Blues sign Heskey

BIRMINGHAM: Birmingham completed the signing of forward Emile Heskey from Liverpool on Tuesday for a club record $11 million. Heskey, a regular in the England squad, signed a five-year contract. “I think Birmingham is a progressive and ambitious club and very much going in the right direction,” Heskey told Birmingham’s Web site. Heskey, often criticised for not scoring enough goals, netted 60 times in 228 games for Liverpool over four seasons. — AP

Santini names squad

PARIS: France coach Jacques Santini announced his Euro 2004 squad on Tuesday, with only injuries preventing the 23 players selected from travelling to Portugal, where France hopes to defend its title this summer. The squad include: goalkeepers — Fabien Barthez, Gregory Coupet and Mickael Landreau; defenders — Jean-Alain Boumsong, Marcel Desailly, William Gallas, Bixente Lizarazu, Willy Sagnol, Mickael Silvestre and Lilian Thuram; midfielders — Olivier Dacourt, Ludovic Giuly, Claude Makelele, Benoit Pedretti, Robert Pires, Jerome Rothen, Patrick Vieira, Sylvain Wiltord and Zinedine Zidane; strikers — Thierry Henry, Steve Marlet, Louis Saha and David Trezeguet. — AP

Henin-Hardenne fit

BRUSSELS: World No 1 Justine Henin-Hardenne on Tuesday announced she will defend her French Open title despite a virus infection that disrupted her preparation, but warned she should not be considered a favourite. “It is evident that I am still not at 100 per cent, but, in any case, I feel ready,” she told a news conference. “I leave for Paris with one clear objective — to win my first match.” — AP

Kings’ Peeler suspended

NEW YORK: Sacramento King’s Anthony Peeler was suspended for two games for elbowing Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett, meaning the Kings guard will miss Game 7 of the Western Conference semi-finals. Peeler was suspended without pay by the NBA. Peeler hit Garnett in the midsection with 31.2 seconds left in the third quarter on Sunday. Peeler elbowed the league MVP in the head with 13.5 seconds remaining in the period and was ejected. — AP

Stam moves to AC Milan

MILAN: Netherlands defender Jaap Stam has joined Serie A champion AC Milan from Lazio. Stam signed a two-year contract with Milan and the deal put $12.6 million into Lazio’s struggling coffers. In Milan, Stam will be united with his former defensive teammate Alessandro Nesta, who left Lazio for San Siro in 2002. Stam, formerly of PSV Eindhoven and Manchester United, joined Lazio in 2001. This season, he helped the Roman club win the Italian Cup. — AP

Blatter receives medal

PARIS: The French president awarded the head of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, the prestigious Legion of Honour medal on Monday for his services to soccer. President Jacques Chirac praised Blatter’s “brilliant career” at the head of soccer’s governing body as he awarded him the rank of chevalier of the Legion of Honour. Blatter praised France for its “large role in the development of soccer” as the world’s most popular sport. — AP