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Nigeria escapes FIFA hammer, recognise Amaju Pinnick as NFF boss

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The football governing body will no longer clamp down on the country after the Federal Government declared its acknowledgement of Pinnick’s led board

Nigeria have avoided an impending Fifa ban by accepting Amaju Pinnick as Nigeria Football Federation’s substantive boss.

There has been a power tussle in the NFF since September 30, 2014 when Pinnick was declared the winner of the presidential election – with Chris Giwa launching a counter claim.

The wrangle is the reason why the Nigeria Professional Football League – which was expected to restart after the 2018 Fifa World Cup – has been put on hold.

And on August 14, 2018 Fifa ordered that ‘legitimate’ Pinnick be confirmed as substantive head of the country’s governing body, or be banned from all footballing activities.

“In line with art. 16 par. 1 of the Fifa Statutes, the Bureau of the Fifa Council decided that if by Monday, 20 August 2018, at 12:00 (CET), the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) offices are not handed back to the legitimate NFF executive committee under President Amaju Melvin Pinnick, who was duly elected on 30 September 2014, the NFF will be suspended with immediate effect for contravening art. 14 par. 1 i) and art. 19, as well as art. 14 par. 1 a) of the Fifa Statutes,” a statement from Fifa read.

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“The suspension would be lifted only once the NFF, under President Amaju Melvin Pinnick and General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, confirms that it has been given back effective control of the NFF and its offices.”

And on Monday,  Mr Laolu Akande, Special Assistant to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said the federal government had already informed Fifa of the decision to accept the Pinnick-led board.

“The FG has already conveyed to Fifa its firm position recognizing Amaju Pinnick-led NFF as the current & only NFF Exco. Govt will also continue to work with all relevant stakeholders involved to resolve dispute in a timely manner. FG is upholding NFF treaty obligations to Fifa,” he tweeted.

This development comes as a big reprieve to the country as they prepare for the all-important Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles on September 7.

The Super Eagles are third in Group E with no points and must defeat the Pirates before their fans to relaunch their bid to qualify for Cameroon 2019.

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2019 Ballon D’Or Winners {See Full List}

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The winners and other top finishers in the four trophies awarded at the 2019 Ballon d’Or ceremony on Monday in Paris are:

Men’s Ballon d’Or

  1. Lionel Messi (ARG/Barcelona)
  2. Virgil van Dijk (NED/Liverpool)
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Juventus)
  4. Sadio Mane (SEN/Liverpool)
  5. Mohamed Salah (EGY/Liverpool)
  6. Kylian Mbappe (FRA/PSG)
  7. Alisson Becker (BRA/Liverpool)
  8. Robert Lewandowski (POL/Bayern Munich)
  9. Bernardo Silva (POR/Manchester City)
  10. Riyad Mahrez (ALG/Manchester City)

Women’s Ballon d’Or

  1. Megan Rapinoe (USA/Reign FC)
  2. Lucy Bronze (ENG/Lyon)
  3. Alex Morgan (USA/Orlando Pride)
  4. Ada Hegerberg (NOR/Lyon)
  5. Viviane Miedema (NED/Arsenal)
  6. Wendie Renard (FRA/Lyon)
  7. Sam Kerr (AUS/Chicago Red Stars)
  8. Rose Lavelle (USA/Washington Spirit)
  9. Ellen White (ENG/Manchester City)
  10. Dzsenifer Marozsan (GER/Lyon)

Kopa Trophy

(Best player under 21 on December 31)

  1. Matthijs de Ligt (NED/Ajax Amsterdam then Juventus)
  2. Jadon Sancho (ENG/Borussia Dortmund)
  3. Joao Felix (POR/Benfica then Atletico Madrid)

Yashin Trophy

(Best goalkeeper, presented for the first time)

  1. Alisson Becker (BRA/Liverpool)
  2. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (GER/FC Barcelona)
  3. Ederson (BRA/Manchester City)

AFP

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African Football Development in FIFA’s Agenda

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Today in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the FIFA President visited the site of TP Mazembe’s new football stadium, which will be able to hold 50,000 fans, and the club’s youth academy. Infantino and the delegation were greeted by TP Mazembe fans, including the fan brass band who sang and danced for the delegation as they toured the sites.

In TP Mazembe’s Football Academy, Moïse Katumbi, club president and Vice-President of the new World Football Club Association, gave the group, which included FIFA Secretary General and General Delegate for Africa Fatma Samoura, CAF President and FIFA Vice-President Ahmad Ahmad, FIFA Legend and Special Advisor to CAF President Samuel Eto’o, FIFA Legend and CEO of the FIFA Foundation Youri Djorkaeff, FIFA Deputy Secretary General (Football) Mattias Grafström, a tour of the facilities.

The group had the opportunity to see several classes in action and paid a surprise visit to young footballers studying biology and French. They also observed a class dedicated to helping children who have difficulties reading and writing.

A press conference then took place where the FIFA President informed members of the media about FIFA’s plans to support and develop football in the DRC and Africa. He spoke about three specific pillars: refereeing, infrastructure and competitions, as well as FIFA’s plans to develop these hand in hand with CAF and the African football stakeholders.

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The first pillar, refereeing, will create a professional and elite group of African referees who will be independent of administrative and political bodies. This follows on from CAF’s last Executive Committee meeting at which a decision to implement reforms in the refereeing sector was approved.

The second pillar, infrastructure, will see FIFA mobilise companies and entrepreneurs to gather around USD 1 billion with the objective of building at least one stadium that complies with FIFA’s standards in each African country.

The third pillar, competitions, focuses on developing new and better competitions to generate more revenues so that the African clubs can retain talented players.

The FIFA President mentioned the possibility of creating an African League that would see the best clubs from the continent play against each other and the organisation of regional competitions and youth tournaments to further help the development of young players in Africa.

Speaking at the press conference, FIFA President Infantino said: “What I want, what FIFA wants and what football needs is to see African football shine. We want to bring it to the highest of heights and show the world the outstanding talent and amazingly gifted players your continent possesses. To do this, we want to implement a three pillar approach: refereeing, infrastructure and competitions. In close cooperation with CAF, the 54 member associations across Africa and other stakeholders, I am positive that we will make African football reach the top level where it should be because the quality and potential are definitely here.”

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Soccer Idol, Messi Meets Patients from Save a Child’s Heart

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The Canadian-Israeli philanthropist and businessman, Sylvan Adams, the man behind “Save A Child’s Heart”, brought the children with him to the Tel Aviv Hilton to meet Lionel Messi and the rest of the Argentina football team stars.

The players paused from their dinner in the hotel dining room, in order to hear an overview of “Save A Child’s Heart”, which brings children to Israel from across the world, including Africa, for life-changing heart surgery at Wolfson Hospital. This week, “Save a Child’s Heart” is working alongside doctors in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to perform life-saving heart surgery and catheterizations for an expected group of 30 children as part of Mission Ethiopia. To date, “Save A Child’s Heart” has treated more than 5,000 children from 62 countries. The Argentinian players gave enthusiastic applause and met some of the brave children awaiting surgery at the Wolfson Centre in Holon.

The children received footballs and Argentina shirts signed by the players.

Sylvan Adams said: “The Jewish People works to save people from across the world. I am proud to lead, alongside the best Israeli medical professionals, this extraordinary project of life-saving cardiac surgery.”

 

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