JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Locked-out baseball players and management officials are meeting for the seventh straight day. Today’s session comes one day before Major League Baseball’s deadline to salvage March 31 openers and a 162-game schedule. Negotiators entered the 88th day of the work stoppage far apart on big issues that include luxury tax thresholds and rates, the size of the new bonus pool for pre-arbitration players and minimum salaries. Baseball’s ninth work stoppage started Dec. 2. MLB says that if there is not a deal by the end of Monday, there will not be enough training time to start the season as scheduled.
UNDATED (AP) — Some four dozen athletes from Ukraine and elsewhere have sent an open letter to Olympic and Paralympic leaders urging them to immediately suspend the Russian and Belarussian Olympic and Paralympic Committees. Among them is the Ukrainian skeleton rider (Vladyslav Heraskevych) who made headlines earlier this month in Beijing when he unfurled a banner reading “No War in Ukraine.” The 23-year-old athlete is now hunkered down in a city west of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv (KEE’-yeev). He says things are quiet where he is, but there is no safe spot in Ukraine right now and he’s ready to defend his country if needed.
PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic has joined Poland and Sweden in refusing to play Russia in 2022 World Cup qualifying matches next month in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Czech Republic is a potential opponent of Russia in the World Cup playoffs. The winner of the Poland-Russia match is due to host Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29 for a place at the World Cup in Qatar.
DIEZ, Germany (AP) — The government of Qatar (KUH’-tur) paid more than $10 million to a company staffed by former CIA operatives for a multi-year covert operation aimed at silencing critics of the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. That’s according to internal company documents reviewed by The Associated Press. The records show that the primary target of the operation was the head of the German soccer federation, Theo Zwanziger, who publicly attacked Qatar’s poor human rights record and pushed for the World Cup to be moved elsewhere. The World Cup, scheduled to start in November, is the culmination of more than a dozen years of effort and untold billions spent to help propel the tiny desert nation onto the world stage.
CRANS-MONTANA, Switzerland (AP) — Swiss skier Priska Nufer has achieved a breakout win at age 30 in a World Cup downhill on her home snow. Nufer finished ahead of three Olympic gold medalists. Ester Ledecka, the 2018 Olympics super-G champion who won the downhill on Saturday, was second; 2018 downhill gold medalist Sofia Goggia was third; and new Olympic downhill champion Corinne Suter was fourth. It was Nufer’s first podium place in close to 150 World Cup races.
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