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Hull’s new boys score but West Ham take a point

Debut goals from Hull’s club-record signing Abel Hernandez and Mohamed Diame, facing his former club, were cancelled out in the second half by Enner Valencia and then Davies’s turn-in.

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Hernandez, who arrived from Italian side Palermo on transfer-deadline day, marked his debut for the hosts with a brilliant headed goal from Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross in the 39th minute.

Ecuador’s World Cup striker Valencia, another Premier League new boy, equalised for West Ham five minutes after the restart with a long-range strike that stunned the home fans into silence.

A familiar face then came back to haunt the visitors when Senegal captain Diame, making his Hull debut after joining from the Hammers, took advantage of sloppy defending to curl past Adrian after 64 minutes.

The celebrations were short-lived, with defender Davies accidentally turning in Diafra Sakho’s shot three minutes later to give Sam Allardyce’s 13th-placed team a fourth point in as many games.

“It was a bit hair-raising for me when you go down twice and probably don’t deserve to, especially the second one when Mo Diame scored having just joined them,” West Ham manager Sam Allardyce told Sky Sports.

“But we showed great character, I did not think there was much between the two teams. We respect the point. It was a very good performance by the team who will only get better as they get to know each other more.”

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Both teams started the game sluggishly and it took Hernandez, keen to show the home fans why he commanded a 10 million pound ($16.23 million) fee, to bring the game to life.

The Uruguayan striker directed a powerful header into the corner of the visitor’s net to open the scoring and then nearly doubled his tally five minutes later but his fierce left-footed strike from 25 yards rattled against the crossbar.

Strike partner Nikica Jelavic headed in the rebound but he was correctly adjudged offside.

West Ham weathered the storm to half time and came out after the restart with greater impetus. It did not take long for Valencia to level the score with his first goal on his first start for the London club.

The Ecuadorian, who scored three goals at the World Cup, made some space for himself outside Hull’s area and curled a thunderous effort into Allan McGregor’s top corner off the underside of the bar.

It appeared to be a case of one-upmanship between the league’s two new South American strikers.

Diame then punished his former employers after collecting a sloppy throw-in from West Ham left back Aaron Cresswell to drive into the area and side foot into the corner to give the hosts a 2-1 lead.

The second-half had one more twist though when a tame Sakho shot rebounded off the shins of Hull defender Davies to level the score.

West Ham might have stolen all three points in the last minute when Valencia nearly scored again but his header hit Hull defender Michael Dawson and bounced off the crossbar.

Steve Bruce’s side are 10th in the league with five points, and the Hull manager said he could reflect on an encouraging display in a breathtaking second-half where both teams created good chances.

“The two goals, the first one in particular from their new striker, you just have to hold your hands up – it was a wonder goal and it made for a really good night of football. It was open, end-to-end and all credit to West Ham, they played some good football today,” Bruce said.

(Reporting By Sam Holden, editing by Alan Baldwin and Clare Lovell)

Axed NRL star Carney in demand in Europe

English Super League side Catalan Dragons are facing competition from rugby union for the signature of disgraced NRL star Todd Carney, according to head coach Laurent Frayssinous.

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The former Dally M medal winner has been forced to look overseas to continue his career after being sacked by all three of his NRL clubs, Canberra, Sydney Roosters and Cronulla, for varying forms of misconduct and is thought to have been offered a three-year deal with the French club.

Frayssinous said he has spoken personally to the 28-year-old Carney in a bid to tempt him to the south of France.

“We have been in contact for a few weeks and hopefully it will be done,” Frayssinous said.

“I am keen to have such a quality player in the Catalan team.

“He’s heard a lot of good things about the south of France but his manager has got a few options for him, from Super League and from union. We are one of those options. We’ll see in the next few days or weeks if it can happen.”

Cronulla tore up Carney’s contract, which had three years left to run, in June after an inappropriate photograph went viral on Twitter.

Carney, who played three State of Origin games for New South Wales in 2012 and made his Test debut in 2010, came close to moving to Super League in 2008 when he signed a 12-month deal to join Huddersfield but the move fell through when he was denied a visa.

The French appear to have less stringent regulations and the Dragons were able to sign another controversial Australian, Greg Bird, in 2009 after his proposed move to Bradford collapsed.

Bird, who now plays for the Gold Coast Titans, resurrected his career during a 12-month spell in the south of France, and Carney could now follow suit.

“I remember Greg when he came,” Frayssinous added.

“I was assistant coach and everybody was talking negatively about him.

“But that year we had the best end of the season. We were one game from Old Trafford and he was a big part of that, on and off the field.”

Frayssinous needs to find a replacement for stand-off Leon Pryce, who is joining Hull in 2015.

Another Australian, Scott Dureau, is set to return to Perpignan for the last year of his contract after an injury-hit season in 2014 and French international Thomas Bosc recently extended his contract, which leaves former Canberra and St George Illawarra playmaker Sam Williams facing an anxious wait to discover if he has a role to play.

“Sam is still an option,” Frayssinous said.

“I’m pretty happy with Thomas and Scott but it would be nice to have Todd. It would be very exciting for people to watch Todd Carney, even if they are not a supporter of the Dragons.”

Doosra not illegal, says inventor Saqlain

Retired spin king Saqlain Mushtaq has defended the controversial “doosra” delivery he invented, which has come under renewed scrutiny since fellow Pakistani Saaed Ajmal’s chucking ban last week.

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The doosra, which means “the second one” in Urdu, turns from legside to offside – the opposite direction to orthodox off breaks, and is considered difficult for batsmen to pick.

Saqlain is credited with its invention, adding to a list of Pakistani innovations in cricket including the batsman’s reverse-sweep and reverse swing bowling.

But the delivery has come to be regarded with deep suspicion by many, with critics suggesting doosra bowlers bend their arm beyond the permissible 15 degree limit.

Saqlain, who took 208 Test and 288 one-day wickets, says the naysayers were wrong.

“Who says doosra is illegal?” he asked on Monday.

“It can easily be delivered within the allowed rules. It is not an easy delivery to bowl but if a bowler becomes expert he doesn’t transgress limits.”

“You need to have strong muscles to bowl a doosra, then fitness matters, also grip, rhythm and follow through. If just one of these things is missing then you get out of limits.”

Saqlain will arrive in Lahore next week to start remedial work on Ajmal’s action, reported during the Galle Test against Sri Lanka last month.

The ban was imposed by the International Cricket Council.

Ajmal’s action was then assessed in a bio-mechanics lab in Brisbane, Australia which revealed he flexes his elbow up to 43 degrees for his off-spinner and 42 for his doosra.

Saqlain said he hoped to alter Ajmal’s action, though some believe Ajmal may be too old to change his ways at 36.

“I am quite hopeful of helping him. I am not making any guarantees but will see his reports and footage and then try my best.”

Ajmal, for his part, told reporters on Monday he was focused on his comeback as he began his remedial programme.

“I am sitting in front of you without any tension, whatever happened was disappointing but I am focused on staging a strong comeback,” he said.

Pakistan have considered off-spinners Atif Maqbool and Adnan Rasool to replace Ajmal in the short-term. Both are prolific performers at domestic level – but both also have suspect actions.

Israeli teacher in nude Web photos to return to classroom

A week after nude pictures of an Israeli high school teacher were posted online, the mother of two plans to return to class Tuesday as debate here swirls over issues of privacy, law and digital decorum.

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The woman, who teaches 12th grade at a privately run school in the city of Ashkelon, has filed a police complaint against a teenage student who allegedly posted the purloined pictures. An attorney for the teacher, whose name has not been disclosed publicly, said the school initially demanded her resignation while taking no action against the student. School officials contend the teacher was never suspended and was free to return to work.

The high school is one of several in Israel replacing textbooks with computer tablets. The teacher lent her tablet to a pupil who had forgotten hers. Another classmate snooping around the photos file found several nude pictures, snapped them with his cellphone camera and passed them on.

The teacher was further shocked to learn that images long deleted from her phone were on the school-issued device, which pulled them from the cloud as she synced it with her phone and electronic mail as instructed by the program’s computer managers, who reportedly did not mention any information sensitivity issues.

More than 6,800 people have signed an online petition supporting the teacher’s right to privacy and urging education authorities to discipline the violator and implement programs for preventing sexual harassment. “Teachers are people too,” the petition states.

The case may serve as a test for Israel’s recently tightened legislation on privacy protection and sexual harassment, both expanded to keep up with the challenges of fast-moving technology. In January, the parliament, or Knesset, voted to make online circulation of intimate images without the subject’s full consent an act of sexual harassment that can carry a five-year jail sentence.

Being a minor does not protect the 17-year-old student from criminal law, according to the teacher’s attorney, Orit Hayoun, who expects the police to investigate the case and the school to discipline the offender and stand by its employee.

Returning to work “takes a great deal of courage but sends a vital message to women,” the attorney said. “Offenders should hide, not the victims.”

The attorney said that although depicting his client naked, the pictures were innocuous. “We don’t live in the dark ages,” she said.

Batsheva Sobelman is a Los Angeles Times special correspondent.

©2014 Los Angeles Times

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Champagne will stand against Blatter

Long-time FIFA incumbent Sepp Blatter will have at least one rival for next year’s presidential election as former senior FIFA executive Jerome Champagne confirmed he would contest it.

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The 56-year-old Frenchman, who worked closely with Blatter between 2002 and 2005 when he was deputy secretary-general, on Monday said on Twitter he had sent a letter to FIFA headquarters in Switzerland that he would be a candidate confirming his initial declaration in London back in January.

Champagne had said at the time of the original declaration that he did not think he could beat 77-year-old Blatter, who has been in charge since 1998, if he ran but he had a chance if UEFA chief Michel Platini was a candidate.

Since then, though, Blatter has declared himself as a candidate despite stating beforehand he would not stand again and Platini pulled back from the brink even though he declared in Brazil prior to the World Cup finals in June that he could no longer support Blatter.

Champagne, a former diplomat who worked on France’s successful bid for the right to host the 1998 World Cup before joining FIFA as an international adviser, said he was delighted that a debate had begun about the future of FIFA and football and thought more candidates would throw their hat into the ring.

“First and foremost, debating about issues is a normal process in an institution based on democratic principles,” said Champagne in a letter to football federations posted on his website.

“Then, this debate is particularly indispensable for football. We have to take clear and informed decisions on whether we want to continue with the current economic polarisation, and the sporting imbalances it brings in its wake, or be willing to rebalance the game in our globalised twenty-first century.”

Champagne, who is funding his own campaign, helped to organise Blatter’s victorious election campaign in 2002 and later worked as FIFA’s director of international relations before leaving the organisation in 2010.

He has since worked as an independent football consultant, helping Kosovo to gain recognition from FIFA and working on a potential rapprochement between Israel and Palestine.

The election itself takes place next May at the FIFA Congress.