LONDON – Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba today formally announced plans to retire from soccer following his March 17 on-field collapse during an FA Cup quarterfinal.
The Wanderers made the announcement, posting a statement from Muamba on the team’s website. Muamba, 24, said he had hoped to make a comeback, but had made the decision to retire from the professional game after taking medical advice.
“Since suffering my heart attack and being discharged from hospital, I have remained utterly positive in the belief I could one day resume my playing career and play for Bolton Wanderers once again,” Muamba said in his statement.
“As part of my on-going recovery, last week I travelled to Belgium to seek further medical advice from a leading cardiologist. But the news I received was obviously not what I had hoped it would be and it means I am now announcing my retirement from professional football.”
Muamba collapsed during the 41st minute of an FA Cup quarterfinal at Tottenham on March 17.
“While the news is devastating, I have much to be thankful for,” said Muamba.
“I thank God that I am alive and I pay tribute once again to the members of the medical team who never gave up on me.”
Footballers facing solicitation charges
PARIS – The Paris prosecutor’s office says French internationals Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema will face trial for soliciting a minor.
The office said yesterday that six other people and a nightclub suspected of serving as a base for a network of prostitutes are being charged with aggravated pimping in the case. The trial is going ahead at the behest of a judge, even though the prosecutor’s office has argued the charges should be dropped.
A woman who says she has been paid for sex since she was 16 has testified that both Real Madrid striker Benzema and Bayern Munich winger Ribery solicited her while she was underage. Prostitution is legal in France, but prostitutes must be older than 18. Both men have denied the claims, which first arose in April 2010.
Smikle taking UWI scholarship
KINGSTON – Jamaican discus thrower Traves Smikle, who competed at the just concluded London Olympics, is to take up a scholarship to study law at the University of the West Indies (UWI) instead of going overseas.
The 20-year-old Smikle, who created history for Jamaica when he won a bronze medal at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Italy in 2009, said the UWI offered him a scholarship and he had made the decision to stay at home.
“If I stay here I will get big meets overseas and so that would not be an issue,” he said.
“However, in the collegiate system I know will have competition, but it is still pretty much the same if I am out there.”
He added: “Staying home, I think it is a good decision because my coach thinks so and my parents also think it is a good decision.” Smikle finished 20th overall with a best effort of 61.85m at the Olympic Games.