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FIFA defends new media embargoes

FIFA president Sepp Blatter defended restrictions on newspapers and news agencies at this year's World Cup and threatened Wednesday to impose further limits in response to criticism.

Blatter said he was "surprised" and "dismayed" by a Feb. 23 letter from the World Association of Newspapers concerning FIFA restrictions on the use of photographs over the Internet during the June 9-July 9 soccer tournament in Germany.

WAN's letter expressed "deep regret and dismay" with FIFA for refusing to lift an embargo restricting the use of Internet photographs, including on newspaper Web sites. Under the embargo, photos only can be published when a match ends, and there is a limit to the number of photos that can be published.

"Regulations concerning the use of photographs on the Internet are not open to further discussion," Blatter wrote in a reply to the coalition.

FIFA originally sought a two-hour embargo on Internet photos, then agreed to an embargo restricting photos until the end of games.

MORE SOCCER

U.S. beats Poland, snow

Clint Dempsey and the U.S. team defied the elements and beat Poland 1-0 in a World Cup tuneup played in blizzard conditions.

In a scene more befitting Lambeau Field than a soccer field, Dempsey scored the only goal off a misplay by Poland's goalie in the 48th minute.

In other action, Italy routed World Cup host Germany 4-1 and defending champion Brazil won 1-0 on a cold day in Russia as 28 of the 32 teams in this year's tournament played warmup games.

France, the 1998 champion, ended its unbeaten streak at 17 with a 2-1 loss to visiting Slovakia, and two-time champion Argentina gave up a late goal in a 3-2 loss to Croatia.

England got a late goal in a 2-1 victory over visiting Uruguay, and Spain rallied twice at home to defeat visiting Ivory Coast 3-2 and remain unbeaten in 19 games under coach Luis Aragones. World Cup-bound Sweden lost 3-0 at Ireland.

EX-PLAYER DIES: Peter Osgood, the outstanding Chelsea striker in the 1970s who helped the team win the European Cup Winners' Cup, died after collapsing at a funeral in London. He was 59. Osgood won Football Association Cups with Chelsea and Southampton and played four times for England between 1970 and 1974. Skillful with the ball and strong in the air, Osgood scored 150 goals in 380 games for the Blues and was nicknamed "The King of Stamford Bridge."

DEFENDER HURT: Los Angeles defender Todd Dunivant has a strained left quadriceps, and the team expects him to be sidelined two to three weeks. The left back, who had been on the U.S. roster for a game against Poland before getting hurt, was diagnosed with the injury after an MRI Tuesday. The injury, comes as Dunivant tries to make the 23-man U.S. World Cup roster.

TENNIS

Agassi falls in Dubai

Eight-time Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi lost to 80th-ranked Bjorn Phau 7-5, 7-5 in the second round of the Dubai Open. The fourth-seeded Agassi - playing in his third tournament since losing the 2005 U.S. Open final - struggled to keep pace with the 26-year-old Phau, who is 9 years younger than him.

"The ball never came in my range today," Agassi said. "I didn't play badly but it certainly wasn't good enough. I needed to settle down, but as soon as I tried to get a rally going, he would take his chances and hit some good passing shots. You've got to credit him with that."

Also, No. 1 Roger Federerstruggled to beat Mohammed Al Ghareeb and Marat Safin's comeback was derailed by Olivier Rochus.

QATAR OPEN: Top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo beat Marion Bartoliwhile former No. 1 Martina Hingistopped third-seeded Francesca Schiavone to reach the quarterfinals. Second-seeded Nadia Petrova beat Eleni Daniilidou.

TENNIS CHANNEL OPEN: Lleyton Hewitt reached the quarterfinals for the third time this year by defeating Jan Hernych 6-3, 6-3 in Las Vegas. Hewitt next faces Philipp Kohlschreiber.

ET CETERA

BOXING: Former WBA heavyweight champion Greg Page is breathing on his own but remained in critical condition at a Louisville, Ky., hospital with acute respiratory failure. Page, 47, was admitted Friday to the hospital's intensive care unit with breathing problems, sepsis, hypothermia and seizures. Dr. Donald Wood said Page, left with brain injuries from a 2001 fight, continues to improve from those "life-threatening" illnesses.

FOOTBALL: Authorities in Las Vegas said that it could take several weeks before a cause of death is known for former Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Travis Claridge. Claridge, 27, who played for the Hamilton (Ont.) Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League last year, died Tuesday morning at a hospital in Henderson, Nev.

OLYMPICS: Speed skating gold medalists Apolo Anton Ohno and Joey Cheek will each be featured on the front of Wheaties cereal boxes in honor of their performances during the Turin Winter Olympics. Ohno, 23, won gold in the 500-meter short-track event, a bronze in the 1,000-meter race and another bronze in the 5,000- meter relay. Cheek, 26, won gold in the long-track 500-meter race and added a silver in the 1,000 meters.

Compiled from Times wires.

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