By RYAN TOLMICH
Just over three years away from the tournament, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has his concerns heading into 2018’s World Cup in Russia.
Blatter admitted that he is “concerned” with findings of a report regarding the issue of racism in Russia. The report, which was complied by anti-racism organizations The Fare network and Sova Center, says that there have been over 200 cases of documented racist incidents at the country’s soccer matches in the past two seasons.
“Racism is one of the items which is on my agenda on the very top, every day. If it does not stop then there must be some sanctions,” Blatter said, according to BBC Sport. “We have started a big education program with them. They are aware of the situation.”
Blatter has previously said that he has had discussions with Russian president Vladimir Putin on tackling the racism issue.
Here are some more news and notes to kick off your Monday morning:
PEDRO CONSIDERING FUTURE WITH BARCELONA
Barcelona winger Pedro is reportedly evaluating the next step in his career.
Pedro, whose contract expires at the conclusion of next season, is reportedly considering his future with Barca, with the club willing to part ways with the Spaniard for a fee of $28-34 million.
The winger is reportedly unhappy with his lack of first team minutes, having started only five games in the club’s 2014-15 campaign.
Barcelona reportedly sees Pedro as “a fundamental piece” as a result of his “dedication and sacrifice in each match and at every training session.” However, the club would not be opposed to selling him to avoid the alternative of seeing him walk at the expiration of his contract next summer.
TERRY HAILS LEAGUE CUP AS ‘START OF SOMETHING VERY GOOD’
John Terry and Chelsea are less than 24 hours removed from capturing the League Cup, but the English defender already has his sights set on capturing more silverware.
The centerback says that Chelsea’s League Cup triumph “could be the start of something very good”. With the Champions League and a league crown still on the agenda, Terry believes that the League Cup could be the first of many.
“That’s the first one,” Terry said. “It’s massive. That could be the start of something very good, but now we need to kick on and we’ve got the league to focus on. I thought we handled the game very well and we’re delighted with the win, obviously.
“(Manager Jose Mourinho) made it very clear from the outset that he wanted to win this competition and we’ve done it, so credit to the manager and the squad.”
English FA chairman Greg Dyke has invited all four FIFA presidential candidates to take part in a live debate at Wembley Stadium. (REPORT)
PSV director Toon Gerbrands says that winger Memphis Depay and winger Georginio Wijnaldum could leave the club in the summer. (REPORT)
Liverpool’s Jordan Ibe is set to miss four weeks after suffering a knee ligament injury. (REPORT)
AC Milan will be without Nigel De Jong and Ricardo Montolivo for Saturday’s matchup with Verona. (REPORT)
What do you think FIFA and Russia must do to combat racism? What clubs would be a good fit for Pedro? How many trophies do you expect Chelsea to end up with this season?
Share your thoughts below.