Europe's richest could get richer
GENEVA — The richest soccer clubs and biggest leagues in Europe are set to tighten their grip on the Champions League's future format and prize money this week.
A deal being prepared by UEFA should end threats by some elite clubs to break away and form a closed European Super League before 2021. The deal could ensure more guaranteed places in the 32-team group stage, and thus more money, go to giants like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus.
In the hours before Thursday's group-stage draw, clubs and UEFA executive committee members are expected to meet in Monaco to agree to changes for the 2018-21 seasons. UEFA and the influential European Club Association declined to comment on reports that top leagues — Spain, Germany, England and Italy — will each get four direct entries to the group stages.
In the current format the three top-ranked leagues — this season that's Spain, England and Germany — are guaranteed three spots in the group stage; the next three (Italy, Portugal, France) get two. Leagues can also get extra berths via playoffs.
Each team makes at least $13.6 million in the group stage and the top earner can get around $113 million including results bonuses and TV rights. Still, that is barely more than the English Premier League pays its last-place team from TV money.
On the field, Roma failed to reach the group stage after having two men sent off in a 3-0 playoff defeat at home to Porto. Celtic, Monaco, Legia Warsaw and Ludogorets Razgrad also advanced.
Strip protest finds support
A skin-baring protest by two Mongolian wrestling coaches at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics might have struck some observers as slightly bizarre. Back home in their landlocked Asian nation, however, it has been praised as the appropriate response to bad refereeing. Mongolian media and the public reacted angrily to the decision to award victory to Uzbekistan's Ikhtiyor Navruzov over Mongolia's Mandakhnaran Ganzorig in Saturday's 143-pound freestyle bronze medal match. Wrestling is one of Mongolia's top sports and is intensely followed in the country of nearly 3 million. Stripping one's clothes off is considered an acceptable way of peacefully protesting a decision and the actions were widely embraced. "The internet loves the Mongolian coaches for this protest action," said Myagmardorj Boldbaatar, an entrepreneur and active social media user.
Nevada extends Lesnar ban
Nevada athletic regulators extended a temporary suspension of UFC heavyweight Brock Lesnar pending a hearing on his failure of drug doping tests last month at UFC 200. State Athletic Commission officials say the move came after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency found violations of UFC drug policy in June and at Lesnar's July 9 fight against Mark Hunt. A representative for Lesnar, 39, who also performs with WWE, didn't respond to a message seeking comment.
Cycling: Rookie Lilian Calmejane won the fourth stage of the Spanish Vuelta and Darwin Atapuma took the overall lead. Calmejane broke away before the final climb of the 101.5-mile route from Betanzos to the San Andres de Teixido summit. Atapuma crossed 15 seconds later to claim the red leader's jersey from Ruben Fernandez.
Little League World Series: Kaiden Dinh hit a walk-off single as Johnston, Iowa rallied past Warwick, R.I. 3-2, and Goodlettsville, Tenn., topped Chula Vista, Calif., in elimination games in South Williamsport, Pa. Also, Australia beat Curacao 2-1 and Mexico beat Canada 7-1.
Tennis: Kirsten Flipkens, who upset Venus Williams at the Olympics, defeated Belinda Bencic 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 in the first round of the Connecticut Open in New Haven.