The Republic of Ireland are to host China and Italy at Lansdowne Road. Brian Kerr's side will face China on 29 March, three days after the Republic play Israel in a World Cup qualifier in Tel Aviv. Italy will visit on 17 August, as a warm-up to the qualifying matches in the autumn.
The Lithuanian businessman Vladimir Romanov has taken effective control of Hearts after buying a 19.6 per cent stake in the club. Romanov was one of the founders of the Lithuanian champions, Kaunas, and said in September he would bring in the former Russian manager, Anatoly Byshovets, as sporting director if he gained control.
Juventus' general director, Luciano Moggi, has revealed the club came close to signing striker Adrian Mutu last summer. The Romanian international could have arrived in Turin last summer had Chelsea and Juve reached an agreement. "We'd asked for Mutu to be loaned to us in the summer," Moggi said. "Everything was done, but Chelsea did not respect the verbal agreement."Reuse content