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Great Britain plans to enter Olympic women’s soccer qualifying

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Great Britain hopes to qualify an Olympic women’s soccer team for the first time, potentially adding a medal threat to the Tokyo Games field.

Olympic soccer is problematic for Great Britain, given its individual nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland field separate teams in FIFA play.

But FIFA said Monday it received written confirmation from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’s soccer federations confirming the intent for a Team GB in women’s soccer only.

Great Britain has entered soccer teams in one Olympics in the last 50 years — when it hosted at London 2012 and thus didn’t have to qualify — and last tried Olympic men’s qualifying for the 1972 Munich Games.

The top three European nations at the 2019 World Cup qualify for the Olympics.

Team GB’s hopes rest on England, which would have qualified for the Rio Games had a Team GB agreement been reached. It finished fourth at the 2015 World Cup and again made the semifinals of Euro 2017 and is ranked No. 3 in the world behind the U.S. and Germany.

The British women’s team — with all English players save two Scots — beat Brazil at London 2012 before falling to Canada in the quarterfinals.

The English women have since moved up from No. 9 in the world and introduced talents like defender Lucy Bronze (sixth in FIFA Player of the Year voting) and striker Jodie Taylor (Euro 2017 Golden Boot winner).

MORE: U.S. volleyball’s ‘Slugger’ goes from coaching to MVP

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IOC pledges €500,000 to help restore Notre Dame ahead of 2024 Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee plans to donate €500,000 ($562,000) to the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral in the 2024 Olympic host city.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that he wants to see Notre Dame restored within five years.

“The aim of completing the reconstruction in time for Paris 2024 will be an extra motivation for all of us,” IOC president Thomas Bach wrote in a Wednesday letter to Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet, according to a translation by Agence France-Presse, which reported Notre Dame is on the planned marathon and road cycling routes. “All the Olympic Movement and in particular the IOC have been extremely touched by the instantaneous connection the French have made between Notre Dame cathedral and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

More than $500 million has been pledged overall from around the globe after a fire ravaged the 850-year-old cathedral on Monday.

NBC News has more on the Notre Dame fire here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Patrick Kane joined by NHL All-Stars on world championship roster

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NHL All-Stars Jack EichelRyan Suter and Cory Schneider join previously named captain Patrick Kane to lead the U.S. at next month’s world hockey championship in Slovakia, seeking the nation’s first title at a standalone worlds since 1933.

Sixteen players were added to the roster in Thursday’s announcement with more to come before worlds open May 10 and more teams get eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, making more players available. The IIHF allows up to 25 players per nation.

Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill will be the U.S. head coach for a third straight worlds. The Americans lost in the quarterfinals in 2017 and earned bronze in 2018, sandwiching an Olympic quarterfinal exit in PyeongChang without NHL players.

Sweden is trying to become the first nation to three-peat at worlds since the Czech Republic in 2001.

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Preliminary IIHF World Championship Roster
Forwards

Alex DeBrincat (Chicago Blackhawks)
Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres)
Luke Glendening (Detroit Red Wings)
Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)
Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes)
Chris Kreider (New York Rangers)
Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings)
James van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia Flyers)
Frank Vatrano (Florida Panthers)
Colin White (Ottawa Senators)

Defensemen
Quinn Hughes (Vancouver Canucks)
Alec Martinez (Los Angeles Kings)
Brady Skjei (New York Rangers)
Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild)

Goalies
Thatcher Demko (Vancouver Canucks)
Cayden Primeau (Laval (AHL))
Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils)