Zurich, Oct 11 (AP/UNB) — FIFA says a soccer official from Afghanistan has been banned for five years after failing to report allegations that female players were sexually abused.
Sayed Aghazada will be removed from the Asian Football Confederation's executive committee just months after he was elected.
FIFA says Aghazada "was aware of this abuse and had the duty to report and prevent it."
Afghanistan women's national team players had accused federation officials of sexual abuse and cover-ups for several years.
FIFA banned long-time Afghan soccer president Keramuudin Karim for life in June after he was accused by several players of "repeated sexual abuse."
Dhaka, Oct 11 (UNB) — The Barbados Tridents marched to the final of the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL) on Friday morning (Bangladesh time) edging Trinbago Knight Riders in the second qualifier by 12 runs at Brian Lara Stadium, Tarouba, Trinidad.
In the first qualifier, the Tridents had lost the first qualifier to Guyana Amazon Warriors by 30 runs. However, Tridents took advantage of getting another chance on Friday.
The Knight Riders won the toss in this match and sent the Tridents to bat first. They put up a challenging score of 160 for six in 20 overs. Jhonson Charles hit 35 for them while RaymonReifer and Ashley Nurse scored 24 each. Bangladesh Test and T20Is captain came in number three and posted 18 off 12 with one four and one six.
For the Knight Riders, Ali Khan, Khary Pierre and Chris Jordan bagged two wickets each.
In reply, the Knights were tumbled for 148 for 10 in 19.3 overs and lost the game by 12 runs. Number seven batsman Seekkuge Prasanna hit 51 off 27 deliveries with four fours and sixes but his effort was not enough for his team to avoid a defeat.
Denesh Ramdin and Keiron Pollard scored 21 and 23 respectively, but they were unable to leave the field with a win.
For the Tridents, all of Harry Gurney, Hayden Walsh, Ashley Nurse and RaymonReifer bagged two wickets each. Shakib, however, was flabby with the ball in hand. He bowled only two overs and conceded 27 runs but failed to bag any wicket.
The final of CPL will take the place at the same venue on October 12, in which the Tridents will lock the horns with the Guyana Amazon Warriors.
Dallas, Oct 11(AP/UNB) — Welterweight boxing champion Errol Spence crashed a speeding Ferrari in Dallas early Thursday and was badly injured but is expected to survive, police said.
The crash happened just before 3 a.m., when Spence's Ferrari crossed a median into oncoming traffic and flipped over several times, ejecting Spence, who wasn't wearing a seatbelt, police said. Spence was taken to a hospital and placed in the intensive care unit.
"Spence is awake and responding and his condition is listed as stable. He did not sustain any broken bones or fractures but has some facial lacerations. He is expected to make a full recovery," the Spence family said in a statement Thursday evening.
Police said they're still investigating the cause of the crash, but they noted that the Ferrari was speeding at the time.
Last month, the 2012 U.S. Olympian added the WBC welterweight title to his IBF strap with a thrilling split-decision victory over Shawn Porter in Los Angeles.
With his rangy athleticism and virtuosic skill, Spence, who is 26-0 with 21 knockouts, has captured fans with a series of crisp victories in recent years. He won the IBF title in 2017 by stopping Kell Brook in England, and he defended it three times, culminating in a one-sided thrashing of undersized Mikey Garcia in March.
Spence, 29, emerged victorious from his bout with the veteran brawler Porter (30-3-1), which featured several wild exchanges and had the Staples Center crowd of 16,702 on its feet throughout the 12th round and roaring for both fighters when they embraced after the final bell.
Heading into the fight in which he was a heavy favorite, Spence had a lot of attractive options ahead, including a possible fight with the resurgent Manny Pacquiao and a potential bout with fellow unbeaten champion Terrence Crawford after that.
Tehran, Oct 11(AP/UNB) — They had to sit well apart from the men, and the stadium was practically empty, but thousands of Iranian women in merry jester hats and face paint blew horns and cheered Thursday at the first FIFA soccer match they were allowed to freely attend in decades.
In what many considered a victory in a decades-long fight by women in Iran to attend sporting events, they wrapped themselves in the country's vibrant red, green and white colors and watched with excitement as Iran thrashed Cambodia 14-0 in a 2022 World Cup qualifier at Tehran's Azadi, or Freedom, Stadium.
"We are so happy that finally we got the chance to go to the stadium. It's an extraordinary feeling," said Zahra Pashaei, a 29-year-old nurse who has only known soccer games from television. "At least for me, 22 or 23 years of longing and regret lies behind this."
As one woman shouted from a passing minibus before the match: "We are here finally!"
So far, Iran's hard-line Islamic theocracy is not willing to go as far some women would like. Authorities announced they will allow women to attend only international soccer matches.
Women have been banned from many sporting events in Iran since 1981, during the early years of the country's Islamic Revolution. Iran is the world's last nation to bar women from soccer matches. Saudi Arabia recently began letting women see games.
Under pressure from FIFA, Iran let a carefully controlled number of women into the stadium, allocating them 4,000 tickets in a venue that seats about 80,000 people, and arranged for 150 female security personnel in black chadors to watch them. They sat at least 200 meters (yards) from the few thousand men at the match.
Iranian state television, which long has been controlled by hard-liners, aired footage of women cheering, and commentators even acknowledged their presence.
"There can be no stopping or turning back now," FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement. "History teaches us that progress comes in stages, and this is just the beginning of a journey."
Iran faced a potential ban from FIFA international matches if it didn't allow women into the game. The pressure from FIFA and Iran's soccer-loving public has grown since September, when an Iranian woman detained for dressing as a man to sneak into a match set herself on fire and died upon learning she could get six months in prison.
The self-immolation of 29-year-old Sahar Khodayari, who became known as the "Blue Girl" for her love of the Iranian team Esteghlal, whose uniforms are blue, shocked Iranian officials and the public.
At the match Thursday, a reporter with Iran's state-run IRNA news agency posted a video online of chador-wearing officers trying to grab a woman she said had a sign in Khodayari's honor. The crowd could be heard chanting, "Let her go!" The reporter wrote on Twitter that the woman slipped away from officers and ran off.
Hard-liners and traditional Shiite clerics, citing their interpretation of Islamic law, believe in segregating men and women at public events, as well as keeping women out of men's sporting events.
The effort to allow women back into stadiums has gone through fits and starts.
In 2006, then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he wanted women to attend matches to "improve soccer-watching manners and promote a healthy atmosphere." However, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all matters of state, opposed the decision.
Then, last year, Iranian authorities allowed a select group of women into Azadi Stadium by invitation only to watch the Asian Champion League final.
Infantino said that "FIFA now looks more than ever toward a future when ALL girls and women wishing to attend football matches in Iran will be free to do so, and in a safe environment."
Activist groups outside of Iran remain suspicious of Tehran.
Amnesty International called the latest decision "a cynical publicity stunt by the authorities intended to whitewash their image."
"Instead of taking half-hearted steps to address their discriminatory treatment of women who want to watch football, the Iranian authorities should lift all restrictions on women attending football matches, including domestic league games, across the country," said Philip Luther, Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa research and advocacy director.
Still, many in Iran embraced the move, like shopkeeper Amir Ali Bagheri, who sold Pashaei a Team Melli jersey ahead of the match.
Women "are so excited they are going to the stadium," he said. "God willing, there will be freedom sooner so that they can attend all matches, not just the national team matches. That will be much better."
After the match, Pashaei said she hoped authorities would open up more matches to women so she could attend them with her family.
"The 'Blue Girl' and her stories did help. Of course, efforts by women activists and feminists were very effective," she said. "We are happy anyway and hope this will continue, not just in national team matches."
Stuttgart, Oct 11(AP/UNB) — There was only one way for Simone Biles to finish off yet another dominant world championship performance. She dropped the mic.
Biles marked her fifth all-around world title by ending her floor routine with a mic-drop gesture — a nod to her social-media following. Biles said the idea came from Twitter, and it was certainly fitting on a day when no rival came close.
"It wasn't my best routine but we just thought it would be fun," she said.
It may not have been her best, but the routine still earned her the highest floor score of the day. One of the few blemishes was skidding out of bounds on the landing of a triple-double, a skill no other female gymnast performs.
Biles' fifth world all-around title, two more than any other female gymnast has ever managed, was won by a full 2.1 points. The margin of victory was bigger than any of her four previous victories at worlds and matched her 2016 Olympic win.
With another Olympic Games less than a year away, Biles feels on top of the world.
"I feel like right now actually I'm pretty confident in my gymnastics and myself and the performances I put out there, so I feel like I'm probably more confident going in today than I was at the Olympics," she said.
Biles' score of 58.999 was far out of reach for China's Tang Xijing, a late stand-in for a teammate who ended up in second after other medal contenders stumbled. Angelina Melnikova of Russia was third on 56.399.
Biles now has a total 22 world championship medals across all events, the most by any woman and one shy of Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo's men's record.
Biles' victory makes it seven wins in a row for the United States in the women's all-around, matching the Soviet Union's record streak at world championships in the 1970s and 1980s.
Tang wasn't even meant to be competing Thursday but became China's first all-around medalist in eight years. She'd qualified third-best of China's gymnasts, with only two per country allowed in the final. However, Tang was drafted in to replace teammate Liu Tingting, who fell on two routines in Tuesday's team final.
Tang said she didn't know she was contending for a medal until after finishing her final routine.
"I hoped to do what I'm like in training, and didn't really think too much about the results," she said through a translator. "I didn't even watch the results myself, so it was really surprising."
Bronze medalist Melnikova said she was "really happy" with making the podium after missing out last year by 0.034 points. It was her first medal in an individual event after team silver at the 2016 Olympics and the last two world championships.
Biles' U.S. teammate Sunisa Lee placed second in qualifying, but her hopes of a medal were dashed when she came off the uneven bars. She finished eighth.
"I feel like I kind of let the nerves get to me a little bit, but it's all part of the learning experience," Lee said. "There's going to be a lot more meets to come before the Olympics, so hopefully I can kind of get myself back together for that."
France's Melanie de Jesus dos Santos had qualified third-best but fell twice on uneven bars and placed 20th. Ellie Black of Canada was on crutches after a painful landing on the vault, and the 2017 all-around silver medalist faces a race to recover for Saturday's vault and Sunday's beam finals.
Biles has won the all-around title at every world championships she's competed in, starting in 2013. She skipped the 2017 season, when Morgan Hurd won the gold.
In a sign of the U.S. team's depth, Hurd wasn't named to the team for this year's worlds despite also winning bronze last year.