SPORTS NEWS IN BRIEF
MADRID - Spanish international Andres Iniesta has agreed to extend his Barcelona contract until at least 2018. "Iniesta's extension is confirmed, we have shaken on it and that is enough for us," Barcelona president Sandro Rosell told a news conference on Thursday.
WELLINGTON - Wellington Phoenix say injury was behind Carlos Hernandez's sudden departure from Australia but acknowledge the playmaker has off-field concerns. Hernandez flew home to Wellington on Thursday, hours before the Phoenix's 1-0 loss to Central Coast Mariners in Sydney, continuing their winless start to the A-League season.
BEIJING - Former NBA star Dennis Rodman says he is hoping a basketball game he is organising in North Korea could engage the American people and president Barack Obama. "Sport is so important to people around the world so I hope this is going to engage the American people, especially Obama," the eccentric former Chicago Bulls star said at Beijing airport on Thursday on his way to Pyongyang.
LONDON - Exeter Chiefs captain and former Wallabies second-rower Dean Mumm has signed a two-year contract extension with the English Premiership club to keep him at Sandy Park until 2016. Head coach Rob Baxter said the former Waratahs forward's decision sends a warning to the rest of the competition not to try to poach the Chiefs' top stars.
MIAMI, Florida - Miami's Ray Allen hit the go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute as the Heat rallied from a late deficit to beat the Indiana Pacers 97-94 on Wednesday in a clash of NBA divisional leaders. The Heat-Pacers clash was the highlight of a day when Minnesota made a powerful start which overwhelmed Portland, San Antonio ended Phoenix's winning streak, and father Doc Rivers got the bragging rights over son Austin Rivers as the Los Angeles Clippers defeated New Orleans.
LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant has a broken bone in his left knee and is expected to miss six weeks, the NBA team has confirmed. "You hate it for Kobe," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said on the team's Twitter feed on Thursday. "He's worked so hard to get back."
MARRAKECH, Morocco - After introducing technology to do away with phantom goals at the World Cup, FIFA is ensuring crafty defenders stop creeping in to cut down the distances on free kicks at next year's tournament in Brazil. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said Thursday that a vanishing spray currently being used at the Club World Cup to designate distances for free kicks will be used at the world's biggest soccer event.
FRANKFURT, Germany - Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich are in Morocco, seeking to win the world club title, so Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund have an opportunity to make up some ground in the last round before the winter break. No matter what, Bayern will spend the break atop the standings, seven points ahead of Leverkusen and 12 points ahead of Dortmund.