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FIFA says still waiting for info on Russian doping cases

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) FIFA is still waiting for details on players implicated in an investigation of doping in Russian soccer, secretary general Fatma Samoura said on Thursday.

WADA investigator Richard McLaren published hundreds of pages of documents in December alleging widespread drug use and cover-ups in Russian sports. Some cases appear to involve the Russia Under-17 and Under-21 soccer teams.

“We are waiting for proof and also names of football players concerned,” Samoura said during a visit to Russia, adding that FIFA wants “WADA or other stakeholders” to send the names.

[ MORE: Top PL story lines — Week 28 ]

Other major sports federations, particularly in winter sports, have started disciplinary proceedings after WADA supplied unredacted files on possible dopers. Athletes’ identities were concealed with code numbers in the public version of McLaren’s report.

However, WADA spokesman Ben Nichols said FIFA received names and summaries of evidence “a couple of days after” the McLaren report was published in December.

“What they might be referring to is that they’re awaiting updated translations” of documents originally written in Russian, Nichols said.

Asked to clarify the issue, FIFA didn’t explain the apparent contradiction in Samoura’s and WADA’s comments, saying only that it was “gathering further information” and the issue was not closed.

Emails released in December alongside McLaren’s report state there were five suspicious samples in the Russia U17 and U21 teams in 2013 and 2014 for which no action was taken, plus two cases in the Russian league.

WADA previously said building disciplinary cases against individual Russians was difficult because the Moscow laboratory destroyed more than 1,000 samples. That means only documentary records – primarily leaked emails between Russian laboratory and sports officials – remain for some cases identified in McLaren’s report.

Samoura dismissed suggestions the Russian doping scandals could tarnish the 2018 World Cup and the 2017 Confederations Cup.

“The doping has nothing to do with the two events,” Samoura said.

“FIFA takes very seriously every aspect that can negatively impact the holding of events worldwide. Whether we are talking about doping, security and safety or discrimination, xenophobia, we make sure that bad behaviors are not affecting our competition.”

Hooliganism is also “something that we are addressing” in the buildup to the World Cup, Samoura said. That follows violent clashes between England and Russia fans in Marseille during last year’s European Championship, and an attack by Russian fans on English supporters in the stadium itself.

World Cup organizing committee CEO Alexei Sorokin said tight security and a database of information on ticket-holders would prevent disturbances and keep troublemakers away from stadiums.

“There may be occasional incidents (of hooliganism) but it’s not a trend, it doesn’t represent a tendency which is characteristic of our society,” Sorokin said. “We are making everything possible for the fans to feel comfortable and safe in our country.”

MLS Playoff bracket, dates set: Chicago, Vancouver host Tues.

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Major League Soccer’s playoff bracket is set. Our staff predictions are coming Tuesday before the first round match-ups, but here’s what we’ll be watching…

[ MORE: Mbappe named Golden Boy ]

The chase begins with Chicago and the Red Bulls, and San Jose heading to Vancouver. The Quakes drew the ‘Caps just over a week ago, on Oct. 15.

First round
(E3) Chicago vs. (E6) New York Red Bulls — 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday
(W3) Vancouver vs. (W6) San Jose — 10:30 p.m. ET Tuesday
(E4) Atlanta vs. (E5) Columbus — 7 p.m. ET Wednesday
(W4) Houston vs. (W5) Sporting KC — 9:30 p.m. ET Wednesday

Conference semifinals
(W1) Portland vs.  San Jose, Houston, or Sporting KC
(W2) Seattle vs. Houston, Sporting KC, or Vancouver
(E1) Toronto vs. New York Red Bulls, Atlanta, or Columbus
(E2) New York City vs. Atlanta, Columbus, or Chicago

Conference finals
Eastern Conference — Nov. 21 and Nov. 28 or 29
Western Conference — Nov. 21 and Nov. 30

MLS Cup Final
At finalist with best record — 4 p.m. ET Dec. 9

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Who will replace Koeman at Everton?

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Where will Everton turn in search of their next manager?

U23s coach David Unsworth is the front-runner to take over, according to several betting sites — not that we’d partake in such madness — and the 44-year-old boasts 312 career appaearances for the Toffees.

[ MORE: Everton sacks Ronald Koeman ]

As for who else could be in frame for the gig, there are names (quite) familiar and new.

David Moyes — This one is an eyebrow-raiser, as Moyes has had little if any success since leaving Everton and ended his time at Sunderland with a sexist takedown of a journalist. But the 54-year-old Scot spent more than 11 years at Everton before leaving for Manchester United, and it’s not like the Toffees wanted him to skip town. He was thrice League Manager of the Year at Goodison Park.

Sean Dyche — The Burnley boss has overachieved time and again at Turf Moor, and the Clarets are one of the smallest outfits the Premier League has ever seen. A move to Everton could be a big and safe enough step to warrant his affection.

Carlo Ancelotti — He’s said he’s not returning to a manager’s seat this season, but the Italian may relish the chance to take a skillful team and organize it into its rightful potential. And we think he’s do a magnificent job.

Chris Coleman — He’s waffled on staying in his position at Wales, and the club’s absence from this summer’s World Cup must have him eyeing the club scene. He’s hasn’t led a club since 2012, having led AEL, Coventry City, Real Sociedad, and Fulham.

Phil Neville — The Manchester United and Everton playing legend doesn’t have first chair experience, but may be able to rally the troops. His latest stint was as an assistant in brother Gary’s tough, short campaign at Valencia.

Although… his recent prediction record isn’t hot.

Longshots: Mikel Arteta, Luis Enrique, Eddie Howe, Thomas Tuchel, Sam Allardyce, Manuel Pellegrini, Frank De Boer.

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Three seriously injured, 120 detained in Bruges hooligan riot

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BRUSSELS (AP) Authorities are investigating a hooligan riot which seriously injured three people and forced Brugge police to detain 120 following the match between Club Brugge and Antwerp.

[ MORE: Mbappe wins Golden Boy ]

Local police chief Dirk Van Nuffel says one policeman was among the seriously wounded as authorities sought to contain a brawl between Belgian fans reinforced by others who had come from the Netherlands.

By Monday morning all were released but investigators were still seeking to see who was at the core of the fighting. Van Nuffel says such hooligan fighting “hadn’t been seen for years.”

Everton fires Ronald Koeman

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A 5-2 home loss versus Arsenal sent Everton into the Premier League drop zone, and that’s apparently a bridge too far for the Toffees when it comes to their managerial position.

Ronald Koeman is out at Goodison Park.

[ MORE: Who will replace him? ]

Everton sits 18th in the Premier League with eight points, it’s minus-11 goal differential second-worst in the top flight. Its 18 goals conceded are third-worst, and only three clubs have scored fewer goals than its seven.

The Toffees won two rounds in the Europa League, beating Ružomberok and Hajduk Split, but have lost to Atalanta and Lyon while drawing Apollon Limassol in Group E play.

Everton faces Chelsea in League Cup play on Wednesday before a critical early season match at Leicester City on Sunday.

[ MORE: Mbappe named Golden Boy ]

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