Fonte hands in transfer request
SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP):
Southampton captain Jose Fonte wants to leave after handing in a transfer request, the English Premier League club said yesterday.
The 33-year-old Portugal defender has rejected opportunities to extend his contract which runs for another 18 months, director of football Les Reed said.
"He's had several opportunities to improve the contract situation. He's reserved his right not to do that," Reed told the BBC. "He's made it very clear he would like to explore the opportunities for a transfer."
Fonte, who won the European Championship with Portugal in July, has been at Southampton since 2010.
German football chief speaks out against enlarging World Cup
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP):
Germany's football president is against enlarging the World Cup.
Reinhard Grindel says in an interview published on the federation's website that FIFA proposals to enlarge the tournament from 32 teams to 40 or 48 "have considerable weaknesses that are also clearly shown in FIFA factsheets."
Grindel says, "At the DFB, we're fundamentally convinced that the tried and tested model of 32 participating nations should be held. The world championships were always tournaments that inspired. Why should that change?"
The DFB president warns that the quality of the tournament could suffer in football's core markets if more participants are added, and that conflicts could emerge between national teams and clubs "if we overburden the players."
Chapecoense to play first game since crash
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP):
Brazilian football club Chapecoense, which lost most of its team in an air crash in November, will make a return later this month for a friendly match against defending league champions Palmeiras.
The match will be held on January 21 in Chapecoense's 20,000-seat Arena Conda in Chapeco, a city of 200,000 about 800 miles south of Rio de Janeiro.
Chapecoense coach Vagner Mancini is still signing players to replace the 19 that died on a Colombian hillside on November 28.
Chape, as the team is known, will play their first official match on January 26 against local rivals Joinville.
Welbeck could return for Arsenal
Arsenal face being without holding midfielder Francis Coquelin for up to a month because of a hamstring injury, and striker Danny Welbeck is close to a comeback.
Coquelin was replaced 28 minutes into Arsenal's 3-3 draw against Bournemouth in the Premier League on Tuesday.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Coquelin "is out for three or four weeks."
Wenger says Welbeck, who has not played this season because of a left knee injury, could return in the FA Cup match at Preston tomorrow.
Wenger added: "Physically his fitness is at quite a good level, but of course the ideal way is to give him two or three games with the under-23s. But the situation is not always ideal. Sometimes you have to hurry up."