Alpine skiing-American Vonn returns to the slopes this week

LONDON Four-times overall World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn will return to competition this week in Austria's Altenmarkt-Zauchensee.

The 32-year-old American skier had surgery on a broken right arm in November, and returns to action after completing an intensive three-month program of rehabilitation.

Hoeness still respected but more humble after prison time

By Brian Homewood
| INTERLAKEN, Switzerland

INTERLAKEN, Switzerland Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness feels that he has not lost any respect among his peers but has become more humble and less outspoken after serving time in prison for tax evasion.Hoeness was jailed from June 2014 until February last year for tax evasion when he was released after serving half of his 3-1/2-year term. He was re-elected unopposed as Bayern president in November.

Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack retires

LONDON Reigning Cheltenham Gold Cup champion Don Cossack has been retired due to a leg injury, trainer Gordon Elliott said on Wednesday.

"I am very sad to report that Don Cossack has suffered a setback and will now be retired," Elliot wrote in a blog for betfair.com. "We found that he had a bit of heat in his leg on Monday, and we've made the decision to call time.

"He's a horse of a lifetime and he owes us nothing. I said all season that if he had any sort of setback at all we would not abuse him and we'd retire him straight away."

Barca must use common sense over Messi contract says CEO

By Richard Martin
| BARCELONA

BARCELONA Barcelona's hopes of offering talisman and all-time top scorer Lionel Messi an improved contract face a stumbling block because of the expenditure caps imposed by La Liga, the Spanish champions' CEO Oscar Grau said on Wednesday.

While Messi's feted strike partners Luis Suarez and Neymar have each signed new deals until 2021, the Argentine maestro's contract runs out on June 30 2018, giving Barca a window of 18 months to prevent him leaving the club for free.

Ronaldo, Modric rested for King's Cup game at Sevilla

By Richard Martin
| BARCELONA

BARCELONA Real Madrid have rested Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric for Thursday's King's Cup last 16, second leg at Sevilla but captain Sergio Ramos is back after injury, the club said on Wednesday.

With Real winning last week's first leg 3-0, coach Zinedine Zidane's priority looks to have turned to Sunday's La Liga game back at Sevilla, which could have a huge impact on their bid to claim their first title in five years.

Euro 2016 generated 1.22 bln euro boost for France - study

PARIS Last year's European Championship soccer tournament generated a 1.22 billion euro ($1.3 billion) boost for host France, a study commissioned by the French government showed on Wednesday.

It said that 2.5 million fans attended the games even as France extended a state of emergency and intelligence agencies warned of the threat of militant attacks during the month-long tournament.

Japan's 'King Kazu' set to play on into his 50s

Japanese striker Kazuyoshi Miura will extend one of soccer's longest professional careers by 12 months after the 49-year-old agreed a new deal with second division Yokohama FC on Wednesday.

Miura, who scored 55 goals in 89 appearances for Japan prior to his international retirement in 2000, is set for his 32nd season as a professional.

"I hope to keep fighting with all my might together with people involved with the club, my team mates and supporters who have always given me support," said Miura, who turns 50 on Feb. 26.

Handball - Fervent France host world championships amid tight security

By Miranda Alexander-Webber
| PARIS

PARIS The handball world championships are starting on Wednesday under tight security as France is still in a state of emergency after a number of Islamist attacks in the country.

Handball-mad France, who open the tournament against Brazil at the Bercy arena in Paris, are among the favourites, having won the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and the world title in 2015.

They claimed the silver medal at last year's Rio Games after entering the tournament as holders of the Olympic, world and European titles.

Southampton's Rodriguez grateful for Pochettino's support

Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez has hailed Tottenham Hotspur's Mauricio Pochettino as the best manager he has ever worked with, having spent a season under the Argentine at St Mary's.

Pochettino, who was with the Saints in the 2013-14 season before joining Spurs, was the first to call the injury-ravaged Rodriguez after his double against Bournemouth last month.

"Mauricio is the best coach, the best manager and best person I've ever worked with," Rodriguez told British media ahead of Wedensday's League Cup semi-final at home to Liverpool.

Landslide forces cancellation of Dakar ninth stage

A massive landslide caused by thunderstorms forced the cancellation of Wednesday's ninth stage of the Dakar Rally in Argentina, organisers said.

They said the road to Tuesday's overnight bivouac had been blocked 40km north of Jujuy. The landslide hit the village of Volcan and caused considerable damage.

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