x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

World Cup diary: Vuvuzelas receive a ban from the UFC

The vuvuzelas have split fans and pundits during the World Cup, with the noise irritating as many as they have entertained. But one place you can be sure you are not going to hear them is in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) arena.

The vuvuzelas have split fans and pundits during the World Cup, with the noise irritating as many as they have entertained. But one place you can be sure you are not going to hear them is in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) arena. Dana White, the UFC president, confirmed yesterday they would be banned from Saturday's latest event, where Brock Lesnar, the heavyweight champion, takes on Shane Carwin in Las Vegas. "This decision was pretty simple for me," White said. "Vuvuzelas make the most horrific sound I've ever heard. I'd rather let Brock punch me in the face than hear 15,000 people blow on those things. This is the biggest heavyweight fight we've ever done. We'll make enough noise this weekend when Brock and Shane finally step inside the Octagon."

Jean-Pierre Escalettes, the former French Football Federation president, has claimed he had felt helpless against a player revolt at the World Cup that led to him handing in his resignation. Escalettes, who quit on Monday in the wake of France's shambolic World Cup showing, told a parliamentary commission yesterday that he could do nothing to stop the players boycotting a training session in support of Nicolas Anelka, the striker who was expelled from the squad. The 75-year-old official told the commission about the incident at Knysna in South Africa's Western Cape, and how he had tried to convince the players sitting in the team coach that refusing to train was not a good idea. Lionel Tardy, a commission member at the hearing, told reporters: "He [Escalettes] told us that in the coach they [Escalettes and Raymond Domenech, the French coach] had used every conceivable argument in vain. Escalettes told us they faced a wall [of opposition from the players], something he had never experienced in over 50 years of experience in football, and they could not make it fall. For him, something was broken that day." Domenech also appeared at the hearing.

A fan who walked into the England team dressing room after a World Cup match will not face a criminal trial after he agreed to pay a fine, a South African Court ruled yesterday. Pavlos Joseph, 32, was arrested for entering the England changing room following the side's disappointing goalless draw against Algeria on June 18. His solicitor told Cape Town Magistrates' Court that prosecutors had dropped further charges against Joseph after he paid a 750 rand (Dh360) fine for trespassing. The incident originally sparked concern about lax security during Africa's first hosting of the month-long tournament. South African police have since charged a British tabloid journalist with helping Joseph gain access to the dressing room. Police accuse the journalist from the Sunday Mirror tabloid of orchestrating the incident. The newspaper has denied its reporter was guilty of any wrongdoing.

Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portugual captain, confessed to being a broken man on Wednesday after his side's crushing 1-0 World Cup defeat to Spain, but that did not stop him receiving a written battering from the Portuguese media. The 25-year-old Real Madrid player said he felt a deep sadness at their exit at the hands of the European champions. "I feel a broken man, completely disconsolate, frustrated and an unimaginable sadness," he said in a statement. Ronaldo was roundly blamed though by his country's media for the defeat. "Ronaldo played one of his worst matches ever for the national side," commented Correio da Manha. Publico took the same dim point of view of the superstar's displays. "Ronaldo missed out completely on this World Cup. [Jose] Mourinho [the new Real Madrid coach] said that Portugal would not win this World Cup even if Ronaldo was going at 1,000 kilometres an hour," it said in an editorial. "But he [Ronaldo] did not even get near the speed of a cruise ship." The editor of Diario de Noticias was equally cutting, saying that the former Manchester United player "had virtually not existed".

A total of 208 samples taken from players after the first 52 World Cup matches in South Africa were negative, Jiri Dvorak, Fifa's chief medical officer, said yesterday. Two players per team are tested directly after each match and none has yet been found to have any trace of a banned substance. The clean slate continues a drugs-free trend at World Cups since 1998.