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Sports court annuls CAF decision on Champions League final

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has annulled a decision by the African soccer body to order its Champions League final to be replayed after one of the teams walked off to protest a malfunctioning Video Assistant Referee system.

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CAS ruled Wednesday that the Confederation of African Football’s executive committee did not have the jurisdiction to order the second leg of the final to be played again. CAS sent the decision back to CAF for its disciplinary committee to decide what to do about the troublesome game.

Esperance of Tunisia was leading Wydad Casablanca of Morocco 2-1 on aggregate in the May 31 game when Wydad had an equalizing goal incorrectly ruled out for offside.

Wydad demanded a VAR review of the goal, and its players walked off after being told the system wasn’t working.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Our latest Premier League player Power Rankings are here and there are some familiar faces sticking around the upper echelons.

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Stars from Premier League giants Liverpool, Man United, Arsenal and Tottenham dominate our power rankings after some impressive performances and there are plenty of new entries and plenty of players from the same teams as these rankings are based on the seven games played over the last seven days due to the second half of the Premier League’s winter break kicking in.

[ MORE: Club Power Rankings

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


1. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – Up 2
2. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Up 2
3. Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) – Up 2
4. Dani Ceballos (Arsenal) – New entry
5. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) – New entry
6. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man United) – New entry
7. Richarlison (Everton) – Up 8
8. Harry Maguire (Man United) – New entry
9. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – New entry
10. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – New entry
11. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – New entry
12. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) –  Down 11
13. Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal) – New entry
14. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – Down 3
15. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham) – Down 7
16. Bruno Fernandes (Man United) – New entry
17. Nick Pope (Burnley) – Even
18. Steven Bergwijn (Tottenham) – Down 5
19. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) – New entry
20. Pepe Reina (Aston Villa) – New entry

Barcelona sign Martin Braithwaite

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says it has signed Denmark forward Martin Braithwaite to help fill its injury-depleted attack.

Barcelona said on Thursday it agreed to pay the 18 million euros ($19.4 million) buyout clause in Braithwaite’s contract with Spanish league rival Leganes.

Barcelona was granted permission to sign a Spanish league player after it was left without Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele for long periods due to injuries to both attacking players.

Braithwaite will sign for the rest of this season plus four more, according the club.

He will not be eligible to play in the Champions League this season, just la Liga.

The 28-year-old Braithwaite has played for the last year at Leganes, where he arrived in mid-season of 2018-19 and helped the modest club avoid relegation.

He has eight goals in 27 appearances for Leganes this season.

His prior clubs included Middlesbrough, Girondins, and Toulouse. He played in the 2018 World Cup for Denmark.

Barcelona highlighted his ability to play “on both sides of the attack, his work ethic and commitment” and added he is a “headache for rivals.”

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Werner to Liverpool? Leipzig star keen on Premier League transfer

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Timo Werner ripped Tottenham apart in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday and the RB Leipzig striker was immediately asked about a possible Premier League transfer amid reported interest from Liverpool.

It’s safe to say that Werner is keen on a move to the reigning European and World champs as multiple reports have linked the German national team forward with a summer move to Liverpool.

After he scored the winner in Leipzig’s 1-0 win at Spurs, Werner told Norwegian TV channel Viasport Football that he is flattered to be linked with Liverpool.

“I know that Liverpool is the best team at the moment in the world,” Werner said. “When you’re linked with that team it makes me very proud. It’s a pleasure but I know that Liverpool have a lot of good players and I have to improve myself, to learn much more things to get on this level to play there.”

If that isn’t a good old fashioned ‘come and get me plea’ then I don’t know what is.

Werner, 23, has long been linked with a move to Bayern Munich but that deal doesn’t seem likely and the predatory forward was also said to be interesting Chelsea in January. Werner did sign a new four-year contract at Leipzig last summer but it reportedly lowered his release clause to $35 million and that will certainly interest his countryman Jurgen Klopp. Werner has Leipzig in third place in the Bundesliga and with one foot in the Champions League quarterfinals with his 26 goals in 32 games in all competitions pivotal to the success of Julian Nagelsmann’s upstarts.

Werner has scored 86 goals in 145 appearances for Leipzig in all competitions and his pace and energy combined with clinical finishing is very Jamie Vardy esque. Werner also has 11 goals in 29 appearances for Germany and it seems like he has been around for a long, long time because, well, he has. He became the youngest player in Bundesliga history to reach 200 games and his incredible consistency is clear for all to see.

Would he fit in at Liverpool? He could well slot into the Roberto Firmino role in linking everything together but he would obviously have to spend a bit of time on the bench if he was to move to Anfield this summer. A better move for him would probably be Chelsea as he would play right away and they badly need a clinical striker to finish off all of the chances their talented midfielders create. If Liverpool sign him then one of Firmino, Salah and Mane would have to make way and that doesn’t seem likely anytime soon .

Werner will be a wanted man this summer and it seems clear he wants to move to the Premier League.

Swiss prosecutors charge Al-Khelaifi in FIFA bribery case

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BERN, Switzerland (AP) Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser al-Khelaifi was charged Thursday by Swiss federal prosecutors in connection with a wider bribery investigation linked to World Cup television rights.

The office of Switzerland’s attorney general filed an indictment charging Al-Khelaifi with inciting former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke “to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.”

Valcke was charged with accepting bribes, “several counts of aggravated criminal mismanagement and falsification of documents.”

A third person who was not identified was charged with bribery and also for inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.

Al-Khelaifi is the head of Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports and also a member of the UEFA executive committee. He denied wrongdoing after being questioned in 2017 and 2019 in connection with criminal proceedings opened three years ago.

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