Tue | Dec 11, 2018

Sports Briefs

Published:Thursday | December 28, 2017 | 12:00 AM

American Airlines says sorry

American Airlines (AA) has apologised to two players on the Memphis Grizzlies' minor league affiliate who were kicked off a plane in Dallas after a flight attendant wrongfully accused them of stealing blankets, which an assistant coach suggested happened because they are black.

Airline spokesman Joshua Freed said yesterday that Memphis Hustle guard Marquis Teague and forward Trahson Burrell boarded the Sunday flight from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The flight was operated by Envoy Air.

Two first-class passengers gave the players their blankets as they headed to their seats in coach. But a flight attendant, who is also black, accused them of theft and the players were asked to leave the plane following an argument.

An airline manager apologised to the players and they later flew first class to Sioux Falls, Freed said.

"We take pride in bringing people together, and we know that on this flight, we let some of our customers down," Freed said. "Our team at American, along with Envoy Air, is reviewing what happened, and will be reaching out to them."

2018 World Cup chief Mutko quits

Vitaly Mutko bowed to mounting pressure and stepped down as chairman of the 2018 World Cup organising committee yesterday after being dogged by investigations that highlighted his role in a state-backed doping programme.

Alexei Sorokin, the chief executive of the committee, will also assume the chairmanship vacated by Mutko. Sorokin also took Mutko's spot on the FIFA Council this year after he was blocked from seeking re-election due to his promotion to Russian deputy prime minister.

The high-ranking government position ensures Mutko will still retain involvement in logistical planning for the World Cup in June and July.

"Mutko will continue to oversee the preparations of the regions as well as coordinate the construction of the necessary infrastructure," the organising committee said in a statement that expressed "great regret" over his departure.

SA hammer Zimbabwe by innings

South Africa stormed to an innings win over Zimbabwe yesterday, needing less than two days of the four-day test to dispatch the visitors.

South Africa bowled the Zimbabweans out for 68 and 121 in the day-night match to win by an innings and 120 runs after making 309-9 declared batting first.

Zimbabwe lost four first-innings wickets quickly under floodlights on day one, but didn't even make it to the night session on day two. South Africa collected another 16 wickets in less than two sessions on the second day at St. George's Park to romp to victory before the dinner break.

Fast bowler Morne Morkel destroyed Zimbabwe's top and middle order in the first innings with his 5-21 from 11 overs. In the second innings, the Zimbabweans collapsed from 54-0 to 121 all out with left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj taking 5-59.

Aiden Markram set up South Africa's first-innings total with his 125 - a second century in three tests for the opener. AB de Villiers added 53 in his first test in two years.