Associated Press

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Platini plans comeback, legal fight after 4-year FIFA ban

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NYON, Switzerland — Michel Platini is free to work in soccer again on Tuesday morning after his four-year ban by FIFA expires overnight.

The former UEFA president said Monday he is still unsure where and when he will return, and a comeback will likely force him to first pay FIFA a fine of 60,000 Swiss francs ($60,300) that is three years overdue.

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Platini told The Associated Press in an interview about his future plans: “I have some idea but it’s difficult to speak today.”

The 64-year-old Platini says he can “come back everywhere” but pointed out that the next elections for top roles at FIFA, UEFA and the French football association are “some years ahead.”

“I have time, if I come back to this” world, where he was once seen as the heir apparent to former FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

His current fight is still against the case of financial wrongdoing – and allegations linked to backdated FIFA salary and pension entitlement – that ended his bid to succeed Blatter. The charges were upheld so far by two FIFA judicial bodies, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Switzerland’s supreme court.

Platini has challenged the Swiss federal ruling at the the European Court of Human Rights.

He says “that means I don’t pay this fine” while contesting the human rights case in Strasbourg in his native France.

That ongoing sense of injustice, and unpaid debt, could cause FIFA’s ethics committee to impede his return.

Platini suggests: “They will try to use what they want so that I don’t come back, I am sure.”

Soccer’s world body declined to comment Monday on its rules enforcing payment of fines.

FIFA did confirm that Blatter paid his fine of 50,000 Swiss francs ($50,250) first imposed in 2015.

Blatter is serving a six-year FIFA ban, upheld by CAS, for authorizing an uncontracted $2-million payment to Platini in 2011. Blatter also extended his former protege’s FIFA pension plan to add more than $1 million by 2015.

Basel forward Van Wolfswinkel has successful brain surgery

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BASEL, Switzerland (AP) Basel forward Ricky Van Wolfswinkel is to leave the hospital after successful brain surgery to treat an aneurysm.

The club says the operation was performed Tuesday and the Dutchman has been cleared to leave.

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Van Wolfswinkel’s aneurysm was discovered by chance during scans after he sustained a concussion in a Champions League qualifying game this month. His injury occurred late in a 2-1 home loss to LASK Linz on Aug. 7.

The 30-year-old former Norwich and Sporting Lisbon player has said he expected to be out of action for at least six months.

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

Messi back in training, could be fit for Betis

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Lionel Messi was back in full training again on Wednesday and may be fit to face Real Betis in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Messi had been training separately from the squad since injuring his right calf in the preseason.

He missed the team’s 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the league opener on Friday.

Barcelona has not said how long it expects Messi to be sidelined.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

Coach Ernesto Valverde is also dealing with injuries to forwards Luiz Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.

Dembele is certain to miss Sunday’s match at the Camp Nou because of a left thigh injury that should keep him out for about five weeks.

Suarez also isn’t likely to play this weekend because of a muscle injury sustained before halftime of Friday’s game in Bilbao.

Two-time defending champion Barcelona hadn’t loss a league opener in 10 seasons.

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

Seattle Sounders defender Roman Torres suspended 10 games

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NEW YORK (AP) Seattle Sounders defender Roman Torres has been suspended 10 games by Major League Soccer after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Green scores ]

The league handed down the suspension Friday, two days before Seattle hosts Sporting Kansas City. The Sounders currently sit in second place in the Western Conference standings.

Along with the suspension, Torres has been fined 20% of his annual salary. According to the MLS Players Association database, Torres is scheduled to make a base salary of $670,000 and guaranteed compensation of $740,000 for this season.

Torres may not participate in team training or use team facilities during his suspension. He may train with Seattle’s USL affiliate two weeks prior to the first MLS game he’s eligible to play – Sept. 29 against San Jose.

Torres has appeared in 15 matches and started 11 for Seattle this season. He has played 1,035 minutes this season, eighth on Seattle’s roster.

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

USWNT adds Portugal dates to World Cup ‘victory tour’

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CHICAGO (AP) The world champion U.S. women’s team will play a pair of exhibitions against Portugal on its victory tour, on Aug. 29 at Philadelphia and five days later at St. Paul, Minnesota.

The Americans open the tour on Aug. 3 against Ireland at Pasadena, California.

[ MORE: Klopp talks quiet window ]

The U.S. Soccer Federation said Wednesday a pair of additional friendlies are planned for Oct. 3 and 6.

All 23 players on the World Cup roster will be selected for the games.

The U.S. has a 16-game unbeaten streak that includes 13 consecutive wins.

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