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The baby's mine — Balotelli

Thursday, February 06, 2014    

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MILAN, Italy (AFP) — AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli yesterday finally acknowledged he was the father of his daughter Pia, two months after failing to attend a hearing in Italy aimed at establishing paternity.

In a message on Twitter, Balotelli wrote: "Finally the TRUTH :-)??...PIA ... Sweet child of mine !!! your Dad."

Italy striker Balotelli is no longer the partner of former on-and-off girlfriend and showgirl Raffaella Fico, who in July 2012 announced she was pregnant with his child.

Pia was born in December 2012 and Fico later accused Balotelli of distancing himself from his newborn baby daughter.

The 23-year-old player retorted several weeks later by threatening Fico with legal action if she continued making "further irresponsible comments".

Glasgow to host London's Diamond League meet

LONDON, England (AP) — The London Diamond League meeting will be staged in Glasgow this summer, two weeks before the city hosts the Commonwealth Games.

British Athletics confirmed the move yesterday, announcing that the meet will take place at Hampden Park on July 11-12.

Hampden, the home of Scottish football, is replacing the Olympic Stadium because of refurbishment work at the London venue.

The Commonwealth Games opening ceremony will be at Celtic Park on July 23, with Hampden hosting the athletics events and the August 3 closing ceremony.

Putin, Lalovic talk wrestling in Sochi

SOCHI, Russia — The head of wrestling's international governing body has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi to discuss the sport's Olympic future.

The International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles says its president, Nenad Lalovic, met this week with Putin and a delegation that included Olympic great Alexander Karelin at the site of the Sochi Olympics.

Putin pledged his continued support for Olympic wrestling. Putin also was presented with the federation's highest honour, the "Gold Necklace" for his contribution to the movement to save Olympic wrestling.

The International Olympic Committee recommended last winter that wrestling be removed from the Olympic programme in 2020. But the federation and major wrestling nations like Russia, the United States and Iran spearheaded a successful push to reinstate the sport.

No healthy stray dogs being killed in Sochi — IOC

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — A campaign to kill stray dogs is putting Olympic organisers on the defensive.

The International Olympic Committee says only sick strays in host city Sochi are being exterminated, and others are just being taken away so they can't disrupt the February 7-23 games.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams, pressed about the campaign, said the dogs are being "taken into custody" and only the sick or dying are being killed.

Humane Society International sent a letter asking President Vladimir Putin to stop the culling.

And a Scottish member of Parliament said the killing "stains the snow of Sochi with blood". Struan Stevenson said that while Putin cuddled a leopard in a show of environmental concern this week, he should have used some of the billions spent on the Olympics on animal shelters.

Beckham buys MLS team in Miami

MIAMI, Florida (AFP) — David Beckham said yesterday that he will buy a US team to play Major League Soccer in Miami, confirming the worst-kept secret in world football.

The former England and Manchester United star said he already has big-name players phoning him up and pledged to create a "global team" like the huge European clubs where he became a superstar.

"I wanted to create a team where we can start from scratch," Beckham told a packed press conference at a downtown Miami art museum, explaining his decision to bring the expanding league's 22nd soccer club to the city.

"I know there was a team here 10 years ago that unfortunately folded, but I know that Miami is ready for football again," he said.

The former England midfielder, who wore a slim-fitting gray suit and tie despite the 82 degree Fahrenheit (28C) weather, said one of his partners would be British pop music and television impresario Simon Fuller, who managed Beckham's wife Victoria when she sang with the Spice Girls.

Beckham, who reportedly paid a cut price $25 million for the franchise, said his wife and family would join him in Miami.

He did not disclose when the team would be ready for action, but reports suggest it will be in 2016 or 2017.

Asked if his former manager at Manchester United, Alex Ferguson, had been in contact over a coaching role, Beckham said: "Funnily enough no, he didn't call me or text me."

Figure skating team event to debut at Olympics

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Ashley Wagner, a self-described vicious competitor, concedes it will be a little strange to cheer on fellow American Gracie Gold.

Team figure skating makes its debut at the Olympics on Thursday, one of the TV-friendly events held a day before the opening ceremony. Ten countries will send out one entry in each of the four disciplines: men, women, pairs and ice dance.

The nation with the highest total score after the short and long programmes wins — suddenly giving figure skaters the chance at two medals at one Winter Games.

Canada is the favorite with three-time world champion Patrick Chan and reigning ice dance Olympic gold medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Host Russia — with medal contenders in the women's, pairs and ice dance events — could challenge if Evgeni Plushenko looks more like the skater who won silver at the 2010 Games than the one who finished second at his own national championships this year.

Real Madrid's Ronaldo banned for 3 games

MADRID, Spain (AP) — Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for three Spanish league games for receiving a red card and then making a mocking gesture toward match officials in a game at Athletic Bilbao.

The Portugal forward was shown a straight red for swiping his hand across the face of Bilbao's Carlos Gurpegi's following a shove from his opponent in Sunday's 1-1 league draw.

The league's disciplinary committee handed Ronaldo a one-game ban for the red card and two more games for his mocking gesture as he left the field.

Ronaldo will miss league games against Villarreal, Getafe and Elche.

Ronaldo, however, is available to play in the Copa del Rey semi-final against Atletico Madrid, with the first leg due to be played yesterday.

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