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Last update: Wed, 04 May 2016 03am

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Loyal officials but discontent fans in Blatter's African vote base LUSAKA: Among the reasons why Sepp Blatter clung onto the leadership of FIFA are the 700 footballs, a technical centre and the federation headquarters that the world governing body has funded in Zambia over recent years.Blatter was easily re-elected last week thanks to votes from many African and Asian nations, despite an explosive corruption scandal over millions of dollars allegedly paid in bribes by countries eager to host the football World Cup.Zambia, ranked 60th in football's world rankings, is a typical beneficiary of FIFA's Goal programme that has completed more than 1,000 projects around the globe since 1999, many of them in the developing world.The facilities in Zambia may be badly maintained and little used, but for many African officials, they are evidence of Blatter's ability to disperse riches where he chooses."For now, he is the preference of the people. For us, as Zambians, he has done a lot for ...

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Errani into French Open quarter-finals PARIS: Italian 17th seed Sara Errani reached the French Open quarter-finals on Monday with a 6-2, 6-2 win over unseeded Julia Goerges of Germany.Errani, the 2012 runner-up to Maria Sharapova, will face either top seed Serena Williams or Sloane Stephens for a place in the semi-finals.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015 ...

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Murray swears he's trying to cut the bad language PARIS: Andy Murray insisted he's trying to tone down the bad language on court, but admitted: "I'm not perfect".The world number three had taken to Twitter after his French Open third round canter past Nick Kyrgios on Saturday after he was criticised for his colourful outbursts."I try 2 be a good role model but this is one of my many failings. I'm far from perfect but I do try hard to improve my behaviour," tweeted ...

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Previous final experience key for Barca: Messi MADRID: Four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi believes his side's recent experience of winning Champions League finals will help in their bid to seal a treble of trophies this season against Juventus on Saturday.Messi has been in unstoppable form to propel Luis Enrique's men to a league and Cup double already this season with 58 goals so far this campaign.However, despite Barca being heavy favourites he warned against writing off a Juventus side ...

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Lyon sign veteran defender Morel LYON: Experienced fullback Jeremy Morel became Ligue 1 runners-up Lyon's first signing of the close season on Monday, bringing him in from Marseille on a free transfer.The 31-year-old -- who made his name at Lorient before spending four seasons at Marseille where he won the 2012 League Cup -- will bolster the squad who will also have to contend with a Champions League campaign next term."I had overtures from clubs abroad but the sporting plan ...

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Pele backs 'expert' Blatter HAVANA: Brazilian legend Pele said Monday he backed Sepp Blatter's re-election as FIFA president last week despite the corruption scandal embroiling world football's governing body, saying it needed an "expert" chief."I was in favor," Pele told journalists at Havana airport ahead of a match between the Cuban national team and his former club the New York Cosmos. "We needed an expert guy."Pele, the only player to win three World Cup titles, closed out his career ...

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Serena 'living on the edge' in Paris PARIS: World number one Serena Williams blasted herself for a performance "verging on unprofessionalism" after she needed another three sets to get past compatriot Sloane Stephens in the fourth round of the French Open on Monday.Williams beat the unseeded Stephens to reach the quarter-finals, but only after a two-hour encounter on Court Philippe Chatrier that finished 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.Just as against Germany's Anna-Lena Friedsam and Victoria Azarenka in the previous two rounds, she needed the ...