CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC):In the clearest sign yet it intends to resist the recommendations of CARICOM’s Governance Review Panel, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) says it has retained the services of Dominican lawyer Anthony Astaphan.During its regular quarterly directors’ meeting in Rodney Bay Saturday, the WICB announced that Astaphan would serve as an “adviser to look at the recommendations for the CARICOM final report on governance of cricket”.Astaphan, a senior counsel and former president of the Bar Association of Dominica, delivered a presentation to directors during the morning session of the meeting on Saturday.A WICB release quoted Astaphan as saying that the way forward “will look at how both organisations can work together for the benefit of the improvement of cricket on and off the field”.”A full paper will be prepared and will be available for presentation to the prime ministers’ committee,” the WICB said.The move is a significant development, especially following on the heels of a meeting between CARICOM and the WICB in Grenada recently – the first between the two bodies following the release of the controversial Governance Report which has recommended the “immediate dissolution” of the WICB.The report also calls for “the appointment of an interim board whose structure and composition would be radically different from the now proven, obsolete governance framework”.Chairman of CARICOM’s Cricket Governance Committee, Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell, said last month he was confident the WICB would get on board with the recommendations.”Since they (WICB) were part of the process that agreed to set up this committee and to accept its recommendations and to implement it, I don’t see how they can afford to do otherwise,” Mitchell said at a press conference in St George’s to announce the recommendations of the report.WICB President Dave Cameron has since expressed concerns about the involvement of governments in the affairs of the regional cricket body, stressing that it was important for sporting bodies to remain autonomous.”We’re not saying we don’t want the governments to participate. We’re saying that the decisions of the organisations must not be influenced by governments,” the Jamaican said last month.The Governance Report Panel was chaired by University of the West Indies’ Cave Hill campus principal, Professor Eudine Barriteau, and also comprised Sir Dennis Byron, president of the Caribbean Court of Justice; West Indies cricket legend Deryck Murray; Warren Smith, president of the Caribbean Development Bank, and Dwain Gill, president of the Grenada Cricket Association.
American boxer Rashid Stevens made a successful start to his professional boxing career last Wednesday night at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium when he scored an easy victory over Jamaica’s Camion Goldson in the penultimate round of the preliminaries of the Wray and Nephew Contender 2016 competition. Judges Lindell Allen and Peter Richards voted 49-46 for Stevens, while judge Owen Nelson scored it 50-45. Stevens was the second boxer from the USA team to make it to the next round and joins Demarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley in the mix. Boxers from the Caribbean team have won the other five places in the quarter finals that have been competed for to date. The preliminaries will end next week. Stevens came to fight, but Goldson seemed overwhelmed by the occasion because he, too, was making his professional debut. He forgot that to win a fight, the most important thing is to score points with punches to the target area. He did not do so enough and therefore lost the fight. Stevens started out quickly and showed good ring sense. Fighting from a south-paw stance, he moved a lot and scored with flurries to body and head. He made it difficult for Goldson to land any punches, and the Jamaican was not creative enough to find a way in. In the second round, Goldson was able to shorten the range and landed some good shots to the body of his opponent. There were some good exchanges in this round, and Goldson finished in a very positive way to take the honours. It turned out to be the only round that he would win. By the third round, a very confident and poised Stevens took control of the fight and scored with quick flurries to the head and body. His combinations were good, and Goldson just could not manage to launch a sustained attack. Stevens kept building momentum and cruised through the next two rounds comfortably as a somewhat bewildered Goldson could simply find no answers. It turned out to be as one-sided affair as the scores showed. After next week’s bout, the boxers will be seeded and the top four will select their opponents by using a draw. There should be some interesting matches in the next round as the boxers fight for the places that will earn them the major prize money. The winner will take home the Contender 2016 title and $2 million, the runner-up $500,000, third place $250,000, and fourth place $200,000.
Time for the final The admission by the Professional Football Association of Jamaica (PFAJ) that they did consult with Portmore United and not Montego Bay United re the changes to the scheduling and the time for the final is one count. Count number two is the blatant double standard, in that Montego Bay United actually requested for a rescheduling of the final in previous seasons on the grounds that the MoBay fans had to travel to and from Kingston on a Monday night and his request was unequivocally denied. To have this year’s final shifted to Montego Bay and the start time adjusted that is a valid case of what being good for the goose not being good for the gander, which is most unjust. Word from the Montego Bay United camp is that these specific cases are mere symptoms of wider issues the western club has been having overtime with the football authorities. One could argue that it is of their own doing, with Mr Powell’s eccentricity and his outspoken traits which make him not the easiest person to work with. The principle, however, supersedes the individual and the communication amongst the stakeholders and the public was poor from the start. It was only last Friday, two days before the final and more than a week into the spiralling controversy, that it was made public that the title sponsors had plans to broadcast the final to 24 countries around the world, which understandably could have had a major influence on the date and time set for the final. Why then were these dynamics not communicated to ALL the stakeholders, including Montego Bay United, in a timely manner? All is well that ends well though. Montego Bay United weathered the swirling, emotional storm surrounding this game and fully deserve to be champions. So after all, we did have an exciting final game and we do have a 2015-16 Red Stripe Premier League champion. Congratulations are in order to Montego Bay United, who duly and spectacularly crowned themselves champions of local football amidst all the preceding controversy. The actual football action on the pitch will still have to compete with the theatrics of the two weeks leading into the final. Montego Bay United president, Mr Orville Powell, voluntarily played the part of the maligned messenger, but amidst the quagmire of contentious and vitriolic outbursts he did deliver some poignant and relevant messages. It is quite clear that Mr Powell and Montego Bay United were indeed disrespected and treated unfairly. Invaluable Controversy The publicity and hype created by the controversy were invaluable. It was perhaps not the best kind of publicity from a corporate perspective, but it was a great sell for the game itself, which attracted a large crowd. There has not been a Premier League final in recent history that generated this amount of drama, spectacle and interest leading into the game itself. As to whether or not we have all been befuddled by a brilliant stroke of marketing genius – ignited by these two weeks of uncut controversy – or there are genuine issues that need to be addressed, we might never know. But for sure, it worked out quite fine in the end. We look forward to next season and hope that it will, at least, be equally competitive, that will culminate in another dramatic and spectacular high profile climax. The league needs it, football needs it.
Interestingly, after such a comfortable run, the youngster, who many considered a dark horse in the event, might have shown that it will take a lot more than more popular names to beat her. “I’m feeling good. I’m a person who hates the 400 metres, but at this point my coach, Stephen Francis, thinks it’s the best event for me. I’m really happy I made it to the final,” said Jackson, who arrived in Beijing having never competed in a 400m as a senior athlete at any international event. “I followed my coach’s instruction, which was to get out and get a good place in the race, and even if I finish second, that I should ensure it’s a close one. I went out there just to make the final and then take it from there,” she explained. “My plan was to run a hard 50 metres and then relax, but I think I went out a bit too slowly so I had a lot of ground to make up.” Jackson, added that she wasn’t affected by the presence of Felix in her semi-final and that she is eager to take on the challenge and experience the final. “I trust my coach and I trust my body to know what type of shape I am in. Watching my teammates compete motivates me a lot, too, because it helps with the nervousness,” Jackson said. “I have learnt to run my own race and take it each step at a time. Medals aren’t handed out in the semi-finals or the heats, so you have to save a little for the final.” She may be looking towards the final, but she isn’t any closer to embracing the event just yet. Either way, Jackson’s performances have so far certainly made it hard to argue against her coach’s decision. “No, I still don’t like it (400m), the workload is pretty hard, but you have to put in the work if you want to be the champion,” smiled Jackson. The women’s 400m final is set for tomorrow morning at 7:40. BEIJING, China: Twenty-one-year-old Jamaican quarter-miler, Shericka Jackson, has been having a love-hate relationship with the 400 metres ever since her coach, Stephen Francis, tried to convince her it’s the best event for her to run. Jackson, who had success at the regional and international stage as a youth and junior athlete in the 200m, felt, and still feels, that she is more of a 200-metre type of girl and not even a place in the 400m final at the IAAF World Championships and a new personal best in the event seemed to change her mind. The fast-rising University of Technology-MVP Track Club athlete sent a warning shot to the semi-finals inside the Bird’s Nest, dropping back and easing to a 50.03-second clocking for second place behind Allyson Felix in their heat yesterday. That was the fastest time by a Jamaican this year and is, in fact, the best time registered by a Jamaican woman since 2013. Only four women have gone faster than Jackson this year, and only seven Jamaicans have ever gone faster. Dark horse
BEIJING (AP):Ashton Eaton is in good shape, maybe even his best shape in quite a while. Mentally, he’s as strong as ever, too.Watch out world record.The Olympic decathlon champion believes his best-ever mark could be in jeopardy at the world championships. His quest begins today with the 100-meter run, the first of 10 events over the two-day competition.Eaton’s record stands at 9,039 points, a total he reached at the US Olympic trials for the 2012 London Games. He went on to win a gold medal.Last season, Eaton didn’t compete in any decathlon events. Instead, he dabbled in the 400-metre hurdles, which isn’t part of the decathlon programme, just to keep his workouts fresh.”Physically, I can say I’m very capable of (the record) right now,” said Eaton, who will wear a cooling hood designed by his sponsor in between events. “If it comes down to the last event, the 1,500 metres, I’m going for it. There’s no question.”For a week, Eaton has been a spectator. He watched his wife, Brianne Theisen-Eaton, struggle early in the heptathlon, only to rebound to earn silver. He watched his American teammates stumble to a slow start in the medal count.He’s sick of watching.Eaton had a suggestion for the meet organisers: Put the decathlon first again, like in Moscow when he won gold. That way, he could kick back and enjoy the action.”When I’m later in the competition, I get antsy,” the 27-year-old Eaton said. “I’m seeing everybody else go and achieve things. It’s like I’m just twiddling my thumbs.”He will certainly have his hands full against Trey Hardee, the 2011 world champion. These two have a robust but friendly rivalry, conversing all the time through Twitter.
“He lives with his family out in Seven Miles, Bull Bay, so he is within the region and is well familiar with the club and location. He’s coming back from injuries … and wants to get his career on track. So he was looking at Harbour View as a fit and we were looking locally and internationally for players who could fit,” Jureidini explained. Matheson is still recovering from a hamstring injury that is keeping him out, and Jureidini says they are no rush. “We want to make sure his injury is recovered and repaired properly … . He has played a few practice games, so he can play, but we think it’s best to repair the injury fully and put him on a good footing and see how well he does throughout the Premier League and going forward, so we are being cautious to make sure his injuries have passed and then take it step by step,” he said. However, Jureidini thinks the player can improve the team and get his professional career back on track. “He is a talent, powerful player and a finisher; he could make a solid impact if fit, if ready and in the right frame of mind, so we are trying to get him there. “He participated heavily in preseason and specific training … and we want him in good health and build a solid season, which hopefully will be the platform to return to the international stage,” he said. Meanwhile, Arnett’s coach, Jerome Waite, said Morgan will be missed, but it’s an opportunity for the player to improve himself. “Last season was one of his best, if not his best since leaving schoolboy football. But if the opportunity arises where he can have a stint in the US, then we will give him the opportunity,” said Waite. “The team will propel without him. If he was here he would play his part, but during his absence other players will have to rise above expectations. “The sky’s the limit (for Morgan), as it’s not only to play in the USL, it’s to try and get into higher leagues … and he has the capability,” Waite highlighted. One Canadian international player, Allando Matheson, has moved to the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), while two players, Arnett Gardens’ Marvin Morgan Jr and Boys’ Town’s Asrick Samuels, will move overseas for the new season. Former Toronto FC and Canada Under-17 and Under-20 player, Matheson, agreed terms with Harbour View FC, while Morgan signed with Cosmopolitan Soccer League (CSL) club Lansdowne Bhoys and Samuels will turn out for Grenades FC in the Antigua & Barbuda League. Harbour View General Man-ager Clyde Jureidini says the Canada-born Matheson has had limited playing time over the last two seasons because of injuries, and while recovering with family in Bull Bay, both parties saw how they could mutually benefit each other. back on track
Armstrong did not reveal how much he paid SCA. Company officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The SCA dispute was just one of several to hit Armstrong since his admission to doping. He previously settled a similar bonus payments dispute with Acceptance Insurance, which had sought US$3 million. Armstrong still faces a federal whistle-blower lawsuit in which the federal government is seeking repayment of more than US$30 million the US Postal Service paid to sponsor his teams from 1998-2004. Penalties in that case could reach the US$100-million range. The federal case was initially filed by former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis in 2010. The government joined the case in 2013. Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France victory because of doping, is scheduled to be deposed today. The case is not set for trial until 2016. EXACT FIGURE UNKNOWN AUSTIN, Texas (AP): With a payment and an apology, Lance Armstrong has settled a decade-long dispute with a promotions company that sought repayment of more than US$10 million in bonuses it paid the former cyclist during a career that was later exposed to be fuelled by performance-enhancing drugs. Dallas-based SCA Promotions first pursued evidence of doping against Armstrong in 2005. Although the company paid Armstrong in 2006, the testimony in its lawsuit and arbitration case helped lay the foundation for later doping charges that ultimately got Armstrong banned from the sport and stripped of his record seven Tour de France victories. SCA demanded repayment in 2013 after Armstrong publicly admitted using steroids and other doping methods. Although Armstrong’s lawyers had insisted there was no legal ground for a “redo” on the previous voluntary settlement, an arbitration panel ordered Armstrong to pay a US$10 million penalty for lying under oath in the original case. “I am pleased to have this matter behind me and I look forward to moving on. I do wish to apologise to SCA and its (chief executive), Bob Hamman, for any misconduct on my part in connection with our dispute and the resulting arbitration,” Armstrong said in a statement yesterday to The Associated Press.
England beat Pakistan in T20 DUBAI, UAE (AP): England beat Pakistan by 14 runs yesterday in the first Twenty20 match at Dubai International Stadium: Scores: England 160-5 (Sam Billings 53, Eoin Morgan 45 not out, James Vince 41; Sohail Tanvir 2-31) defeated Pakistan 146 all out (Sohail Tanvir 25 not out, Sohaib Maqsood 24; Reece Topley 3-24). Pakistan vs India in Sri Lanka ISLAMABAD (AP): Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has given the green light for the country’s cricket team to play a limited-overs series against India in Sri Lanka next month, Pakistan media reported yesterday. Private television channel Geo News says Sharif told the Pakistan Cricket Board that it could send a team to play against India at a neutral venue. The cricket boards of Pakistan and India have been in a stalemate for months over a venue for the series. India had refused to play in the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan’s home away from home, and Pakistan rejected the prospect of playing the series in India. Giles Clarke, who heads International Cricket Council’s Pakistan Task Force, organised a meeting between PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan and BCCI president Shashank Manohar last week in Dubai, where Sri Lanka was chosen as the possible venue. Both cricket boards signed a memorandum of understanding last year to play at least six series from 2015 to 2023, with Pakistan hosting the first one in December. India in control NAGPUR, India (AP): Spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were among the wickets yesterday as India pressed for victory in the third Test after dismissing South Africa for a meagre 79. South Africa was 32-2 in their second innings chasing 310 for victory after India’s second innings folded in the interim for 173 in under two sessions. The cushion of a 136-run first-innings lead gave the home side a lot of leeway since the highest team total in this low-scoring series, being played on spin-friendly pitches, was 215, scored by India in the first innings in Nagpur. Ashwin had figures of 5-32 and Jadeja took 4-33 as the visiting side was dealt a serious blow in its quest to level the four-match series at 1-1. Top-ranked South Africa, resuming on an overnight total of 11-2 in reply to India’s first innings of 215, put up a disappointing show in their first innings.
First-time Red Stripe Premier League campaigners UWI FC will continue their march towards a top four position and a place in the semi-final round when they host last year’s beaten finalists and current leaders, Montego Bay United, in one of four matches today.Last week, the university boys improved their chances with a handsome 5-1 win over Boys’ Town, but will find Montego Bay United – a team which has been in the final for the past two years – tough nuts to crack. Not only are the opponents historically strong, but are in good form with Owayne Gordon and Allan Ottey handling the goalscoring responsibility since the departure of Dino Williams.Ronaldo Rodney has also been in good form as has been Jermaine Woozencroft. The issue with Woozencroft is that the opposition has been using rough play to stop him and he has been biting the bait.UWI’S MAIN MANGirvon Brown has been the main man on the offensive front for UWI FC, with good support from Anthony Greenland and Anthony Grant, and goalkeeper Amal Knight leading the defensive line. Montego Bay United are nothing like Boys’ Town and will be a much tougher unit to break down.In addition to the win that UWI FC will need, they will also need Humble Lion FC, the team currently occupying the fourth spot, to lose. The form book would suggest that a loss for Humble Lion is wishful thinking as their opponents, Reno FC, are well below their best and will be expected to drop points even though they are playing at home.At Stadium East, seventh-placed Cavalier FC will be hoping to capitalise on a slip-up by UWI FC and close the gap on them with a positive result over the slumping Boys’ Town.Tivoli Gardens still cannot consider themselves safe from the drop despite being six points clear of the battling Rivoli FC, who play away to Harbour View on Monday. With that being the situation, a positive result for Tivoli Gardens would be a fantastic result for Glendon ‘Admiral’ Bailey and his charges. Their opponents, Portmore United, are not in danger of falling out of the top four, but would be eager to regain the form which saw them top the table. Anything but the best from Portmore United could see them falter in the semi-final round and make the job easier for their opponents.Today’s Games• 5 p.m.: Cavalier vs Boys’ Town – Stadium East• 3 p.m.: FC Reno vs Humble Lion – Frome Complex• 3 p.m.: Tivoli Gardens FC vs Portmore United FC – Edward Seaga Complex• 3 p.m.: UWI FC vs Montego Bay United – UWI Bowl, MonaTomorrow’s game• 8:40 p.m.: Harbour View FC vs Rivoli United FC Harbour View StadiumPOINTS STANDING P W D L GF GA GD PtsMoBay United 27 15 9 3 45 15 30 54Arnett 26 15 5 6 42 20 22 50Portmore 26 14 5 7 31 24 7 47Humble Lion FC 26 10 9 7 24 22 2 39UWI FC 26 10 7 9 30 35 -5 37H. View 26 8 10 8 30 26 4 34Cavalier SC 26 8 7 11 21 25 -4 31Reno 26 7 9 10 25 38 -13 30Boys’ Town 26 8 6 12 29 43 -14 30Tivoli 27 8 5 14 30 37 -7 29Rivoli 26 5 8 12 25 34 -9 23Waterhouse 26 4 10 12 22 32 -10 22
MUMBAI, India (AP):Chris Gayle hopes to smash another century when West Indies returns at the Wankhede Stadium tomorrow for their World Twenty20 semi-final against India.Gayle’s 47-ball century against England gave West Indies a winning momentum in the tournament before Afghanistan broke the three-match winning sequence of the 2012 champions on a turning wicket at Nagpur.”This is a perfect opportunity to actually start the tournament and try and pick up where I left off, get a big one for the team and put them in a winning position,” Gayle said yesterday.A niggling hamstring injury denied Gayle a chance to bat against Sri Lanka. He returned against South Africa but lasted only two deliveries – flicking the first one for four before getting clean bowled off the next ball.He was then rested against Afghanistan in their last last group match.POWER HITTINGBut the batting-friendly wickets in Mumbai with short square boundaries ideally suits the power hitting of Gayle as West Indies raced to 183-4 against England with 11 balls to spare.South Africa also twice scored over 200 runs at the Wankhede Stadium. However, first England denied the Proteas with the second highest ever successful chase of 230-8 and then Afghanistan put up a brisk start before losing by 37 runs in pursuit of South Africa’s 209-5.In the absence of at least two key players leg-spinner Sunil Narine and all-rounder Kieron Pollard, West Indies have ousted South Africa and defending champions Sri Lanka from the tournament.”That goes to show the strength of West Indies cricket back home,” Gayle said. “The guys who actually replaced the first picks, someone like Carlos Brathwaite, he won us the game against South Africa … and the bench is still strong enough.”Gayle said that six-run defeat against Afghanistan has only increased the motivation of West Indies to do well in the semi-final.”The only positive you can look from the Afghanistan game is the motive,” Gayle said.”We saw India bounce back from losing games as well, so it can put us in a strong position as well to actually lift our game and do better on Thursday.”Virat Kohli has been key in guiding the host into the semi-finals with his two masterful half centuries against arch-rivals Pakistan and an unbeaten 82 off 51 balls in the do-or-die last group match against Australia.Gayle was not surprised by the sublime form of India’s master middle-order batsman, who has scored 184 runs at an impressive average of 92.00.”No surprise there. I have said it over the years he is going to be the world beater he is today,” he said.”He has been fantastic right through the year. He has been in great form. He can still get runs but in a losing cause. We’ll be happy with that as well.”- AP