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Thursday, April 21, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Sideline Chatter

Coach Relents: Sex Ban Gets The Boot

Swiss Coach Roy Hodgson has relaxed a ban on sex for this summer's World Cup soccer tournament after howls of protest from players and their partners.

The Swiss tabloid Blick said yesterday that wives would be allowed into the squad's hotel rooms for a few hours after the opening match June 18 against the United States and on June 26 after the game against favored Colombia.

"Roy's Boys Can Do It Twice," read a headline in Blick, which had criticized the celibacy order.

Hodgson, an Englishman, has become a national hero since coaching Switzerland to its first finals appearance in 28 years. But he raised eyebrows and lowered morale by announcing the sex ban in March. Headlines such as, "No Sex Please, We're Swiss," and "No Sex Please, the Manager's British," appeared around the world in a takeoff on the long-running London theater comedy "No Sex Please, We're British."

The debate over sex and sport is years old, and commentators remain divided over the benefits of abstinence. Some say that sex saps energy and should be discouraged. Others say that if players feel satisfied, their performance improves.

Pele, the retired soccer great, said recently that late nights and lack of sleep was to blame for poor performance rather than sex.

In a country with a reputation for romance, Italy's former head coach, Azeglio Vicini, tried to persuade his players to avoid sex during the 1990 finals. Italy placed a disappointing third on home

territory.

Arrigo Sacchi, Vicini's successor, isn't planning a sex ban this year.

THEY LOVE THIS GAME

Seven unlikely places that get NBA telecasts: Cambodia, Croatia, Iran, Iraq, Laos, North Korea and Syria.

CARLTON'S WORLD

Sportscaster Tim McCarver, commenting on the eccentricities of a former teammate, pitcher Steve Carlton, to Murray Chass of the New York Times:

"He doesn't celebrate birthdays anymore, because he believes if you don't, you don't age. He doesn't celebrate Christmas anymore, either, because all of these dates lend themselves to aging and he doesn't want to age."

LESS FILLING

Eamonn Coghlan reportedly received a $100,000 bonus from a shoe company for the first sub-four-minute mile by an athlete 40 or older, clocking a 3:58.15, according to Track & Field News.

By contrast, when New Zealand's John Walker became the first runner to go under 3:50 in 1975 (3:49.4), the story goes that Walker received $600 under the table - and a case of beer.

THEY SAID IT

-- Charles Barkley, Phoenix forward, on speculation Dallas Coach Quinn Buckner will be fired: "If he doesn't come back next year, it will be very unfair. No way this team was going to win this year. . . . He's a friend of mine, but nobody should be fired after one year."

Compiled by Chuck Ashmun, Seattle Times

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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