Blatter faces judgement by FIFA ethics court
In the waning days of his presidency, Sepp Blatter attempted to save his job yesterday at the FIFA ethics committee that he helped create and whose authority he does not recognise in his case.
The suspended FIFA president had been expected to tell four judges that he is innocent of wrongdoing during the hearing at the headquarters of soccer's governing body, the first time Blatter has entered the building since he was banned for 90 days in October.
"Blatter looks forward to a decision in his favour because the evidence requires it," Blatter's lawyer, Richard Cullen, said in a statement after the hearing. "The evidence demonstrates that president Blatter behaved properly and certainly did not violate FIFA's Code of Ethics. This investigation should be closed and the suspension lifted."
With a large bandage on his face, Blatter arrived at FIFA headquarters shortly after 8 a.m. local time in a chauffeur-driven car for a hearing that was scheduled to start at 9 a.m. A spokesman for Blatter, Thomas Renggli, said the Swiss official has had a minor procedure to treat a skin problem on his right cheek.
At 5 p.m., Blatter and lead lawyer Lorenz Erni drove away from the building without making any comment.
Suarez hat-trick sends Barcelona into final
YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP):
Luis Suarez made up for the absence of a sick Lionel Messi and injured Neymar, scoring a hat-trick on Thursday as Barcelona beat Guangzhou Evergrande 3-0 to advance to the final of the Club World Cup.
Suarez put Barcelona ahead just before half-time, hammering in a rebound off Ivan Rakitic's long-range effort that was parried by Guangzhou goalkeeper Li Shuai.
The striker made it 2-0 five minutes after the break when he controlled a pass from Andres Iniesta off his chest and beat Li with a right-footed volley. He put the result beyond doubt with a penalty kick after Huang Bowen took down Munir El Haddadi in the area.
Barcelona will face South American champions River Plate in the final on Sunday.
Ukrainian club Dnipro faces European ban
NYON, Switzerland (AP):
UEFA says Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, last season's Europa League runner-up, faces being banned from playing in Europe unless $1.9 million in overdue payments are settled by next month.
The Ukrainian club owes $910,000 to other clubs and $980,000 to staff.
Dnipro have until January 31 to make the payments or UEFA will ban the club from the next European competition that they qualify for in the next three seasons.
The club has been affected by the political and economic turbulence that has rocked Ukraine.