Anders Besseberg, former president of International Biathlon Union, is shown on Feb. 13, 2009. A report commissioned by the International Biathlon Union stated evidence of “systematic corrupt and unethical conduct at the very top” of the sport’s governing body, especially in protecting Russia on doping issues. Lee Jin-man/Associated Press

A report commissioned by the International Biathlon Union stated Thursday there was evidence of “systematic corrupt and unethical conduct at the very top” of the governing body, especially in protecting Russia on doping issues.

The report, published in a redacted version, accuses former IBU president Anders Besseberg of lobbying intensely for Russia’s interests while showing little appetite for pursuing doping cases that might embarrass the country. It also said Besseberg, who ran biathlon for 25 years, was taken on hunting and fishing trips for free in Russia and had IBU employees transport his trophies home to Norway.

The report cites evidence from a police investigation that Besseberg admitted he “received the service of a prostitute” while staying in Moscow, which he believed had been paid for by a third party.

The commission that wrote the report said Besseberg “appears, in the view of the Commission, to have had no regard for ethical values and no real interest in protecting the sport from cheating,” and that he did only the “absolute minimum” on anti-doping issues.

The report accuses the IBU leadership of repeated failures to even look for evidence in Russian doping cases. With regard to blood doping, the report says a cover-up was impossible because the athlete profiles hadn’t been checked for signs of doping.

There is testimony from Moscow anti-doping laboratory director Grigory Rodchenkov, who said he overheard a conversation between two Russian officials about a sum of $200,000 to $300,000 which was supposedly paid to Besseberg and that Russia had “leverage” over Besseberg. The commission did not have access to bank account data, but said Norwegian authorities were investigating whether Besseberg illicitly received money or other benefits.



NBA: Victor Oladipo scored 25 points and the Houston Rockets shook off a terrible first quarter, then held on late to beat the visiting Portland Trail Blazers, 104-101.

The Rockets were down by 20 points in the first quarter before using a big second quarter to take the lead en route to their fourth straight victory.

Damian Lillard had 30 points and nine assists for Portland.

Nicolas Batum scored 18 points and Los Angeles used a 20-2 run in the third quarter to help fuel a 109-105 win over shorthanded Miami.

Tyler Herro returned after missing seven games with neck spasms and scored 19 points for Miami, which dropped its fifth straight. The Heat welcomed back about 1,500 fans, all of whom had to get past virus-sniffing dogs or pass a rapid coronavirus test, for the first time since last season was suspended on March 11.


• Blake Griffin scored 23 points and the Detroit Pistons took advantage of Anthony Davis’ absence in a 107-92 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.

LeBron James had 22 points and 10 assists, but only two of those points came after halftime. Davis was out because of a right quad contusion, and Los Angeles faded in the fourth quarter.

WNBA: Candace Parker is headed home and Kayla McBride is getting a fresh start in Minnesota.

WNBA free agents can’t officially sign until Monday, but Parker is leaving Los Angeles for Chicago after playing the first 13 years of her professional career with the Sparks, according to a person familiar with the decision.

McBride told WSlam! that she would be joining the Lynx once free agents can officially sign deals. McBride has played her entire career for the Las Vegas franchise after getting drafted third in 2014 when the team was in San Antonio.



MLS: Major League Soccer Players Association has proposed extending the current collective bargaining agreement with the league through the 2026 season.

The proposal came as the league and the union faced a midnight deadline after MLS invoked a force majeure clause to reopen negotiations over the CBA, citing ongoing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

With its proposal, the union said it hoped to avoid a lockout.

The league and the players’ union had two difficult negotiations a year ago – one in February before the start of the season, and a second in June when players took a pay cut in order to resume the 2020 season.

ENGLAND: Roberto Firmino ended Liverpool’s 483-minute goal drought in the Premier League and sent the defending champions on their way to a 3-1 win over Tottenham.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane also scored as Liverpool ended a five-match winless run.


SHEBELIEVES CUP: Japan has withdrawn from the event in Florida, citing the coronavirus outbreak in Japan.

Argentina will now join the United States, Canada and Brazil in the tournament, which runs from Feb. 18-24 in Orlando.

RONALDO: Cristiano Ronaldo could be in trouble after apparently breaking coronavirus restrictions on a two-day trip to the mountains.

The Juventus star and his partner, Georgina Rodriguez, spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Courmayeur in the Valle D’Aosta region in northwest Italy. Video of them on a snowmobile was posted on social media and then removed.

Ronaldo lives in the nearby region of Piedmont, and current coronavirus rules prohibit travel between regions unless in specific cases, such as going to your second house.

Police are reportedly looking into the matter.


FIFA: FIFA is unveiling a program to educate its member associations worldwide about how to properly handle player harassment and abuse.

The program is an extension to FIFA Guardians, an initiative announced following the 2019 Women’s World Cup to ensure player safety. FIFA has aimed the five-part course at player safety officers across its 211 member associations, although aspects of the course will be made available to everyone, including other sports federations.

The announcement of the education program comes in the wake of disturbing allegations of systematic sexual abuse of players in Haiti. FIFA detailed the allegations earlier this month. The FIFA ethics committee said Yves Jean-Bart, the president of the Haitian soccer federation for 20 years, allegedly raped girls as young as 14 and took “habitual mistresses” among players. Jean-Bart was banned from soccer for life in November.

The FIFA program also addresses physical abuse and other forms of harassment.


NASCAR: Atlanta Motor Speedway will allow a limited number of fans to camp on the infield during its NASCAR weekend March 20-21.


The speedway in suburban Hampton plans to utilize the Flock Brothers campground, located inside turns 1 and 2 of the 1.54-mile oval.

The plan calls for campers to be backed into their spaces, which have been expanded and should ensure recommended social distancing. Only RVs and campers with self-contained restrooms will be permitted. The shower facilities and restrooms at the campground will not be open race weekend.

The remainder of the infield is to be reserved for NASCAR industry and event staff, and a reduced number of fans will be permitted in the grandstands.

Under NASCAR’s revamped schedule, Atlanta Motor Speedway is again hosting two NASCAR weekends in 2021 after being limited to one for the past decade. The Cup series returns to the track in July.


SOLO RACE: French sailor Yannick Bestaven won the Vendee Globe solo round-the-world race after more than 80 days and an unusually close final few hours to determine the winner on Thursday. Bestaven wasn’t the first to cross the finish line – that honor went to countryman Charlie Dalin, who arrived in Les Sables-d’Olonne on Wednesday night.


Bestaven, the skipper of Maitre Coq IV, wrapped up his odyssey in the early hours of Thursday behind Dalin and Louis Burton. But thanks to a time bonus he earned for helping to rescue a competitor, he was declared the winner in 80 days, 3 hours, 44 minutes, 46 seconds. Dalin was 2 1/2 hours behind.

Bestaven was given a time compensation of 10 hours, 15 minutes by an international jury for his role in late November in the search and rescue of Kevin Escoffier, who capsized 200 miles west of Cape Horn.

German yachtsman Boris Herrmann also took part in the rescue of Escoffier and received bonus time but his chances of winning the race vanished when he collided with a fishing boat in the Bay of Biscay late Wednesday, around 90 nautical miles from the end. He had to slow down because of a damaged starboard foil.


2032: Hungary’s Olympic committee is preparing a bid to host the 2032 Summer Games in Budapest.

When the Hungarian capital dropped out of the 2024 Olympics hosting contest in 2017 – under pressure to call a referendum – it left the IOC clear to reward both remaining candidates. Paris got 2024 and Los Angeles got the 2028 Games.

Hungary’s nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orbán, supports sports hosting, including the swimming world championships for 2017 and 2027 in Budapest, and games at soccer’s 2020 European Championship postponed to this year.

Hungarian Olympic officials appointed economist Attila Szalay-Berzeviczy to lead a panel making a feasibility study.

Szalay-Berzeviczy, a former chairman of the Budapest Stock Exchange, said on Thursday the study should take until next year.

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