Unification Urged

UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, has decided that only teams from a true national Bosnian league to be launched in August can participate in European competition in the 2000-2001 season, a Bosnian soccer official told Reuters on Friday.

Bosnian soccer remains divided along ethnic lines, with three separate leagues and federations representing the country's Moslem, Serb and Croat ethnic groups. UEFA, however, told Bosnian officials that only teams registered with the national federation could compete in the new league and be eligible for continental competition.

Bosnian officials reported that some clubs from the Bosnian Serb half of the country and some from the Croat areas of the Moslem-Croat federation had expressed interest in the new league, but it is feared that political interference might prevent them from taking part.

No Bosnian team will play in the upcoming European season because of this month's cancellation of the championship playoffs over venue disputes, security concerns and boycotts.


Cricket Team Investigated

Pakistan's accountability commission, which investigated charges of corruption against former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, now is investigating the country's World Cup cricket team. Pakistan suffered a humiliating eight-wicket loss to Australia in the World Cup final in London last weekend. The commission said it had started making inquiries "after concrete evidence of wrongdoing by the country's World Cup cricketers was presented by intelligence agencies," the government-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported. It was not clear whether the team was being investigated on charges of match fixing or "bringing the country's name into disrepute," which is a crime in Pakistan. The punishment could be a fine.


Women Take Softball Title

Japan won its third Junior Women's World Softball Championships in Taipei, Taiwan on Friday with a 3-1 victory over the United States in the final. Japan took a lead it would not relinquish in the fifth inning after manufacturing two runs on two hits, a hit batter, a stolen base and an error. Japan went undefeated in the tournament at 9-0, while the U.S. team finished at 8-2.


Goalie Roa Retiring

Mallorca's Argentine international goalkeeper Carlos Roa is retiring from soccer and dedicating his life to religious work, he said Friday. Roa, 29, had repeatedly hinted over the past six months that he was about to quit. He is a devout member of the Church of the Seventh Day Adventists and has said several times he was opposed to playing on Saturdays. Roa was Argentina's starter at the World Cup last summer and was named this season's top goalkeeper in the Spanish league after given up 29 goals in 35 games and leading Mallorca to third place and the European Cup Winners' Cup final.

Seville Gets Ready

The World Athletics Championships, to be staged in Seville Aug. 20-29, has been boosted by a bumper preliminary entry from 197 member federations, it was announced on Wednesday. The figure represents 2,642 athletes and 980 officials. The 1997 championships, which took place in Athens, received a preliminary entry from 183 federations.


Casagrande Wins

Italy's Francesco Casagrande took his first title since a drug ban when he won the Tour of Switzerland on Thursday. Casagrande, who was hit by a nine-month ban by the Italian Professional Cycling Association in September 1998, took the 10-stage race by 64 seconds from second-place Frenchman Laurent Jalabert.

Casagrande, 29, set himself up for victory by winning the penultimate stage a day earlier. Casagrande's overall lead was never challenged during the 225.2-kilometer Chur-to-Winterthur final stage, despite his tenth-place finish. Third in the tour overall was Italy's Gilberto Simoni.

-- From News Services and Staff Reports


Fight Costs Edilson a Place on Copa Team

The intrigue continued this week inside the Brazilian team as two more stars, Corinthians striker Edilson and AC Milan midfielder Leonardo, were ruled out of this week's Copa America.

Edilson was the first to go, as he was thrown out of Brazil's squad on Monday by coach Wanderley Luxemburgo for sparking a brawl in Sunday's Sao Paulo championship final against Palmeiras. The match was abandoned after Edilson infuriated Palmeiras by juggling the ball and then rolling it down his back with 15 minutes remaining. Corinthians, the Brazilian champions, led 3-0.

Three Palmeiras players -- Junior, Zinho and Paulo Nunes -- charged into him with wild kicks and punches. A fight involving players, officials and riot police ensued, and the game was called off. Corinthians was crowned the champion. Edilson's behavior was condemned by many in the media and the Brazilian soccer establishment, and the Palmeiras trio received little criticism in Monday's papers. Edilson was subsequently axed from Brazil's Copa America squad for what Luxemburgo said was irresponsible behavior.

On Thursday, Leonardo left the Brazilian camp, hinting he had lost motivation to play for the national team. Leonardo became the third member of last year's World Cup squad to distance himself from the set-up run by Luxemburgo, who has brought in a hard-line disciplinary policy. Goalkeeper Taffarel and defender Aldair announced before the squad was picked last week that they wanted no part of it. Brazilian media reports speculated that Leonardo was unhappy at being told that he would lose his captaincy.

Stojko Seeking

Another Championship

Skater Elvis Stojko, 27, said Thursday he will continue competing as an amateur in order to try for a fourth world championship in Australia in March. "My decision is to compete again, going once again for the world championship. I want to keep pushing myself as an athlete," he said.

Stojko has battled through injury the last year and a half, from a seriously pulled groin muscle that hampered his efforts at the 1998 Winter Olympics to a broken collarbone suffered in a practice spill six weeks ago. Stojko is a two-time Olympic silver medal winner, three-time world champion and five-time Canadian senior champion, but finished fourth at the world championships in Helsinki three months ago.

CAPTION: Edilson won't be playing for Brazil in the upcoming Copa America tournament: He was dropped from the roster after his involvement in a brawl at the end of a game.