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Placido Domingo honored for support of Spain's national soccer team

Las Rozas, Spain, Apr 7 (EFE).- Opera tenor Placido Domingo was visibly moved on Monday upon being awarded the gold medal with diamonds by the Spanish Soccer Federation, or RFEF, for his support of the national team over 30 years. The award was presented by RFEF president Angel Maria Villar at a ceremony held at the federation's Soccer City complex in the Madrid suburb of Las Rozas.

Football: Atletico, Barca maintain title push with narrow wins

Barcelona remain just one point behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid as they overcame Real Betis 3-1 at the Camp Nou on Saturday. Atletico registered their sixth straight league win earlier in the day with a tense 1-0 victory over Villarreal. Lionel Messi put Barca in front from the penalty spot before Jordi Figueras' comical own goal doubled the hosts' advantage. Ruben Castro brought Betis back into the game moments later, but Messi killed the game off four minutes from time by slotting home the rebound after Antonio Adan had saved his second penalty of the day.

Football: Bayern suffer first league defeat in 54 matches

Bayern Munich suffered their first Bundesliga defeat since October 2012 on Saturday as their record 53-match unbeaten league run was ended in a 1-0 defeat at Augsburg. Coach Pep Guardiola named a weakened team for the Bavarian derby and paid the price as Bayern were beaten for the first time the league since losing 2-1 at home to Bayer Leverkusen on October 28, 2012.

Barça to appeal FIFA sanctions

Barcelona, Apr 2 (EFE).- FC Barcelona said Wednesday it is prepared to challenge FIFA before the Court of Arbitration for Sport over the sanctions soccer's world governing body imposed on the club for infractions related to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18. Besides fining the club 450,000 Swiss francs ($508,000), the FIFA Disciplinary Committee barred Barça from signing players for two complete and consecutive transfer periods.

Football: Barcelona to appeal FIFA transfer ban

Barcelona are to appeal a one-year ban on signing players imposed by FIFA for a "serious" breach of rules in the signing under-age players, the club announced on Wednesday. The sanction is related to the signing of 10 players under the age of 18 between 2009 and 2013 with football's governing body also finding the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) guilty of improper practice. "FC Barcelona will present an appeal to FIFA and if need be will take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)," the club said in a statement released on their website.

Football: Five problems a transfer ban causes Barcelona

Spanish giants Barcelona were hit by a one-year transfer ban from football's governing body FIFA on Wednesday for "serious" breaches of rules in acquiring under-age players. Here, AFP sports looks at what problems the Catalans could face should the sanction be upheld. - Can't replace Valdes or Puyol This summer's transfer window was already set to the be the most important in Barca's recent history as captain Carles Puyol and veteran goalkeeper Victor Valdes have indicated their intention to leave the club in June.

Football: Five problems a transfer ban causes Barcelona

Spanish giants Barcelona were hit by a one-year transfer ban from football's governing body FIFA on Wednesday for "serious" breaches of rules in acquiring under-age players. Here, AFP sports looks at what problems the Catalans could face should the sanction be upheld. - Can't replace Valdes or Puyol This summer's transfer window was already set to the be the most important in Barca's recent history as captain Carles Puyol and veteran goalkeeper Victor Valdes have indicated their intention to leave the club in June.

Barça, Spanish federation fined for int'l transfers of minors

International Sports Desk, Apr 2 (EFE).- The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has fined the Royal Spanish Soccer Federation, or RFEF, and FC Barcelona 500,000 Swiss francs ($565,000) and 450,000 Swiss francs ($508,000), respectively, for infractions related to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.

Barça struggles at home against Atletico Madrid

Barcelona, Apr 1 (EFE).- FC Barcelona had to come from behind Tuesday at the Nou Camp to salvage a 1-1 draw with visiting Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal. Atleti and Barça, currently first and second in La Liga, have played to a tie in their last four matches. The away goal for Atletico means that Gerardo "Tata" Martino's charges must score in next week's second leg at Madrid's Vicente Calderon stadium. Barcelona defender Gerard Pique and Atletico striker Diego Costa left Tuesday's match in the first half due to injury.

Football: Barca, Atletico bosses content despite drawing once more

Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino believes his side did everything in their power to break down a dogged Atletico Madrid as they were held 1-1 at the Camp Nou in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday. Diego Ribas had put Atletico in front with a wonder strike 11 minutes into the second-half, but Barcelona responded 19 minutes from time when Neymar swept home Andres Iniesta's sublime through ball.
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