Coates offers doping ‘cure’
SYDNEY – Australian Olympic chief John Coates might have come up with a strategy by which all countries can tackle doping cheats. He wants all Australian athletes, coaches and officials to sign a declaration stating they have never used banned substances before they are allowed to go to Games.
Coates believes the measure is necessary to prevent the Australian Olympic Committee being tainted by doping in the same way cycling has by the Lance Armstrong scandal.
“If they don’t sign, they don’t go to the Games, they won’t be selected,” the AOC President said in a news release today. “What I don’t want is for the AOC to have egg on its face like cycling has.”
Coates will put the proposal to the AOC board later this month and, if approved, the measure will apply to all members of the delegation for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“In my opinion we simply cannot allow the name of the AOC to be damaged, like that of the International Cycling Union (UCI), for not having taken every reasonable step possible to ensure that no person in authority on our Olympic Team has a doping history,” Coates added.
Three-times Tour de France winner Greg LeMond last week called on UCI President Pat McQuaid to quit amid a welter of criticism about the way the body had handled the Armstrong affair.
Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life by the UCI last month.
That came only after the United States Anti-Doping Agency had published a report alleging the American had been involved in the “most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”.
Loving life in the City
MANCHESTER – Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini says he had a number of opportunities to leave the club last season before signing a new five-year contract.
Although he did not name specific clubs, Mancini was answering a question about reports he almost joined French league club Monaco in the summer.
“Last year I was very close with seven or eight teams but I prefer to stay here,” he said.
“It is a fantastic situation. Now, we have time to improve and build a team.”
Mancini, 47, is City’s most successful modern-day manager, leading the club to their first league title in 44 years in May – 12 months after ending a 35-year trophy drought with an FA Cup final victory over Stoke.
He replaced Mark Hughes as the Blues’ manager in December 2009, having previously managed Fiorentina, Lazio and Inter Milan, where he won three successive Italian League titles and two Italian Cups before being dismissed in May 2008.
Balotelli barks at racists
LONDON – Mario Balotelli has branded racists as “stupid” and said nothing can be done to change their ways.
Manchester City’s striker has spoken out on racism as English football battles to preserve its image against a backdrop of racist allegations and episodes.
In a rare interview with Time Magazine, Balotelli, who suffered racist abuse while playing in Italy for Inter Milan, gave a withering verdict on those who discriminate because of skin colour.
“Racist people are few and you can do nothing against [to change] them,” said Balotelli.
“You can talk, you can do what you want, but you can’t do anything because they are just stupid people.
“When I wasn’t famous, I had a lot of friends, almost all of them Italian,” he says. “The racism only started when I started to play football.”
“But me, personally, I hope I can help Italy to be a modern country like England or America.”
Balotelli spoke of his pride at seeing Barack Obama become the first black president of the USA and said he hoped to meet him one day.