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Foot, mouth disease outbreak: Zimbabwe suspends importation of live animals from S/Africa



The Zimbabwe Government on Friday suspended the importation of live cloven hoofed animals and related products from South Africa with immediate effect following an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

This is according to a statement issued on Friday by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement by the Department of Veterinary Services.

The South African Veterinary Authorities had on Nov. 1 said that there had been an outbreak of FMD on a farm in Molemole District of Limpopo Province.

The Veterinary Services Director, Josphat Nyika reminded members of the public and stakeholders of the ban of the importation of live cattle, goats, sheep and pigs from South Africa.

Nyika said South Africa was currently in the process of identifying the virus strain, extent of the outbreak and conducting backward and forward tracing to determine

This would also include the locations to which the disease might have spread.

“In line with provisions of the Animal Health Act, CAP 19:01, the Department of Veterinary Services has suspended the importation of live cloven hoofed animals (cattle, goats, sheep and pigs).

“Others are products from South Africa with immediate effect until a full report on the outbreak has been availed by the South African Veterinary Authorities.

“The suspension of imports from South Africa is a precautionary measure designed to prevent spread of infection into Zimbabwe through the importation of live animals and animal products.

“The Department continues to monitor the situation with a view to normalising trade with the Republic of South Africa as soon as the outbreak is controlled,’’ he said.

This is the second time in 2019 that Zimbabwe has suspended importation of such animals from South Africa after another outbreak hit the same province in early January.

The suspension may lead to the cancellation of some import permits issued prior to the decision being made. (Xinhua/NAN)

Edited by Fatima Sule/Ese E. Ekama


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Late Olumilua left good footprints in humanity services – Ondo Assembly



The Ondo State House of Assembly on Friday said  that late Bamidele Olumilua, former governor of old Ondo State, left good footprints in his service to humanity.

Olumilua, a former civilian governor of old Ondo state comprising present Ekiti between 1992-1993, died on Wednesday in Ikere Ekiti at age 80.

The Assembly extolled the virtues of its erstwhile governor in a condolence message by Mr Olugbenga Omole, the Chairman of House Committee on Information, in Akure.

“As a visionary leader,  late Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua through his dynamic and visionary leadership as governor of old Ondo state did his best despite the fact that his tenure was short,” he said.

According to him, Olumilua’s death has created another vacuum in the political landscape of Nigeria.

The spokesman of the House of Assembly  described Olumilua as an icon of democracy that would be sorely missed by his friends, family members and political associates.

“The members pray to God to grant him eternal rest and grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss,” he said.(NAN)

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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College Football Hall of Fame damaged in Atlanta protests




The College Football Hall of Fame was damaged during protests in Atlanta, local media reported on Sunday.

The Hall of Fame, which is located near the Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, was near the epicenter of demonstrations over George Floyd‘s death.

Floyd died while in police custody in Minneapolis earlier this week, which sparked widespread protests across the United States.

College Football Hall of Fame CEO Kimberly Beaudin said: “We are heartbroken to see the damage to our city and the Hall of Fame. In the coming days and weeks, we’ll work to pick up the pieces to rebuild the sacred walls that housed memories and honored those who played the game.”


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BiH’s Celik Zenica football club resumes training




Celik Zenica, a famous Bosnia and Herzegovina‘s (BiH) football club resumed training on Friday to begin preparations for the possible continuation of the country’s Premier League.

All the club’s footballers got permission to start the training process Friday afternoon, confirmed fitness coach Almir Seferovic.

“All the findings on the coronavirus tests were negative and we decided to start working,” Seferovic said.

The BiH Premier League may reopen on the weekend of June 6, or no later than June 13, the Football Association of BiH (FSBiH) announced on Wednesday.

Celik Zenica is one of the most prominent and successful football teams in BiH, being one of only two Bosnian clubs to win the national championship three times in a row – from 1994 to 1997.


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Court remands man, 43, for alleged murder of a footballer in Ogun



An Abeokuta Magistrates’ Court sitting in Isabo on Friday ordered the remand of Ogunsoro Niyi, 43, in police custody for allegedly causing the death of a footballer, Tiamiyu Kazeem.
The Magistrate, Mrs I.0. Abudu noted that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the court could not order the remand of the defendant in the Correctional centre.
Abudu ordered that the defendant, former police personnel, be remanded in the police custody pending legal advice from office of the state Director of Public prosecution (DPP).
She, however, adjourned the case until July 24 for mention.
The defendant is facing a two-count charge bordering on conspiracy and murder.
Earlier, the Prosecution Officer, Adekunle Opayemi told the court that the defendant committed the offence on Feb. 22, at Owodimu Village on Sagamu/Abeokuta expressway.
Opayemi said that the defendant conspired, with another officer, to murder one Tiamiyu Kazeem, 26, popularly called “Kaka”, who was a footballer with the Remo Stars football Club in Ikenne.
“According to him, the deceased was driving in his Lexus car on Sagamu Abeokuta express road, which later developed a mechanical fault, while looking for solution, the defendant and other officer accosted him.
“The officer alleged that the deceased would be arrested based on some information they got, that he was a cultist and some other allegations.
“The deceased was arrested by the defendant, on their way to the Zonal intervention Squad Obada-Oko, the deceased was questioning the officers where they were taking him to, which led to arguments in the vehicle.
“The deceased was later pushed out from the vehicle with force and he ran into an unknown vehicle coming from behind, which knocked him down and ran away.
The deceased was rushed to the Owode-Egbe Hospital, where he was confirmed dead,” Opayemi said.
The prosecutor said the offence contravened Section 324, and 319 (1) of the Criminal Code, Vol. 1, Laws of Ogun 2006. .

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Polish football supporters to return to stadiums from June 19



Polish football supporters will be able to attend matches from June 19, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday.

He however said only 25 percent of the capacity of stadiums would be used in order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

The Polish Football Association and the Premier League have chosen the June 19th. So, it will be possible to prepare everything according to the correct procedures,” Morawiecki said.

Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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Hungarian football fans to be allowed into stadiums




Hungarian football fans will be able to return to reopening stadiums, but only under strict precautionary measures, the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) informed here on Thursday.

“Fans can return to the stands if the organizing club decides to take the opportunity and keep certain restrictions and precautions. Spectators can be admitted to football matches again from Thursday, based on the government’s decision,” MLSZ wrote in a statement published on its website.

“With regard to the stands, the government decree lays down rules for Hungarian clubs. An important element of this is that only one in four chairs can be used. Social distancing has to be kept at all points, especially points of entries, buffets and restrooms,” the MLSZ added.

“In order to protect the health of players, the strict regulations and mandatory tests applicable to them will remain in force,” the MLSZ underlined.

This means that the so-called sports zone, such as the immediate surroundings of the field, is subject to the same strict regulations as in the past, while only persons whose participation is essential to the match and who possess a recent negative coronavirus test can enter the area.

Hungarian football started again on May 23, but so far all matches have been held behind closed doors. The next open game will pit Kaposvar against ZTE on Friday night.

According to official figures, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Hungary stood at 3,816 on Thursday, with 1,996 recoveries and 509 fatalities.


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Kenyan government pays stipend to bail out footballers amid COVID-19




Kenya is dishing out 20 million shillings (about 188,000 U.S dollars) in stimulus package to bail out vulnerable football players after the country ended their league prematurely.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said on Tuesday that the bailout is meant to cushion the footballers, majority who have gone months without pay as their clubs can’t meet their obligations due to Covid-19 pandemic.

“Today marks the start of our program to pay out stimulus package for sportsmen and women. We launch the program by paying out Kenya Premier League (KPL) players. We are beginning with them and we will continue for the next 15 days,” said Mohamed.

Each player in the KPL will get 100 dollars monthly for three months.

“My ministry has received 300,000 dollars from the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund which will further boost our kitty. We will try to reach as many athletes who are in distress,” said Mohamed.

“We are going to release 10,000 shillings (100 dollars) per month for 30 players and 5 technical officers for 12 most vulnerable KPL clubs. This will be a total of 420 beneficiaries.”

The program will also incorporate other sports disciplines. Mohamed said the other disciplines are also suffering.

“We are also releasing the same amount of money to our most vulnerable National Team athletes in all our active Sports Federations for the same period of time. This is to enable them continue training for upcoming global events,” she added.


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COVID-19 Sports Distruption: Football action gradually returning back



First it was the Korean K-League and then it was the German Bundesliga. Now, more football leagues around the globe – mostly in Europe – are returning to action.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that this week marks the return of a wave of leagues that will start back up across Europe after going into a forced break due to COVID-19 pandemic.

By the end of May, a number of leagues around the world will be playing to conclude their 2019/2020 seasons.

The first to restart was the Estonia top-fight with three matches being played on May 19. Estonian football plays spring to autumn and play was suspended after just one matchday.

They will now have the chance to complete the season and there is hope that fans will be allowed to attend matches as early as July.

Joining Estonia was another smaller football league as the Costa Rican Premier League (CRPL) also restarted on May 20.

The CRPL is the first league in the Americas to restart after the breakout of the pandemic.

With cases still rising in the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, the CRPL is likely to be the only league back in action for a few more weeks at the very least.

Costa Rica plays an apertura/clausura split season. The league’s clausura still had seven games plus the playoffs to go when it was suspended in March.

There will be plenty of football to play in the country to finish out the campaign.

The Czech Republic top-flight resumed on May 23, as the clubs finish out the final six games of the season.

The Hungarian first division and Hungary Cup  also resumed after a two month-plus hiatus.

The top-flight in Hungary is close with Fenrencvarosi just three points ahead of second-placed MOL Fehervar. Fenrencvarosi have two games in hand, however.

Just weeks ago, it felt like football, the most important of the least important things, would never return.

The round leather game is now back with more leagues resuming or starting in the final week of May and first week of June.

Although, the German Bundesliga is so far the only ‘major’ league to return, La Liga is progressing in their bid to restart.

For the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), the League Management Company (LMC) says talks are ongoing by the various stakeholders to unveil a potential return of the NPFL in a format still under consideration.

Shehu Dikko, the Chairman of the LMC, speaking on a live television programme on Monday outlined the four formats being considered to conclude the league which has been on hold due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

“We have been having useful conversations with the NFF and indeed with the Government authorities on what options are available to us with regards to the NPFL and indeed other leagues.

“We have had several private meetings with government over the last week to sound them out, feel the pulse and determine what could be possible in view of the challenges,” he said.

Dikko further explained that there were four major options available to pick from in order to conclude the season.

“Four options are available to be considered toward the conclusion of the NPFL, subject to government approvals and time permitting which are:

“Option (A): End the league as it is, adjust the table based on Points Per Game (PPG) system so as to bring all the teams at par to guarantee sporting merits and sporting fairness.

“Then LMC organise a Playoff, which would be a one venue event for 7-10 days, to determine the Winner and CAF slots.

“Option (B): End the league as it is, adjust the table based on PPG system so as to bring all the teams at par to guarantee sporting merits the sporting fairness.

“Then submit the top-ranked teams for CAF competitions. This option is only considered if there is no time for the playoffs.

“Option (C): Converge the clubs in a one-state venue and play the remaining matches within 3 stadiums that are normally not more than 2 -3 hours apart and conclude the remaining matches within 5-6 weeks playing 3 games a week and with all the quarantine and testing requirements.”

He however explained that option (C) was only open with time permitting and huge support from government, and only if the country reopened completely and interstate travels allowed.

According to him, option (D) would be to conclude the league as normal on basis of home and away provided time permits, the country reopen completely, the health issue completely under control and with huge support and approval from government.

The NPFL was suspended on March 27 after the completion of Matchday 25, with Plateau United, Rivers United, Lobi Starts all gunning for the title and Enyimba with five games outstanding occupying fifth on the log.

Football fans can rejoice because there are further leagues returning this week as well.

From May 18, players have been able to train in groups of up to 10. It is a good sign and hopefully, the English Premier League (EPL) won’t be too far behind.

So, who is back playing and when are other leagues set to return?

• Belarus – played through pandemic breaks taken by other leagues

• Germany – Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 returned on May 16

France – Has cancelled the season

• Czech Republic First League resumed May 23

• Costa Rican Premier League resumed May 19

• Hungary top-fight resumed May 23

• Estonia Meistriliiga resumed May 19

• Austria Bundesliga – June 2

• Croatia 1.HNL – June 5

• Israel Premier League – May 30

• Poland Ekstraklasa – May 29

• Russian Premier League – June 21

• Denmark Superliga – May 28

• Serbia Super Liga – May 30

• Sweden Allvenskan – June 14

By the end of May, it is estimated that around 15 professional top-flight football leagues will be back in play.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Danish football restart with virtual tribune and drive-in cinema



The Danish Super League is set to restart on May 28 and clubs have been quite inventive when it comes to coping with having to play behind closed doors.

The first match, after a coronavirus-related break of two-and-a-half months, is a regional derby between Aarhus and Randers, then come the last two rounds of the regular season, followed by the championship round with the best six teams.

While the fans can’t come into the stadium in person because of ongoing restrictions, Aarhus are going digital to have them present after all.

Fans can watch the game from 22 different blocks in the stadium in a collaboration with the Zoom video platform.

Some of the fans will also appear on the big screen in the stadium so that the players benefit as well.

Club boss, Jacob Nilsen, believes that getting the fans into the stadium in this way could be copied by others.

“It appears that we will have to play without spectators for a while.

“Maybe we can inspire other clubs to have similar initiatives and that they can profit from it over the next weeks,’’ Nilsen said.

Aarhus are also having their fans fill the seats with cardboard cut-outs and they will arrange a live broadcast at a central square with fans able to watch from their cars.

Runaway leaders Midtjylland have a similar idea named “Drive In Football” – turning their stadium parking area into a drive-in cinema to allow some 10,000 fans in 2,000 vehicles to follow the team’s first match in this way.

The Super League got permission in early May to restart, which gives the Danes a head start over northern neighbours, Sweden where the top two leagues -Allsvenskan and Superettan – are still in talks with health authorities over a June 14 season start pushed back from April.

The leagues’ group SEF has provided a detailed concept and even though Sweden didn’t have as strict lockdown measures as most other countries games will also be played without fans there.

“We play without spectators, only a minimal amount of officials and media will be allowed into the stadium.

“The fans will watch the games in their home towns, on TV or in sports bars,’’ the SEF said.

But fans are gradually to be allowed back, with only every third seat occupied and the standing areas remaining closed.

However, patience is required as the nation’s top epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, told the Aftonbladet paper in mid-May that “we will let you know in early June’’.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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