Tag Archives: Sports governance

Swimming federation to splash tens of millions on African technique


There was too little variety within the swimming pool and fewer on the medal podium on the Tokyo Olympics

Elite coaching facilities in Africa and scholarship applications worldwide are a part of a method to assist athletes emerge from outdoors the game’s energy bases. Of 105 medals received within the pool on the Tokyo Video games, nearly half went to Individuals and Australians. Solely three have been received by Africans, and none of these by Black swimmers.

That image needs to be totally different on the 2024 Paris Olympics, newly elected FINA president Husain al-Musallam informed The Related Press, pledging to make student-athletes a precedence.

“I imagine there will likely be quite a lot of athletes coming from Africa in swimming and they’re going to attain the rostrum,” al-Musallam stated in an interview on the Tokyo Aquatics Middle. “Whenever you give alternative to everyone they carry out. Africans have an absence of sources, particularly for aquatic sport.”

One stand-out story in Tokyo was 18-year-old Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia, who received a shock gold within the 400 freestyle.

Two years in the past, Hafnaoui did not make the 400 ultimate on the junior world championships, however had entry to a gymnasium to construct his power for the Olympics, the FINA president stated.

“With out weights, it’s tough to supply,” al-Musallam stated. “I’m certain if he was doing one 12 months of fine preparation he’ll (set) a brand new world file.”

FINA has recognized Tunisia, Senegal and two universities in South Africa as elite coaching bases to put African athletes. Others will go to Europe, in Hungary and Russia.

Abeku Jackson of Ghana educated for the lads’s 100 butterfly at a FINA-supported base in Kazan, the 2025 world championships host metropolis in Russia. His time of 53.39 seconds set a nationwide file however didn’t advance him from the heats.

“You may’t snap your fingers and put minorities (swimmers) on the rostrum,” new FINA govt director Brent Nowicki stated.

He pointed to FINA spending $29 million over 4 years on a method to widen and deepen swimming’s expertise pool.

“You will note quite a few Africans and minorities pupil athletes competing,” predicted Nowicki, an American sports activities lawyer employed to assist reform FINA.

The Lausanne, Switzerland-based group has lengthy been among the many richest Olympic sports activities our bodies however with little transparency.

In Tokyo, FINA introduced a 50% rise in prize cash for the 25-meter pool world championships, which will likely be held in Abu Dhabi in December. World data will earn $50,000 bonuses from a complete pot of $2.eight million.

The earlier FINA management’s failure to reward athletes led to the breakaway Worldwide Swimming League, and an anti-trust swimsuit in California filed by swimmers together with three-time Olympic champion Katinka Hosszú and Tokyo gold medalist Michael Andrew.

That case is ongoing, and al-Musallam stated he has taken half in two on-line conferences with a choose searching for to achieve a settlement between the events.

The FINA president has talked with and plans to satisfy Matt Biondi, the American swim nice who leads the brand new Worldwide Swimmers’ Alliance representing the game’s athletes.

Al-Musallam stated he didn’t announce having spoken with Biondi “as a result of then I will likely be a showman. I’m not a showman.”

He additionally engaged with Olympic stars in Tokyo, inviting them to go to Africa and encourage younger swimmers.

“I stated, ‘I can provide you this chance. I ship you to Ghana. Speak to the children within the river,’” al-Musallam stated. “I need to work within the discipline, I’m quiet. You choose the consequence.”


Extra AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2020-tokyo-olympics and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities


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Verdict anticipated in trial of former IAAF head Lamine Diack


A Paris courtroom will ship its verdict within the corruption trial of former worldwide monitor and subject federation president Lamine Diack

PARIS — A Paris courtroom will ship its verdict Wednesday within the corruption trial of Lamine Diack, a former president of the worldwide monitor and subject federation who oversaw the glory years of Usain Bolt and, in line with prosecutors, took tens of millions of {dollars} for himself, alongside along with his son.

At Diack’s trial in June, prosecutors requested a four-year jail time period and a high quality of 500,000 euros ($595,000). The 87-year-old former IAAF president was tried on corruption, cash laundering and breach of belief prices.

The decision can even cowl others who confronted prices on the six-day listening to, together with his son, Papa Massata Diack. The previous IAAF advertising and marketing advisor lives in Senegal and was tried in his absence, additionally on corruption, cash laundering and breach of belief prices.

Forward of the decision, Papa Massata Diack this week referred to as the fees “the largest lie within the historical past of world sport.” He mentioned he earned $10 million from his IAAF consultancy work however all legally. He mentioned he skipped the trial as a result of “to undergo French justice is to place myself on the disposal of my enemies.” Senegal refused to extradite him.

The trial in June accused Diack of turning monitor’s governing physique right into a hotbed of malfeasance. Diack led the federation from 1999-2015, a time that included the thrilling period of Bolt.

Prosecutors mentioned the Diacks siphoned off income for themselves and lined financial institution accounts with hush-money allegedly extorted from athletes who coughed up six-figure sums to keep away from being sanctioned for doping. The IAAF’s status as a frontrunner in preventing doping was trashed by the crooked system, dubbed “full safety,” of athletes paying to maintain competing.

With the 2012 London Olympics looming, Diack feared that punishing a big group of athletes collectively for doping may damage negotiations with a Russian sponsor, the courtroom was informed. Diack acknowledged he intervened to quietly decelerate the sanctioning course of, however denied data of payoffs. Prosecutors mentioned the Diacks squeezed athletes for 3.45 million euros ($four million).

Lamine Diack’s place and longevity made him an necessary determine in Olympic sports activities. He jetted around the globe and rubbed shoulders with VIPs. His affect additionally opened doorways for his son.

Papa Massata Diack had costly tastes: Investigators discovered that he purchased watches and different luxurious items price 1.7 million euros ($2 million) from a retailer off the Champs-Elysees in Paris. Prosecutors have sought a five-year jail sentence for the youthful Diack.


Extra AP sports activities: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities


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Swiss bank penalized over alleged FIFA, Venezuela corruption


Switzerland’s financial market authority has penalized Julius Baer bank for violating its obligations to combat money laundering over a nearly nine-year span

Switzerland’s financial market authority has penalized Julius Baer bank for violating its obligations to fight money laundering over a nearly nine-year span.

The sanctions are related to alleged corruption linked to Venezuela’s state-owned oil company and global soccer body FIFA.

The authority, known as FINMA, cited Julius Baer for a “serious infringement of financial market law” and barred it from carrying out “large and complex acquisitions until it once again fully complies with the law.”

The bank was also ordered to revamp its hiring and management of client advisers, and adjust its remuneration and disciplinary procedures.

“FINMA has instructed Julius Baer to undertake effective measures to comply with its legal obligations in combating money laundering and rapidly finalise the measures it has already started putting in place,” the authority wrote in announcing the closure of the probe of the bank. “The Board of Directors must also give greater attention to its AML (anti-money laundering) responsibilities.”

The Zurich-based bank, which had 426 million Swiss francs (dollars) of assets under management at the end of 2019, said it “takes note” of the decision. The bank said it cooperated “extensively” with the authority, and that “the identified deficiencies have been addressed.”

The authority’s investigators unearthed “systematic failings” in the application of Swiss anti-money laundering law, turning up irregularities in “almost all of the 70 business relationships” that were selected due to their risk. The “vast majority” of over 150 transactions examined also showed irregularities, FINMA said.

Julius Baer didn’t do enough to determine clients’ identities, provide information about the source of their wealth, or monitor transactions properly. One adviser handling Venezuelan clients in 2016 and 2017 reaped millions in bonuses and other payouts even though the bank had spotted possible wrongdoing in connection with a case involving state oil giant PDVSA.

“The bank’s remuneration system focused almost exclusively on financial targets and paid scant regard to compliance and risk management goals,” FINMA said.

“As an example, a CHF 70 million (about $70 million) transaction was carried out in respect of a large Venezuelan client in 2014 without the required investigations, even though the bank had learnt in the same year that the client was facing accusations of corruption,” it added.

FINMA said it was appointing an independent auditor to monitor internal reforms.

“Until it is once again fully compliant with the law, the bank is prohibited from conducting transactions such as major acquisitions that lead to a significant increase in operating risks (including but not limited to money laundering risk) or in its organisational complexity,” it said.

The authority has been involved in crackdowns on a number of corruption and money-laundering cases in recent years, also including Brazilian oil giant Petrobras and Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. It did not offer details about alleged corruption or money laundering involving Julius Baer at FIFA, the Zurich-based world soccer body.


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NCAA’s Emmert presses Senate for ‘guardrails’ on athlete pay


NCAA President Mark Emmert is urging Congress to step in and put restrictions on college athletes’ ability to earn money from endorsements

NCAA President Mark Emmert urged Congress to put restrictions on college athletes’ ability to earn money from endorsements, telling a Senate committee Tuesday federal action is needed to “maintain uniform standards in college sports” amid player-friendly laws approved in California and under consideration in other states.

The NCAA last fall said it would allow players to “benefit” from the use of their name, image and likeness and is working on new rules it plans to reveal in April. Under the NCAA’s timeline, athletes would be able to take advantage of endorsement opportunities beginning next January.

Meanwhile, more than 25 states are considering legislation that would force the NCAA to allow players to earn money off their personal brand in a bid to address inequities in the multi-billion-dollar college sports industry. California passed a law last year that gives broad endorsement rights to players and it will take effect in 2023. Other states could grant those rights as soon as this year.

The NCAA’s concern, echoed by Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who also testified Tuesday, is that endorsement deals for athletes would have a negative effect on recruiting, with schools and boosters in states with athlete-friendly laws using money to entice players to sign with certain schools.

“If implemented, these laws would give some schools an unfair recruiting advantage and open the door to sponsorship arrangements being used as a recruiting inducement. This would create a huge imbalance among schools and could lead to corruption in the recruiting process,” Emmert said. “We may need Congress’ support in helping maintain uniform standards in college sports.”

Emmert’s comments were similar to what the NCAA, the Big 12 and the Atlantic Coast Conference have been communicating to Congress through well-paid lobbyists. The Associated Press has found that the NCAA and the two conferences spent $750,000 last year lobbying on Capitol Hill, in part to amplify their concern that “guardrails” are needed on endorsement pay for athletes to avoid destroying college sports as we know it.

Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican and the chairman of the Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection, said he was not inclined to act until after the NCAA reveals its new rules.

“I wish Congress was in a position to be able to provide the NCAA and the athletes the opportunity to find a solution. … The ability for Congress to do that is, that’s a challenge,” Moran said in an interview after the hearing. “The next step is to see what the NCAA is capable of presenting to us in April.”

NCAA critics believe there is plenty of evidence that recruiting is already corrupt — pointing in part to the federal criminal case involving shoe companies paying basketball players to attend schools they sponsor — and that letting players earn endorsement money won’t create the major problems the NCAA predicts.

Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players’ Association, which advocates for athletes’ rights, said under current NCAA rules, 99.3% of top-100 football recruits choose teams from the Power Five conferences.

“The power conferences have advantages and they consistently pull the best recruits,” Huma said. “They will continue to get the recruits. The reality is, you’re not going to change the recruiting by limiting the players’ opportunities.”

Huma said once states start granting players endorsement rights, Congress would not be inclined to take those rights away, “and we’ll have an opportunity to witness the fact that NCAA sports will still be strong and everybody will tune in.”

There was bipartisan agreement among the senators at the hearing that athletes should have access to endorsement opportunities and that some regulations are necessary.

Emmert did not fully escape lawmakers’ anger at the system he presides over.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, excoriated Emmert for the NCAA’s handling of sexual violence against women. She also noted the case of James Wiseman, a top NBA prospect who left school after he was suspended over $11,500 given to his mother by Memphis coach Penny Hardaway to help with moving expenses. Hardaway gave the money before he was Memphis’ coach.

Blackburn said the NCAA’s lack of consistency and transparency in the Wiseman case had eroded trust in the organization’s ability to handle issues of player benefits.

“I think a question that must be going through a lot of minds of student-athletes and their parents is, how in the world are they going to be able to trust you to get this right?” Blackburn said.


Follow Ben Nuckols at https://twitter.com/APBenNuckols


More AP college sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP—Top25


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Iran suspended from world judo over Israel boycott coverage


Iran has been suspended from worldwide judo competitions as a result of it boycotts bouts with Israeli athletes.

Lower than a month after world champion Saeid Mollaei walked off the Iranian crew in protest on the boycott coverage, the Worldwide Judo Federation (IJF) stated Wednesday that Iran is suspended forward of a full listening to.

Iran’s judo federation is accused of discriminating towards Israeli athletes and breaking guidelines over manipulating competitors outcomes.

“The IJF Government Committee thought-about that such a conduct is insupportable,” the federation stated.

Mollaei has stated he was repeatedly ordered by Iranian officers to lose matches or withdraw from competitions, together with final month’s world championships, in order to not face Israelis. He’s at present in hiding in Germany.

Iran doesn’t acknowledge Israel as a rustic, and Iranian sports activities groups have for a number of a long time had a coverage of not competing towards Israelis.

IJF spokesman Vlad Marinescu stated any ban will not apply to subsequent yr’s Tokyo Olympics. That is as a result of it is the Iranian Olympic Committee, not the Iranian judo federation, which formally enters the Olympic crew.

In the meantime, the IJF is exploring methods to permit Mollaei to compete on the Worldwide Olympic Committee’s crew of refugees.

The IOC has signaled a more durable line on boycotts lately.

In June, IOC president Thomas Bach criticized governments who “clearly abuse sport for his or her political functions,” noting a case in Might of a Tunisian court docket blocking 4 Israelis from competing on the taekwondo junior world championships.  


Extra AP sports activities: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities


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Judo champion who defied Iran’s guidelines now in hiding


Saeid Mollaei has been in hiding since he left the Iranian judo crew final month, saying he had been ordered to withdraw from the world championships on political grounds.

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Now he is coaching for subsequent yr’s Olympics with no assure he can compete.

Mollaei was the defending world champion, and Israel’s Sagi Muki his greatest rival for the gold medal. There was one downside — Iran has a coverage of boycotting all competitions towards Israelis, even when meaning an athlete’s coaching was all for nothing.

Mollaei advised The Related Press he was ordered to lose a preliminary bout towards a Russian with a purpose to cowl up the explanation for his withdrawal. When he refused and received, he acquired extra intimidating calls from senior officers.

“For as soon as, I made a decision to stay as a free man for myself, and show to the world that I’m a courageous man,” Mollaei mentioned in a current interview in Germany, the place he is dwelling in an undisclosed location.

“I did this for my human soul. For myself. I needed to apply and compete with freedom, with peace of thoughts,” mentioned Mollaei, talking in Persian. “I did not need to fear about whom to compete with and whom to not compete with. I will compete with anybody, to honor the Olympic constitution.”

In the long run, Mollaei misplaced a bronze-medal bout and did not face Muki, who received gold. The Worldwide Judo Federation, which is supporting Mollaei, mentioned he acquired calls for to withdraw from an Iranian deputy sports activities minister, embassy workers and the pinnacle of the Iranian Olympic Committee.

Mollaei’s likeliest path to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is now the Worldwide Olympic Committee’s crew for refugees. The IJF helps him however mentioned he’ll want refugee standing from the United Nations.

Up to now, adapting to life in Germany is difficult.

“Even the garments you possibly can see on me (are presents). I had nothing when arrived in Germany. I simply determined to come back and I got here,” he mentioned. “I had loads of presents from mates and that is how I stay now, with the assistance of some mates and the IJF. I am nonetheless ready to see what is going to occur later, how I can compete, however clearly from the very starting of my arrival right here in Germany I began my coaching. The place and the way I’ll compete later, I do not know but.”

Mollaei mentioned he has not requested for asylum in Germany. As a substitute, he’s dwelling on a visa issued when he competed in German membership occasions, and is cautious about safety.

Powerfully constructed, with broad shoulders, Mollaei speaks softly and chooses his phrases fastidiously.

“Even after I need to contact my household I do it by a good friend in Tehran as a result of my household is underneath surveillance and I am unable to discuss many points,” he mentioned. “I haven’t got a lot contact with any of my mates.”

Mollaei advised the AP he had been given comparable orders to keep away from Israeli rivals on three earlier events. The final time was in February, when he failed to seem for the medal ceremony at a contest in France as a result of it will imply sharing the rostrum with Muki.

“Virtually all Iranian athletes have acquired such orders when it’s linked to Israeli athletes,” he mentioned.

Iranian officers have mentioned Mollaei was one way or the other manipulated into leaving the crew, and that he could be welcomed if he returned residence.

He’s skeptical, pointing to an Iranian letter to the IJF in Might pledging to adjust to Olympic non-discrimination guidelines. On the time, it was hailed as a sign Iran would finish its sports activities boycott of Israel.

“I can guarantee you that they did not adjust to the Olympic Constitution. So how can we belief them?” Mollaei mentioned of Iran’s sports activities officers.

Mollaei’s break with the Iranian authorities comes at a time when activists are utilizing sports activities to defy authorities calls for.

Feminine Iranian activists have campaigned for years to be allowed to attend sports activities stadiums, significantly for males’s soccer video games, and staged protests ultimately yr’s World Cup in Russia. Final week, Iranian information retailers reported 29-year-old soccer fan Sahar Khodayari had died after setting herself on hearth upon studying she might spend six months in jail for making an attempt to sneak right into a recreation.

Mollaei expressed sympathy for Khodayari and different feminine campaigners.

“I questioned why this occurred, why Iranian ladies cannot freely stay like different ladies, and luxuriate in sports activities and luxuriate in watching sports activities,” he mentioned. “I do not know what is going on on, and why such difficulties ought to solely occur to Iranians and the Iranian sport neighborhood.

“I do not know what to say. I am simply unhappy and disillusioned. I simply hope that at some point the ladies and athletes in my nation can stay freely and may get pleasure from life.”


Extra AP sports activities: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities


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MLS groups navigate new ‘no political show’ coverage


Main League Soccer’s new coverage that bans political shows at matches is stirring controversy within the Pacific Northwest, the place supporters’ tradition is usually intertwined with politics and social points.

The Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers have banned indicators and flags with the “Iron Entrance” image, which they are saying has turn out to be appropriated by some within the loosely structured antifa motion, at occasions within the context of violence.

The image of three arrows pointing downward and to the left dates again to an anti-Nazi paramilitary group fashioned in Germany within the 1930s. Supporters’ teams preserve the image represents opposition to fascism and persecution — a human rights problem, not a political stance.

“With the current rise in focused assaults in opposition to so many teams — LBTGQ+, immigrants, ladies, non secular teams, and extra — and the presence of fascists in our stadiums, this image represents our agency stance of combating hatred in soccer, our communities, and our world,” the board of administrators for Portland’s 107 Impartial Supporters Belief stated in an announcement. The group represents followers of each the Timbers and the NWSL’s Thorns.

The league’s new fan code of conduct, applied this season, prohibits “utilizing (together with on any signal or different seen illustration) political, threatening, abusive, insulting, offensive language and/or gestures, which incorporates racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist or in any other case inappropriate language or conduct.”

MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott stated the league labored with all its groups to plan the coverage.

“I believe it was the assumption of the league and the golf equipment that followers are at our video games to benefit from the sport and that there’s a place for third-party political organizations or teams to specific their views, however that place is not inside our stadiums,” Abbott instructed The Related Press.

Main League Soccer is the one skilled league among the many high 5 in america with a code of conduct that expressly bans political signage. Insurance policies for the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB principally take care of fan conduct, like abusive conduct or language, and intoxication. The NBA prohibits “obscene or indecent messages” on indicators.

MLS can be the one league to particularly goal racist, homophobic, xenophobic and sexist language or conduct, which was lauded by supporters’ teams.

Nevertheless, quite a lot of particular person groups throughout sports activities, as effectively arenas and stadiums, do regulate signage and prohibit messages which can be political in nature. The Moda Middle, house of the Portland Path Blazers, doesn’t permit indicators which can be business, political or obscene.

Some questioned the Main League Soccer’s inclusion of political shows as too obscure.

“We, as a company, really feel strongly on making certain that shows of human rights will not be mistaken for political statements. Political engagement is typically essential in securing human rights for all, however that doesn’t make the message of human rights inherently political,” the Impartial Supporters Council of North America stated in an announcement following the discharge of the coverage.

Earlier this season, a fan waving a Trump 2020 flag was faraway from Windfall Park.

Sounders supporters took problem when the Iron Entrance image was included with mentions of far-right teams Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys in a letter from group administration that defined the ban.

“Messages, banners, flags or some other symbols that characterize an affiliation to a political group won’t be allowed in CenturyLink Area. This contains, however will not be restricted to, Antifa, Iron Entrance, Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer,” the letter from group administration stated.

The Sounders later apologized for equating the teams. Taylor Graham, Sounders vice chairman of enterprise operations and advertising and marketing, spoke to reporters following apply final week, saying: “We at the start need to put our hand up and say, ‘That is not honest, and we apologize for these phrases,’ placing them in that context.”

However the hyperlink to antifa has spurred some to take motion. Final weekend a small group confronted followers participating within the conventional March to the Match. The group additionally tried to get right into a pregame occasion at a close-by bar however was turned away by bouncers.

There was one scuffle however no arrests have been made.

The incident got here on the identical weekend because the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. In Philadelphia, Union captain Alejandro Bedoya rushed to the sideline after a objective and shouted into an on-field microphone: “Hey, Congress, do one thing now! Finish gun violence! Let’s go!”

Whereas Bedoya’s assertion was clearly political, MLS didn’t take any disciplinary motion. Bedoya was voted the league’s Participant of the Week although he was not included on the poll.

“The Main League Soccer household joins everybody in grieving for the lack of lives in Texas and Ohio, and we perceive that our gamers and employees have sturdy and passionate views on this problem,” the league stated in an announcement.

Abbott stated he believes the brand new coverage makes clear that the MLS doesn’t equate totally different political or ideological teams. He additionally pointed to the league’s Soccer for All initiative.

“We unequivocally condemn teams that have interaction in hateful actions and speech. By our dedication to Soccer for All, it is vitally clear the place the league stands on supporting variety and inclusion,” he stated. “We additionally acknowledge the significance of those values to our followers, however we do not imagine our venues are the suitable place for signage that promotes any form of third-party political group or group, no matter whether or not we agree with the tenets of that group.”


Extra AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities


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Horton applauded by fellow swimmers for stand against Sun


Mack Horton walked into the dining room at the athletes’ village and the applause began. It swelled into a standing ovation for the Australian swimmer after his personal protest against China’s Sun Yang at the world championships.

Horton refused to step onto the podium or shake Sun’s hand after losing to Sun in the 400-meter freestyle final on Sunday night.

“Gutsy move, for sure,” U.S. backstroker Matt Grevers said Monday.

Horton is angry that Sun, who served a three-month doping suspension in 2014, is being allowed to compete in Gwangju before he faces a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing in September that could potentially end his career.

The World Anti-Doping Agency is challenging a decision by FINA, swimming’s world governing body, merely to warn Sun over incidents during a doping control team’s attempts to take blood and urine samples at his home in China last September.

“I don’t feel like it really hurt Sun Yang,” Grevers said of Horton’s protest. “I think it just let him know that, ‘Hey, it’s a weird incident and until it gets uncovered, we don’t fully trust you.'”

Horton is the only swimmer to beat Sun in the 400 free in the last eight years, taking gold in the event at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where the Aussie also refused to shake Sun’s hand. Horton went further at a news conference later, calling Sun a “drug cheat” to his face.

That prompted China’s swimming federation to demand an apology, but none was forthcoming.

With such history between the two, American Lilly King said other swimmers were waiting for the awards ceremony Sunday “to see what was going to happen.”

Horton stood behind the podium when given his silver medal. He didn’t join Sun and bronze medalist Gabriele Detti of Italy for the traditional photos on the top spot afterward.

“I don’t think I need to say anything,” Horton said Sunday. “His actions and how it has been handled speaks louder than anything I could say.”

Sun said Sunday he was aware Horton has a problem with him.

“Disrespecting me was OK, but disrespecting China was unfortunate,” Sun said through a translator. “I feel sorry about that.”

King, an outspoken critic of doping, was in the dining hall when Horton arrived back at the village.

“It was pretty great to see the athletes united on his stance and supporting him as well,” she said. “I don’t think anyone at FINA is going to stand up for the athletes, so the athletes have to stand up for themselves.”

Horton’s teammate, Mitch Larkin, voiced a familiar concern among swimmers about a clean playing field.

“You can never be confident,” he said. “You’ve got to trust the authorities, but with what’s going on in sport these days it’s hard to be 100% sure.”

Horton didn’t alert the Australian coaching staff of his podium plans in advance, according to head coach Jacco Verhaeren.

“I understand him very much,” the coach said. “You can only respect him for what he does.”

Detti told Italian media that Horton approached him before the medals ceremony and asked if he would be willing to stand behind rather than on the podium while receiving his award.

Detti declined, explaining that he worked hard to earn a medal and wanted to enjoy it.

None of the anti-Sun sentiment goes over well in China, where he is viewed as a star and his fans demand respect for him via social media. A large contingent of Chinese fans cheered and shouted as Sun made his victory parade around the pool. Banners featuring his face hung from the stands.

Larkin estimated that 99% percent of swimmers at the meet back Horton.

“He’s not really standing alone,” Larkin said. “What he did was certainly brave and gutsy, and I have a lot of respect for him for doing that.”

Not everyone agreed with Horton, however.

“That’s his opinion, not mine,” said British swimmer James Guy, who described himself as a close friend of Horton’s.

Guy was the leading qualifier going into the 200 free semifinals Monday night; Sun was second-fastest.

American backstroker Ryan Murphy said he didn’t consider Horton’s protest to be directed at Sun “but more so standing against FINA and WADA for their response to these things.”


More AP swimming: https://apnews.com/tag/Swimming and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports


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Infantino says FIFA scandals gone, despite corruption cases


Ahead of his re-election as FIFA president, Gianni Infantino said Wednesday he has banished scandals and corruption from the soccer body despite losing members of his council for misconduct.

Infantino is running un-opposed for a second presidential term through 2023. He was first elected in 2016 in the wake of Sepp Blatter’s downfall amid the biggest scandal in FIFA’s history.

“Remember the state of FIFA at that congress,” Infantino said. “Well the last three years and four months have certainly not been perfect. I have made mistakes certainly and I try to improve and do this better but today on an election day nobody talks about crisis. Nobody talks about rebuilding FIFA from scratch. Nobody talks about scandals. Nobody talks about corruption.”

A generation of soccer leaders in North and South America were swept from power in 2016 after American and Swiss prosecutors targeted financial corruption linked to the game’s governing bodies.

In the Infantino era, four continental soccer organizations each lost elected FIFA Council members amid allegations of corruption or financial misjudgments.

FIFA senior vice president David Chung of Papua New Guinea was banned for 6 1/2 years. Kwesi Nyantakyi of Ghana was banned for life. Sheikh Ahmad of Kuwait withdrew his re-election candidacy when implicated in bribing voters. Reinhard Grindel of Germany resigned.

Infantino was also investigated, and soon cleared, in 2016 by the FIFA ethics committee for his use of private jets. The investigators and judges who ran that case, from Germany, Guam and Switzerland, were gone within a year.

Another independent official left abruptly weeks after finding that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko was too conflicted to retain his FIFA Council seat while also implicated in a state-sponsored doping scandal.

But Infantino told FIFA’s 211 member associations that “we have turned the situation around” since the Blatter era.

“This organization went from being toxic, almost criminal to what it should be — an organization that develops football, an organization that cares about football,” Infantino said. “We have transformed it into a new FIFA — an organization which is synonymous with credibility, trust, integrity, equality, human rights.”


More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports


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Qatar wins, regional rivals lose in Asian soccer elections


On a big day for Qatar at the Asian soccer elections, the 2022 World Cup host regained a seat on FIFA’s ruling committee and saw defeats for candidates from its regional rivals which are boycotting Doha and want the tournament shared with other Middle East countries.

There will be no Saudi Arabian or United Arab Emirates delegate on the Asian Football Confederation’s executive committee elected by 47 member federations Saturday.

Qatari candidate Saoud Al Mohannadi retained his AFC vice-presidency representing west Asia for four more years, and gained a seat on the FIFA Council. It brings Qatar closer to FIFA decision-making for the first time since 2011, when Mohamed bin Hammam was suspended — and later banned for life — for financial wrongdoing months after the gas-rich emirate won its World Cup hosting rights.

Saturday’s results continue Qatar’s winning run in 2019, after its national team was the surprise winner of the Asian Cup in February, beating Saudi Arabia and host nation UAE before lifting the trophy in Abu Dhabi.

Saudi Arabia and UAE have led a diplomatic and logistical boycott of Qatar for almost two years. The political standoff has included exerting pressure on Qatar to share some World Cup games, likely with Kuwait and Oman, in an expanded 48-team tournament.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino told AFC members Saturday that the world soccer body and Qatar are still analyzing the prospect of adding another 16 teams.

“It will be a nice achievement if the first World Cup with 48 teams is played in Asia,” said Infantino, who has argued that extra teams will accelerate soccer development worldwide. He will preside over a June 3 FIFA Council meeting and June 5 congress of 211 member federations in Paris to decide.

FIFA has consistently said Qatar must agree to any tournament expansion, and Al Mohannadi can represent his country’s expected opposition in the council discussions.

The main business in Kuala Lumpur was for the AFC to re-elect its president Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain — in his absence — for four more years unopposed after Al Mohannadi and a candidate from the UAE withdrew last month.

Sheikh Salman, who is also the senior vice-president of FIFA, could not attend after the death of his mother this week. Infantino led delegates in observing a few minutes of silence to mourn and show that “we are with him.”

Speaking on behalf of the Bahraini royal, newly-elected FIFA Council member Praful Patel said: “I am sure that with your continued support and solidarity, we can all take Asian to even greater heights.”

Patel, a former aviation minister in India’s government, won one of the six seats on FIFA’s ruling council elected Saturday. Other winners were Chinese government official Du Zhaocai, Kohzo Tashima of Japan, and, for the women’s seat, Mahfuza Akhter Kiron of Bangladesh.

An ally of Qatar, Mariano Araneta of the Philippines, retained his seat while South Korea soccer leader Chung Mong-Gyu, who sided with the Saudis in recent Asian soccer politics, lost his.

On the eve of the election, Chung — whose family owns World Cup sponsor Hyundai — formally complained to the AFC’s election oversight panel about Qatar’s campaign tactics, including giving Araneta use of a private jet to visit some voters’ countries.

Sheikh Salman was elected to succeed Bin Hammam in 2013, and is the longest-serving president of any major soccer body after years of scandals and international investigations of corruption linked to international soccer.

A sprawling American investigation of bribery helped remove a key Asian soccer power broker, Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, from his FIFA position in 2017.

Still, the Kuwaiti sheikh — who has stepped aside from his influential IOC positions pending a separate criminal trial in Switzerland — was in Kuala Lumpur this week on the sidelines of the AFC elections.

Though Sheikh Salman was supported into office by Sheikh Ahmad six years ago, he cemented his position by expanding the Asian Cup to 24 teams and securing the AFC’s finances while giving more money back to members. Last year, the AFC signed an 8-year, multi-billion dollar commercial rights deal with China-backed DDMC Fortis.

Infantino on Saturday said Sheikh Salman’s re-election will help the region move forward in stability.

An uncontested election was “important to show a united family in Asia,” said the FIFA leader, who edged Sheikh Salman to win his presidency three years ago, and has no opponent for re-election in June in Paris.


Dunbar reported from Geneva


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