Van Praag, Villar and Ceferin confirmed as UEFA candidates

ZURICH Dutchman Michael van Praag, Spaniard Angel Maria Villar and Slovenian Aleksandar Ceferin will contest the presidency of UEFA in September, European soccer's governing body confirmed on Friday.

UEFA said the trio, all heads of their country's respective football federations, were the only candidates to have submitted their bids by Wednesday's deadline for the election in Athens on Sept. 14.

The election has been called to find a replacement for Frenchman Michel Platini, who has been banned for four years for ethics violations.

Former Arsenal midfielder Hleb rejoins BATE Borisov

MOSCOW Former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder Alexander Hleb has rejoined BATE Borisov, the Belarusian club said on Friday.

This will be the 35-year-old former Belarus international's fourth spell at BATE after previously playing for them in 1999-2000, 2012-2013 and 2015.

"I always return to BATE with the same positive emotions," Hleb was quoted as saying on the club's website ( "This is my home town club where I leant to ply my trade."

Russia facing potential Rio doping ban

LONDON Russia will find out in two weeks whether it is to be banned completely from the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro after officials opened proceedings against the country on Friday following revelations of doping cover-ups.

"Suspension proceedings against the National Paralympic Committee of Russia (NPC Russia) have been opened following the publication of the McLaren Report on Monday and additional information it has since received from the report's author," the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said in a statement.

Gorbachev calls on IOC not to ban Russia from Rio Olympics

MOSCOW Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Friday called on the International Olympic Committee to resist calls to ban Russia from the Rio Olympics in response to doping allegations.

In an open letter to committee president Thomas Bach and other IOC members, Gorbachev said he was deeply concerned by the possibility the innocent would be punished along with the guilty.

Golf's Rio return jars environmentalists, players stay away

RIO DE JANEIRO Golf's return to the Olympic Games next month for the first time in 112 years has been marred by the absence of the sport's leading players and a court battle over potential environmental damage resulting from a new course in Brazil.

Players, including the world's top four, are turning up their noses at the Olympics, citing concerns over the mosquito-borne Zika virus even though scientists have said there is little risk visitors will be infected during the Games, which start on Aug. 5.

Kohli makes history with double century against Windies

Virat Kohli made history with his first double century as India built a seemingly unassailable lead, 404 for four in their first innings at lunch on the second day of the first test against West Indies in Antigua on Friday.

Captain Kohli became the first man from India to compile a test double century overseas when he pulled a single to deep mid-wicket just before the break in North Sound.

Kohli lowered himself to his knees and kissed the turf as retired batting great Viv Richards, after whom the stadium is named, joined in the applause from the stands.

Turkish weightlifter Ozkan ordered to return 2008 Olympics medal

Turkish weightlifter Sibel Ozkan has been disqualified retroactively from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games due to doping offences and ordered to return the silver medal she won there, the IOC said on Friday.

The 28-year-old Ozkan, who competed in the 48-kilogram category, tested positive for the banned substance Stanozolol.

Doping scandal rocks Russian sport but Putin's ratings look safe

MOSCOW Having your athletes barred from the Olympics because your government stands accused of systematically covering up doping would trigger a political firestorm in many countries, hurting the standing of the person at the top.

But in Russia, months away from parliamentary elections at a time of economic crisis, President Vladimir Putin and his allies have deftly deflected the blame by passing it off as a Western Cold War-style plot to sabotage Russia's international comeback.

Greek swimmer gets Rio spot after FINA U-turn

ATHENS Greek 100 metres butterfly champion Kristel Vourna has spoken of her “relief and joy” after an unlikely U-turn by the World Swimming Federation (FINA) following an initial blunder which means she can participate in next month's Rio Olympics.

The 24-year-old, who was initially told by FINA two weeks ago that she had qualified for the Games after making the B standard time, was left devastated days later when the ruling body said her invitation was down to an administrative error.

Bardet wins stage, Froome crashes but retains lead

SAINT-GERVAIS-LES-BAINS, France Chris Froome hit the deck but retained the overall leader's yellow jersey on the Tour de France in the 19th stage, a crash-marred 146-km mountain trek won by Frenchman Romain Bardet on Friday.

The Briton crashed some 12km from the finish on a slippery descent and ended the stage on a team mate's bike with cuts and bruises on his back and right elbow.