sport

LA Clippers sale can go ahead

Steve Ballmer has been given permission to seal his $2billion takeover of the Los Angeles Clippers after a judge rejected current owner Donald Sterling's attempts to block the sale.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Levanas ruled that Sterling's wife Shelly had the authority to sell the NBA franchise to the former Microsoft CEO.

Donald Sterling, who was banned from basketball for life after he was recorded making racist remarks in April, had attempted to block the sale, claiming that any transaction would need his approval.

But Judge Levanas put paid to his attempts to prevent the sale to Ballmer going ahead when he sided with his estranged wife, who is reported to have wept when the verdict was revealed.

Mike Bass, the NBA's executive vice-president of communications, said: "We are pleased that the court has affirmed Shelly Stirling's right to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer. We look forward to the transaction closing as soon as possible."

The ruling brings to an end to the uncertainty over the Clippers' future in the wake of Donald Sterling's expulsion after a tape emerged of him making derogatory remarks about African-Americans.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver imposed a lifetime ban and a 2.5million US dollar (1.49million) fine.

The sale, which will be made official in the coming weeks, eclipses the previous high for an NBA franchise - the 550million US dollar (328million) sale of the Milwaukee Bucks in April.

It is only slightly less than the biggest ever sale involving an American sports team - the 2012 2.1billion US dollars (1.25billion) sale of baseball team the Los Angeles Dodgers.