Premier League provides most players at Euro 2016

LONDON Spain may have an iron grip on Europe's club competitions but the English Premier League is the dominant power when it comes to the number of players competing at Euro 2016.

Spain have won the last two European championships and La Liga clubs have claimed Europe's major club trophies, the Champions League and Europa League, for the last three seasons.

Yet a quarter of the 552 players going to Euro 2016 play in the English leagues, nearly four times as many as those from La Liga, according to figures from Grosvenor Casinos.

Rio in doubt for Britain's double sculls champion Grainger

LONDON Britain's most successful female Olympic rower Katherine Grainger could miss out on a fifth Games after failing to win a place in the women's eight for Rio.

Grainger, a four times medallist who won double sculls gold at London 2012 with Anna Watkins, shares with retired swimmer Rebecca Adlington the accolade of being Britain's most successful female Olympian.

South Africa call up Elgar to replace injured Rossouw in ODI series

GEORGETOWN Dean Elgar has been called up by South Africa to replace injured batsman Rilee Rossouw for the rest of the Tri-Nation One-Day International series in the West Indies, Cricket South Africa said on Wednesday.

Rossouw dislocated his shoulder in Tuesday’s 47-run victory over Australia at Providence.

“Rilee fell awkwardly on his shoulder while fielding the ball on the boundary. He was immediately taken to the local hospital for X-rays which confirmed he had dislocated the AC joint of his right shoulder," manager Mohammed Moosajee said in a statement.

Platini can attend Euro 2016 matches, FIFA tells UEFA

PARIS Banned UEFA president Michel Platini will be allowed to attend matches at the European football Championship providing he does not do it in any official role, the European governing body's acting general secretary said on Wednesday.

"We received a letter today (from FIFA) telling us Michel could attend matches as a person, providing he does not do so in any official function", Theodore Theodoridis told a pre-tournament news conference.

The executive committee of UEFA will now rule on a demand by the European body to invite Platini for the entire tournament, he added.

Russia opens criminal case into sports officials linked to doping scandal

MOSCOW Russia's Investigative Committee said on Wednesday it had launched a criminal case into people with managerial responsibilities from the All-Russia Athletic Federation on charges of abuse of office in the period of 2009-2013.

The committee said in a statement the case was launched after a request for legal assistance by a court in Paris. According to the request from the French court, Russian athletics officials allowed violations of anti-doping rules, the statement said.

Sharapova banned for two years by ITF

LONDON The career of Russian former world number one Maria Sharapova was in tatters on Wednesday after she was given a two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) following her positive test for the banned drug meldonium at this year's Australian Open.

In a statement the ITF said the 29-year-old five-times grand slam champion's ban would be backdated to Jan. 26 this year, meaning her results and prize money from the Australian Open, where she reached the quarter-finals, would be canceled out.

Slovenian FA chief Ceferin plans to run for UEFA presidency

ZURICH Slovenia football association boss Aleksandar Ceferin plans to join the race for the presidency of European football's governing body UFEA, his FA said in a statement on Wednesday.

Cefarin joins Dutchman Michael van Praag in declaring his intention to stand for September election to replace Michael Platini, banned for four years by FIFA for ethics violations.

Muguruza eyeing Serena's top ranking

LONDON So long the dominant force in women's tennis, Serena Williams will head to Wimbledon this month in danger of losing her number one ranking to Spain's Garbine Muguruza.

Muguruza, beaten by Williams in last year's Wimbledon final, turned the tables to win the French Open on Saturday and climbed to a career-high second on the WTA list.

Should she win the Wimbledon title and the 34-year-old Williams loses before the final, she would rise to number one, a position Williams has held for 178 weeks.

Van Aanholt extends contract with Sunderland to 2020

Defender Patrick van Aanholt has signed a new four-year deal at Sunderland, which will keep him at the Stadium of Light until 2020, the Premier League club said on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old Dutch left back, who joined from Chelsea in 2014, played a pivotal role in keeping Sam Allardyce's men in England's top flight, scoring four goals in his 33 league starts.

"Patrick was an outstanding performer last season, contributing not only solid defensive performances, but also assists and vital goals," manager Allardyce said.

Triathlete Gomez Noya wins prestigious Spanish award

MADRID Spain's world and European triathlon champion Javier Gomez Noya has won his country's most prestigious sports award, the Princess of Asturias prize, for his "brilliant achievements".

Gomez Noya, the only triathlete to win five world titles, will attempt to clinch gold at this year's Olympic Games in Rio after claiming silver in London in 2012.