Chinese swimming officials have vowed to intensify a crackdown on drug abuse by conducting more tests and slapping life bans on steroid cheats, state media has said.

Outbreaks of hooliganism by English and German fans in France should not affect those nations' bids to stage the 2006 World Cup finals, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said.

Bribery and match-fixing hamper the development of soccer in Southeast Asia, and a farcical game in the recent Tiger Cup championship has further tarnished the sport's image, coaches and officials said.

The start of the Asian rugby union championship was thrown into disarray by the last-minute withdrawal of the Thai team on Saturday.

The distribution of the 32 places in the 2002 FIFA World Cup will be a major topic of discussion when the FIFA Executive Committee meets in Zurich on Thursday 3 and Friday 4 December 1998.

A report on the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics bribery scandal has recommended disciplinary action including expulsion for up to 16 International Olympic Committee (IOC) members, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Major League Baseball could swing into the Far East as part of a plan to increase its international profile.

South American Football Confederation president Nicolas Leoz has suggested the 2002 World Cup should be taken away from Asia, following the walkout by the Asian delegation at the FIFA Congress in Los Angeles.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said the world governing body's member associations must be unanimous when sanctioning players guilty of doping.

South American Football Confederation (CSF) president Nicolas Leoz, whose organisation staged the Copa America at only six days' notice, says his dream is for every country in the Americas to take part in the future.

FIFA, soccer?s world governing body, has denied any of the eleven main sponsors of next year?s soccer World Cup will pull out of the event, following a special meeting on Tuesday.

The mascots for the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea will be called "Ato", "Nik" and "Kaz", Korean officials has revealed.

The World Cup became the latest casualty of Japan's economic slump on Wednesday when organisers said they were slicing $22 million off the budget for the 2002 event.

South Korea plans this week to discuss cultural and sports exchanges with North Korea - including sharing of some 2002 World Cup soccer matches.

Ticket sales for the 2002 World Cup had an inauspicious kick-off on Thursday as internet applications in host nations Japan and South Korea were delayed and fans grumbled about their slim chance of seeing a live game. For the full story see the FEATURES section of sportbusiness.com.

Ethnic Korean teams will be allowed to take part in national Japanese soccer tournaments as a sign of goodwill ahead of the 2002 World Cup. For the full story and latest developments, see the FEATURES section of sportbusiness.com.

Soccer's world governing body FIFA said on Sunday it was open to the idea of sponsors names on national team shirts but insisted they would not be allowed at the 2002 World Cup. FIFA president Sepp Blatter said the association's executive had discussed the idea at an end-of-year meeting in Rome but wanted to examine it further before making a decision.