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Russia plan squad purge for World Cup

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FIFA ethics judges open case against Thai official Worawi Makudi

Former FAT President Worawi Makudi
FIFA has opened a case against former ExCo member Worawi Makudi.

ZURICH -- FIFA ethics judges have opened a case against former executive committee member Worawi Makudi of Thailand, who faces a four-year ban for alleged election forgery and other misconduct.

The FIFA ethics committee judging chamber says Makudi can request a hearing and submit evidence.

FIFA ethics prosecutors requested a ban of at least four years and a 25,000 Swiss franc ($25,500) fine.

Charges against Makudi include "forgery and falsification" and refusing to cooperate with investigators.

The...

CONMEBOL director general Gorka Villar leaves organisation

ASUNCION, Paraguay -- CONMEBOL says its director general Gorka Villar has left the organisation by "common accord."

Spanish lawyer Villar was previously the legal director, who worked under three presidents who were indicted by the U.S. Justice Department last year in an alleged bribery conspiracy.

During the ongoing cases against Nicolas Leoz, Eugenio Figueredo, and Juan Angel Napout, Villar continued to serve on a FIFA advisory panel which suggested modernising and anti-corruption reforms for the...

Russian doping scandal could harm sports minister Mutko

Vitaly Mutko, Russian Sports Minister
Vitaly Mutko is Russia's top official at FIFA and head of the local organizing committee for the 2018 World Cup.

GENEVA -- The fallout from Russia's state-backed cheating at the Sochi Olympics could add pressure on Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who also is the country's top official at FIFA and head of the local organizing committee for the 2018 World Cup.

His status was unclear on Monday after Russian President Vladimir Putin said all officials directly implicated in a World Anti-Doping Agency inquiry report will be suspended.

The alleged conspiracy to ensure doped Russian athletes helped their nation win...

FIFA fills first 20 sponsors slots for new World Cup program

FIFA headquarters
FIFA has received a number of sponsors from Russia and China.

MOSCOW -- FIFA has filled the first of 20 sponsor slots for the 2018 World Cup in a new program that stalled during its corruption crisis.

FIFA says Russian bank Alfa-Bank has bought one of four European slots in a "Regional Supporter" category.

The deal announced Monday continues a trend of new FIFA sponsors all coming from China and Russia.

The value of the deal was not disclosed.

The ESPN FC boys react to the latest odds to win the FIFA Ballon d'Or.

The regional program also offers four sponsor slots for each of Asia, the Middle East and Africa, North America and...

Russia president Vladimir Putin orders faster stadium construction

St Petersburg Stadium
The stadium in St Petersburg has been in construction for almost a decade.

MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered officials in St. Petersburg to speed up construction of a trouble-plagued stadium, which is scheduled to host matches during the 2018 World Cup, including a semifinal.

In a decree published Monday on the Kremlin's website, Putin said the stadium -- provisionally named Zenit Arena -- and other infrastructure must be built on time.

The stadium in Russia's second-largest city has been in construction for almost a decade, and St. Petersburg City...

Benin could face suspension after arrest warrants issued for FIFA chief

PORTO-NOVO, Benin -- FIFA has threatened Benin with another suspension from international soccer after a judge in the West African nation issued arrest warrants for a senior FIFA official and the head of Ivory Coast's federation.

The warrants demand that FIFA council member Constant Omari and Ivory Coast Football Federation president Augustin Sidy Diallo be arrested immediately and taken to a jail in the capital Potro-Novo.

FIFA told the Benin federation that if the warrants aren't withdrawn by Monday,...