Last Man on Manus Island

REPORTER: Olivia Rousset

I’m flying to remote Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

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Along with Nauru, it’s one of the two processing centres set up for asylum seekers under the Howard Government’s Pacific Solution.

Deliberately placed far from human rights workers, lawyers and the media, for a long time it was almost impossible for an outsider to visit here.

PNG GUIDE: This is the gate, be aware of that gun pointing at you on the right. Good morning. SBS.

PNG OFFICER: OK, we’ll have to direct you down to the commander officer and we go down there and you will see him and talk to him. I will come with you.

Since September 2001, asylum seekers have been brought to the Lombrum Naval Base, where they’re guarded by the PNG military at Australia’s request. But now there is only one person left here, a 25-year-old Palestinian refugee from Kuwait – Aladdin Sisalem.

REPORTER: Hello, Aladdin. Olivia, nice to meet you.

Aladdin has been here for 15 months, he’s been alone for the past seven. I am his second visitor in that time.

ALADDIN SISALEM: All that I can do now is remember things. Remember that some people were with me here and just to forget that I am living here alone.

Aladdin’s solitary confinement has cost the Australian taxpayer about $5 million dollars so far. The detention centre can house around 1,000 asylum seekers. It has gym, a mess area, a children’s playground, and even a makeshift mosque. But most of Aladdin’s day is spent in his room, plotting his escape on the computer.

ALADDIN SISALEM: The Internet is the only window I can look out from this detention centre. So I spend all my day inside the room. Finding research for information, trying to find help outside, that’s all that I can do here.

When Aladdin first arrived, there were about 150 people here.

ALADDIN SISALEM: They are in Auckland now. This is in Auckland as well, New Zealand.

Of all the asylum seekers brought to Manus, Aladdin was the only one to have actually made it to Australia. But he was also the only one left behind when his friends departed.

ALADDIN SISALEM: This is when the first group of New Zealand was going.

REPORTER: How did you feel when they left? Did you think that you would go soon?

ALADDIN SISALEM: I just felt happy for them. I just wished that some day I would leave like them.

The guards are discouraged from talking to the sole inmate here so his only company is a stray cat – Honey.

ALADDIN SISALEM: Hi, Honey. Give me your hand.

Aladdin’s prolonged incarceration has had a heavy impact on his state of mind. He used to take five different pills daily, until the psychiatrist and the doctor left along with the rest of the asylum seekers.

ALADDIN SISALEM: I told them don’t stop this medicine because they tried to stop it.

Now a guard gives him just one anti-anxiety tablet each afternoon. Even so, he’s still plagued by thoughts of suicide.

ALADDIN SISALEM: I don’t see the government planning for any end for my situation. Only just to maybe they want me to end it myself. And I can’t. I don’t have the courage to do that. And I won’t do it. And I need my rights to live. And I want to live. I don’t want to be forgotten here until I make my own decision. I don’t want that. I can’t do it.

ERIC VADARLIS, ALADDIN’S LAWYER: There is no doubt in my mind that Aladdin is really stuck between a hard place and a rock. He’s not in a place of his own choosing, he came here because he believes that Australia was a free country, you know, signatory to the convention on refugees, obligated to give refuse to those people seeking asylum and unfortunately he was wrong because we’re a hard-arsed country here.

Eric Vadarlis is a prominent Melbourne solicitor who’s taken on Aladdin’s cause. He says that in 27 years of practising law, he’s never seen a case like this.

ERIC VADARLIS: He is a classic refugee. He’s a classic person for whom the convention was created back in 1947. Classic. And yet, he comes here, he’s stateless, he’s a Palestinian, he’s got no travel documents, he really can’t be anywhere. I mean, he can’t go to Mars, and yet they put him on Manus Island.

How Aladdin ended up on Manus Island is an extraordinary story. He was born in Kuwait but as the son of a Palestinian refugee he didn’t have automatic right to residency. Unable to work legally and harassed by the police, he left three years ago after getting a tourist visa to Indonesia. When he arrived in Jakarta he applied for asylum with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, or UNHCR. But after a year of living on the streets and no progress with his application, he set off for Papua New Guinea.

ALADDIN SISALEM: I come with the ship from Java, Indonesia…

Aladdin got a ship to Indonesian West Papua and travelled through dense jungle to the border with PNG.

ALADDIN SISALEM: This is the closest point between Indonesia and PNG and I arrive at about here.

After trekking for two weeks through the rainforest with no food, he arrived in Kiunga, Papua New Guinea. When he requested asylum he was told to walk back through the jungle to West Papua. Aladdin refused to go. He was jailed for illegal entry and says he was beaten in prison.

ALADDIN SISALEM: I spent seven months in Port Moresby trying with the immigration department…

When he was told that PNG doesn’t take asylum seekers from terrorist countries, he finally decided to try his luck in Australia.

ALADDIN SISALEM: So I flew from Port Moresby to Daru Island, this one here, Daru Island, PNG, Daru island. You see the border, it is close. And this is Saibai Island, Australia’s Saibai Island. It’s not far from the PNG border.

A fisherman took Aladdin to Australia’s Saiwai Island in the Torres Strait. At this critical moment he says he approached local immigration officers and asked for asylum. He was then flown to Thursday Island where officials in Canberra interviewed him by telephone. Aladdin thought his 2-year journey was finally over.

ALADDIN SISALEM: And in the morning they come, the immigration officers, the same ones they come and took me to the airport. I said “What’s happening? Where we going?” They said “We’re going to Manus Island.” I said “Why?” They said “It’s Australian centre, immigration centre. We’ll put you there and process your case.”

Aladdin waited here in the detention centre for nearly two months to hear about the processing of his case. But no-one approached him about it.

ALADDIN SISALEM: I see them come and talk to the other asylum seekers, told them about their situation but nobody tell me about my case. So I feel confused. And they told me – the immigration officer said to me – the same one who interviewed me for my asylum claim – he said to me “We don’t have an asylum application for you.” Now I start to understand the situation. I start to find it’s getting serious.

As a signatory to the UN refugee convention, Australia is obliged to grant asylum to anyone who lands in the migration zone, if they ask for it, and are found to be a refugee. Since arriving on Manus, Aladdin has been granted refugee status by the UNHCR. So what about Australia’s obligation to him, given that he sought asylum in Australian territory? The Government says he didn’t ask for the right form.

ALADDIN SISALEM: I didn’t want Australia to ask for tourist visa. I mean, I didn’t risk my life to enter some remote Australian remote island because I want – I am economy migrant or something like this. I needed help. I went there and first thing I asked, I asked for asylum. I was interviewed. I mean, if Australian immigration does not consider me as an asylum seeker why they ask me about the harms I suffered in Kuwait and the persecution? Why they ask me about that, if they don’t want to process my application for asylum?

REPORTER: Minister, can you tell me what someone’s required to do once they land within the Australian migration zone to ensure that a visa application for asylum is under way?

SENATOR AMANDA VANSTONE, MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION: Well, look, if someone wants some advice on how to make an asylum claim they should get it from the Immigration Department.

REPORTER: But if someone – if a refugee, say, lands within the migration zone of Australia, what do they need to do?

SENATOR AMANDA VANSTONE: As I say, if someone wants some advice on the legal requirements for making a claim, they can get that from the Immigration Department.

REPORTER: But if there’s someone who has –

SENATOR AMANDA VANSTONE: You’ve asked me that twice and I’ve given the same answer twice. I know why you’ve asked me that twice and I’m going to give you the same answer every time.

ERIC VARDARLIS: There’s no special way for a person to claim asylum. I mean logic helps because this guy landed on Saibai Island, in northern most part of Australia on his own and he’s a Palestinian and he sought asylum. I mean he says “I sought asylum” they said “No, you didn’t because you didn’t fill out the form.”

When Aladdin did submit a written claim for asylum he received this letter from the Department of Immigration.

DEPARTMENT OF IMMIGRATION, LETTER: Dear Mr Sisalem, Australia does not have an obligation to extend protection to a person who is outside Australia. You are currently in Papua New Guinea and have applied for asylum there. Papua New Guinea is a signatory to the UN convention relating to the status of refugees.

ERIC VADARLIS: When this hit my desk the first time around I looked at it and I thought somebody must have ticked the wrong box for this man to be in the position he’s in today. I thought it was a simple misunderstanding that it would be sorted out fairly quickly.

Eric Vadarlis will be representing Aladdin in a Federal Court case next month, attempting to prove Aladdin is Australia’s responsibility.

ERIC VADARLIS: I think we need to go back a step and work out how Aladdin got there. Aladdin didn’t get there because he bought a ticket to Manus Island. He was taken there by the Australian Government, specifically taken and dumped there. Now whose problem is he? So, you know, is the Australian Government into the slave trade? Do they pick people up and just take them off to Manus Island and drop them there and say they are someone else’s problem?

In fact this is precisely what the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs claims.

SENATOR AMANDA VANSTONE: Well, you’ve asked me this a couple of times, I’ve indicated to you Mr Sisalem is not the responsibility of the Australian Government.

REPORTER: It just doesn’t seem very clear that the PNG Government says that as far as they’re concerned the detention centre is Australian property, it’s virtually Australia. You’ve got a guy who entered the migration zone here and was flown by Australian authorities to Manus Island detention centre where he’s being looked after by people who are paid by the Australian Government, how can he not be Australia’s responsibility?

SENATOR AMANDA VANSTONE: Well, as I’ve indicated to you he’s not the Australian Government’s responsibility. I understand that’s agreed. I’m not privy…

With Aladdin’s court case pending, Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone refuses to discuss his case in detail. While Aladdin sits alone, the locals enjoy a Sunday soccer match just outside the fence of the detention centre. As no-one can visit him, they know nothing about him.

GIRL (Translation): We’ve heard that he’s married to a Papua New Guinean woman so he comes out, he walks around…

In fact, Aladdin hasn’t left the centre since early February when he was taken out for a couple of hours escorted by guards. He no longer wants to go outside, he’s afraid that Australia is pressuring PNG to give him asylum and based on prior experiences, he’s terrified he’ll be killed.

ERIC VADARLIS: I think Aladdin is very scared at the moment. He really doesn’t know what’s going on. It’s all a bit beyond him. And frankly I don’t blame him. He’s been imprisoned by the PNG system, so really he wouldn’t have very much faith in the process and I don’t blame him.

Aladdin says the manager of the camp knows he’s in danger.

ALADDIN SISALEM: He told me, he agreed with me that if I left PNG authorities my body would be in the jungle and he said “That’s why I don’t want you out of here.” But he’s still pushing me to get out.

The Papua New Guinean Foreign Minister Sir Rabbie Namaliu wants to close the gates when the lease comes up at the end of this year.

SIR RABBIE NAMALIU, PNG FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, our feeling is that the detention centre has probably served its purpose. There’s only one soul left at the centre, and if that is going to be the case, we feel there is no point in continuing with the centre.

For the time being, Australia is happy to keep the camp open with Aladdin as its sole occupant, at a cost of $23,000 a day.

ALADDIN SISALEM: There is not any reason to keep me on my own here, OK. What between them and Australia and the PNG government, this is their own business, their own work. Myself, I need my right for freedom and safety.

ERIC VADARLIS: The way things look he’s going to be there forever, in a sort of Gilligan Island’s scenario. We’re just going to sit out and wait. So there’s a human being involved and he ought to be processed in accordance with the law and promptly.

REPORTER: There’s someone who for seven months has been alone and has only had two visitors in that time and is slowly going mad from that experience. Do you feel sorry for him as a genuine refugee who’s tried for two years to get asylum in Indonesia, then Papua New Guinea and then Australia and has found himself sort of in this detention centre all on his own not knowing what’s going on?

SENATOR AMANDA VANSTONE: With respect, I might have some different information from that which you have and no, I cannot say that I have any sorry for Mr Sisalem’s position.

REPORTER: You don’t feel sorry for a stateless refugee?

SENATOR AMANDA VANSTONE: You’ve just asked me a question and I’ve answered it.

Aladdin is allowed only two phone calls each month. He’s calling his family in Kuwait where they live as refugees.

ALADDIN SISALEM (Translation): The whole world is talking about it, but it’s no use.

His father hasn’t left the house in 15 years and recently had a stroke brought about by the stress of Aladdin’s perilous journey.

ALADDIN SISALEM (Translation): Look after my father, all right? Look after my father.

REPORTER: Do they worry about you?

ALADDIN SISALEM: They just feel helpless. They feel helpless. They have their own problems to worry about. They have a lot. So actually, I am the one who worries about them.

REPORTER: What do they say to you?

ALADDIN SISALEM: Don’t give up.

Springboks guilty over armband protest

Rugby’s governing body has found the Springboks guilty of bringing the game into disrepute with an armband protest against a ban given to Bakkies Botha.

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Charges were laid after the side wore white armbands bearing the word ‘justice’ during their third Test defeat by the British and Irish Lions last month.

The armbands were worn as a symbol of solidarity with lock Botha, who the South Africans felt had been unfairly banned for dangerously charging into a ruck during the second Test of the series.

The International Rugby Board (IRB)’s independent disciplinary committee fines of STG10,000 ($A19,700) on the South African Rugby Union (SARU), STG1,000 ($A1,970) on Springbok skipper John Smit and STG200 ($A400) on each of the other players.

The committee said the sanctions would have been much more severe but for legal technicalities, and the IRB could yet seek tougher measures by appealing against the ruling of its disciplinary committee.

No apology

SARU acknowledged the guilty verdict but held off a response until it had reviewed the findings.

“We note the outcome of the International Rugby Board’s Disciplinary Committee hearing into the charges brought against the South African Rugby Union, Springbok players and management,” said SARU president Oregan Hoskins.

“We are reviewing the full findings of the committee and will respond once that review is concluded.”

The IRB committee was made up of two judges, Sir John Hansen of New Zealand and Guillermo Tragant of Argentina, and former Australian captain John Eales.

In its ruling, the committee said that the action of the Springboks “brought the game into disrepute, criticised the judicial process and was misconduct”.

The committee also noted the absence of any apology from SARU, the team’s management or the players themselves.

World Cup ban

It emphasised that “the playing arena is no place for protest” and that the wearing of the armbands “showed a serious lack of respect and consideration for their opponents”.

SARU was found to have failed to make any attempt to prevent the protest, approved of it and effectively consented to conduct which was prejudicial to the best interests of the IRB and of the game.

In a statement the IRB added that: “The Independent Committee was unanimous in its view that, had it not been for the legal technicalities… both SARU and the Springbok players and

management would have faced much more serious sanctions”.

It said those sanctions could have faced “a more severe fine in the case of SARU and the suspension of the Springbok players and management from the Rugby World Cup 2011 (such sanction to have been suspended in the absence of further acts of misconduct before then).”

The IRB said it was “extremely disappointed” at the level of sanctions imposed and would consider an appeal in the hope of securing tougher punishment to act as a deterrent against any repeat of the Springboks’ action by players around the world.

Troops patrol Peru quake town

Rescue crews were now focusing on aid efforts for tens of thousands of people left destitute by the massive earthquake.

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President Alan Garcia has threatened to impose a curfew to stop looting by angry mobs, with 200,000 people said to have been affected by Wednesday's magnitude-8 quake which left 500 dead and 1,600 injured.

"I have ordered to use the harshest measures and if needed to impose a curfew," Mr Garcia told reporters in Pisco, the town, 240 kilometres southeast of Lima, hit hardest by the quake.

More than 1,000 troops and police armed with assault rifles were patrolling the streets of the town which was 70 percent destroyed in the quake.

At least 500 dead

Police on Sunday released the latest official death toll in Pisco. The tally is likely to increase the overall toll in Peru's southern Pacific Coast, previously estimated at 500.

National police colonel Roger Torres told news agency AFP at least 308 people were confirmed dead in Pisco, including 160 worshippers who were crushed when the town's San Clemente church collapsed. Mr Torres believed a further 150 were still buried in rubble elswehere in the town.

Amid mounting reports of looting and assaults, President Garcia on Saturday ordered more troops to the quake-stricken southern area and promised that authorities would keep the peace "whatever the cost."

Many thousands were left homeless by the quake and on Sunday faced a fifth night sleeping in the streets in the chilly southern hemisphere winter.

Emergency workers meanwhile abandoned rescue efforts as hopes for finding any more survivors faded. "The possibility of finding someone alive is nearly nil," Jorge Molina, search and rescue operations chief for the local firefighters, told AFP.

Efforts would now focus on recovering the dead in the rubble and helping secure the distribution of aid, officials said.

Angry mobs

Desperate mobs have been looting trucks carrying food and water, and some people tried to break into the air force base where relief efforts have been centralized.

Close to the provincial capital of Ica, another mob tried to raid a convoy of trucks carrying emergency supplies.

In nearby Chincha, a group of people tried to break into a hospital believing it held emergency food supplies.

Spanish fire-fighters searching the rubble of the Pisco church with trained sniffer dogs also had to stop their work late Saturday when gunfire broke out around them.

Aid workers are also worried of the risk of an outbreak of disease in the town.

Health Minister Carlos Vallejos said some 1,500 doctors and nurses were struggling to prevent the spread of epidemic diseases among earthquake victims.

"The problem is not only that there are still unfound bodies, the problem is water," and how human waste is being disposed of, he said.

Fears over disease

There were fears of an outbreak of infectious diseases in the quake-stricken areas such as diarrhea and cholera, while a choking dust from the rubble of the town was causing respiratory problems.

Medical officials said Saturday that symptoms of respiratory infections have begun to emerge as a floating dust cloaks the town, and warned the situation could deteriorate into an epidemic if residents fail to take precautions.

A field hospital has been set up by 22 US doctors in the grounds of the Pisco football stadium.

Among aid from other countries, the French embassy in Lima said fire-fighters from France had arrived in Peru to help.

Aftershocks are also continuing to keep people on edge. Peru's geophysical institute reported more than 400 tremors following the quake, which was the most devastating to hit the country since 1970.

McShane wins U23 world triathlon title

Wollongong triathlete Charlotte McShane timed her run to perfection to become Australia’s latest triathlon world champion in London on Thursday.

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Scottish-born McShane, who emigrated with her family when she was 15 to live in Bairnsdale in country Victoria, broke away from a group of five others to clinch the gold medal in the Women’s ITU Under 23 World Triathlon Championship.

“I knew I had a good sprint so in the end I just backed myself and I won, I can’t believe it, I’ve never won anything before,” said McShane, one of four Australian training partners in the race.

“I wasn’t prepared to go, I was just waiting for the other girls to make their move and when they did I knew I could pounce and match them.”

McShane hit the final 100 metres and stormed away to beat Canadian pair Ellen Pennock and Amelie Kretz.

Of the three other members of Jamie Turner’s Wollongong Wizards group, Tamsyn Moana-Veale finished eighth, Grace Musgrove 12th and Natalie Van Coevorden 14th.

Earlier, a mud-splattered Jacob Birtwhistle produced a brave performance to get back on his bike for a fast finishing sixth in the Junior Men’s race.

The 18-year-old Launceston schoolboy crashed on the first lap of the 20km bike course and was also hit with a 10-second penalty for not putting his wetsuit in the designated box.

“That didn’t go according to plan, that’s for sure,” said a frustrated and bitterly disappointed Birtwhistle, showing the muddy and bloody wounds from the Hyde Park.

“Whatever could have gone wrong did go wrong.”

European champion Dorian Coninx of France won from Scottish pair Marc Austin and Grant Sheldon.

In the Junior Women’s race West Australian Jaz Hedgeland fell just five seconds short of a podium finish.

She was fourth behind triumphant American Tamara Gorman, Georgia Taylor-Brown of Britain and German Laura Lindeman.

“I set myself the goal of winning the gold medal,” said Hedgeland.

“So I am disappointed to finish fourth but I left nothing out there. I’ll be back next year having another crack.

“I was well up in the swim and worked really hard on the bike but when it came to the run I just had nothing in my legs.”

Vitori’s five-wicket haul allows Zimbabwe to gain upper hand

The home side, seeking to level the two-match series, were 121 for four in their second innings after earlier dismissing Pakistan for 230 at the Harare Sports Club.

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Mawoyo (58) and Hamilton Masakadza (44) were aggressive in forging a strong 104-run second wicket partnership for Zimbabwe to give them a real chance of setting Pakistan a tough target to chase for victory on a wicket expected to deteriorate.

But they both lost their wickets late in the day just when they looked set to return to the crease on Friday.

Mawoyo, who has struggled in the series since returning from injury, survived several close calls, including being dropped by wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal off the bowling of Saeed Ajmal, as he showed a return to form.

But he fell to a ball from Abdur Rehman that skidded on and trapped him leg before two overs from the close. Masakadza was similarly caught on the front foot four balls later and then night watchman Tinashe Panyangara was dismissed without scoring, bringing the third day to a close.

Pakistan were 163 for three overnight, in reply to Zimbabwe’s first innings total of 294, but hopes of a full day at the crease on a docile surface were dented when captain Misbah-ul-Haq (33) fell soon after the new ball was taken and Younus Khan (77) was caught by Mawoyo at mid wicket off Panyangara.

Pakistan’s last six wickets tumbled for only 19 runs as Vitori returned figures of five for 61 and Panyangara got two wickets with successive balls.

Vitori is only the second Zimbabwean bowler to take five wickets in a test innings since 2005.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Language row erupts over planned Belgian stadium

The planned 60,000-seater stadium is to be the centrepiece of Brussels’ bid to host matches during the 2020 European soccer championships, replacing the current 45,000 capacity King Baudouin stadium.

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The venues are little more than a kilometre (1 mile) apart, but while the present stadium is in officially bilingual but largely French-speaking Brussels, its planned successor is in the exclusively Dutch-speaking region of Flanders.

Flemish politicians are bristling at the thought of Brussels extending its francophone culture beyond its borders, leading Flemish Sports Minister Philippe Muyters to say language rules must be respected.

“One of the underlying elements should be an agreement on the use of Dutch there,” Muyters, a member of the Flemish separatist N-VA party, told the television programme Terzake on Wednesday, hours after the agreement was reached.

Rudi Vervoort, premier of the Brussels region, responded in an interview on La Premiere radio station on Thursday, saying ‘Dutch only’ could not be the rule at a national stadium.

“Dutch will be secondary, as French will be secondary. We will mainly talk English,” he said. “The stadium will not be brought down by the use of languages.”

Language is a frequent flashpoint in Belgium, where the wealthier Flemish majority fiercely protects its Dutch language and culture and is constantly on the look-out for encroachments by French speakers, particularly in areas surrounding Brussels.

The country went for 19 months without a new government after 2010 elections due to differences between French-speaking and Flemish parties.

The issue has flared again as politicians seek vie for votes at next year’s regional, European and federal elections.

Earlier this month, the council of the Flemish district of Menen, which borders France, decided that it would no longer tolerate the use of French in its town hall, saying anyone who did not speak Dutch must rely on hand gestures instead.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Paul Taylor)

Top four finish still the priority for Spurs

“Our objective is the same, it’s Champions League qualification,” he told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s home game against Norwich City.

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“Our level of expenditure in the transfer market raises expectations but they have to be real expectations, not false expectations,” added the Portuguese.

“We don’t have the experience to deal with the pressure of a team that plays for the title. We have never done it, you know, in these recent years and we will compete as usual for Champions League places…”

Tottenham finished fifth in the league last season and missed out on a Champions League place to North London rivals Arsenal.

They are currently sixth, with six points from their three matches after losing 1-0 at Arsenal this month.

They have sold Wales winger Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for a world record 100 million euros $133.08 million and re-invested the money in a list of new signings, including Argentina forward Erik Lamela from Roma for a club record 35 million euros.

Villas-Boas said it might be too early for the 21-year-old to start on Saturday.

“He is a player with tremendous potential that we have to work on,” he said, pointing out that Lamela had limited English and still had to adapt to his new surroundings.

“We are pretty sure he will be able to do (that) but we are unsure of how much time it will take,” he said. “The fact that he has yet to train with the team puts him in a very difficult position to start the game but not impossible.”

($1 = 0.7514 euros)

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Premier League says backs plan to improve England team

Newly appointed FA Chairman Greg Dyke last week cited the influence of foreign players in the Premier League as one of the factors holding back the England team.

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England’s only major trophy was in 1966 when they won the World Cup on home soil.

“There is a strong desire to see greater numbers of England qualified players coming through their Academy systems that are capable of performing at both Premier League and international standard,” Premier League Chairman Anthony Fry said on Thursday.

“There is no doubt around the Premier League table as to the benefits of a national set-up that is thriving and performing well,” Fry added.

Dyke, a former television executive, spoke to Premier League chairmen and chief executives at one of their regular meetings in London on Thursday.

“We already know there is a lot of good work going on but I suspect there is more to be done,” Dyke said after the meeting, welcoming the commitment from the Premier League.

The Premier League is the richest in the world but there is frustration among fans about its clubs’ failure to produce as many good young players as rivals do in countries like Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

Critics argue that the financial rewards of the Premier League encourage teams to buy in foreign players as a short cut to ensure survival or success.

The Premier League is investing 340 million pounds (339 million pounds) to try to improve its academies. It points out that it is only one season into this four-year programme to find the heirs to players like David Beckham and Michael Owen.

($1 = 0.6319 British pounds)

(Writing by Keith Weir, 44 20 7542 8022; editing by Justin Palmer)

Zimbabwe leading Pakistan by 185 runs

Three late wickets gave Pakistan renewed hope after Zimbabwe had played into a strong position on the third day of the second Test at Harare Sports Club on Thursday.

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A five-wicket haul by Brian Vitori and a century stand between Tino Mawoyo and Hamilton Masakadza put Zimbabwe on top before both partners and nightwatchman Tinashe Panyangara fell in the last three overs of the day.

Zimbabwe were 4-121 at the close, an overall lead of 185 on a wearing pitch which has made stroke play difficult for batsmen of both sides.

Left-arm fast bowler Vitori took five for 61 as Pakistan collapsed to 230 all out, losing their last six wickets for 19 runs and giving Zimbabwe a first innings lead of 64.

Stand-in opening batsman Prosper Utseya was caught at midwicket off Rahat Ali for five when Zimbabwe batted again with regular opener Vusi Sibanda feeling ill.

But Mawoyo and Masakadza added 104 for the second wicket with some of the most impressive batting of the match.

Mawoyo made 58 off 165 balls before he was trapped leg before wicket by left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman shortly before the close. Masakadza followed up his first innings of 75 with 44 before he, too, fell leg before, to left-arm fast bowler Rahat Ali.

Rehman, the most impressive of the Pakistan bowlers, claimed a second wicket in the last over of the day when Panyangara was caught at short leg. Rehman took two for 20 in 15.2 accurate overs.

Earlier, Pakistan were well-placed to overhaul Zimbabwe’s first innings total of 294 until Asad Shafiq was fifth man out shortly before lunch, bowled by Tendai Chatara with the total on 211.

The match swung dramatically in Zimbabwe’s favour after lunch when Younis Khan, the mainstay of their innings, clipped Panyangara to midwicket after making a patient 77 off 223 balls with nine fours.

Rehman was leg before wicket to Panyangara off the next ball and Vitori ripped out the last three batsmen to give Zimbabwe an important lead on a tricky pitch.

Only 48 runs were scored in 28 overs during the morning’s play for the loss of two wickets, while six further wickets fell while 49 runs were scored in 22.5 overs between lunch and tea. The scoring rate picked up slightly after tea as 91 runs were scored off 36.2 overs.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq made a laboured 33 off 120 balls before he fell victim to the second delivery with the second new ball shortly before the morning drinks break, caught at first slip off Vitori, pushing at a wide ball slanted away from him.

Nibali still leads, Kiryienka wins stage

Italian Vincenzo Nibali clung on to his narrow lead of the Tour of Spain after a gruelling 18th stage on Thursday.

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Sky’s Belarusian rider Vasil Kiryienka won the stage after breaking away at the end of the 186.5km ride from Burgos to Pena Cabarga that featured five categorised climbs, including a tricky final ascent.

Australian Adam Hansen was third on the stage, 1min 18sec down, while Chris Anker Sorensen of Denmark was second at 0:28.

Kiriyenka’s breakaway to the summit of Pena Cabarga almost cost Nibali his lead atop the general classification, now cut to just three seconds.

The Sicilian couldn’t respond to a push by the Katusha team in the final ascent, and then the attack by RadioShack’s 41-year-old American rider Chris Horner, who was sixth across the finish line.

Nibali, who finished 10th 25sec off Horner, also gave away time to Spaniards Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), now third in the overall standings at 1:10, and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), fourth at 2:24.

“Horner is very strong, it’s incredible what he’s doing at almost 42 years of age,” Nibali told Spanish television at the end of the race.

“Horner showed he’s one of the great pretenders for this Vuelta.”

Kiryienka, who bowed out of the Tour de France in July after missing the time cut on stage nine in the Pyrenees, was one of an initial 15-strong group to break away from the main peloton, and attacked in Alto del Caracol, 45km from the finish.

The 32-year-old arrived at the foot of the Pena Cabarga with 1:30 on his rivals and managed his ride-in to perfection.

Friday’s 19th stage sees the riders tackle 181km with the finish again at altitude, demanding a first-category climb to Alto del Naranco before tackling the infamous Alto de l’Angliru on Saturday’s stage.

Cane out to play own game againt Boks

The comparisons are inevitable, but All Blacks loose forward Sam Cane will concentrate on playing his own game against South Africa in Auckland on Saturday.

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The openside flanker has been called into the starting XV for the Rugby Championship clash as replacement for injured skipper Richie McCaw.

It will be the 21-year-old’s 10th cap, whereas McCaw was earning his 119th when he limped off with ligament damage in his left knee against Argentina last weekend.

“He’s the best in the world and he’s been the best for a long time,” Cane said of McCaw.

“It’s a big challenge, but it’s important I don’t go out there and try to play Richie’s game. I’ll just try and play my own game and be myself.”

Cane draws confidence from his heavy involvement in the All Blacks’ 3-0 sweep of France in June.

With McCaw away on a six-month break from rugby, Cane was on the field for all but the last eight minutes of the series.

“It’s a big help just knowing you can play at that level and you can play for 80,” he said.

“When the going gets tough, you just dig in.”

Cane’s inclusion is one of two changes to the All Blacks’ starting loose trio, with Chiefs teammate Liam Messam back from injury.

The pair join No.8 Kieran Read, who takes over from McCaw as captain.

Coach Steve Hansen has full confidence that Cane is ready for the job.

“He’s a good athlete and mentally he’s able to put things into perspective,” he said.

“It’s not easy coming in and following a guy like McCaw because you’re compared with him all the time.

Hansen echoed Cane’s view about doing things his way, but also said the loose forwards needed a platform from the front five.

English player considers challenge to FIFA transfer rules

English-born striker Joe Yoffe, 26, currently plying his trade in the Icelandic second division, is planning to challenge FIFA regulations that he says limits his freedom of movement and his ability to earn a living as a professional footballer.

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The Manchester-born player is facing an uncertain future as his contract runs out at the end of September and he will not be allowed to register for a new club until January.

Despite being able to sign for free as a Bosman player, clubs in some European countries cannot register him until their transfer windows open again in January – something Yoffe says limits his right to free movement of labour guaranteed under EU law.

Yoffe has played for lower league and semi-professional clubs in England, Spain, Canada, Australia and Ireland and says he is now considering a legal challenge to the transfer regulations to make it easier for players in his position to find new employers.

“It’s something I’ve thought seriously about and there’s a number of players in my position who should do the same,” Yoffe told Reuters, adding that he hoped legal action would not be necessary to enable him to sign for a new club

If he goes ahead with his challenge it could have the biggest impact on the transfer market since 1995 when Belgian journeyman Jean-Marc Bosman won a ruling from the European Court of Justice that banned transfer fees for players out of contract.

FIFA’s transfer rules also currently limit to two the number of clubs that players can represent in a calendar year, meaning that players such as Yoffe – who often sign for cash-strapped clubs on short-term contracts – face enforced spells on the sidelines as they wait to become eligible again.

VERY DIFFICULT

“Players at the top end of the game are so financially independent that it doesn’t really affect them,” Yoffe said in an interview at the windswept home ground of UMF Selfoss, an Icelandic second tier club based some 40 kilometers east of Reykjavik.

“But for those of us yet to reach that level, it’s very difficult.”

With 10 goals in as many games for Selfoss this season, he should be a hot property on the Scandinavian transfer market – had it not been for the existing rules.

“You come to the end of your contract and you can’t sign for three or four months for a new employer – there’s no other job out there where that would be the case,” he said.

Footballers in Scandinavian leagues, who play through their summer, often fall foul of these regulations and Magnus Erlingmark, general secretary of Swedish players’ union SFS, admitted it was difficult to safeguard the interest of all parties.

“We would like to reduce the limitations on working but then the clubs might also want to turn back the clock to the time before Bosman. It’s a difficult balance,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Erlingmark warned that decisions to change the regulations should not be made in haste, as relaxing the rules might lead to greater insecurity for players.

“It’s difficult when you can bring players in and out as one wishes – it might lead to even shorter contracts, so it needs to be looked at carefully,” he said.

“But in the widest possible sense, players who are out of contract should be allowed to sign for new clubs.”

MORE HEALTHY

The union boss declined to comment on whether international players’ union FIFPro might support Yoffe’s specific case, but said that it was something “worth looking at from an international perspective.”

Last month UEFA president Michel Platini bemoaned the treatment of players as commodities, describing the current transfer system as “robbery” and said that “something more healthy” was needed to replace it.

Despite the uncertainty of his situation, Yoffe said that he will continue playing professionally and that he hopes that his successful season at Selfoss will act as a springboard to a bigger Scandinavian club next year.

“The last couple of clubs I’ve been at have been a little bit cash-strapped, and it’s definitely made me consider whether to keep on playing the game at a professional level or to go into other employment,” he said.

“But there’s been enough good times to keep you going through the bad times. I want to be the best that I can, and you feel that you want to prove, not just to other people but to yourself too, that you can keep going and reach the level that you deserve.”

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Ainslie takes over as Oracle tactician

British four-time Olympic champion Ben Ainslie has replaced John Kostecki as Oracle’s tactician ahead of races six and seven in the 34th edition of the America’s Cup.

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American Kostecki is no longer mentioned among the crew list published on Thursday by the holders with Ainslie now listed as the team’s tactician.

The Briton had previously been second helmsman for the American team.

Kostecki, 49, has seemingly paid the price for Oracle’s tactical errors in losing four of five races to challengers Emirates Team New Zealand thus far.

The 36-year-old Ainslie, who has won three Olympic sailing golds in the Finn class as well as one in the Laser class, was on board Oracle’s AC72 catamaran during a training run on Wednesday, while Kostecki was nowhere to be seen.

Philippe Presti, the American team’s French coach, had indicated to AFP on Wednesday that some “surprises” could be expected when Oracle announced their team on Thursday morning.

Oracle elected to use its postponement card to delay Tuesday’s second scheduled race after the Americans were beaten convincingly by their Kiwi opponents in the fifth race of the best-of-17 contest.

Oracle won the start of Tuesday’s opening race and led the first two legs, but a bold attempt at a foiling tack saw them slow dramatically and they ultimately finished over a minute behind Team New Zealand.

The responsibility for the blunder, acknowledged by Oracle skipper Jimmy Spithill, was attributed to Kostecki.

Oracle began the finals two points adrift after a pre-regatta penalty, and have won just one race, leaving them stuck on minus one and still needing 10 more wins to retain the Cup.