Sports Briefs

Posted: Monday, June 19, 2000

Source: Wild to name Lemaire head coachP>

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Wild will name Jacques Lemaire as its first head coach, a source said Sunday.

Wild officials called a news conference for Monday to announce the appointment of a head coach.

Although team officials declined to say who it will be, a source with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity it will be Lemaire, who coached the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup championship in 1995.

Hewitt beats Sampras for title

LONDON -- Six-time champion Pete Sampras will not go into Wimbledon off a victory. Instead, he thinks Australian teen-ager Lleyton Hewitt is capable of winning the Grand Slam event.

Hewitt upset Sampras 6-4, 6-4 Sunday to win the Queen's Club tournament, the major men's warmup for Wimbledon.

Sampras looked flat and failed to generate the extra speed or accuracy on either his serve or volleys. He also failed to earn a single break point after breaking Hewitt's serve in the second game.

England could be kicked out of Euro 2000

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands -- England received a stern warning Sunday: Control your soccer fans or your team might be expelled from the European Championships.

''This cannot go on,'' said Lennart Johansson, president of European soccer's ruling body. ''I hope that hooligans will understand what they are doing to their country. ... We cannot take responsibility that someone gets killed on the street or cannot walk safely in the streets.''

Gerhard Aigner, chief executive of UEFA, said he will ''consider the future presence of the English team if there is any more violence.''

The warning came at an emergency meeting of UEFA's executive committee following Saturday's turbulent England-Germany game in Charleroi, Belgium. England returns to Charleroi for its third game against Romania on Tuesday. If the fans turn violent again, England might be told to head home and forget an expected quarterfinal with Italy.

''Hopefully, this threat will bring to their senses anyone tempted to continue the mindless thuggery that has brought such shame to the country,'' said British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in Portugal for a European Union summit.

There were some 850 detentions and 56 injuries tied to the England-Germany game. Police reported that most of the injuries were minor, but one English fan was stabbed in the back and is in hospital.

Almost all those detained were English although some of the fighting in Charleroi involved German fans.

Fans smashed bars and shops and damaged cars during battles with police and citizens in Brussels on the eve of the game. In Charleroi, police fired water cannons at brawling English and German fans. Some of the English celebrated the 1-0 victory by breaking store windows and trashing a McDonald's.

''I would like to see tougher measures with regard to traveling restrictions for those with football-related convictions,'' British Home Office Minister Lord Bassam said.

Tournament director Alain Courtois and Brussels Mayor Francois-Xavier de Donnea wondered why that wasn't done sooner.

''Everybody did what he had to do,'' Courtois said. ''But what has the British government done?''

David Davies, executive director of the English Football Association, said the ''vast majority'' of those causing trouble in Belgium were not previously known to authorities.

''We have made all our resources available to our opposite numbers in Belgium and Holland,'' he said.

British Home Secretary Jack Straw, whose department covers law and order, said Sunday the problem was wider than ''football-related hooliganism,'' adding that more than drunken teens and unemployed laborers were involved.

''Some of those who have been sent back are people including barristers and engineers. ... They go abroad and they cause this kind of mayhem.''

Former sports minister Tony Banks, leading England's bid to land the 2006 World Cup, urged ''draconian'' measures to stem the violence.

The threat of expulsion has also done major damage to England's bid for the World Cup. That decision comes next month, and England's rivals -- Germany, South Africa, Brazil and Morocco -- could benefit from UEFA's warning.

The Mirror, like every Sunday newspaper in Britain, displayed photos of men heaving chairs, blood flowing from a man's bandaged head, police pinning fans to the ground, mounted police charging fans and water cannons blasting a Charleroi plaza.

The Sunday Telegraph wrote in an editorial that the hooligans have ''inspired disgust and fear'' and are a ''source of national shame.''

The Sunday Times described how English fans in Charleroi attempted to burn German flags.

The Times reported police saying eight of 10 English soccer hooligans were on drugs and said ''generals'' who organize the violence were involved in ''drug trafficking.''

Kevin Miles, coordinator of the Football Supporters' Association, criticized the Belgian police.

''There can be few methods of policing less precise than firing tear gas into a crowded pub and arresting everyone who emerges,'' he said.

He also said UEFA was overreacting by threatening expulsion.

''UEFA's proposal would seem to punish the innocent to an extent that even the Belgian police have not yet managed,'' he said.

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