GLENEAGLES: European team captain Jose Maria Olazabal said on Monday triple major-winner Padraig Harrington missed a wildcard to the European Ryder Cup team after failing even to “perform to his own standards” this year. Harrington’s non-selection ends a run of six straight Ryder Cup appearances, with Olazabal choosing England’s Ian Poulter and Belgium-born rookie, Nicolas Colsaerts as his two wildcard picks. It will be the first time since Harrington made his Ryder Cup debut in 1999 at Brookline that he won’t be a member of the European team, despite the Irishman this year finishing eighth in the Masters, fourth in the US Open and seventh in the Irish Open.
Babovic joins Zaragoza
BELGRADE: Real Zaragoza have signed midfielder Stefan Babovic from Serbian champions Partizan Belgrade on a three-year contract, the Spanish League side said. “I am delighted because I have come to the best league in the world and I will give everything I have to match Zaragoza’s standards,” Babovic was quoted as saying on the club’s website after passing his medical on Monday. The 25-year-old former Serbian international won two successive league titles in his second spell with Partizan after returning to the club in 2010 following stints with city rivals OFK, French side Nantes and Dutch giants Feyenoord.
Eto’o refuses to return
PARIS: Samuel Eto’o has rejected the chance to make a comeback for Cameroon, saying the team environment is still plagued by “amateurism and bad management”. The 31-year-old forward was recalled last week for the African Nations Cup final round first leg against Cape Verde Islands on
September 8, eight months after he was suspended for having led a player strike over unpaid bonuses. The row caused Cameroon to cancel a friendly in Algeria. Eto’o now plays for wealthy Russian Premier League side Anzhi
Makhachkala. The two-legged match between Cameroon and Cape Verde Islands will decide a place at the 2013 finals in South Africa. The return leg is in Yaounde in October.
Barcelona to appeal
MADRID: Barcelona will appeal against what they believe was an excessively harsh dismissal of coach Tito Vilanova in Sunday’s 2-1 Spanish League win at Osasuna, the club said on Monday. Vilanova, who was making his away debut in the league after taking over from Pep Guardiola at the end of last season, was sent from the bench in the second half when he protested the referee’s decision not to award a freekick for a challenge on Sergio Busquets. The referee said in his match report he had punished Vilanova “for angrily protesting a passage of play, having been warned by the fourth official”.
Alaba to miss qualifier
VIENNA: Austria coach Marcel Koller left injured midfielder David Alaba out of his squad for next month’s 2014 World Cup qualifier against Germany. The Bayern Munich player fractured his left foot in July and was unlikely to recover in time for the September 11 Group C game in Vienna. Werder Bremen winger Marko Arnautovic, who missed Austria’s 2-0 win over Turkey this month with a thigh injury, returned to the 23-man squad. Defender Franz Schiemer replaced Paul Scharner, who had been expelled from the national team following a dispute with Koller before the Turkey game.
Rosicky to miss out
PRAGUE: The Czech Republic will open their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign at Denmark next week without injured captain Tomas Rosicky. Rosicky sustained an Achilles tendon injury in the 2-1 win over Greece on June 12 at the European Championship and has not played for his Arsenal side since. Rosicky’s usual replacement, Daniel Kolar, and first-choice attacking midfielder Vaclav Pilar are also injured and not available for the September 8 match at Copenhagen and a friendly against Finland in Teplice three days later.
COPENHAGEN: The Danish football federation says UEFA has turned down striker Nicklas Bendtner’s appeal of a one-match ban and $125,000 fine for
“improper conduct” during the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine earlier this summer. The ban rules the Arsenal striker out of Denmark’s opening qualifying match for the 2014 World Cup against the Czech Republic next month. Bendtner was banned for a goal celebration during a group stage game against Portugal. After scoring his second goal of the match, the striker raised his shirt and lowered the top of his shorts to reveal the name of a betting firm printed on the band of his underpants.
Oman board quits
MUSCAT: The board of Oman’s Football Association has quit in an effort appease FIFA after being threatened with suspension from playing 2014 World Cup qualifiers for breaching rules on taking disputes to court. The resignation on Monday comes after three Oman clubs successfully challenged last year’s board elections in court in June. FIFA reminded OFA in July that it faces “immediate and indefinite suspension” if the court’s ruling award is upheld. Rather than honour the court ruling, the board said in a statement that new elections are now scheduled for September 27.