Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is said to be planning a 12-team rugby union league in the United States, made up of some of the sport's biggest stars around the world.

Two months before the rugby World Cup starts, Murdoch, who owns Fox TV in the United States and BSkyB in Britain in addition to newspapers through his News Corp., is involved in negotiations with sportswear manufacturer adidas to set up the league with clubs based in major American cities, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

The players would come from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the six European nations--England, France, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Italy--as well as from Argentina and Canada.

Murdoch also owns the Los Angeles Dodgers and has a stake in the New York Knicks and Rangers.

Track and Field

Mitchell Has Hearing

Dennis Mitchell, the American 100-meter champion who faces a two-year ban after a positive drug test last year, will know his fate within two weeks, the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) said yesterday.

Mitchell, the 1992 Olympic 100-meter bronze medalist, was tested at his Florida home in April 1998. Analysis showed abnormal levels of the banned hormone testosterone.

A hearing in America last December found Mitchell not guilty of a doping offense and allowed him to continue competing. But the IAAF, the world governing body, insisted on an arbitration hearing, which began at its Monte Carlo headquarters on Saturday.

Mitchell, 33, is attending the hearing, represented by his own lawyer and assisted by a lawyer from the U.S. governing body, which is supporting the sprinter.

"It is a very complicated case," Giorgio Reineri, spokesman for the IAAF, said in a telephone interview with Reuters. ". . . It is not a matter of sex and beer but complicated scientific evidence," Reineri said, referring to Mitchell's infamous defense in which he claimed that his raised testosterone levels had been the result of a drinking session and sex with his wife on her birthday, the day before the dope testers arrived.

"We are determined to get a conclusion to the case, one way or another, and we will have a decision within two weeks. We cannot allow the uncertainty to drag over until the world championships in Seville," Reineri said.

The IAAF world championships are due to begin on August 20.


Norman Wins Mercedes

In Stuttgart, Germany, unseeded Magnus Norman of Sweden captured the Mercedes Cup after Tommy Haas's game and composure deserted him before a hometown crowd. The 21-year-old German was within two points of a three-set sweep, leading 5-4, 30-0 in the third set when his game fell apart.

Norman won 6-7 (8-6), 4-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-0, 6-3. It was the Swede's second victory of the year, continuing a comeback from surgery for an irregular heartbeat in 1997.


Reichel Wants More

Robert Reichel said he will play in the Czech Republic if the Phoenix Coyotes don't come up with the money he wants. "I will not back down," the CTK news agency quoted Reichel as saying. Reichel said he is seeking more than $3 million a year and that if his expectations are not met, he will return to his home club, HC Litvinov.

Reichel was traded to Phoenix from the New York Islanders in March. He has complained that Czech players, winners at the Nagano Winter Olympics and at the last world championships, were not adequately paid in the NHL.