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Grassroots sport devt: Minister, gov, Amokachi, Yobo, others storm Ibadan for Oyo Unity Cup finals

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Minister Of Youth and Sports Development Sunday Dare and Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State will lead other ex- internationals to grace the finals of the maiden edition of Oyo Unity Cup scheduled for Ibadan.


The Nigeria News Agency reports that the finals was scheduled for Sunday after more than a month of competition.

The Special Adviser on Media to the minister, Mr John Joshua-Akanji, disclosed this on Friday in Abuja.

He said the grassroots spirt development competition initiated by the minister would also have ex-internationals like Daniel Amokachi; new Super Eagles Assistant coach, Joseph Yobo; Mutiu Adepoju and Ike Shorounmu, among others.

It would be recalled that the Oyo Unity Cup, a brainchild of the minister, kicked off on Jan. 25 at the Soun Stadium in Ogbomoso, Oyo state.

The competition was aimed at discovering talents while nurturing them to stardom.

The minister also said plans were underway in subsequent tournaments in football and other sports in the nearest future across the federation.

“I look forward to a tournament that will take place across the federation but not only in football as other sports will be put into consideration to hold in different states.

“Wrestling can hold in Bayelsa, Table Tennis in Kwara, in Kano, and so on,” he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Muhammad Suleiman Tola



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Muhyideen Jimoh: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

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Manchester City says it won’t ask government to pay its staff

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Manchester City will not seek to use the government job retention scheme and furlough staff during the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the English Premier League club has told its employees.


Several clubs, including Premier League leaders Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, have drawn fire for taking advantage of the government’s scheme.

It is a scheme which pays 80 percent of the wages of staff furloughed by their companies due to the global health crisis.

Manchester City, owned by Sheikh Mansour’s Abu Dhabi United Group, are the first Premier League club to state that they would not be going down that route.

Employees were sent e-mails this weekend reassuring them that their jobs would be protected.

“We can confirm, following a decision by the Chairman (Khaldoon Al Mubarak) and Board last week, that Manchester City will not be utilising the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme,” a spokesperson said.

“We remain determined to protect our people, their jobs and our business whilst at the same time doing what we can to support our wider community at this most challenging time for everybody.”

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) is in a stand-off with the Premier League over whether or not players should agree to 30 percent pay cuts due to the season being suspended.

The players union’s apparent reluctance to endorse wage cuts has led to accusations of “infighting” from Oliver Dowden, Britain’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The issue of players’ wages during the shutdown rumbling on across Europe and England’s rich top-flight clubs are being closely scrutinised.

Liverpool’s announcement that it will furlough many employees is now looking like a PR own goal.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said it could damage the club’s reputation.

“(Liverpool manager) Jurgen Klopp showed compassion for all at the start of this pandemic, senior players heavily involved in @premierleague players taking wage cuts,” he said on Twitter.

“Then all that respect & goodwill is lost, poor this @LFC.”

Tottenham, Bournemouth, Newcastle United and Norwich City have all furloughed staff during the health crisis that has claimed 4,934 lives in Britain as of Saturday evening.

An internal document seen by Reuters on Sunday showed FIFA is getting ready to deal with complaints and appeals over wage cuts for players.

It has gone on to produce guidelines for clubs looking to cut costs during the stoppage caused by the pandemic.

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Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
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Bulgarian Pulev to donate half of money from Joshua fight to coronavirus medics

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IBF’s mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev says he will donate half of his purse from the world heavyweight title fight against Briton Anthony Joshua to help medical workers fight the “devilish” coronavirus.


The 38-year-old Bulgarian is expected to earn around five million dollars from the fight, which has been postponed due to the pandemic.

The fight was originally scheduled for June 20 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

“I will donate 50 percent of the money I earn from the match with Joshua to the tireless heroes in the fight against the coronavirus,” Pulev told German daily Bild on Sunday.

“I will give doctors, nurses and hospitals the necessary equipment to deal with this devilish virus.”

Last month Pulev said the fight would take place “towards the end of the year” due to the outbreak and that he would have no problem fighting without spectators in attendance.

Pulev, one of Bulgaria’s most popular sportsmen, had previously challenged for the IBF world heavyweight title in 2014.

But he lost then to Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg, when he was knocked out in the fifth round.

The 30-year-old Joshua reclaimed the WBA, WBO and IBF belts with a unanimous points win over Andy Ruiz Jr in December.

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FIFA draws up guidelines to tackle pay-cut complaints

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FIFA is getting ready to deal with complaints and appeals over wage cuts for players, an internal document seen by Reuters showed.


According to the document, the world football body has now produced guidelines for clubs and football bodies looking to cut costs during the stoppage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The issue of pay cuts for players has exploded as a major controversy in England while in other countries, such as Germany and Spain, players have accepted temporary reductions in earnings.

With football halted across the globe, however, FIFA is aware that it may well have to deal with a series of different agreements and possible complaints.

Its guidelines urge any cuts to be “proportionate”.

FIFA’s Coronavirus working group met last week and agreed on a wide range of issues, summarised in the document.

These included that player contracts due to run out in June should be extended to the end of any resumed season.

The internal paper notes that such decisions will inevitably reflect national law and specific agreements in each country but says it is keen to avoid large discrepancies between similar leagues and clubs.

It also urges clubs, leagues and players to reach “appropriate collective agreements”.

The guiding principles behind such deals should be to “guarantee some form of salary payment to players and coaches, avoid litigation, protect contractual stability, and ensure clubs do not go bankrupt, while considering the financial impact of COVID-19 on clubs”.

Crucially, the document states that unilateral decisions to change contracts “will only be recognised when they are otherwise deemed reasonable” by FIFA’s Dispute Resolutions Chamber or Players Status Committee.

This is where clubs and employees cannot reach agreement and where “national law does not address the situation or collective agreements are not applicable”.

“A reasonable” contractual change will take into account the economic situation of a club, the proportionality of any salary amendment and the net income of the employee after that amendment,’’ FIFA notes in the document.

FIFA will also take into account whether the decision applies to the entire squad or only specific employees, and whether the club attempted in good faith to reach a mutual agreement with its employees.

The FIFA document summarising the working group’s views will be submitted to the Bureau of the FIFA Council for approval.

A FIFA spokesman said it was not in a position to comment as a proposal was being made to the Council, and “we cannot pre-empt that decision”.

The coronavirus working group is composed of representatives from across the game including the FIFA administration, confederations, national federations, the European Club Association (ECA), players union FIFPRO and the World Leagues Forum.

The group also offered an alternative approach.

This is in which “all agreements between clubs and employees should be `suspended’ during any suspension of competitions provided proper insurance coverage is maintained, and adequate alternative income support arrangements can be found for employees during the period in question.”

The group agreed that transfer windows should be adjusted to reflect the changed dates of seasons, with priority given to teams finishing the current season with their existing squad.

FIFA has also ruled that planned new restrictions on loan deals will not come into effect until the end of the current period of uncertainty surrounding the game due to the pandemic.

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COVID-19 Lockdown: Ex-International urges players to keep fit in homes

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Waidi Akanni, an ex-international, has advised players in Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) to maintain their fitness during the COVID-19 lockdown to keep them in form when the pandemic was over.


Akanni gave the advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos on Sunday.

“Naturally a pro footballer won’t do without exercise daily unless injured.

“But for this pandemic, all pro footballers should find space within their homes and do 30 minutes of exercise in the morning and evening.

“It’s the best way to at least keep 80 per cent of fitness till team training resumes,” he said.

He also urged football fans to be patient with their respective clubs because  picking up after the pandemic is over might be slow.

“When all these blow is over, some players may be slack because getting back into the game may take a while.

“It is like they are being benched and when someone is benched, they get rusty and lose their fitness.

“So, fans should bear in mind that it may not be business as usual when the leagues resume,” he said.

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Trump talks with U.S. pro sports leaders to discuss virus

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President Donald Trump talked to many U.S. pro sports leaders about the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, saying he is looking forward to the resumption of competitions “as soon as we can”.


“I want fans back in the arenas,” Trump said later in a briefing at the White House. “I think it’s … whenever we’re ready.

“As soon as we can, obviously. And the fans want to be back, too. They want to see basketball and baseball and football and hockey.

“They want to see their sports. They want to go out onto the golf courses and breathe nice, clean, beautiful fresh air,” he said.

A person with direct knowledge of the call said Trump believes the NFL season — scheduled to begin Sept. 10 — will start on time with fans in seats.

But that seemed too optimistic for California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who was asked if he thought the NFL season would start on time.

“I’m not anticipating that happening in this state,” Newsom said.

The NBA, NHL, NFL and Major League Baseball were all represented by their commissioners — Adam Silver, Gary Bettman, Roger Goodell and Rob Manfred, respectively.

None of those leagues released public comment.

A second person with knowledge of the call said some commissioners, Silver included, stressed to Trump that they are working on multiple season-resumption plans, but cautioned nothing can move forward without clearance from public health officials.

The people spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because no discussion from the call was to be revealed publicly.

Others on the call included PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan, Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, UFC President Dana White, World Wrestling Entertainment owner Vince McMahon, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Englebert and Breeders’ Cup President Drew Fleming.

National Women’s Soccer League Commissioner Lisa Baird was not included in the call, and that league was not pleased.

“As a leader in women’s professional sports, the NWSL would welcome the chance to participate in any future discussions between the top sports leagues in the U.S. and the White House,” the league said.

Trump addressed Little League players on Saturday, tweeting to tell them, “hang in there! We will get you back out on the fields, and know that you will be playing baseball soon.

“We will get through this together, and bats will be swinging before you know it.”

Trump said the need for social distancing is affecting his 14-year-old son, Barron. The president described his son as a good athlete and soccer fan.

“We have to get back,” Trump said. “We have to get back. Remember that. We have to get back and we have to get back soon.”

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Muhammad Suleiman Tola
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Time to take a break from tennis, says top U.S. group

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Playing tennis might not be a good idea in these critical times, says the United States Tennis Association (USTA) , a group typically busy encouraging more to take up the sport.


The association spoke against the background of the increasing negative impact of the corona virus ravaging ravaging many nations.

“Based on the recommendations of the USTA COVID-19 Advisory Group, the USTA believes that it is in the best interest of society to take a collective pause from playing the sport we love.

“Although there are no specific studies on tennis and COVID-19, medical advisors believe there is the possibility that the virus responsible for COVID-19 could be transmitted through common sharing and handling of tennis balls, gate handles, benches, net posts and even court surfaces,” the association said in a statement on Friday

The governing body encouraged everyone to stay active and healthy with at-home exercise and creative “tennis-at-home” variations.

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Marvel remakes release calendar; ‘Mulan’ moves to late July

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The Walt Disney Co. on Friday overhauled its release schedule by moving the dates of half a dozen Marvel movies, announcing a new one for the live-action adaption of “Mulan” and pushing one movie, “Artemis Fowl,” to Disney Plus, in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


“Black Widow,” the Marvel entry starring Scarlett Johansson, had been set to kick off the summer movie season.

Instead, Disney said it will now open Nov. 6. Such delays have unique ramifications for Marvel movies because of their interconnection.

With “Black Widow” on the move, that meant a domino effect, pushing most all upcoming Marvel releases back at least three months.

“Black Widow” took the release date of “The Eternals,” which now moves to Feb. 21 next year. “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” departs that February date for May 7, 2021.

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” shifts from next May to Nov. 5, 2021. And “Thor: Love and Thunder” is pushed three months, to Feb. 18, 2022.

Disney isn’t abandoning the summer completely. “Mulan,” which has been scheduled for March and already had its red carpet premiere, will now open July 24.

The company also didn’t move the Pixar release “Soul” from its June 19 release date. Those plans, of course, are subject to movie theatres being reopened by then and the pandemic subsiding.

While Disney shifted nearly all of its big-budget movies, it’s going to send one to its streaming service.

The Kenneth Branagh-directed science fiction adventure adaptation “Artemis Fowl” will go to Disney Plus instead of opening in theaters. The movie had originally been slated for release last August but had been rescheduled for May of this year.

With the exception of Universal’s “Trolls World Tour,” the major studios have chosen to delay their top releases rather than push them to digital release and sacrifice box-office revenue.

“Jungle Cruise,” with Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, is being pushed back a full year to July 30, 2021.

The release of the fifth “Indiana Jones” movie, which Steven Spielberg last month departed as director with James Mangold replacing him, is also being delayed a full year, to July 2022.

Harrison Ford will be 80 years old by then.

Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch” is also postponed from July to Oct. 16.

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Basketball Hall of Fame sets to announce 2020 class

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A unique Basketball Hall of Fame class will be announced Saturday in a unique way.


Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett are all expected to be officially announced as part of the 2020 class of enshrinees by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which typically reveals its annual selections at college basketball’s Final Four.

This year, with sports shut down because of the global coronavirus pandemic, the announcement will be televised from ESPN’s studios in Bristol, Connecticut with some elements of the show taped ahead of time.

Bryant, Duncan and Garnett, with a combined 11 championships and 48 All-Star seasons between them, are all first-time finalists and looks to be in this class.

Only six players in NBA history have been selected to 15 or more All-Star Games — and Bryant, Duncan and Garnett are three of them.

“We all have criteria we look at in terms of the nominees: All-Star appearances, All-League, first team, second team, third team, the various awards, the championships,” Hall of Fame Chairman Jerry Colangelo said.

“There’s a whole list of things we look at. And each year there’s usually one person who stands out with an array of all those honours. But this time, with those three, the accumulative is unbelievable.”

The announcement could be a ray of light in a dark time for basketball.

The NBA was already grieving the deaths earlier this year of Bryant, the longtime Los Angeles Lakers star who was killed with his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash, and Commissioner Emeritus David Stern.

Then came the coronavirus, which shut down the league on March 11 and has stopped so much across the world since.

College sports, including the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, were called off for the remainder of the academic year. Most states didn’t get around to crowning high school state champions.

The WNBA season will be delayed, and even games at the playground on weekends are no more because of the need for social distancing.

Saturday will, at least for a moment, bring something to celebrate.

“I think we’re all looking forward to it,” Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

The other first-time finalist for Hall consideration is 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings.

The other four finalists have all made it this far before, falling short of enshrinement previously: Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey, five-time Division II coach of the year and 1,000-game winner Barbara Stevens of Bentley University, two-time AP college coach of the year Eddie Sutton and Rudy Tomjanovich, who won two NBA titles as coach of the Houston Rockets.

All of them have Hall-worthy resumes. What remains to be seen is how many of the 24 voters who will decide the class — it takes 18 votes for a finalist to become a Hall of Famer — agree.

“To be included on such a list and be considered for the Basketball Hall of Fame is an incredible honour,” Stevens said.

It’s also expected that the Hall is going to pay tribute in some way to former FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann, a huge figure in the international sporting world who died of a heart attack in October 2018.

The induction ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts is still set to take place on Aug. 29. If the pandemic forces that to be delayed, there is an alternate plan for a ceremony to happen in October.

Colangelo said the Hall is going to take measures to ensure that all enshrinees get their deserved moment, and that the news of the year so far — such as Bryant’s passing and the virus pandemic — do not overshadow anyone’s accomplishments.

“We are going to do this the right way and in a very sensitive way,” Colangelo said. “We want everyone to get their due respect.”

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Rabiu Sani Ali
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Age limit could be raised for Tokyo Olympics football tournament

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The age limit for the Tokyo Olympics men’s football tournament could be raised, world football ruling body FIFA said on Friday.


It said this was to ensure that players who were eligible in 2020 will not miss out following the postponement of the Games until the following year.

Olympic football is usually restricted to under-23 teams for the men’s tournament, with three overage players allowed per team.

“However, a working group set up by FIFA recommended on Friday that the competition should remain open to players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997, as originally planned,’’ FIFA said in a statement.

This will effectively raise the age limit by one year, as requested by both South Korea and Australia.

There is no age limit for the women’s tournament.

The working group also recommended the postponement of all international matches due to be played in June.

This is a formality as Euro 2020, the Copa America and the month’s World Cup qualifiers have already been called off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recommendations still have to be approved by the FIFA Bureau, a reduced version of its decision-making Council.

“FIFA also reiterates that health must always be the first priority and the main criteria in any decision-making process, especially in these challenging times,” the football ruling body said.

The group proposed discussions with continental confederations to finalise a revised schedule for 2022 World Cup qualifiers, after matches this month and in June were postponed.

It also recommended the postponement of the under-20 women’s World Cup, due to be co-hosted by Panama and Costa Rica in August and September.

The group further advised on the postponement of the under-17 women’s World Cup in India, originally scheduled for November.

A decision on the Futsal World Cup in Lithuania in September should be made by the end of this month, it said.

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Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
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