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Chelsea's Terry ruled out of Club World Cup tilt in Japan

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LONDON -- Chelsea captain John Terry was ruled out of the Club World Cup on Friday because of ongoing injury troubles.

The defender damaged ligaments in his right knee a month ago, and doctors fear the long flight to Japan could hinder his recovery.

"The inflammation during the flight will not be the best thing for him, so he will not travel," Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez said. "He wanted to go and to help, but it's better that he stays here.

"We don't know when he will play. We have to wait and see how he reacts."

Chelsea's first game at the Club World Cup is Wednesday's semifinal match against either Ulsan Hyundai or Monterrey in Yokohama.

Chelsea earned its spot at the Club World Cup by winning the European Cup for the first time in May.

But 200 days after winning the Champions League, Chelsea became the first holders to go out in the group stage on Wednesday.

Inter's Sneijder back on shelf

MILAN, Italy -- Still in the middle of a contract dispute with Inter Milan, playmaker Wesley Sneijder is injured again.

Inter says on its website that the Netherlands international sat out training Friday with a leg muscle problem.

Sneijder hasn't played for Inter since September. First he was sidelined for two months with another injury, but then Inter technical director Marco Branca said last month that Sneijder wouldn't play again until he made a decision about his future, with a new deal reportedly requiring him to take a pay cut.

Last week, global footballers' union FIFPro highlighted Sneijder's recent exclusion and called for talks about clubs using "blackmail behaviour" to force players into signing new contracts.

A meeting between Sneijder with club officials Monday did not resolve the situation.

Euro 2020 makes fans top priority

NYON, Switzerland -- UEFA President Michel Platini promises to make fans a priority when deciding how to stage the 2020 European Championship in several countries across the continent.

Platini acknowledged Friday that the project needs an "intelligent solution" to create a 51-match schedule that avoids "chasing fans all over Europe" to watch their teams.

"We can't have England fans going to Lisbon and Kazakhstan and then somewhere else," Platini said at a media briefing the day after his executive committee opted for the radical multinational plan.

Platini said UEFA recognized there was a problem when only "50 French and 70 Spaniards" came to some Euro 2012 matches.

"It was difficult to go to Poland and Ukraine," the France great said. "Now the Euro is going toward the fans."

Platini revealed that UEFA's official fan liaison partner, Football Supporters Europe, had been skeptical about the costs and time burden potentially being heaped on fans.

"They were against it originally but we told them we would help them as much as we can," he said.

While Platini has committed UEFA to revolution in its signature national team competition, he sought stability for its club events -- and rejected recent reports that he wanted to kill off the Europa League in favour of an expanded Champions League.

Germany urges respect for refs

FRANKFURT, Germany -- The German Football Federation (DFB) president has sent an open letter to all 25,641 clubs in the country urging respect for referees after a volunteer linesman was beaten to death in the Netherlands.

Dutch police have arrested four players suspected of involvement in the fatal beating after a youth match.

DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach said the news of the beating was received "with horror and disbelief."

Niersbach said what happened in the Netherlands must not repeat itself anywhere in the world. He said the commitment of referees in Germany "deserves the highest recognition and respect" and "our special protection."

Without them, there would be no regulated nationwide football, with its 1.6 million games annually, Niersbach said.

He said the DFB was determined to stand up for the referees.

Cologne hooligans convicted

COLOGNE, Germany -- A Cologne court on Friday convicted two men of assaulting Bayer Leverkusen's Czech Republic defender Michal Kadlec and breaking his nose eight months ago outside a disco.

A 24-year-old man was given a 10-month suspended sentence. A 20-year-old, tried under youth laws, was ordered to perform 80 hours of community service and was placed under probation for two years.

Neither man was identified. They were also ordered to pay damages of C120,000 ($154,860).

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 8, 2012 C8

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