August 16, 2011 in Sports

Father of Chelsea player abducted

Associated Press photo

Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel has made a plea for his father’s release.
(Full-size photo)

Soccer: The father of Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has been abducted in Nigeria’s restive central region, and the soccer player made a televised appeal to kidnappers Monday for his father’s release.

“I have always tried to help the country in every way I can, playing for the country, serving the country. This is the time for the country to help me in this situation,” Mikel told Sky Sports News. “I am just going to say, whoever has got my dad, whoever knows where my dad is, should please contact me and hopefully he should be released.”

Plateau state police commissioner Emmanuel Dipo Ayeni told The Associated Press that Michael Obi disappeared from the state capital Jos on Friday. Ayeni said he had no other details.

Federal police spokesman Olusola Amore said no one had seen Mikel’s father since 6 p.m. Friday, when he left work to return home.

London-based Sport Entertainment & Media Group, Mikel’s management company, said no ransom demand had been made. It said Chelsea was looking at “security issues” after the abduction.

• Fabregas, Barcelona agree to five-year deal: Cesc Fabregas’ transfer to Barcelona is complete after the Spain midfielder signed a five-year contract.

Terms of Fabregas’ contract were not announced, but Spanish media reported the price tag of the transfer at about $57 million.

• Galaxy sign Keane: The Los Angeles Galaxy have signed striker Robbie Keane, the captain of the Irish national team.

Keane agreed to a transfer from Tottenham Hotspur, where the 31-year-old goal-scorer has fallen out of favor.

Keane is the 10th-leading goal-scorer in Premier League history.

The Galaxy lead the MLS standings with 48 points. Los Angeles plans to make a roster move when Keane receives his visa.

Investigators from NCAA sent to Miami

College football: NCAA investigators visited the University of Miami campus looking into claims that more than a dozen former or current football players received gifts and services from convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro, his attorney said.

Shapiro has told the NCAA he provided players with the use of a yacht and other favors, said his attorney, Maria Elena Perez. Shapiro and Perez have been talking with the NCAA about the matter for a couple of months and provided documentation.

University officials didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. School officials and current players were expected to be interviewed.

Shapiro’s relationship with the program dates back about a decade. Some of the alleged incidents occurred in the past four years, which would be within the NCAA’s statute of limitations regarding violations.

• Texas A&M to undergo lengthy realignment process: Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin says there is still a chance the Aggies will stay in the Big 12.

Loftin spoke after receiving authority from the board of regents to take any action he deems necessary in terms of conference realignment. He says Texas A&M is looking only at the Southeastern Conference right now, but didn’t rule out other possibilities.

Loftin says any realignment by Texas A&M will take place after a “lengthy’ process. The SEC on Sunday reaffirmed its 12-school alignment, but left the door open for expansion.

Fighting Sioux nickname to be axed

Miscellany: North Dakota’s Board of Higher Education has voted to retire the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname by the end of the year, a move that assumes lawmakers will repeal a law requiring the school to keep the nickname.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple and legislative leaders weren’t able to persuade NCAA President Mark Emmert to let UND keep the nickname without any penalty.

The higher education board voted unanimously to retire the nickname by Dec. 31. UND had wanted to retire the nickname earlier, but approval of the state law blocked those plans.

• Spurs’ Green signs deal in Slovenia: San Antonio Spurs forward Danny Green has signed with Slovenian basketball league champion Union Olimpija.

Olimpija did not mention financial terms of the deal or whether Green signed an out clause to return to the NBA after the lockout.

• U.S. sprinter tests positive for stimulant: Former American 100-meter champion Michael Rodgers tested positive for methylhexaneamine, a stimulant found in an energy drink and could be ineligible for the world track championships later this month.

Tony Campbell, the agent for Rodgers, said Rodgers ordered vodka with an energy drink at a club last month, two days before a meet in Lignano, Italy.

• Martin loses appeal: The California State Athletic Commission has upheld ring officials’ decision to stop boxer Christy Martin’s June 4 bout with Dakota Stone after Martin suffered a broken right hand.

The panel voted 5-0 in Los Angeles despite claims by Martin’s attorneys that it amounted to sex discrimination because of a misguided notion of a greater need to protect female fighters. Martin vowed to never box in California again.

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