Holmdel tennis ties for A division title

first_img The Holmdel High School girls’ tennis team completed the fall campaign with a 20-4 mark and tied Red Bank Catholic for the top spot in the Shore Conference’s Class A Central division. This marks the seventh time in the last eight seasons that the Hornets have either won or tied for the division title. Holmdel split its season series with RBC and both teams went 11-1 in divisional play. In addition, coach Chuck Chelednik’s team qualified for both the Shore Conference and NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III tournaments. The Hornets reached the finals in where they fell to Wall both times. Along the way, Holmdel downed a talented Princeton team, 5- 0, in the CJ Group III semi-finals. “It was a good season and we did well in the tournaments, but we just couldn’t get past Wall,” Chelednik said. “The girls worked hard and they deserved the success they had.” In addition to posting 20 victories, Holmdel’s top doubles tandem, Lisa Yan and Kathy Tsai, also won the Monmouth County doubles tourney. They also reached the quarterfinals of the state doubles tourney, before bowing to Ramapo. The two seniors combined for a 20-1 mark on the year. The Hornets second pairing also had a strong campaign. Senior Dorrie Lee and junior Amali Gunawardana compiled a 15- 1 mark. Gunawardana, who will likely move up to singles next season, showed promise in going 5-1 on the occasions when Chelednik used her in a solo slot. Seniors Jennifer Lee and Anne Chen were solid at the second and third singles positions, respectively. Lee, who owns a big serve, went 14-7, while Chen, whose forte is keeping the ball in play, was 15-4. Sophomore Karolina Wojciak won the top singles spot in the pre-season, and along with it the unenviable task of going headto head with some of the top players in the Shore Conference. Nevertheless, Wojciak distinguished herself well in going 9-10-1. Freshman Caitlyn Yip looked solid in going 4-0, as did sophomore Gayatri Iyengar. Junior Erica Lai and sophomores Freda Huang and Ashley Tran were 3-0, while fellow sophomores Rachel Hong and Jessica Sher won two matches apiece. Chelednik also noted that senior Vivien Chen went 3-0. “We’re expecting big things from Caitlyn Yip, and all of our younger players are very talented,” he said. “Fortunately, we have a lot of good young players. We should have a good mix of seniors and juniors next season and we’ll be looking to pick up right where we left off this year.” BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer last_img read more

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Lacrosse coming to Middletown high schools starting in spring

first_img Middletown Township boys participated in a Lacrosse in Middletown clinic earlier this winter. Lacrosse will become a junior varsity sport at both Middletown North and South high schools this spring. High-school lacrosse will become a reality in Middletown starting next month. The district has approved a proposal by a community-based group called Lacrosse in Middletown (L.I.M.) to launch a program for boys and girls lacrosse at Middletown North and Middletown South high schools starting this spring on a junior varsity schedule.“It’s great. We had a meeting with the [township] Board of Education and they extended a deadline for the funding we owe them,” said Chris Fisher, president of L.I.M. “We have $50,000 of the $59,000 we need to raise.”Fundraising for the 501(c3) organization, which has 110 families involved and is awaiting tax exempt status from the IRS, began last July and went well despite a brief lapse during the Hurricane Sandy recovery.“We have been doing well with our fundraising,” said Christine Lepkoski of L.I.M.’s Fundraising Committee. “We know with a final push, we will meet our financial goal for the kids.”Treasurer John McCrae said there are a variety of ways businesses and families can help in terms of financial gift-matching, direct donations and giving equipment.“We really hope the community will embrace us and give to the kids,” McCrae said of the funding drives.Donations can be sent to L.I.M., P.O. Box 190, Middletown, NJ 07748. The website, www.middletownnjlacrosse.org, will include information regarding upcoming fundraising events.The school district will arrange the paperwork for appointing coaches — with applications closed on Feb. 1 — scheduling, busing for away games, game officials and league fees, all of which will be financed by L.I.M.An additional $20,000 is needed for equipment and uniforms, but Fisher said he is confident that the organization will come up with the money as more fundraisers are planned.“We’re definitely confident we can raise the funds,” said Fisher, as L.I.M. had a successful fundraising pancake breakfast last month.The teams will begin practice next month and play a junior varsity schedule starting in April.“I knew this was tried a few times in the past, but that didn’t discourage me,” Fisher said.Clinics were held for students in grades 7- 12 on Thursday nights and outdoor clinics are tentatively scheduled on the turf field of Middletown North for boys on Feb. 7, and for girls on Feb. 14 and Feb. 28.“We’ll start as a J.V. because some kids are new to the sport, but we anticipate a varsity and junior varsity program for each school next spring. That’s our intention.”Fisher said more than 100 children from Middletown in grades 2-8 are playing for the Mavericks Lacrosse team and he is not surprised with the show of support for high school lacrosse. Fisher’s son, Chris, had played for the Mavericks and has played for the United club program based in the Red Bank area, which gave his dad the idea to suggest the idea to the high schools.“No, I’m not surprised. Lacrossse in Middletown is long overdue,” the elder Fisher said. “From the reaction of families in town and coaches and [the] U.S. Lacrosse [Association], they all wonder why it had not yet happened. The high-school administrators have really liked it from what we’ve understood and they want it to happen. The future is bright for lacrosse here. Middletown will explode [in lacrosse interest] once this gets going.”Fisher said the response shows that there can be “absolutely 25 to 30 kids on each team.” BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent last_img read more

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Lions’ O’Neill leads area qualifiers for Penn Relays

first_img Middletown High School North’s Tom O’Neill is one of several area runners invited to compete in the High School Boys 3,000-Meter Run at the Penn Relays on April 26. The Penn Relays will be held from April 25-27 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa. ERIC SUCAR staff I t’s not by accident that the Penn Relays’ High School Boys 3,000-Meter Run is like a “who’s who” of Monmouth County distance runners.Distance running has flourished in the area the last several years and may have peaked this season, with five runners from the county being invited to compete in 3,000 meters on April 26 at the nation’s biggest track meet — the Penn Relays at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa.Middletown High School North’s Tom O’Neill heads the contingent that includes Christian Brothers Academy’s (CBA) Jack Boyle, Red Bank Catholic High School’s Rob Napolitano, Freehold Township High School’s Dylan Tarpey and Holmdel High School’s Jack Baisley.O’Neill, of course, is the most decorated. He won the cross-country Meet of Champions in November and the 3,200 at the indoor MOC (9:02.0). A fifth-place finish in the New Balance Indoor Nationals’ twomile (9:06.40) earned the Lions’ junior All- American status. He’d like to add a Penn Relays title to his résumé.Boyle was the leader of the CBA crosscountry team that was ranked No. 1 in the country for most of the season. He was third in the1,600 at the indoor MOC. Earlier this month, the Colts’ senior lowered his 3,200 personal best to 9:05.66.Napolitano is stepping up to the 3K. He won the indoor MOC 1,600 title and ran the mile in 4:12.29 indoors. Competitors have to be wary of his finishing speed.Tarpey won the NJSIAA Group IV state championship in cross-country and the 3,200 indoors. A junior like O’Neill, Tarpey ran 9:13.23 in the 3,200.Baisley helped the Hornets win the Group II state title and finish second to CBA at the cross-country MOC. The senior has a 3,200 personal best of 9:17.65.Boyle, Baisley and Napolitano will be teammates after the scholastic high school season is concluded. All three have signed with Columbia University to continue their running careers. The area will also be well represented at Penn outside of the boys 3K. St. John Vianney High School’s Courtney Thompson will be running in the High School Girls 3,000-Meter Run on April 25.“It’s such an honor to be accepted to the Penn Relays,” the Lancers’ junior said. “The best runners in the country are there.”“I’m really excited,” she said.Thompson enjoyed a breakout year, starting with her cross-country success and continuing to the indoor track and field season, where she won the Non-Public A state title at 3,200 meters and finished second at the MOC. Her 10:45.0 in the 3,200 was fast enough to qualify for Penn. Holmdel’s outstanding sophomore, Marin Warner, will compete in the High School Girls Mile Run on April 25. The Hornets’ runner ran a personal best of 4:58.31 in the indoor mile this winter. She was the Group II 1,600 state champion.CBA, which won the prestigious High School Boys Distance Medley Championship of America three times, will go for No. 4 on April 26. The Colts last won the Penn distance medley in 2011.Matawan Regional High School’s Nicole Macco, with a personal best 11-6, has qualified for the girls pole vault on April 25. Macco did her 11-6 while finishing third at the indoor MOC. She has already done 11-0 this spring. Jessica Helmstetter of Raritan High School has qualified for the Penn Relays in the javelin. She has a personal best of 127-5 in the event. Helmstetter, who has signed with Richard Stockton College, has thrown 121-5 this spring in winning the Rocket Relays.The girls at Middletown High School South and Holmdel are competing in the High School Girls 4×800 Relay on April 25. The Eagles are in the Large School section and the Hornets are in the Small School. The 12 fastest times from the heats of the Small and Large sections advance to Championship of America finals on Friday, April 26. CBA goes for fourth DMR title BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer last_img read more

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All eyes on Messi and Robben with Rio in sight

first_imgBy Simon EvansTHE Netherlands are one win away from a second straight World Cup final while opponents Argentina head into Wednesdsay’s (11pm) last-four clash looking to end their 24-year wait for a place in the biggest game of all.Two teams with a rich tradition and an abundance of motivation should produce a close game, characterised by tight marking, disciplined defence and threats on the break as they bid to reach Sunday’s final at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana.But for all the expectation, all the history and all the focus on the tactical approaches of Alejandro Sabella and Louis van Gaal, the clash at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo is likely to come down to how two individuals seize the moment.With both teams set to pack the midfield, regardless of what formal formation they field, Argentine Lionel Messi and Dutchman Arjen Robben will be charged with producing thrilling moments of skill that could decide who heads to Rio for the final.The narrative around the 27-year-old Messi’s stature in the game has long suggested that the four-time World Player of the Year needs to take his country to a World Cup triumph to enter the list of the game’s true greats.Whether that assessment is fair or not, Messi is certainly doing his best to prove that he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as compatriot Diego Maradona and Brazil’s Pele.The forward has four goals, all in the group stage, but his contribution has gone well beyond finding the back of the net.Messi has always had the ability, for Barcelona and Argentina, to drop away from the opposing back-line and run at defences from deep, but in the quarter-final win over Belgium he played almost as a classic playmaking number 10.In this withdrawn role, Messi successfully controlled the tempo of the game, slowing it down when needed and probing for spaces for striker Gonzalo Higuain to exploit.So often the virtuoso who provides the dramatic crescendo to an attack, Messi has evolved in this tournament into the conductor of the orchestra.The absence of Angel Di Maria on the right through injury is a blow for Argentina because the Real Madrid winger has provided the other main attacking threat for Sabella’s team.It will be interesting to see whether the Argentine coach goes with the defence-minded Enzo Perez, who replaced Di Maria against the Belgians, or goes for a more attacking option.His Dutch counterpart Van Gaal has been willing to adjust his lineup and formation for each game, but the one constant is the reliance on Robben to terrorise defences with his high-speed dribbling.While much attention has focused on the tricky winger’s tendency to go down easily in seeking penalties, that has distracted somewhat from the way his pace, directness and shooting have been the main focus of the Dutch attacks.Van Gaal’s side have cut it fine on the route to the semi-finals though – they needed penalties to get past Costa Ricain the quarter-finals having only beaten Mexico by a controversial last-minute penalty in the previous round.They will need striker Robin van Persie to recapture his form from the group stage to give the Argentina defence something else to ponder apart from Robben’s direct threat.The two teams have met four times before in the World Cup, including in the 1978 final which Argentina won 3-1 after extra time on home soil. That was their only win over the Dutch at the finals having lost twice and drawn once in the other matches.last_img read more

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England finally smiling at Cricket World Cup

first_imgBy John MehaffeyEngland captain Eoin Morgan finally found something to celebrate on Monday after a harrowing week for his team and himself.Morgan had barely been able to scrape a run together during two crushing defeats to Australia and New Zealand and his future, as well as that of coach Peter Moores and managing director Paul Downton, has been openly questioned in the British media.On Monday the selectors opted to stick with the side who were overwhelmed by New Zealand in Wellington on Friday while Morgan finally got some runs with 46 from 42 balls which helped his side past the 300 mark.England then dismissed Scotland for 184 and their winning margin of 119 was their highest, by runs, at a World Cup since they defeated East Africa by 196 runs in the inaugural 1975 tournament.“I don’t think there’s ever a state of panic,” Morgan told a news conference. “Obviously two hard games, and the fact we didn’t perform was the most disappointing, but a win just puts things a little more at ease, and it gives guys a little bit of confidence, even the guys who didn’t perform today.”Morgan said it had been nice to spend some time at the wicket and to get some runs.“But again, the bounce here was a little bit different, and the wicket slowed up a lot, so it took a little bit of time to get the pace of it,” he said. “It was difficult to rotate strike in the middle of the powerplay, as well. It’s not easy to come in and bang it from ball one, so it was a bit more of a calculated and reserved innings today.”The England captain said he would still like more consistency from his team before they meet Sri Lanka in Wellington on March 1.“I think just a little bit more consistency in what we do.” he said. “Just being ruthless and simple, very simple in the way we approach things.”last_img read more

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Fraser-Pryce caps day of dominance at the Bird’s Nest

first_imgBy Nick MulvenneyShelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce proved once again that Usain Bolt is not the only Jamaican who can monopolise global sprint titles when she claimed an unprecedented third 100 metres world championship gold medal in Beijing on Monday.Like Bolt in the men’s final on Sunday, the 28-year-old returned to the Bird’s Nest stadium, the scene of her breakthrough triumph at the Beijing Olympics, and secured a fifth title in the last six blue riband sprints at the Olympics and world championships.With dyed green braids flowing behind her and yellow flowers framing her face, Fraser-Pryce powered down the track to victory in 10.76 seconds, beating fast-finishing Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers by five hundredths of a second.Her determination for improvement is such, however, that mere victory was not enough and she was immediately plotting her entry into the exclusive club of women who have run under 10.7 seconds – currently headed by world record holder Florence Griffith-Joyner.“I am happy and proud to defend my third title in a row,” she said, adding that she would not defend her 200 metres title in Beijing.“I think 10.60 is there. Hopefully in my next race I’ll get it together. I just trust in God and I work hard, and focus on executing. I don’t focus on just winning but on executing.”Former heptathlete Schippers ran a Dutch record of 10.81 to become the first European to win a medal in the 100 metres at a world championships since France’s Christine Arron a decade ago.“It’s crazy,” she said after pushing American Tori Bowie into third place. “My start was good, I thought I was close enough to medal. Wow.”If the Jamaicans have dominated the sprints in the seven years since Beijing hosted the Olympics, Kenya has been a force in middle and long distance running for far longer.Ezekiel Kemboi underlined his status as one of the greatest athletes to have emerged from the country when he ran a sub-57 second final lap to lead a Kenyan podium sweep and claim the 3,000m steeplechase crown for a record fourth time.Kemboi, who clocked eight minutes 11.28 seconds, added the title to those he won in 2009, 2011 and 2013 and to the Olympic gold he landed in 2004 and 2012.“On the last lap nobody could follow me,” he said. “My next big goal of course are the Rio Olympic Games.”Kemboi’s victory came soon after his compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot had shown a considerable kick of her own over the final 400 metres to win her second 10,000 metres world title after her long distance double at the 2011 championships.The victory was particularly precious, she said, as it came with her still on the comeback trail after skipping the 2014 season to have a child.“I dedicate this medal to my son,” she said. “I am not going to double here, this is it.”Another dominant athlete who brought a little colour to the evening was Colombian triple jumper Caterine Ibarguen, who has not been defeated in 29 competitions since she won silver at the 2012 London Olympics.Her fifth-round effort of 14.90 metres secured a second successive world championship gold medal and she celebrated with a sombrero on her head.“It gives me big joy to make my country happy,” she said. “I love triple jump.”Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko won Israel’s first women’s world championship medal in second place, while Olympic champion Olga Rypakova, another new mum, took bronze.Olympic champion and world record holder Renaud Lavillenie has been dominant in the pole vault over the last few years but he will leave the world championships for the fourth time without the gold medal.Canada’s Shawn Barber nailed his first four jumps to win the title with a leap of 5.90 metres, a height Lavillenie failed to clear in three attemptsThe Frenchman will take home a fourth bronze medal after sharing third place with Poles Piotr Lisek and Pawel Wojciechowski behind defending champion Raphael Holzdeppe.“I was in good shape and I don’t really know what went wrong,” he said. “5.90 metres usually is not difficult for me. But it happens to everyone… Pole vault is like this. You never know.”Lavillenie was not the only Olympic champion to have a disappointing day with Trinidadian Keshorn Walcott failing to get through qualifying in the javelin.last_img read more

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Marvellous Turan fires Barcelona to Super Cup glory

first_imgTwo goals from Arda Turan and one from Lionel Messi gave Barcelona a 3-0 win over Sevilla in the Spanish Super Cup second leg on Wednesday to seal a 5-0 aggregate victory.The La Liga and King’s Cup champions led 2-0 after the first leg in Seville and Turan’s opening goal early in the first half set Barca on their way to a big win at a packed Nou Camp.The Turkish midfielder picked up a pass from Messi in the ninth minute, ran in on goal and drove a left-foot shot past goalkeeper Sergio Rico.Sevilla’s Vicente Iborra had a 30th-minute penalty kept out by Claudio Bravo after Samuel Umtiti was penalised for a handball.Turan’s second came one minute after the re-start when he launched an audacious curled shot from 30 yards to stun the Sevilla keeper and send the ball into the top corner. Messi made sure of Barca’s first trophy of the season when he headed Lucas Digne’s pass out of Rico’s reach.“To win a title before the start of La Liga is great,” Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets told Telecinco TV. “We did a fantastic job last season and we are hungry for titles.”Barca were without Neymar, who was on Olympic duty with Brazil, and injured trio Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Jeremy Mathieu and Andres Iniesta.But coach Luis Enrique handed new signings Umtiti, Denis Suarez, Andre Gomes and Lucas Digne their first competitive starts.A minute’s silence was observed before kick-off in honour of former FIFA president Joao Havelange, who died this week.Jorge Sampaoli’s Sevilla, who lost the UEFA Super Cup 3-2 to Real Madrid last week, made a strong start and in the third minute Wissam Ben Yedder forced Bravo into a full-stretch save to clear his diagonal shot from inside the box.But just when Sevilla were playing at their best, Turan scored.The night got worse for the visitors when Bravo denied Iborra the equaliser and on the stroke of halftime, Gabriel Mercado’s header from Mariano’s cross hit the right post.“It’s always difficult to play against Barcelona and more so when you have a 2-0 deficit from the opening leg,” Sevilla’s Luciano Vietto told Telecinco. “We did our best but it was not to be.”Barca dominated the second half and had to play the last 11 minutes of the game down to 10 men after Javier Mascherano picked up an injury with Luis Enrique having made all his substitutions.The Super Cup is Spain’s traditional season opener between the winners of the league and King’s Cup. Barca won both last season and have now lifted 12 Super Cups.last_img read more

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Serena stunned by Pliskova, Kerber tops Wozniacki to reach US final in U.S. Open semis

first_imgBy Steve KeatingFor the second straight year Serena Williams saw her bid for a seventh U.S. Open title halted in the semi-finals with a 6-2 7-6(5) loss to Karolina Pliskova on Thursday that also ended her long reign as world number one.A year ago Williams went into the semi-finals on the cusp of a rare calendar-year grand slam but was the victim of one of the biggest upsets in tennis history when Roberta Vinci, a 300-to-1 longshot, prevailed.This year it was Czech 10th seed Pliskova, who until this week had never played beyond the third round of a grand slam, delivering the upset as she swept Williams off an Arthur Ashe Stadium court she claims as her own in one hour, 26 minutes.“I don’t believe it. Actually, I do believe it,” Pliskova said in a courtside interview. “I always knew I have a chance to beat anybody if I’m playing my game.“But this is something amazing.“Serena, she’s a champion so it’s never easy to play her. You saw even when she was down a break she’s still fighting so it’s very hard.”There was no calendar-year grand slam up for grabs this year but history continued to beckon Williams, who would have stood alone as greatest grand slam champion in the professional era if she had claimed a 23rd title and moved past Steffi Graf.And while there was no title to win on this day Williams stepped onto the court with something to lose.After 186 consecutive weeks as the world’s top-ranked player, Williams, who needed to reach the final to have any chance of retaining top spot, will relinquish the ranking to Angelique Kerber.Pliskova will now take on Kerber in Saturday’s final after the second seeded German beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-3.After a punishing three-set quarter-final against Simona Halep on the same court 24 hours early, Williams appeared sluggish against the towering Czech.But a clearly annoyed Williams refused to use fatigue as an excuse for her loss and instead blamed her sluggishness more on left knee problems that limited her mobility.“OK, I’m not going to repeat myself. I wasn’t tired from yesterday’s match,” said Williams. “If I can’t turn around after 24 hours and play again then I shouldn’t be on tour.“I have been having some serious left knee problems. I wasn’t tired. Fatigue had absolutely nothing to do with it.“I wasn’t able to move the way I wanted to move.”With the two biggest hitters in women’s tennis standing across from each other the match was expected to be an explosive affair filled with booming serves.Williams opened the contest with an ace but in the end it was the American’s serve that ultimately let her down as she committed six double faults, including the deciding point in the tiebreak.Pliskova, who has led the WTA Tour in aces the last two seasons, kept the 34-year-old American under pressure almost from the start and had break chances on all but one of Williams’ service games in the first set and converting twice.Showing the heart of a champion, Williams battled back from a break down to force a tiebreak where she clawed back from 3-0 down to take a 4-3 lead.But a cool Pliskova would not buckle and earned the victory when Williams double faulted.With the victory Pliskova completed a Williams family double having also beaten Serena’s older sister, sixth-seeded Venus, in the fourth round.Angelique Kerber of GermanyReaching top of the world seemed to agree with Angelique Kerber, who celebrated her ascension to world number one with a 6-4 6-3 win over Caroline Wozniacki on Thursday to advance to the U.S. Open final.The German left-hander was assured of becoming number one when the new rankings come out on Monday after top-seeded American Serena Williams was defeated by Czech 10th seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2 7-6(5) in the earlier semi-final.Australian Open champion Kerber, who leads the WTA for most main draw match wins this season at 53-14, clinched victory with a backhand that actually landed just beyond the baseline but went unchallenged by former number one Wozniacki of Denmark.“It’s just incredible. It’s a great day,” Kerber said on court. “To be here in the final for the first time that means a lot. To be number one in the world, it sounds amazing.”Kerber holds a narrow 4-3 career edge over Pliskova, but the big-serving Czech won their most recent encounter, in last month’s Cincinnati final.last_img read more

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Swimmer disqualified over kicks

first_imgDespite swimming a qualifying time of 2:49:59 sec, Vali-Skelton was disqualified for making two dolphin kicks before going into breaststroke after she made her turn.This was confirmed by official Sue Babao.Vali-Skelton’s time was the fourth fastest in this event.Her team mates Savannah Tkatchenko (2:42:18 sec) and Tegan McCarthy (2:50:84) have qualified for the finals this evening.last_img

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FIFA statement on Swiss investigation into Sepp Blatter

first_imgSince 27 May 2015, FIFA has been cooperating with the Office of the Swiss Attorney General (OAG) and has complied with all requests for documents, data and other information. We will continue this level of cooperation throughout the investigation.Today, at the Home of FIFA, representatives from the Office of the Swiss Attorney General conducted interviews and gathered documents pursuant to its investigation. FIFA facilitated these interviews as part of our ongoing cooperation.We will have no further comment on the matter as it is an active investigationlast_img read more

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