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British Basketball gets its funding back

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Chicago Bulls star Luol Deng must carry some weight in the British sporting world, because his plea to have basketball once again funded by the state worked: The BOA offered a reprieve to the sport Friday, and will indeed fund it for the Rio Olympics.

“Today’s news is absolutely fantastic for the sport, I am overwhelmed to hear basketball have been awarded funding from UK Sport,” British player Drew Sullivan told Reuters. “This news puts GB firmly back on the map and on the road to success.”

The teams had initially seen their funding cut from more than $13 million for the 2012 Games to zero for the new Olympic cycle, despite the fact that UK Sport announced an eleven percent increase in funding across the board. That money was earmarked for popular British sports like cycling and equestrian, where the country has had plenty of success.

But Deng wrote a open-letter to Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this week stating his case that the team’s performance in London set a baseline that the country could only improve on with future generations.

Apparently Deng’s voice was heard.

“The door is not closed to any sport that has had their funding reduced or stopped,” said UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl in the statement. “Every sport has the opportunity to come back to us at the annual review stage to make a case for future funding if they can demonstrate sufficient progress to evidence a credible medal opportunity within the next eight years.”

MLB Players Association head says ‘continuing dialogue’ about 2020 Olympics

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SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The head of the Major League Baseball Players Association says it will be difficult for big leaguers to participate at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Baseball returns to Olympics after a 12-year absence for the Tokyo Games, which are scheduled for July 24-Aug. 9 — in the middle of baseball’s season.

“There are challenges with the schedule, and there are challenges with major leaguers being involved,” Tony Clark said Thursday at the Baltimore Orioles’ spring training camp.

In 2008, players on major league 25-man rosters and disabled lists on June 26 were ineligible to play. The U.S. roster included 17 players from Triple-A, seven from Double-A and college pitcher Stephen Strasburg, now with the Washington Nationals.

“It doesn’t mean that we are not continuing to have dialogue. We have going back. We will going forward. Where we land, I don’t know,” Clark said. “One of the things we were able to discuss during this round of bargaining were some additional flexibility in the schedule moving forward. Maybe there are some opportunities for a broader discussion than there have been a year ago. We’ll have to wait and see. We haven’t had that kind of substantive sit down yet.”

Many players are preparing for the fourth edition of World Baseball Classic, an international tournament launched in 2006 that is co-owned by Major League Baseball and the union. Clark hopes to see a fifth edition in 2021.

“I see no reason at this point why it wouldn’t,” he said. “I’m hopeful it continues, understanding that the world we live in four years from now may be different from the one we’re in now.”

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Lance Armstrong’s $100 million trial set for November

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 20:  Lance Armstrong (C) heads out with cyclists on December 20, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. The disgraced Tour de France rider is in New Zealand to film a commercial, and put out a call on social media for local riders to join him on a ride along the Auckland Waterfront.  (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong‘s $100 million legal fight with the federal government has been set for a November trial.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper on Thursday set a Nov. 6 trial start in Washington. Armstrong’s legal team had asked to postpone trial until 2018 because of a potential scheduling conflict.

The government wants Armstrong to pay back the $32 million the U.S. Postal Service paid his team for sponsorship, plus triple damages.

Armstrong’s former teammate Floyd Landis initially filed the whistle-blower case in 2010, accusing him of violating the sponsorship contract by taking performance-enhancing drugs. The government joined the case in 2013 after Armstrong admitted cheating and was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and 2000 Olympic bronze medal.

Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for cheating, could collect up to 25 percent of damages awarded.

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MORE: Armstrong intrigued by ultra marathon, obstacle-course races