''The hearing was nothing but a parody, a farce that brings discredit on those who organised it.''- Embattled Marseille president Bernard Tapie, who is fighting the French soccer authorities' decision to demote his club to the Second Division and to ban him from football administration for life.

''Some referees don't know how to walk backwards. I know how to, even with six Guinnesses inside me.'' - Fiery Irish snooker player Alex Higgins after a clash with top referee John Williams, who refused to move out of Higgins' eye-shot.

''Sir Gary has always encouraged me and told me I was the one to break his record.''- West Indian batsman Brian Lara after his 375 against England in the fifth cricket Test broke the previous world record held by Sir Garfield Sobers.

''The level of our soccer is low. We play better than the Turks, but worse than the rest of Europe''- Pavel Sadyrin, Russia's soccer coach, who is so unpopular with some of the country's top players that more than a dozen of them have boycotted the national team.

''I'm determined to do a world title fight in Hong Kong. What I have to see is how much support I get - which means how much money I get. Without money, there's no boxing.''- Boxing promoter Barry Hearn, in Hong Kong last week with WBO heavyweight champion Herbie Hide.

''There is pressure but it's good pressure. It was the same way in Europe because I was always on the same kind of team. We were expected to win everything all the time. But there were no more challenges left for me in Europe. The NBA was the only place left for me.''- Croatian basketball star Toni Kukoc who has helped the Chicago Bulls reach the NBA play-offs in his first season with them after leaving Italian side Benetton Treviso last year.


''I'm very disappointed that a penalty was called on one of our guys after Lemieux punched him in the head twice. All we ask is if there's going to be different rules for different players, the officials should let us know before the game starts.''- Washington Capitals coach Jim Schoenfeld feeling hard done by after his team lost Game Two of their Stanley Cup play-off series to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

''This is a macho sport and I'd like to prove we can compete'' - NASA aerospace engineer Suzy Leech, one of 16 women sailors attempting to break into one of yachting's last male bastions, the America's Cup. They were trying out for Bill Koch, who won the America's Cup in 1992.

''Let's just say that the fact that I bear a Chinese name does not hurt'' - Influential executive John Hung, who is being lined up as the next president of the Hong Kong Cricket Association.