Alec Butcher’s goal with 6:52 to play lifted the Reading Royals to a 6-5 win over Maine Mariners in an ECHL game Wednesday night at Reading, Pennsylvania.

Charlie Gerard and Jacob Gaucher scored two goals apiece for the Royals.

Patrick Shea had two goals and two assists for the Mariners, who rallied from a 4-1 deficit. Alex-Olivier Voyer, Keltie Jeri-Leon and Alex Kile also scored.


WORLD CUP: Argentina’s dramatic victory over France in penalty kicks in the World Cup final has become the most-watched soccer match of any kind in the United States.


With Nielsen and Fox releasing the “match only” rating on Wednesday, Sunday’s match had an English- and Spanish-language total combined audience of 26,726,000. The numbers include 4.24 million who watched via streaming.

The updated total narrowly edges the 26.7 million who tuned in to the 2015 Women’s World Cup final, when the U.S. beat Japan 5-2 in a match that aired in prime time for most of the United States because the tournament was held in Canada.

The previous high for a men’s World Cup match in the U.S. was 26.5 million for the 2014 final between Germany and Argentina, which was on ABC and Univision.

BRAZIL: Pele’s health has worsened during his hospital stay to regulate his cancer medication, doctors said.

The Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo said in a statement that Pele’s cancer has advanced and that the 82-year-old Brazilian soccer great is under “elevated care” related to “kidney and cardiac dysfunctions.”

The hospital did not mention any signs of the three-time World Cup winner’s recent respiratory infection, which was aggravated by COVID-19.


Pele is undergoing chemotherapy in his fight against cancer since he had a colon tumor removed in September 2021. Neither his family nor the hospital have said whether it had spread to other organs.

ENGLAND: Christian Eriksen and Marcus Rashford scored to help Manchester United beat Burnley 2-0 and advance to the quarterfinals of the English League Cup.

Nottingham Forest also reached the quarterfinals with a 4-1 victory over second-division Blackburn.

FIFA: Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter is criticizing successor Gianni Infantino’s plans for a 48-team World Cup and an expanded Club World Cup.

In an interview with German weekly Die Zeit released Wednesday, Blatter said that “what is happening at the moment is an overcommercialization of the game.”

“There are attempts to squeeze more and more out of the lemon – for example with the World Cup finals with 48 teams or now with a Club World Cup that must be viewed as direct competition to the Champions League,” he was quoted as saying. “FIFA is encroaching here on something that is actually none of its business, club soccer.”



TOUR DE FRANCE: Italy will host the start of the Tour de France for the first time in 2024.

Race organizers confirmed that the “grand depart” will take place on June 29 from Florence to Rimini to mark 100 years since Ottavio Bottecchia became the first Italian rider to win the Tour.

Italy will host the first three stages of the 2024 race, which will end on July 21 in Nice instead of Paris because of the Olympic Games. It will be the first time since 1905 that the finish is not in the French capital.


TRACK AND FIELD: Russian 400-meter hurdler Natalya Antyukh will lose her gold medal from the 2012 London Games because of doping, putting American Lashinda Demus in position to be named the champion more than a decade after the race.

The Athletics Integrity Unit, which oversees doping cases in track and field, announced that Antyukh had not appealed a penalty handed down two months ago that included the stripping of her results from July 2012 through June 2013. The AIU said the IOC could now “proceed with the reallocation of medals and the update of the IOC database.”

Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic and Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica are in line to receive silver and bronze.

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