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U.S. women end boycott

The U.S. women's soccer team agreed to a labor contract with the U.S. Soccer Federation, ending a boycott that had kept the team out of action for the past month.

The new agreement will pay members of last year's World Cup-winning team $2,000 for every appearance and an undisclosed amount a month, making them the highest-paid women's soccer team in the world. The contract also guarantees the women's team will earn the same amount as the men's national team.

The players had been without a contract since their 1996 agreement expired in July.

A squad of college-age players replaced stars such as Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain to win the Australian tournament. Some members of the replacement team had threatened to boycott future tournaments in support of the main squad.

The end of the boycott clears the way for the national team to return to action against Norway on Saturday.

MORE SOCCER: Play will be interrupted at Italian League games if banners touting racist slogans appear in the stands, the Italian government said. Interior Minister Enzo Bianco and Sports Minister Giovanna Melandri said any racist banners would be removed. They also announced plans to increase stadium security. "What we want is a strong and determined action to banish any type of violence from all sports arenas, be it physical or verbal, including the display of banners that incite racism or anti-Semitism," Bianco said. On Sunday, police at Rome's Olympic Stadium confiscated a banner supporting the late Zeljko Raznatovic, who was indicted last year by the U.N. war crimes tribunal.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Brigham Young University assistant head coach Norm Chow has accepted the job as North Carolina State's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, new coach Chuck Amato said.

TRACK AND FIELD: Sprinter Merlene Ottey, who faces suspension because of a positive drug test, plans to run at a meet today in Valencia, Spain despite growing protests from Spanish and international track and field bodies. The former 200-meter world champion tested positive for the banned performance-enhancing substance nandrolone at a July meet in Lucerne, Switzerland but was cleared by Jamaican authorities. Ottey's planned participation in the Valencia meet comes despite a request Monday from directors of the Spanish Athletics Federation that organizers withdraw their invitation.

SWIMMING: Ian Thorpe won the 100 and 400 freestyle at a World Cup short course meet in Sheffield, England. The teen-ager, who is world record holder for 200 and 400 long course and 200 short course, clocked 49.38 seconds to beat Jarod Schroeder and Dan Phillips in the 100 final. Then he pulled away from rival Chad Carvin in the last two lengths to win the 400 in 3:40.94. Today he goes for the 200 freestyle, two weeks after setting a world mark for the distance at the World Cup meet at Sydney.

TENNIS: Anna Kournikova, seeded fifth, beat unseeded Anne-Gaelle Sidot 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. Alexandra Stevenson advanced when Maria Antonia Sanchez retired with a back muscle strain with Stevenson leading 4-1 in the opening set. Defending champion Martina Hingis, Mary Pierce, Nathalie Tauziat and Amanda Coetzer received first-round byes. Top-ranked Lindsay Davenport, who beat Hingis to win her first Australian Open, skipped the tournament because of a left hamstring strain.

AUTO RACING: Yahoo! Inc., the largest Web-navigation company, said it will sponsor the Prost-Peugeot Formula One racing team in 2000. The F-1 season starts in Australia on March 12 and finishes with the Malaysian Grand Prix on Oct. 22. The Federation Internationale de L'Automobile, international motor sport's governing body, said it is prepared to take the European Commission to court because of what it called a "flawed" antitrust ruling on its television contracts.

COLLEGES: The Miami men's tennis team won four of six singles matches and swept three doubles matches to open its spring season with a victory against Florida Atlantic. Seminole's Joel Berman teamed with Mark Arrowsmith for a doubles victory for the 'Canes.

BOXING: Lennox Lewis won the Edward J. Neil Award for 1999's Fighter of the Year in voting by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

CYCLING: Emmanuel Magnien won the Grand Prix de la Marseillaise, the opening race of the European season, in 3 hours, 24.33 minutes, edging Lauri Aus and Christophe Bassons.

TRIATHLON: Former world champion Spencer Smith faces a hearing before the International Court of Arbitration in Sport about a failed doping test.

OBITUARY: Ron Feiereisel, who played basketball at DePaul and for the Minneapolis Lakers before becoming a coach and referee, died Friday of natural causes. He was 68.

_ Compiled from Times wires.