- Associated Press - Saturday, May 14, 2016

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) - Despite a surge of doping cases over the last four years, and an increasingly dysfunctional and now suspended drug-testing agency, Kenya’s athletes were cleared to compete at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics by the IAAF.

The International Olympic Committee, which has the final call on whether Kenya’s famed distance runners will run in Rio in August, also is unlikely to stop the country sending a team.

“That’s good news, hey,” Kenya track federation president Jackson Tuwei told The Associated Press, laughing in apparent relief. “That’s real good news. That is the best news I’ve had, at least for today.”

It had been a seriously fretful 24 hours for Tuwei and others after the World Anti-Doping Agency’s unexpected decision on Thursday to suspend Kenya’s national anti-doping body over flawed legislation passed by lawmakers last month. The declaration of non-compliance by WADA raised the possibility that the IAAF might be emboldened to seek a sterner punishment for Kenya, as it did last year when it banned Russia following a crisis at its anti-doping agency.

MOSCOW (AP) - Two Olympic gold medalists from Russia denied doping a day after they were identified in a newspaper report detailing state-sponsored cheating at the 2014 Sochi Games.

Bobsled champion Alexander Zubkov and cross-country skier Alexander Legkov were among the athletes accused of doping by the former head of the Russian national drug-testing laboratory in a New York Times article.

“I considering it an accusation not supported by anything,” Zubkov said, calling the story “simply lunacy.”

At a news conference in Moscow, Zubkov and Legkov sat on either side of deputy Sports Minister Yuri Nagornykh, who denied Russia had ever operated a state doping program.

Legkov waved a thick folder of papers that he said contained the records of all his doping tests over three years. The sheer number of tests was evidence enough that he could not have taken banned drugs without being caught, he said.


MEXICO CITY (AP) - FIFA’s corruption crisis was declared to be over by President Gianni Infantino as the scandal-battered governing body broke new ground by appointing its first female and first non-European secretary general.

Senegalese United Nations official Fatma Samoura has no experience working in sports but Infantino hopes she can help FIFA improve its image and regain its credibility after far-reaching corruption, bribery, and financial crimes by executives.

“Nobody can change the past but I can shape the future,” Infantino told his first FIFA Congress as president since succeeding the banned Sepp Blatter. “FIFA is back on track. So I can officially inform you here, the crisis is over.”

Blatter also said in December 2014 that “the crisis has stopped” after previous bribery cases. But within a year 42 officials and entities linked to soccer were indicted in an American investigation into bribery and fraud.

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Gibraltar and Kosovo became FIFA members and will be fast-tracked into 2018 World Cup qualifying, which kicks off in Europe in September.

The vote at the FIFA Congress in Mexico City increased the global governing body’s membership to 211.

Kosovo’s entry could lead to a wave of transfer requests to FIFA from players who opted to represent countries, including Albania and Switzerland, before the largely ethnic Albanian former enclave of Serbia started to gain international soccer recognition just two years ago.

Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of political independence, which is accepted by more than 100 United Nations member states.

It is likely FIFA and UEFA will need to separate the Serbia and Kosovo national teams and clubs in competition draws.

Similarly, Gibraltar and teams from neighboring Spain have been kept apart since the British territory joined UEFA in 2013.


NEW YORK (AP) - Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes was suspended through May 31, the second player penalized under Major League Baseball’s new domestic violence policy.

Reyes agreed to the punishment and won’t appeal, the commissioner’s office said. The penalty stemmed from an alleged altercation with his wife at a Hawaii resort last October.

The four-time All-Star will lose 52 days of pay under the agreement, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press, which amounts to $6,251,366 of Reyes’ $22 million salary. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because that aspect of the penalty wasn’t made public.

The 32-year-old has not been with the Rockies all year and will miss the first 59 days of the season, which currently covers 51 games.

Earlier this week, New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman joined the team after serving a 29-game penalty.


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The NCAA is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the so-called O’Bannon case that successfully challenged the association’s use of names, images and likenesses of college athletes without compensation.

The plaintiffs in the case, which was originally filed by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon, petitioned the Supreme Court in March to hear the case. The NCAA also filed an opposition to the plaintiff’s filing.

In 2014, a U.S. district judge decided NCAA’s amateurism rules violated antitrust law. Judge Claudia Wilken ruled schools could - but were not required to - pay football and men’s basketball players up to $5,000 per year for use of their names, images and likenesses. The money would go into a trust and be available to the athletes after leaving college. Wilken also ruled schools could increase the value of the athletic scholarship to meet the federal cost of attendance figure for each institution.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Several media organizations want a judge to make public sealed court records in a dispute between Penn State and an insurance company over settlement payments to people who said former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky abused them as children.

The Associated Press and three other news organizations filed a motion asking a Philadelphia court for access to the records a judge referred to last week in a public court order.

Judge Gary Glazer’s opinion says Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association Insurance Co. alleged that a boy told head coach Joe Paterno in 1976 that Sandusky had molested him and that two assistant coaches witnessed abuse of other children in the 1980s.

Sandusky maintains his innocence. Paterno has died.

The AP, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Philadelphia Media Network and PA Media Group are seeking access to the documents.

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