Champions League Heats Up
The final qualifying round of the Champions League began Wednesday, and several of European soccer's bigger clubs took important steps toward the prestigious and lucrative 32-team group phase. The second game of the total-goal series will be played Aug. 25. The home teams are listed first:
AEK Athens (Greece) 0, AIK Solna (Sweden) 0
Sturm Graz (Austria) 2, Servette (Switzerland) 1
Fiorentina (Italy) 3, Widzew Lodz (Poland) 1
Brondby (Denmark) 1, Boavista (Portugal) 2
Hertha Berlin (Germany) 2, Anorthosis Famagusta (Cyprus) 0
Zimbru Chisinau (Moldova) 0, PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands) 0
Hapoel Haifa (Israel) 0, Valencia (Spain) 2
Croatia Zagreb (Croatia) 0, MTK Budapest (Hungary) 0
Chelsea (England) 3, FC Skonto (Latvia) 0
Glasgow Rangers (Scotland) 2, Parma (Italy) 0
Molde (Norway) 0, Real Mallorca (Spain) 0
Spartak Moscow (Russia) 2, FK Partizan (Yugoslavia) 0
Rapid Vienna (Austria) 0, Galatasaray 3 (Turkey)
Aalborg (Denmark) 1, Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine) 2
Teplice (Czech Republic) 0, Borussia Dortmund (Germany) 1
Olympique Lyonnais (France) 0, NK Maribor (Slovenia) 1
Money for Olympians
Russian athletes, whose bonuses for winning medals at last year's Nagano Winter Olympics have been delayed because of the nation's financial crisis, finally will receive their money.
The Russian Olympic Committee deposited $2.2 million in the Russian Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the cash was supposed to be distributed to the country's medal-winning athletes. But the money was frozen after a financial crisis developed a year ago.
Russian Olympic Committee chief Vitaly Smirnov said the money has been released under a court order and athletes could come to collect it. Athletes who won gold, silver and bronze medals in Nagano were promised cash bonuses of $50,000, $20,000 and $10,000, respectively.
Celtic Fined for Violence
The Glasgow Celtic soccer team was fined $72,000 after violence marred its Scottish Premier League game against Rangers on May 2.
A league inquiry panel announced its verdict after a hearing last month into the incidents during Rangers' 3-0 victory. Referee Hugh Dallas was hit in the head by a coin thrown from the stands and several players were involved in scuffles.
The panel cited Celtic's "swift action" in punishing players Stephane Mahe and Vidar Riseth, who were both ejected, and "individual spectators who had misbehaved." The commission said French defender Mahe's refusal to leave the pitch after being red-carded for dissent sparked the violence.
Coach Adamant About Ban
Australian swimming coach Don Talbot says athletes who test positive for drugs should be banned immediately. Talbot said he was angry that two Chinese swimmers tested positive in March but had their bans implemented by FINA just last week, allowing them to compete for five months.
Xiong Guoming and Wang Wei tested positive for the anabolic steroid clenbuterol in an out-of-competition test on March 8. It was the second positive test for both and they have received three-year bans.
The pair was stripped of results in meets since March 8, but Talbot says they should have been banned as soon as their first tests proved positive.
Talbot's view was not shared by his most senior team member, dual Olympic 1,500-meter gold medalist Kieren Perkins. Perkins said a swimmer's reputation and career could be wrecked by a false positive test.
"I could come up with a positive drug test tomorrow if my water was spiked or the food at the hotel could have something wrong with it," Perkins said.
"There could be tampering with the samples or the person running the test messed it up. For an athlete to be banned straightaway because of that is wrong."
Cyclists Honor Organizer
Riders in cycling's Tour of Galicia in Spain refused to challenge for Wednesday's stage victory as a sign of respect for a race organizer who died after crashing his motorcycle trying to warn riders of an upcoming obstacle.
Jesus Presa, 40, died of head injuries he suffered after colliding Tuesday with Italian rider Denis Zanette. Zanette suffered minor injuries.
After riding most of today's 190-kilometer stage at normal speed, the riders consulted organizers and decided to cross the finish line without the traditional sprint for victory. Instead, they donated the day's prize money, about $57,600, to Presa's widow.
Presa's job was to clear the route for the riders. He had been trying to warn of a forthcoming danger when the collision occurred.
Soccer Teams Make History
A team of North Korean workers defeated a side made up of their South Korean counterparts in a groundbreaking exhibition soccer game in Pyongyang Thursday.
North Korea's Korean Central News Agency reported that the north's Gftuk Central Committee beat a side from South Korea's Confederation of Trade Unions, 5-4.
The game was the first between North and South Korean teams since the division of the country following the Korean War. It was part of a grand pro-reunification festival scheduled for this week.