Merkel says Blatter exit will help FIFA

BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed the shock resignation of world football boss Sepp Blatter as a step to help restore transparency in its corruption-tainted governing body FIFA. “I think that for ... billions of football fans it is an important message for all of us who like football — and I, too, am a fan — that the world football organisation can be run according to the standards we wish for,” she said. The announcement by the 79-year-old Swiss official meant “that it will be more feasible to make the work of FIFA more transparent”, said Merkel at a joint press conference with visiting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Blatter resigned Tuesday in a stunning capitulation to exultant critics as a US investigation draws closer to ensnaring the most powerful man.–AFP

Rudisha out of Birmingham Diamond meet

NAIROBI - Kenya’s Olympic 800m champion and world record holder David Rudisha has pulled out of Sunday’s Diamond League meet in Birmingham due to fresh injury fears. The middle distance star wobbled out of a race in Ostrava late last month, holding his leg in pain. “I just can’t risk a race that soon. I am making good progress these last days but it will be just a few days too soon,” the was quoted as saying the The Standard newspaper. Rudisha, 26, is currently undergoing treatment in Europe. His coach said the injury “was just muscle spasm, which looked quite severe on television, but as we have established, it was not too serious.” Rudisha has struggled to return to form after battling a nagging knee injury which forced him to miss the 2013 world championships in Moscow.–AFP

Taufeeq XI beat Izamam XI in festival match

LAHORE - Tuafeeq Umar XI defeated Inzamam-ul-Haq XI by seven wickets in the 45th annual festival cricket match of Muslim Gymkhana here at the Bagh-e-Jinnah cricket ground on Wednesday. Inzamam XI, batting first, scored 103 runs in 15 overs. Tariq Rasheed was top scorer with 28 runs. For Taufeeq XI, Haider clinched three wickets for 10 runs while Ali Rafay grabbed three wickets for 18 runs. Taufeeq XI, in reply, achieved the target in 13.2 overs. Kamal Ali batted brilliantly and hammered 60 runs while Asad Qaiser contributed 20 runs in their team’s victory. Former captain Inzamamul Haq, Test captain Misbahul Haq, ODI captain Azhar Ali, ex-captain Aamir Sohail, Taufeeq Umar and Ahmed Shehzad, ex-international umpire Mian Aslam, club officials and players were present on the occasion. Later, the guests distributed kits among the players. Mian Aslam has urged the Punjab government to restore Minto Park ground, which is historical ground of Pakistan and has honour of producing eight captains for national team. “We demand Punjab CM Mian Shahbaz Sharif to take notice of this serious matter and restore the ground which was closed due to Metro Project. Due to its closure, 700 players of 14 clubs have been suffering badly and being deprived of their due rights.”–Staff Reporter

PMMA holds seminar on sports

LAHORE - Pakistan Martial Arts Association (PMAA) in collaboration with United Nations Office on Sport for Development & Peace held a seminar on sports for peace and development presented martial arts achievements awards here at Lahore Press Club (LPC). PMAA president Anwar Mohiuddin briefed the players regarding UN program. Referring to the recent Pak-Zim cricket series, he said: “Pakistan has emerged as a safe and strong country by holding this series.” The players of The Trust Schools clean-sweept others by grabbing 57 prizes. LPC cricket team captain Nadeem Basra and finance secretary Shadab Riaz said holding such events in today’s mechanized life was laudable. They also requested the association to launch a training summer camp at LPC and its housing scheme for journalists’ kids.–Staff Reporter