Alonso joins Ferrari

MILAN: Ferrari have announced that double world champion Fernando Alonso will join them for 2010 from Renault, replacing Kimi Raikkonen. Ferrari said the Spaniard had signed a three-year contract and that he would partner Brazilian Felipe Massa. Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali described Alonso, world champion in 2005-06, as an “amazing talent”. Raikkonen said: "I am very sad to be leaving a team with which I have spent three fantastic years." The Finn, who won the drivers' title in his first year at Ferrari in 2007, is tipped to join McLaren. The 28-year-old's switch to Ferrari has been an open secret in F1 for weeks. — Agencies

French pair through

KUALA LUMPUR: Fifth seed Gael Monfils and fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet overcame jetlag to bolt into the second round of the Malaysian Open. Monfils dispatched Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/2). The unseeded Gasquet was relentless in his 6-1, 6-2 win over Romanian Victor Crivoi. The number 47 will play in the second round against Joacham Johansson after the Swede upset eighth seed Lleyton Hewitt. — AFP

FIFA suspend Brunei

SINGAPORE: The Football Association of Brunei Darussalam (BAFA) has been suspended by FIFA for government interference in its affairs, soccer’s world governing body said. “It started with a decision by the Brunei authorities to dissolve BAFA and to replace it with a new federation in December 2008,” FIFA said in a statement. The suspension, which applies globally, means Brunei and its clubs are unable to take part in international competitions. FIFA’s executive committee said it was also closely monitoring the situation within a number of other associations, including Iraq, Kuwait, Togo, El Salvador and Peru. — AFP

Paradorn optimistic

BANGKOK: Injury victim Paradorn Srichaphan still hopes to make a full return to the ATP despite suffering a defeat in the Thailand Open doubles on Wednesday, in his first competitive appearance in two years. “I would have loved to have come back in singles,” admitted the Asian ace, ranked ninth in the world six years ago, who single-handedly sparked tennis interest in Thailand a decade ago. Paradorn has been bothered by wrist problems that have twice required surgery, once in Los Angeles and again in Bangkok. He last played at Indian Wells in March 2007. — AFP

Barca boss cleared

MILAN: Pep Guardiola has had his name cleared following an eight-year struggle against a doping charge after an appeal was upheld this week, the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) has stated. The Barcelona boss was found guilty of taking nandrolone while playing in Serie A for Brescia in 2001 and has been striving to prove his innocence ever since. After serving a four-match ban, Guardiola then set about appealing the findings and in October 2007 saw himself cleared of all charges relating to the suspension. CONI reopened the case against the Spaniard. However, this week Guardiola was cleared after a tribunal found the Italian anti-doping prosecutor had no case. — Agencies