RelatedPosts Super Eagles soar on FIFA ranking COVID-19: FIFA count cost to football Blatter faces probe in Switzerland World football ruling body FIFA on Monday filed claims in a court in Switzerland seeking to recover two million Swiss francs (about £1.56 million) from former French football star Michel Platini. It said the money was paid inappropriately by ex-FIFA President Sepp Blatter to Platini. “FIFA has today filed claims in the relevant Swiss courts against former FIFA President Joseph Blatter and former FIFA Vice-President Michel Platini, seeking restitution of the two million francs unduly paid to Platini back in February 2011,” FIFA said. It added it was “duty-bound to try to recover the funds illicitly paid by one former official to another”. Blatter and Platini, who could not immediately be reached for comments, have maintained they did nothing wrong. This has come amid what became part of the biggest corruption scandal to shake the world football body, resulting in numerous prosecutions and convictions in the US. Both men were banned from football in late 2015 over the payment made to the Frenchman by FIFA with Blatter’s approval in 2011 for work he had done a decade earlier. Platini, the head of European football body UEFA from 2007 to 2015, was originally banned from all football-related activities for eight years. The Court of Arbitration for Sport later reduced the suspension to four years, with his ban ending this year. Blatter’s ban was reduced from eight years to six, a period later upheld by CAS. This was a decision which concluded that the now-83-year-old had “breached the FIFA Code of Ethics since the payment amounted to an undue gift as it had no contractual basis”.Tags: FIFAMichel PlatiniSepp Blatter
RelatedPosts Nigeria’s No. 2 badminton player sets sight on Olympics If we don’t have Tokyo Games, we’re unlikely to have Beijing 2022 — IOC member Tokyo Governor wants Olympics to go ahead as symbol of overcoming COVID-19 Ahmed Khanou, the President of the Confederation of Africa Volleyball and Chairman of Beach Volleyball Commission, says they are not expecting all the participating countries in the Group C of the second phase of the Beach Volleyball Olympics qualifiers in Nigeria due the health emergency situation in the country. Khanou told newsmen on Thursday in Abuja that only Zambia arrived for the competition. He said: “We have two withdrawals from the indication; we are not expecting all the countries to be around because of the health emergency on ground. “Whatever that will happen, the competition will hold. “It will then depend on the number of countries that are available. “Zambian team just arrived. “We are still expecting other teams to arrive. “We are expecting five countries in Abuja. “Five female teams to be competing for two slots in the final – Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Cape Verde and the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Khanou said the continental cup is actually the pathway of qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics games. He said: “There are three phases to this competition. “The CAVB registered a total number of 36 countries. “The zonal phase ended in January and March is the second phase, which is definitely the qualifications to the finals.” The News Agency reports that the beach volleyball qualifying tournament will take place from Wednesday to Sunday at the Jabi Lake Beach in Abuja.Tags: Ahmed KhanouConfederation of Africa Volleyballolympics
RelatedPosts Electorate, observer commend conduct of election in Edo WTO leadership race: Okonjo-Iweala, four others advance to second round of election No timetable yet for Anambra FA elections — Caretaker Committee The Nigeria Football Federation on Monday constituted a six-man caretaker committee to steer the affairs of Anambra State Football Association for the next three months in the first instance.This came less than 24 hours after the Jude Anyadufu-led electoral committee set up late May concluded its task on August 2 with a virtual election, which returned Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, the incumbent Chairman, for second term. In a statement on Monday, the NFF said the caretaker committee became inevitable following the expiration of the tenure of the Ubah-led board on July 28 and the inability of the electoral committee to conduct the elections.It would be recalled that the board and local football council elections were scheduled to hold on July 27 and July 28 before the Anambra State Government ordered the suspension of the exercise on July 25, citing breach of COVID-19 safety protocols.The NFF said the caretaker committee, led by Emmanuel Okeke, had the mandate to conduct elections into the board and the LFCs between August 4, when their appointment became effective, and November 2, when it would elapse.The interim committee would be inaugurated on August 5.The NFF said in the statement on Tuesday: “Recall that the tenure of the Board of Anambra State Football Association and the Anambra State Local Football Councils elapsed by effluxion of time on April 30 and May 2 respectively. “Arising from the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and the general lockdown, including football activities, the ASFA Congress was convened on April 28 leading to the extension of tenure of the Board and the LFCs, for another three months, which again expired on August 2.“The Electoral Committee was unable to conduct elections into the Board of ASFA and LCF on July 27 in view of the Anambra State Government’s letter to the Electoral Committee complaining of the violation of the COVID-19 protocols of the State.“Art. 85 of the NFF Statutes 2010 provides that ‘the Executive Committee shall have the final decision on any matter not provided for in the Statutes or in cases of force majeure.“Consequently, the Executive Committee of the NFF in its wisdom, and in order not to create a vacuum do hereby constitute a Caretaker Committee for ASFA as follows: Emmanuel Okeke, Chairman and Victor Nwangwu, Vice Chairman.“Others are Nonso Philip, Member; Charity Okonkwo, Member; Onyeabo Chimezie, Member and Onyedika Chijioke Secretary. “The Caretaker Committee is to administer the activities of the Anambra State Football Association and also conduct elections into the Board of ASFA and LFCs within three months, effective from August 4 to November 2.”Tags: Anambra State Football AssociationANFACaretaker committeeelectionNFFNigeria Football Federation
Press Association Goals from Christian Benteke and Charles N’Zogbia put Villa in control and all West Ham could manage in reply was an Ashley Westwood own goal as the home side held on for a 2-1 triumph. It was Villa’s first win in nine league games after collecting only three points from the previous 24 available. Lambert admitted: “It’s only great when you hear that whistle and you’ve won. It’s the only good thing about it. The stress levels are ridiculous. It’s hard to explain. You have to be in that position. Balls are going into your box. But once it’s finished it’s great you have won. You just have to see it through.” He went on: “It’s a huge win for us. We have been in positions of being goals up in a right few games. If we had taken more points from those, we’d be comfortably in mid-table. But the pleasing thing is we have hopefully broken the camel’s back with that.” All the goals came late in the match. Benteke scored the opener from the penalty spot after 74 minutes before a stunning free-kick from N’Zogbia put them in control four minutes later. Lambert said: “The free-kick was world-class, an absolute world-class goal. He’s got that in him. He’s a really talented footballer. To be fair, over the last couple of months, Charles has been excellent. He was unlucky because he had a bad injury with his knee. “That kept him out for six weeks or so. Since he’s come back into the fold he’s been excellent. He has been very good. He’s got that X-Factor. These type of players are not easy to come by.” West Ham have now lost five successive away games and manager Sam Allardyce was again rueing missed chances. They were handed a life line by Westwood’s late own goal and then in the final moments Villa keeper Brad Guzan pulled off two fine saves to deny Kevin Nolan and Carlton Cole. Allardyce said: “I thought we had saved it but we should never have been in that position. That’s the biggest disappointment. We should never have got ourselves in a losing position because we’d created the chances. We can’t play any better than we played. “We then created the chances to get ourselves back to 2-2 and we failed to do so and that’s been our problem away from home this season. It was a great free kick from Charles N’Zogbia so we can’t criticise that too much. The overall situation was disappointing because of the way we played.” Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert spoke of his relief at a “huge win” over West Ham which moved the midlands club out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.
The 25-year-old Belgium international and his team-mates find themselves in desperate trouble as they attempt to avoid an unexpected departure from the Barclays Premier League with new manager Paolo Di Canio having been handed the task of dragging them clear from trouble. They head for arch-rivals Newcastle on Sunday and then face Everton on April 20. However, Mignolet is adamant that each of their remaining six games must be tackled in isolation, and he said: “As a professional footballer, we can’t think about that. We can’t think about what’s going to happen in the Everton game or the game after that, or what’s going to happen at the end of the season.” He added: “Now we have to focus and get ourselves ready for the game against Newcastle because there are three points to win, three points to lose. “I know obviously it’s a derby game and there is much more at stake than only the three points, but as a football players, you can’t think of that because that’s not important at this moment. Points are far more important, and therefore we have to focus ourselves on that and nothing else.” The Black Cats are on the back of a nerve-shredding nine-game winless run which has brought them just three points, and with the Magpies themselves needing another victory to all but ensure their place in the top flight next season, the derby stakes have rarely been higher. Recent Tyne-Wear derbies have unfolded between fine margins, Sunderland’s 5-1 drubbing at St James’ in October 2010 aside, and fortune often plays its part. Sunderland have suffered luck of the unwelcome kind in their past two games with Titus Bramble’s own goal handing Manchester United victory at the Stadium of Light, while a Matt Kilgallon deflection and a Branislav Ivanovic winner – which the defender appeared to know little about – assured Chelsea of the points at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. However, Mignolet believes only he and his team-mates can change that, and he said: “When you are in the position we are, those things go against you. But there is no such thing as luck in football, you just force that yourself. Let’s make sure we force the luck our way against Newcastle because that’s very important. “If we can get the three points there, there are still 15 points to play for.” Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had warned Sunderland they cannot allow the pressure of a relegation scrap get to them if they are to survive. Press Association
Press Association The trophy is yet to be handed out – yet Sir Alex Ferguson already has a steely glare on next year’s Premier League campaign. In an interview for the official Manchester United magazine, Ferguson has confirmed the Red Devils will be “competitive” in the transfer market this summer, even if they lack the funds to match Chelsea and Manchester City. “We’re not Chelsea or Manchester City in terms of money but we’re competitive,” Ferguson told Inside United. “We’ve been doing a bit of work over the last three or four months, targeting who the players are that we feel could enhance us, make us better or help us maintain the level we’re at. Hopefully the players we bring into the club in the next year or so will be of the quality we need.” That planning is already under way is no surprise to former United skipper Bryan Robson, who was invited into Ferguson’s inner sanctum in the immediate aftermath of that championship-sealing triumph over Aston Villa last week. “I was in Sir Alex’s office on Monday night after the Villa game,” said Robson. “He is talking to me about next year, and how he is going to improve things to make sure they are better again. “That is what he is like. He is not even celebrating the night. He is thinking about next year.” Ferguson coined the phrase ‘unique freak’ to sum up Ryan Giggs’ 13th title triumph. Yet the exact same words could sum up his own drive and determination, which for a 71-year-old, Robson accepts is simply astonishing. “He is so used to it, it is almost like he is immune,” said Robson. “You are not talking about managing somewhere normal. It was bad enough at Middlesbrough and West Brom where I was. But they are smaller clubs compared to Manchester United. “Yet he seems to thrive on it. That is what makes him as good as he is.”
Bookmakers have unanimously installed David Moyes the odds-on favourite to replace Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United manager. Press Association “Nine out of every 10 bets we are taking are being placed on Moyes but we can’t be sure if this is a public reaction to the wall-to-wall media coverage which has put Moyes as a clear front runner or more informed money based on insider knowledge,” said Simon Clare of Coral. “These next manager markets can take on a rollercoaster-style life of their own, but if money talks than David Moyes is about to be given the biggest job in football.” Ladbrokes earlier installed Mourinho as their favourite at a price of 5/4, but they later joined their rivals in moving the Portuguese out to 4/1 as interest in Moyes increased. Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp is regarded as the third favourite for most bookmakers, with Betfred offering odds of 12/1. Former United players Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (20/1) and Laurent Blanc (33/1) are also attracting some outside interest. Coral playfully offer referee Howard Webb at odds of 1000/1 after he attracted Ferguson’s ire in last weekend’s defeat to Chelsea, while Liverpool legends Robbie Fowler (500/1, Bet Victor) and Kenny Dalglish (250/1, Sportingbet) are also available to those eager to throw their money away. United confirmed on Wednesday that Ferguson is to stand down at the end of the season, ending his trophy-laden 26-and-a-half-year reign at Old Trafford. Bets on Everton boss Moyes surged in the wake of Wednesday’s confirmation, the Scot coming in to 1/5 favourite with Coral from 7/4. Jose Mourinho had been neck-and-neck in the betting, but the rush on Moyes has seen the pendulum swing, the Real Madrid boss now at 4/1 with a number of bookies, including Bet365, Skybet and Victor Chandler.
It has now been confirmed City will play Balotelli’s current club AC Milan in their semi-final at the four-team Audi Cup in Munich in July and August. The controversial Balotelli left City in January after an eventful two-and-a-half-year spell at the Etihad Stadium. Hosts Bayern Munich and Brazilian club Sao Paulo are the other clubs taking part in the two-day competition, which will see games played at the Allianz Arena on July 31 and August 1. Another former City player, Nigel de Jong, could also be in action for Milan while Jerome Boateng, also once of the English side, now plays for European champions Bayern. City also take part in the Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong in July along with Tottenham, Sunderland and South China FC. Their pre-season programme also includes games in South Africa and a friendly against Arsenal in Helsinki. Press Association Manchester City face a possible reunion with former striker Mario Balotelli in Germany this summer.
Mr Cracker heads for the field for Friday’s thetote.com Galway Plate Trial Handicap Chase at Down Royal. The Jessica Harrington-trained Bob Le Beau, a former Group-placed runner on the Flat, tries to make it second-time lucky over obstables in the Taste @downroyal Maiden Hurdle. Sweet My Lord was brought down on his most recent hurdles run at Kilbeggan but will try to claim compensation in the Gibson Hotel Hurdle. His trainer Willie Mullins has a strong hand on the card with Tasitiocht in the opening www.thetote.com Mares Hurdle and Well Read Man in the Mencap Flat Race. Michael Hourigan’s charge had the reopposing Uncle Tom Cobley behind in second at Listowel last time while Shot From The Hip could finish only seventh but tries his luck again. Moon Dice, the 2011 Galway Hurdle hero, goes for glory after winning one of his four starts over fences to date while Carlito Brigante represents Gordon Elliott. Press Association
Hamburg have signed Switzerland defender Johan Djourou on loan from Arsenal. Djourou said on Hamburg’s official website: “I’m very happy now that everything is sorted. HSV are a big club, with a lot of quality and great fans. “I am convinced that this is the right step for my career.” Hamburg’s director of sport Oliver Kreuzer said: “Johan was a priority as the defence is a very important part of our team. He has leadership qualities but is also fast, good in the air and very good on the ball.” The versatile Ivory Coast-born defender joined Arsenal as a 16-year-old in 2003 and has made 144 appearances for the Gunners. Press Association The 26-year-old has moved to Hamburg on an initial one-year loan deal with the Bundesliga club having the option to make the move permanent next summer. Djourou, who undertook his medical with the northern Germany club on Monday morning before putting pen to paper on his contract, spent the second half of last season on loan with Hamburg’s Bundesliga rivals Hannover after joining during the January transfer window.