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British Queen celebrates

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British athletics' senior administrator has insisted London has "nothing to hide" over its successful bid to stage the 2017 World Championships.

French investigators have opened a preliminary inquiry into the bidding procedure for the 2021 world championships in Eugene, amid allegations global governing body the IAAF was involved in widespread corruption and the covering up of several doping cases.

London defeated Doha in the final vote for the 2017 championships, the Qatari capital being awarded the 2019 edition.

But UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner said Friday: "All I know is that London's bid was completely by the book and through the front door in a classically British way.

"We have nothing to hide and we would be delighted to spend any amount of time going through our processes with the investigators if that helps root out any miscreants."

 

 

 

FIFA's ethics tribunal said Saturday it had provided Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini with the reasons for its decision to ban them from football for eight years, clearing the way for them to appeal against the decision.

"The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee ... has notified Mr Joseph S. Blatter and Mr Michel Platini of the grounds for the decisions passed in December 2015," the body said in a statement.

 

 

 

Jose Mourinho hopes Chelsea's progress to the Champions League last 16 will restore his side's shattered confidence and help save his job.

Mourinho was on the brink of being sacked until Chelsea avoided elimination from Europe's elite club competition with a 2-0 win over Porto at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Needing a draw to ensure they made it to the knockout stages, Chelsea got a timely piece of good fortune through Ivan Marcano's early own goal before Willian's second half strike completed a victory that lifted the west Londoners to the top of Group G and eased the pressure on Mourinho.

The sight of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich grinning and exchanging high-fives with his entourage afer Willian's goal suggested Mourinho has bought himself a little time to get the Premier League champions back on track.

And the beleaguered Blues boss took heart from the way his players, reportedly mutinous at times during a dismal campaign, responded to the prospect of having to fight to spare him from Abramovich's axe.

 

"The thing that I'm more happy with apart from the result is the players accepted the challenge of playing to win, even though we only needed a draw," Mourinho said.

"That is not so easy when the pressure is so high and the results are bad in this difficult period.

"Being in the Champions League is very important. Being here is the minimum we can give to our supporters.

"The results are not as good as the way we are working every day, but after our first goal we were more relaxed and confident."

With Chelsea's domestic form so poor, Mourinho conceded there is only an outside chance they could qualify for next season's Champions League via a top four finish.

That makes winning the Champions League the more likely route back into the competition and, in a transparent bid to take the pressure off his team, Mourinho labelled the Blues as also-rans who would be the preferred choice of all their potential opponents in Monday's last 16 draw.

 

 

 

Two goals from Marko Arnautovic condemned Manchester City to a 2-0 defeat on Saturday as their Premier League title hopes suffered a serious blow at Stoke City.

The Austrian forward netted twice in the first half and missed several chances for a hat-trick as a dominant Stoke side claimed a well deserved win at a windswept Britannia Stadium.

Xherdan Shaqiri, their £12 million ($18.1 million, 16.7 million euros) record signing, was at the heart of the success with assists for both goals and a wonderful all-round display.

Despite leading the table at the start of the day, Manchester City now have just one win from their last four league games and are experiencing their toughest spell of the season.

Manuel Pellegrini's side improved slightly after half-time, but rarely threatened a fightback after a dreadful defensive display in the first period.

 

 

Stoke made a dream start as Arnautovic gave them a seventh-minute lead following fine work from Shaqiri on the right.

The Switzerland international showed fine balance to get the better of Fernando on the touchline before crossing for Arnautovic, who darted between two defenders to finish.

Kevin De Bruyne had a chance to level for the visitors after skipping from midfield to the edge of the area, but his tame shot on 14 minutes was well saved by goalkeeper Jack Butland.

A minute later Stoke doubled their lead as Shaqiri and Arnautovic combined again.

- Fernando limps off -

There was more brilliance from Shaqiri, whose superb turn outfoxed Fernando before his fabulous pass gave Arnautovic the chance to produce a cool, low finish for 2-0.

After a quiet spell, Bojan threatened to score a bizarre third goal for Stoke when he made the most of several ricochets to ride three challenges before eventually being crowded out 10 yards from goal.

Then Stoke had a glorious chance to add to their tally when a back-heel from Ibrahim Afellay released Glenn Whelan on the left and the midfielder's cross was headed wide at the near post by Arnautovic.

 

 

 

Will Hill returned a last-gasp blocked field goal attempt for a touchdown as the Baltimore Ravens scored a dramatic 33-27 win over the Cleveland Browns.

The Ravens had looked set to suffer an agonising late defeat as Cleveland kicker Travis Coons stepped up for what would have been a game-winning 51-yard field goal with the last play of regulation.

But Baltimore defensive end Brent Urban blocked the kick and Hill scooped up the loose ball to gallop down the sideline to snatch a sensational win for the Ravens.

The victory saw the Ravens, playing without injured quarterback Joe Flacco, improve to 4-7, although they remain in third in the AFC North standings behind division leaders the Cincinnati Bengals (9-2) and Pittsburgh (6-5).

 

 

 

 

Jamie Vardy equalled a Premier League goalscoring record as he helped take Leicester City to the top of the table with a 3-0 win at Newcastle on Saturday as England's leading clubs paid tribute to the victims of the Paris terror attacks.

England striker Vardy scored in first-half stoppage-time at St James' Park when he cut inside Moussa Sissoko to equal Ruud van Nistelrooy's record of scoring in 10 consecutive Premier League games for his club.

However, Vardy is still short of all the time English top-flight record for goals in an unbroken run of 12 club matches set by Jimmy Dunne of Sheffield United in the old First Division during the 1931/32 season.

Few would have tipped either Vardy, who scored just four goals last term and was playing non-league football just a few years ago, or Leicester to enjoy the heights they have both achieved this season.

 

 

 

Federica Brignone of Italy won the alpine ski season World Cup opener at Solden on Saturday, dominating a giant slalom ahead of US favourite Mikaela Shiffrin.

It was the Italian's first ever World Cup win and came four years after she let a first leg lead slip in the same race by falling on her second run.

Brignone was nearly a second clear after the first leg and she never looked like giving that up despite slalom queen Shiffrin applying extra pressure.

The Italian won by a 0.85seconds margin over Shiffrin with third place going to Tina Weirather of Lichtenstein.

"It is so great," the 25-year-old Brignone said. "I'm so happy about this first win. I have been close sometimes in the past but I thought it had never happened because I didn't deserve to be there.

"Last season was good but didn't bring enough satisfaction so I took some time off in the spring.

 

 

Jurgen Klopp has challenged Liverpool's under-performing stars to rediscover their swagger when the new Reds boss gets his first taste of the Premier League against Tottenham on Saturday.

All eyes will be on Klopp's eagerly anticipated debut at White Hart Lane following the highly-regarded German's recent appointment as successor to the sacked Brendan Rodgers.

The charismatic 48-year-old's impressive track record at Borussia Dortmund has established him as one of Europe's top coaches and his arrival has rekindled enthusiasm among Liverpool fans who had grown disillusioned with Rodgers' trophyless reign.

But, with Liverpool slumping to 10th place after just one win in their last nine matches in all competitions, Klopp is well aware he faces a major rebuilding job before he can dream of emulating legendary Anfield managers like Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish.

"I have met two kinds of people in the last week: most of them say 'We'll win the league' and the other guys look at me like 'What have you done? Why are you here?'," Klopp said.

 

"Both are not right in this moment. It is not interesting what people think about this."

While Klopp is cautious about revealing his own ambitions, he has already identified one key problem that needs to be solved if Liverpool are to get back on track quickly.

He believes the players were hamstrung by a fear of failure as the pressure mounted on Rodgers and he wants them to forget about past mistakes.

"Some things you can change instantly: mentality, readiness," Klopp said.

"To get really tuned as a team takes time but I am really not interested in the problems we could have on Saturday.

"I want to see more bravery, more fun in their eyes. I want to see that they like what they do."

 

 

 

David de Gea is set to cap a remarkable return to favour at Manchester United by starting Saturday's clash against Liverpool as Louis van Gaal's spluttering side bid to banish talk of mutiny at Old Trafford.

Just 11 days after coming within minutes of joining Real Madrid, Spain goalkeeper De Gea on Friday signed a new four-year contract at United worth a reported £200,000 ($308,000) a week.

De Gea was left out of Van Gaal's squad for the first six matches of the season because the United manager claimed he wasn't in the right frame of mind to play.

But Van Gaal says the 24-year-old is now fully focused and hinted he would be back in the starting line-up in place of Sergio Romero this weekend.

 

 

"Will he play? I will have to judge the session and he knows that," Van Gaal said.

"It's logical that his head is now empty and he can concentrate and focus on the match.

"That is a big change from three or four weeks before, so I hope I can see that and give him his first start."

De Gea's return from exile is a welcome boost for United at the end of a week in which Van Gaal admitted Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick approached him earlier this season because they had concerns about dressing room morale.

Reports suggested some United players were unhappy with aspects of Van Gaal's management, principally the style of the team's play and the number of team meetings held by the Dutchman.

 

 

 

But while van Gaal conceded Rooney and Carrick aired their worries with him, he attempted to put a positive spin on the situation.

"Rooney and Michael Carrick came to me and said: 'The dressing room is flat.'," Van Gaal added.

"But I think I have a superb relationship with my players. It is very positive that they are coming to you and that they trust you."

United, 2-1 losers at Swansea, and Liverpool, shocked 3-0 at home by West Ham, were beaten for the first time this season in their last matches before the international break, raising doubts about their ability to fight for the title.

 

- Confidence -

 

 

 

Roger Federer reached his first US Open final in six years, where he will face world number one Novak Djokovic in the 42nd round of their heavyweight rivalry.

Five-time champion Federer, 34, bidding to become the oldest New York champion since 1970, swept past Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-3, 6-1

Djokovic, the 2011 champion, booked a place in the final for the sixth time with a record 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 rout of defending champion Marin Cilic in the most one-sided US Open semi-final of the modern era.

Sunday's clash will be a rematch of July's Wimbledon final, where Djokovic triumphed to claim his ninth career Grand Slam crown.

Federer, the holder of 17 majors but without a Grand Slam title since Wimbledon in 2012, will take a 21-20 career edge over Djokovic into the championship match, having won their last duel in Cincinnati in August.

The Swiss legend was imperious against Wawrinka and his victory means he has not dropped a set since the Wimbledon final, a perfect stretch of 28 sets, as he reached a seventh US Open final.

 

 

"I'm very happy. It's been a great tournament so far, I have tried very hard in the last six years to get back to the final and tonight it worked," Federer said after his 92-minute win sealed by a 10th ace.

"I am playing at a good level, possibly my best. I am serving very well, going for my shots.

"I'd love for it to keep working for one more match."

Federer is the oldest finalist in a Slam since 35-year-old Andre Agassi at the 2005 US Open, which the Swiss star won.

On Sunday, he will face Djokovic for the sixth time this year -- all have been in finals.

"Novak has had a tremendous year. There's a lot on the line. He could win his third Slam of the year while I can win my first for some time.

"He's the best mover on hard courts. He will be tough to beat but I am ready for the challenge," said Federer, the champion from 2004-2008 and runner-up to Juan Martin del Potro in 2009.

- Cilic suffers record rout -