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10 Nigerian athletes banned from Tokyo Olympics

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The chances of Nigeria winning medals at the Tokyo Olympics has been dealt a big blow with the declaration of 10 of the country’s athletes as ineligible to compete.

A statement on Wednesday from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), an independent body created by World Athletics that manages all integrity issues – both doping and non-doping – revealed that a total of 18 athletes have been declared ineligible.

 

Nigeria is the most affected country, not meeting the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15 for 10 athletes.

The AIU explained that under the framework of Rule 15 governing National Federation Anti-Doping Obligations, which came into force in January 2019, National Federations are accountable for ensuring appropriate anti-doping measures are in place in their respective jurisdictions.

Among other things, the rule sets out minimum requirements for testing for the national teams of ‘Category A’ federations deemed to have the highest doping risk and considered as a threat to the overall integrity of the sport.

The key requirement in Rule 15 is that an athlete from a ‘Category A’ country must undergo at least three no-notice out-of-competition tests (urine and blood) conducted no less than three weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major event.

Only then do they become eligible to represent their national team at the World Athletics Championships or the Olympic Games.

For the year 2021, the seven identified ‘Category A’ National Federations are Belarus, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and Ukraine.

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria, which has been plunged into needless crises in the last 14 months is, thus, highly culpable in this development.

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Cristiano Ronaldo breaks men’s all-time international scoring record

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Cristiano Ronaldo is now the highest goal scorer in men’s international football after breaking a 15-year record set by Ali Daei.

He scored the record-breaking goals in Portugal 2 – 1 win in their World Cup qualifying match on Wednesday.

The newly minted Manchester United man’s record mark arrived in the 89th minute of Portugal’s World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland. Goncalo Guedes swung in a cross from the right wing, with Ronaldo rising to meet the service and head home the record-breaking equaliser.

He added his 111th international goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time, leading his side to a 2-1 comeback win.

The Portuguese icon took his shirt off in wild celebration on one of the most memorable nights of a career littered with them.

Ronaldo, who took home the golden boot from the Euros with six goals is now 34 strikes ahead of the next-highest active men’s player (behind Daei) Ali Mabkhout, who has 76 goals in 92 for the UAE.

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Man Utd website crashes after Ronaldo’s signing

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The official website of Manchester United crashed moments after the news of Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to the English side was announced.

The club’s website www.manutd.com could not handle the massive traffic Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to the club generated as fans flocked to the site to see the news of Ronaldo’s long-awaited move back to Old Trafford twelve years after he left the club to join Real Madrid.

Several minutes after the post confirming Ronaldo’s transfer went live, United’s website crashed, blocking everyone out.

Such was the worldwide excitement surrounding Ronaldo’s return to the club. See screenshot below;

Manchester United had released the below statement to announce his arrival;

Manchester United is delighted to confirm that the club has reached agreement with Juventus for the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo, subject to agreement of personal terms, visa and medical.

Cristiano, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, has so far won over 30 major trophies during his career, including five UEFA Champions League titles, four FIFA Club World Cups, seven league titles in England, Spain and Italy, and the European Championship for his native Portugal.

In his first spell for Manchester United, he scored 118 goals in 292 games.
Everyone at the club looks forward to welcoming Cristiano back to Manchester.

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PSG favourites to land Lionel Messi

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Barcelona announced the six-time Ballon d’Or winner will not be staying at the club ‘because of financial and structural obstacles’.

The 34-year-old has been a free agent since July 1 when his contract expired at the Nou Camp. The club wrote in a statement;

Leo Messi not staying at FC Barcelona

Despite club and player reaching an agreement and their clear intention to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles

Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles (Spanish Liga regulations).

As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled.

FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandisement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life.

According to Betfair, PSG is the odds-on favourites to sign him at 10/11, with Manchester City second-favorites at 21/10.

City boss Pep Guardiola has made no secret of his desire to be reunited with his former Barcelona team-mate but with the £100m rival of Jack Grealish from Aston Villa and their interest in £150m Harry Kane, could see Messi join PSG instead.

Betfair spokesperson Sam Rosbottom said: ‘The big transfer news just keeps on coming and all eyes are back on the future of Lionel Messi following the confirmation that he won’t be signing a new deal with Barcelona.

‘Reports last summer suggested that Manchester City were very close to signing him, and they are currently second-favourites at 21/10 to secure the services of the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.

‘However, it is French side PSG who are the odds-on favourites to sign him at 10/11, while Manchester United are outsiders at 18/1.’

Barca insists both they and Messi were willing to extend his stay, but claim La Liga regulations have made that impossible.

A statement on the Catalan giants’ official website said: ‘Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi has reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles (Spanish Liga regulations).

‘As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona.’

Messi made 778 appearances for Barcelona, scoring 672 goals which have helped to secure 10 league titles, four Champions Leagues and three Club World Cups among his haul of 35 trophies.

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