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Found 64 results

  1. Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov/Getty Images MOSCOW: Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov has dismissed fears that racism and hooliganism in domestic football are serious enough to mar the World Cup later this year. "I do not think that we have racism on a scale that needs to be fought," Cherchesov told Brazil´s Globo TV. "Hooligans? I have not seen any serious displays of it." The Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) anti-discrimination network reported 89 racist and far-right incidents at Russian games in the 2016/17 season. The problem became especially severe during the last decade as richer clubs began purchasing Brazilian and African players. FARE noted there has been a more serious anti-racism campaign by Russian authorities in the run-up to the June 14-July 15 competition. But it said players and fans still risked abuse. Hooliganism became a major issue for Russia when an organised group of its supporters pounced on English fans ahead of a Euro 2016 match in the French port of Marseille. Violence between followers of Spartak Moscow and Athletic Bilbao on February 22 in Spain revived fears that Russia´s crackdown against local hooligans was insufficient. Cherchesov said there were still "isolated cases (of hooligans), and like in other countrie, these people are punished". He added that Russia managed to stage a successful Confederations Cup last year and said he felt confident going into the World Cup. Brazil and Russia will play a friendly in Moscow on March 23 as both sides zero in on their tournament squad selection. "It will be cold," Cherchesov promised, "but our hearts will warm you up".
  2. After signing from the French second-tier side Le Havre in 2014, Riyad Mahrez made a steady rather than spectacular start to life in England. He played a pivotal role in Leicester City's escape from relegation in the 2014-15 Premier League season. And, if the Foxes managed to clinch the historic EPL title in the 2015-16 season, it was arguably on the back of Jamie Vardy's brilliance in tandem with Mahrez. © Reuters In the ongoing season, Leicester might have failed to emulate their success in the absence of former manager Claudio Ranieri, but the on-field exploits of Mahrez continue to haunt the opposition. So much so that even Premier League leaders Manchester City have expressed their interest in signing the Foxes' winger. However, despite being in good shape and poised for success, Mahrez, late on Tuesday, sent shockwaves across the globe after announcing his retirement from football. His surprising decision appeared to have been instigated due to medical concerns. © Twitter Taking to Facebook, the Algerian footballer said: "After the last consultation with many doctors. I've decided to stay away from football. As my time as a football player comes to an end, I would like to say a few words. I want to thank everybody for the kindness and support they have shown me in this incredible city. You will be always in my heart". The sudden announcement came out of the blue last night and caused consternation, not just among Leicester fans, but football fanatics across the globe. Though the message was shared on the player's verified Facebook account, the news of retirement didn't really make sense. Let's break it down: Is there a post on the verified FB page of Riyad Mahrez saying that he's retired due to doctors orders. Yes. Has there been confirmation from anywhere else? No Is it possible he's been hacked? Yes.#FactsNotFirst — Kristian Sturt - Transfer News (@FootieWriter) March 7, 2018 Soon, suspicions were raised given that the Algerian international had played a full game at the weekend and scored his first goal since a recent self-imposed exile. He was also seen training with the Foxes a few hours before the news of his retirement was shared on Facebook. Foxes never quit! @Mahrez22 ðð½ðð½ — Danny Simpson (@dannysimpson) March 3, 2018 Putting an end to the speculations, Leicester moved swiftly this morning to confirm that it was indeed fake news and their footballer's account appeared to have been hacked. That's great news for Foxes fans and bad news for Alan Pardew, whose struggling West Brom team will now face a fully-fit Mahrez on Saturday. © Reuters Reports from Mahrez's camp did reveal the player had been depressed after Leicester rejected a deadline day bid from Manchester City because it did not meet their 90-million-pound valuation of the player. Just brilliant, @Mahrez22! ð® pic.twitter.com/TpUthiNMlc — Leicester City (@LCFC) March 6, 2018 Since then, Mahrez has returned to top form (10 goals and 10 assists in all competitions so far this season) and scored a sensational stoppage time free kick on Saturday to earn Claude Puel's side a last-gasp 1-1 draw at home to Bournemouth. He will be hoping for a strong World Cup with Algeria in Russia this summer, while on the more immediate horizon Leicester have an important FA Cup quarter-final clash with Chelsea at the King Power Stadium later this month.
  3. Cricket is a sport that thrives on the contest between the bat and the ball. Apart from the occasional byes and leg-byes, the contact with the body parts is neither ideal nor intentional. When you compare it with football, where legs and head usually do the job, cricket is all about making contact with the willow. And, given the restrictions in gentleman's game, it's quite bizarre if anyone scores runs with their head, right? Wrong. In a crazy turn of events, a batsman ended up scoring a six after the noticeable help of an opposition bowler. During the Ford Trophy - a domestic 50-over competition in New Zealand, a batsman smashed a six after the ball ricocheted off the head of the bowler and sailed over the ropes. Ol' Jeets used Andy's head as a ramp today. Don't worry, nobody died. #FordTrophy https://t.co/g2EsYaYifJ — The Niche Cache (@thenichecache) February 21, 2018 The incident occurred in the third preliminary final of the tournament between Auckland and Canterbury when Jeet Raval struck a delivery straight back at the bowler Andrew Ellis. Such was the power of the shot that even before Ellis could get out of the way, the ball hit his head and then soared over the boundary for a six. Despite the massive impact of the ball on his head, Ellis seemed okay as players from both sides checked up on his well being. He was taken off the field for a concussion test and was declared fit enough to resume the match. He went on to bowl seven overs for figures of 2-52. Canterbury Captain Andrew Ellis was Struck on Head by a straight Shot from Jeet Raval who scored 149 The ball hit him so hard on head that it struck on his head and then sailed for a six, he left the field for concussion test but was able to return for the Match #FordTrophy pic.twitter.com/rS0hDnzlU5 — Abhijeet (@TheYorkerBall) February 21, 2018 Raval, who has represented New Zealand in nine Tests, said he was concerned about the Ellis' well-being and was relieved when he returned to the field. "Whenever anybody gets hit in the head, your immediate concern is for the person, and I was worried Andrew had hurt himself," Raval was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. "But, thankfully, it soon looked like he hadn't been injured by what had seemed a nasty blow. He's a true Cantab, a very tough nut, and it was a relief for me to see him carry on and complete the game without any visible effects. My hope for him is that he won't experience any delayed concussion. It's certainly not pleasant for anyone to experience that in a game," he added. Despite being shaken by the incident, Raval didn't let it affect his batting as he went on to score a match-winning 149 off 153 balls with 10 fours and four sixes, powering Auckland to 304/6 in 50 overs. In reply, Canterbury were bowled out for 197 in 37.2 overs with spinner Tarun Nethula recording figures of 4-43.
  4. Abuse victims of former football coach Barry Bennell Chris Unsworth (2L) and Steve Walters (2R) arrive at Liverpool Crown Court on February 19, 2018 for the sentencing of former football coach Barry Bennell who was found guilty of sexual abuse. Disgraced former British youth coach Barry Bennell was on February 15 found guilty of 43 counts of sexual abuse against 11 boys aged between eight and 15 in a case that has rocked English football. ? AFP LIVERPOOL: Former British football trainer Barry Bennell was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Monday for abusing 12 boys he coached between 1979 and 1991, with the judge branding him "sheer evil." Bennell, 64, who coached at Manchester City and other teams, was found guilty last week of dozens of child sexual offences, including indecent assault. Police have said scores more complainants have come forward since the case started, bringing the number of possible victims to more than 100. "You were the devil incarnate. You stole their childhoods and their innocence to satisfy your own perversion," Judge Clement Goldstone said as he read out the sentence in a court in Liverpool, northwest England. "Your behaviour towards these boys in grooming and seducing them before subjecting them to, in some cases, the most serious, degrading and humiliating abuse was sheer evil." Bennell, who has already served three jail terms totalling 15 years for similar offences involving 16 other victims, stared at the floor and nodded as Goldstone handed down the sentence. Some members of the public began to applaud as he was sent down, but the judge ordered them to stop. He outlined how Bennell's abuse had destroyed the enthusiasm his victims felt for football and caused them to suffer problems including suicidal thoughts, alcoholism and depression. Earlier in the hearing on Monday, one of his victims walked over to the courtroom dock and calmly said: "Barry. Barry. Why?" During his six-week trial, Bennell was accused of committing "industrial scale" levels of abuse against vulnerable pre-pubescent boys in his care. Victims told how he had a "power hold" over them as they dreamed of becoming professional footballers. Bennell's latest crimes emerged in late 2016 when former Liverpool and Tottenham star Paul Stewart broke his 40-year silence and revealed how he was abused as a teenager, shortly after former Crewe player Andy Woodward went public with allegations against Bennell. The case has sparked wider allegations of sexual and physical abuse of boys at football clubs across Britain in the 1970s and 1980s, some of whom went on to become heroes of the terraces and international stars. Nearly 800 victims have come forward against more than 100 coaches, leading to accusations that some of the game's most famous and loved clubs covered up allegations of abuse of boys in their care.
  5. Incidents of racism and homophobia in English football are on the rise, according to pressure group Kick It Out LONDON: Incidents of racism and homophobia in English football are on the rise, according to pressure group Kick It Out. According to its mid-season report, Kick It Out said it had received more than 300 reports relating to 282 cases of discriminatory abuse by the end of 2017, a 59 percent increase from last season, when there were 177 incidents. The increase was even worse in the professional and semi-professional game, with 131 of those incidents coming from the National League and above - a 75 percent increase on last season. More than half of those incidents were for racism, with one in five related to homophobia and one in 10 being anti-Semitic. "I am often asked if these increases are because of more awareness about discrimination or because of more discrimination -- I would say this is a bit of both," explained Kick It Out chief executive Roisin Wood following the release of the figures on Wednesday. Wood said the use of social media had led to an increase in "virulent and targeted" abuse. "We know how far football has come but we also know how much more there is to be done. Recent research has found that hate crimes are on the up. If that is happening in society, it will be reflected in football," she added. "I think it´s become more virulent and targeted but we are working with Facebook and Twitter to address this and they do deal with offensive material when it is flagged up." Tuesday saw Chelsea announce they would look into an allegation of anti-Semitic chanting during their recent Premier League defeat by Watford. "Anyone found guilty of anti-Semitic language or behaviour will face action from the club, including bans, and will be asked to attend equality education courses," a Chelsea spokesman said.
  6. 27% of England?s home ODIs were played with reduced overs since 2000 due to rain disruptions: study OSLO: Golf, cricket and football are suffering from wetter weather linked to climate change in Britain, the nation which laid down the modern rules for the games, a study said on Wednesday. More downpours meant pitches and fairways were more likely to be soggy or unplayable while sea level rise was also aggravating erosion of coastal golf courses in Scotland, such as Montrose which dates back to 1562, it said. The Climate Coalition, of 130 non-governmental groups in Britain, said its report underscored that warming threatens sports beyond those dependent on snow and ice on display at this month?s Pyeongchang Olympics. A main problem is that six of the seven wettest years on record in Britain have been since 2000, said Piers Forster, a professor of climate change at the University of Leeds who contributed to the study. ?Britain is particularly susceptible to storms coming in from the North Atlantic,? he told Reuters. Rain, extreme weather and erosion meant ?canceled football matches, flooded cricket grounds and golf courses crumbling into the sea,? it said. Steve Isaac, director of golf course management at the R&A, the governing body for golf outside the United States and Mexico, said in the report that he reckoned golf was ?more impacted by climate change than any sport aside from skiing?. Coastal golf courses were suffering from storm surges and a rise in sea levels, caused by a melt of ice from Greenland to the Himalayas. Montrose, for instance, has moved tees and fairways inland because of erosion, said Chris Curnin, director at the Montrose Golf Links. Dredging and natural shifts in the North Sea explained some of the erosion, of 70 meters in places. ?Climate change and rising seas are accelerating the retreat,? he told Reuters. US President Donald Trump, who doubts that greenhouse gas emissions are the prime driver of climate change, owns two courses in Scotland. The England and Wales Cricket Board said it was suffering from less predictable weather. Twenty seven percent of England?s home One Day Internationals were played with reduced overs since 2000 due to rain disruptions, the study said. And for soccer, extreme weather events caused the cancellation of 25 Football League fixtures during the 2015-16 season, the study said. It did not give comparisons to other years.
  7. Bhaichung Bhutia is also known as the 'Sikkimese Sniper'. Well, rightfully so, because he is one of the best strikers India has ever seen. However, recent events suggest that football goals are not the only ones he is adept at. Bhaichung just walked the ramp at the Lakmé Fashion Week as a showstopper and if that does not say 'fashion goals' (see what we did there?), we don't know what else does. © Viral Bhayani Bhutia was the showstopper for the IMG Reliance-United Nations' North East Mojo Show on day 2 of the Lakmé Fashion Week. The show featured the unique collections of designers from the North East who represented the six states - Manipur, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Assam. © Viral Bhayani This was a show which was not only about fashion. Fashion, of course, was the foundation, but what we got to experience were stories of local weavers and artisans - their heritage and their struggles. The fact that it was an attempt at enriching the local economy in a sustainable manner while showcasing traditional fabrics and weaves, made it a very meaningful show. © Viral Bhayani The show ended with Bhaichung as the showstopper, looking dashing in a traditional Sikkimese outfit. He was the embodiment of the rich, rustic aura of Sikkim in an asymmetrical coordinated set, with a grey base and red and black motifs. © Viral Bhayani It is always heartwarming to see our favourite sports stars in different avatars. But when it encompasses style and glamour, that too for a good cause, the experience transcends our already stellar expectations. Kudos!
  8. Arguably one of the most popular sports in the world, football enjoys a fanbase that seems to go break down various barriers including race, language, age and gender. Rightly labelled as a universal sport, football continues to grow in popularity with many countries - irrespective of other popular sports including cricket - thoroughly adopting and promoting the game. No matter where you watch a football match - in the stadium, a sports bar or even in your living room, the passion never seems to change. Regardless of what part of the world you are in, the passion for the sport remains the same. As much as it is seen in households, the same passion resonates on the football pitch. And, that's exactly what fuels the ever-increasing revenues of the football clubs across the globe. Capitalising on their popularity amongst the fans, football clubs are often seen making a killing through the sales of television rights, tickets and commercial income. © Reuters So, when the accountancy firm Deloitte released its 'Football Money League' - a list of richest football clubs for the 2016-17 season, it came as no surprise to see Europe's biggest football clubs charting massive revenues. While Spain's La Liga tends to attract a lot of eyeballs for the scintillating rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona, the English Premier League (EPL) - for its unpredictability - also remains one of the most popular domestic football tournaments amongst the fans. In fact, going by Deloitte's latest annual report, the Premier League has emerged as the biggest winner amongst its counterparts with 10 of its clubs making their way to the top 20 list - the most from one single league in history. The financial power of English clubs was largely thanks to Premier League contracts worth in excess of £8 billion over three years. However, clubs from the Ligue 1 in France, La Liga in Spain, and Germany's Bundesliga all competed for the top spot, along with one of the very best from England. And, the battle for the top spot this year was "the closest in Money League history" with only 1.5 million pounds separating the no. 1 club from the one placed second in the list. Here's a look at the top 10 revenue-generating football clubs this year: 10. Juventus © Reuters Generating a total revenue of 348.6 million pounds, Italian giants Juventus managed to secure the tenth spot in the list of top revenue-generating football clubs for the 2016-17 season. The Bianconeri made its second UEFA Champions League final appearance in three years last season. And, the fact that they won Serie A - the Italian championship, for a sixth time in a row (also a national record), surely helped them rake in the big bucks. While Juventus is the highest-ranked club from Italy in the list, Deloitte claims that it may struggle in years to come as broadcast deals in Italy are considerably lower than in England. 9. Liverpool © Reuters At a whopping 364.5 million pounds, Liverpool posted record overall revenue last year. Thanks to a new TV deal, the Reds' broadcast income blazed through the roof. And, that's not all, Deloitte further tips Jurgen Klopp's side to rise through the ranks in years to come. "Successful performance on the pitch, together with commercial growth and increased matchday revenue, could see [Liverpool] into a higher position this time next year," the Football Money League report claimed. 8. Chelsea © Reuters Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's financial aid continues to bear fruits for Chelsea as they generated 367.8 million pounds last season. The Blues' ship was steadied somewhat last year after the club won the Premier League title for the 2016-17 season. And, while they are currently 15 points adrift at the top, a new sponsorship deal with drinks firm Carabao also boosted commercial income to £139.8 million for the year. 7. Paris Saint-Germain © Reuters Ever since Qatar Sports Investments group took over PSG as owners in 2011, the French club has undeniably flexed its muscles to stake claim one of the most popular football clubs around the world. If the big-bucks takeover made PSG the richest football club in France, their recent exploits saw them generate 417.8 million pounds last season. The French giants may have lost out on the Ligue 1 title last season, but they certainly gained big through the signing of Neymar for a world record transfer fee of 200 million pounds before adding Kylian Mbappe on loan (with an option to buy). Their high-profile signings "reflect a clear desire for PSG to regain its superiority in France and ultimately win the Champions League" which will propel them further upwards in the list. 6. Arsenal © Reuters Despite their struggles this season and a disappointing fifth-place finish last year, Arsenal managed to generate 419 million pounds - a new club record. Their FA Cup win triumph - third in four seasons - didn't just help Arsene Wenger save his job, but, looks like, it also added to their revenue. Irrespective of that, their ongoing troubles and, more importantly, the failure to qualify for this season's Champions League could very well see the Gunners drop down the Football Money League ladder next year. 5. Manchester City © Reuters A developing football and economic powerhouse, Manchester City has grown leaps and bounds to sit comfortably in the top-five of the richest football clubs list. With 453.5 million pounds in revenues last season, City has managed emerged as the top five Money League constituent for the second year in a row. Their third-place finish in the Premier League last season had already led to a massive growth in broadcast and commercial revenue, but with the Pep Guardiola's side well on course to win the title this year, City could even rank higher next season. 4. Bayern Munich © Reuters The only club to generate the most commercial revenue globally, Bayern Munich posted a staggering 505.1 million pounds in total revenue last season. Out of their overall revenue last year, Bayern's commercial revenue accounted for 295.1 million pounds. The German club won the Bundesliga title for the fifth consecutive season, but its quarter-finals exit at the hands of Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League impacted their overall revenue. 3. Barcelona © Reuters With 557.1 million pounds in revenues, Barcelona did manage to register a record turnover last season but they still dropped from the second spot to the third in the Money League list. They might be leading the charts this season, but their second-place finish in the Spanish league and failure to reach the Champions League semi-finals last year did affect their revenues. Unfortunately, since transfer income is not factored into Deloitte's ranking, Neymar's 200-million-pound move from Barcelona to PSG couldn't help the Blaugrana improve their overall revenues. 2. Real Madrid © Reuters Zinedine Zidane's side might be struggling to match arch-rivals Barcelona on the pitch this season, but Real Madrid did jump ahead of the Catalans in the Money League following an increase of 33.32 million pounds in commercial revenue to 259 million pounds, taking their overall revenues to a staggering 579.7 million pounds for the 2016-17 season. The Los Blancos became the first team to retain the UEFA Champions League title in its modern format after winning the trophy last season. On top of that, their La Liga triumph ahead of other contenders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid also helped them secure the second spot in the list of top earning football clubs. 1. Manchester United © Reuters For a second year in a row, Manchester United topped the Football Money League list after recording massive overall revenues amounting to 581.2 million pounds for the 2016-17 season. It was also for the tenth time they secured the top spot in Deloitte's list since its advent. As many as 12 sponsorship deals and improved broadcasting contracts were key in boosting the Red Devils' revenue figures from £515.3 million to £581.2 million. With just 1.5 million pounds separating United from Real Madrid at the top, it is believed that the clinching factor for Jose Mourinho's men was their UEFA Europa League triumph in Stockholm last season.
  9. It is the 10th time Manchester United have topped Deloitte´s list LONDON: Manchester United narrowly pipped Real Madrid to remain the top revenue-generating club in the world as Premier League sides underlined their growing financial clout, Deloitte´s "Money League" report said Tuesday. It is the 10th time United have topped Deloitte´s list, with a revenue in 2016/17 of 676 million euros ($828 million, £593 million) -- just 1.7 million euros ahead of the Spanish giants. United on Monday confirmed the signing of Chile striker Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in a deal which is expected to make him the Premier League´s highest-paid player. Barcelona -- one of Sanchez´s former clubs -- are third in the 21st edition of the list compiled by the British-based business advisory firm, followed by Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Arsenal. Combined revenue for the top 20 Money League clubs in the 2016/17 season grew six percent to 7.9 billion euros, a new record. United´s Europa League victory was crucial to their financial performance, with Real Madrid´s figures boosted by winning the Champions League and their Spanish league triumph. A record 10 English clubs feature in the top 20, generating a total revenue of 3.8 billion euros, helped by income from the first season of the current record Premier League broadcast rights deal. Real Madrid at second place in Deloitte´s list Broadcast revenue is now the largest individual revenue stream for the Money League clubs, making up 45 percent of total revenue and there is increasing speculation that the likes of Amazon and Facebook could become serious players, potentially giving a fresh cash injection. "The Deloitte Football Money League has a particularly English feel this year and with the new broadcast deal and UEFA competition performance driving broadcast revenue growth of over half a billion pounds for those in the top 20, it doesn´t come as a surprise," said Tim Bridge, senior manager in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. "As the Premier League is currently in the middle of its rights tender for the next cycle from 2019/20, the results of this will be crucial to determining the long-term composition of the Money League." A separate study released earlier this month showed Premier League leaders Manchester City have greater financial muscle than any other club in world football, with Arsenal second and United in seventh place. The Soccerex Football Finance 100 ranked the world´s top teams based on both their playing and fixed assets, money in the bank, owner potential investment and debt. Deloitte Football Money League -- 2016-2017 revenue Note: The first figure in brackets is the club´s position in 2015-2016 and the second is their revenue in that period. 1. (1) Manchester United 676.3 million euros (689 mln euros) 2. (3) Real Madrid 674.6 (620.1) 3. (2) FC Barcelona 648.3 (620.2) 4. (4) Bayern Munich 587.8 (592) 5. (5) Manchester City 527.7 (524.9) 6. (7) Arsenal 487.6 (468.5) 7. (6) Paris Saint-Germain 486.2 (520.9) 8. (8) Chelsea 428 (447.4) 9. (9) Liverpool 424.2 (403.8) 10. (10) Juventus 405.7 (338.9) 11. (12) Tottenham Hotspur 355.6 (279.7) 12. (11) Borussia Dortmund 332.6 (283.9) 13. (13) Atlético de Madrid 272.5 (228.6) 14. (20) Leicester City 271.1 (172.1) 15. (19) Internazionale 262.1 (179.2) 16. (14) Schalke 04 230.2 (224.5) 17. (18) West Ham United 213.3 (192.3) 18. (n/a) Southampton 212.1 (166.2) 19. (n/a) Napoli 200.7 (144.2) 20. (n/a) Everton 199.2 (162.5)
  10. A 22-match unbeaten run (spanning over five months), 15 points clear at the top of the table and facing a team they thrashed 5-0 earlier this season; there was nothing that could go wrong for Manchester City at Anfield. But, what none of the other Premier League teams could achieve this season was menacingly pulled off by a rampant Liverpool in what proved to be nine minutes of absolute mayhem on Sunday. Despite the absence of their star Philippe Coutinho - who recently shifted base to Camp Nou for 142 million pounds - and latest signing Virgil van Dijk - sidelined with a hamstring injury, the Reds cut off the wings of the high-flying Manchester City following a thrilling 4-3 win to send Pep Guardiola's side crashing to their first league defeat of the season. The Jurgen Klopp brigade who came out of the blocks on top, were always going to pose a problem for the Cityzens but only a few would have tipped them to come out on top. Making full use of the raucous Anfield crowd to their advantage, the Reds took the lead through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who drove from his midfield berth in the heart of City's defence before unleashing a pinpoint-driven strike into the bottom left-hand corner of Ederson's net. With Liverpool up front, it was only a matter of time for City to level the proceedings thanks to Leroy Sane whose burst past Joe Gomez allowed him to unleash a powerful drive past the despairing Loris Karius who failed to close down the tight angle at the near post. The second half saw normalcy return to the game as City, understandably, were enjoying a lot of possession with Kevin De Bruyne. However, an absolutely scintillating nine-minute spell on the part of the hosts didn't just surprise City, but it also emboldened other teams, while proving City are human and pretty much beatable. © Reuters On the stroke of the hour mark, Roberto Firmino shrugged the disappointing John Stones off the ball easily before lifting a wonderful chipped effort past the on-rushing Ederson and in off the back post. Two minutes after Firmino restored their lead, Sadio Mane cut a sorry figure for City's back four after driving a wonderful left-footed effort into the top left-hand corner following a Mohamed Salah layoff. But, one of Liverpool's most memorable wins wasn't going to be complete until we saw their in-form striker Salah on the score sheet. The versatile striker, who was kept quiet throughout the game, grabbed the opportunity after picking up a poor clearance from Ederson 40-yards out with a perfect first-touch, before lifting a sumptuous chipped effort over the back-peddling Brazilian. © Reuters While many City fans would have arguably lost hope of a potential comeback, the visitors did give the Anfield club a scare after Bernardo Silva pulled one back in the 84th minute, before Ilkay Gundogan incredibly made it 4-3 in injury-time. Sergio Aguero had a chance to grab vital points for City in the final minute, but his header found the side of the net. In what was a tactical masterclass by Klopp, Liverpool held their nerves to out-run and out-think City by pressing their opponents high up the pitch to eventually pull off the impossible - handing City their first domestic loss since 23 April, 2017. Though City's quest of matching Arsenal's 'Invincibles' team of the 2003-04 season finally came to an end, the Guardiola side still remains 15 points atop the league with an opportunity for cross-town rivals Manchester United to cut deficit down to 12 points when the latter face Stoke City early on 16 January. Here's how social media reacted to the Anfield thriller, which will remain in the memories of Liverpool fans for a long time: Man City defenders pic.twitter.com/UN7BIuvyTo — Troll Football Media (@Troll__Footbal) January 14, 2018 Live scenes from Liverpool vs Man Citypic.twitter.com/7VIm6HX9VR (Credits: @cheesesofnaz ) — Troll Football (@TrollFootball) January 14, 2018 Leicester Fans Waking up tomorrow #MoSalah pic.twitter.com/IFbTHT6HH6 — Darán Mac Gafraidh (@DarrenAnthony_8) December 30, 2017 City fans : " We're going to go the whole season unbeaten.. " pic.twitter.com/l43lKgjlw6 — Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) January 14, 2018 City's unbeaten run coming to an end pic.twitter.com/8smOosS6BL — Bailly Fan (@LukeUnitedd) January 14, 2018 AGUERNOOOOOOOO City almost pull it back with the last kick of the game! Liverpool wouldn't have it any other way. FT: Liverpool 4-3 Man City What a game of football. pic.twitter.com/pm0XLRICjn — 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) January 14, 2018 Manchester City in the Premier League this season: WDWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWDWL L is for Liverpool pic.twitter.com/IV5RMApxgb — PurelyFootball UK (@PurelyFootball) January 14, 2018 END OF UNBEATEN RUN Liverpool (Oxlade-Chamberlain 9' Firmino 59' Mane 61' Salah 68') 4 - 3Manchester City ( Sane 40' Silva B 84' Gundogan 90') pic.twitter.com/6lgvgiLYiO — Game Yetu (@GameYetu) January 14, 2018
  11. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/98813ff8d897b548ba0980911f9f4c21.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9MS8xMy8yMDE4IDY6NDA6NDggUE0maGFzaF92YWx1ZT12MmF3ZmYzNjZzTnNjVXU1K1VoZ1FRPT0mdmFsaWRtaW51dGVzPTYwJmlkPTE= style=center] JEDDAH: For years Areej al-Ghamdi could only cheer her favourite football team from home, but everything changed on Friday when Saudi Arabia allowed women into the stadium for the first time. The university student was among around 300 Saudi women who thronged Pearl stadium in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after the ultra-conservative kingdom eases decades-old rules separating the sexes. "I came with my father and my brother -- we´re fans of Al-Ahli," said Ghamdi of the Saudi Premier League club facing off against Al-Batin. The young woman said she always used to cheer her home team from the comfort of her living room. "We love the club very much, and our home would often become an arena for supporters," she said. "This is the first time we´ll be cheering for real, not just in front of the television," said Ghamdi, who wore a black abaya robe and a black scarf with a green Al-Ahli scarf round her neck. "It is so much better here." The game began at 8:00 pm (1700 GMT), but two hours before the historic kick-off enthusiasm was palpable as women supporters began arriving at the stadium. Among the first was a woman accompanied by a younger female and a girl. A boy sat next to them in seats that had been reserved for women who come alone or with members of their families, namely male relatives. The women entered the stadium through a special gate, while male supporters filed in through a separate entrance. ´Historic day´ Saudi Arabia, which has some of the world´s tightest restrictions on women, has long barred them from sports arenas through strict rules that keep the sexes apart in public. Glass panels were set up to separate men supporters from the women and family section of the stadium. "This event proves that we are heading for a prosperous future. I am very proud to be a witness of this massive change," Lamya Khaled Nasser, a 32-year-old fan from the Red Sea city, told AFP. Ruwayda Ali Qassem, another Jeddah resident, spoke of a "historic day in the kingdom which culminates (in) ongoing fundamental changes". "I am proud and extremely happy for this development and for the kingdom´s moves to catch up with civilised measures adopted by many countries," she said. ´Daughters can´t believe it´ Saleh al-Ziadi brought his three daughters to the game. "My daughters still don´t believe this is happening. They have not yet realised they will be cheering their favourite team inside the stadium," he said. The women entering the venue waited in long queues to be searched by women security personnel who wore orange vests over their black abayas, while inside the stadium another team directed them to their seats. Jeddah resident Noura Bakharji was among those who patiently waited for her turn, and for a reason. Bakharji said she always felt bitter when her brothers came home from stadiums to tell her about the excitement of watching football matches in person. "I always watched games on TV while my brothers went to the stadiums... I asked myself repeatedly ´Why I can´t go?´" she told AFP. "Today, things have changed. It´s a day of happiness and joy." Under Saudi Arabia´s existing guardianship system, a male family member -- normally the father, husband or brother -- must grant permission for a woman´s study, travel and a host of other activities. Fatimah Baeshen, spokeswoman at the Saudi embassy in Washington "rooted for the ladies" in a message on Twitter. "As we speak; Saudi women fans are entering soccer stadiums! This is more than women´s rights: today´s match between Al-Ahli and Al-Batin, and the ones to follow, are opportunities for families to come together and enjoy KSA´s national sport -- soccer! I´m rooting for the ladies -- enjoy!" Baeshen tweeted. Friday´s match was the first in a series that will be open to women: a second is due to take place on Saturday and a third on January 18. And in June, as part of a reforms drive led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, authorities are lifting a ban that prohibited Saudi women from driving. And the result of Friday´s game? A 5-0 defeat for Al-Batin -- and a victory for women in Saudi Arabia.
  12. Every day, we come across at least one article or video talking about the unrest in Kashmir. A lot has already been said about the turbulent conditions prevailing in the Valley. But what we don't get to hear often are the stories of the unsaid sources of inspiration within the state. A while ago, a photograph of a 23-year-old female college student hurling a stone at security forces in Srinagar went viral. © Twitter This very photo of a female student with a dupatta-clad face was enough to send the country in a frenzy as heated discussions began about whether or not it was right for females, particularly young female students, to come forward and confront the security forces. This woman, Afshan Ashiq, is not an ordinary one. Known for her passion for football, she formulated a team of women footballers and trained them. She came into the limelight because of her controversial photograph and soon, her life changed. She eventually got the opportunity to meet Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who decided to help her in promoting women's football in Jammu and Kashmir. The result? Afshan is now the captain and goalkeeper of the J&K women's football team. She also plays for a club in Mumbai. © Twitter But this wasn't enough for her. She wanted to do her bit to promote the sport and to improve the sports infrastructure in the state. Her dream came true when she, along with her 22-member team and coaches, met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and requested him to help in starting a Sports Authority of India Institute in Kashmir to train young girls. Met the young and energetic girls of J&K's first ever women football team. They are highly motivated & driven when it comes to football. Playing the role of new age 'Gender Benders' these girls are setting an example for others to follow. I wish them success and a great future. pic.twitter.com/3ZlMwhzkXm — Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) December 5, 2017 In an interview to the Times of India, she expressed her happiness, “I was impressed by how patiently a Union minister heard the issues raised by us. We sought better sports infrastructure in J&K. The Home Minister called up J&K CM in front of us and told her to meet us when we get back to Srinagar.” She also credited this to the Chief Minister of J&K who she feels helped the team in a big way. © Twitter (Outlook Magazine) On being asked about the stone-pelting incident and her viral photograph, she says that she has no regrets as her "anger” was triggered by the abusive language used by a J&K cop as well as the fact that one of her team members was slapped by the police. Interestingly, Afshan has now inspired a biopic based on her journey. Bollywood actor Gulshan Grover and his son Sanjay will be producing the biopic. Manish Harishankar will be helming the film project, titled 'Hope Solo', as director. © Sekho We hope Afshan continues on this journey of making the nation proud and being an inspiration for girls around the world. Clearly, it's never too late to change your life.
  13. Every day, we come across at least one article or video talking about the unrest in Kashmir. A lot has already been said about the turbulent conditions prevailing in the Valley. But what we don't get to hear often are the stories of the unsaid sources of inspiration within the state. A while ago, a photograph of a 23-year-old female college student hurling a stone at security forces in Srinagar went viral. © Twitter This very photo of a female student with a dupatta-clad face was enough to send the country in a frenzy as heated discussions began about whether or not it was right for females, particularly young female students, to come forward and confront the security forces. This woman, Afshan Ashiq, is not an ordinary one. Known for her passion for football, she formulated a team of women footballers and trained them. She came into the limelight because of her controversial photograph and soon, her life changed. She eventually got the opportunity to meet Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who decided to help her in promoting women's football in Jammu and Kashmir. The result? Afshan is now the captain and goalkeeper of the J&K women's football team. She also plays for a club in Mumbai. © Twitter But this wasn't enough for her. She wanted to do her bit to promote the sport and to improve the sports infrastructure in the state. Her dream came true when she, along with her 22-member team and coaches, met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and requested him to help in starting a Sports Authority of India Institute in Kashmir to train young girls. Met the young and energetic girls of J&K's first ever women football team. They are highly motivated & driven when it comes to football. Playing the role of new age 'Gender Benders' these girls are setting an example for others to follow. I wish them success and a great future. pic.twitter.com/3ZlMwhzkXm — Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) December 5, 2017 In an interview to the Times of India, she expressed her happiness, “I was impressed by how patiently a Union minister heard the issues raised by us. We sought better sports infrastructure in J&K. The Home Minister called up J&K CM in front of us and told her to meet us when we get back to Srinagar.” She also credited this to the Chief Minister of J&K who she feels helped the team in a big way. © Twitter/Outlook Magazine On being asked about the stone-pelting incident and her viral photograph, she says that she has no regrets as her "anger” was triggered by the abusive language used by a J&K cop as well as the fact that one of her team members was slapped by the police. Interestingly, Afshan has now inspired a biopic based on her journey. Bollywood actor Gulshan Grover and his son Sanjay will be producing the biopic. Manish Harishankar will be helming the film project, titled 'Hope Solo', as director. © Sekho We hope Afshan continues on this journey of making the nation proud and being an inspiration for girls around the world. Clearly, it's never too late to change your life.
  14. The Chinese FA said Sunday that its under-20 team will return home from Germany after indefinitely suspending its tour over protests by activists who unfurled Tibetan flags at a game. The youth team had been scheduled to play a series of friendlies against German fourth-tier sides until May, aimed at improving China's chances at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But the project has courted controversy and become a diplomatic headache for Berlin and Beijing after a pro-Tibetan independence protest during a match in Mainz on November 18. The German football association (DFB) said last week that the Chinese under-20s would not play the three matches scheduled before the end of the year. Then on Sunday its Chinese counterpart, the CFA, added: "It has been decided to pause the U20 project and arrangements have been made for the team to return home."
  15. Italian football federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio resigned on Monday, a week after the national team failed to qualify for the World Cup finals for the first time in 60 years. Tavecchio, 74, had been under pressure to step down after a goalless draw at home to Sweden meant Italy missed out on the World Cup for the first time since 1958. Coach Gian Piero Ventura was sacked last Wednesday. An angry Tavecchio told a news conference he had resigned because he had lost political support within the FIGC, not because of the team?s results on the field. ?I didn?t think for an instant. I resigned and I resigned as a political act to the Council, certainly not for sporting reasons,? he said. ?I asked the members of the Federal Council to resign as well and nobody did, they left me on my own.? Often referring to himself in the third person, he said he had been the victim of persecution by the media. ?The only thing missing was Tavecchio on the cross,? he said. He also said that Italy?s elimination had affected him personally as an ordinary fan. ?Carlo Tavecchio was very upset, but not as the head of the soccer federation, but as Carlo Tavecchio.? He added that it had not been his decision to appoint Ventura, a journeyman coach who had never coached either AC Milan, Inter Milan or Juventus nor won a major title at club level. ?Now, everyone knows that I wasn?t the one who chose Ventura. (But) Tavecchio pays because of Ventura,? he said. Tavecchio was first elected to the FIGC post in August 2014 with the support of the third and fourth-tier clubs and amateur leagues who hold the balance of power in FIGC elections. He replaced Giancarlo Abete, who had resigned immediately after Italy were knocked out in the first round of the World Cup in Brazil -- an example which Tavecchio was under pressure to follow. He was re-elected as head of the federation in March when he said that he had restored Italy?s credibility. During the 2014 FIGC campaign, Tavecchio caused an outcry when he made a comment about a fictitious African player he named Opti Poba ?eating bananas?. He was subsequently banned from holding any position with world governing body FIFA for six months while European body UEFA imposed a similar sanction. The FIGC, however, cleared him of any wrongdoing.
  16. Expensive flop Carlos Tevez could leave China soon, but other foreigners pining for a move in World Cup year may be disappointed by clubs desperate to retain their pricey stars. The unsettled Argentine, branded "very homesick boy" by fed-up Chinese fans, has endured a miserable 11 months in the Chinese Super League (CSL) and hinted that he is eager to return to Argentina. Shanghai Shenhua are paying the 33-year-old forward some of the highest wages in world football, an estimated 730,000 euros a week, and could agree to let Tevez go after the two-legged Chinese FA Cup final this month against Shanghai SIPG. But other overseas players wanting to quit the CSL now that the season has ended are less likely to get their wish. Replacing them will cost their clubs dear -- the result of a Chinese Football Association (CFA) ruling in May that effectively slapped a 100 percent tax on the purchase of foreign players, bringing a sudden halt to the influx of foreigners signed for eye-watering sums. Perennial champions Guangzhou Evergrande, under new coach Fabio Cannavaro, have already declared they want to field an all-Chinese team by 2020, though it remains to be seen if they can do that and still remain the team to beat in the CSL. "Certainly someone like Tevez could leave, but only because he hasn't been very good," said Ji Zhe, director at London-based sports marketing firm Red Lantern and an expert in Chinese football. "Paulinho left Guangzhou Evergrande for Barcelona, but that's a difficult move to turn down. We have seen key players extend contracts, like Renato Augusto at Beijing Guoan recently and Fredy Guarin at Shenhua earlier in the year. "Now that they cannot spend freely, CSL clubs will try their hardest to keep hold of their most prized foreign assets rather than letting them go." That view is shared by Beijing-based Mark Dreyer, founder of China Sports Insider, which specialises in sports business news in the country. "In the past a lot of the teams would change foreigners very regularly and often not for the best reasons because agents and everyone else along the way would take their cut, even if that meant sacrificing long-term stability," said Dreyer. "If you just extend the contract of an existing player you don't need to replace him with another player and pay that 100 percent tax." Huge gamble Next summer's World Cup muddies the waters. China did not qualify for Russia but players from countries that did will be desperate to impress their national coaches between now and when the tournament begins in June -- not easy to do with the Chinese season over and the 2018 campaign not kicking off until spring. Tevez's Shenhua team-mate Giovanni Moreno was reported to be considering a return home out of concern for his place in the Colombia World Cup squad. Whether Shenhua would allow the popular attacking midfielder to go is another matter. Ji said the likes of Oscar, SIPG's 60-million-euro man from Chelsea, could also be tempted to force a move back to a higher-profile league in the hope of reclaiming his spot in the Brazil squad. "But that would be a huge gamble for him, he stopped playing for Brazil when we was at Chelsea anyway," said Ji. "Furthermore, someone like Renato Augusto at Guoan and Gil at Shandong Luneng still get called up by Brazil even though they play in China." In last winter's transfer window Chinese clubs shelled out record amounts on foreign players, but the CFA soon acted, ostensibly out of concern that Chinese players were getting squeezed out. The transfer levy greatly stymied spending in the summer, but Zhao Yu, of Beijing-based sports consulting firm Key-Solution, believes CSL clubs will splash the cash again before the new Chinese season. Clubs will find ways to circumvent the transfer rules, he said, such as through loan arrangements like the one that took French predator Anthony Modeste from Cologne to Tianjin Quanjian. "What happened to Neymar may also be repeated in China," said Zhao, referring to the Brazilian's record 222-million-euro move from Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain in August.
  17. The valley of Kashmir which was previously synonymous to a slice of heaven on Earth has been turning itself into a living hell, a nightmare that people living in the state are witnessing every single day of their lives. Just like reading the weather report and a traffic update has become a routine, the newspapers report tremors of violence from the valley every single day. © Twitter Particularly, the youth of the state has been affected the most. Groups being influenced to join terrorist groups, college students indulging in stone pelting. The beauty and tranquillity of the valley has been replaced with a lull of darkness. Majid Khan, a youth icon is the recent addition to this sad reality. Majid is a known figure in Kashmir as he is a football player in Anantnag. Besides being a great player, he is your simple young 20-year-old boy who stayed with his family and was pursuing his graduation. Except, everything turned upside down! Majid left his family and shunned his home to join terrorist group 'Lashkar-e-Taiba'. © Twitter Apparently, he was influenced by his close friends and peers to join the group. The irony of the whole incident is that before this radical transformation, he was working with an NGO which is a humanitarian organisation. Majid Khan in voluntary work b4 joining the Mujahideen ranks. “Who would translate the ground Sentiments into best words? Who? pic.twitter.com/Xq8NUJumVY — Mir Ada (@MirAda94) November 13, 2017 “Majid Khan was also working with an NGO, and during his stint in the organisation, he recruited more than 300 volunteers from Anantnag district. The difference between the present day militancy and the one that existed in early 1990s is that the ideological conviction of the present generation is far more superior”, said an officer who is a part of the investigation. It does not comes as a surprise that his family is shattered and his mother is already begging him to come back home. Kashmir footballer Majid Khan's mother mourns in a twitter video, pleads her son to give up arms and come back #LiberalsWakeUp pic.twitter.com/1aL45SBl3A — TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) November 15, 2017 The future of this country is in grave hands. While on one side we are vying to be a world class economy in the coming future, on the other, instances like these paint a sad and depressing picture.
  18. Honduras accused Australia of spying on their training sessions with a drone on Monday, as tensions heated up ahead of Wednesday?s decisive World Cup playoff match. The Honduran National Football Federation (FENAFUTH) posted on Twitter 18 seconds of footage of a drone flying above Sydney?s Olympic Stadium, where the team trained after their long flight from central America. ?Australia spied on Honduras?s official training session from a drone, causing discomfort among the Honduran team and delegation,? FENAFUTH said on its Twitter feed. Honduras face the Socceroos at the same stadium on Wednesday night for the deciding second leg of their intercontinental playoff with the scores level at 0-0 after a tightly fought first leg in San Pedro Sula on Friday. ?We weren?t involved,? said a spokesman for Football Federation Australia (FFA). Honduras boss Jorge Luis Pinto was also involved in a row with the media at the start of the session when he tried to close training before the 15 minutes of open access allowed under FIFA rules. ?They should show us some respect, we respected them in Honduras so they should show us respect here,? he shouted in Spanish at photographers and cameramen. Colombian Pinto also suggested on his arrival in Sydney that someone in the Honduran media had leaked tactical details to Australia, broadcaster Televicentro reported. According to Honduran newspaper La Prensa, Honduras team management sent up drones of their own in 2016 to ensure no unauthorised parties were monitoring their training sessions.
  19. The then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter attends the 2015 African Cup of Nations final football match between Ivory Coast and Ghana in Bata, February 8, 2015. AFP/Carl de Souza/Files LISBON: US women's football star Hope Solo accused Sepp Blatter of sexual assault on Friday, claiming the disgraced former FIFA president groped her backside at the 2013 Ballon d'Or ceremony. The 36-year-old Solo, her country's standout goalkeeper, claimed the 81-year-old Blatter pounced as she was about to present an award to her teammate Abby Wambach. "Sepp Blatter grabbed my ass, it was a few years ago at the Ballon d'Or ceremony just before I got on stage," Solo told Portuguese newspaper Expresso. A spokesman for Blatter, however, said the accusation was "ridiculous". Solo, a World Cup winner and two-time Olympic champion, made the allegations on the sidelines of the Web Summit being held in Lisbon. She said that sexual harassment at the hands of male officials was a common problem in women's football. "I have seen this all of my career and I would like to see more athletes speak about their experiences," said Solo. "It's out of control, not just in Hollywood but everywhere," she added in reference to the firestorm of sexual harassment allegations in entertainment, politics and sport ever since the scandal involving Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein unfolded. Blatter was president of FIFA from 1998 until 2015 until he was banned for corruption.
  20. Mexican indigenous teenager Liliana Gonzalez, 14, goalkeeper of the Lioness FC soccer team takes part in a training session at Metepec community, Mexico state on November 6, 2017. Photo: AFP San Felipe del Progreso: Guadalupe Garcia, an indigenous Mexican woman, was working as a maid when she fell in love -- not with her boss, like a hackneyed telenovela plot, but with football. Garcia, a petite but powerful athlete with a sharp mind and wide smile, was not allowed to play football growing up as a poor Mazahua indigenous girl in the small village of San Juan Coajomulco. She got her first chance as a young adult, and discovered that football is "an act of rebellion" in a country where the sport is still seen as a boys´ game, she says. Garcia will be a keynote speaker this week at the Women´s Forum Mexico, an event designed to bring together influential voices to address the deep-rooted problems facing women in the country. Players of the Mazahua soccer team stretch before the match against "Hadas B" team of the Mexican Women Soccer league, Premier category, in San Felipe del Progreso, Mexican state on October 29, 2017. Today Garcia, 34, runs a football club for Mazahua girls and young women, using the sport to empower them in a country where machismo runs deep and violence against women is rampant. Her goal, she says, is to instill in them a vital message: "This body is mine, and nobody touches it unless I want." The state of Mexico, where she lives, has the worst rate of deadly violence against women in the country. Last year, at least 263 women were murdered in the central state, according to the rights group OCNF. Their bodies turn up almost daily -- raped, mutilated, half-burnt, floating in rivers of sewage or even buried in their murderers´ yards. Daysi Cruz Sanchez of the Mazahua soccer team vies for the ball during the match against "Hadas B" team at of the Mexican Women Soccer league, Premier category, in San Felipe del Progreso, Mexican state on October 29, 2017. Photo: AFP Since Garcia founded her programme two years ago, she has coached around 300 Mazahua girls in the skills of life and football. The game is still largely forbidden in their world -- a deeply traditional one, where men hold the power, girls are often removed from school to marry young, and many families refuse to let their daughters "open their legs" running around a football pitch. "We have to get each other´s backs!" Garcia tells her girls in a pep talk before one recent match between the Seleccion Mazahua -- a club with 25 players aged 16 to 26 -- and a local private school, both playing in the first division of the Mexican Women´s Football League. Her club went on to lose 4-1. It doesn´t matter to Garcia. The important thing is empowering them, she says. Bloody family history Garcia knows the horrific problem of gender violence up close. "My mother was orphaned at 11 years old when my grandfather beat my grandmother to death," she says. Her father was an alcoholic, and her family forced her two sisters to get married at 14 and 15 years old. She herself was sent to work as a maid. Mexican indigenous teenager Liliana Gonzalez, 14, goalkeeper of the Lioness FC soccer team talks to AFP during a training session at Metepec community, Mexico state on November 6, 2017. Photo: AFP "But I liked to read, and that enabled me to discover things... which made me disobedient," she says with a sly smile. Fired from her job, she started playing in amateur football clubs. "Taking to the football pitch has been an act of rebellion for me," she says. "It enabled me to avoid getting pregnant as a teenager, getting married too young." She got married at 23, and now has two children. It hasn´t diminished her passion for her football program, which is financed by several Mexican rights groups. Girl power Although winning isn´t Garcia´s main goal, she has shown a knack for grooming talented young recruits. Four of her girls currently play for private clubs on scholarships that cover their education, housing and living expenses. One, 14-year-old Liliana Gonzalez, is being scouted by the Mexican national team. She is the star keeper for Lioness FC, in the city of Metepec. Ivette Anayancy Monroy (C) of the Mazahua soccer team vies for the ball during the match against "Hadas B" team at the Mexican Women Soccer league, Premier category, in San Felipe del Progreso, Mexican state on October 29, 2017. Photo: AFP Football, she says, "is a way to fight back against machismo -- with a ball." Rocio Lopez, 26, is one of Garcia´s current stars. The head of an indigenous education centre, she can be found scoring goals in her free time on the club´s pitch, a field surrounded by dry corn cobs. "Men are learning that we are just as good as they are," she says defiantly, her mouth bright with orange lipstick. "If they can wear shorts, we can too. If they can kick a ball, we can too."
  21. Opponents of Russia's national side can be forgiven for confusion as they face two identical players: twin brothers Anton and Alexei Miranchuk. The 22-year-old Miranchuk siblings appeared together in the national squad for the first time last month after manager Stanislav Cherchesov rewarded their solid performances for Russian league leaders Lokomotiv Moscow. "We gave the new players a chance to show their worth in matches with teams that have already qualified for the 2018 World Cup finals," Cherchesov told journalists after friendlies with South Korea and Iran. "(Mario) Fernandes, (Konstantin) Rausch and the Miranchuk twins looked impressive with their club sides this season and we needed to test them in the national squad. "That helped us to finalise the pool of the candidates into our World Cup squad." The country's football chief Vitaly Mutko hailed the brothers from the southern Krasnodar region as part of a new generation of dedicated players, a much welcome boost after a dreadful Euro 2016 campaign. Players such as the Miranchuks are "highly motivated" and "have a completely different attitude to football", Mutko stressed. "It's a generation of professionals." The twins meanwhile said their invitation to the national side had done wonders for their confidence. "It was incredibly motivating for us when we got the call up to the national squad," Anton Miranchuk, who made his senior Russia debut in October's 4-2 win over South Korea, told AFP. "I just couldn't put my feelings into words." "Of course it's a great responsibility," his brother Alexei, who earned the first of his 12 international caps in 2015, added. "When you join the national squad, it's a new experience, new feelings and new opportunities. It's cool." Cossack character The players' mother Yelena Miranchuk said the family traces its origins back to the Cossacks, independent horsemen forces who guarded Tsarist Russia's borders. She told Russian television she believes this gave her sons their active and uncompromising nature. The brothers started out training with the Olympus club of their native town of Slavyansk-on-Kuban in their home region. After a couple of years, Spartak Moscow invited the boys to join their football academy. They came to Moscow with their mother, a trained teacher who got a job at their school's boarding house. "It was non-negotiable that our mum came with us," Anton said. "She's the head of our family -- she has always been with us, she has watched and supported us the whole time," Alexei added. "Things might have gone differently without her keeping an eye on us." After the Miranchuk brothers turned 16, Spartak released them for not being physically strong enough, forcing them to join Lokomotiv's academy. Their natural talent soon shone through and they became integral members of Lokomotiv's youth squad, winning three consecutive Russian titles. Alexei then made his debut in the Russian Premier League in 2013 but Anton was made to wait before getting his chance. Anton was sent on loan to Estonian high-flyers Levadia Tallinn for the 2016 campaign, during which he scored 15 goals in 33 matches. That form abroad earned him a brief cameo alongside his brother for Lokomotiv at the end of the last season, before thrusting him into a regular role this term. 'Spiritual connection' But the separation was hard, Anton admitted. "We've been together since we were born. I feel a constant spiritual connection with my brother and I feel I miss him after just a couple of days apart. "But I don't regret my secondment to Estonia. It was very useful to get regular match practice and experience. It helped me a lot to win a place in Lokomotiv's line-up when I came back." His brother Alexei naturally agreed. "For me it was really hard to play and to progress without my brother," he added. "But now I feel that this parting was for the best. "Now everything has got back to normal and I feel we're both ready to go up to the next level."
  22. World Cup winner Andrea Pirlo brought down the curtain on his glittering football career on Monday, signing off with a message on Twitter hours after coming on as a late substitute for Major League Soccer side New York City in ther 2-0 win over Columbus Crew. The 38-year-old suggested last month he would retire at the end of the season and leaves the game with two Champions League titles, six Serie A crowns, the 2006 World Cup he won with Italy, as well as a host of other trophies and honours accumulated in more than 20 years. ?Not only my adventure in NY comes to an end but my journey as a football player as well,? Pirlo, who has 116 caps for his country, said in the message. The midfielder made his senior debut for his hometown club Brescia at the age of 16 before moving to Inter Milan in 1998. He struggled to nail down a starting place at Inter, where he was deployed behind the strikers, and was signed by city rivals AC Milan in 2001 with doubts looming over his effectiveness. Pirlo played second fiddle to Rui Costa in his first season at Milan, where like at Inter he was deployed as a ?trequartista?, a position where his lack of pace hindered him. It was only under Carlo Ancelotti the following season that he began to flourish, with the manager?s decision to move him to a deeper role just in front of the defence allowing his playmaking talents to come to the fore. Milan won the Champions League and Italian Cup in 2003 with Pirlo pulling the strings, and the team won the Serie A title the following year as he continued to blossom in the ?regista? role that has since become synonymous with him. By the time he won the World Cup, Pirlo was being hailed as the world?s best playmaker and when his form at Milan began to decline, he was offered a move to Juventus. He enjoyed a renaissance at the Turin club, leading Juventus to the first of the four consecutive Serie A titles he won with them in his debut season, before moving to the United States in July 2015. Pirlo helped New York City reach the MLS play-offs in each of the past two seasons, but was unable to add to his trophy haul with the club. ?I would like to... thank my family... every team I had the honour to play for, every team mate I have been pleased to play alongside, all the people who made my career so incredible,? he said. ?You will always be on my side and in my heart.?
  23. From the invention of simple tools to the advent of computers, the synergistic relationship between the society and technology dates back to the dawn of mankind. Since then, technology has been a key contributor to the evolution of the society. After it has been presented and promoted, when an innovation reaches a certain level, it thereby becomes a part of the society eventually aimed to aid humans. But, while it enabled James Cameroon to make Avatar or empowered Tesla to achieve the dream of making electric cars, technological advancements have similarly played their part in helping the negative elements evolve with time in the society. From the days of Taliban to Al-Qaeda, terrorism has also exponentially evolved over the years. While at the surface it remains the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear, terrorism has rapidly become a predominant strategic tool of our adversaries. From the days of planting bombs in crowded places, terror outfits have evolved to ram passenger planes into symbolic buildings and pull-off coordinated attacks on a city while setting ablaze a five-star hotel and taking its guests hostage. © Reuters And, as we entered in the digital age, so did these terror outfits, paving way for a more notorious and technologically sound group we all came to know of as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Whether it's their enhanced ability to operate, procure funding or even the recruitment via social media, if we all have benefitted from the digital age, so did ISIS. Continuing to change the dynamics, overcome security measures and define the new age of terrorism, the notorious ISIS have come up with another threat that looms large on one of the world's biggest sporting event - the FIFA World Cup. Pro-#ISIS media unit Wafa' Foundation continues to threaten 2018 FIFA #WorldCup, this time using an image of #LionelMessi in a prison outfit pic.twitter.com/isB8RDKYAK — SITE Intel Group (@siteintelgroup) October 24, 2017 Recently, the al-Wafaa Media Foundation - a pro-ISIS media group - released a spine chilling poster which showed one of the world's best footballer Lionel Messi mocked up in a prison outfit, behind bars, and with blood dripping from his eye. On top of that, the message in the post which read: "You are fighting a state that does not have failure in its dictionary", highlighted their threat to disrupt the proceedings at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. There poster also used Nike's famous tagline 'Just Do It' which was moulded into 'Just Terrorism' to suit their cause. With the image has already taken social media by storm and sent shockwaves across the world, ISIS' threat has all the makings of the infamous Munich massacre during the 1972 Summer Olympics which remains one of the most tragic events in the history of sports. Birth Of ISIS © Reuters You cannot understand ISIS without understanding al-Qaeda and the history they share, as well as the differences, there at the beginning that would eventually divide them. With the emergence of al-Qaeda - a group of foreign fighters supposedly helping Afghans resist the 1979 Soviet invasion, a number of young radicals including Osama bin Laden formed the core network of what eventually turned out to be the most notorious terror outfit at that time. The Soviets eventually withdrew in 1988, but they left a puppet regime in place, and the war continued. The next year, a Jordanian man named Ahmad Fadhil Nazzal al-Khalaylah joined them and achieved global infamy under his nom de guerre - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - a name that would later echo with every scream of an ISIS' victim. Working his way through the ranks, al-Zarqawi formed a group of his own called 'al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI)' in 2004. But, his methods were too vicious even for al-Qaeda. Despite warnings from his parent gorup, al-Zarqawi continued his wrath on Iraq's Shia majority which eventually turned him into a target for the US. And, in 2006, he was killed by a US airstrike. With US cutting the head of the snake, majority of the AQI's terrorists were either dead or in prison by 2009. But, just when the group appeared to have become a shadow of itself, it fed on Iraq's internal politics and rose as ISIS. With new leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at the helm, AQI found the opening they were looking for in the Arab Spring which erupted in Syria. In 2011, Baghdadi brought AQI to fight off the Syrian regime under Bashar al-Assad. With financial backing from Gulf Arab states - including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, AQI spread like wildfire in Syria on the back of a huge infusion of recruits who were freed by the terror outfit from Iraqi prisons. And, in April 2013, Baghdadi asserted control over operations in both Syria and Iraq, spelling an end to his stint with al-Qaeda and giving birth to ISIS. New Face Of Terror © Reuters While the preceding terror outfits like Taliban believed in abolishing modern means as part of their propaganda, the ISIS didn't just accept it with both hands, but it continues to make the most of it. Unlike their parent group al-Qaeda, ISIS is more media sophisticated and excels in using social media as a tool of terrorism with active Twitter and YouTube accounts helping them influence the masses. It is the most heavily-armed Islamist extremist group in history, having captured huge amounts of military weapons and equipments in Iraq and Syria. In fact, an ISIS video released on 12 October titled "The Descendants of Ibn Jubayr" - showcasing the group's sniper capabilities using graphic footage of militants firing on Syrian troops and their allies in Khayr (which includes Syrian province of Deir Ezzor) which claims around 2,500 sniper kills in the region in the past three years is a proves that they are equally skilled in warfare. But, that's not the only thing that sets them apart from their predecessors. Their attacks in Nice and at the Christmas market in Berlin last year where motor vehicles were weaponised have caused headaches to the security agencies. The lesson is plain: anyone with access to a motor vehicle can be mobilized to use it in a terror attack and there us simply nothing much to stop that. It's low tech, it's suicidal or semi-suicidal, and it's as indiscriminate as any other iteration of terror. History With Russia © Twitter Russia has enjoyed a historically strong, stable, and friendly relationship with Syria, as it did until the Arab Spring with most of the Arab nations. After establishing diplomatic relations with Syria in 1944, Russia signed an agreement ensuring their support for Syrian independence ahead of the evacuation of French troops in April 1946. But more recently in 2011 and 2012, Russia used its veto-power in the United Nations Security Council - against resolutions promoted by Western and Arab countries - to prevent possible sanctions or military intervention against their old ally. And, in 2015, they began a military intervention in the Syrian Civil War in support of the al-Assad government which included air strikes against military groups opposed to the government - predominantly the ISIS. Since then, Russia has witnessed some retaliatory attacks in the form of bomb blasts and shooting. The latest being the blast triggered via a briefcase which detonated in St Petersburg - the second-largest city and the former capital - in April 2017 where 14 individuals were killed. To make matters worse, thousands of Russians from mainly central Asia have travelled to the Middle East to fight for ISIS. According to media reports, experts in Moscow have conformed that around 2,400 Russians have joined the regime in 2015 alone. The Islamic extremism has been a major concern for Putin who recently became the posterboy of ISIS' poster which carried his bullet-ridden photo alongside US President Donald Trump. More Than A Threat © Twitter Whether intentional or unintentional, ISIS has had a close relation with football. Most famous instance being the 2015 Paris attacks where its members had set off a series of bombs around the French capital. Three suicide bombers triggered blasts outside the Stade de France in Saint-Denis ahead of a friendly match between Germany and France. Just 20 minutes ahead of the game, the first suicide bomber detonated his vest moments after being prevented from entering the stadium on suspicion of a terror threat. The initial plan was to trigger the blast inside the stadium, instigating the crowd's panicked exit onto the streets where two other bombers were patiently waiting to cause more damage. But, the failure of the first bomber to enter the stadium restricted the casualties to four individuals including three suicide bombers. While their terror bid failed to disrupt the football friendly, ISIS eventually had their say the same night after mass shootings across multiple locations in the city - including the Bataclan theatre - which claimed the lives of 130 individuals and injured another 413. After their threats to disrupt proceedings at football tournaments - namely the 2016 Euros and the 2017 Women's Euro Championships - came through unscathed, it's difficult to ascertain the seriousness of the latest threats from the ISIS. But, going by their ever-growing reputation as most notorious terror outfits ever, it will arguably be a big test for any nation to contain ISIS and successfully host one of world's biggest sporting events.
  24. Premier League clubs risk the possibility of demotion and being prosecuted under the new Criminal Finance Act, a leading city firm told AFP. Under the new law, which came into force on September 30, any company, which includes football clubs, can be held responsible for their employees or agents with whom they do business if tax evasion becomes an issue. The new legislation places the onus firmly on clubs to carry out due diligence on players and agents, says Tom Shave, partner in business tax at Smith & Williamson, the accountancy, investment management and tax group. "If a case goes to a jury the reputational damage is already done. Being seen as a facilitator of tax evasion in the current environment is viewed dimly," he told AFP in an interview at the firm's city headquarters. "It depends how the English Premier League see it if you have a criminal prosecution in relation to your activity. "This criminal prosecution for tax evasion remains to be tested as it has just come in but you would imagine there are implications for a club should such a case proceed." Peter Fairchild, also a partner at Smith & Williamson, with a long list of top level footballers as clients, says the EPL might take a very dim view if one of their members was found to be guilty of facilitating tax evasion. "The Premier League will want to maintain its reputation with fans and sponsors. We?ve seen point deductions where clubs have entered administration and parallels can be drawn," he said. "The club in question will not have planned for this and as a result will suddenly see cash payments to them being withheld which will strangle cash flow and their players needing to be paid each week." - 'No short cut' - Fairchild said many clubs don't seem yet to be aware they could be hit hard by the legislation. "It is seriously scary the criminal element of the legislation," he said. "I am a bit surprised we haven't had more enquiries. Many clubs are only just getting to grips with the problem, perhaps thinking that it doesn?t apply to them or that there is a short cut. "But there is no short cut. (The tax authorities) will come and ask their questions and if you don't have a robust defence the weight of legislation will be used against you." Fairchild sees the forthcoming transfer window in January being even more hectic and intense with the new legislation having come into effect. "When it comes to January 31st those clubs that are struggling, or trying to get deals done, won't want to be told have you taken the time to go through the proper process and complied with the check list regarding the player they are targeting. "The only thing a Premier League club, battling for survival, will want to do is buy a key player and preserve their EPL status. "The prepared clubs will be asked key questions such as 'have you done this due diligence?'. "They'll speak to external parties and potentially hire additional staff. Those clubs who don't take it seriously could find themselves facing an HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) investigation in a year or two. "If that investigation finds problems then they could suffer an unlimited fine."
  25. Kakha Kaladze, candidate for mayor of Tbilisi from the ruling Georgian Dream party, celebrates after an exit poll showed his victory at the local election in Tbilisi, Georgia, October 21, 2017.Photo: Reuters1 TBILISI: Georgia announced Sunday that former AC Milan football star Kakha Kaladze had been elected mayor of its capital Tbilisi. The country's election administration said on its website that Kaladze won 51 percent of the vote in Saturday´s municipal election. The 39-year-old played for AC Milan between 2001 and 2010, helping the team to twice win the Champions League. He previously played for Dynamo Kiev and Dinamo Tbilisi and also captained Georgia´s national side. He quit football in 2012 while playing for Genoa in order to devote himself to politics and campaign alongside billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili to challenge then-president Mikheil Saakashvili. He became energy minister in October 2012 after Ivanishvili´s coalition scored a shock parliamentary election victory over Saakashvili´s party. In July this year, he resigned to run for mayor of the capital, a city of 1.2 million. In a personal tragedy, his brother was kidnapped in 2001 by abductors who demanded a ransom and took him to a gorge that was a notorious hideout for Chechen separatist rebels. His body was identified five years later.