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The Bizarre Theater of the World Cup Press Conference

MOSCOW — No one expects scintillating Socratic dialogue, or even normal reportorial discourse, at a World Cup news conference. But even by the tournament’s relaxed standards, the opening remark to Russia’s coach the day before his team played Spain last week was unusually obsequious.

Olympics - Coates backs Thorpe on call to ban medal targets

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates has backed Ian Thorpe's call for an end to medal targets at the Games to ease the pressure on athletes.

Olympics - End gold medal targets, says Australian Thorpe

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Swimmer Ian Thorpe, Australia's most decorated Olympian, has called on national bodies to stop setting gold medal targets as it puts too much pressure on athletes.

Japan's Abe oversees puppy handover to Russian Olympic champion

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on a three-day visit to Russia, took part on Saturday in the handing over of an Akita puppy to Russian Olympic champion figure skater Alina Zagitova.

Argentina apologises for manual on seducing Russian women

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - The head of the Argentine Football Association has apologised for the publication of a World Cup manual that included advice on how to woo Russian women.

Wenger predicts 'inevitable' European super league

(Reuters) - Outgoing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says a new European competition will revolutionise the sport in the next few years and force Premier League matches to be played midweek instead.

Players union warns FIFA not overlook health implications of new tournaments

ZURICH (Reuters) - The well-being and health of footballers must be a priority for global soccer body FIFA as it makes plans for two major new international soccer tournaments, the world players' union said on Thursday.

Europe's leagues come out against Infantino's FIFA plans

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Europe's top football leagues are in “firm opposition” to FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s plans for two new international tournaments, the body representing them said on Thursday.

Soccer - Sentencing delayed as Hong Kong continues match-fixing fight

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Former Hong Kong Player of the Year Lee Wai-lim, who pleaded guilty to match-fixing last year, has had his sentencing postponed until May 4, a day after four of his former team mates were acquitted.

Man United announce cheap youth tickets for 2018-19 season

(Reuters) - Manchester United have announced they will introduce tickets costing 15 pounds ($21) for 18-25-year-olds for the 2018-19 Premier League campaign, while freezing standard season ticket prices for a seventh consecutive year.