Thailand

Retailer FJ Benjamin has scored an exclusive deal with English soccer champions Manchester United to sell club merchandise and set up a chain of theme stores and cafes across soccer-crazy South-east Asia.

Manchester United will play three games on a summer tour of Asia next year to consolidate their popularity there.

All ten cities hoping to stage the 2008 summer Olympics met yesterday?s deadline for replying to an international Olympic Committee questionnaire.

The National Sports Council has invited the country's business elite to discuss a program to raise funds for the team competing in the 13th Asian Games in Bangkok in December.

Japanese coach Philippe Troussier said that soccer's world governing body FIFA should introduce weight categories to cut out cheating in age-group football.

Olympic boss Juan Antonio Samaranch has lavished praise on Thailand's much-maligned organisers of the 13th Asian Games, describing Sunday's opening ceremony as one of the best he had ever seen.

ESPN's X Games is set to go international after it was announced it will stage an extension of the extreme sports event in Phuket, Thailand.

Many of snooker?s top stars look set to join a breakaway tour which threatens to split the sport and end the domination of the game by its governing body, the WSA, following plans announced by The Sportsmasters Network (TSN).

Macau Cable TV has concluded a deal to carry ESPN and STAR Sports.

Thai Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai has told Bangkok Asian Games Organising Committee (Bagoc) chief Bhichai Rattakul that if it became necessary Bagoc could get monetary support from the Government's central fund, the Bangkok Post reports.

Bangkok Asian Games Organising Committee (Bagoc) chairman and deputy prime minister Bhichai Rattakul has requested chefs de mission from 43 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) not to withdraw their teams from the Bangkok Asiad.

Asia's financial crisis has cost the Asian Games $12 million in lost marketing revenue, the region's Olympic chief has said.

The 20th Southeast Asian games begin on Saturday with attention focused as much on the tiny sultanate of Brunei as the actual competition itself.

Sporting group Royal Clicks Ltd said on Thursday its new joint venture with Sports Equipment (Far East) Pte Ltd had secured exclusive distribution and licensing rights for soccer brand Umbro for nine countries.

Indonesia have been awarded the right to hold the 2002 Tiger Cup by the Asian Football Federation four years after civil unrest forced the nation to relinquish hosting the event.

The Southeast Asian Games, currently being hosted by Malaysia, is set to take place less frequently as organisers try and recapture its attraction to both the public and sponsors.

The Thailand Football Association has written to FIFA to request a change of venue for their Asian World Cup qualifying match scheduled for Baghdad on Friday, a Thai official said on Tuesday.