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The Sports Matrix: Friday 27 May 2011

Blatter accused as Fifa row deepens

The political crisis at the heart of Fifa intensified last night when president Sepp Blatter was himself accused of corruption by his rival for the presidency Mohamed Bin Hammam, who is already the subject of a Fifa investigation. Bin Hammam will go before a Fifa ethics committee on Sunday but yesterday he fought back against Blatter by accusing the incumbent president of bribing members. Bin Hammam called for Fifa to include Blatter in its ongoing corruption investigations on the grounds that the 75-year-old “was informed of, but did not oppose, payments allegedly made to members of the Caribbean Football Union”. Blatter had earlier sought to distance himself from corruption charges against Bin Hammam in a long rambling blog post. He wrote that it was wrong to assume that he took a “perverse satisfaction” in the charges against Bin Hammam and Warner, and finished with a proverb about the jealousy of Swiss farmers. MORE

Touré banned until early September

Manchester City defender Kolo Touré has been banned for six months for failing a drugs test. The ban started on 2 March when his suspension began, so he will only miss the opening few weeks of next season. He will be targettested for two years. MORE

Evra: I was too confident in 2009

Patrice Evra admits he was guilty of over-confidence when Manchester United faced Barcelona in the Champions League final two years ago, but won’t make the same mistake this time round. “I was confident in Italy – maybe too confident,” he said. MORE

Valencia relieved to find his old form

Antonio Valencia feared for his career after breaking his ankle earlier in the season, and is relieved to have won back his place at Old Trafford and found his form. “Think about other players that have had that type of injury,” he said, “and never recaptured it.” MORE

Bolt returns from break with victory

Olympic champion Usain Bolt made his return from a nine-month absence with 100m victory in the Diamond League meeting in Rome. The Jamaican world record holder, 24, won in 9.91secs, beating compatriot Asafa Powell and Christophe Lemaitre. MORE

Gentle in line to be new Salford coach

Salford are nearing an announcement on Shaun McRae’s successor, with Peter Gentle, assistant at Australian side Wests Tigers, favourite. South Sydney’s Kurt Wrigley has turned down an approach, while Ian Millward and Phil Veivers have also been linked. MORE

Weather-shortened day goes to tourists

Fifties from Tillakaratne Dilshan and Tharanga Paranavitana helped Sri Lanka to 133 for 2 at the close of a rain-affected opening day of the first Test against England in Cardiff. Graeme Swann and James Anderson took a wicket apiece. MORE

Wilshere: Fletcher key to beat Barça

Jack Wilshere believes that Manchester United can beat Barcelona if they start with Darren Fletcher. “United will be good because they have Fletcher who’ll get after Barça,” he said. Wilshere would play Wayne Rooney alone up front. MORE

Murray overcomes Bolelli in three sets

Andy Murray beat Italy’s Simone Bolelli in a straight-set victory in the third round of the French Open yesterday. The fourth seed won 7-6, 6-4, 7-5 and will face Michael Berrer of Germany in the last 32, after Berrer beat Frenchman Arnaud Clément. MORE

Hamilton positive before qualifying

Lewis Hamilton said he is “enjoying every lap I drive” following yesterday’s practice sessions for the Monaco Grand Prix, and is heading into qualifying full of confidence. Fernando Alonso was the fastest, though Hamilton was only 0.105sec slower. MORE

Donald on course to be No1 after 64

Luke Donald hit 64 in the PGA Championship at Wentworth, and described it as “one of the best rounds I’ve ever played”. Lee Westwood is eight shots behind and is likely to lose to world No 1 spot to Donald, who said: “I guess I feel a little bit invincible.” MORE

James Lawton

There must be some murmurings of doubt regarding Barcelona’s claim to be the best team ever. They have fallen some way short of the yardstick they fashioned for themselves two years ago, and lost some of their lustre. MORE

Clubs can make ‘marquee’ signing

From the end of the next season Premiership teams will be able to employ one player over and above the salary cap of £4.26m. The “marquee performer” arrangement gives the most ambitious English sides muscle to compete with French clubs. MORE

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