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FOOTBALL

Blatter denies crimes, plans to stay till Feb.

ZURICH - Sepp Blatter told his staff he has done “nothing illegal or improper’’ and has no immediate plans to step down, the FIFA president’s legal team said Monday.

Blatter was back at FIFA headquarters three days after being interrogated by Swiss investigators at the scandal-battered governing body’s headquarters.

Blatter is expected to hand over power in February when an emergency election is held, triggered by the president’s resignation statement four days after being re-elected for a fifth, four-year term in May.

But the 79-year-old Blatter does not appear to be planning any sudden exit despite being the subject of a criminal investigation over his management of world soccer.

“President Blatter spoke to FIFA staff today and informed the staff that he was cooperating with the authorities, reiterated that he had done nothing illegal or improper and stated that he would remain as president of FIFA,’’ Blatter’s attorney, Richard Cullen, said in a statement.

Blatter was questioned by Swiss investigators on Friday about why FIFA paid 2 million Swiss francs ($2 million) to UEFA President Michel Platini in 2011 for work supposedly carried out at least nine years earlier. Blatter denied wrongdoing and Platini, who is also a FIFA vice president, was only questioned as a witness.



SUMMER OLYMPICS

Japan proposes new events for 2020 Games

TOKYO - Baseball and softball were joined by youth-oriented sports such as surfing and skateboarding as Japanese organizers on Monday recommended five additional sports with 18 events for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Karate and sports climbing were also on the list proposed by the Tokyo organizing committee. Bowling, squash and wushu failed to make the cut from among eight finalists.

The recommendation will be submitted to the International Olympic Committee, which will make a final decision in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016.

Under the “Olympic Agenda 2020’’ program adopted by the IOC last December, host cities are allowed to propose one or more additional sports for their games. That’s on top of the 28 sports already on the program.

Tokyo had been generally expected to nominate one or two. By choosing five sports, organizers made sure to include those important to Japan - baseball and karate - as well as meet the IOC’s call that additional sports have a strong youth appeal.AP
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