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Wednesday, June 17, 1998

FIFA receives threats

AP Sports Writer
PARIS (AP) -- Street violence, ticket fraud and now
political protests. The World Cup can't seem to get away
from the real world.

The boss of international soccer said today that Iranian
exile groups threatened to demonstrate against the Tehran
government at Sunday's politically charged World Cup match
between the United States and Iran in Lyon.

``We have received more-or-less anonymous letters from
groups of exiled Iranians who say they will do something to
disrupt the match to show what is going on in their
country,'' FIFA president Sepp Blatter said.

He declined to identify the groups or say if any specific
type of action was threatened. He also said he was certain
police and security forces would be able to deal with any

At the Iran team's camp, officials are incensed over the
showing of an unflattering U.S. film about Iran on French

Police sources said the first arrests had been made in the
international scandal that left thousands of fans without
World Cup tickets they had paid for.

French authorities arrested three people, including a
consultant for a subsidiary of the World Cup's marketing
agency, the sources said, speaking on the condition of
anonymity. A large amount of cash and about 100 Cup tickets
were found, the sources said, and more arrests were

All this came the morning after a dazzling performance by
defending-champion Brazil that was a perfect panacea to a
week flush with hooligan violence and griping teams.

In a display of elegance and artistry topped with a measure
of samba-style showboating, Ronaldo and the Brazilians
dismantled Morocco 3-0 Tuesday night and became the first
team to clinch a berth in the second round.

``We played joyful, sparkling and efficient soccer,'' coach
Mario Zagallo said. ``I'm happy with everything -- the
defense, the midfield and the attack.''

The joy that Brazil brought to the field contrasted with the
daunting task faced by French police, who are bracing for
another round of fan violence as English supporters make
their way from Marseille to Toulouse, site of England's next
game against Romania on Monday.

About 1,000 English fans are already reported in the city,
prompting officials to postpone a weekend music festival
until July 11. Owners of shops, bars and restaurants say
they will either close early or completely while the English
are in town.

``I prefer to close my shop rather than get it smashed up,''
said Lionel Laurier, owner of a local cafe. ``But whether
closed or open, I'm sure to suffer damages. But I can't
afford to put the lives of my employees at risk.''

As they did in the United States in 1994, the Brazilians got
to the second round with a match. Ronaldo, Rivaldo and
Bebeto scored to make it two wins in two games.

When Ronaldo sidestepped a defender in a marvelous run to
set up Bebeto with a deft pass for the third goal in the
50th minute, showtime had begun.

In the final minutes, Rivaldo made a behind-the-back pass.
Cafu danced over the ball in front of a perplexed defender.
Then there was a Rivaldo-to-Ronaldo-to-Bebeto gem that
didn't net a goal, but got a roar of approval from the
33,266 at the Stade Beaujoire in Nantes.

Poor Morocco didn't manage a single shot.

``We were outmatched,'' defender Youssef Rossi said. ``The
first goal added to the feeling of intimidation we had at
the start. They were fast, skilled, everything Brazil is
supposed to be.''

Brazil's final first-round game, against Norway in Marseille
on June 23, will now be meaningful only for the Norwegians,
who drew 1-1 with Scotland in Tuesday's other game. If
Norway doesn't pull off a huge upset, the second team to
advance with Brazil from Group A will be decided by the
Scotland-Morocco game to be played at the same time.

``Brazil will not field its best team against us,'' said
hopeful Norwegian striker Havard Flo. ``But we need to get
back to 100 percent. We need to vary our game more in the
future. We only played well in the first 15 minutes of the
second half tonight.''

Today, it's Chile-Austria and Italy-Cameroon.

Flo's goal, his second in nine games for Norway, put the
Norwegians ahead just 30 seconds into the second half. Craig
Burley tied it in the 66th minute, also his second in
international play, keeping alive Scottish hopes of making
the second round for the first time in eight World Cup

``We're desperately disappointed that we didn't win the
match,'' said Scotland manager Craig Brown. ``Only one point
in two games is not too pleasing for us.''

The courts continued to deal swiftly with the hooligans
arrested after three days of violence surrounding England's
1-0 victory over Tunisia on Monday.

Two fans were sentenced to four months in jail and a third
was given a three-month term, on top of three given
three-month sentences on Monday. All will be banned from
France for at least a year after their release.

The Iranian team was upset over Monday night's telecast of
``Not Without My Daughter,'' which stars Sally Field and
portrays Iranians as dirty, boorish, cruel and obsessed with
their Islamic religion and its attitudes toward women, was
screened on France's privately owned channel M6 late Monday.

``We see this as nothing but a political exercise and as an
insult to our country, our government and our players,''
said Safaei Farahani, head of Iran's soccer federation.

Golf clubs in question

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Legend has it that Lee Trevino made
big money hustling golf matches playing only with a Coke
bottle. So far as anybody knows, that hasn't made the list
of clubs that the U.S. Golf Association worries might
threaten the integrity of the game.

But as the world's best golfers and the well-heeled
equipment companies that sponsor them gathered on the eve of
the U.S. Open, the question that hung over The Olympic Club
instead of the usual fog was whether anybody else's clubs or
balls was on the list.

``The USGA reacts to fads,'' said John Solheim, the boss at
Karsten Manufacturing, which makes Ping clubs. ``Something
gets hot and right away they threaten to take action.''

Most of the world agrees golf is hard enough as it is. Among
the few exceptions are Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and someone
with the weighty handle of F. Morgan ``Buzz'' Taylor. The
bad news for the rest of us is that Taylor became president
of the USGA in January, and one of the first things he
planned to address was whether technological advances in
equipment have made golf easier, especially at the upper
reaches of the sport. And the first step in what could
become a very long, very expensive confrontation could come
today when the USGA has scheduled a news conference at

The consensus around the course was that nothing more
threatening than the announcement of a committee to study
the issue would be on the agenda. But Frank Thomas, the
organization's technical director, set some teeth on edge
Tuesday when he went through the locker room collecting golf
balls from representatives of several manufacturers.

A showdown at Olympic would ring with an uncomfortable echo.
It was here, during the 1987 Open, that the USGA and Ping
got into a fight over whether square grooves on the face of
the club helped golfers spin the ball from difficult lies.
But that brouhaha was pretty much limited to tour-caliber
players and one manufacturer and didn't interest anybody
beyond the lawyers involved.

Rumor has it that the focus of this latest push is those
big-headed titanium drivers that have added distance and
accuracy -- not to mention considerable enjoyment -- to the
games of millions of mid- to high-handicap golfers in recent
years. Real trouble lies down the road for anybody who tries
to pry those out of their hands.

``Even if the USGA decides on a five-year grace period for
the equipment that's out there, it will come at a time when
a lot of baby boomers are turning 60 and just starting to
lose distance,'' Solheim said. ``There will be some very
unhappy people.''

Protecting the game is the right thing, the necessary thing
to do. But Taylor is going about it the wrong way, and with
unseemly hurry. The very same golfers whose complaints moved
the USGA to study the issue fear the organization is pointed
in the wrong direction.

``I don't think we need to reduce the advances of technology
that make the game more pleasurable for a lot of people,''
Nicklaus said Tuesday. ``The tournament standpoint is what
I'm concerned about. I think the golf ball is the most
logical thing to make the greatest adjustment.''

Concurred Watson: ``It's the golf ball more than anything

Yet there is precious little evidence to suggest that the
combination of new clubs and balls has had much of an impact
-- even at the highest levels.

Recently there have been flashes of brilliance by players
not known for them: Notah Begay and Doug Dunakey both shot
59 on the Nike Tour; John Huston finished 28-under at the
Hawaiian Open, tying a 53-year-old record. But the two most
important scoring records were set when titanium and all the
other space-age materials in golf clubs were still being
used only in the space program, and they haven't been nicked
yet: The season scoring-average record of 69.23 set by Sam
Snead in 1950, and Mike Souchak's 72-hole scoring record of
256, set at the 1956 Texas Open.

An even better argument against taking action at the moment
is the site of this U.S. Open. Olympic has no water hazards,
only one fairway bunker and it will measure a mere 6,797
yards when play begins Thursday. Many of the best players in
the world will be using 3-woods and irons off tees where
their predecessors hit drivers.

But by simply allowing the rough to grow a few yards farther
down the fairway, the USGA has forced players to adapt to
the same risk-reward factor that existed the first time the
Open was played here a full three decades earlier. For all
the technology in their bag, today's players will find out
scoring is not any easier.

``I wouldn't want to bet my life,'' Watson said, ``that I
could break par on this golf course.''

Bowman wins Stanley Cup

AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Eight might be enough for Scotty Bowman.

Moments after winning the Stanley Cup for a record-tying
eighth time as a coach, Bowman hinted Tuesday night that he
might not be behind the Detroit Red Wings bench next season.

``It's going to be a tough decision not to come back,''
Bowman said after the Red Wings wrapped up their second
straight Cup by beating the Washington Capitals 4-1 to
complete a four-game sweep.

``I realize that,'' Bowman, 64, said. ``But I've got to
leave sometime. I want to make sure that I'm leaving at the
right time when I do leave.''

Before jumping to conclusions that Bowman is leaving the
coaching ranks after joining Toe Blake with eight coaching
titles, he said pretty much the same thing after the Red
Wings ended a 42-year Cup drought by sweeping Philadelphia
last year.

Bowman came back, but that might have been under extenuating
circumstances. He made his decision to return after a tragic
automobile accident left defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov
and team masseur Sergie Mnatsakanov with severe head

``I thought after we had the accident it was my place to
come back and coach at least this season,'' Bowman said.

Bowman plans to sit down with Red Wings general manager
Kenny Holland and owner Mike Ilitch over the next few weeks
before making a decision on his future.

``I'm not going to make an emotional decision,'' Bowman

Stanley Cup No. 8 ranked high on Bowman's expansive list of

``This is right at the top. We lost a great player and
everyone else stepped up,'' Bowman said, referring to
Konstantinov, who was injured in a limousine accident just
six days after winning the title last season. ``There wasn't
one player on the team that didn't fit into the role we

But it all started at the top -- with Bowman.

``He teaches things that make you a winner,'' Red Wings
associate coach Barry Smith said. ``You learn details, the
defensive side of the puck, don't cheat the game, play hard
both ways, short shifts, a team mentality, and those kinds
of things, things that will help you win because that takes
care of almost all situations.''

Bowman's record is all about winning. The Hall of Fame coach
has a 1,057-484-277 mark in 26 seasons and a 194-112 record
in the playoffs, winning five titles with Montreal, two with
Detroit and one with Pittsburgh.

``It's quite a remarkable accomplishment, especially in this
day and age,'' added Dave Lewis, Bowman's other top
assistant. ``He is such a student of the game and such a
student of the history of the game. He has his finger into
every aspect of the game. That's just his nature.''

Bowman has one year left on his contract.

``I have no idea,'' Smith said when asked if Bowman would
return. ``Every year is a different story.''

This story had the same ending though -- another

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