2018 World Cup

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Russian club locked out of its new World Cup stadium

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MOSCOW (AP) A dispute over the World Cup’s legacy in Russia has intensified after top-flight club FC Rostov claimed it had been locked out of its new stadium.

[ MORE: FIFA unveils logo for 2022 World Cup in Qatar ]

Rostov spokesman Denis Shtanko told the state RIA Novosti news agency that club employees have been barred from the 45,000-seat Rostov Arena after a dispute with the state-owned company Sport-In, which operates seven stadiums built for last year’s World Cup.

Sport-In has said it was owed large sums by the club for hosting games last season, but that the debts have been cleared and the club can play. Sport-In hasn’t commented on Rostov’s allegation that its staff were locked out.

[ EURO 2020 qualifying preview: Germany-Netherlands showdown on deck ]

Rostov is due to play a friendly against the Syrian national team Sunday at its old stadium nearby, but it’s not clear where it will play its next Russian Premier League game on Sept. 15.

Putin awards medal to FIFA president Infantino

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MOSCOW (AP) Vladimir Putin has given FIFA president Gianni Infantino a medal.

The Russian president awarded Infantino the Order of Friendship at the Kremlin on Thursday.

Infantino has often said last year’s World Cup in Russia, where the host nation surprisingly reached the quarterfinals, was the best of the 21 editions of the tournament.

Putin thanked the FIFA leader for “your glowing assessment of our efforts.”

Infantino says of Russia’s “bonds of friendship” with soccer “is not the end, it is only the beginning of our fruitful cooperation and interaction.”

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

Southgate the latest from World Cup run to receive royal honors

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LONDON (AP) An unlikely fashion icon during the World Cup, England manager Gareth Southgate was looking sharp again in his trademark vest on Thursday.

Not on the sideline of a soccer field but at Buckingham Palace.

Southgate was there to collect his OBE β€” Officer of the Order of the British Empire β€” from the Prince of Wales, three months after being awarded the honor in Queen Elizabeth II’s New Year list.

The 48-year-old Southgate led England to the semifinals of the World Cup in Russia last year. For games, he donned a vest, or waistcoat, under his suit jacket and sales of the garment soared back home in England during the tournament.

After receiving his honor, Southgate said it was a “very proud moment” and that he was “very grateful to all of the players and all the support team that work with me, because I’m here representing them, really.”

England striker Harry Kane received an MBE β€” Member of the Order of the British Empire β€” at the palace last week.

PHOTOS: France’s World Cup winners get glitzy rings

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The 2018 World Cup winners have a very special ring to commemorate their achievement.

Paul Pogba is the man they have to thank, as he paid for them.

France’s World Cup heroes have already received the customary winners medal after winning it all in Russia last summer, but now in true U.S. sports fashion they have been handed diamond-encrusted, customized rings to remember their success with Pogba and Antoine Griezmann designing the rings and Pogba then bought them for this teammates.

“It’s a small gesture after winning a World Cup with great players,” Pogba said. “I consider them my family. It’s a small gift from me.”

Take a look at the photos and video below to see the incredible rings.


FIFA research says 3.5B people viewed some World Cup action

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA says more than 3.5 billion people viewed some of the 2018 World Cup, with 1.12 billion watching at least one minute of France beating Croatia 4-2 in the final.

A FIFA-commissioned review of World Cup viewing says the final’s television audience was 516.6 million by the traditional measure of “global average in-home audience.” More watched on digital devices and out-of-home screenings in public spaces, bars and restaurants.

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The global TV audience for the 64-game tournament in Russia averaged 191 million per game – up from 187 million for the 2014 edition in Brazil.

FIFA says “each game was a global televisual event in its own right.”

FIFA’s research suggests most viewers also watched for longer than they did four years earlier.