News

GENEVA - UEFA President Michel Platini is going to keep his luxury watch, even though FIFA wants him to give it back.

Platini criticized FIFA for publicly rebuking football officials who accepted gifts at the World Cup, saying Friday he will donate about $27,000 to charity rather than return the watch given to him in Brazil.

On Thursday, FIFA told officials they had until next month to return the Brazilian football confederation watch or face ethics proceedings for accepting a gift that had more than a "symbolic or trivial value."

GENEVA - Wembley Stadium will host the semifinals and final of the first continent-wide European Championship in 2020, ending a run of bidding failures by England.

England, which failed in the quest to host the 2006 and 2018 World Cups, was given the final by UEFA on Friday after Germany withdrew Munich's bid just before the vote.

"I know the party side of London, the way the English welcome people," UEFA President Michel Platini said. "Wembley will doubtless live up to the responsibility."

Steve Stricker never felt more alone in front of so many people.

All he could do was watch on the 18th green at Medinah two years ago when Martin Kaymer made the best 6-foot putt of his life that won the Ryder Cup for Europe. He went to shake Kaymer's hand and couldn't find him because the German was swept up in the flag-waving, champagne-spraying mass of winners. Stricker walked quietly over to his wife, captain Davis Love III and the rest of the Americans.

NEW YORK - The NFL is partnering with a domestic violence hotline and a sexual violence resource centre.

Responding to increasing criticism that the league has not acted quickly or emphatically enough concerning domestic abuse cases involving players, Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to the clubs late Thursday announcing the partnerships.

The league will provide financial, operational and promotional support to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

CALGARY - Brian Burke says players who take aggression from the ice into their personal lives don't deserve to earn pro-athlete wages.

The Calgary Flames president was asked at the Global Business Forum in Banff, Alta., how he would have handled the Ray Rice scandal.

Burke says it's a balancing act as any form of domestic violence is unacceptable, but citizens are entitled to due process if they're accused of a crime.

However, he says if he had evidence a player had assaulted someone off the ice, he'd have to act.

P.A. pair patrol the U of S Huskies defence
By Drew Wilson paNOW Staff

Prince Albert Celtic graduates Meagan Manson and Erica Parenteau are mainstays on the University of Saskatchewan women’s soccer team. The determined defenders are one reason the Huskies are unbeaten through four games (3-0-1).

Manson, a third-year student in the Edwards School of Business, is also team captain and shows it on the field. She is constantly directing traffic from her spot in the middle of the three-player back line.

GENEVA - UEFA has selected Wembley Stadium in London to host the semifinals and final of the first continent-wide European Championship in 2020, ending a run of bidding failures by England.

Wembley was selected ahead of Bayern Munich's stadium in Friday's vote by the UEFA executive committee.

England had failed in bids for the 2006 and 2018 World Cups.

England hosted the Euro '96 tournament with the final at the old Wembley. The venue has been rebuilt since then into a 90,000-capacity stadium and staged two Champions League finals in the past three years.

BEIJING - Li Na, a two-time Grand Slam champion from China who took tennis in Asia to a new level, has retired due to recurring knee injuries.

The 32-year-old Li posted a statement on social media sites Friday, ending a week of intensifying speculation that she would announce her retirement ahead of the new WTA tournament at Wuhan, her home town.

PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon congressman is throwing his support behind players who are protesting the plan to use artificial turf at the Women's World Cup next summer in Canada.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer has written his colleagues to join the effort. He will gather their signatures for a letter he plans to send early next week to Jeffrey Webb, president of the North, Central America and Caribbean soccer federation and vice-president of FIFA, soccer's international governing body.

Thursday's Games

(All Times Eastern)

MLB

American

Texas 7 Oakland 2

N.Y. Yankees 3 Toronto 2

Cleveland 2 Houston 1 (13 innings)

Seattle 3 L.A. Angels 1

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National

Washington 6 Miami 2

L.A. Dodgers 8 Chicago Cubs 4

St. Louis 3 Milwaukee 2 (13 innings)

Colorado 7 Arizona 6

San Diego 7 Philadelphia 3

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Interleague

Pittsburgh 3 Boston 2

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NFL

Atlanta 56 Tampa Bay 14

ATLANTA - Devin Hester high-stepped into the NFL record book. Matt Ryan had as many touchdown passes as incompletions. Julio Jones made a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch tumbling into the end zone.

The result: One of the biggest wins in Atlanta Falcons history.

Hester set an NFL record with his 20th return for a touchdown, Ryan threw for 286 yards and three TDs, and Jones hauled in nine passes for 161 yards and a couple of scores to lead the Falcons past the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 56-14 on Thursday night.

"It was a fun night," Ryan said.

NEW YORK - Derek Jeter turned on R.A. Dickey's fastball, sent it deep into the left-field seats and circled the bases at Yankee Stadium for the first time in 14 months.

With his usual flair, Jeter began his final homestand in dramatic fashion.

Jeter's solo homer gave the Yankees a two-run lead in a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night, a game the Yankees won when first baseman Adam Lind let Chase Headley's ninth-inning grounder bounce through his legs for a game-ending error.

CALGARY - Goaltending and goalscoring are the burning issues at the Calgary Flames training camp.

Jonas Hiller signed a two-year, US$9-million deal with Calgary in the summer after the 32-year-old Swiss netminder dropped down the Anaheim Ducks goaltending depth chart at the end of his seventh season there.

Hiller brings a winning NHL record, plus playoff and Olympic Games experience to Calgary's net.

ATLANTA - Devin Hester has set an NFL record with his 20th return for a touchdown, breaking the mark he shared with Deion Sanders.

Hester returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown midway through the second quarter to give the Atlanta Falcons a stunning 35-0 lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night.

BROSSARD, Que. - Alex Galchenyuk feels it is time to step up and become a dominant player, whether it is at centre or on left wing.

The 20-year-old will be tried out at centre during the Montreal Canadiens pre-season after spending most of his first two NHL seasons on the wing.

VANCOUVER - They are two of the oldest quarterbacks in the CFL — and the healthiest.

Unlike most of their CFL peers this season, Kevin Glenn, 35, of the B.C. Lions and Ricky Ray, 34, of the Toronto Argonauts have escaped serious injury. They will continue their survival missions Friday when the Lions host the Argonauts at B.C. Place Stadium.

VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Canucks are in an unfamiliar position.

Perennially a pre-season pick to go deep in the playoffs, this incarnation enters training camp with significantly lower-than-usual expectations from fans and media — and with good reason.

The Canucks fell flat last season, squandering a decent start with a swoon that saw them fail to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

And while many aren't giving them much of a chance this time around, the players were upbeat Thursday as they reported for medicals and fitness testing at Rogers Arena.

Raiders' Gardiner back from the Wild
By Jeff D’Andrea

paNOW Staff

Prince Albert Raiders general manager Bruno Campese said on Wednesday that there was a good possibility none of the five Raiders would return after the NHL rookie camps concluded.

So it's good news for the team that 18-year-old Reid Gardiner is returning and expected to play in Friday’s home opener against the Saskatoon Blades.

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Ryan Kesler and his family are slowly getting used to the ocean view at their new home, and the Anaheim Ducks' new centre still has to remind himself he can go to the rink in flip-flops.

Oh, the sacrifices necessary to contend for a Stanley Cup.

Kesler formally got to work Thursday with the Ducks, who acquired the vaunted centre from Vancouver on draft day. After spending his entire 11-year NHL career with the Canucks, he's meeting new teammates and familiarizing himself with Anaheim's coaching staff while his kids start at a new school.

DENVER - Jack Elway, the son of Denver Broncos general manager John Elway, has pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace after being accused of pulling his girlfriend from a car and shoving her to the ground.

John Albert Elway, 25, entered his plea Tuesday and was sentenced to one year of probation that includes domestic violence counselling. Prosecutors withdrew an assault charge.

The sentence is a deferred judgment, which means the entire case will be dismissed if Elway completes the counselling and does not reoffend.

TORONTO - Trainer Mark Casse will let champion filly Lexie Lou determine if her 2014 season is over.

It's been a banner campaign for Lexie Lou, who captured the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks on June 15 before beating the boys in the $1-million Queen's Plate on July 6, securing Casse his first win of Canada's most prestigious horse race. However, the three-year-old daughter of Sligo Bay-Oneexcessivenite finished last Sunday in the Grade 2 $300,000 Canadian Stakes despite being the 3/2 favourite in her first start against older fillies and mares.

WINNIPEG - Their goaltending was near the bottom of the league last season, but coach Paul Maurice says the Winnipeg Jets have to play better hockey in front of Ondrej Pavelec before they can assess their starter.

"Play a strong enough game in front of him, give him a chance to win every night, and then we'll make an assessment of our goaltending and where it's at," Maurice said as training camp opened Thursday with player physicals.

"I have confidence in this man and his abilities to do it."

EDMONTON - It's been eight seasons since the Edmonton Oilers last made the NHL playoffs, so coach Dallas Eakins wasn't talking much about expectations when the players reported for medicals on Thursday.

Instead he was focusing on the "process."

While he and most of the players were quietly expressing optimism that the team is much improved over last season, Eakins said he wanted the team to "be modest.

"We want to have no regrets for the past and no anxieties for the future," he said. "It's what are we doing today and that's it.

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will be held out of the start of training camp as a precaution with what the team described as minor injuries.

First-year coach Mike Johnston said both players were injured in the lead-up to camp, which begins Friday.

Neither injury is considered long term. Johnston added Crosby's issue is not related to a wrist injury that hindered him late last season and into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Amazingly Mark Hunt felt OK after his five-round war with Antonio (Bigfoot) Silva last time out.

Apart from the hand broken in two places, that is. Combine Silva's renowned teak-like noggin with 103 significant strikes and something has to give.

Not that Hunt, the 40-year-old heavyweight known as the Super Samoan, was complaining after the all-action fight was scored a majority draw.

"I didn't feel so bad," said Hunt. "It was a great fight, I did my job and I was happy."