important recapitalisation investments to the balance sheet and strengthen AC Milan’s finances and assets,” Fininvest said.

A general shareholders’ meeting has been called for Friday when the names of the new president and directors will be announced. There is also expected to be a news conference on Friday.

The new owners’ first match will be Saturday’s derby against Inter Milan, which is also owned by a Chinese company.

During Berlusconi’s reign, Milan won a number of trophies at home and abroad.

The Rossoneri won eight league titles, one Italian Cup and seven Super Cups as well as five Champions League trophies and five UEFA Super Cups.

But the famous Italian club has slipped from the top in recent years and is currently sixth in Serie A.

Milan won the Italian Super Cup in December, beating Juventus for its first trophy in six years.

“I’m leaving today, after more than 30 years, the title and job of Milan president,” Berlusconi said in a long statement on Milan’s website.

“I do it with pain and emotion, but with the knowledge that in modern soccer, in order to compete at the top European and world levels, you need investment and resources which one single family is not able to sustain.”

“I will always be the first fan of Milan, the team that my father taught me to love as a chil

d, the dream that we realised together. To the new owners I give my best and most heartfelt wishes that you achieve goals even more extraordinary than those achieved by us.”

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End of the road for 50km Olympic walk?

AFP

PARIS: Athletics’ governing body meets in London this week to assess Russia’s progress in stamping out doping and whether the 50km walk has come to the end of the Olympic road.

Also at Wednesday and Thursday’s meeting the IAAF wants to discuss ending the practice of African athletes switching allegiances.

The stamina-sapping walking event has been on the Games menu since Los Angeles in 1932 but is suffering from dwindling viewer interest and allegations of doping, especially among Russian competitors, leaving the discipline vulnerable for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The 2016 Rio 50km walk winner, Russia’s Sergey Kirdyapkin, was stripped of his gold after he was found guilty of doping.

Despite the event’s endangered status three-time European gold medallist Yohann Diniz spoke out in its defence.

“The audience it pulls in is very good, it works better even than the marathon. The 50km walk throws up so many twists and turns, improbable scenarios.

“And it’s an event which truly represents the Olympic spirit in all its splendour, not the business that the Olympics has turned into,” the Frenchman told AFP.

The 1980 Moscow Games 50km walk champion Maurizio Damilano, president of the event’s body, hopes a compromise can be found for 2020.

And it has a friend in the Japanese, according to a source close to the Tokyo Games organising committee, which intends to fight to retain the discipline.

Irrespective of its fate the 20km men and women races will figure in Tokyo, but in the guise of 21.097km half marathon walks.

On Russian doping the IAAF in February extended its ban on Russia’s team to the world championships in London this summer — Russia has been barred from international track and field competition since November 2015.

On Tuesday seven Russian athletes including two world champions, hurdler Sergey Shubenkov and high-jumper Maria Kuchina were, were cleared to compete at London as neutrals.

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World Cup 2026: USA, Canada and Mexico will launch joint bid to host tournament

The USA, Canada and Mexico have announced they will launch a historic joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

It will be the first tournament after the expansion from 32 teams to 48. and, if successful, it would be the first time a World Cup has been hosted jointly by three countries.

The USA held the 1994 World Cup which had the.

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