Former Germany defender Philipp Lahm has denied reports he is set to come out of international retirement, insisting his decision to quit following the 2014 World Cup was final. German newspaper Bild reported that both Lahm and Per Mertesacker were considering returning to the international team after the pair ended their association following the World Cup in Brazil. But 31-year-old Lahm, who plays for Bayern Munich, told France Football: “I will not go back. Those who know me know that when I make a decision, it is final.”
FIFA President Sepp Blatter tells German magazine Bunte: “I am a religious person and pray, too. I own a golden cross that has been blessed by Pope Francis. I believe I will go to heaven one day. But I believe there is no hell. I disagree with the Pope on that.” Blatter adds: “I have a clean conscience. If somebody accuses me of being corrupt, I ask him whether he knows the meaning of that word. Whoever calls me corrupt will have to prove it, but nobody can prove that because I am not corrupt.”
Cameroon defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto has signed a one-year deal with French Ligue 1 side St Etienne. The 31-year-old has been without a club since leaving English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, where he spent nine years. He did not play at all for Tottenham in the 2014-15 season and spent the previous season on loan with Queens Park Rangers. “Officially at St Etienne so happy – back in football,” he wrote on Twitter. Assou-Ekotto has not played for Cameroon since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when he was involved in an argument with his team-mate Benjamin Moukandjo and even appeared to headbutt him.
Nigeria’s Sunday Mba has moved to Turkish second-tier side Yeni Malatyaspor from CA Bastia in France. Yeni Malatyaspor won the third division last season to earn promotion. The 26-year-old moved to French side CA Bastia in January 2014 after Nigerian club Warri Wolves rejected an offer for him six months earlier. His career has stalled since scoring the winning goal for Nigeria in the final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa. CA Bastia played in the third tier of French last season and Mba has not been a regular for the Super Eagles since 2013 and missed out on last year’s World Cup in Brazil.
The United States has asked Switzerland to extradite seven FIFA officials arrested on corruption charges in May, the Swiss authorities say. Formal extradition requests were submitted on Wednesday, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) said. The seven top FIFA executives arrested in Zurich are among 14 FIFA officials indicted on charges of “rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted” corruption. The charges follow a major inquiry by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FOJ said Zurich police, acting on its behalf, would give the seven FIFA officials a hearing over the extradition requests. The officials and their lawyers would have 14 days to respond to the request, which could be extended “if sufficient grounds exist”, the FOJ statement said. After that, the FOJ would give its decision “within a few weeks”, but that warned any ruling could be challenged in both the federal criminal court and the federal supreme court.