ZURICH, Switzerland (AP) _ Soccer’s world governing body, FIFA, on Wednesday ruled out any possibility of Japan and South Korea jointly hosting the soccer World Cup in 2002.
FIFA president Joao Havelange, responding to a request from the president of the Asian Football Association that such a move be considered, said it was against FIFA rules.
``We know from experience that organizing something like the World Cup, is very complex, even within one country,″ said FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren.
South Korea and Japan both sent in bids in September last year. Experts teams from FIFA visited both countries in November to inspect facilities and will submit detailed reports to FIFA’s executive committee before it makes its decision on June 1.
Japan Becomes First Team to Qualify for Semifinals
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ Japan defeated the United Arab Emirates 1-0 Wednesday night, becoming the first team to qualify for the semifinals of the pre-Olympic Asian final round soccer tournament.
Japan remained unbeaten at the end of its Group A matches.
Japan’s semifinal opponent will be known after Group B matches on Thursday.
Japan tied 1-1 with Iraq and beat Oman 4-1 in its other Group A matches.
Eight teams divided into two groups are competing in the tournament, with the top two in each advancing to the semifinals.
The three top teams will play in the Olympics in Atlanta.
Soccer Fix Hearing Begins To Determine If There Will Be a Trial
SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) _ A magistrate began hearing evidence Wednesday against three Premier League players accused of fixing matches in English soccer’s biggest bribery scandal in 30 years.
The three _ Bruce Grobbelaar, John Fashanu, and Hans Segers _ and Malaysian businessman Heng Suan Lim are charged with taking or giving money to influence the outcome of games.
Magistrate Gareth Cowling, who has set aside two weeks to hear the evidence, will rule whether the case should go to trial.
Fashanu is accused of making cash payments to Grobbelaar and Segers to fix the outcome of two matches in 1993 and 1994.
Grobbelaar, a Zimbabwean and former Liverpool goalkeeper who now plays with Southampton, allegedly accepted $61,200 from Fashanu to fix a game on Nov. 21, 1993 between Newcastle and Liverpool. Liverpool lost 3-0.
Springfield Franchise Signs Garrison-Jackson
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) _ Zina Garrison-Jackson, who reached the Wimbledon finals in 1990, has signed with the Springfield Lasers for the World Team Tennis season.
The Lasers will play six matches at home and six matches away during the Team Tennis season, Sept. 9-Sept. 28.
Except for 1993, Garrison-Jackson has reached at least the fourth round on the National Tennis Center hardcourts every year since 1985. She lost the 1990 Wimbledon final to Martina Navritalova.
Garrison-Jackson, 32, had been considering retirement at the end of 1996, but announced just the U.S. Open last August that she changed her mind.
Players Boycott All-Star Game Over Foreigners Ruling
LONDON (AP) _ Eight players, including seven England national team members, said they would boycott the British Basketball League All-Star game to protest the decision to scrap all restrictions on foreign players.
The league announced Monday it was doing away with the current limit on two foreigners per team and would opt for a ``completely open competition″ starting next season.
There are currently 25 foreigners, nearly all Americans, playing on the 13 teams in the British league. Under the new system, teams could theoretically field a lineup exclusively of Americans.
The players’ association said it was protesting over the league’s ``lack of consultation″ in its decision.
Among the eight refusing to play in Wednesday night’s All-Star Game was former North Carolina playerr Steve Bucknall of the London Towers.
``We obviously won’t be very happy if they are boycotting,″ said a league spokesman, who asked not to be identified. ``I don’t think they are doing it for the right reason. How can bringing in better players hurt the game? It can only enhance the game.″
British, German Lifters Banned for Drugs
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) _ British weightlifter Peter May and Germany’s Stephanie Utsch were banned for life after testing positive for banned substances, the international weightlifting federation confirmed Wednesday.
May and Utsch were among several lifters, reportedly as many as 10, who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs at November’s world championships in China.
The international federation said it could only confirm the suspensions of May and Utsch because it was still waiting for results of the ``B″ sample analysis in the other cases.
``Only the A-sample of those in question has been tested so far and therefore the IWF does not want to violate the rights of the athletes by making their names public,″ the federation said.