USA Swimming heads to the short-course world championships in Dubai looking to move forward after a trying year.

Over the last several months, the embattled organization has had to deal with a sexual-abuse scandal involving coaches and underage athletes, the mysterious firing of head coach Mark Schubert and the tragic death of Fort Washington's Fran Crippen during an open-water race.

Forgetting won't be easy, however, at an event located just 60 miles from the site of Crippen's death off Fujairah less than two months ago.

"We've had a rough year, but I think you learn from your mistakes and I'm not saying we had mistakes necessarily, but there has been some terrible, terrible things that have happened," said Natalie Coughlin, the three-time Olympic champion who will lead a U.S. delegation of 37 athletes at the five-day championships beginning Wednesday.

While Michael Phelps won't be coming to Dubai, the U.S. team does feature two other individual Olympic gold medalists in Ryan Lochte and Rebecca Soni.

In the wake of Crippen's death, the local organizing committee has promised top-notch medical facilities inside the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex, but safety shouldn't be an issue Coughlin said. "We're doing pool swimming, which is much different than open water."

SOCCER: FIFA President Sepp Blatter noted that the world's biggest soccer tournament will have to adjust to more than just the sweltering desert heat when it takes its party-like atmosphere to Qatar in 2022.

Blatter said that homosexual fans "should refrain from any sexual activities" that are illegal in Qatar.

Drinking alcohol also is restricted in the country, but Blatter hopes soccer's universal appeal will bridge cultural differences at the 2022 World Cup.

"It's another culture and another religion, but in [soccer] we have no boundaries," Blatter said. "We open everything to everybody and I think there shall not be any discrimination against any human beings, being on this side or that side, left or right or whatever."

Manchester United went two points clear at the top of the English Premier League after Park Ji-Sung's 41st minute goal gave his team a 1-0 victory over Arsenal at Old Trafford.

The match was watched by a crowd including 23 of the Chilean miners who were rescued in October, as well as former United midfielder David Beckham.

Some of the rescued miners took part in a training session with Manchester United earlier.

Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce was fired as manager of the Premier League side less than three weeks after being assured by the club's new owners that his job was safe.

The Spanish top-flight club Atletico Madrid announced that winger Simão Sabrosa has agreed to a deal to join the Turkish side Besiktas during the January transfer window.

In Buenos Aires, veteran striker Martin Palermo scored his 300th goal in the first division of Argentine football, but it was only enough to give Boca Juniors a meaningless 1-1 draw with Gimnasia in another sub-par season for the popular club.

GOLF: Australian Stuart Appleby has been voted the PGA Tour comeback player of the year after going from his worst season to winning the Greenbrier Classic with a 59, making him one of only two players to hit golf's magic number in the last round.

TRACK AND FIELD: World steeplechase champion Marta Dominguez denied trafficking in performance-enhancing drugs after being detained in a Spanish Civil Guard investigation.

COLLEGES: Three members of the La Salle men's soccer team were named to the National Soccer Coaches' Association of America all-region teams, while Explorers head coach Pat Farrell was honored as Mid-Atlantic coach of the year.

Ryan Richter was named to the first team. Nick Dundon and John McCarthy earned third team honors.

- Staff and wire reports