- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 20, 2016


MOSCOW (AP) - Players from Russia’s under-21 national soccer team had suspicious drug-test samples covered up, emails released by a World Anti-Doping Agency investigation show.

The emails, released this month as part of WADA investigator Richard McLaren’s report on Russian doping, state that there were five suspicious samples in the Russian men’s under-17 and under-21 national teams in 2013 and 2014.

Another case in the Russian league was allegedly covered up by then-Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who is also in charge of the country’s World Cup preparations. The FIFA ethics committee said it will “examine the report thoroughly” in response to the allegations about soccer and the role of Mutko, who sits on the FIFA Council.

GENEVA (AP) - Fans could win more freedom to make political protests at soccer stadiums in a UEFA review of its disciplinary rules.

European soccer’s governing body wants existing rules which prohibit non-soccer statements to “evolve to reflect the nature of the society in which we live.”

UEFA’s statement follows Barcelona dropping a Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal against fines imposed for fans supporting Catalonian independence.

It was published as FIFA drew criticism in Britain for upholding its rules prohibiting political, religious and personal statements in all 211 member federations. It fined the four British soccer bodies for displays at World Cup qualifying matches last month that remembered their nations’ war dead.

UEFA said it recognized that rules across international soccer which bar political statements are not “set in stone.”

ZURICH (AP) - The FIFA ethics committee has banned two Honduras officials for life for taking bribes, as they await sentencing in the United States on soccer corruption charges.

Former FIFA vice president Alfredo Hawit and Rafael Callejas, the Honduras state president from 1990-94, previously made guilty pleas to racketeering and wire-fraud conspiracy charges in the U.S. Department of Justice’s sprawling investigation of corruption in international soccer.

Hawit also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Their expulsions from soccer were announced by the FIFA ethics committee which routinely imposes life bans on officials who plead guilty in Brooklyn federal court.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Two Twitter users have admitted they started a false rumor that the Minnesota Vikings were opening their new stadium to the homeless during this weekend’s extreme cold.

Marketer Jake Nyberg and fitness coach David Dellanave say their tweets were a hoax meant to push the idea that taxpayer-funded U.S. Bank Stadium could be used to keep the homeless warm. Dellanave told The Associated Press it was a stupid way to do it and he’s sorry. Nyberg has since deactivated his account and didn’t immediately return messages from the AP.

Yahoo Sports and CBS Sports posted stories that assumed the tweets were true.

But it appears no homeless people fell for the hoax. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority says nobody sought shelter at the stadium.


SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - Vincent Viola has insisted for the past three years that his sole focus as owner of the Florida Panthers was to win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.

He’ll be otherwise occupied now.

Viola’s nomination by President-elect Donald Trump to be the next secretary of the Army means he will be giving up his roles as chairman and governor of the Panthers, pending his confirmation by the Senate.

But the Panthers said the move - which top team executives learned was coming late last week - will not change the day-to-day hockey operations.

Viola, a 1977 West Point graduate who bought the Panthers in 2013, plans to have the chairman and governor positions filled by his longtime business partner Doug Cifu.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A scheduled game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings was postponed because of unplayable ice.

A Freon leak in the cooling system at PNC Arena was discovered earlier in the day. The issue was fixed, but not in time to restart the game. NHL rules state a game cannot start less than 22 hours before a team’s next scheduled contest, and the Red Wings are set to play at Tampa Bay at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday night.

Carolina announced a delay on Twitter about 15 minutes before the scheduled start time of 7 p.m., then publicized the postponement around 8:45 p.m.

Hurricanes President Don Waddell said a makeup date would probably be decided on Tuesday or Wednesday.

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