Ex-marketing executive pleads guilty in U.S. bribery probe of FIFA

By Nate Raymond

NEW YORK A former sports marketing executive arrested last year during a U.S. corruption probe involving soccer's global governing body FIFA pleaded guilty on Thursday to participating in schemes to pay bribes to a top official.

Aaron Davidson, former president of the Miami-based unit of Brazilian sports marketing conglomerate Traffic Group, entered his plea in federal court in Brooklyn to charges of racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy.

Chelsea vs. Manchester United -- the fans' view

LONDON Chelsea's Premier League clash with Manchester United on Sunday will see the return of Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge for the first time since he was sacked as manager by the London club in December.

  Here is what the fans have to say about the two clubs:

David Chidgey -- Chelsea FanCast podcast

"What we're most pleased about is the quiet and measured way (new manager) Antonio Conte has gone about things.

Mata may turn into Mourinho's 'Special Juan' after all

By Claire Bloomfield

LONDON When Jose Mourinho was appointed Manchester United manager in the close season, Spain playmaker Juan Mata could have been forgiven for being less than enthused.

Mourinho, the so-called 'Special One', dropped the double Chelsea Player of the Year during his time at Stamford Bridge before selling him to United in January 2014 for a then club record fee of 37 million pounds ($45.37 million).

Mata was adored by Chelsea fans but the Portuguese seemed to feel differently about him.

Champions League venue process must be open - UEFA chief

LONDON The process to choose the venue for the Champions League final must be open and transparent, according to new UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

The Slovenian also said on Thursday that it was possible the final could be held outside Europe in future.

The host stadium is now selected behind closed doors by organisers UEFA but Ceferin, who succeeded the disgraced Michel Platini last month, believes a proper tendering system must be introduced.

Coetzee hails ground-breaking rugby coaches conference

By Nick Said

CAPE TOWN Allister Coetzee has described a two-day coaches conference aimed at solving a skills shortage in South African rugby as a "ground-breaking moment".

South Africa's head coach says a blueprint for player development would be revealed in the coming weeks, with SA Rugby's acting president Mark Alexander adding that structural reforms for the local game will also be announced this month.

Williamson ton sets up New Zealand's thrilling win

NEW DELHI Captain Kane Williamson struck the first hundred for New Zealand on their tour of India to set up a thrilling six-run victory in the second one-day international and end his side's winless run.

Chasing 243 for victory, the hosts were reduced to 183 for eight in the 41st over but all-rounder Hardik Pandya (36) and number 10 batsman Umesh Yadav (18 not out) added 49 for the ninth wicket to take their team close.

Everton must not be over reliant on Lukaku - Koeman

Manager Ronald Koeman has urged Everton to find a way of avoiding over reliance on striker Romelu Lukaku in front of goal, but praised the club's defensive record this season.

Belgium international Lukaku, who struck 18 Premier League goals last season, has continued his impressive form under Koeman, netting six of Everton's 12 league goals.

Koeman's side, who are sixth in the standings and have conceded just six goals after the opening eight league games, boast the second best defensive record in the top flight after leaders Manchester City.

Nadal ends season to recover from left wrist injury

By Martyn Herman

LONDON Former world number one Rafael Nadal called time on his 2016 season on Thursday saying he needed to fully recover from the left wrist injury he suffered midway through the year.

The Spanish 14-times gram slam champion said he would play no more tournaments and would instead begin "preparing intensively" for the 2017 season.

Marseille confirm Garcia as new manager

Olympique de Marseille have appointed former AS Roma coach Rudi Garcia as their new manager on a three-year contract, the Ligue 1 club said on Thursday.

The 52-year-old Garcia replaces Franck Passi, who took charge at Marseille following Michel's sacking in April. Marseille are 12th in the league standings and travel to Paris St Germain on Sunday.

Pochettino sets sights on top spot ahead of Bournemouth trip

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has urged his players to climb to the summit of the Premier League for the first time this season by beating Bournemouth on Saturday, although he has a trio of injuries to worry about.

Spurs, the league's only unbeaten side after eight games, dropped into third place last weekend after drawing 1-1 at West Bromwich Albion, and trail bitter north London rivals Arsenal and leaders Manchester City by a point.