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Found 55 results

  1. 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
  2. [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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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."
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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."
  12. 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."
  13. 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.?
  14. 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.
  15. 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."
  16. 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.
  17. Richard Arnold of Manchester United poses before a news conference in Hong Kong, June 23, 2011. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/Files LONDON: Manchester United have agreed a deal with the General Sports Authority (GSA) of Saudi Arabia to help develop football in the country. United will lend business and sporting expertise to clubs and sporting organisations in Saudi Arabia to boost the game's growth. The partnership forms part of Saudi Vision 2030 ? the plan to diversify the Saudi economy and to develop its public sectors ? announced last year by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. "The club has a long-standing relationship with Saudi Arabia and has over five million passionate fans in the region," Richard Arnold ? United's group managing director ? told the club's website. "Our partnership with Saudi Telecom is the longest running of all our commercial partners," he added. "Having the chance to help shape the football industry in the Kingdom is a great honour and it is something where we believe we can make a big difference." "I hope that this strategic alliance will benefit generations of Saudi footballers, supporters, and young professionals looking to work in football well beyond Saudi Vision 2030." Turki Al-Shikh ? the chairman of the GSA ? added, "This relationship is part of an exciting programme we are undertaking to transform sport in Saudi Arabia."
  18. The suspension will be lifted once PFF offices and access to PFF accounts are returned to PFF FIFA has decided to suspend the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) on account of undue third-party interference, the world football governing body announced on Wednesday. The PFF?s membership has been suspended with immediate effect in accordance with the decision of the Bureau of the FIFA Council. PFF offices and its accounts remain in control of a court-appointed administrator, which constitutes a violation of the PFF obligations to manage its affairs independently and without influence from any third parties in accordance with the FIFA Statutes, the governing body said. The suspension will be lifted once the PFF offices and access to the PFF accounts are returned to the PFF. Following its suspension, the PFF has lost all its membership rights as defined in Article 13 of the FIFA Statutes. The PFF representative and club teams are no longer entitled to take part in international competitions until the suspension is lifted, the media release stated. The suspension also means that neither the PFF nor any of its members or officials can benefit from any development programmes, courses or training from FIFA or the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). Also in accordance with Article 16 Paragraph 3 of the FIFA Statutes, other member associations may not entertain sporting contact with the PFF during its suspension, FIFA added. Earlier this year, FIFA had given a final ultimatum to authorities in Pakistan for handing over football affairs to elected-president-PFF Faisal Saleh Hayat or face suspension from membership. FIFA threatens to suspend Pakistan Football Federation An official of FIFA confirmed that matters related to Pakistan Football Federation were discussed at the meeting of its Members? Association Committee on July 4th A FIFA spokesman had said that the Members? Association Committee had decided that ?if the PFF offices and access to the PFF accounts weren?t returned to the PFF Ieadership - Ied by Mr Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat - by 31 JuIy it would recommend to the FIFA Council to suspend the PFF for contravening its obligations under articles 14 & 19 of the FIFA Statutes." Faisal Saleh Hayyat was re-elected as President of PFF for a third time in a controversial election in June 2015, but he was never allowed to resume charge and the matters were dragged in court, which FIFA terms as against its statues.
  19. Tragedy struck in the northern French city of Amiens as 29 fans were injured in after-goal celebration frenzy. As the fans celebrated an away-goal at Stade de la Licorne, the barrier collapsed suddenly after a surge of at least 500 fans stressed the guarding rails. At least five of those hurt were seriously injured. Twitter "It happened all of a sudden. I don't even know who scored. It just suddenly fell on me. I couldn't hear anything, I couldn't see anything and then the emergency workers took me away," said a 21-year-old Lille fan who himself suffered some lower half injuries. The stadium, ironically, is under renovation and 7.5 million euros are being spent on the redevelopment. After the horrific accident, a video emerged online showing how it all happened. The away end collapses as #Lille fans celebrate their goal against Amiens. Match abandoned. pic.twitter.com/IuF2IbDgTo #France ð«ð· — 90min (@90min_Football) October 1, 2017 As can be seen in the video, a barrage of fans collapsed suddenly, crushed by others within a split second. Two minors were among those seriously injured. Amiens' president, Bernard Joannin, blamed the fans after the incident saying that there were no issues with the barriers. "The police had warned us that there were 200 hardcore fans, really wound up, who were in the section set aside for Lille fans. They surged forward, chaotically, more than 500 people, against this barrier, which was in perfect condition." The Amiens public prosecutor, however, assured than an investigation had been started to look into "accidental injury", to find out if the barriers were the cause of this horrific accident. "We have put legal seals on the site (to bar access to it), and an assessment will be carried out in the next few days," Alexandre de Bosschere said.
  20. BARCELONA: Tensions around Catalonia?s upcoming independence referendum have spilled onto the soccer pitch in Spain after a warning from the country?s national football league that one of its crown jewels, FC Barcelona, would be expelled if the region seceded. Catalonia is home to the world?s second most-valuable club, with five-times European champions Barca a mainstay of Spain?s La Liga whose boss, Javier Tebas, has said the club would not be allowed to remain in the league in the event of secession. Spain?s football community believes secession is a distant prospect, given that Madrid has declared Sunday?s vote as unconstitutional, but that has not stopped the Catalan political crisis from exposing divisions among fans and some officials. La Liga?s threat to expel Barca in the event of independence would leave the club, estimated by Forbes magazine this year to be worth $3.64 billion, and its players, including five-times world player of the year Lionel Messi, without a league. The region?s other top-flight clubs, Girona and Espanyol, would also face expulsion from Spanish soccer. Barcelona?s Nou Camp stadium is a cauldron of separatist fervour, but the club is careful not to openly support independence. Instead, it says Catalans should decide and has criticised Spain?s attempts to prevent the vote going ahead. After police raided Catalan government offices and arrested officials this month, the club issued a statement condemning ?any act that may impede the free exercise? of democracy and freedom of speech. FC Barcelona and La Liga declined to comment to Reuters, though the club?s vice-president, Jordi Cardoner, told reporters this week the vote would be ?an important day in the history of our country, but we have to focus on football?. Soccer?s world governing body, FIFA, also declined to comment on the implications for FC Barcelona and other Catalan clubs if the region were to declare independence after the vote, which Spain regards as unconstitutional. ?As a general rule FIFA does not comment on potential future scenarios,? a FIFA spokesperson told Reuters. Secession, though, would be a tricky political football for FIFA. If La Liga were to exclude Barcelona in the event of Catalan independence -- a move Tebas said would be required by Spanish law -- FIFA could be asked to determine if Spain had breached its rule against government interference in football. FIFA would have the power to suspend Spain, the 2010 World Cup winners, from competing in international soccer, less than a year before the 2018 tournament in Russia. A soccer crisis could be avoided if the law were to be amended, but most Spanish lawmakers are opposed to Catalan independence and it is not clear if they would approve that. FANS DIVIDED Many Barcelona fans regard independence as paramount, despite the implications for their storied club. ?I believe the club should have an even stronger position in favour of the right to decide,? said Carles Ordiales, president of supporters group Seguiment. ?Barca and Catalonia have been linked historically and the club should be 100 percent committed to the people of Catalonia.? Barca?s support stretches far beyond Catalonia and Spain, however, and not all supporters back its stance. ?I have contradictory sentiments,? said Barca season ticket holder Dam Calderon, also a member of Seguiment. He said he was not a separatist but believed Spain?s efforts to prevent the referendum going ahead were shameful. ?I understand the club?s position and why they released their statement. On the other hand, I think about the millions of Barcelona fans who are not separatists, and that might see it differently and feel offended by it.? The coach of Barcelona?s arch-rival Real Madrid said he could not imagine La Liga without its 24-times champions. ?I see Barcelona as always being in La Liga and that?s it. I hope that does not happen,? Frenchman Zinedine Zidane said at a pre-game news conference this month. Former Barca president Joan Laporta, who backs independence, shares that sentiment: ?Barca versus Real Madrid is a very attractive product and trying to get rid of it would be an error on the part of the government, the league and the soccer federation,? he said on Friday. Even if Spain prevents the Catalan government from staging a credible vote on Sunday, independence supporters among Barca?s fan base are still likely to have something to cheer about. On referendum day, Barcelona play lowly ranked Las Palmas at the Nou Camp and are likely to extend their six-game winning start in La Liga and remain top of the standings. As ever, fans will chant ?independence? at precisely 17 minutes and 14 seconds into each half of the game, a tradition marking the 1714 Siege of Barcelona by Spain?s King Felipe V who vanquished the Principality of Catalonia as a political entity.
  21. Few football-crazy fans today may be aware that India was once called the ‘Brazil of Asia'. Or that the competition between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan is ranked among the top fifty club rivalries in the world. Brilliant players, world-class coaches and passionate fans—including political leaders and film celebrities—once combined to make India a football-worshipping nation. A major source of sports entertainment in India, football has thrived in several places apart from Kolkata. The game has also been inextricably linked to community identity, shrewdly used towards political ends, and has contributed richly to our cultural heritage. © Quora In ‘Barefoot to Boots', renowned journalist Novy Kapadia reveals Indian football's glorious legacy through riveting descriptions of on-field action, stories of memorable matches, lively anecdotes and exclusive conversations with legendary players and officials. Having witnessed the evolution of the sport over fifty years, Kapadia charts its eventful journey up to the present, to enthral old and new fans alike. The book offers invaluable insight into the future of the game as the Indian Super League dramatically changes the face of domestic football and India hosts the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the first time. © Penguin Random House India Novy Kapadia happens to be a renowned sports journalist and columnist, and taught English literature at Delhi University. Recognized as India's foremost football expert and commentator on leading television channels, he is the author of The Football Fanatic's Essential Guide Book, and has contributed to Soccer in South Asia, Fields of Play and Enduring Legacy: Parsis of the 20th Century. Novy has been a consultant to the Limca Book of Records from 1990 onwards, and has edited the Durand Journal—India's most comprehensive football journal—since 1983. Since 1980, he has covered several international championships, including the World Cup and the Olympics, and all major domestic tournaments. Novy won the Wills Award for Excellence in Sports Journalism in 1986. He lives in Delhi. © Twitter In this book, with a foreward by Bhaichung Bhutia himself, football aficionados have everything they need to know about football in India. What's more? It's an absolute must read for fans who plan to watch FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 this October.
  22. For sports lovers, getting their hands on the jerseys of their favorite team is very essential. But for the fans of the Indian Football team, it was a daunting task. American apparel and sports accessories giant, Nike has been involved with the Indian national team over the past ten years as the kit suppliers for the ‘Blue Tigers'. The latest kit's light blue tones and minimalistic design looked neat with the new All India Football Federation (AIFF) logo. However, much to the dismay of the fans, the jersey was not available in stores. In the month of October this year, the FIFA U-17 World Cup is taking place in India and the Indian National team is all set to go head to head against the best teams from around the world. So, Nike and AIFF finally decided to up their game and announced that the new Indian national team jersey will be available at select Nike retailers from September 8 and on Nike.com starting September 12. Of course, it was expected that the jersey won't come cheap because of the quality fabric and the amount of research that goes behind their making. Apparently, the latest jersey is made of recycled polyester fabric, which is made from recycled plastic bottles melted down to produce a fine yarn. It also has Nike's Dri-FIT technology that helps draw sweat away from the body to the exterior. All these hi-tech innovations help maximize ventilation and allow the players to perform at their best by remaining cooler, drier, and more comfortable. The fans were rejoicing on getting this news but their happiness went out of the window when they saw the price of the jersey. Nike has priced it at Rs 4,695 which is too expensive in itself. But once you add up the tax and the shipment charges, it rounds off around Rs. 5,000. And that obviously didn't go down well with the Indian fans. I can understand why the iPhoneX costs a lakh in India. What I can't understand is why the Indian football jersey costs Rs 4695. Criminal! — Indranil Das Blah (@indranildasblah) September 14, 2017 Eugene bhai indian football jersey is very costy â¹ 4500,u-17 worldcup is also approaching. Pl raise this issue with the authority. — vaibhav tondon (@vaibhavtondon) September 10, 2017 @Nikeindia @Nike @nikefootball r u serious about the price of Indian football jersey Rs 4695 only @IndianFootball take a note of it. #nike — Aditya Dwivedi (@csadityadwivedi) August 31, 2017 Seems like #IndianFootball fans need to sell their kidney to buy official jersey of Indian National Football Team :( https://t.co/jzBXuVrJo2 — Indian Football Team (@BlueTigersIndia) August 30, 2017 @Nike please reconsider your price for Official Indian football jersey. If possible introduce Fan version of it. @praful_patel — Aakash Shah (@captainaakash) August 29, 2017 That is not all...ð pic.twitter.com/NbUeKM5WVS — Arpan (@Arpan1746) September 13, 2017 The price tag (4695) is almost like crying out for people not to buy it. https://t.co/TtevVkGPhH — Atishay Agarwal (@Atishay_Agarwal) September 13, 2017 Reach out if you have a kidney recipient in mind. https://t.co/azS6KZMQdb — Arka Bhattacharya (@Heilige_Kugel) September 13, 2017 Bro, I Got two United Authentic Home Jersey For 54 USD ( In Season End Sale) & they want me to pay 74USD for this Baniyan with Border ðð — Suraj (@Bycyclekick) September 13, 2017 If you thought this was overpriced, wait till you find out you have to pay â¹750 as delivery charges #IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/ZnkezkZVhR — Vishnu Prasad (@visheprasad) September 13, 2017 It must have gone like this. AIFF: people demand for jersey, but we don't wanna Nike: let's sell it at high price AIFF: Just Do It ð𤠗 Shubham Naik (@miShubhN) September 13, 2017 When Nike decided on this hefty price, they should've known that this was a disaster waiting to happen. Now let's wait and watch if there are some crazy fans out there who are willing to shell out this kind of money.
  23. Kabul's Ghazi stadium was the scene of gruesome executions under Taliban rule, but today it is where Afghan youths, the majority of whom have never seen the sea, dream of representing their landlocked country at beach football. Photo: AFP At a makeshift beach in landlocked Afghanistan, children as young as eight, wearing baggy Real Madrid and Barcelona shirts with "Ronaldo" and "Messi" printed on the back, joyfully kick and chase the ball. Kabul's Ghazi stadium was the scene of gruesome executions under Taliban rule but today it is where Afghan youths, the majority of whom have never seen the sea, dream of representing their country at beach football. "I had no idea about beach football before I joined this programme. I have never been to a beach," 14-year-old Mudasir Yousufzai tells AFP, head over heels for his newfound passion. "We have a lot of problems. We play on dust and rocks, our goals have no net, but because I am in love with it I still like to play," he adds, smiling. Yousufzai is one of dozens of youngsters taking part in a rapidly growing scheme that was set up six months ago to help find the brightest beach football talent in war-torn Afghanistan. The brains behind the project is Hazratgul Baran, who plays for Afghanistan's surprisingly respectable national beach football team ? ranked 10 in Asia and 52 in the world, despite the lack of facilities and sand. "When I first started this programme people wondered what I was doing. They would say, 'How can you prepare people to play beach football when they have no idea what a beach looks like?'," the 28-year-old tells AFP. At a makeshift beach in landlocked Afghanistan, children as young as eight, wearing baggy Real Madrid and Barcelona shirts with "Ronaldo" and "Bale" printed on the back, joyfully kick and chase the ball. Photo: AFP But Baran has had no problems attracting youngsters to the programme. Football is hugely popular in Afghanistan with kids playing on dirt roads, in markets and in schools ? wherever the security situation allows. Interest in beach football, in particular, has boomed since the national team played their first international match against Qatar in 2013 ? a game they won against the odds. In the beginning, they were inspired by landlocked countries like Switzerland that are doing great internationally, says Ruhullah Rastagar, the director of the Afghan Beach Football Committee. "And now we are doing better than a lot of countries who have beaches. We have beaten powerful teams such as Malaysia and China. If we have enough support, I am sure Afghanistan's beach football team will be at the top of the world rankings soon," he adds. Sun, soil, stones The enthusiasm shown by Afghan children for the beautiful game came to the world's attention last year when six-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi became an online hit after he was pictured wearing an improvised Lionel Messi shirt made out of a plastic bag. He later met his hero. Almost 200 boys, many from extremely poor families, train around three times a week at the Ghazi stadium. Almost 200 boys, many from extremely poor families, train around three times a week at the Ghazi stadium in Afghanistan. Photo: AFP "Most of our players are street kids who do not have any other chance to show their talents to the world," says Baran. "I go to very remote areas of Kabul to find these talents. If you can play on the street, you can play on the beach," he adds. Baran played in the victory over Qatar. Afterwards, he signed for a Brazilian beach football club in Sao Paulo but soon returned home, committed to developing Afghanistan's future stars. "Unfortunately, nobody supports us financially. But I hope people help us so that we can continue this programme, which is very unique," Baran says. Beach football pitches require a specific type of sand, usually sourced from beaches and desert dunes. But at the Ghazi ground, the kids ? many of them barefoot ? play on heavier sand used for building construction, which is mixed with soil and rocks. Rather than a glittering ocean as a backdrop, the pitch is surrounded by dried-out thorn bushes. The laughter of the young players is a welcome change from the ground's sinister past, however. During the Taliban's rule from 1996-2001 thousands of spectators would be called to the stadium to watch a football match. Before kick-off or at half-time people deemed disloyal to the regime were often executed or mutilated in front of the crowd. Now, as dusk falls, the exhausted, dust-covered kids smile as they enthusiastically shake hands before heading home, dreaming of following in Baran's footsteps.
  24. The European football transfer window may now be closed but there was talk of little else this week as the likes of top coaches Zinedine Zidane, Carlo Ancelotti and even German Chancellor Angela Merkel made calls for sweeping changes. The subject is at the centre of attention not only because of the soaring inflation that marked the latest round of transfers, but also because of the mayhem losing top players can wreak on a team's best-laid plans.transfers, but also because of the mayhem losing top players can wreak on a team's best-laid plans. The English Premier League clubs voted on Thursday to shut the 2018 close-season window before the start of the 2018-19 campaign in a move that sparked approval across the European game. The vote followed complaints by managers that transfer activity disturbs their preparations and others in Spain, Germany, Italy and France have been swift to jump on the bandwagon. The windows in Europe's other major leagues run until at least August 31, meaning clubs outside England could buy players from English top-flight teams after the new Premier League deadline. "I think the same thing as most people do," said Real Madrid coach Zidane.do," said Real Madrid coach Zidane. "The transfer window must stop when the league restarts. When official competition restarts, it must stop." Manchester City are believed to be one of the five clubs who voted against the proposal, but their coach Pep Guardiola said the club's only concern was that rival teams in other European leagues will still be able to sign players -- potentially from English clubs -- after the window has closed in the Premier League.are believed to be one of the five clubs who voted against the proposal, but their coach Pep Guardiola said the club's only concern was that rival teams in other European leagues will still be able to sign players -- potentially from English clubs -- after the window has closed in the Premier League. "I am so happy with the decision the Premier League have taken. I think it's really good," he said. "Manchester City, what I know is they agree about that. We just have to reflect that the transfer window in England will be closed sooner than in Europe. "Hopefully we can fix it so all the other clubs in Europe finish at the same time." Bayern coach Ancelotti, who won the 2014 Champions League title as Real's head coach after winning it twice at AC Milan, hopes the Bundesliga follows the example set by English clubs. "No one is happy with the situation, so this is a very good idea," the Italian said. "I hope the Bundesliga will soon follow this rule. "The market has to close before the start of the season." In Italy, Juventus director general Giuseppe Marotta also backed the decision. "It's the right choice. Having such a long transfer window creates turmoil, a well-run club succeeds by planning out a transfer campaign," he said. "The transfer market has to be limited, you can't have players moving when the leagues have already started." Lewandowski disagrees UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has also given his support to making the close-season trading period shorter. But German Chancellor Merkel on Friday urged UEFA and FIFA to focus instead on stamping out spiralling spending on players. "I view the financial developments in professional football as critically as many people," she told regional daily Mittelbayerische Zeitung. "Such sums are comprehensible to no one. UEFA and FIFA should change the rules on player transfers to ensure greater balance," she said. Elsewhere in Germany, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has said his club must spend more or risk being left trailing their rivals. "Bayern have to think something up and be more creative if the club wants to attract a world-class player to Munich," Lewandowski told magazine Der Spiegel. Earlier in the week, La Liga president Javier Tebas said both Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City were making a mockery of UEFA's Financial Fair-play rules. PSG prised Brazilian superstar Neymar away from Barcelona for a world record 222 million euros ($264 million) and then took Monaco's French star Kylian Mbappe on loan with an option to buy for 180 million euros. Manchester City also spent heavily in the last transfer window, lavishing an estimated £221 million (242 million euros, $288 million) on new players.
  25. DAMASCUS: Syrian government backers and rebel supporters alike roared with joy on Tuesday when Omar Al Soma scored a 93rd-minute goal, giving their national team a 2-2 draw with Iran. The goal secured a spot for Syria in the Asian play-offs towards a possible qualification for the World Cup 2018 and sparked rare celebrations at home, where a brutal six-year war has killed hundreds of thousands. Syria has never yet qualified for the World Cup. An upbeat mood spread from regime-held Damascus to the nearby rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta and as far as the northwestern town of Binnish in Idlib province, now largely controlled by jihadists. "I cannot describe my happiness... I hope that peace will prevail across Syria," said Lara Hanna, 35, who watched the game in a Damascus coffee shop with her husband and their daughter. In Eastern Ghouta, a group of football fans gathered in a farm to watch the game while others followed from home. "Of course we wanted the national team to win," even if Syria is divided into "the opposition and the regime", said 30-year-old Abu Badr. "The team represents all of Syria and we hope they will win in the play-offs and go on to qualify for the World Cup," he said. Both regime backers and their foes said Monday´s equaliser, which placed Syria in third place in Group A, tasted like a victory. Syrian soldier Saeed Ereiji, 34, who wore the national team´s shirt over his military trousers, could hardly contain his joy. Tastes of victory "We are so happy with the team´s performance" at the away game in Iran, he said. "Although we are allies in politics with Iran, this is football and they (Syria) gave the best they had," he added. In the town of Binnish, Omar Hajj Hamdan, 21, watched the game with his friends in an ice cream shop. "We are very happy today. The draw tastes of victory," he said. "There is no link between politics and sports. It´s wrong to say that we should not back the national team because it represents the regime," he said. "The national team plays for Syria, not for Bashar," he added, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Many had complained online that the team represented the Assad regime, which brutally repressed peaceful anti-government protests at the start of the conflict in March 2011. Six years on, the conflict has spiralled into a complex civil war that has killed more than 330,000 people and forced millions from their homes. Hours before the game began, the streets in Damascus went silent, with no cars or passersby in sight. Most stores were shuttered as football fans flooded to coffee shops and restaurants to watch the game, which state television broadcast live. At Al-Jalaa stadium in western Damascus, more than 3,000 people gathered to celebrate, many wearing the team´s red and white colours, shouting "Syria... Syria". Hundreds more fans watched the game on a big screen in the capital´s Ommayad Square, among them university student Amjad al-Hariri. "The most beautiful thing is to see Syria united and doing well," he said.