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Former UEFA President Michel Platini Arrested Over Awarding of 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar

PARIS, June 18: French footballing legend Michel Platini, the former president of UEFA and head of European football, has been arrested over the decision to award the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar.

The former France international captain was detained by French police from Nanterre, a western suburb of Paris, as part of the investigation into corruption surrounding how the 2022 World Cup hosting rights were awarded, French investigative outlet Mediapart reported.

Platini was elected in 2007 and served as president until 2015, when the FIFA Ethics Committee banned him for six years. The ban was later reduced to four years, but investigators leading the fight against corruption within football have arrested him as part of the case.

The 63-year-old was on Tuesday reportedly taken to the premises of the Anti-Corruption Office of the Judicial Police. Claude Gueant, the former secretary general under President Nicolas Sarkozy, is also being questioned as a ‘free suspect’.

The 2022 tournament has been blighted by allegations of corruption since it was controversially named host in 2010.

A number have issues have cropped up regarding the decision to select the peninsular Arab country as the host nation, including human rights concerns and the status of homosexuality among others.

The soaring summer heat in the country was also an immediate concern, which led to the tournament being shifted to the winter, a huge departure from tradition.

In 2014, Platini admitted holding a secret meeting with the disgraced football official Mohamed Bin Hammam, shortly before casting his vote for Qatar.

Platini was on the 1998 Fifa World Cup organising committee, and joined the Fifa executive committee in 2002 until he received his ban.

Since the vote in favour of Qatar, of the 24 members of the executive committee of FIFA, 16 have been struck off, suspended or remain under investigation.

Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem to claim record-stretching 12th French Open title

PARIS, June 9: Rafael Nadal swept to an historic 12th Roland Garros title and 18th Grand Slam crown on Sunday with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Austria’s Dominic Thiem.

The 33-year-old Spaniard becomes the first player, man or woman, to win the same Slam 12 times after seeing off a brave challenge from a weary Thiem in a repeat of the 2018 final.

Nadal is now just two behind Roger Federer’s all-time record of 20 majors and three ahead of Novak Djokovic who was knocked out by Thiem in the semi-finals.

The world number two also took his Paris record to an astonishing 93 wins and just two losses having previously won the title in 2005-2008, 2010-2014, 2017 and 2018.

“I want to say congratulations to Dominic. I feel sorry as he deserves to win it as well,” said Nadal.

“But he has every chance in the future. He has unbelievable talent for the sport and I want to encourage him for the future.

“It’s a dream to win again, an incredible moment. When I first played here in 2005 I never thought I would be still playing here in 2019.

“It’s very special for me.”

Sunday’s triumph confirmed the ‘Big Three’ stranglehold on the Grand Slams having shared the last 10 between them.

It also gave Nadal an 82nd career title and 950th match win.

In a 53-minute first set of brutal hitting and raw physicality, it was Thiem who broke first for a 3-2 lead.

But the 25-year-old’s joy was short-lived as Nadal retrieved the break in the sixth game before racing away with the next three games to pocket the opener.

Thiem, who had beaten his opponent four times on clay in his career, failed to claim a single point off Nadal’s first five service games of the second set.

However, the dogged Austrian pushed and pushed, forced Nadal into three rushed groundstrokes and, from nowhere, broke to take the second set.

It was the first set he had managed to take off Nadal at Roland Garros after three previous defeats.

Nadal was riled by the insult.

He swept the first 10 points of the third set, carving out a double break for 3-0 before sweeping to a third break for the set.

Thiem, bidding to become just Austria’s second Grand Slam champion after Thomas Muster won in Paris in 1995, had played four successive days to reach Sunday’s final and the toll was slowly telling.

He wasted break points in the first and third games of the fourth set and Nadal pounced to stretch to 3-0.

That was soon 5-1 and the relentless barrage continued with Nadal taking the title on a second match point when Thiem fired a return long.

Anirban Lahiri qualifies for his third US Open

COLUMBUS, June 4: India’s Anirban Lahiri carded a three-under 67 followed by a flawless seven-under 65 at the 36-hole sectional qualifier here to qualify for his third US Open.

Lahiri last played a Major at the PGA Championships in August 2018. This year he missed out on Masters and the PGA. It will be his 16th Major and the third US Open, which is the only Major, where he has not made the cut. His best is Tied-5 in the 2015 PGA Championships. His last pro win came at the 2015 Hero Indian Open at home.

The 31-year-old Lahiri first carded three-under 67, with seven birdies and four bogeys at Par-70 Scioto Country Club. He then played a superb seven-under 65 which included seven birdies at the Par-72 Brookside.

At 10-under Lahiri was second behind Luke Guthrie from Jacksonville. Guthrie shot 64 at Brookside and 67 at Scioto.

“It doesn’t feel good to watch majors from home so definitely a new perspective heading to the US Open. Safe to say I’m hungry to play well in the big events,” Lahiri said.

“I played really good in the qualifiers. My iron play was definitely the standout. Feel good about the game at the moment. Really like the two courses we played. Old school tree lined and you had to shape shots,” he added.

Shifting focus from Muirfield Village, where he had finished Tied 52 on Sunday, to Brookside Golf and Country Club, barely seven miles away, Lahiri took a major step in trying to turn his fortunes around as he strung together two superb rounds to qualify for his first Major of the year.

“I felt very comfortable and got on a roll in my second round. Glad to finish well. Now looking forward to Pebble Beach,” he said.

“It felt good to put 36 holes together. Have been playing well last couple of weeks but making too many mistakes. Even my first round today (at US Open qualifiers) I made four bogeys. The best thing is that I’m starting to make birdies in bunches and that’s very encouraging,” Lahiri said.

On Monday, Lahiri had four birdies on front nine, but also gave away three bogeys. On the back nine, he had three birdies in four holes, but also a bogey in between.

In the second round of the 36-hole qualifier, Lahiri had two birdies on front nine and five on the back nine of the course and there were no bogeys.

“Even in the Memorial week I made 18 birdies so obviously the golf is very good. I am working on sharpening the scoring so that I can really go low over multiple rounds,” he added.

The other Indian in the fray, Shubhankar Sharma missed out on qualification after he carded 69 at Brookside. It included an eagle but the 22-year-old closed with a double bogey. At Scioto he shot 71 with three birdies and four bogeys for 71 and ended at 140. The first alternate’s spot went at 139.

Three Indians, Shiv Kapur (71-70), Ajeetesh Sandhu (76-73) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (72-WD) failed to qualify from Walton Heath, Surrey. Also missing out was another Indian Rigel Fernandes (75-73) also missed out in Streamstrong, Florida.

Mumbai beat Chennai by 1 run to lift fourth IPL title

HYDERABAD, May 12: Lasith Malinga redeemed himself as he dismissed Shardul Thakur on the last ball of the match and with that Mumbai beat Chennai by 1 run to claim the title. This is Mumbai Indians’ fourth crown and they became the first team to do so.

Earlier, Kieron Pollard’s 41 helped Mumbai Indians to 149/8 in 20 overs. As for CSK, Deepak Chahar finished with outstanding figures of 3/26. Imran Tahir and Shardul Thakur scalped two wickets each. Earlier, Mumbai Indians won the toss and skipper Rohit Sharma elected to bat first against Chennai Super Kings.

Soon after losing the finals, MS Dhoni said I think the bowlers did very well for us. It wasn’t a 150 wicket but they managed to do so. Nothing agains the bowlers but batting could have been better.

Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma said We have a squad of 26 players and everyone came in chipped in for us. Our bowling this season was excellent. Bowlers brought up back in the tournament and today also.

The following players were awards:

Subhman Gill (KKR): Emerging player of the year

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH): Playing in right spirit award

Hardik Pandya (MI):?Fastest fifty of the season

Andre Russell (KKR): Super striker of the season

KL Rahul (KXIP) : Stylish player of the season

Rahul Chahar (MI): Gamechanger of the season


Stephen Gallacher wins Hero Indian Open 2019
Curran grabs hat-trick, Delhi lose 7 wickets for 8 runs as KXIP script heist

Shankar, Kohli script thrilling win against Australia in Nagpur



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