FIFA urges World Cup teams to focus on soccer over politics

ZURICH — Soccer’s top officials have urged the 32 teams preparing for the most political World Cup in the modern era to focus on the game in Qatar and avoid handing out lessons in morality. A letter urging teams to “let take center stage” was sent by FIFA president Gianni Infantino and secretary general Fatma … Read more

Ukrainian club urges FIFA to remove Iran from World Cup

GENEVA — Ukraine’s top soccer club on Monday urged FIFA to remove Iran from the World Cup because of the country’s alleged military support to the Russian invasion. Shakhtar Donetsk chief executive Sergei Palkin accused Iran of “direct participation in terrorist attacks on Ukrainians,” suggesting his own country’s team should play in Qatar instead as … Read more

Brittney Griner spends 32nd birthday in Russian prison

Brittney Griner spent her 32nd birthday in a Russian prison, awaiting an appeal to her nine-year sentence for drug possession that’s set for next week. The WNBA star has been especially down lately, according to her lawyers. They were with her for part of her birthday on Tuesday. Maria Blagovolina, a partner at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, … Read more

Russian court sets Brittney Griner appeal date for Oct. 25

MOSCOW — A Russian court on Monday set Oct. 25 as the date for American basketball star Brittney Griner’s appeal against her nine-year prison sentence for drug possession. Griner, an eight-time all-star center with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was convicted Aug. 4 after police said they found vape canisters … Read more

Spanish women’s soccer in turmoil after player revolt

BARCELONA, Spain — Spanish soccer is in turmoil after 15 players on the women’s national team pulled out of the squad saying their coach has “significantly” affected their “emotional state” and their health. Late Thursday, the federation announced that the 15 players had sent identical letters by email, citing coach Jorge Vilda as the reason … Read more

Texas murder trial in pro cyclist’s killing may be delayed

AUSTIN, Texas — The trial of the woman accused of killing pro cyclist Anna Moriah Wilson in Texas likely will be delayed from its scheduled October start because defense lawyers have filed a flurry of motions that require consideration, the presiding judge said Wednesday. Kaitlin Armstrong’s attorneys pressed her right for a speedy trial when … Read more

WNBA’s Brittney Griner appeals her Russian prison sentence

MOSCOW — Lawyers for American basketball star Brittney Griner have filed an appeal of her nine-year Russian prison sentence for drug possession, Russian news agencies reported Monday, amid talks between the U.S. and Russia that could lead to a high-profile prisoner swap. Griner, an eight-time all-star center with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and two-time Olympic … Read more

Russia’s Lavrov says he will discuss US prisoner swap offer

MOSCOW — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that he’s open to a call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss a possible prisoner swap involving American basketball star Brittney Griner. Blinken said Wednesday that Washington had offered Russia a deal that would bring home Griner and another jailed American, Paul Whelan. … Read more

Sports court upholds soccer bans on Russian teams

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Russia remains barred from Europe’s leading soccer competitions including the Champions League after the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected appeals by the national soccer federation and four clubs on Friday. CAS upheld decisions by UEFA and FIFA which excluded Russian national teams and clubs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia was … Read more

NTSB: Dad, not boy, was driving truck that hit golfers’ van

DALLAS — A Texas man, not his 13-year-old son, was driving the pickup truck that crossed into the oncoming lane and struck a van carrying New Mexico college golfers, killing nine people, and he had methamphetamine in his system, investigators said Thursday. The National Transportation Safety Board said two days after the March 15 collision … Read more