• The Christmastime standings were not kind to fans of title races, as the championships are all but decided in four of Europe’s big five leagues. Manchester City has won 18 consecutive games and will cruise to the English title. Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain all have leads of nine points or more and should do the same in their respective countries. Only Italy, where one point separates Napoli and Juventus at the top, has a title race.
• Russian World Cup organizing committee chairman Vitaly Mutko has stepped down after the IOC banned him from the Olympics in connection with a doping scandal. FIFA had originally announced that Mutko would continue in his position, but he departed as both the overseer of the Russian soccer governing body and as the head of the World Cup committee, apparently to spare FIFA and Russia further criticism.
• Two South American soccer officials were convicted of racketeering charges in New York in connection with the FIFA bribery scandal. Jose Maria Marin, former president of Brazil’s governing body, and Juan Angel Napout, former president of Paraguay’s, were both convicted of racketeering and wire fraud. The fate of a third defendant, former Peru soccer President Manuel Burga, is yet to be decided.