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Mon 16 Jul by Mark Gleeson

Briefs

* Data from UEFA, European football’s governing body, shows that the astronomical sums leading clubs are able to pay in transfer fees on the back of consistent revenue growth is propping up smaller clubs. Revenues at European teams hit 18.5-billion Euros in 2016, tripling the value in less than two decades.
* Olivier Giroud looks like being the first casualty of new Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri’s reign. Sarri is keen to stamp his mark on the Stamford Bridge squad following the departure of Antonio Conte, and his raid on Juventus for Gonzalo Higuain spells bad news for French World Cup winner Giroud.
* Gareth Bale's Real Madrid future could be decided this week with Manchester United keen on 90-million Pound move. The European champions are reluctant to sell so soon after Cristiano Ronaldo's exit last week, but that may change in the coming days.
* FIFA president Gianni Infantino has repeated his position that the Qatar 2022 World Cup will be played in a 32-team format, but has left open the door for an expanded 48-team tournament in four years’ time. The North American 2026 World Cup is the first World Cup to have the confirmed participation of 48 teams.
* Africa will never fulfil their potential on the World Cup stage unless they develop their youth properly and have strong enough characters on the field, said ex-Nigeria international Emmanuel Amunike, who was a member of FIFA’s Technical Study Group in Russia.