NEWCASTLE - Newcastle have signed French midfielder Romain Amalfitano from Reims in the Premier League club's first transfer of the offseason.
The 22-year old Amalfitano is joining for free because his Reims contract expires at the end of June. He says "when a club like Newcastle wants you to play for them it can only be a good thing.
I have taken the opportunity to play in the Premier League and cannot wait to get going".
LONDON - QPR's volatile captain Joey Barton has received a 12-match ban from the Football Association after being found guilty by an Independent Commission of two counts of violent conduct.
The 29-year old — who has been in trouble on several occasions throughout his career both on and off the pitch — had eight matches added to the four-game suspension he had picked up already for being sent off in the final game of the season against champions Manchester City.
He was also fined $A120,000 ($F218,288).
BANGALORE - Mahendra Singh Dhoni has smashed a 20-ball 51 not out to set up a comprehensive 38-run win for his Chennai Super Kings side against Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.
The skipper cracked two sixes and six fours in his explosive knock that helped defending champions Chennai to 5-187 off their 20 overs in Bangalore before they restricted Mumbai to 9-149 on Wednesday.
Chennai will now play the Delhi Daredevils on Friday for a place in the final, to be held on Sunday.
BRISBANE - The Queensland Reds have included flanker Beau Robinson and utility back Ben Lucas in a 23-man squad for tomorrow night's pivotal Super Rugby clash with the Brumbies in Canberra.
Reds coach Ewen McKenzie will finalise his starting team and bench before the defending champions' last training session on Friday afternoon.
Reds squad: Forwards — Ben Daley, Saia Faingaa, Liam Gill, Scott Higginbotham, James Hanson, Greg Holmes, James Horwill (capt), Eddie Quirk, Beau Robinson, Jake Schatz, James Slipper, Rob Simmons, Adam Wallace-Harrison.
Backs — Quade Cooper, Chris F'Sautia, Anthony Faingaa, Nick Frisby, Will Genia, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane, Ben Lucas, Luke Morahan, Dom Shipperley.