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Boxing-Dope test throws doubt on Benn v Eubank Jr. fight

LONDON (Reuters) -A much-hyped fight between Britons Conor Benn and Chris Eubank Jr. was thrown into doubt on Wednesday as lawyers argued over whether it could go ahead after Benn failed a dope test and boxing’s British governing body withdrew support.

The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) said in a statement that Saturday’s catchweight bout at London’s 02 Arena was prohibited and “not in the interests of boxing”.

It said all parties had been informed.

Promoters Matchroom and Wasserman Boxing did not call it off, however, and both fighters took part in a scheduled workout.

“As far as I’m concerned the fight is still going ahead,” said Benn.

The promoters earlier issued a joint statement saying Benn, whose father Nigel famously fought Eubank’s father and namesake 30 years ago, had “returned an adverse analytical finding for trace amounts of a fertility drug”.

The test was carried out by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).

It said Benn’s B sample had yet to be tested and there was therefore no confirmed rule violation and he was not suspended. Benn had also subsequently passed a test carried out by the UK Anti-Doping Agency UKAD.

“Both fighters have taken medical and legal advice, are aware of all relevant information, and wish to proceed with the bout this Saturday,” the promoters’ statement said before the BBBofC made its decision public.

Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn said UKAD was the official tester for the fight and not VADA.

“As we stand right now, the British Boxing Board of Control is not sanctioning the fight,” he told the BBC.

“That does not mean the fight is off, but there is a process we have to go through. Conor Benn is not suspended, he is free and clear to fight. There’s lots going on with the lawyers.”

There are precedents of promoters turning to other sanctioning bodies after failing to secure the backing of the BBBofC.

In 2012, David Haye and Dereck Chisora fought in London under the jurisdiction of the Luxembourg Boxing Federation because neither heavyweight held a British licence.

Saturday’s fight was due to pit welterweight Benn against super-middleweight Eubank at a catchweight of 157 pounds.

Eubank senior last month called for the fight to be cancelled due to health concerns about dropping down to the weight limit.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge and Toby Davis)


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Motor racing-F1 governing body delays cost cap compliance certificates

By Alan Baldwin

(Reuters) – Formula One’s governing body said it had postponed to next Monday the issuing of cost cap compliance certificates amid speculation some teams overspent last year.

The certificates were due on Wednesday, after previous delays, but the FIA said the analysis of the teams’ financial submissions was a long and complex process and had yet to finish.

It said the release of the certificates would now be on Oct. 10, the day after what could be a title-deciding Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

“There has been significant and unsubstantiated speculation and conjecture in relation to this matter,” it added in a statement, referring to alleged breaches of the financial regulations.

“The FIA reiterates that until it is finalised, no further information will be provided,” it said, adding that “any suggestion that FIA personnel have disclosed sensitive information is equally baseless.”

Formula One introduced the budget cap last year, narrowing it from $145 to $140 million this year and $135 million next season, to rein in runaway spending by the biggest teams and level the playing field.

Speculation swirled at last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix that some teams were in breach of the rules, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner threatening legal action after suggestions the championship leaders were one of them.

“We don’t even know if we’re in breach, we don’t even know until next week, until the process has been completed,” he told reporters then.

Red Bull are leading both world championships with Max Verstappen set to clinch his second successive drivers’ title.

Mercedes and Ferrari, Red Bull’s main rivals, have both said any breach last year would bring carry-over benefits for this season and next.

“It is a very vital test for the cost cap… if we don’t pass that test, it’s probably game over because the implications are huge,” Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies said last weekend when asked about enforcing the rules.

A breach, depending on its magnitude, can attract a range of penalties from public reprimands and fines to a deduction of championship points and even exclusion from the championship.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)


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Turkey OKs sending troops to Qatar for World Cup security

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s parliament on Wednesday approved deploying Turkish soldiers to Qatar to help maintain security during next month’s World Cup.

With a show of hands, lawmakers approved a motion to send an unspecified number of troops to the Gulf country for six months. Fikri Isik, a ruling party legislator and former Turkish defense minister, said the deployment would involve 250 troops and a corvette-class naval vessel.

The troops would be in addition to some 3,000 riot police that Turkey has said it would send to Qatar to reinforce security during the international soccer competition.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan requested parliamentary approval to deploy troops, explaining in the motion submitted last week that the Turkish soldiers would join other forces from the United States, France, Britain, Italy and Pakistan.

The force would be deployed against “various threats and especially terrorism” in Qatar, which expects to host more than 1 million visitors during the monthlong competition, the Turkish leader said.

Turkey has built close ties with Qatar and established a military base there.

Lawmakers from Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party and its nationalist allies supplied the votes to pass the motion. Opposition parties criticized the deployment plans, accusing the government of allowing Turkey’s army and police to be used like employees of “private security firms.”

Earlier this year, the Interior Ministry announced that Turkey would deploy 3,250 Turkish police officers to Qatar. They include 100 special operations police and 50 explosives experts.


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Marathon at 2024 Paris Olympics announced; lots of uphill

PARIS (AP) — The marathon course at the 2024 Paris Olympics will include a strength-draining 438 meters of uphill racing, a punishing test of endurance that organizers proudly described Wednesday as “a challenge without precedent.”

And for the first time at the Olympics, female marathoners will get the privilege of competing last, on the final day, Aug. 11. The men will race on Aug. 10.

The runners will race from Paris to the royal town of Versailles — a route that includes some punishing climbs — and back again.

“A challenge without precedent,” said Tony Estanguet, the head of the Paris organizing committee. “We’re aware of the challenge it represents.”

The marathon will start from Paris City Hall and wind past famed landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, before leaving the capital and beginning its upward wind to Versailles, the former town of kings with its spectacular palace, to the southwest. The climb has 13% gradients in its steepest parts.

From Versailles, the runners will then return to Paris, with leg-burning downhill sections, to the finish in central Paris in front of Napoleon’s golden-domed tomb at the Invalides.

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More AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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No-No Joe Musgrove wants a championship for hometown Padres

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Joe Musgrove took a moment away from the mayhem of the clubhouse celebration after the San Diego Padres clinched a playoff spot to reflect on where his career has been and where he wants it to go.

The big right-hander will forever be remembered as the hometown kid who threw the first no-hitter in franchise history, in just his second start with the Padres. He pitched in his first All-Star Game this year and then signed a $100 million, five-year contract.

Musgrove helped the Padres clinch an NL wild-card spot, just the seventh playoff berth in the franchise’s mostly forgettable 54-year history. His ultimate goal is winning another World Series ring that he would consider more legitimate than the one he won with the scandal-tinged Houston Astros in 2017.

“It’s a been a long time since we’ve been in this spot,” said Musgrove, who grew up cheering for the Padres and his favorite player, 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy, whose No. 44 he now wears. “It’s pretty crazy how it all worked out. I end up back here in a year where we’ve got a team like we have to make it this far.”

The no-hitter at Texas on April 9, 2021, burnished his name in franchise lore and endeared him to the long-suffering fan base. It also netted him free beer for life from Ballast Point Brewing Co. and his own beer, No-No Joe Double IPA from Resident Brewing, which was in plentiful supply during Sunday’s clubhouse celebration.

“After the no-hitter, that moment was massive for me, for the city, for everybody, but that’s not what I want to be remembered by,” Musgrove said. “I want to be one of the guys that help bring a championship to the city, especially my own hometown.”

Musgrove’s baseball journey has come full circle since he pitched at Grossmont High in suburban El Cajon, where his parents, Mark and Diane, still live.

Musgrove went through three other organizations before getting to the Padres. Before his pro career began, he had to mature faster than most high school kids do after his father was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that left him paralyzed for several months.

Then a high school sophomore, Musgrove took turns with his siblings spending long days and nights at Mark’s bedside in the hospital and then a care center. It got to the point that Mark and Joe had conversations about what was expected of the son if the father didn’t make it.

That’s when baseball came into sharp focus.

“The one thing that offered Joe a reprieve was going to baseball practice and he would tell me, ‘No, dad, I’ll stay here,’ and I said, ‘No, Joe, you need to get away and go out and clear your head and whatever happens is going to happen whether you’re here or not,'” said Mark Musgrove, who had been a policeman in San Diego and neighboring National City, and then a private investigator. “So, he would go to practice and I think he found a lot of solitude and a lot of mental relief, emotional relief, by going there.”

The time away from the hospital was indeed beneficial.

“That kind of showed me what baseball was for me in my life,” Joe Musgrove said. “I’d always had fun with it and loved it because I was good at it but never really understood what part in my life it really had. It was all the joy I had.”

It would be six months before the Musgroves got clarity on what Mark’s recovery would be like. Money was getting tight and Joe considered getting a job to help out.

His dad said no.

“He continued to push me toward baseball because he could see the potential I had,” Musgrove said. “We didn’t know it would look like this, but what could come of it could be something similar.”

Musgrove had signed a letter of intent to play for Tony Gwynn at San Diego State. But after the Toronto Blue Jays took him with the 46th pick in the 2011 draft, he signed for a $500,000 bonus. That allowed him to help with household expenses and buy back his parents’ house from a family friend who had stepped in to help them avoid foreclosure.

He was traded to the Astros and made his big league debut in 2016. He got the win in relief in Game 5 of the 2017 World Series, which he commemorated on a vanity license plate on the Range Rover he bought his parents. He was traded to Pittsburgh and then acquired by the Padres in January 2021.

Mark Musgrove cheered for the Padres as a kid and still remembers many of the players from the expansion 1969 team. Now he, Diane and other family members watch Joe’s starts from seats on the third base side of Petco Park.

“Number one, it’s good having him home,” Mark Musgrove said. “It’s like going to watch him play in any other venue while he was growing up. He enjoys being here. He really enjoys San Diego as a home and a place where he can ply his trade. The fit’s perfect.”

Musgrove (10-7, 2.93 ERA, 184 strikeouts) is just the 13th Padres pitcher to have 30 starts, 10 wins and a sub-3.00 ERA.

He knows he has a rare opportunity via his five-year contract to try to win a World Series with his hometown team. He tries to distance himself from the 2017 title with the Astros because of the sign-stealing scandal.

“I still don’t feel great about wearing that ring around or telling people that I was a World Series champion on that team,” he said. “I want one that feels earned and that was a true championship. So that’s the goal.”

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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Rugby-Worcester players, staff to have contracts terminated

(Reuters) -Worcester Warriors players and staff are set to have their contracts terminated after part of the English Premiership club was wound up in the high court on Wednesday.

The court instructed that WRFC Players Ltd, through which players and staff are paid, be liquidated. The decision means that they are free to join other clubs.

Worcester, who were served with a winding-up order over unpaid tax reportedly worth six million pounds ($6.78 million), went into administration last month after failing to meet a Rugby Football Union (RFU) deadline to prove they could operate amid financial difficulties.

They were also suspended from all competitions.

“This is a very sad day for rugby in England. Our thoughts are with all of the Worcester Warriors players, staff and supporters,” RFU CEO Bill Sweeney said in a statement.

Steve Diamond, Worcester director of rugby, likened the club’s plight to the Titanic.

“This is the darkest day for English rugby. We thought we could turn the tanker around but it’s ended up like the Titanic, sadly,” he wrote on Twitter.

“The ship has sunk, the captains are nowhere to be seen. The RFU/PRL band played in the back ground. There are a privileged few who have jobs.”

The team, who finished 11th last season, faces the prospect of relegation from the Premiership, with a decision likely in the coming days.

Worcester’s co-owners said last month that they had found three interested buyers and the deal was moving at a “rapid pace”.

They met a deadline to provide assurances they could safely host games amid the financial turmoil before the RFU asked the club to come up with a credible plan to avoid suspension.

“The RFU will continue to speak to the administrators, and potential buyers, during the course of the next 24 hours to understand the possibility of a buyer taking over the club in time for the men’s team to participate in the Gallagher Premiership during season 2022/23,” added Sweeney.

Worcester picked up their first win of the season with a 39-5 thrashing of Newcastle Falcons last month following defeat in their opening two games.

($1 = 0.8855 pounds)

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in BengaluruEditing by Christian Radnedge)


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Olympics-Paris 2024 marathon to trace path of French Revolution

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) -Competitors in the marathon at the Paris 2024 Olympics will run from central Paris to Versailles and back, on a course designed to salute women and trace one of the pivotal historic events of the French Revolution.

The marathon route unveiled on Wednesday was modelled on the path of the October 1789 Women’s March on Versailles – when thousands, mainly female market traders furious over the price of bread, marched to the lavish palace of King Louis XVI.

They forced him to return with them to the centre of the capital in an event that historians say ended the absolute power of the monarchy.

“We’re trying to give some meaning to our events and choosing this course was a good way to do it,” Paris 2024 boss Tony Estanguet told Reuters. “We really want to innovate.”

For the first time since women began running the Olympic marathon in 1984, women will conclude the athletics programme, with their marathon coming a day after the men’s event.

“Women first. We wanted to celebrate women,” Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo told a news conference.

“Paris is a place of revolution. It’s a revolutionary city, so this course makes sense,” added Valerie Pecresse, the head of the Ile de France (greater Paris) region.

Organisers have also added two mass events – a marathon and a 10-km run – to allow non-Olympians to run the course. Each will be open to 20,024 participants.

“Our country proclaims loud and clear that high-level sport must more than ever be a source of inspiration for all generations while driving mass participation,” French Sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said.

“Sport has the power to positively transform society: let us give it every means to do so.”

The marathon course will pass Parisian monuments including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Palais Garnier, the Jardin des Tuileries and several world-famous bridges.

“Beyond a doubt, the Paris 2024 marathon will have something special about it. To perform in such an impressive setting, in a place so charged with history and symbolism, will be a unique experience,” said two-time Olympic champion and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge.

“I could not ask for a more perfect race for the Games.”

It will also be an unusually challenging route, with 438 metres of altitude gain.

“It appears to be more demanding than normal,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe told Reuters. “Clearly it’s a marathon that will be challenging. But some marathon runners prefer undulating courses.”

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Peter Graff and Christian Radnedge)


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Rugby-Worcester players, staff to have contracts terminated – reports

(Reuters) – Worcester Warriors players and staff are set to have their contracts terminated after part of the English Premiership club was wound up in the high court, British media reported on Wednesday.

The court instructed that WRFC Players Ltd, through which players and staff are paid, be liquidated. The decision means that they are free to join other clubs.

Worcester, who were served with a winding-up order over unpaid tax reportedly worth six million pounds ($6.78 million), went into administration last month after failing to meet a Rugby Football Union (RFU) deadline to prove they could operate amid financial difficulties.

They were also suspended from all competitions.

“This is the darkest day for English rugby. We thought we could turn the tanker around but it’s ended up like the Titanic, sadly,” Steve Diamond, Worcester director of rugby, wrote on Twitter.

“The ship has sunk, the captains are nowhere to be seen. The RFU/PRL band played in the back ground. There are a privileged few who have jobs.”

Worcester’s co-owners said last month that they had found three interested buyers and the deal was moving at a “rapid pace”.

They met a deadline to provide assurances they could safely host games amid the financial turmoil before the RFU asked the club to come up with a credible plan to avoid suspension.

($1 = 0.8855 pounds)

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)


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Ukraine links World Cup host bid to beating horrors of war

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Hosting World Cup matches in 2030 would be “the dream of people who survived the horrors of war,” Ukrainian soccer federation president Andriy Pavelko said Wednesday after his country launched a joint bid with Spain and Portugal.

The leaders of the three soccer federations joined together at UEFA headquarters to present a campaign they hope will connect people beyond the world of sports.

“This is the dream of millions of Ukrainian fans,” Pavelko said at a news conference, “the dream of people who survived the horrors of war or are still in the occupied territories and over whom the Ukrainian flag will surely fly soon.”

Pavelko said the project is backed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The expected Spain-Portugal bid, which has been in the works for more than three years, previously was made UEFA’s preferred candidate. FIFA will vote on the host in 2024.

“Now it’s not the Iberian bid, it’s the European bid,” Spain soccer federation president Luis Rubiales said at the launch. “Together we represent the power of transformation football has in society.”

No details were given about how many games at the 48-team World Cup would be staged in Ukraine or in which cities. The Olympic Stadium in Kyiv hosted the finals of the 2012 European Championship and the 2018 Champions League.

The European bid is expected to face a South American candidacy with co-hosts Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Saudi Arabia, which has built close ties to FIFA and its president, Gianni Infantino, has been preparing a multi-continent bid potentially including Egypt and Greece. It is unclear how Greece would be approved by UEFA to be part of that.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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Olympics-Paris 2024 marathon to trace path of French Revolution

By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) – Competitors in the marathon at the Paris 2024 Olympics will run from central Paris to Versailles and back, on a course designed to salute women and trace one of the pivotal historic events of the French Revolution.

The marathon route unveiled on Wednesday was modelled on the path of the October 1789 Women’s March on Versailles – when thousands, mainly female market traders furious over the price of bread, marched to the lavish palace of King Louis XVI.

They forced him to return with them to the centre of the capital in an event that historians say ended the absolute power of the monarchy.

“We’re trying to give some meaning to our events and choosing this course was a good way to do it,” Paris 2024 boss Tony Estanguet told Reuters. “We really want to innovate.”

For the first time since women began running the Olympic marathon in 1984, women will conclude the athletics programme, with their marathon coming a day after the men’s event.

Organisers have also added two mass events – a marathon and a 10-km run – to allow non-Olympians to run the course. Each will be open to 20,024 participants.

“Our country proclaims loud and clear that high-level sport must more than ever be a source of inspiration for all generations while driving mass participation,” French Sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said.

“Sport has the power to positively transform society: let us give it every means to do so.”

The marathon course will pass Parisian monuments including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Palais Garnier, the Jardin des Tuileries and several world-famous bridges.

“Beyond a doubt, the Paris 2024 marathon will have something special about it. To perform in such an impressive setting, in a place so charged with history and symbolism, will be a unique experience,” said two-time Olympic champion and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge.

“I could not ask for a more perfect race for the Games.”

It will also be an unusually challenging route, with 436 metres of altitude gain.

“It appears to be more demanding than normal,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe told Reuters. “Clearly it’s a marathon that will be challenging. But some marathon runners prefer undulating courses.”

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Peter Graff)


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