Fox Lake District Library · 
255 E. Grand Avenue
 · 
Fox Lake, IL 60020
USA
 ·  Phone: (847) 587- 0198
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 · Director: Melissa Villarreal

Library Hours
 · Mon. - Fri.  9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
 · Saturday  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
 · Sunday  1 p.m. - 5 p.m. (Sept. thru May)
Weekend:  Chance of Precipitation: Fri: 20% / Sat: 0% / Sun: 20%.

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Sports
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AP Sources: Phillies agree to trade Cole Hamels to Texas

PHILADELPHIA (AP) After years of trade speculation, Cole Hamels' time in Philadelphia is ending. Two people familiar with the deal say the Phillies have agreed to trade the ace left-hander to the Texas Rangers for a package of prospects. Both people spoke to The Associated Press late Wednesday night on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been finalized. Hamels has a limited no-trade clause but does not have to approve a deal to the Rangers. Hamels would become the first pitcher in major league history traded during a season immediately after throwing a no-hitter - he no-hit the Chicago Cubs on Saturday at Wrigley Field. "He's definitely a great pitcher," Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland said after Texas beat the New York Yankees 5-2 Wednesday. "Obviously watched the no-hitter the other day, pretty impressive. He's got a long track record of great success. It will be huge for us." The 2008 World Series MVP was an integral part of the greatest run in franchise history when the Phillies won five straight NL East titles, two pennants and one World Series from 2007-11. "He's been here a long time, but that's baseball," Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz said following an 8-2 loss at Toronto. "Definitely it's sad when you're around one of your teammates for a long time and then they have to go away." The rebuilding Phillies, a big league-worst 38-64, traded All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon to Washington on Tuesday. Both players made it clear they wanted to play for contenders. Texas is seven games behind AL West-leading Houston and four games behind Minnesota for the AL's second wild-card spot. There was thought the Phillies might wait to move Hamels in the offseason after recently hired executive Andy MacPhail officially replaces Pat Gillick, but general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. pulled the trigger with MacPhail's input. Hamels was 114-90 with a 3.30 ERA in 10 seasons in Philadelphia. He went 7-4 with a 3.09 ERA in 13 postseason starts and also earned MVP honors in the `08 NLCS. Hamels has three years remaining in a $144 million, six-year contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2019. He's owed $22.5 million per year through 2018 with a club option for 2019 at $20 million or a $6 million buyout. His option becomes guaranteed at $24 million if he throws 400 innings or more in 2017-18, including at least 200 in 2018, and isn't on the disabled list at end of 2018 with left shoulder or elbow injury. More Phillies could be on the move before Friday's deadline to trade players without first securing waivers. Outfielders Jeff Francoeur and Ben Revere and righty Aaron Harang could help teams in the pennant race. Philadelphia would like to deal 2006 NL MVP Ryan Howard but his contract makes it difficult. He's owed $25 million this year and next, and the team has a $23 million option for 2017 with a $10 million buyout. Howard, Ruiz and Chase Utley are the only remaining players from Philadelphia's 2008 championship team. --- AP Sports Writers Ronald Blum and Stephen Hawkins, and AP freelance writer Ian Harrison contributed to this report.

Thu, 30 Jul 2015 04:54:00 +0000
Brady fights on, files lawsuit to stop suspension

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Tom Brady took the fight over his "Deflategate" suspension to social media and federal court Wednesday, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft backed the three-time Super Bowl MVP, saying "I was wrong to put my faith in the league." One day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell rejected Brady's appeal, the star quarterback posted a 507-word statement on Facebook with his firmest denial yet, writing: "I did nothing wrong." Kraft followed with an unscheduled address to the media gathered at Gillette Stadium for the opening of training camp and the team's defense of its fourth Super Bowl championship. "It is completely incomprehensible to me that the league continues to take steps to disparage one of its all-time great players, and a man for whom I have the utmost respect," the Patriots owner said. "I have come to the conclusion that this was never about doing what was fair and just." Just before the courts closed in Minnesota, the NFL Players Association asked the court to overturn Brady's four-game suspension - or at least put it on hold until the case can be heard. The union asked the court to throw out the suspension before Sept. 4; that would keep Brady from missing any practices before the Patriots' Sept. 10 season-opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. "We need to free him up for that first week," union attorney Jeffrey Kessler told The Associated Press. "We don't believe this discipline can ever be sustained." The lawsuit argues that the NFL made up its rules as it went along and misapplied the ones that were already on the books. In an interview with the AP, Kessler called it "offensive" that the league accused Brady of destroying his cellphone to obstruct the investigation, a claim NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made in upholding the suspension on Tuesday. "We believe they highlighted this issue solely to inflame the public, to suggest there is some secret information being withheld, and that's wrong," Kessler told the AP. "It's an unfair character assassination of a player who has done nothing but be a model citizen for this league." Brady defended the cellphone swap on Facebook. "To suggest that I destroyed a phone to avoid giving the NFL information it requested is completely wrong," he said. "There is no `smoking gun' and this controversy is manufactured to distract from the fact they have zero evidence of wrongdoing." Brady was suspended four games and the Patriots were docked $1 million and two draft picks in May for what the league found was a scheme to provide improperly inflated footballs for the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. Investigator Ted Wells zeroed in on two equipment managers - one who called himself "The Deflator" - and said Brady was "at least generally aware" of the illegal deflation scheme. Kraft said the Patriots did nothing wrong, but the team fired the two equipment managers. He said he didn't fight the team's penalty because he thought the league would go easy on the star quarterback. Now, he said, he regrets his decision. "I truly believe that what I did in May ... would make it much easier for the league to exonerate Tom Brady. Unfortunately, I was wrong," Kraft said, apologizing to the team's fans and to Brady. "Six months removed from the AFC championship game, the league still has no hard evidence of anybody doing anything to tamper with the PSI levels of footballs." Kraft said the team turned over every cellphone not belonging to a player - including the one belonging to coach Bill Belichick. The powerful owner, who had been one of Goodell's most loyal allies, said the league's claim that Brady trashed his phone to obstruct the investigation was just the latest in a series of statements and leaks that "intentionally implied nefarious behavior" where there was none. "Tom Brady is a person of great integrity and is a great ambassador of the game, both on and off the field," Kraft said. Brady, who had earlier denied cheating accusations with the tepid "I don't think so," more forcefully defended himself in the Facebook post, claiming he cooperated with the investigation except where doing so would have set a bad precedent for his union brethren. Brady said he replaced his broken phone only after his lawyers told league investigators they couldn't have it. "Most importantly, I have never written, texted, emailed to anybody at any time, anything related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January," he wrote. The post was liked by 51,000 people - including his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen - in the first 30 minutes after it was posted on Facebook. By the time the lawsuit was filed at 6 p.m. Boston time, the number was 250,000. Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater said Brady's teammates support him. "The guys in this locker room, we feel we are part of a family," he said. "Good or bad things happen in life, you stick with your family." Belichick had been scheduled to speak to the media first on Wednesday morning, but Kraft took the podium instead. The coach, as is his practice, declined to comment on the scandal. "Nothing really to talk about there," he said. "We're going to take it day to day, just like we always do." --- AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner and Associated Press writer Amy Forliti contributed to this report. --- Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Thu, 30 Jul 2015 02:04:00 +0000
Winter Classic to bring Bruins, Canadiens to home of Pats

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The Winter Classic is coming to the home of the New England Patriots. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman joined officials from the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday to say the Original Six rivals would meet at Gillette Stadium on New Year's Day. The Bruins will be the first team to host the event twice. They also hosted it in 2010, at Fenway Park. Patriots owner Robert Kraft also spoke at the ceremony, just hours after his impassioned "Deflategate" defense. Bettman notes that the three organizations are among the most successful in their sports, with 34 championships. The Canadiens have won 24 of those, but the Patriots are the defending Super Bowl champs. Bettman also says the league has extended the game's title sponsorship with Bridgestone for another five years.

Wed, 29 Jul 2015 19:35:00 +0000
Chiefs safety Eric Berry back at practice after cancer fight

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) There was a moment in the early stages of chemotherapy when Eric Berry was having breakfast with his father, and the enormity of what faced him was so great that he broke down and cried. For 30 minutes, one of the toughest players on the Kansas City Chiefs wept. Then, he resolved to beat cancer. Eight months later, Berry walked triumphantly onto the practice fields at Missouri Western State University, joining rookies and select veterans Wednesday for the start of training camp. Six merciless rounds of draining, debilitating drugs had rid his body of Hodgkin's lymphoma, but they had also stoked the passion that Berry still harbors for the game. "It's been a roller coaster," he said, "but I wouldn't change it for the world." Flanked by his father, James, and his mother, Carol, Berry spoke publicly for the first time since he was diagnosed with cancer last December. He recalled the terror that gripped him when the mass was first found in his chest, and the dark days that immediately followed. The days he didn't want to get out of bed. The days he struggled to choke down food, all of it tasteless. The seemingly endless trips to the hospital for each round of treatment. "In the beginning it was hard, it really was," James Berry said. "Those possibilities go through your mind - `What if he can't play again?' You think of those types of things, but then you kick those to the side. And when you looked at Eric you said, `This guy is a fighter."' Such a fighter that he chose to receive treatment through an IV rather than a PICC line, a semi-permanent catheter that would have prevented him from training. Between each round of chemo, Berry would squeeze in 10 to 12 workouts, sometimes struggling just to do five push-ups. But he never lost sight of an audacious goal: Be back with the Chiefs by the time their season opens Sept. 13 in Houston. "Everybody wants you to be strong in this situation," Berry said, "but you can't be strong every day. If you want to be mad today, be mad. If you want to be sad, be sad. But the thing is, don't stay that way. Get it out of your system and go back to work." Berry passed a battery of tests before he was cleared to practice late Tuesday, but it remains unclear when he'll fully participate in practice. Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder said Berry will be monitored constantly, especially during the early portion of camp. Veterans report Friday. The first full-squad workout is Saturday. "One of the things Eric and I talked about was just being honest with us about how you're feeling out here," coach Andy Reid said, "and sometimes that's hard for a player to do, especially with his makeup. He's been great with that up to this point and I think that will continue through." After all, he's in a much better place than he was eight months ago. The three-time Pro Bowler first knew something was amiss in November, when he felt oddly out of breath after a couple of games. When things got worse during a game against Oakland, Berry was put through a series of tests that revealed a mass in his chest. The diagnosis was Hodgkin's lymphoma, a treatable form of cancer that affects about 9,000 people in the U.S. each year. His treatment began Dec. 10 at Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute, near his home in Atlanta. And it wasn't easy: "It literally feels like you're dying," Berry recalled, "but you're not really battling chemo, you're battling yourself the whole time. It was me versus me." The final round of treatment was May 13, followed by a month of recovery. "He tolerated chemotherapy extremely well," said Dr. Christopher R. Flowers, who directs the cancer institute's lymphoma program. "He achieved a complete response to treatment." On June 22, a follow-up PET scan showed Berry was cancer-free. The Chiefs had just finished their mandatory minicamp, so he headed to Florida, where he trained with teammates. Then last week, Berry headed back to Kansas City for another round of testing to make sure he was in football condition. "It was a battle, every day, to the point where I had to set goals to get out of bed," he said. "But I had a great support system, between my mom and dad being in the trenches with me, day in and day out, making sure I had everything I needed." The Chiefs are cautiously optimistic Berry will be ready for the regular season, and such a rapid return would not be without precedent: Reid said they looked at case studies involving other athletes, such as Mario Lemieux, in deciding how to proceed. The Hall of Fame hockey player was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1993, went through a similar course of treatment and returned to finish his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins. There is plenty of work ahead for Berry. But on a warm, humid morning in northwest Missouri, as he trotted out of the locker room, he had already surpassed nearly all expectations. "At the beginning, you kind of put football aside. Your mind goes to, `Hey, we're hoping and praying he can be healthy and live a good life,"' Reid said. "Anything else is icing on the cake." --- Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Wed, 29 Jul 2015 21:11:00 +0000
Michel Platini confirms he will run for FIFA president

GENEVA (AP) Michel Platini has launched his campaign to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president, aiming to give the scandal-hit governing body "the dignity and the position it deserves." Platini, the UEFA president and a FIFA vice president, wrote to member federations in Europe on Wednesday saying he will stand in the election and is counting on their support. The FIFA election is on Feb. 26 and would-be candidates must apply by Oct. 26. "There are times in life when you have to take your destiny into your own hands," wrote Platini, who turned 60 last month. "I am at one of those decisive moments, at a juncture in my life and in events that are shaping the future of FIFA." Platini has for years been the obvious candidate to succeed Blatter, his mentor in FIFA politics. But a rift between the long-time allies deepened when Blatter broke a promise to leave office in 2015. The former France great chose last year not to oppose Blatter, who won a fifth presidential term on May 29. Four days later, Blatter announced his resignation plans under pressure from American and Swiss federal investigations of corruption implicating FIFA. "However, recent events force the supreme governing body of world football to turn over a new leaf and rethink its governance," Platini said. Platini chose to run after getting encouragement from some of his fellow FIFA vice presidents last week in St. Petersburg, Russia. Five of the six confederation leaders, including Platini, were there for the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw with only the North American regional body missing. Platini then traveled to Philadelphia for the Gold Cup final on Sunday, and briefed CONCACAF leaders on his plans. They included FIFA executive committee colleague Sunil Gulati, the U.S. Soccer Federation president. The U.S. body was among the five FIFA members which nominated Prince Ali bin al-Hussein to challenge Blatter two months ago. The Jordanian prince was publicly supported by Platini but Blatter had pockets of support across Europe in a 133-73 victory. Platini met the prince in the south of France last week and discussed the FIFA election. Though not the first would-be candidate to launch a formal bid, Platini is the most serious contender in the contest so far. Another former FIFA vice president, Chung Mong-joon of South Korea, has suggested he will run after stating last week that he doubted Platini was serious about wanting the job. Former Brazil great Zico and Liberia federation president Musa Bility have said they want to seek the five nominations required to be a candidate. Diego Maradona also said he wants the FIFA job, although the colorful former Argentina great is unlikely to be taken seriously. The most detailed manifesto by any recent presidential hopeful was issued by Jerome Champagne, the former FIFA international relations director whose exit in 2010 was engineered with Platini's support. However, Champagne did not take part in the last election after failing to get the five nominations required by a January deadline.

Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:41:00 +0000
Cardinals name woman to training camp coach position

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) The Arizona Cardinals have hired Jen Welter to coach inside linebackers through their upcoming training camp and preseason. The Cardinals say Welter is believed to be the first woman to hold a coaching position of any kind in the NFL. Welter played running back and special teams in 2014 for the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League, becoming the first woman to hold a non-kicking position for a men's professional sports league. "I am honored to be a part of this amazing team," Welter said on Twitter on Monday night. Welter coached linebackers and special teams for the Revolution last season, becoming the first woman to coach in a men's pro football league. Her general manager with the Revolution was 2015 NFL Hall of Fame inductee Tim Brown. Welter played linebacker for more than 14 seasons in the Women's Football Alliance, mostly with the Dallas Diamonds, where she helped the team win four championships. Welter holds a master's degree in sports psychology. A rugby player at Boston College, she also earned two gold medals on Team USA at the International Federation of Football Women's World Championships in 2009 and 2013. A news conference was scheduled for Tuesday to introduce Welter and Levon Kirkland, a former Pro Bowl linebacker who is the inaugural participant in the Bill Bidwill Coaching Fellowship established to give recently retired NFL players a chance to coach in the league. He will work with outside linebackers for the next two seasons. Four months ago at the NFL meetings, Arizona coach Bruce Arians was asked about the possibility of a woman coaching in the NFL. "The minute they can prove they can make a player better, they'll be hired," Arians said. Speaking to azcardinals.com on Monday, Arians said: "Coaching is nothing more than teaching. One thing I have learned from players is `How are you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don't care if you're the Green Hornet, I'll listen."' "I really believe she'll have a great opportunity with this internship through training camp to open some doors for her," Arians said. It's the second such barrier to be broken in the NFL this year. The league announced in April that Sarah Thomas would be the first woman to be a full-time NFL official. In the NBA, Becky Hammon is an assistant coach with San Antonio and served as the head coach for the Spurs' team that won the Las Vegas Summer League championship.

Tue, 28 Jul 2015 02:45:00 +0000
IOC urges US to come up with another bid city for 2024 Games

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) With Boston no longer in contention, IOC President Thomas Bach urged U.S. Olympic leaders on Tuesday to pick "the most appropriate city" as a substitute candidate for the 2024 Games. Two-time Olympic host Los Angeles could fit the bill perfectly, according to several IOC board members. The U.S. Olympic Committee severed ties with Boston on Monday, finally pulling the plug on a bid that had been hampered by dismal poll ratings, strong local opposition and months of political wrangling. The USOC now has until Sept. 15 to submit a candidate to the International Olympic Committee and formally enter a race that already includes Paris; Rome; Hamburg, Germany; and Budapest, Hungary. Toronto and Baku, Azerbaijan, are also likely contenders. The IOC has been consulting with potential bids, including Boston, as part of a new "invitation phase"' for interested cities. The IOC is eager to have a strong candidate from the U.S., which hasn't hosted a Summer Games since Atlanta in 1996. "For the IOC this was always about an American bid put forward by the United States Olympic Committee,"' Bach said in a statement. "This invitation phase is also an opportunity to determine which city will eventually be chosen by an NOC. We are confident that USOC will choose the most appropriate city for a strong U.S. bid." IOC officials had just learned of Boston's withdrawal as they gathered for an executive board meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The rest of the IOC membership will be arriving later for a general assembly highlighted by Friday's vote to determine the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics, with Beijing and Almaty, Kazakhstan, as the two candidates. "It's always a shame when a national Olympic committee selects a city and then is incapable or unable to bring it to the next stage of the contest," IOC vice president Craig Reedie told The Associated Press. "But I suppose after mature reflection and looking at what's happened, it might be a wise decision." "Personally, I hope the United States do find another candidate and produce another applicant city for 2024," Reedie said. Boston had been chosen by the USOC as its bid entry ahead of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington. But the USOC was left with little choice but to drop Boston after Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker declined to commit to the bid. "It's not (only) bad for the U.S., but it's bad for everybody," IOC board member Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. told the AP. "Boston was an extraordinary city, very attractive for the Olympic games, a very sporty town. I am very said to hear this." But he said there was enough time for the USOC to change course. "I don't think they need to save face," Samaranch said. "They presented what they thought was a great candidate. It's preseason. They have all the right to change the team and make their final adjustments." After New York failed in a bid for the 2012 Olympics and Chicago lost in the first round of the vote for the 2016 Games, the USOC took steps to try to improve relations with the IOC. Two years ago, the two sides signed a new revenue-sharing agreement, ending a long-running dispute that had helped undermine previous U.S. bids. The U.S. chances for 2024 had seemed strong, but the Boston debacle caught many by surprise. "We were all excited when they (Boston) were announced, but it seems to have stumbled since," IOC vice president John Coates said. "But it's better to face up to these things early if you don't have full public support." Los Angeles hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics and now seems poised to enter the 2024 contest. Los Angeles was the only city to bid for the 1984 Games at a time when the Olympics were torn by boycotts and financial problems. The success of those games helped revive the Olympic movement. "They won't have to build temporary stadiums, which is expensive," Reedie said. "It could be the third-time lucky for LA; it was third-time lucky for London." London is the only city which has hosted the OIympics three times. Paris, which staged the games in 1900 and 1924, is also aiming for a third Olympics. Sergei Bubka, the Ukrainian pole vault great who sits on the IOC executive board, said it's important for a U.S. city to be in the running. "Los Angeles has great history, lots of experience," he said. "Why not?"

Tue, 28 Jul 2015 06:03:00 +0000
Olympic champion Shawn Johnson gets engaged at Wrigley Field

CHICAGO (AP) Olympic champion gymnast Shawn Johnson threw out a ceremonial first ball at Wrigley Field - and wound up with quite a catch. Johnson was walking off the field Friday before the Chicago Cubs hosted Philadelphia when she was surprised by longtime boyfriend Andrew East, a rookie long snapper for the Kansas City Chiefs. East dropped to one knee near home plate and presented the 2008 gold medalist with a diamond engagement ring. A stunned Johnson put her hands over her mouth, bobbed her head up and down, then jumped into his arms. Later, she put her feelings onto her Twitter feed. "Today the love of my life asked me to be his forever.AND I SAID YES!" she posted. The 23-year-old Johnson won the balance beam title at the Beijing Olympics. The next year, she won the title on ABC-TV's "Dancing with the Stars."

Sat, 25 Jul 2015 01:04:00 +0000
Canadian media company wants NHL expansion into Quebec City

QUEBEC CITY (AP) The media company Quebecor Inc. has officially entered the running for an NHL expansion team. The company said Monday on its Twitter account that it has submitted its "candidacy for the NHL expansion process in order to bring the Nordiques back to Quebec City." The NHL announced last month that it was opening the formal expansion process. Quebec City has not had an NHL team since the Nordiques left for Denver and became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995. Quebecor owns the new 18,259-capacity Videotron Arena in Quebec City. It's among several groups that have expressed interest in an expansion franchise, along with Las Vegas, Seattle and others. The NHL has said the earliest any expansion would happen is the 2017-18 season. The league set July 20 as the deadline for potential expansion team owners to submit their bids for teams bids that include a $10 million down-payment, with $2 million nonrefundable. There are 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and 14 in the West, which would seem to make Las Vegas and potentially Seattle or Portland, Oregon, favorites for expansion. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said geography is an issue, but not the determining factor. The NHL has a relationship with Quebecor through its French-language television-rights deal with the TVA television network.

Mon, 20 Jul 2015 19:54:00 +0000
FIFA vote to be held Feb 26; Blatter defies calls to go now

ZURICH (AP) Sepp Blatter will stay in control of world soccer for seven more months after resisting calls to step down immediately ahead of a presidential election, which FIFA decided Monday will be on Feb. 26. A defiant first public appearance by Blatter since his resignation statement last month began in pandemonium as he was showered in fake money by a comedian who gatecrashed the media conference at FIFA's headquarters. "Where is my security?" Blatter shouted. The interruption provided an awkward reminder of a far more serious incident for FIFA in May, when the arrest of soccer and sports marketing officials plunged the game's ruling body into its deepest crisis. Jolted by dual American and Swiss criminal investigations into soccer corruption, Blatter suddenly announced four days after being elected for a fifth term that he would leave FIFA. "It was not only the pressure of any authorities ... it was also the pressure of political interference and also the pressure of you, media," said Blatter, who is a target of the U.S. investigation. "I had to do something very special and I did it. In footballing terms, I kicked the ball out of the field to stop something." FIFA's executive committee decided at a meeting Monday on the February election date and Blatter ended weeks of uncertainty by insisting he would not perform one of his renowned about-turns by in fact being a candidate. "On the 26th of February FIFA will have a new president," Blatter said. "I cannot be the new president because I am the old president." The 79-year-old Blatter, who first joined FIFA 40 years ago, has held onto the most powerful job in world soccer since 1998. Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, who lost to Blatter in May, had told The Associated Press earlier Monday: "President Blatter's resignation cannot be dragged out any longer. He must leave now." But while Blatter said he felt "regret" about the crises, he insisted he would not be "abandoning" the presidency until a successor is elected by the 209 members. "I am still the elected president by 133 national associations and I will use my mandate as president ... to make sure that when at the end of February I come at the end of my career I can say the FIFA we have started again - with the reforms," Blatter said, highlighting the need to "rebuild the reputation of FIFA." The Feb. 26 date was seen as a political victory for Blatter over UEFA and other confederations, who thought they had agreement on Sunday for Jan. 15. Instead, Blatter and senior vice president Issa Hayatou cited the importance of the second-tier African Nations Championship - a tournament for little-known home-based players - hosted in Rwanda from Jan. 16-Feb. 7. Presidential candidates must gain five nominations from FIFA's 209 member associations by an Oct. 26 deadline. Only former Brazil great Zico and Liberia football federation president Musa Bility have so far expressed their intention to stand. Other potential candidates are Prince Ali and UEFA President Michel Platini, who is still mulling over his decision. "He loves the fact that UEFA is associated with football on a daily basis and the thousands of matches we organize," Platini's spokesman, Pedro Pinto, said outside FIFA headquarters. "FIFA is a more political organization and he is a man of football. He's not a man of politics." In a statement Platini limited himself to saying: "Now we have a concrete date, which means we can look forward to new leadership which will surely bring with it new ideas and new solutions." Platini welcomed the creation of a reforms task force, which will consider introducing term limits, integrity checks for executive committee members and pay details. Blatter declined repeatedly on Monday to reveal his salary. But Blatter did respond to calls from World Cup sponsor Coca-Cola and former FIFA advisers Transparency International to appoint an independent person to oversee the reforms required to shape the organization's future. The reforms panel will feature two representatives from the Asian, African, European, and North and Central American confederations, and one each from South America and Oceania. "We must now make sure that the reforms outlined today will be undertaken in a swift and effective manner," Platini said. "This is an exciting time for FIFA because we can work together to improve it and restructure it for the good of the game." Reformers want FIFA to appoint a respected figure from outside the sport to oversee the next election and reforms of FIFA. Kofi Annan, the former United Nations secretary general from Ghana, has been mentioned for the role. "The rumors linking Mr. Annan to the FIFA job are just that: rumors," Annan's office told the AP, stressing that he is currently "fully committed" to other roles. Bility, the Liberian federation head, said he was "very disappointed" with the Feb. 26 election date. "It does not reflect the urgency of the situation," he told the AP by telephone. "The anxiety, the wait cannot help knowing that we expect to have a new leadership." Bility said he is sure he will secure the nominations required to make the ballot. "I am very encouraged," he said. "You know, I am keen viewing those rumors of those who are running. I don't see any new faces. They are all names who have been around for all these years."

Mon, 20 Jul 2015 15:59:00 +0000