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Messi Had Nothing to Do with Tax Affairs, Says his Father

Barcelona star Lionel Messi should not be including in a fraud probe because he had nothing to do with his own tax affairs, the Argentine player's father and manager Jorge said Thursday.

The player and his father were accused last year of not paying 4.16 million euros ($5.26m, 3.26m pounds) in tax on earnings from the player's image rights from 2007-2009 through the creation of a web of shell companies in Belize and Uruguay.

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Wenger Defends Ozil Treatment

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said Thursday the club had done nothing wrong in allowing record-signing Mesut Ozil to play on during a Premier League defeat at Chelsea despite complaining of a knee problem.

Scans carried out by world champions Germany during recent Euro 2016 qualifiers saw Ozil diagnosed with a "partial rupture of the outer band of the left knee joint".

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Suarez Receives Golden Boot, Eyes Barcelona Debut

Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is looking forward to ending his FIFA ban and says he will be fit to face Real Madrid if selected later this month.

"There's not long to go and my eagerness to play is always there," Suarez said Wednesday as he picked up a Golden Boot award, which he shares with Cristiano Ronaldo. The two forwards were Europe's top league scorers last season with 31 goals each.

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Second Female Jockey Dies in Australia from Race Fall

Apprentice jockey Caitlin Forrest died on Wednesday after a fall at Murray Bridge race course near Adelaide, the second female jockey to die this week in Australia.

Forrest's mount Colla Voce fell, bringing down three other horses, and she was flung to the ground ahead of the trailing pack. Forrest, 19, was airlifted to Royal Adelaide Hospital but died from her injuries.

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Former France Defender William Gallas Retires

Former France defender William Gallas is ending a career that spanned nearly 20 years and saw him play for all three of London's top clubs.

The 37-year-old Gallas started at French club Caen in 1995 before moving to Chelsea in 2001, and went on to have stints at both Arsenal and its north London rival Tottenham as well.

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Garber Criticizes Klinsmann over Donovan, MLS View

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber took the extraordinary step Wednesday of criticizing U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann for not taking Landon Donovan to the World Cup and for saying Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley damaged their careers by returning to MLS from European clubs.

Garber, the league's commissioner since 1999, questioned whether Klinsmann could be an effective coach while publicly criticizing MLS.

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FIFA Bans Mongolia Boss for Corruption

FIFA on Wednesday banned Mongolian football chief Ganbold Buyannemekh for five years for taking bribes to vote for former Qatari official Mohamed bin Hammam in an election for the world body.

In a statement, FIFA said the Mongolian would be barred from "any kind of football-related activity at national and international level" during the period of punishment.

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Pope to Have Audience with Bayern Munich Next Week

Bayern Munich players and their Spanish coach Pep Guardiola will have a private audience with Pope Francis next week, the German club announced Wednesday.

The audience will come the day after Bayern's Champions League match against AS Roma in the Italian capital on Tuesday.

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FIFA Hails India's New League

The inaugural Indian Super League will help the cricket-mad nation develop a football culture with the ultimate aim of qualifying for the World Cup, a top FIFA official said Wednesday.

"India has huge potential. The ISL is helping," the world governing body's secretary general, Jerome Valcke, said.

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Serbia-Albania Match Abandoned over Drone Chaos

A Euro 2016 qualifying match between Serbia and Albania was abandoned after a drone carrying a pro-Albanian message was flown over the stadium late Tuesday, sparking violent scenes on and off the pitch.

The match between the Balkan rivals was scoreless when it was stopped in the 41st minute after the drone trailing a "Greater Albania" flag flew over the Partizan Stadium in Belgrade and was brought down by a Serbia player.

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