Friday, May 19, 2017

WADA insists on Isinbayeva removal as Russia Anti-Doping head

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) have insisted that double Olympic gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva must be removed as Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) chair if the country is to be ruled compliant with the Agency's codes,

Rusada was ruled non-compliant in 2015, with Wada stating it needs to meet four demands, including the removal of Isinbayeva.

The two-time Olympic pole vault champion,however was critical of the IAAF decision to ban Russian athletes.

An independent Wada report found Russia had conducted state-sponsored doping.

Their athletes were subsequently banned from taking part in the athletics competition at Rio 2016, although Darya Klishina was allowed to compete in the long jump.

Other changes being demanded by Wada include drug testers being allowed access to closed cities, where athletes continue to find sanctuary from testing; access to athlete biological passports and the implementation of a conflict of interest policy.

It also announced the creation of a new independent testing body that would operate under Swiss jurisdiction.

It would be operational in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

FA introduces ban for diving

Diving is now officially outlawed in English football as players will be punished for the deceptive act from next season under new Football Association regulations.

Under the new rules, passed by the country's football governing body at its annual general meeting on Thursday, a panel will review footage each Monday looking for cases of simulation.

Any player who is found to be guilty of diving would be banned.

The FA defines the new offence for which players will be punished as "successful deception of a match official".

Only incidents that result in a player winning a penalty or lead to an opponent being sent off - through either a direct red card or two yellow cards - will be punished.

The FA says it will act "where there is clear and overwhelming evidence to suggest a match official has been deceived by an act of simulation, and as a direct result, the offending player's team has been awarded a penalty and/or an opposing player has been dismissed".
Its panel will consist of one former match official, one ex-manager and one ex-player.

The announcement follows what the FA said was "a period of consultation with stakeholders over the past few months".

The rule change also required approval from the Premier League, the EFL and the Professional Footballers' Association.

Soyrce: BBC

Friday, May 05, 2017

FIFA lifts Messi's four match ban after successful appeal

Lionel Messi will be available for Argentina's four crucial World Cup qualifiers against after FIFA's Appeal Committee lifted his four-game suspension from international matches.

Messi was punished by the disciplinary committee of the world football governing body for allegedly using "insulting words" at an assistant referee during a 1-0 win over Chile in March.

He missed one match - Argentina's 2-0 World Cup qualifying loss to Bolivia.

The Barcelona forward and Argentina appealed the ban and on Thursday his lawyer, Juan de Dios Crespo, and representatives from the Argentine Football Association (AFA) appeared at a hearing in Zurich.

"The FIFA Appeal Committee has upheld the appeal lodged by the Argentine Football Association, on behalf of the player Lionel Messi, against the decision taken by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, lifting the sanctions imposed on him as a result," a statement confirmed Friday.

"Despite the fact that the FIFA Appeal Committee considered Lionel Messi's behaviour as reproachable, the former concluded that the evidence available was not sufficient to establish to the appropriate standard, i.e. to the comfortable satisfaction of the members of the Appeal Committee, that art. 77 a) of the FDC, according to which the Disciplinary Committee is responsible for sanctioning serious infringements which have escaped the match officials' attention, could be applied.

"In view of the above decision, the match suspension imposed on Lionel Messi, which entered into force on 28 March 2017, and the fine of 10,000 Swiss francs have been lifted."

The availability of Messi is vital for Argentina in their quest to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with the Albiceleste's presence in Russia far from certain as things stand.

They are currently fifth in the standings with just four games to go -- which would only be enough to earn them a playoff place -- and trail Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and Chile.
Argentina's next World Cup qualifier is against Luis Suarez's Uruguay on Aug. 31.

They then play Venezuela on Sept. 5 and Peru on Oct. 5, all games for which Messi was due to be suspended.

Messi was expected to appear in Zurich himself on Thursday but eventually did not attend the hearing, citing 'personal reasons,' although it is possible he appeared via video link to declare.

Speaking after the hearing, Messi's lawyer De Dios Crespo couldn't confirm if that was the case, but did reveal his optimism at getting the ban overturned: "I think we did a very good job. We are optimistic based upon a job well done.

"I can't discuss the case right now. In a few days I will be able to give you all the details. But now I cannot tell you whether or not there was videoconferencing.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Chinese club confident of signing Costa

Chinese Super League side's, Tianjin Quanjian are confident they will sign Diego Costa from Chelsea this summer.

The club's billionaire owner, Shu Yuhui revealed to the Chinese media he has verbally agreed deals with "two or three stars".

According to Sky Sports, Costa remains Tianjin's No 1 target after their previous attempts to lure the player to Asia failed at the start of the year.

They are willing to more than quadruple the Spain international's wages and make him the world's best-paid player.

The 28 year old former Atletico Madrid forward has produced his best scoring return of his three campaigns at Stamford Bridge this season.

Although he trails Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane in the Premier League scorer charts, Costa's overall haul of 24 in all competitions eclipses previous totals of 21 and 16 goals.

The striker is contracted with Chelsea for another two years but Tianjin's interest in him has not wavered and they appear set to attempt to push a deal through.

Rugby player injured spinal cord after swimming pool accident

Newport Gwent Dragons forward Ed Jackson has revealed he suffered a serious spinal injury after diving into the shallow end of a swimming pool.

He was injured at a friend's barbecue on 8 April and remains in hospital.

Jackson, who is 28 year old, underwent neck surgery for what his region at the time described as a "non-rugby related injury" on facebook.

"After hitting my head on the bottom I realised I couldn't swim to the surface because I'd lost movement in my legs and power in my arms," Jackson said.

Jackson, who has also played for Bath, Wasps, London Welsh and Doncaster Knights, said his father - a retired GP - and a friend realised immediately something was wrong.

They pulled him to the surface and stabilised him until the ambulance arrived to take him to Southmead Hospital in Bristol.

"After a number of MRI scans and X-Rays the Drs decided to operate at 2am to stabilise my neck as pressure was being put on my spinal cord,"

Jackson added in a Facebook post.
"In surgery they removed my shattered disc, relocated my vertebrae and fixed it in place with a metal plate.

"I woke up in ICU, luckily completely coherent, however no feeling below my neck other than limited movement in my right arm."

Jackson has made 36 appearances for the Dragons since joining from Wasps in 2015 and signed a contract extension with the region in December.

Credit : BBC

FIBA to allow hijab in Basketball

Basketball governing body, FIBA will now allow female players to wear the hijab during matches after changing rules on headgear.

Previous rules had banned the practice, over what world basketball governing body Fiba said was a safety issue.

On Thursday, new rules were ratified that will take effect from 1 October.

"The new rule comes as a result of the fact that traditional dress codes in some countries - which called for the head and/or entire body being covered - were incompatible with previous headgear rules," a Fiba statement read.

Fiba began a revision process of its headgear rule in September 2014, with exceptions being granted at national level as part of a two-year testing period.

The Qatar women's team withdrew from the 2014 Asian Games after being denied permission to wear the hijab - a head covering worn by many Muslim women.

Source : BBC

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Muntari handed a match ban for racism protest

Ghana football star Sulleyman Muntari has been banned for one match after walking off the pitch at Cagliari on Sunday following racist abuse from the home crowd.

Muntari, who plays for Pescara, was booked for complaining to the referee about the abuse, before walking off the pitch and earning a second yellow card .

The disciplinary committee of Serie A added that no action would be taken against
Cagliari over the incident.

The committee described the chanting as deplorable but claimed that “an approximate number of only 10” individuals were involved, not enough to warrant a punishment against the club under Serie A rules.

The former Inter Milan midfielder said he suffered abuse throughout his side’s 1-0 defeat at Cagliari but was booked for dissent when he asked referee Daniele Minelli to stop the game in the 90th minute, and left the field in stoppage time.

“[The referee] told me I should not talk to the crowd,” Muntari said after the game. I asked him if he had heard the insults. I insisted that he must have the courage to stop the game,” he added.
“The referee should not just stay on the field and blow the whistle, he must do everything. He should be aware of these things and set an example.”

The world football players' union Fifpro had earlier called for Muntari's punishment to be rescinded - though it was then unaware the player had been given a second yellow card and sent off.

"Muntari was well within his rights to approach the referee," said a Fifpro statement.

"Players should feel comfortable bringing any issue to the attention of the referee, especially one as significant as allegations of racism in the workplace.

"We urge Italian authorities to hear Muntari's version of events, investigate why the situation was mismanaged, and take firm.

Ex-Portsmouth and Sunderland player Muntari was playing for AC Milan when then team-mate Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the pitch because of racist chanting during a friendly with lower-league side Pro Patria in January 2013.

Boateng has since tweeted his support to Muntari, saying he is "so proud" of his former team-mate.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Robbed delighted after meeting Cruyff's ten league title landmarks

Arjen Robben is now in the same level with legendary countryman Johan Cruyff on 10 career league titles as Bayern Munich clinched a record fifth successive Bundesliga crown at the weekend.

The Netherlands captain told reporters after Bayern had sealed the title with a 6-0 win at Wolfsburg: "I've just read that I've equalled the greatest footballer of all time in Holland.

"We both now have 10 league titles -- it's not bad to be on the same level as him."

Thirty three year old Robben won the 2010 Bundesliga with Bayern in addition to the run of five in succession.

He has also collected two Premier League crowns with Chelsea, a La Liga success at Real Madrid and the Dutch Eredivisie title.

Cruyff, who died in Barcelona last year, won nine league titles in the Netherlands -- eight with Ajax and one with Feyenoord -- as well as a La Liga championship with Barcelona in 1974.

However, Robben felt Bayern's achievements were being undervalued and added: "Everyone says at the start of the season Bayern will win the title anyway, but you still have to do it.

"That is always difficult. We have to work hard for it and never receive any gifts. We've done that very well. A title is a title. Why can't we enjoy it?"

Bayern were beaten by Real Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals, with several key decisions angering them, and lost to Borussia Dortmund in the DFB Pokal semifinal last week.

"We unfortunately exited the German Cup, but we were solely to blame for that," Robben said.

"However, it wasn't just down to us in the Champions League. We should really have an important game next week, but we can't change that. That's football."

France's referee body not happy with PSG's chairman over comments

The Syndicate for Elite Referees in France (SAFE) are not happy with Paris Saint-Germain chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi over comments he made about the refereeing in Sunday's 3-1 Ligue 1 defeat at Nice

Nice defeated PSG comfortably and the visitors also had Thiago Motta and Angel Di Maria sent off late on.

Referee Ruddy Buquet controversially denied Julian Draxler what looked like a clear penalty and appeared to lose control of proceedings at the Allianz Riviera on a number of occasions.

Al-Khelaifi was caught on camera telling the official: "Thank you, sir, for killing the match. Bravo, bravo!"

He later spoke with reporters and said that although he was at a loss for words to describe the refereeing, Nice deserved to beat his PSG team.

"It is a heavy defeat, so we are disappointed," Al-Khelaifi said. "If we need to improve, then the referee needs to as well. It really was... I do not know.

"We did not lose because of the referee, I am not saying that. However, in general, the level of refereeing in Ligue 1 needs to improve because it really is a nightmare. I am not talking about this match or the red cards."

The SAFE has since responded and questioned Al-Khelaifi's comments, expressing its hope that things do not get out of hand in the final few weeks of the Ligue 1 season.

"How can we not question such comments?" read a SAFE statement. "While he did recognise his team's weaknesses and the superiority of their opponents, the PSG president branded the refereeing 'a nightmare' -- an old recipe that does not solve anything as many of his counterparts have proved in the past.

"The SAFE wants to see responsible behaviour and thinking during this end of season run-in, with tensions running high on and off the pitch. We do not want to see matches played behind closed doors, under surveillance or relocated over simple sporting issues."

PSG are now three points behind Monaco at the top of Ligue 1 with three matches remaining and the leaders have a game in hand over their rivals from the capital.

Monaco are currently on course to be crowned champions for the first time since 2000, which would mean PSG not winning the title for the first time since Montpellier came out on top in 2012

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Joshua knocks out Klitschko in 11th round

Nigeria born Briton Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua added the WBA world heavyweight title to his IBF crown after an enthralling knockout win over Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium.

Over 90,000 fans were treated to a see-saw contest wherein Joshua knocked down the former unified world champion in the fifth round, before being put down - for the first time in his 19-fight career - in the sixth.

Both men looked in danger of being stopped over two rounds which will live long in the memory, before Joshua delivered the clinical blows in the 11th.

Joshua landed a brutal uppercut which gave him the platform to send Klitschko down with an immediate flurry.

The Ukrainian stood, was dropped by a left hook again moments later, then stood again, only for referee David Fields to save him when pinned against the ropes.

At the time of the stoppage, Joshua was up 96-93 and 95-93 on two cards, with Klitschko 95-93 up on the other.

Joshua threw his arms into the air as roars rolled down the Wembley tiers.

He had come through his stiffest test to date, while Klitschko had answered questions of his own, showing he remains competitive at world level, even at 41.

The Ukrainian had knocked down Joshua in the 6th round after he was knocked down by the Brit in the previous round.

It was an epic fight.

The Nigerian-Brit afterwards spoke to BBC: "I knew it was possible to hurt him, but I am learning round by round. I'm learning under the bright lights.
"I don't come to box, I come to hurt people. With all due respect, I came to hurt him.
"At the end of the day, I figured out what I had to do and got him done.
"I'm coming back to Wembley. I'll look forward to seeing you here again.
"There's been many a time in training when we go into the 11th round and I'm tired but I know I have to keep it up because I have to go the distance.
"I showed tonight that fights are won in the gym. It gets tough and boxing isn't easy. You have to have the whole package."

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Manchester United, LMC to honour Calabar electrocuted fans

Manchester United will honour fans of the club who died in Calabar, Nigeria by wearing black armbands in Sunday's Premier League game against Swansea.

Thirty fans of Manchester United (Cross River state officials insists it's seven fans) were electrocuted when a high voltage pole fell on the viewing centre where they were watching the club play a Europa League game against Anderlecht.

The club revealed the plans via their official Twitter page.

The #MUFC players will wear black armbands on Sunday in memory of the seven fans who lost their lives recently in Calabar, Nigeria. pic.twitter.com/iTvsZkbXqt
- Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 28, 2017

The League Management Company (LMC) organiser of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL)  will also honour the fans during a rescheduled league match between champions Rangers and Kano Pillars in Enugu.

Both clubs have been directed to wear black armbands, and to serve a minute's silence before kickoff, according to a statement from the League Management Company.

"Our sympathy at the NPFL goes to the families of the dead fans and we pray that their souls rest in peace.

They will be honoured during our rescheduled game between Rangers and Pillars in Enugu this Sunday," LMC chairman Shehu Dikko stated.

"Football is a universal game driving passion in men, women, boys, girls, the rich and the poor hence we have to commiserate with the unfortunate 30 who could also have died in a stadium."

Mbappe will sign for Arsenal - Pires

Arsenal legend Robert Pires believes Kylian Mbappe "will sign" for the club in the coming summer transfer window.

According to Pires, the Monaco sensation would greatly benefit from a move to Arsenal and Wenger is the best man to manage him.

Eighteen year old Mbappe is considered to be one of the top, young prospects in world football because of his marvelous form in Monaco's run to the Champions League semifinals.

And Pires, who played with Henry on Arsene Wenger's "Invincibles" teams in the early 2000s, believes that Arsenal is the best place for Mbappe to grow and flourish as a player.

"Mbappe has the potential to play for Arsenal and Wenger is the right manager to manage him," Pires told Bwin. "Monaco and Arsenal are very similar clubs, so it won't be much of a transition.

"I do think Arsenal will sign him. The problem is how much."

However, he cautioned that comparing the teenage sensation to former teammate Thierry Henry was premature.

"The comparison is unnecessary, he's not ready to be compared to Thierry. Mbappe is a very similar player but to compare the two players would be unfair.

"I hope that Kylian can follow in the footsteps of Thierry Henry, he has the same profile as Thierry -- quick, strong and a great finisher -- but he's very young so I would hold off on comparisons just yet."

Mbappe has scored 21 goals in all competitions for Monaco this season, including five in the Champions League, as the Ligue 1 leaders advanced past Borussia Dortmund in the last eight to set up a semifinal match with Juventus.

"Monaco have a very good chance to win the Champions League," Pires said. "They are the best team in France and in Europe, because they have the best striker in Europe at the moment, Kylian Mbappe.

Yes, we talk about Mbappe and [Radamel] Falcao but they also have Valere Germain and Thomas Lemar.

They don't have one or two players, they have a complete team."

Price is a major sticking point for Mbappe, with valuations reaching nine figures according to some reports.

And Wenger, who Pires believes will stay at the Emirates after this season, admitted recently that the 18-year-old may well be headed to a club with "more financial potential than us."

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