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NFL owners to end labor deal early

ATLANTA, May 20 (UPI) -- NFL team owners have voted unanimously to opt out early of their labor agreement with the NFL Players Association, possibly putting limits on free agency.


The labor contract was to run through the 2012 season, but in 2006 a deal was cut that allowed the owners to shorten the agreement by up to two years. The owners, acting at their meeting Tuesday in Atlanta, decided to end the deal after the 2010 season, saying they need a new agreement in regards to the percentage of revenues that go to players.

The next two seasons will be played with teams under salary caps but if a new deal isn't completed by next March, the 2010 campaign will be an uncapped year that also limits free agency.

The owners said they will continue negotiations for a new deal that will work better for both the clubs and players.

While admitting "the NFL earns very substantial revenues," the league statement said half the revenues go to "player costs" at a time when teams also "must spend significant and growing amounts on stadium construction, operations and improvements to respond to the interests and demands of our fans."


English soccer star jailed for assault

LIVERPOOL, England, May 20 (UPI) -- English soccer star Joey Barton was sentenced to six months Tuesday for assaulting two men after a post-Christmas drinking bout.

The assault was captured by security cameras outside a MacDonald's restaurant in Liverpool. At the time, Barton was out on bail awaiting trial for assaulting Ousmane Dabo while the two players were both with Manchester City.

"You were on bail and if ever there was a time when you should have been on your best behavior, this was it," said Judge Henry Globe, the recorder of Liverpool. "You have a high profile image as a footballer but you drank to excess and put yourself in a vulnerable position late at night."

Barton, a midfielder was Newcastle United, was sidelined by an injury when he went out drinking with his cousin, Nadine Wilson, and his younger brother, Andrew, the day after Christmas. After hours of drinking, the three went to a MacDonald's where the altercation occurred.

Barton is scheduled to go on trial this month for the Dabo assault.

Petrova a first-round winner in Istanbul

ISTANBUL, Turkey, May 20 (UPI) -- Nadia Petrova rolled to a first-round victory Tuesday at the $200,000 Istanbul Cup tennis tournament.


Petrova, seeded third in the tournament, the final tuneup before the French Open begins Sunday, had no trouble in getting past Lilia Osterloh, 6-1, 6-2. She next goes against Marta Domachowska.

The two other seeded players on Tuesday's card also won in straight sets. No. 6-seeded Akgul Amanmuradova defeated Martina Muller, 6-4, 6-1; and eighth-seeded Tsvetana Pironkova knocked out Polona Hercog, 6-4, 7-5.

Other winners Tuesday were Sorana Cirstea, Veronika Chvojkova and Liana Ungur, who earned the right to square off Wednesday against defending Istanbul champion and top-seeded Elena Dementieva.

ATP moves event from Mumbai to Bangalore

SYDNEY, May 20 (UPI) -- The ATP is moving a tournament in India from Mumbai to Bangalore this year, the men's tennis organization announced Tuesday.

The 2008 event, named the Bangalore Open, will begin Sept. 29 at the 7,000-seat KSLTA Signature Kingfisher Tennis Stadium.

Bangalore, in southern India, was the site of the ATP World Doubles Championships in 2000.

The tournament was played in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) for two years.

Richard Gasquet of France won the 2007 Mumbai championship, defeating Olivier Rochus of Belgium in the title match.

"We've enjoyed having the tournament in Mumbai the last two years and we would really like to thank the people of Mumbai for their great support of the event," said ATP player Mahesh Bhupath, who is from Bangalore.


"Moving the tournament to Bangalore will give men's tennis another opportunity to spread its wings in India and I am very much looking forward to playing in my home city."

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