ManU will mark crash anniversary

Fifty years ago, a stunned city rallied around Manchester United after a crash in a snowy Munich airfield.

Eight players and 15 others died, and a renewed outpouring of emotion will mark today's anniversary as United players honor the lost "Busby Babes."

"It was such a monumental event and it's mentioned almost every day," said Bobby Charlton, a fledgling forward on Matt Busby's team. "The 50th anniversary is such an important occasion to mark to get the opportunity to let people know how good that team was."

At 3:04 p.m. -- the time of the crash on Feb. 6, 1958 -- survivors and supporters will join manager Alex Ferguson and his current players for a memorial service at Old Trafford. A free, permanent exhibition dedicated to the Busby Babes will be unveiled.

The commemorations will extend into the weekend when United, wearing a 1950s-style uniform devoid of sponsorship, will be host to crosstown rival Manchester City. Fears are rife, though, that City fans will disrupt the customary minute of silence.

• Former United States goalkeeper Brad Friedel, 36, has extended his contract with Premier League team Blackburn Rovers by a year to June 2010.


Defending champion upset in Paris

Defending champion Nadia Petrova was upset by Kateryna Bondarenko 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-4 in the first round of the Open Gaz de France in Paris. Amelie Mauresmo, a two-time winner, cruised past American qualifier Julie Ditty 6-1, 6-2.


Arkansas will ask to have rule waived

Arkansas will ask the NCAA to allow transfer quarterback Ryan Mallett to play immediately for the Razorbacks without sitting out a year. Mallett transferred from Michigan after Rich Rodriguez replaced retiring coach Lloyd Carr.

"While the outcome of the waiver request is uncertain, we feel strongly that as an institution we should offer our full support to Ryan and his family in this process," Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a release.

The 6-7 Mallett, who played in 11 games for the Wolverines last year, has three years of eligibility remaining.

The NCAA has found no rules violations in Florida coach Urban Meyer's recruitment of junior college receiver Carl Moore, the school said.


Sled dog racing: Susan Butcher owned the last day of the Iditarod four times. Now the sled dog race's opening day will be hers, too. The Alaska Legislature established the first Saturday of every March as Susan Butcher Day, in honor of the legendary musher and four-time champion who died in August 2006 of leukemia.

Olympics: Germany's Birgit Fischer, 45, a kayaker who won eight Olympic gold medals, will skip the Beijing Games because she hasn't trained enough. Fischer has competed at six Olympics. She also has four Olympic silver medals and 27 world championship titles.