Sharapova blasts Serena over rape row, private life

Updated 23 June 2013
0

Sharapova blasts Serena over rape row, private life

LONDON: Maria Sharapova blasted Serena Williams yesterday for the American’s controversial comments over a high-profile rape case and even criticized the Wimbledon champion’s colorful private life.
In an astonishing attack on the world No.1, which comes just two days before Wimbledon gets underway, Sharapova told Williams to keep her opinions to herself as the bitter relationship between the two was laid bare.
Williams, the 16-time Grand Slam title-winner, was forced to apologize for her comments regarding the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high school American football players in the Ohio town of Steubenville.
“I was definitely sad to hear what she had to say about the whole case,” said Sharapova, who was defeated by Williams in the French Open final earlier this month.
“I just think she should be talking about her accomplishments, her achievements, rather than everything else that’s just getting attention and controversy.” Sharapova, who has not beaten her great rival since 2004, also criticized Williams’s love life after the American had aimed a thinly-disguised jibe at the Russian’s affair with Bulgarian player, Grigor Dimitrov, believed to be a former Williams boyfriend.
“There are people who live, breathe and dress tennis. I mean, seriously, give it a rest,” Williams told Rolling Stone magazine without naming the Russian.

“She begins every interview with ‘I’m so happy. I’m so lucky’ — it’s so boring. She’s still not going to be invited to the cool parties. And, hey, if she wants to be with the guy with a black heart, go for it.” Sharapova, clearly upset at the insinuation, hit back on Saturday at Williams’s romance with her French coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
“If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids,” said Sharapova.
“Talk about other things, but not draw attention to other things. She has so much in her life, many positives, and I think that’s what it should be about.” Williams got involved in the Ohio rape case with her controversial remarks, also delivered to Rolling Stone.
“I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you — don’t take drinks from other people,” the magazine quoted Williams as saying.
“She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.” On Wednesday, Williams, 31, apologized.
“What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened,” Williams said.
“For someone to be raped, and at only 16, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved — that of the rape victim and of the accused.
“I am currently reaching out to the girl’s family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written — what I supposedly said — is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.” Sharapova said she always make a point of trying to keep her private life under wraps.
“What I do on the court and what I talk about in my press conference is strictly about my career. I’m sure people want to know more, but yet I try to keep my personal life private,” said the Russian.
“Nobody really cares about what I have to say, my opinions. If I speak to my friends, that’s one thing. But I don’t go out and try to create things that shouldn’t be really talked about.” World No. 2, Victoria Azarenka, who is close friends with Williams but endures a cool relationship with Sharapova, refused to condemn the American.
“I have read her comments. I think there is always a benefit of a doubt to a person,” said Azarenka.
“Only two people really know what happened. I know what it’s like to be misunderstood sometimes. If I need some explanation from somebody, I’ll go ask them directly.


Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Updated 22 May 2018
0

Saudi Arabian football clubs helped with debts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs
  • Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million)

RIYADH: The General Sports Authority and Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) have announced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will cover all external debts owed by Saudi Professional League clubs.
According to reports, the Crown Prince will provide 1,277,000,000 Saudi riyals (around $340 million) that will not only clear monies owed but also enable clubs to invest ahead of the 2018-19 season.
The issue of debt had become a major issue in the country’s football scene.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs are currently experiencing financial problems that require immediate and urgent intervention,” the General Sports Authority, which oversees Saudi Arabian sport, said in a statement released on social media.
The body noted that there are a total of 107 cases under appeal at world governing body FIFA regarding unpaid salaries in Saudi Arabia.
“Failure to intervene urgently to rescue clubs may result in damage to the reputation of the Kingdom in general and Saudi Arabian sport in particular,” added the GSA.
“Some Saudi Arabian clubs may face severe disciplinary sanctions because of the failure to meet financial obligations such as the
denial of the registration of players in general or the deduction of points.”
Unpaid salaries were also a factor in Al-Ittihad and Al-Nassr being unable to appear in this year’s AFC Champions League after they were denied AFC club licenses.
Al-Ittihad were the club with the highest debt of 309 million riyals ($82 million) and welcomed the news.
“We are delighted by the generous initiative of His Royal Highness,” Al-Ittihad president Nawaf Al-Muqairn said in an official statement released by the two-time Asian champions.
“This contributes to creating solid ground for all clubs to move toward achieving their goals.”
Legendary Saudi striker Sami Al-Jaber, recently appointed president of champions Al-Hilal, announced his gratitude on social media.
“Great thanks to His Highness the Crown Prince for the great support that the clubs have enjoyed which enables sport in our country to keep pace with the aspirations of our leadership,” Al-Jaber wrote.
The Crown Prince’s move followed the SAFF announcing a new raft of regulations in April that will come into effect next season and are designed to take the league forward. These included restricting club spending on transfers and salaries to 70 percent of revenue. The size of first-team squads has been reduced from 33 to 28, of which five must be homegrown players of 23 or younger.