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European soccer’s governing body UEFA has charged Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos with “receiving a yellow card on purpose” in the club’s Champions League tie against Ajax Amsterdam earlier this month.
Ramos fouled Kasper Dolberg in the 89th minute of the last-16, first leg tie in the Netherlands, which the holders won 2-1. As a result, the 32-year-old is suspended from next Tuesday’s second leg.
UEFA decided to investigate the incident after Ramos told reporters he would “be lying if I said I didn’t force (the booking)”.
Although Ramos later said: “I was referring to forcing the foul, a foul that was inevitable. Not to forcing the booking.
“That’s why I said that I would lie if I said I did not know that I was carrying a penalty, just as I knew that I had no other choice than to make a mistake.
“And that’s what I meant when I said that in football you have to make complicated decisions.”
Missing the home tie against the Dutch side would reduce Ramos’s chances of possibly missing a more important match later in the competition, as all bookings are wiped following the quarter-final stage.
However, if a player is found to have obtained a booking deliberately, he can be banned for two games.
When asked if he knew the foul could lead to a yellow card and a ban, Ramos said: “Yes, but I had no choice.”
Ramos’s teammate Dani Carvajal was punished by UEFA last season for intentionally getting booked in a group stage game at APOEL Nicosia.
The full back was suspended for their final group game against Borussia Dortmund and their last-16, first leg tie against Paris St Germain.
Ramos’s case will be heard on Thursday.
Di Maria double fires PSG into French Cup semis
Holders Paris St Germain eased into the French Cup semi-finals after two goals from Angel Di Maria and another by Thomas Meunier gave them a 3-0 home win over Dijon in an action-packed last-eight clash on Tuesday.
PSG were without their potent three-pronged attack of Edinson Cavani, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, but the league leaders’ makeshift side made light work of the contest and could have won by a much bigger margin.
Dijon’s Icelandic keeper Runar Runarsson made a string of superb saves in the first half but could do nothing about Di Maria’s brace, with both goals created in sublime fashion by German playmaker Julian Draxler.
Di Maria opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a brilliant lob from the edge of the penalty area after a defence-splitting
Dijon defender Fouad Chafik denied Di Maria a first-half hat-trick as he cleared the livewire forward’s shot off the line while Julio Tavares hit the post at the other end after a rare Dijon break.
The busy Runarsson twice kept out superb Draxler chances before Choupo-Moting, who missed three good opportunities, set up Meunier with some fine footwork and the Belgium midfielder responded with a clever 76th-minute finish to put the icing on the cake.
In the other quarter-finals, Rennes are at home to second division Orleans and Olympique Lyonnais take on Caen on Wednesday, while fourth division Vitre are at home to Nantes on March 6.
UAE, other Gulf states could co-host expanded Qatar 2022 World Cup
The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman could stage some World Cup 2022 matches if required by hosts Qatar in order to hold an expanded event, the UAE’s sports chief said on Tuesday.
FIFA is expected to decide next month whether it will expand the World Cup in Qatar from 32 to 48 teams but has already warned it would be difficult for the Gulf Arab state to do it alone.
A deep political rift in the Gulf complicates the prospects of sharing the competition.
The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and non-Gulf state Egypt cut political, trade, and transport ties with Qatar in June 2017. The countries accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism, which it denies.
“If this is resolved, we are more than happy to help them organise the World Cup,” Chairman of the UAE General Sports Authority Mohammed Khalfan al-Romaithi said of the potential for the UAE to host some matches.
“But I know that if the crisis remains we cannot,” he told Reuters in an interview in Abu Dhabi.
He said the UAE as well as Kuwait and Oman can meet FIFA requirements to host World Cup matches. He also said those countries could hold games at smaller stadiums if permitted by FIFA.
Kuwait and Oman have remained neutral in the Gulf dispute.
Romaithi last month told Reuters the UAE would welcome an approach to co-host the 2022 World Cup if its rift with Qatar was resolved. He believes the UAE is capable of hosting matches for two groups.
Qatar has said it will not take a decision on expanding the tournament until it sees the details of a feasibility study from FIFA.
The UAE this year hosted the Asian Cup tournament, which was won by Qatar and who beat the host country 4-0 in the semi-final.
That match was marred by crowd trouble, with UAE fans throwing shoes and bottles at Qatar players.
Romaithi said those scenes were not representative of Emirati fans and that he had apologised to Qatar FA officials.
Romaithi is challenging Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, a member of Bahrain’s ruling family, for the presidency of the Asian Football Confederation in April.