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Sebastian Coe pipped Sergey Bubka in a tight vote to become world athletics chief on Wednesday and vowed "zero tolerance" for drug cheats, who have thrown the sport into turmoil.

The British former Olympic champion runner received 115 votes to Bubka's 92, and will take over from 82-year-old IAAF president Lamine Diack with the fight against doping at the top of his agenda.

Coe likened his victory, at an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Congress in Beijing, to celebrating the birth of his four children.

"For most of us in this room, we would conclude that the birth of our children is a big moment in our lives, probably the biggest," London-born Coe, 58, told the congress.

"But I have to say that being given the opportunity to work with all of you and shape the future of our sport is probably the second biggest and (most) momentous occasion of my life.

"It's my sport, it's my passion and it's the thing that I've always wanted to do."

 

 

After a series of doping controversies rocked the build-up to the August 22-30 world championships in Beijing, the Briton said he and his new team would be "vigilant" in their crusade against cheats.

"There is a zero tolerance to abuse of doping in my sport and I will maintain that to the very highest level of vigilance," vowed Coe, who won Olympic 1500m golds in the 1980 and 1984 Games.

"I don't want the thought that trust and integrity are only something that are rooted in challenges around doping in sport or doping in track and field. There is a universal problem with that in sport and we recognise that and we've been the lead role for that as long as I've been in the sport.

"That's something I'm very proud of, that's something I'll very happily defend, how we approached that."

 

Jose Mourinho says Chelsea will have to survive a much sterner examination than last season if the champions are to mount a successful defence of the Premier League title.

 

Mourinho's side begin the new campaign against Swansea on Saturday as the bookmakers' favourites to retain the title they won at a canter, but the Blues boss is convinced the challenge from their rivals will be much stronger this time.

The west Londoners finished eight points clear of second placed Manchester City and rarely looked like surrendering the lead in a title race they led for virtually the entire season.

But Chelsea have spluttered in pre-season and could be without last season's top scorer Diego Costa at Stamford Bridge this weekend due to his recurring hamstring injury.

Those teething troubles, combined with the big spending of Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool -- as well as Arsenal's impressive resurgence, have convinced Mourinho that Chelsea will be under severe pressure right from the start this year.

"It depends not just about you, it's also about the others," he said just hours before signing a new four-year contract on Friday.

"You can have a good season and somebody was better than you, a little bit better, a couple of points more than you, then I don't think it's a failure.

 

"I just think credit to the others. Let's try to be a good team and let's try to be here in March, April speaking to you about the possibility of winning something."

Manchester United open the top-flight season in Saturday's early fixture at home to Tottenham.

They are looking for signs that they are ready to mount a sustained assault on Chelsea's title.

Last season's equivalent fixture, a 3-0 home win on March 15, proved the belated catalyst for a run of form that ensured Louis van Gaal ended his first season as manager with United back in the Champions League places.

But with some £77 million ($120 million, 110 million euros) having been spent on new players including Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger, United have set their sights a little higher.

"(Last season) we could see that we were getting better gradually, but we just needed that consistency in our performances and then, obviously, in results," captain Wayne Rooney told ESPN this week.

 

 

 

The paucity of Chelsea's striking options was once again laid bare on Wednesday as they finished their pre-season preparations with a lacklustre 1-0 loss at home to Fiorentina.

Visiting captain Gonzalo Rodriguez bundled in the only goal in the 34th minute at Stamford Bridge and with Diego Costa once again absent due to hamstring trouble, Jose Mourinho's side toiled in attack as they went a fifth consecutive game without victory.

Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy squandered another chance to prove themselves as understudies for the absent Costa, leaving Mourinho with food for thought ahead of the start of his side's Premier League title defence at home to Swansea City on Saturday.

It was, though, a second consecutive prestige friendly win for Fiorentina, fourth in Serie A last season and semi-finalists in both the Coppa Italia and Europa League, following their 2-1 victory over European champions Barcelona on Sunday.

Chelsea made 10 changes to the team beaten 1-0 by Arsenal in the Community Shield at the weekend, with skipper John Terry the only player to keep his place, while Falcao, Asmir Begovic, Bertrand Traore and Ola Aina made their home debuts.

Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa also rang the changes, seven in total. The visitors threatened first, Matias Fernandez testing Begovic.

Chelsea began to take control, Ruben Loftus-Cheek heading over and seeing a shot blocked and Aina having an effort deflected over, but after Matias Vecino had thundered a shot against the bar for the visitors and Begovic had parried a curling attempt by Khouma Babacar, Fiorentina struck.

A cross from the right was chested down by Marcos Alonso and although his left-foot effort was blocked at the near post by Begovic, the ball squirted out to Gonzalo, who bundled home.

 

 

Manchester United kit maker Adidas has been forced to defend its controversial new shirt designed specifically for female fans of the Premier League club.

Adidas unveiled the first United kit of its £750 million ($1.3 billion) deal with the Old Trafford team last week.

But the German sportswear giant was criticised for the design of the women's shirt, which had a much lower neckline than the men's version.

One United fan, @MUnitedGirl, posted on Twitter: "Seriously Adidas? Why is the V-neck so low compared with the men's one? Some of us don't like to show cleavage.

"I call that discrimination. Nike never did that."

Responding to the criticism, Adidas said it took the thoughts of fans into account before producing the kit.

"Adidas provides an adult shirt which is a replica of what the players wear," an Adidas spokesperson said on Monday.

 

 

Defending world champion and series leader Lewis Hamilton bidding for a record fifth Hungarian Grand Prix victory will start from pole for Sunday's race after posting the fastest time in qualifying on Saturday.

It is the fifth time in succession, ninth this season, the 30-year-old Briton has out-performed his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in qualifying.

 

 

 

Manchester United have thrown down the gauntlet to their Premier League title rivals after making a dramatic double swoop for Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin on Monday.

United manager Louis van Gaal had made improving his team's midfield a key component of his transfer window strategy and the Dutchman can now cross that job off his to-do list after a frenetic 24 hours at Old Trafford.

German World Cup winner Schweinsteiger, who played under van Gaal for two years at Bayern Munich, agreed a three-year contract after United tied up a reported £14.4 million deal to sign him from the Bundesliga giants.

And France international Schneiderlin signed from Southampton for a fee in the region of £25 million after agreeing a four-year contract, with the option of a further one-year extension.

United's midfield duo are expected to jet out immediately to join their team-mates, including fellow new boys Memphis Depay and Matteo Darmian, for the club's pre-season tour of the United States.

They could make their first appearances in a United shirt against Mexican side Club America in Seattle on July 17.

And there was more good news for United as Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea was confirmed among their travelling party for their US tour, seemingly ruling out any imminent move to Real Madrid.

Van Gaal claimed last season that there wasn't much of a quality gap between United and champions Chelsea, who finished 17 points ahead of the Old Trafford outfit, and he will hope his £80 million spending spree is the springboard for a serious title challenge.

Schweinsteiger, 30, made 500 appearances for Bayern and won eight Bundesliga titles, as well as making 111 appearances for his country culminating in their successful 2014 World Cup campaign.

 

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Bayern Munich, it has been an incredible journey and I didn't take the decision to leave lightly. Manchester United is the only club that I would have left Munich for," he said.

"I feel ready for this new and exciting challenge in what I regard as the most competitive league in the world and I am looking forward to working with Louis van Gaal again."

Van Gaal added: "Bastian is, of course, no stranger to me. I worked with him during my time at Bayern Munich and I am truly delighted he is joining Manchester United.

 

Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger will join Manchester United next season, Bayern Munich's chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed in a press conference on Saturday.

Rummenigge said Bayern and United have already agreed on an undisclosed transfer fee for the 30-year-old defensive midfielder, who has made 536 appearances for Bayern since his debut in 2002.

 

 

 

Wang Lisi's late winner got China's Women's World Cup campaign back on track as Germany were held 1-1 by Norway and Canada played a goalless draw against New Zealand.

China's Group A tie in Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium looked to be heading for frustration before Wang broke through to roll the ball past Sari Van Veenendaal in the Dutch goal one minute into extra time.

It gave the 'Steel Roses' a vital three points after losing their opening match to Canada, who had to settle for a goalless draw against New Zealand.

Canada remain top of Group A with four points from two games, ahead of China and the Netherlands, who have three. New Zealand are bottom of the group with one point.

"I think they did an excellent job today. We could have scored more and been more efficient," said China coach Hao Wei.

"In the beginning I said Group A was very even, all teams are similar in their strengths so I wish we could have scored more," added the Chinese coach.

In Group B ties over in Ottawa, a second half Maren Mjelde equaliser grabbed a 1-1 draw for Norway against top ranked Germany in a clash of former champions.

 

 

 

 

Record-breaker Xavi Hernandez says it will be tough to leave Barcelona after lifting the Champions League trophy on his final appearance in the famous strip.

The 35-year-old came on in the 78th minute to set a new record of 151 Champions League appearances in Barcelona's 3-1 win over Juventus in the final in Berlin which was the fourth time he had won European club football's most prestigious trophy.

Having started at the Catalan giants as an 11-year-old, Xavi will join Qatari side Al Sadd next season.

He admitted that leaving Barcelona will hit him hard having won his 25th title with the club.

The final took a dramatic turn when an early goal by Barca's Ivan Rakitic was cancelled out by Juventus' ex-Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata with the equaliser on 55 minutes.

But Xavi says Barcelona's superstar Lionel Messi made the difference as his brilliant run led to Luis Suarez making it 2-1 to the Spaniards in the second-half before Neymar scored their third at the death.

 

 

"To leave this way is amazing, but I have a bit of nostalgia thinking I'm never going to play for this side again and I really wanted to lift the cup," said Xavi, who lost his place in the starting side to Rakitic this season.

"We suffered a lot, because Juve put pressure on us, but Leo [Messi] popped up again.

"The side is sensational and Messi is outrageous."

- Triumphant departure -

 

Xavi said the best thing for Barcelona now is for Luis Enrique to stay on with the head coach having left his future open, despite winning the treble of European, cup and league titles in his debut season.

"Luis Enrique deserves this because he's had a lot of criticism, but he's been a great leader for the side. The best thing for next year is for Luis Enrique to stay," said Xavi.

 

Arsene Wenger would love to silence his critics by making history when holders Arsenal take on Aston Villa  in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Frustrated by Arsenal's failure to win the Premier League since 2004 and their inability to make an impact in the Champions League, even some Gunners fans have turned on Wenger over the last two years.Wenger heads to Wembley on the cusp of an historic double achievement that would go some way to answering the doubters who claim he has lost his touch in recent years.

Verbally abused at a railway station following defeat at Stoke and forced to endure the indignity of supporters holding banners calling for his sacking, the Arsenal manager has maintained a dignified stance in the face of extreme provocation this term.

 

 

But that isn't to say the jibes don't sting Wenger and, after a strong second half of the season saw Arsenal climb to a third place finish in the Premier League, the 65-year-old has an opportunity to further reassert his credentials by retaining the FA Cup.

A victory over Aston Villa would make Wenger the first post-war manager to win the FA Cup six times, taking him ahead of Alex Ferguson and level with George Ramsay -- the only manager to have won six FA Cups, with his last coming in charge of Villa in 1920.

 

There would also be a significant slice of history for Wenger's club if they lift the famous old trophy as it would make them the most successful team in the history of the competition with 12 Cup-winning campaigns.