Michael Laudrup seeks legal advice following Swansea City dismissal

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Michael Laudrup is taking legal advice over the manner in which he was sacked by Swansea City on Tuesday. The League Managers’ Association (LMA) is also writing the South Wales club to demand the reasons for his dismissal.

In a statement released Thursday to the Guardian, Laudrup said: “I am deeply disappointed to have been dismissed as manager of Swansea City. In particular, the manner in which it happened and the actions the club has taken since notifying me in the briefest of letters which gave no reasons why such hasty and final action was deemed necessary.

“I am, of course, taking legal advice and the LMA have already written to the club asking for a proper explanation as to why I was summarily dismissed.”

Swansea City currently sit 12th in the Premier League table but only two points clear of the relegation zone. Since December 9th the Swans have won only once in the league (2-0 over Fulham on January 28th), drawing three and losing six. Of those losses, however, five have come to clubs currently in the Top 7 (Everton, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham).

Laudrup also managed to guide the Swans to the Round of 16 in the FA Cup and the Round of 32 in the Europa League, the club’s prize after winning last year’s League Cup, which was the first major trophy in their history. Their current place in the league standings is not too far off from last year’s impressive 9th place finish and considering the devastating injuries to key players Michu and Michel Vorm, the argument can be made that the axe fell swiftly for Laudrup.

Despite his laundry list of complaints – including being banned from visiting the training ground to “say [his] farewells to the players” – Laudrup ultimately used the statement to remind the club just how much he did for them and wish them well:

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time managing in the Premier League which I consider to be the one of the best leagues in world football. I leave the club proud of our collective achievements over the past 20 months and I believe we have continued the club’s progression in the manner of my predecessors including Roberto Martínez and Brendan Rodgers.”

Laudrup has long been linked to moves to bigger clubs throughout Europe and the general consensus is that, regardless of Swansea’s overall success this season, he would be moving elsewhere come this summer.

Club World Cup wrap: Gremio reaches final, Urawa takes fifth place

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One half of this year’s FIFA Club World Cup final was decided on Tuesday as Brazilian side Gremio topped Liga MX champions Pachuca.

Second-half substitute Everton proved to be the difference for the Brazilians, with the attacker scoring in extra time to lift Gremio.

[ MORE: LA FC selects Urena, four others in MLS Expansion Draft ]

Pachuca’s chances of completing a comeback were extinguished with 10 minutes remaining in extra time, as Víctor Guzman was sent off upon picking up his second yellow card of the semifinal.

Meanwhile, Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds captured fifth place in the tournament after narrowly topping Wydad Casablanca, 3-2.

Despite going behind early, Urawa responded almost immediately in the first half, before building its lead to 3-1 at the hour mark.

A late penalty kick from Reda Hajhouj gave Casablanca a glimmer of hope in the dying moments, however, the Moroccan-based club couldn’t find a way to equalize.

Gremio will await either La Liga giants Real Madrid or Al Jazira in the Club World Cup final, which will be played on Saturday. The loser of that match will take on Pachuca in the third-place game.

Below are the scores from Tuesday’s FIFA Club World Cup matches.

Gremio 1-0 Pachuca (after extra time)

Wydad Casablanca 2-3 Urawa Red Diamonds — Fifth-place match

LAFC selects Urena, 4 others in MLS Expansion Draft

Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
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Los Angeles FC selected five players in the MLS Expansion Draft, including Costa Rican national team star Marco Urena.

Whether they’ll make their way to the City of Angels is another story.

The first pick from general manager John Thorrington was goalkeeper Tyler Miller from Seattle Sounders.

[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]

Going next was Latif Blessing from Sporting KC, an electric attacker who netted thrice with an assist last season.

Next was Urena from San Jose and the Costa Rican national team, a huge addition, and then Columbus left back Jukka Raitala before closing up the draft with Raheem Edwards from Toronto FC.

LAFC has already announced the signings or acquisitions of Carlos Vela, Walker Zimmerman, Carlos Alvarez, Monday Etim, and Guillermo Vizcarra.

The club will also loan Omar Gaber from Basel and Rodrigo Pacheco from Lanus.

WATCH LIVE: Three Premier League matches

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Chelsea visits the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town in one of three Premier League fixtures this chilly Tuesday in December (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Blues are now 14 points back of Manchester City, and three points clear of fifth place.

Meanwhile there are a pair of matches on NBC Sports Gold: Burnley looks to keep pace with its Top Four ambitions when it hosts struggling Stoke City, while in-form Crystal Palace seeks a home win that would move it out of the drop zone. In its way? Dangerous, attack-minded Watford.

Burnley vs. Stoke City — 2:45 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Crystal Palace vs. Watford — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

FIFA bans Colombia midfielder Cardona 5 games for gesture

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has banned Colombia midfielder Edwin Cardona for five matches for making a discriminatory gesture with his eyes toward a South Korean opponent.

FIFA will allow Cardona to serve the ban in friendly games, so he should be available for Colombia’s World Cup opener against Japan on June 19.

[ MORE: Pep on post-derby celebrations ]

Cardona has also been fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,150) because of the incident last month in a friendly in Seoul.

Cardona apologized at the time, saying he “didn’t mean to disrespect anyone, a country or a race, but if anyone felt offended, or interpreted it in that way, I am sorry.”