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Friday, January 8, 2010

Diouf set to make his Manchester United debut

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is all set to give Senegal striker Mame Biram Diouf his debut match.

The Senegal striker recently completed his switch from Norwegian club Molde, and has now been given the No 32 shirt, formerly worn by Carlos Tevez.

The 22-year-old has impressed in training and, after having a work permit granted for the forward, United have now received international clearance.

"He has adapted very well to our training regime, and has looked very impressive," The Sun quoted Ferguson, as saying.

"He is quick, and very good in the air. Overall, he is a really good centre-forward, and will play a part this season," he added.

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No-show in Australia may bring sweeping chanNo-show in Australia may bring sweeping changes in Pak team and management

In the wake of Pakistan’s second test defeat against Australia in Sydney, some drastic changes in the team and its management may be on the cards.

“Pakistan Cricket Board shows it utmost concern over the poor performance of Pakistan cricket team in the second Test played in Sydney Australia. Chairman Selection Committee was invited today for a meeting with Chairman of PCB to evaluate the situation,” The News quoted a PCB statement, as saying.

“An overall review of performance of the team shall be carried out by the board after completion of the Australian tour,” it added.

According to sources, the ‘review’ could result in some sweeping changes within the team management.

Pakistan coach Intikhab Alam may face the biggest blow.

Alam has been under intense criticism and he might lose his job if the team fails to come out with an improved performance in the Hobart Test and the One-day series.

Also placed under the scrutiny is Mohammad Yousuf, the 35-year-old senior batsman who was given the captaincy after Younis Khan opted out of the twin tours of New Zealand and Australia last November.

Yousuf’s defensive tactics on the fourth day of the second Test in Sydney have put a question mark over his future as Pakistan captain.

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Kings XI Punjab hopes to break even by 2011Kings XI Punjab hopes to break even by 2011

Indian Premiere League (IPL) team Kings XI Punjab, which had committed USD76 million (Rs350 crore) as franchise cost for over ten years, hopes to break even by March 2011.

Apart from this, KXIP is also in talks with seven to eight companies for signing up more sponsorships for the forthcoming IPL season three.

"We are expecting to reach break even point by 2011," KXIP CEO Anil Srivatsa told reporters here today, refusing to divulge details about the actual losses made by the venture.

Srivatsa further said there was no cause of concern at this point of time, as none of the other franchise outfits had made profits.

"The fact is that nobody has earned any profit so far (in this Twenty20 cricket venture)... but there is no cause of concern," he said.

The second season of IPL in South Africa last year, coupled with the global slowdown had increased the cost for every franchise.

"The shifting of venue for matches in South Africa last year did add to cost burden, as some of the sponsors were not keen on holding matches in there. Besides, slowdown was another reason which impacted everybody," he said.

KXIP annually spends Rs70-80 crore on marketing, holding T20 matches and paying fees to cricketers.

"Out of the total annual cost of Rs70-80 crore, we pay Rs30-31 crore to our players, and also spend on having matches etc," said company's senior vice-president Arivnder Singh.

KXIP, which is also owned by Bollywood actress Preity Zinta and industrialist Ness Wadia, is also in talks with few companies, including those in FMCG and telecom sectors for signing up sponsorships.

"We are in negotiations with 7-8 companies to sign up sponsorships ahead of next season of IPL this year," he said.

Currently, the companies that are sponsoring KXIP are Fly Emirates, Pepsi, Gulf oil, Reebok and UB.

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EA Sports moves forward with Tiger Woods' game rollout

EA Sports said on Monday it was moving forward with plans to introduce a Tiger Woods online game despite the top golfer's public relations nightmare and drastic drop in popularity following his adultery scandal.

The Electronic Arts Inc unit's president, Peter Moore, said in a company blog,, that the company would this month begin offering 'Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online,' a browser-based golf game developed in the past year.

"Our relationship with Tiger has always been rooted in golf," he wrote on the blog. "We didn't form a relationship with him so that he could act as an arm's length endorser.

"Regardless of what's happening in his personal life ... Tiger Woods is still one of the greatest athletes in history," he added.

EA's move comes four days after AT&T Inc terminated its sponsorship deal with Woods, joining other companies that have either distanced themselves or cut ties with the world's first billionaire athlete since he became engulfed in allegations of multiple extramarital affairs after a minor car accident outside his Florida home November 27.

Woods, believed to be the world's wealthiest athlete, estimated to earn about $100 million a year in endorsement deals before his troubles, confessed on December 11 to "infidelity." He announced he would take an indefinite break from golf to save his marriage to Swedish wife Elin Nordegren.

The game is one of EA Sports' first online efforts, to be offered to consumers initially at no cost during a testing phase, but eventually requiring a subscription fee to play.

EA, which previously had said its Tiger Woods PGA Tour business would remain unchanged, signed a sponsor deal with the world's No. 1 golfer in 1997 and has introduced 12 versions of the video game bearing his name.

However, Moore did not say on Monday whether EA would move forward with the expected rollout this summer of its next Tiger Woods PGA Tour video game, annually one of the company's highest-selling sports products. A spokesman declined further comment.

Previously, technology outsourcing and consulting firm Accenture Plcended its endorsement deal with Woods, while Procter & Gamble Co's shaving products maker Gillette and Tag Heuer, a unit of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, said they would continue their relationships but drop Woods from their marketing.

In addition to EA Sports, others who have not backed away from Woods include athletic shoe maker Nike Inc, Upper Deck, Berkshire Hathaway's NetJets business and TLC Vision Corp, as well as developers in Dubai working on completing a Tiger Woods golf course project.

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