blatter appeals his ban
LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Sepp Blatter, former president of the sport's governing body (FIFA), was the subject of a 15-hour hearing Thursday about his six-year ban from soccer, and he pledged to accept the verdict of the Court of Arbitration for Sport
Blatter, 80, denies wrongdoing in authorizing a $2 million payment to former FIFA vice president Michel Platini in 2011. The two said it was backdated and uncontracted salary for work Platini did in advising Blatter from 1999-2002. The payment led Blatter to be investigated for criminal mismanagement by Swiss prosecutors in September. That investigation is ongoing. FIFA's ethics committee ruled the payment a conflict of interest and banned Blatter and Platini for eight years in December. FIFA's appeal committee cut both bans to six years. Platini's appeal to the court got his ban cut to four years.
More soccer: Leicester City's first visit to Europe's Champions League, the richest prize from its unlikely English Premier League championship last season, is in a comparatively friendly group that includes two-time champion Porto of Portugal, Belgium's Club Brugge and Denmark's FC Copenhagen, based on the draw held in Monaco. New Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was placed in a group with his former club, Barcelona; Germany's Borussia Monchengladbach, and Scotland's Celtic. No obvious "group of death" was created, but Bayern Munich drew one of the toughest first-round schedules. Bayern, the German champion, faces Atletico Madrid, which beat Bayern in the semifinals last season, and PSV Eindhoven of the Netherlands and Russia's Rostov. … Cristiano Ronaldo was named the best player in Europe last season after helping Portugal to win the European Championship and having another stellar campaign for Real Madrid.
Arena Football: Arizona hosts Philadelphia in the ArenaBowl tonight night at Gila River Arena in Glendale (7, ESPN). If Arizona wins, it will set a league record of six ArenaBowl titles.
LITTLE LEAGUE: Seum Kwon had two home runs and three RBIs, Sangheon Park struck out nine and South Korea beat Mexico 7-0 to advance to the international championship game of the World Series in Williamsport, Pa. South Korea plays Panama on Saturday.
NHL: The Avalanche hired Jared Bednar, who won the AHL's Calder Cup championship as coach of Lake Erie last season, as its coach. Bednar, 44, replaces Patrick Roy, who abruptly resigned this month.
Olympics: Two Irish Olympic executives told police in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that the president of their national committee, who has been arrested in a Summer Games ticket-scalping investigation, was in sole charge of ticketing matters, a chief police investigator said. The executives had been called suspects. Ireland's Olympic committee president, Patrick Hickey, is being held in a Brazilian prison. … Kenya's government abruptly disbanded its Olympic committee, blaming it for disorganization that "dampened the spirits and the pride" of Kenya. Kenya's 13 medals in Rio were the most of any African nation, but newspapers ran stories about poor management of the team.