SOCCER

PLAYER SUSPENDED: Brazilian player Taison was banned for one game Thursday for his reaction to racist abuse in a Ukrainian league game.

The Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder showed his middle finger to Dynamo Kyiv fans who had abused him with monkey chants and kicked the ball into the stands during a game Nov. 10.

Taison was shown a red card. Now the Ukrainian Football Association ordered Taison to serve a one-game ban plus a suspended two-game ban.

Dynamo has been fined 500,000 hryvnyas ($20,000) and ordered to play one game behind closed doors. Another one-game sanction is suspended.

“Sanctioning a victim of racial abuse is beyond comprehension and it plays into the hands of those who promote this kind of disgraceful behavior,” world player’s union FIFPro said in a statement.

FIFPro had demanded Taison’s red card be overturned.

MLS: Former U.S. captain Claudio Reyna quit as sporting director of Major League Soccer’s New York City team on Thursday to take the same job with the Austin expansion club that starts play in 2021.

He will report to Austin owner Anthony Precourt, who owned MLS’s Columbus Crew from 2013-18. Josh Wolff, who played with Reyna on the national team, was hired as Austin’s coach in July.

GOLF

PGA: Webb Simpson birdied seven of his last 10 holes at the Plantation Course on Thursday at St. Simons Island, Georgia, for a 7-under 65 and the first-round lead in the RSM Classic, the final PGA Tour event of the year.

The top-ranked player in the field at No. 12, Simpson is coming off a six-week break since tying for seventh in Las Vegas.

Three players were 6 under. Cameron Tringale and Kyoung-Hoon Lee shot 64 on Sea Island’s Seaside Course, and Rhein Gibson had a 66 on the Plantation layout. The final two rounds will be played on the Seaside Course.

Brendon Todd opened with his bid for third straight victory with a 66 on the Seaside Course. He’s coming off victories in the Bermuda Championship and Mayakoba Golf Classic.

LPGA: Sei Young Kim made a 12-foot eagle putt on the 17th hole to pull away from the pack with a 7-under 65 for a two-shot lead Thursday after the opening round of the season-ending CME Globe Tour Championship at Naples, Florida.

At stake is the richest prize ever in women’s golf, with $1.5 million going to the winner, regardless of her position in the Race to CME Globe standings. Kim, already a two-time winner on the LPGA this year, was bogey-free on a pleasant, breezy Tiburon Golf Club.

Nelly Korda ran off three straight birdies on the front nine and really poured it on late, playing her final three holes in 4 under. That put Korda, at No. 3 the highest-ranked American in women’s golf, at 67 with So Yeon Ryu and Georgia Hall.

RACE TO DUBAI: Jon Rahm made the best start of the five players still in the running for the Race to Dubai title, shooting 6-under 66 to be three strokes off the first-round lead at the season-ending World Tour Championship at Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera led the tournament after a 9-under 63 on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates and was one clear of No. 2-ranked Rory McIlroy. Rahm was alone in third place after a bogey-free round during which he made four birdies in five holes early in his back nine.

Tommy Fleetwood, another player in with a chance of ending the season as European No. 1, was a stroke behind on 5 under after starting his round by holing out from 153 yards for eagle on No. 1. Of the other Race to Dubai contenders, Bernd Wiesberger shot 70 and was tied for 14th place, Matt Fitzpatrick shot 71 and Shane Lowry shot 73.

TENNIS

DAVIS CUP: Canada became the first team to reach the semifinals of the new Davis Cup Finals, winning the decisive doubles match to beat Australia 2-1 on Thursday in Madrid.

Vasek Pospisil and Denis Shapovalov defeated John Peters and Jordan Thompson 6-4, 6-4 to give Canada its first Davis Cup win against the Aussies.

Nick Kyrgios surprisingly did not play for Australia, being left with a cheering role because of a collarbone injury picked up on Wednesday.

OLYMPICS

DOPING: The president of Russia’s track and field federation and its top anti-doping official were suspended Thursday on suspicion of obstructing an investigation, in a blow to Russia’s preparations for the 2020 Olympics.

The Athletics Integrity Unit, which oversees disciplinary issues in track, charged Dmitry Shlyakhtin and six others with various offenses related to the case of a top high jumper, Danil Lysenko, who allegedly presented fake medical records after being accused of failing to make himself available for drug testing.

The federation as a whole is facing charges, as are Shlyakhtin and four of its senior officials, including the federation’s anti-doping coordinator Elena Ikonnikova. Lysenko and his coach Evgeny Zagorulko have also been charged. Federation spokeswoman Nataliya Yukhareva told The Associated Press that Shlyakhtin and the federation have a deadline of Dec. 12 to respond to the charges. No date has been set for a hearing.

She added that Shlyakhtin would step down while president and the federation board would soon elect a temporary replacement. Shlyakhtin doubles as a regional sports minister in Russia, and it wasn’t immediately clear whether he would keep that role.

– News service report

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