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

The emails, released as part of WADA investigator Richard McLaren's report on Russian doping, state 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.

It has been a tough year for Russian soccer, which is trying to prepare to host the 2018 World Cup but has faced criticism over hooliganism involving fans at the European Championship and racism in the domestic game.

The doping cases in the Russian national teams were all recorded as clean by Moscow lab director Grigory Rodchenkov after instructions from Sports Ministry employee Alexei Velikodny to "save" the players, McLaren's investigation found.


ENGLAND: Sadio Mane grabbed the winner in the fourth minute of injury time as host Liverpool beat Everton 1-0 to head into Christmas in second place in the Premier League.

SPAIN: Athletic Bilbao scored two late goals in the last league game before the winter break, coming from behind to beat Celta Vigo 2-1 in Madrid.

FINES: The four British federations were fined by FIFA for displaying poppies at World Cup qualifying matches in November to honor their war dead.

PROTESTS: UEFA said it will review disciplinary rules and could allow more political protests by fans at stadiums.

MLS: Missouri Governor-elect Eric Greitens said he opposes taxpayer money to help build a stadium in St. Louis, calling the project "nothing more than welfare for millionaires."


Legislators, leaders squabble

British cycling is shrouded in a cloud that "relates to doping," a legislator said, prompting a defiant defense of its integrity by the architects of the country's successful Olympic and Tour de France programs. Most of the questioning of Team Sky and British Cycling leaders during testy exchanges at British parliamentary doping hearings in London related to a medical package sent to star rider Bradley Wiggins five years ago. Team Sky head Dave Brailsford ended two months of mystery surrounding the package — which was hand delivered from England to the 2011 Dauphine Libere race in France by British Cycling employee Simon Cope — by disclosing that it was a legal decongestant.


AUTOS: NASCAR's top series will be called the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series beginning next year.

BASEBALL: SS Jimmy Rollins, 38, could be headed back to his native San Francisco bay area, agreeing to a minor-league contract with the Giants that includes an invitation to big-league spring training camp. … The Pirates bolstered their bullpen, agreeing to an $11 million, two-year contract with RHP Daniel Hudson. … Cuban RHP Michel Baez, 20, and the Padres agreed to a minor-league contract with a $3 million signing bonus.

HORSES: Always B Miki, the fastest pacer of all time, is harness racing's horse of the year. The 5-year-old easily outpolled 2015 winner Wiggle It Jiggleit 102-32 for the sport's highest honor.

SKIING: Frenchman Cyprien Sarrazin was the surprise winner of a parallel giant slalom race as overall World Cup leader Marcel Hirscher was eliminated in the first round for the second straight year at Alta Badia in La Villa, Italy.

Times wires

Sports in brief 12/19/16 [Last modified: Monday, December 19, 2016 9:21pm]
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