Sporting Digest: Baseball

FIBA, the sport's world governing body, announced several major rule changes yesterday, including the abolition of limits on foreign players. Despite that each national federation will be able to establish more restrictive regulations for their domestic competitions. The board also announced several technical changes, to be implemented after the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. The most radical development is the change of playing time from two periods of 20 minutes to four of 10 minutes. Half- time will be 15 minutes with two-minute intervals between the other periods. The shot clock will be reduced from 30 to 24 seconds while the introduction of an "eight-second rule" means that the ball must be moved to the front court within that time. A three-man officiating could be applied for the Olympics and world championships.

Chris Finch was rewarded with a one-year contract extension yesterday after coaching Sheffield Sharks to the Budweiser League and National Cup double.