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Ada Hegerberg: A Defiant Norwegian Sidelines World Cup over Inequality

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Ada Hegerberg: A Defiant Norwegian Sidelines World Cup over Inequality

Last updated on June 8th, 2019

Scoring three goals in a span of 16 minutes, Ada Hegerberg once again proved her mettle to the world as she took Lyon to its fourth Champions League triumph, May 18. Now, in a fight for equality, Women’s Ballon d’Or winner has said she will quit the Norwegian national team after being left “mentally broken” and suffering nightmares.

The Lyon star after winning the Ballon d’Or was asked if she knew how to ‘twerk’, which sparked controversy about football giving equal status to the women. Aggravated by such conditions and comments in her country, Hedenberg stopped playing for the Norway national team two years ago. She last played in the Euros 2017.

“I’ve always respected men’s footballers for what they earn. The gap is enormous, but at the same time you need to give young women and girls the same opportunity as the men. That’s where we need to do the change,” she said.

“There are federations, there are clubs, there are men in high positions who have that responsibility to put the women in the right place and that’s where I think, I feel, and I know, we have a long way to go,” she added.

Ada Hegerberg, who has tons of experience under her belt with more 250 career goals, has instead portrayed going to France to continue her career, ironically not as a footballer, but as a TV pundit. The 23-year-old has now decided to skip the Football World Cup too, in order to clarify that no matter what happens, she won’t support inequality.

The Norwegian association though agreed to double the remuneration for women from 3.1 million Norwegian crowns ($A509,000) to 6 million crowns ($A985,000), but the footballer has remained unmoved.

Ironically, the Lyon star hasn’t received as much attention as she should have at the first place. Contrarily, had the likes of Messi and Ronaldo ditched the idea of playing in the World Cup, the scenario would have been completely different.

Following in the same footsteps, on the eve of International Women’s Day this year, even the US national team filed a lawsuit against their governing body. The team claimed years of “institutionalized gender discrimination” in their lawsuit.

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Saudi’s Bid to Trade Newcastle Fortunes Amidst Sportswashing Calls

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Saudi’s Bid to Trade Newcastle Fortunes Amidst Sportswashing Calls

Standing on cross roads, Premier League club Newcastle United awaits the much craved glory days and are reportedly “advanced ” in their bid to initiate a transformational journey. The route is much like that of Manchester City, which rose from the rags to being amongst the riches in their squad strength today.

The Newcastle takeover that comes at a price of £340m has drawn Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), already in talks with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley for the past several months. Besides, as sources state, the chances of an accord are “high” at this time, yet “complicated” and therefore, no assurance can be given. “Ashley does not need to sell, and he is unpredictable,” a source was quoted as saying.

The interest in acquisition comes as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MbS) vision to end Arab nation’s reliance on oil and become self-reliant. The doctrine that has seen MbS spending vividly on the entertainment sector and the Gulf monarchy hosting a number of sporting events. The likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz and many more, have been staged to perform in front of the Saudi audience.

However, more than self-reliance, the Newcastle acquisition has been linked to an effort by Saudi Arabia to match steps in the West with Abu Dhabi’s Manchester City. Match with the team taken over by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 2008, which has spent billions to pocket world’s best players, renovate the training facilities, and turn the face of English Premier League.

Businesswoman and financer, Amanda Staveley has once again been involved in dealing of the soccer club, and is understood to have reached MbS about the potential purchase scheme of the club. She is currently eyeing 10 per cent of the club’s ownership, which would be owned in majority by PIF.

Reports last year said, Bin Zayed Group, representing the UAE billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan, had reached the consensus at Newcastle last year, but the takeover was never officially announced.

Newcastle has historically been one of the best attended clubs in Premier League, with each game drawing in 50,000 plus numbers last season, despite passable run. But little have the fans enjoyed, especially since Ashley took over in 2007.

Meanwhile, for Saudi Arabia, the more than potent presence in Premier League is still maintained by Sheffield United, which is owned by Saudi Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who took the club from Kevin McCabe last year. However, government funds were not involved in that transaction.

Other than Premier League, Businessman Turki al-Sheikh, the chairman of Saudi’s General Entertainment Authority, has bought Almeria in Spain’s second division.

Yet for PIF, to own a Premier League club would mark a huge achievement, or maybe even a replacement bid for Manchester United, which has been named several times in link to interest from Saudi Crown Prince. However, any approval to the deal is subject to approval from Premier League, which has already drawn in controversies.

Global Sports associations have been called out for being money-minded, whilst ignoring the country’s attempts to sportswash its human rights record. Amnesty International said, Saudi Arabia has “an appalling record on LGBT rights, women’s rights, extra-judicial killings, beheadings, the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and their involvement in the ongoing conflict in Yemen.”

Saudi Arabia has been on a spree of gathering worldwide attention, with record breaking announcements such as hosting of the Italian Super Cup, Spanish Super Cup, WWE, Dakar Rally and Formula One, which is set to host races from 2023. And now, with the possible takeover of Newcastle United, MbS’ tactics are washing the ground level reality.

Saudi is embarking on a journey that is sugar coated and has failed to answer why women’s rights activists are still jailed, why is it still involved in the killing of hundreds of Yemeni civilians, and how after marking losses for Premier league via its pirate pay television broadcaster, BeoutQ, it still managed to reach out seeking to buy one of the league’s clubs.

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Matlock Town FC Player Jordan Sinnott Dies in Suspicious Incident

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Matlock Town FC Player Jordan Sinnott Dies in Suspicious Incident

A non-league player on loan at Matlock Town FC, Jordan Sinnott died on Saturday evening after being attacked during a night out. He was found unconscious in Retford, Nottinghamshire, at about 02:00 a.m.

Sinnott suffered a suspected fractured skull and was taken to hospital in Sheffield. After being treated in a critical condition on Saturday, the 25-year-old midfielder gave up to his injuries.

Shortly after the incident, police arrested and questioned a 27-year-old man on suspicion of severe bodily harm, who remains in custody. Later, the detectives launched a murder investigation into the case, following “two large-scale disturbances” in the town.

“Mr Sinnott’s death is a sad and significant development in this investigation,” Detective Inspector Justine Wilson said. “Our investigative team’s focus will remain on identifying those responsible and bringing them to justice.”

The incident took place hours before Jordan Sinnott’s away match against Mickleover Sports. His team players found out about Sinnott’s condition after arriving for the match and “agreed it should be postponed to a future date”, said Matlock Town FC on Saturday.

Sinnott’s club also said that he was put on a life support machine and died shortly before 7:00 p.m. “His family and friends were with him at his bedside and we send our sincere condolences to them all at this very sad time,” it said.

Alfreton Town FC also postponed the matches because of “tragic and unforeseen circumstances”. Describing him as a “model footballer and an exceptional talent”, the club said it was “saddened and heartbroken”.

Jordan Sinnott, son of former footballer Lee Sinnott, joined the Matlock Town FC from National League North side Alfreton, on loan. As a youth player, he started his career at Huddersfield Town, making five appearances between 2013 and 2014, then joining non-league Altrincham FC.

Later, after his time at FC Halifax Town, he joined League Two Chesterfield for the 2017-18 season, playing in the Football League again.

The Matlock Town FC wrote on Twitter, “You weren’t just a footballer, you were our friend and brother. You gave us incredible memories and scored your first career hat-trick in your final game for the club. Rest easy Jordan, we love, miss and will never forget you.”

Jordan Sinnott’s death came after a “large-scale fight” between eight men and women in Grove Street on Friday, and another “large-scale disturbance” hours later. Two other men — a 44-year old man left with a suspected broken jaw and a 27-year old man suffered a suspected broken nose — were reportedly injured.

Football clubs are “devastated” after Sinnott’s death, while the authorities are investigating to fetch the truth behind the case.

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New Report on FFP Exposes UAE’s Man City as a Sportswashing Tool

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New Report on FFP Exposes UAE’s Man City as a Sportswashing Tool

From rock bottom to epitome, Manchester City were once a team fighting to stay in the Premier League, but today they are pretty much the invincible juggernauts of the top-flight league. Their remarkable journey indeed took a lot, a lot of money to build the top-notch empire at the Etihad stadium.

As revealed by Guardian, Manchester City were found to have made unallowable submission to UEFA over financial fair play in 2014. And reportedly also did not make their bank statement available, the scenario that meant the payments from the sponsoring companies could not be seen.

In response, the club in fact issued their online back account that held the record from past 12 months to the spring of 2013. However, the missing information from 2012 or most part of 2013, which made up the financial account for FFP was reportedly missing.

As per the investigation reports, submission for the 2012 and 2013 financial year were questioned in relation to £118.75m in sponsorships from companies in Abu Dhabi. While club’s methodology of reaching the figure over transfer fees and the formation of two new companies was also rejected.

Following which, almost £60m was added to the losses made by the club, after UEFA found issues relating to accounting methods. The revelation against Man City FFP was brought forward by UEFA consultants, who also looked in to the further accounts and concluded that the club had made losses of €180m in 2012 and 2013, hugely overboard than the €45m FFP maximum deficit allowed, given the losses were covered by an owner.

It has been six years since it surfaced that Manchester City made alteration in their financial accounts and later agreed to a deal to restrict their spending limit. Yet the new report has revealed the exact sequence of events and figures, which was never been reported before.

Besides, after the UEFA carried out the investigation, scores of people in UEFA believed that the regulatory body needed to be stricter in 2014. While a staff member who worked on the FFP case is said to have left shortly after the case.

Fast forward to November 2018, Man City are once again called for over the board. The Etihad outfit this time came to light following the publication of accounts by Germany Daily Der Spiegel. The newspaper leaked internal Man City emails and documents, which conveyed that the club owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan has been largely pumping the money into club himself, a fact unknown to UEFA.

The “adjudicatory chamber” of UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) is currently looking into the possible allegations on Manchester City, and if the panel finds it true, it could lead to City being excluded from the next seasons Champions League.

According to the leaks, FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who was then-the head of UEFA was also personally involved in the City’s settlement in 2014.
The FFP regulations which made headway in 2010-11, were introduced to keep a check on the spending limit, so European clubs did not make huge losses. Under the norms, loss cannot be reduced by owners via putting in more millions using their commercial partnerships with companies associated to the club.

However, after the takeover in 2008 by Sheikh Mansour of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, the game has completely changed and taken a sharp turn towards Man City and their spending patterns.

The move has been linked to sportswashing – an idealist attempt undertaken to deviate the attention towards sports so other major issues do not ignite negative perspective about the nation.

In the present scenario with Manchester City, rights group including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have underlined how the United Arab Emirates (UAE) wants to hide its human rights violations and contributions to the menacing wars in Yemen and Libya, to lure the western investors. And City Football Group (CFG) – a holding company that administers association football clubs under the ownership of Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) – which owns/co-owns 8 different clubs across continents is using football as a reputation management tool across the world.

Does FFP make any difference to Manchester City’s approach? The answer is clearly no, because even after huge losses and breach of financial fair play, the club has kept signing star players like Riyad Mahrez. But it also clearly means that the pious game of football is in danger of being swept away by financial bosses like Sheikh Mansour, who look sinfully indulged to build UAE’s name whilst demeaning century-old clubs that are still running in lieu of the norms regulated by UEFA.

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Scottish FA Reports Footballers Heading Ball Prone to Dementia Illness

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Scottish FA Reports Footballers Heading Ball Prone to Dementia Illness

Last updated on January 18th, 2020

A serious revelation in the field of football can possibly change the way game is played, after reports by Scottish FA linked heading the football to dementia – a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities.

As per the report, the Scottish FA’s ban to head football is to be applied in a matter of weeks on Under-12s in Scotland. The governing body which will become the first European nation to impose a restriction on head contact with football. However, such a ban is already in place in the United States since 2015.

Discussions first kicked off after the study was released in October, which concluded the first connections between former players and retrogressive symptoms of the disease. The Scottish FA’s doctor, John MacLean, who was part of the squad that learned about dementia, highlighted how ex-players are three-and-a-half times more likely to die of the disease.

Ironically, the case has been linked with the game that is often named for building tough mental and physical personalities. However, not all are convinced with how the two link up, because no solid proof still connects the heading ball to disease, to which the association doctors have said that restricting is only, but a common sense in the scenario.

“We can’t wait on the evidence one way or the other on heading. We need to take some sensible, pragmatic steps at the moment and that’s largely going to be about trying to reduce that overall burden, the overall times that young players head – and heading in training is much more common than in matches,” the doctors argued. Further explaining that their study was not designated to, and couldn’t even find out how the two are linkable.

Meanwhile, Gordon Smith, former chief executive of SFA, plaudit the Scottish FA ban while speaking on the BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme. He also said, young ones could still be taught, if lighter balls are used instead of traditional heavy weight balls.

Glasgow’s largest youth club also showed approval and welcomed the reports. While Giffnock Soccer Centre said that it has already banned heading of football across its smaller-sided squads. Hard to say how fast will the Scottish FA ban be accepted and eventually applied all across the world, but the first good step to make the game free from all possible injuries is already underway.

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Saudi Spanish Super Cup: Amnesty Calls for Release of Rights Activists

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Saudi Spanish Super Cup: Amnesty Calls for Release of Rights Activists

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has hailed the Saudi Super Cup as the revamped version of football tournament that has boosted the Spanish Super Cup. Besides, being billed as the tournament that brings in a lot money by Barcelona’s Manager Ernesto Valverde, the Spanish Cup in Saudi Arabia has made ground breaking headlines since its inception on Wednesday.

The completion that is now into its final stage will see Real Madrid face on Atletico Madrid in Sunday’s final, after Barcelona and Valencia came short in their respective semi-finals. However, on the sidelines of the tournament, Amnesty International activists protested outside the Saudi Embassy in Madrid, Wednesday.

The group of people lined up like a football team while holding scarves of each of the four clubs. They wore yellow t-shirts that called for the release of Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who has been detained for more than 600 days now. The protestants also urged people to “join our (their) team.”

On the route to become self-reliant, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has stated ideas to host major sporting events as part of Saudi Vision 2030, but they have often been labeled as attempts of ‘sportswashing’ – an activity that uses sports to refurbish a nation’s image.

As it turns out, some have stepped back from their decision to contest in the kingdom, while others have turned a blind eye to the issue.

“For decades in Saudi Arabia, women have been subjected to repressive laws that have imposed restrictions on their rights to travel independently, work or study, which limits various aspects of their lives,” Amnesty International said in a statement.

“Faced with this situation, many activists have raised their voices. One of them is Loujain al-Hathloul … one of 11 activists who are currently at risk of being sentenced to up to 20 all of them to be released immediately and their charges removed.”

The Spanish Super Cup’s move to Saudi Arabia also infuriated people in Spain, both because of the human rights abuse in the nation, and for overlooking the convenience of local fans to attend the matches.

The deal struck last year by Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) chief Luis Rubiales, reportedly gives them €120 million ($133M), to host the tournament for three years. While Barcelona and Real Madrid earn $7.8m each.

“We are not the ones organizing the competition, it’s organized by the Spanish Football Federation,” a Barcelona official told CNN when questioned on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. “We are the Copa del Rey finalist and winner of the Spanish League, so we have to participate along with the other three. We are aware there have been previous (human rights) incidents,” the official added.

Consequently, even if the presumed intentions of Saudi Arabia behind hosting global events is to become self-reliant, why does it still keep ignoring and abusing human rights?

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