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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spouses, Visas and Abstinence

SANTA CRUZ, California -- Russian team officials have accused U.S. authorities of delaying visas for part of their World Cup delegation, mostly players' wives. "This is not understandable," Russian head coach Pavel Sadyrin told reporters on Tuesday. "It's irritating." Alexander Turkmanov, the head of the Russian team delegation, said 12 members -- "mostly wives of the players" -- were to join the team in the United States starting Thursday, but that the U.S. embassy in Moscow had not yet issued them the visas. "There is no explanation for such a delay," Turkmanov said. "It makes us very nervous." He said a number of Russian fans who wanted to support the team were either denied or still awaiting American visas, "which explains why we don't see Russian fans in California." Sadyrin said Russia's preparations for its June 20 opener against Brazil were not affected and are "going according to the schedule." n The soccer establishment is hostile to women, says the wife of Germany's starting goalie in the latest salvo over whether sex can hurt a player's performance in World Cup play. "I find it antiquated how women are handled," Bianca Illgner told the newsmagazine Stern. She is angry about not being allowed to stay at the same hotel as her husband. Bodo Illgner defended his wife, saying he sees no logic in the rule by Germany's soccer organization forbidding wives in the players' hotel. "There's no argument supporting the separation," he said. "You only hear from everybody that it's always been that way." Brazil's coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, unsuccessfully attempted to enforce a separation policy for his team, and Roy Hodgson, the Swiss coach, tried to bar his players from having sex during the competition. n Brazilian fullback Ricardo Gomes dropped out of the World Cup on Tuesday because of a pulled muscle suffered in a warm-up game. Ronaldo, who plays for the Simuza club of Japan, will replace Gomes, 29. But the change has created another headache for coach Parreira who already knows that the Brazilian defense is the team's weak spot. On a bad day for World Cup defenders, the Dutch were concerned Tuesday about the fitness of the versatile Frank Rijkaard and center back John de Wolf who both have leg muscle injuries. Germany, meanwhile, looked certain to start its defense of the trophy Friday without rightback Thomas Strunz, who has a hamstring strain. n FIFA's Brazilian president, Joao Havelange, holds a hopeful view about soccer in America. A grandfather figure at 77, one-time Olympic athlete and sophisticated businessman, Havelange could not have been more pleased than in 1987 when the United States made a viable bid for the 1994 World Cup after making a loose-ended one in 1983 for the '90 finals. FIFA wanted to come; its executive committee voted for the United States over Morocco and Brazil. "If we are successful in pioneering North America, we will open up a whole new industry," Havelange said. "We need to open up this new frontier." (AP, Reuters, Washington Post)