Apr 292016
Platini became president of European football’s governing body in 2007

Uefa president Michel Platini said he was optimistic of overturning his six-year ban from football, as he began his Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal.

As he arrived at the hearing in Lausanne, the Frenchman said: “We’re at the beginning of the game, a new game, in the final. I hope the outcome will be good.”

Platini and former Fifa counterpart Sepp Blatter were last year barred from the sport after being found guilty of ethics breaches over a $2m (£1.3m) “disloyal payment” between the pair.

Both men, who deny wrongdoing, had the bans upheld but cut from eight years. Platini, 60, wants the verdict annulled.

A decision could come early next week.

The three-member Cas panel judges the former France player’s case afresh and has the option of imposing a life ban for corruption.

Fifa’s ethics and appeal committees ruled there was “not sufficient evidence” to establish the payment was a bribe but said both men demonstrated an “abusive execution” of their positions.

Blatter, 80, is likely to attend the hearing to give evidence about the Fifa payment he approved for Platini in 2011 as backdated, uncontracted salary.

Blatter’s appeal against his six-year ban will be heard at a later date.

Gianni Infantino has succeeded Blatter as Fifa president, while Uefa has named Angel Maria Villar as acting president.

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Sport quiz of the week

 Posted by at 6:30 PM
Apr 292016

It’s BBC Sport and A Question of Sport’s weekly quiz – have you been paying attention to what’s been going on in the world of sport in the past week?

Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 Sevilla

 Posted by at 5:17 AM
Apr 292016
The match was played in Lviv, 800km to the west of Donetsk because of the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine

Holders Sevilla came from behind to earn a draw against Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final in Lviv.

Sevilla, winners of the tournament in 2014 and 2015, led early on through Vitolo’s close-range strike.

Marlos equalised with a composed finish from 18 yards before Taras Stepanenko headed the Ukrainian side in front before half-time.

But Kevin Gameiro’s late penalty earned the Spaniards a draw.

The French attacker showed no signs of nerves, converting confidently from the spot after Facundo Ferreyra fouled Vitolo just inside the area.

The result leaves Sevilla on course for a third consecutive Europa League success, with the two away goals making them firm favourites to advance to the final in Basel.

No team has won three consecutive European titles since Bayern Munich achieved the feat 40 years ago, and if Unai Emery’s side progress from next Thursday’s second leg in Spain, only Liverpool or Villarreal stand between them and a piece of history. The first leg of that tie ended 1-0 to Villarreal.

Sevilla have not won away from home all season in this competition and have managed just one victory on their travels in La Liga, so a draw in Lviv represents a fine achievement.

But their home form is excellent – they have won 14 of 18 league games at their Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium – meaning their bid to become the first team to win the Europa League three times in a row remains very much alive.

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