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.

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.


Neymar says two injuries, not one, affected World Cup displays

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar was battling back from two injuries, not one, at last year’s World Cup.

In a 2-hour interview with TV Globo on Sunday, Neymar said a problem in his right ankle was affecting his recovery in Russia, as well as the metatarsal fracture in the same foot that he had previously described.

“Besides the metatarsal, I had an ankle problem. I ruptured the ligament and the recovery was crazier because of this,” the PSG striker said.

Neymar said the metatarsal injury did not unduly trouble him in Russia, but the ankle did. “It is very annoying with the ankle, it takes a long time to get back to normal,” he said.

Brazil was eliminated by Belgium in the quarterfinals, and Neymar failed to deliver his best performances during the tournament.

Neymar is currently recovering in Brazil from another metatarsal injury in his right foot that he sustained in January, and is expected to return to action next month.

The former Barcelona forward talked about speculation he could one day join Real Madrid.

“It is one of the biggest clubs in the world, any player that Real Madrid seeks would be drawn into playing there. I am very happy at PSG. But no one knows the future,” he said.

Recent videos have shown Neymar dancing at a party in Salvador, which has led to criticism about the way he is handling his recovery, but he said he would not be changing his ways.

“When people say Neymar’s life off the pitch troubles him on the pitch … No. You are completely wrong, it doesn’t trouble him in any way. I am a man that takes care of himself. I know when I can go out,” he said.

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

Putin asks FIFA for support on World Cup legacy

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MOSCOW (AP) Russian President Vladimir Putin says he wants FIFA to help ensure last year’s World Cup has an effective legacy.

At a meeting with FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Putin says “ahead of us we now have a different task, to use everything that was done for the World Cup, to use it effectively, and on this issue we are also counting on your support.”

Many Russian clubs have already seen a boost in attendance in the season following the World Cup. With new arenas, teams in the host cities of Volgograd and Nizhny Novgorod have more than doubled their average home attendance, though Sochi and Kaliningrad are lagging behind.

Putin awarded Infantino a medal earlier this month for his help with staging the World Cup.

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