Sport briefs

Cyclist Pantani `did
Nanjing Night Net

not kill himself’

[BB] ROME – Italian cycling great Marco Pantani, found dead in a hotel room last month, died of cocaine poisoning that appears to have been accidental, it was reported yesterday. “There are no concrete elements that could support the hypothesis of a death ascribable to voluntary suicide,” a coroner was quoted as saying.

Pantani’s body was found on the floor of his room at a Rimini apartment-hotel where he had been staying for several days.

Hotel staff said bottles of drugs and tranquillisers had been found strewn around the room, and Italian news reports said cocaine had also been found.

An autopsy showed that Pantani had died of swelling in the brain and lungs caused by accumulation of fluid.

Leeds United taken

over by consortium

LONDON – Debt-laden Leeds United said yesterday that the Premier League club had been taken over by a consortium, Adulant Force Ltd.

Earlier, the Leeds United group said financial administrators had been appointed to two companies, but not the soccer club itself.

No financial details were available. The deal has been accepted by the group’s creditors.

A group of Yorkshire businessmen have been negotiating to take over the side, which is on the brink of being relegated.

Financial administration is a form of creditor protection.

Leeds has built up debts of more than $146.5 million.

British warily happy

with Olympic security

LONDON – The British Olympic Association yesterday expressed confidence in security measures for the Athens Games and said it had no intention of withdrawing its team.

The BOA sought to clarify its position after chief executive Simon Clegg had said Britain would consider pulling out of the Olympics in August if the safety of its athletes and officials could not be guaranteed.

Security concerns for the games have increased following last week’s terrorist bombings in Madrid.

“If the security situation demanded a change to the position of the BOA with the ultimate sanction of not sending the team to the Games, then obviously as a responsible organisation that is something that we would have to consider,” Mr Clegg said yesterday.

But he stressed that he did not expect that situation to occur and looked forward to taking a full team to Athens.

Greece is spending a record $1.07 billion on security for the Athens Olympics, more than three times the amount for the 2000 Sydney Games.

Last week Greece formally requested help from its NATO allies to safeguard the Games.

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