The figures compiled by Barcelona-based Prime Time Sport underlined how Spanish top-flight teams, excluding wealthy Real Madrid and Barcelona, are increasingly being forced to cash in on top performers to stay afloat.


They also suggested UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, currently being phased in and designed to prevent clubs spending more than they earn, are beginning to bite.

La Liga clubs sold players worth 480 million euros (404 million pounds) in the transfer window which closed on Monday, Prime Time’s latest Football Transfer Review showed.

Almost a third of income, or 139 million euros, came from deals with clubs outside Spain.

The majority of players were sold to English Premier League sides, including Mesut Ozil leaving Real Madrid for Arsenal, Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas joining Manchester City from Sevilla and Roberto Soldado switching to Tottenham Hotspur from Valencia.

La Liga clubs spent 400 million euros buying players, the second highest amount ever, yielding a net profit of around 80 million, with Real (183 million) and Barca (57 million) accounting for 62 percent of the outlay.

Outside the big two, the world’s richest clubs by income, four clubs did not spend anything at all on players and nine laid out less than 3 million euros each.

“La Liga is now more of a seller than a buyer and except for Real and Barca is experiencing difficulties in holding on to talent,” Prime Time said.

“As many as 13 of the 20 teams in La Liga took their chance to cash in and clean up their accounts.”

The study also showed that after Real’s purchase of Gareth Bale from Spurs for a record 100 million euros the club has spent 611 million on players in the past five years, almost 40 percent of the total for La Liga.

They have spent 75 percent more than arch-rivals Barca (348 million), who bought only one player in the close season – Brazil forward Neymar from Santos for 57 million euros – for the first time in a quarter of a century.

Barca have the joint-most players from their own academy with 17, the same as Athletic Bilbao who only field players of Basque origin, Prime Time said.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Read More →

Robson, 19, eliminated Li in the third round at Flushing Meadows last year.


The fifth-seeded Li beat Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson 6-2 6-2 on Arthur Ashe Stadium court and Robson, seeded 30th, advanced with a 6-4 7-6 victory over Caroline Garcia of France, winning the second-set tiebreak 7-5.

“After last year I think both players improved a lot. I’m really looking forward to playing against her,” Li told reporters about a rematch against former Wimbledon junior champion Robson.

“For sure, really challenging, a lefty, aggressive player. Also, I can prove myself after one year whether I can do better than last year.”

Robson said she well remembered their showdown at the 2012 U.S. Open.

“I remember being so nervous when I walked on court,” the Australian-born Briton said. “But just fighting through that and just sticking with her.

“I think she made a lot of mistakes in the first set, which helped quite a lot. Hopefully she’ll do that again.”

Li, 31, believes she has improved since taking on Carlos Rodriguez as her coach last year, although it has been a process.

“The first one or two months we have, he didn’t talk too much, because he have to see what I’m doing,” world number six Li said.

“After, I think especially in the winter training, we talk a lot. Not every day, but every second day we talk a lot to know each other pretty much,” she added about Rodriguez, a former coach of seven-times grand slam winner Justine Henin.

“I was feeling pretty happy the way he is like now. We are communicating.”

Li, a sporting trailblazer in China with more than 10 million fans on Chinese social media, said her relationship with a coach influenced more than just tactics and technique.

“I was feeling that a coach for me not only is about tennis coaching. He teaches me a lot like off of the court. He tells me a lot of experience, especially (for) press conference, communication with friends, with family, so many things.”

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

Read More →

Australian Open champion Djokovic and French Open winner Nadal have designs on adding a second grand slam to their honours this year but first must get past familiar foes in Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka and France’s Richard Gasquet, respectively.


Top-seeded Djokovic, who advanced to his 14th successive grand slam semi-final with a four-set victory over Mikhail Youzhny, and Nadal, a straight-sets winner over fellow-Spaniard Tommy Robredo, have both lost only one set in the tournament.

The darkhorse challengers, however, are at the top of their games, both wielding lethal one-handed backhands as a key part of their arsenal.

Nadal said there was no danger of him looking past longtime friend Gasquet and at a possible marquee clash with Djokovic.

“I hope to be ready to play a good match against Richard. If not, I will not have the chance to play the final,” the second-seeded Spaniard said.

“If I don’t play great match against Richard, I will see the final on TV. I am focused only to play great match in semi-finals against Richard.”

The eighth-seeded Gasquet went five sets to beat big-serving Milos Raonic of Canada in the fourth round, and went the distance again to eliminate fourth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer in the quarters.

Wawrinka caused an even bigger splash as he improved his 2013 record to 41-15 by ousting Wimbledon winner and defending U.S. Open champion Andy Murray of Britain in three breezy sets in his quarter-finals tilt.

The Swiss said he was most proud of how he dealt with the pressure of playing against Murray, since in the past he has often been plagued by nerves.

“My level of tennis right now is quite good. I’m really confident with myself, with my game,” said 28-year-old Wawrinka, whose victory over third seed Murray lifted him to his first grand slam semi-final.


Djokovic knows first-hand how dangerous Wawrinka can be, having gone through a titanic five-set struggle against him in the fourth round at the Australian Open that he clinched 12-10 in the final set of a superb contest.

“It’s definitely one of the most exciting matches I have played in my life on this surface, that was played on a very, very high level,” the Serb said about that hard court encounter in Melbourne on his way to winning a third straight Australian crown.

“In the past we all knew that he has the quality to play that well, but not in a consistent basis.

“He’s a very complete player. He can play equally well on any surface. He had one of the best seasons in his life.”

Wawrinka said the contest against Djokovic was a turning point for him.

“It’s one of the keys of the season, for sure,” the Swiss said. “That was a really tough moment, but at the end, I was really positive with that match because all Australian Open my level was quite good and was better than ever.”

Djokovic said he was bracing for Wawrinka’s best after his impressive performance against Murray.

“That was quite impressive,” he said. “I’m sure he’s very confident and he has nothing to lose now. He’s going to go for the win.”

Djokovic leads their head-to-head series 12-2, with wins in their last 11 meetings.


Nadal is a perfect 10-0 against Gasquet, who he has competed against since their junior days.

The Spaniard said he had great respect for his opponent and was pleased to see him make it to the last four at Flushing Meadows.

“He’s a nice guy, very nice person, one of the players on the tour that I feel closer (to) because we are from the same age. We always had a good feeling,” said Nadal.

“So it’s great, no? When you see a player like Richard that we grow up in similar ways and we played when we were kids. We have the chance to be in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open, so is great.”

Even Djokovic felt good about Gasquet’s advance to his second grand slam semi-final following his maiden journey six years ago at Wimbledon.

“Richard was always one of the most talented players that played the game with one of the most beautiful and also most efficient backhands that we have seen,” said Djokovic.

(Editing by Steve Keating)

Read More →

He was injured in a collision with Aston Villa defender Antonio Luna in Arsenal’s opening day Premier League home defeat on Saturday which ruled him out of their Champions League qualifier at Fenerbahce on Wednesday.


British media had reported that the 20-year-old could be out for up to six months but Wenger allayed those concerns.

“It will be at least six weeks out with a posterior cruciate problem… a ligament that is stretched. We don’t think it will need surgery,” the Arsenal manager told a news conference ahead of the playoff first leg in Turkey on Wednesday.

The Arsenal manager has found himself under early pressure following Saturday’s disappointing 3-1 reverse against Villa which followed a difficult close season in the transfer market.

The north London club made a failed bid to sign Uruguay striker Luis Suarez from Liverpool and were rebuked by Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew on Monday for lacking respect after making an offer for French midfielder Yohan Cabaye.

Arsenal’s bid came before Newcastle’s game at Manchester City which they lost 4-0 with Cabaye left out of the team.

“I do not know whether it is fair or unfair,” Wenger told reporters. “I just do what is best for this football club.”

Arsenal, who finished fourth last season to clinch a Champions League playoff spot, have so far signed only Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre and Wenger is under pressure from disgruntled fans to sign some quality players.

The Frenchman said he will try to reinforce his squad but emphasised that he has faith in the players he already has.

“As always, we do what we think is right,” he was quoted as saying on the club’s official website ( “When we think we have the right players, we do it.

“We were for years restricted and we competed with exceptional quality. This year we did not lose any players – we just lost two players with injury – but we will try to strengthen the squad and make the right decisions until the end.

“I repeat many, many times that the transfer window should be over before the season starts because it is a little bit destabilising once the season has started – to be there talking about what is not really important in football.”

(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Ken Ferris)

Read More →

Tokyo beat Istanbul by 60 votes to 36 in a head-to-head vote by IOC members in Buenos Aires on Saturday, giving the Japanese capital the Games for the second time.


Madrid had been eliminated in a first round of voting.

“Both Tokyo and Madrid have hosted the games before; Istanbul hasn’t. It hasn’t been fair,” Erdogan was quoted as saying in Turkish media. “In a way, they are cutting ties with the 1.5-billion-people Muslim world.”

Civil unrest, the unstable political situation on the country’s doorstep and a wave of high-profile athletics doping cases are seen as the chief culprits for the IOC’s decision to overlook Turkey, which has a predominantly Muslim population, again after Istanbul failed in bids to land the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Games.

While the unrest in neighbouring Syria was seen by some as counting against the bid, others felt a heavy-handed police crackdown during recent anti-government protests also damaged Turkey’s image.

Tokyo, which hosted the 1964 Games, had an estimated non-Games budget of around $4.4 billion for 2020 plus $3.4 billion for the actual event.

Istanbul’s proposal had a total cost of $19 billion, making it more ambitious but also risky given the country’s lack of experience in staging major sports events.

Another worry for Istanbul has been the wave of doping cases which have resulted in the Turkish Athletics Federation banning dozens of athletes for drugs violations, most recently double European 100m hurdles champion Nevin Yanit.

Turkey’s Sports Minister Suat Kilic said doping was not an issue peculiar to Turkey while Erdogan said the country was taking steps to fight it.

“We have said ‘zero tolerance against doping’ and have started our work,” Erdogan said.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Clare Fallon)

Read More →

Woods, who has long measured success by his hardware from golf’s major championships, sounded philosophical on Wednesday when asked to assess his 2013 season ahead of the opening round at Liberty National.


“You’re going to have years where you don’t win major championships and years that you do,” said Woods, whose stated pursuit of Jack Nicklaus and his record 18 majors has stalled since winning the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.

But failure to end his majors drought did not diminish his achievements this year, Woods said.

“This year’s been a great year so far,” the 37-year-old American told reporters.

“I’ve won at two of my favourite venues (Torrey Pines and Bay Hill), plus winning two World Golf Championships and a Players (Championship) in there. It’s been pretty good,” he added with a smile.

The five tournament victories from 12 starts this year have put him firmly atop the world rankings and brought him to a total of 79, three away from the record 82 won by Sam Snead.

Woods said his PGA Tour wins column was something he was very proud of.

“It’s been an amazing, amazing run to get here,” he said. “The consistency is one of the things I’m most proud of, winning five or more tournaments, 10 years. That’s one of the stats that I look at as one of the ones I’m really proud of. This is one of those years.

“I’m second on the all-time list on both, whether it’s majors or all-time wins. That’s not bad at my age.”

Woods has twice won the FedExCup competition, in the inaugural 2007 series and again two years later, but his 2009 triumph began with a contentious start at The Barclays, which served as the coming-out party for the Liberty National venue.

The American was very critical about the layout, especially the heavily undulating contours of the greens.

Woods remarked to a player in his pro-am group the day before the tournament began that “maybe Tom (co-designer Kite) did this course before his eye operation.”

Kite shed his thick-lensed eyeglasses after having Lasik surgery in 1998, six years after first considering the challenge of turning the former landfill site into a world-class venue.

“The golf course is obviously very different than the last time we played it,” Woods, who still managed to tie for second in the 2009 event, said about the 74 changes made to the layout since then.

“They made some really nice improvements. Some of the landing areas have been changed. Some of the greens have been changed, and a couple bunkers have been repositioned, but they have made some really nice, positive improvements.”

Woods said his goal was to add to his wins total and play his way into the top five on the points list – which ensures that victory at the Tour Championship finale would clinch the FedExCup title and its $10 million bonus.

With all that winning, Woods was asked would the 2013 season be better with six titles, or none of those and one major.

“I think the major,” admitted Woods. who tied for fourth at the Masters, tied for 32nd at the U.S. Open, was tied for sixth at the British Open and finished tied for 40th at the PGA.

(Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Simon Evans)

Read More →

Nyad came ashore about 53 hours after she set off from Havana, completing the estimated 110-mile (177-km) journey and setting a record for the longest ocean swim without a shark cage or flippers, according to her crew.


She was met by crowds in Key West who surrounded her, snapping photos, when she staggered ashore as they were enjoying sunny beach weather on the annual Labor Day holiday.

Helpers were waiting to give her medical treatment and immediately placed her on a stretcher and hydrated her with an IV, before she was taken to a hospital. Her face looked sunburned except around the eyes, where she had been covered by goggles, and her lips were swollen.

It was her fifth attempt in 35 years to make the crossing.

About 2 miles (3.2 km) before she reached Key West, Nyad paused briefly to thank her support team, treading water as she addressed the vessels bobbing in the sea around her, according to blog updates on her website (

“This is a lifelong dream of mine and I’m very, very glad to be with you,” she said. “So let’s get going so we can have a whopping party.”

The marathon swimmer had said this was her final attempt, this time using a protective silicone mask to better protect her from potentially deadly box jellyfish that forced her to end one of two attempted crossings last year.

Her doctors aboard a support vessel said earlier on Monday that Nyad’s tongue and lips were swollen, causing her speech to be slurred and raising concern about her breathing, her blog reported. Nyad was also “very cold” and had canceled scheduled feeding stops overnight “in the hopes that swimming would keep her warm.”

Nyad said at the outset that the custom-made mask slowed her and made it more difficult to breathe. Officials initially estimated it could take up to three days to complete the swim, but Nyad benefited from a favorable current, her crew members said.

The treacherous Florida Straits has been conquered only once, by Australian Susie Maroney, who used a protective cage at age 22 during a 1997 swim. The cage glided on ocean currents and enabled Maroney to make the journey in just 25 hours.

Australian endurance swimmer Chloe McCardel abandoned her quest in June to make the crossing after she was severely stung by a jellyfish 11 hours into her attempt.

Nyad’s fifth attempt to make the crossing comes 35 years after she made her first go at it aged 28 in 1978, when she gave up after covering 76 miles in 42 hours, with the aid that time of a shark cage.

Nyad departed on Saturday morning accompanied by five support boats that also provide her with food and water.

Nyad put on a jellyfish-protection suit on Sunday, the but did not immediately use her protective mask, her website said. Instead, the exposed parts of her face were slathered with a special protective cream dubbed “Sting Stopper,” it said.

At one point on Sunday, Nyad floated on her back kicking and led a crew of 35 people keeping her on course through the strong Gulf Stream current in singing “Happy Birthday” to a crew member.

Nyad made the swim stopping every 40 minutes to eat, taking several bites of scrambled eggs and pasta, the blog said.

Her long-distance accomplishments include swimming around the island of Manhattan in 1975 and a swim from the Bahamas to Florida in 1979.

(Writing by David Adams and Kevin Gray; Additional reporting by Marc Frank in Havana; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Cynthia Osterman)

Read More →

With her boyfriend, Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy, watching from the stands at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Wozniacki had to dig deep to beat Chinese qualifier Duan Yingying 6-2 7-5 on an action-packed second day at the U.


S. National Tennis Center.

Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion, also had to work overtime before winning her clash with Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-2 3-6 6-1 while a grieving Ivanovic, the 2008 French Open winner, cruised to a 6-2 6-0 win over Georgia’s Anna Tatishvili.

Also a former world number one, Ivanovic arrived in New York with a heavy heart after learning about the drowning death of a childhood friend back home in her native Serbia.

Vukasin Ziramov, 25, died last week after jumping off a bridge into a river while on an outing with friends in Senta.

“It’s been very sad news,” Ivanovic told reporters. “It was very hard because it was almost like my relative. We grew up, and I knew him since we were kids. It’s very, very sad.”

Ivanovic was able to control her emotions during her brief appearance on court, cracking 16 winners in her 58-minute romp.

“It’s obviously hard, more so emotionally than anything else,” she said. “(But) I’m very confident with the game and the way I was playing before that.”

Wozniacki appeared to be in cruise control in her match against Duan, racing through the opening set in just 35 minutes before the Danish sixth seed lost her way in the blustery conditions.

The match looked to be heading to a deciding third set when Duan jumped out to a 5-2 lead before Wozniacki regained control, reeling off the next five games to avoid a repeat of her first-round exit from Flushing Meadows a year ago.

“I’m happy to be through. I think everyone that you asked today would just say it was a day of survival and a day to get through,” Wozniacki said.

“It’s not about being pretty. It’s about just getting the job done. I did that, so I’m happy about that.”

The left-handed Kvitova also had problems with the swirling wind, making 29 unforced errors before recovering from a second set lapse to ease into the second round.

“The wind was quite difficult for us but it was the same conditions for both of us,” said the Czech. “It wasn’t easy match for first round. It’s always tricky and difficult, so I’m glad that I’m through.”

Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz was booed for serving underhand during a petulant display in his loss to Argentina’s Maximo Gonzalez, ranked 247th in the world.

Hampered by a painful back injury, Janowicz crashed to a 6-4 6-4 6-2 loss after arguing with the chair umpire and throwing his water bottle on the court.

“It was like being stabbed in the back by a knife,” Janowicz said. “For three days I haven’t been able to practice, I could barely walk. I was in really good shape before this happened and that’s why I’m fricking disappointed.”

(Reporting by Julian Linden; editing by)

Read More →

A point from a forgettable match in Kiev kept England on course for next year’s World Cup finals but the negative tactics and lack of flair were seen as further evidence that Hodgson’s side are falling behind the world’s best.


Former England striker Gary Lineker and now BBC presenter described the performance as “woeful”.

However, Hodgson seemed baffled by the reaction and took Lineker to task.

“I’m surprised anyone who has played for England, captained England and played in games of this nature can be that critical,” Hodgson was quoted in British newspapers.

“This is the second time. My disappointment would be that I saw Gary Lineker play, I remember him captaining the team and playing some great games for England but I’m also pretty sure he played in some games when it wasn’t easy and I don’t think every game he played for England was a total success.

“I try to placate most people but I’m afraid I’ve just seen a group of players missing seven first-team members beat Moldova 4-0 and come to Ukraine and draw 0-0.

“You can criticise us or praise us or do whatever you want to do but don’t think you’re going to put words into my mouth or get me agreeing with these opinions.”

Hodgson said Lineker was out of step with the public.

“I will be surprised if I’m walking down the street in the next few weeks and people aren’t actually saying ‘You did well in those two games.’ I’d be surprised. But we’ll see.”

England have been hard to beat since Hodgson took over from Fabio Capello, losing just once in his 20 games.

They have rarely looked like a side capable of challenging for major honours though, and were outplayed by Italy in last year’s Euro 2012 quarter-finals before losing on penalties.

So far in the qualifying campaign for the World Cup, their only wins have been against San Marino and Moldova.

Captain Steven Gerrard also defended England’s performance.

“The manager asked us for a clean sheet before the game,” Gerrard said in the Guardian. “He asked us to be difficult to beat and make sure the group was still in our hands.”

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by John O’Brien)

Read More →

Prop Coenie Oosthuizen put the visitors in front after six minutes and their advantage was extended with late tries from captain Jean de Villiers, Zane Kirchner and Willie Le Roux.


The win in front of 43,715 spectators at Lang Park was the Springboks’ first victory at the venue in eight attempts.

“I thought our defence was awesome,” Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer told a news conference.

“I truly believe we won the game firstly in our minds and secondly without the ball because the whole message was we needed to make more than 150 tackles.

“If they get momentum they are a very good side. I was very happy the way we attacked at the end.

“We really believed we could win. We wanted to show if you work together nothing is impossible.”

The win puts South Africa on top of the Rugby Championship with three wins ahead of a meeting with New Zealand, who are also unbeaten, and Meyer cautioned his side to stay grounded ahead of next Saturday’s clash at Eden Park.

“A lot of things worked, but we need to keep our feet on the ground and stay humble because next week is a bigger challenge,” he said.

The talk leading into the game surrounded Australia’s exciting back line but it was the Springboks who ran amok, especially in the last quarter.

Conversely, Australia failed to score a try against South Africa for the first time since 2001 as the Springboks bettered their previous record win in Australia, a 12-point victory in 1971.


Oosthuizen gave South Africa the perfect start in the sixth minute. After Nick Cummins failed to keep Morne Steyn’s long kick in play, South Africa won their lineout and Oosthuizen, on the field as a blood-bin replacement, brushed aside Scott Fardy and Quade Cooper to score.

Cummins looked like he could make amends for his earlier error when a line-break sent him bearing down on the South African try-line, but he slipped over just inside the 22 with one man to beat.

Three penalty kicks from Steyn and two from Christian Leali’ifano followed as the Springboks extended their lead to 16-6 at halftime, although it could have been worse for the Wallabies had Quade Cooper not produced a fine tackle to stop le Roux in the right corner three minutes before the interval.

On the hour mark, wing Bryan Habana’s fine run and chip forward into the 22 led to an easy chance for de Villiers to run in a try.

Four minutes later, a superb pass inside on the right wing from le Roux set free Kirchner to extend the lead six minutes later.

Then loose play from Quade Cooper gifted the Springboks a turnover in midfield and Duane Vermeulen fed le Roux who raced over for a try of his own 10 minutes from time.

Such handling errors were the chief cause of frustration for Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie who is still searching for his first win after three games.

“It doesn’t matter who you play if you drop the ball in key moments and they counter-attack it’s hard work,” McKenzie said.

“You’ve got to create opportunities and you’ve got to grab them. We didn’t quite get there. That was the frustrating thing. We got up there in front of the goalposts four times and turned the ball over.

“There are bits of the game that are improving slowly but you are judged on the scoreboard and that’s not an acceptable outcome. We made it too easy for them in the second half.”

In a match that threatened to boil over on several occasions each side had a man sin-binned, Willem Alberts for a deliberate knock-on in the first half and Michael Hooper after a dangerous tackle on Habana after the interval.

(Editing by John Mehaffey)

Read More →