Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Soccer: Europe’s leagues come out against Infantino’s FIFA plans
Europe’s top football leagues are in “firm opposition” to FIFA President Gianni Infantino´s plans for two new international tournaments, the body representing them said on Thursday.
The European Leagues, which represents England’s Premier League and Spain’s La Liga among others, said they rejected proposals for an expanded Club World Cup and a new global Nations League in the first sign of a serious split in world football over the plans.
Athletics: Olympic gold medalist Van Niekerk targeting July return
South Africa’s Olympic 400-metre gold medalist Wayde van Niekerk is targeting a return to the track by the start of July, his coach Ans Botha has said.
Van Niekerk is to travel to Qatar this week for an assessment by sports physician Louis Holtzhausen as he recovers from a knee injury sustained in a charity touch rugby game last October that forced him to miss the recent Commonwealth Games.
House to call U.S.
Olympic chief to testify on sexual abuse of athletes
The U.S. House of Representatives plans to call top U.S. Olympic and sporting officials to a May 23 hearing on sexual abuse amid reports that hundreds of American athletes have been victims of it. The hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations subcommittee will include Susanne Lyons, acting chief executive officer of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and Kerry Perry, president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, and focus on whether the groups have adequate safeguards against abuse, a committee spokeswoman confirmed.
Table Tennis: Koreas form unified team at world championships
The two Koreas will field a combined women’s team at the table tennis world championships after the nations decided not to compete against each other in the quarter-finals, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) said on Thursday.
North and South Korea asked to field a unified team for the semi-finals of the championships, which will be played against Japan on Friday in Halmstad, Sweden.
Olympics: IOC to appeal CAS decisions on Russians Legkov, Zubkov
The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision to overturn or reduce doping bans imposed on Russian athletes Alexander Legkov and Aleksandr Zubkov will be challenged by the International Olympic Committee at a Swiss tribunal, the IOC said on Thursday.
In February CAS overturned the bans and Freediving Fins sanctions imposed on 28 out of 39 Russian athletes for alleged anti-doping rule violations.
Trump tweet wasn´t a threat to World Cup bid, says U.S soccer chief
The joint North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup has not been damaged by U.S.
President Donald Trump´s recent controversial tweet of support, bid co-chair Carlos Cordeiro told Reuters on Thursday. The U.S is bidding together with Canada and Mexico to host an expanded 48 team World Cup in 2026 but faces opposition from Morocco who have large support from African nations, as well as Russia and France.
Former champion Serena Williams withdraws from Madrid Open
Former world number one Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Madrid Open as she continues to regain full fitness ahead of the French Open later this month, the tournament’s organisers said on Thursday.
The 36-year-old, who won the Madrid Open in 2012 and 2013, returned to the WTA tour in March after giving birth to her first child last September.
Russia ‘absolutely ready’ for World Cup, Infantino says
Russia is “absolutely ready” to host the 2018 World Cup in June and Freediving Mask July, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Thursday as the country made final preparations to stage the soccer tournament.
Addressing Russian President Vladimir Putin and high-ranking officials in Sochi, one of 11 World Cup cities, Infantino said preparations for the month-long tournament were nearly complete.
Motorcycling: Dakar winner Sunderland finds focus in Freediving Gear
Sam Sunderland’s road to Dakar Rally success has taken the British motorcycle rider from a dairy farm in southern England to the desert dunes of Arabia and high plains and salt flats of South America.
Along the way, the 2017 winner has learned to hold his breath underwater for three minutes at a time and kill fish with a spear.
Capitals’ forward Wilson gets three-game suspension for hit
Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson was suspended for three games by the NHL Department of Player Safety on Wednesday for his hit on Pittsburgh Penguins’ Zach Aston-Reese in Game Three of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Wilson delivered the hit midway through the second period, connecting with Aston-Reese’s head and leaving the Penguins forward with a broken jaw and concussion that will keep him out of the remainder of the playoffs.