SPONSORS want MORE SAY IN REFORM
LONDON — Five World Cup sponsors have written to FIFA's executive committee demanding "independent oversight" of the reform process in their latest intervention that highlights concerns about their links to soccer's scandal-battered governing body.
Sponsors were originally promised places on the FIFA reform committee. But instead of being invited into meetings discussing the overhaul of the organization, they have been offered seats only on an advisory board which is yet to be appointed.
The sponsors' letter was sent from Adidas, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Visa, and Budweiser brewer AB InBev to FIFA's ruling body ahead of meetings this week when a final slate of reform proposals will be discussed.
UNDER FIRE: French Prime Minister Manuel Valls joined in the criticism of Karim Benzema, saying the Real Madrid striker "has no place" on the France team at the European Championship in the wake of a blackmail scandal.
TEAM VS. BOARD: Venezuela coach Noel Sanvicente offered to step down if it helps the national team's dispute with its federation. Fifteen players are threatening to quit unless the entire Venezuela Football Federation board of directors resigns.
EPL: Manchester City thrashed Hull 4-1 and advanced to the League Cup semifinals. Everton and Stoke progressed with wins against second-tier opposition.
MLS: D.C. United has agreed to trade attacker Chris Pontius, to the Philadelphia Union for financial considerations,
Rome adamant: No referendum
While Hamburg's bid for the 2020 Olympics was rejected by German voters, leaders of Rome's bid are sticking to their plans of avoiding a referendum. "The citizens in Rome are very particular," bid ambassador Fiona May said. "Italians are very passionate. I don't think you need to do a referendum. You feel it."
TOKYO GAMES: The Tokyo city government agreed to foot a quarter of the $1.3 billion cost for the new stadium for the 2020 Olympics.
Ex-champ pleads guilty to battery
Former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to more than a half-dozen charges stemming from three separate incidents over the past year, including him shooting and wounding his cousin and firing a gun at a Martin Luther King Jr. parade. Taylor appeared in Pulaski County Circuit Court in Little Rock, Ark., with his attorney two days before he faced trial. Sentencing is set for April 19, and it wasn't clear how much time Taylor might face.
PISTORIUS TRIAL: A top South African appeals court said it will rule Thursday on whether to overturn a manslaughter conviction against Oscar Pistorius and find the double-amputee Olympian guilty of murder for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius, 29, was released from jail Oct. 19.
AUTOS: Robin Pemberton will leave his position as NASCAR's senior vice president of competition at the end of the year. Pemberton joined the sanctioning body in August 2004 and has overseen all areas of NASCAR competition.
CRICKET: New Zealand Cricket said it will support captain Brendon McCullum should he face a backlash over testimony he gave to the perjury trial of former teammate Chris Cairns, who was acquitted Monday.
GOLF: Jason Day was named the winner of the inaugural Greg Norman Medal as Australia's best-performing international golfer, and Jarrod Lyle was awarded the PGA Tour's Courage Award for his battle with cancer.
RUGBY: No positive tests were recorded from nearly 500 doping samples collected during the World Cup, organizers said.
SAILING: America's Cup skipper Franck Cammas of Groupama Team had successful surgery after sustaining a double shinbone fracture in a training accident. The Frenchman, 42, will be sidelined for several weeks before starting rehabilitation in January, the team said.