Former Brazil striker Romario has called on authorities to investigate a possible connection between the head of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and the mysterious death of a TV journalist 38 years ago.
Romario, who is now an outspoken federal congressman, asked members of Brazil’s Truth Commission investigating abuses during the country’s military dictatorship of 1964-1985 to turn over any information it may have on Jose Maria Marin, 80, Reuters reported.
Marin, who served as governor of Sao Paulo state during the dictatorship, gave a controversial address in 1975 calling on authorities to look into claims that radical leftists had infiltrated television station TV Cultura.
In the vaguely worded speech Marin called for action to ensure that “calm returns to the homes of Paulistanos,” as residents of the city of Sao Paulo are known.
“I don’t know what action he had in mind,” Romario said in a speech in Congress on Thursday. “What I do know, and what we all know, is that on the 24th of that October, Vladimir Herzog, the head of journalism at TV Cultura, was called in (by police) and was found dead in his cell the next day.”
Military officials said Herzog hanged himself. His supporters said Herzog was tortured and killed and the scene was staged.
The Truth Commission on Friday symbolically gave Herzog’s family a revised death certificate correcting the cause of death from asphyxiation to “mistreatment in police custody.”
The commission’s president said he could not comment on Romario’s statement because he did not yet have a formal request for assistance.
A spokesman for Marin did not return calls seeking comment on Romario’s statement.
The CBF, however, hit back angrily at the allegations on its website, calling them a “clumsy campaign designed to destabilize (Marin’s) performance as the head of the CBF.”
The confederation replaced its usual front page images of footballers with a plain black background emblazoned with the words “Debunking an Untruth” written in white.Romario proposed a public hearing to debate the subject of “football and the dictatorship” and cited several players, including former Brazil captain Socrates, who suffered at the hands of the right-wing dictatorship.
Del Potro Too Strong For Murray
Britain’s Andy Murray went out of the BNP Paribas Open with a three-set quarter-final defeat by Juan Martin del Potro in Indian Wells.
The Argentine faced just two break points and did not drop serve once as he won 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-1, BBC said.
He faces Novak Djokovic in the last four after the top seed thrashed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3 6-1 in 53 minutes.
“It was a tough match,’’ Murray said. “He played like someone that’s won a lot of matches recently.”
Rafael Nadal, who knocked out Roger Federer, will play Tomas Berdych.
Murray, as the number three seed, was expected to join them, and went into the contest with a 5-1 lead in matches against Del Potro.
However, their last encounter came in 2009 and this time around British number one found it hard to make an impression on Del Potro’s heavy serve and huge forehand.
Murray saved two break points in the opening game, but there were to be no more for either player in the next 50 minutes and, after winning an epic 43-stroke rally in the tie-break, the Scot converted his second set point.
Del Potro’s challenge might have been expected to fade, but a break to love gave him renewed impetus at the start of the second set and he went close to breaking again as he leveled the match.
With the temperature in the Californian desert around 35C, both players appeared to be feeling the effects of the heat in a tense decider.
Murray was especially edgy after he finally earned a first break point of the day, only to see Del Potro thump down a huge second serve.
The Briton then offered up a double-fault, a backhand error and a wayward forehand to help his opponent break, and when Del Potro doubled the advantage at 4-1 there was no way back for Murray.
A seventh double-fault gave Del Potro two match points and an eighth handed him victory after two hours and 32 minutes.
“It was very hot; there were a lot of long rallies,” said Murray.
Heat Win 21st Straight, Beat Bucks
The Miami Heat had just watched the Super Bowl when Shane Battier delivered a speech that left quite the impression.
Whatever he said that night in Toronto, the Heat sure took off from there. They haven’t come down yet, AP reported.
LeBron James and Chris Bosh each scored 28 points, and the Heat made it 21 straight wins, beating the Milwaukee Bucks 107-94 on Friday night.
Only three other teams have won 20 in a row in one season, and the Heat now trail just the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (33) and the 2007-08 Houston Rockets (22) after moving ahead of the 1970-71 Bucks.
The Heat haven’t lost since they fell at Indiana on Feb. 1, and they return Sunday to the place where this streak started two days later, back when they were a mediocre road team barely on top of the Eastern Conference standings.
‘’I think the biggest thing for our team was watching the Super Bowl and getting away from basketball in a sense and just enjoying each other,’’ Dwyane Wade said. ‘’We got the famous speech from Shane Battier and we’ve been rolling ever since.’’
What did Battier say?
‘’You had to be there,’’ Bosh said. ‘’It was after watching the Super Bowl. It was a good game, we had a great time. I guess the main focus was that you’re going to miss me when I’m gone.’’
‘’It was not so much about him,’’ he continued. ‘’He tied in everything. He tied in life to the Super Bowl. It was just everything. It was a good time.’’
It’s been nothing but good times for the Heat ever since, although there was a scary moment for them in this game. That was when Wade walked to the locker room with what the team said was a neck strain after crashing to the court in the early going. The Heat overcame that and led by as much as 17 in the third quarter, then withstood a push by the Bucks to keep the streak going.
Bosh hit from all angles and was 12 of 16 in the game, nailing two 3-pointers. He even converted a four-point play that made it 67-53 about five minutes into the third quarter.
Iranian Boxers Shine
Iranian boxers have won three bronze medals in the 2013 ASBC Asian Confederation Youth Boxing Championships currently underway in the Philippines.
In the minus 81-kilogram weight class, Siavash Omidi defeated his Chinese opponent 12-11 at the gym in the coastal town of Subic on Friday. He will face his Kazakh rival on Saturday in his final match to bring home the gold medal, Press TV wrote.
Later in the day, Mobin Kahrazeh was the winner in his match against a boxer from Uzbekistan in the minus 75-kilogram weight category, and snatched another bronze for Iran. Kahrazeh has previously overwhelmed his Chinese opponent.
Also, Sina Qalevandi collected Iran’s third bronze on Friday after he conceded defeat against his Uzbek rival in the minus 91-kilogram weight class.
The 2013 ASBC Asian Confederation Youth Boxing Championships started on March 10, and will wrap up on March 17.
The sports event has brought together participants from 26 countries, including China, Iran, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
Singapore, Macau, Hong Kong and Bangladesh are taking part in the 2013 ASBC Asian Confederation Youth Boxing Championships for the very first time.
Grosjean Heads Wet Final Practice
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean was fastest from Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in a rain-hit final practice at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
The Frenchman piped Alonso by just 0.071 seconds shortly before a heavy rain shower hit the Albert Park track, BBC wrote.
Teams managed only a few laps of running and the track was soaked before they had a chance to prepare for qualifying, BBC wrote
World champion Sebastian Vettel pulled off the track with a car problem.
Over the team radio, Vettel was told by his engineer to pull off because the car had lost its hydraulics. But team boss Christian Horner later said it was a malfunctioning sensor that had given a false reading.
In the short period of dry running, Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen was fifth fastest, ahead of the Toro Rossos of Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Force India’s Adrian Sutil--back in F1 after a year out of the sport following a conviction for grievous bodily harm - was eighth, with the Sauber drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez completing the top 10, ahead of Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, Vettel and the second Red Bull of Mark Webber.
Lewis Hamilton did not complete a flying lap in the dry after his team encountered a couple of delays turning the car around after his installation lap and was 22nd and last.
Vettel looked in imperious form in Friday practice, half a second clear of the field and with at least that much pace still in the car.
But he was only 12th fastest in the dry running on Saturday morning and managed only a handful of laps before his problem during the later wet running.
The rain stopped and the track dried towards the end of the session, with a dry racing line beginning to emerge, but none of the drivers went out on ‘slick’ dry-weather tires.
Mancini Rues Transfer Errors
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has admitted the failure to acquire defensive back-up in January’s transfer window has proved costly.
The Premier League champions have been without their influential captain Vincent Kompany since he suffered a calf injury in the FA Cup win at Stoke seven weeks ago, Sky Sport reported.
Second-placed City head to Everton in Saturday’s lunchtime Sky Live showdown desperately needing a victory to reduce the 12-point gap between themselves and neighbors United.
Reflecting on the frustrations of Kompany’s stuttering rehabilitation, Mancini said: “Probably we made a mistake because when we knew of this problem we were four days to the close of the market.
“Probably then we should maybe have bought another defender. Also, last year he had this problem, for one month he didn’t play. This is a big problem. For me we made a mistake in this case.
“We had a chance because we had one good defender but we didn’t think that Vinny would stay out for 40-45 days.”
The Italian manager is hopeful his Belgian centre-half will be fit for the Newcastle clash in a fortnight, although the prospect of required surgery remains a threat
“He has started to run and we hope that he will be ready for Newcastle,” Mancini added. “His calf was tired but he didn’t have any problems.
“But we don’t want to take a risk at this moment because we have one game and after it is the international break. It is better we wait.”
Kompany’s absence has seen Kolo Toure, fourth-choice centre-back earlier in the season, return to form and prominence with four successive starts.
The player who seems to have missed out is Joleon Lescott, whose lack of game time cost him his place in the England squad this week.
Persepolis Home Win Evaporates
Popular football team Persepolis was held to a 2-2 draw by Mes of Kerman in the 30th round of Iran’s Premier League (IPL) on Friday.
In the match held at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, thanks to Marko Perovic’s header Persepolis took the lead in the 10th minute of the game. But veteran Reza Enayati equalized the match seven minutes later, Mehr News Agency wrote.
Meysam Naqizadeh scored Persepolis second just 30 seconds into the second half.
At the dying moments of the match, Ahmad Hassanzadeh beat the offside trap to open Persepolis goal for the second time.
Elsewhere, Foulad was held to a 1-1 draw by Sepasi and Malavan and Rah Ahan played out a goalless draw.
Also on Persepolis, captain Mehdi Mahdavikia announced his retirement from football.
Mahdavikia, who will turn 36 in July, has decided to bring an end to his 18-year career after being benched in Persepolis during the IPL.
Mahdavikia joined Persepolis in 1995 and after three years moved to Bochum. His stellar career came with Hamburger SV, where the winger played 208 times and scored 26 goals. The nickname of Mahdavikia was the Carpet in the German team.
Mahdavikia was selected as the Hamburger SV Team of the Century in October 2012 and attended the Hamburger SV 125th anniversary gala at O2 World in Hamburg, Germany.
Mahdavikia joined Persepolis once again in 2012 and scored three goals in 26 matches for the Iranian giant.
He made 111 appearances for Iran football team and scored 13 goals in the team but decided to hang up his boots in 2009.
Mahdavikia has played in Eintracht Frankfurt and Iran’s Steel Azin and Damash as well.
Barcelona’s inspirational captain Carles Puyol may miss next month’s Champions League quarterfinal tie against Paris St Germain after he needed surgery on his right knee on Friday.