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A group fighting homophobia in soccer has called on the French league and Paris Saint-Germain to ask player Idrissa Gueye for an explanation after he missed a game last week amid reports that he refused to play because he did not want to wear a rainbow-colored number on the back of his jersey. The Senegal midfielder traveled with his teammates to Montpellier last weekend for Saturday’s French league game in the southern city but did not play. PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino cited “personal reasons” to justify his absence on the field.

Belgrade has been targeted with a series of bomb threats, including threats against schools, bridges, restaurants and the airport. The threats brought rush hour traffic to a standstill Monday in the Serbian capital. Police issued a statement Monday saying that no explosive devices were found after different searches. It was not immediately clear who was behind the emailed threats. Nearly 100 elementary schools were evacuated due to the threats, as well as several restaurants, including McDonald's, shopping malls, bridges, a zoo, the airport, a railway station and the water supply company. A soccer premiership game was postponed as police searched the stadium.

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To the Super Bowl winner goes the spoils of opening the entire schedule at home. So the Los Angeles Rams will host the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night, Sept. 8, to begin the 2022 season. It’s a juicy matchup of the team generally considered the title favorite by oddsmakers in the Bills traveling to SoFi Stadium, where the Rams won the championship over Cincinnati in February.

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The name “FIFA” can bring to mind images of the World Cup and soccer’s greatest players. Pele, Zinedine Zidane and Lionel Messi among them. The acronym for the sport’s governing body may also remind some of shameless bribery and corruption. But for many it’s the video game that is synonymous with FIFA. The Switzerland-based soccer body has enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with EA Sports for three decades with the annual edition of the video game raking in billions of dollars. But FIFA severed the licensing deal partnership with Electronic Arts Inc. on Tuesday. They are now becoming opponents.

An American consortium has bought an English soccer team with the ultimate aim of winning the Premier League title. Some would say there is nothing especially new there but there is a huge catch when it comes to the recent purchase of Crawley Town. The unheralded fourth-division club located south of London has been bought by a group of investors pledging to “shake up the status quo” by using the world of cryptocurrency and “Web 3” technology to fuel the rise of a sports team. It’s a plunge into the unknown for Crawley and perhaps a sign of what's to come in soccer worldwide.

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Maybe it’s the ćevapi, or the souvlaki, or the mbanga soup. Whatever it is, there’s no denying the tinge of international flavor when it comes to the NBA elite with Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic winning the league’s MVP award for a second straight season Wednesday. Jokic made it four straight MVPs for foreign-born players. The Serbian big man beat out two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece and the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia center Joel Embiid of Cameroon to mark another first — never before have the top three in MVP voting all been internationals. Antetokounmpo won the award in 2019 and 2020.

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The NFL game on Christmas Day between the Broncos and Rams will be broadcast by Nickelodeon. The network, which previously televised two playoff games, and CBS will handle TV duties on Dec. 25 at 4:30 p.m. EST. The Super Bowl champion Rams will host the game, which also will be streamed by Paramount+. Nickelodeon has had success with its youth-oriented telecasts during wild-card weekend alongside the NFL broadcast on CBS. This season, that collaboration will shift to the regular season and Christmas Day. It’s expected to be part of a holiday tripleheader.

Chelsea is being sold to a consortium fronted by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly. It will end the 19 years of ownership and lavish investment by Roman Abramovich. The Russian oligarch was sanctioned and forced to offload the English Premier League club over the war in Ukraine. The sale price of 2.5 billion pounds is the most lucrative ever for a sports team worldwide but Abramovich cannot receive the proceeds, which he hopes will go to a foundation for the victims of the war. Chelsea said buyout terms had been agreed with a consortium which also features Mark Walter, who is also part of the Dodgers group, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and funding from private equity firm Clearlake Capital.

Nick Kelly has stepped down chief executive office of Tepper Sports & Entertainment after just three months on the job. Kelly helped with the successful launch of Charlotte FC Major League Soccer club as team president before taking on the role of CEO overseeing soccer and the NFL’s Carolina Panthers in February as part of a major realignment in the front office. Kelly’s resignation comes as the Panthers remain in a stalemate with City of Rock Hill officials over funding for team’s new headquarters across the border in South Carolina.

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The first regular-season NFL game in Germany will be between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks at the home of soccer club Bayern Munich. The NFL says the game will take place at the Allianz Arena on Nov. 13. Frankfurt will also be staging a regular-season game in Germany during the next four years. The schedule for the three NFL games in London next season has also been announced. The Green Bay Packers will become the final team to play in Europe when they take on the New York Giants on Oct. 9 at the home of Premier League soccer team Tottenham.

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The state-owned Russian news agency TASS is reporting that Russia's Defense Ministry says more than 1 million people have been taken from Ukraine to Russia since the Russian invasion began. The figure includes , nearly 200,000 children. Defense Ministry official Mikhail Mizintsev said those included 11,550 people, including 1,847 children, in the previous 24 hours, without, he said, the participation of Ukrainian authorities. He said those civilians were evacuated to Russia from what he called dangerous regions in Ukraine. No details were provided about the moves. Throughout the war, Ukraine has accused Moscow’s troops of taking civilians against their will to Russia or Russian-controlled areas. 

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FIFA President Gianni Infantino says migrant workers gain pride from hard work while he was being questioned about workers suffering in Qatar while building World Cup infrastructure. Infantino was asked about worker abuses in the Gulf nation while he was on stage at the global conference of the Milken Institute in Los Angeles. Infantino says "when you give work to somebody, even in hard conditions, you give him dignity and pride. It’s not charity.” The World Cup opens in November. Infantino acknowledged that a form of “modern slavery system” existed before Qatar started to dismantle its long-criticized “kafala” employment system.

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British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has launched a late bid to buy Chelsea for 4.25 billion pounds. Rival offers featuring American investors were already being assessed as the sale process is nearing a conclusion. The English Premier League club was put up for sale in March after Russia owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the British government over his ties to President Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine. Ratcliffe is the chairman of chemical giant INEOS. He is a Chelsea fan who owns European teams Nice and Lausanne as well as a cycling team and Britain’s America’s Cup sailing team. 

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