Monday, January 11, 2016

WORLD SPORTS: D-day looms for NFL teams eyeing LA move

D-day looms for NFL teams eyeing LA move

Agence France-Presse

The fate of three NFL teams hoping to relocate to Los Angeles is expected to be decided this week as team owners meet for a crucial vote which could end the sport's two-decade absence from the city.

Three teams -- the St Louis Rams, the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders -- are all hoping to persuade the 32 owners of the NFL to vote in favour of their applications to move to Los Angeles.

The most popular sport in America has been a notable absentee from the nation's second biggest media market since 1994, when the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Raiders played their last games in the city.

How the NFL owners vote when they meet in Houston on Tuesday and Wednesday remains shrouded in mystery.

However a report issued to all 32 NFL teams on Saturday by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell increased the probability that one or more teams will be heading to the City of Angels in time for next season.

For a move to be approved, bidding teams need to obtain 24 votes from the 32 owners to be successful.

If there is a deadlock a decision could still be postponed for up to a year, but analysts believe that is unlikely.

Trump brands NFL football 'soft'

Agence France-Presse

The National Football League's efforts to tone down some of the game's violence in a bid to protect player health has made gridiron "soft", US presidential hopeful Donald Trump said Sunday.

Trump who leads the polls for the Republican nomination for the White House, said in Reno, Nevada, that too many penalty flags were ruining the NFL.

"You used to see these tackles and it was incredible to watch," Trump said. "Now they tackle -- 'Oh, head-on-head collision, 15 yard (penalty)'.

"The whole game is all screwed up. You say, 'Wow, what a tackle.' Bing. Flag.

"Football's become soft. Football has become soft."


Korean star Oh signs with Cardinals

Agence France-Presse

South Korean pitcher Oh Seung-Hwan has signed for the St Louis Cardinals on a one-year contract, the Major League Baseball club announced on Monday.

The 33-year-old right-hander joins the Cardinals from the Hanshin Tigers professional team in Japan.

Terms of Oh's deal have not been revealed although the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the contract, which has a club option for 2017, was potentially worth $5 million.


Spieth bolsters number one position

Agence France-Presse

Jordan Spieth's seventh PGA title win in Hawaii on Sunday has put some distance between himself and rivals Jason Day and Rory McIlroy at the top of the world rankings.

The three young players are currently the toast of golf and all eyes are on their rivalries over the course of the year.

Spieth, at 21 the youngest of the three, took the number one spot back from Day late last year and he looks set to hold on to it through to April and the Masters, the first of the year's four majors, where he will be the defending champion.

Day and McIlroy have yet to start their seasons.


Rawdanska up to fourth in world rankings

Agence France-Presse

In-form Agnieszka Radwanska is up to fourth in the WTA world rankings thanks to her tournament win in Shenzhen.

The Polish player moved ahead of Maria Sharapova, who was forced to pull out in Brisbane due to an arm injury.

Biggest mover of the week was former Australian Open champion Viktoria Azarenka, who climbed six places to 16th on the back of her impressive win in Brisbane.

Serena Williams, who will be the defending champion at the Australian Open later this month, remained well clear at the top despite skipping the Hopman Cup in Perth because of a knee injury.


Kerber survives 'extreme heat' test in Sydney

Agence France-Presse

Germany's Angelique Kerber overcame the loss of the first set on a day of extreme heat in Sydney as she maintained her build-up to next week's Australian Open on Monday.

The fourth seed, one of the few members of the women's world top 10 not to be hit by injury in the lead-up to the year's first Grand Slam, came from a set down to oust Ukraine's Elina Svitolina 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 in Sydney International's first round.

Kerber, who lost to Victoria Azarenka in Saturday's Brisbane International final, is looking for more matches to hone her form leading into the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Australia's Samantha Stosur fought back from a set and a service break down to overcome defeat Italy's Roberta Vinci 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in two hours 30 minutes.

Among other first-round winners on Monday were Italy's world number 19 Sara Errani, over Spanish seventh seed Carla Suarez 6-3, 6-3, and German Sabine Lisicki, who eased past Slovenia's Polona Hercog 6-4, 6-3.

In the men's draw, Italian fifth seed Andreas Seppi eliminated Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in three sets, but Seppi's compatriot Simone Bolelli went out to American qualifier Alexander Sarkissian 6-2, 7-6 (7/5).

In the evening match, experienced Spaniard Tommy Robredo was too strong for Australia's John Millman 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.