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Sunday, December 15, 2013

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BUENOS AIRES - Barcelona's Lionel Messi may have been crowned world footballer of the year four times, but in his native Argentina it's tennis star Juan Martin del Potro who is top dog. World No.5 Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, edged out Messi to claim Argentina's Sportsman of the Year award at the Sporto Argentino Festival.

Life ban

VEVEY, Switzerland - Iranian wrestler Amir Ali Akbari has been banned for life and stripped of his world Greco-Roman heavyweight title for doping. Wrestling's governing body, FILA, says Ali Akbari tested positive for anabolic steroids at the world championships at Budapest in September. FILA says his results are disqualified and the gold medal in the 120kg.

Shared ground

LONDON - Troubled Super League club London Broncos secured their future yesterday after signing a ground-share deal with non-league football team Barnet. Broncos were homeless after leaving the Twickenham Stoop at the end of last season and reportedly faced going into administration due to their financial difficulties.

Celtic fined

NYON, Switzerland - UEFA has fined Celtic E50,000 ($A77,000) after fans displayed a large political message before a Champions League game against AC Milan. UEFA says the illicit banners breached its rules prohibiting political or religious statements at matches. Celtic fans held up images of Scottish historical figure William "Braveheart" Wallace and Irish republican icon Bobby Sands

Clash scrapped

WELLINGTON - The Chiefs are settling for Super Rugby pre-season fixtures in Toowoomba and Rotorua after a proposed showdown against French giants Toulon was scrapped. The two-time Super Rugby champions had been in negotiation with the European Champions to play a high-profile inter-hemisphere game in France in February.

Ireland victory

DUBAI - John Mooney's second five-wicket haul in the match helped Ireland post a 122-run victory over Afghanistan to win the ICC Intercontinental Cup final yesterday. Defending champions Afghanistan, chasing 347 runs for victory, resumed at 5-136 but were dismissed for 224 on the fourth day of the five-day match.

Small waves

HONOLULU - Mick Fanning's bid for a third world surfing title has been stalled for a third successive day of small waves at the Pipe Masters in Hawaii. Organisers called another lay day, but are hopeful there will be more favourable conditions today Australian time, with a large north westerly swell forecast to rapidly build through Saturday.

Suspended

ROME - Sassuolo defender Francesco Acerbi was suspended by the Italian Olympic Committee (Coni) yesterday after testing positive for a banned substance he was taking to treat testicular cancer. Acerbi, who was once called up to the Italy squad in 2012 by coach Ceasre Prandelli, will not be able to play against Juventus today.