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Capital to host pre-season hoops tourney

In its early years, it was called the Winner's Cup; last season, it was the League Cup; and next season's pre-Super League basketball tournament will be known as the Chance Cup. The competition will be played between October 9 and October 13 at the Malha arena in Jerusalem, with the opening round set to be a replay of the Super League's end-of-season quarterfinal playoffs in which Maccabi Rishon Letzion will meet Bnei Hasharon while Hapoel Jerusalem will take on Maccabi Ashdod. On the second day of play, Gilboa/Gallil will play Hapoel Holon, before Maccabi Tel Aviv meets Barak Netanya. (Arieh Livnat )

Mekel turns down Hapoel Jerusalem

Hapoel Jerusalem chairman Danny Klein met last night with Gal Mekel in an attempt to persuade the guard to join his team next season. However, Mekel, who has made public his desire to play basketball in Europe next season, says he came to the meeting "out of good manners" and has no intention of playing in a red jersey. (Arieh Livnat )

Report: Celtic, Bruges want Rafaelov

Maccabi Haifa have been offered 1.5 million euros for promising midfielder Lior Rafaelov by two European teams - Scotland's Glasgow Celtic and FC Bruges of Belgium, according to a report on the one.co.il website. Haifa's management has placed a price tag of 2 million euros on the player, but club owner Yaakov Shahar is not expected to stand in the way if Rafaelov insists on a move to a European club. Meanwhile, the sale of Tomer Hemed to Glasgow Rangers is expected to be completed in the coming days. (Haaretz Sports Staff )

French London 2012 ticket website crashes on first day

The official French website for London 2012 Olympic tickets crashed on its first day yesterday, with media reports saying it was partly because of demand fron Britain. The site was due to open for preregistered users at 0700 GMT, but a message read: "Due to technical problems, our website www.eventteam2012.fr will open at 2 P.M. Thank you for your understanding." However, by 2 P.M (1200 GMT ) the website would not load, and it was still not working five hours later. Yesterday was a public holiday in France and no one from the French Olympic Committee was available for comment. Hundreds of thousands of applicants failed to get tickets during the first six-week British sales window. (Reuters )

ATP head to make exit at end of 2011

The ATP will start the search for a new leader after current boss Adam Helfant fulfilled expectations yesterday that he would not stay on after his three-year contract ends at the end of December. Reports had indicated that the American lawyer, who was new to tennis when he joined in January 2009, had been seeking an increase on his $1.446 million salary (according to 2009 tax returns ). The reports were denied in a statement from Helfant. "I made no demands, monetary or otherwise, of the board. I did not ask for more money, or threaten to resign, despite what has been alleged and reported by others." (DPA )