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Soccer roundup: Atlanta’s Martinez won’t play for Venezuela

  • Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez reacts in the first half of an MLS soccer match against the FC Cincinnati, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • Red Star's Milan Pavkov, left, duels for the ball with Bayern's Benjamin Pavard during the Champions League group B first round soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Red Star Belgrade, in Munich, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

  • Young Boys' Jean-Pierre Nsame, left, gestures after scoring his side's first goal from the penalty spot during the Europa League group G soccer match between FC Porto and Young Boys at the Dragao stadium in Porto, Portugal, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Luis Vieira)

The Associated Press
Published: 9/27/2019 10:16:42 PM
Modified: 9/27/2019 10:16:32 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela — Atlanta United striker Josef Martínez says he will not play for Venezuela’s national team as long as Rafael Dudamel is the coach.

Martinez posted a statement on Instagram on Friday shortly after Venezuela’s soccer federation announced a 32-player squad for upcoming friendlies against Bolivia and Trinidad and Tobago. Martinez was not included in the squad despite having scored 26 goals in the MLS this season.

Martínez said he made the decision because of “an increasingly deteriorating professional relationship” with Dudamel but said he still hopes to play for the national team again one day.

Brazil: Four coaches sacked in 24 hours

SAO PAULO — Four coaches in Brazil’s top flight have been fired in a 24-hour span due to bad results in recent weeks.

Fluminense’s Oswaldo de Oliveira was fired on Friday after insulting his club’s fans after a 1-1 draw with Santos at the Maracana stadium. During that Thursday night game, Fluminense fans chanted the name of coach Cuca, who had left Sao Paulo FC hours earlier, apparently wanting him to replace Oliveira.

Sao Paulo, meanwhile, hired Fernando Diniz as Cuca’s replacement despite the club’s fans having called for Rogerio Ceni, who also lost his job at Cruzeiro on Thursday evening.

Ceni is reportedly returning to Fortaleza, which fired coach Ze Ricardo on Thursday.

UEFA punishes Red Star for racism

NYON, Switzerland — UEFA has punished Red Star Belgrade for the latest “racist behavior” by its fans, and banned the club from selling tickets to its fans for a Champions League game at Tottenham.

UEFA said on Friday its disciplinary panel found the charge proven against the Serbian champion at a qualifying rounds game against HJK Helsinki in Finland in July.

Red Star cannot sell tickets for its next Group B away game, in London on Oct. 22, and was fined $54,600.

The UEFA punishment follows similar fan incidents last season. Charges of racist behavior, illicit chants and crowd disorder led to Red Star playing a home playoff game in an empty stadium and being barred from selling tickets to two group-stage games away from home.

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