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All 6 English Clubs Withdraw From Super League Amid Outrage

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Plans for the European Super League fell further into crisis late Tuesday, with all six English clubs announcing they were turning away from their involvement in the controversial project.
Manchester City were the first to formally confirm on Tuesday night that they were quitting the competition, two days after it was announced amid wide-ranging outrage.
In a short statement, Manchester City Football Club said they had “formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League.”
Statements confirming the withdrawal of the other five clubs —- champions Liverpool FC, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal FC and Chelsea —— followed soon after.
“Having joined the group late last week, we have now had time to consider the matter fully.
“We have decided that our continued participation in these plans would not be in the best interests of the Club, our supporters or the wider football community,” Chelsea said, confirming earlier media reports.
There was also speculation in Spain that FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid may be planning similar steps.
This development is what should be a fatal blow to the planned all but closed elite event for which 12 teams had signed up.
The announcement to form the breakaway Super League consisting of 20 teams with 15 permanent members sent shockwaves around the world.
It drew wide-ranging condemnation from politicians, federations and fans.
The establishment of the multi billion-dollar league would have been in direct competition with the Champions League of the European Football Union UEFA.
The project was to be financed by a U.S. bank.
In a bid to stave off the threat, on Monday UEFA agreed to revise the Champions League from 2024 onwards with 100 more matches and expand it from 32 to 36 teams.
An emergency meeting of the 12 clubs from England, Spain and Italy was said to be scheduled for Tuesday night, according to Spanish sports newspaper Marca.
Of the founding 12 clubs, half were English teams.
No club from Germany’s Bundesliga had joined the Super League.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had vowed to do everything to prevent the six listed English clubs from featuring in the breakaway event and welcomed the initial withdrawal reports.
“The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City is —— if confirmed —— absolutely the right one and I commend them for it,” Johnson tweeted shortly before Manchester City’s confirmation.
“I hope the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their lead.”
Naming the club “a real asset for the game,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “I am delighted to welcome Manchester City back to the European football family.
“They have shown great intelligence in listening to the many voices —- most notably their fans —- that have spelled out the vital benefits that the current system has for the whole of European football.”
The Football Association (in England) said: “We welcome the news that some of the clubs have decided to abandon the plans for the European Super League, which threatened the whole football pyramid.
“English football has a proud history based on opportunity for all clubs and the game has been unanimous in its disapproval of a closed league.
“It was a proposition that, by design, could have divided our game. But, instead, it has unified us all.”
Hundreds of Manchester City fans were protesting their club’s Super League involvement ahead of their team’s Premier League match on Tuesday, further adding to the week’s mounting pressure.
The Super League was dealt an early blow when Champions League winners Bayern Munich and finalists Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) made it clear that they would not be joining.
Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer had insisted: “FC Bayern says no to the Super League.”
Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge returned into the UEFA executive committee and PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was also re-elected —— a clear snub towards the breakaway clubs.
Meanwhile, Liverpool saw their timing sponsors withdraw and players led by captain Jordan Henderson also voicing opposition.
“We don’t like it and we won’t want it to happen. This is our collective position. Our commitment to this football club and its supporters is absolute and unconditional,” their tweet read.
Super League and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez had late Monday told El Chiringuito TV that “we have to make it (football) more attractive. It is not something for the rich. We do this to save football.”
And a Spanish mercantile court judge Tuesday issued a preliminary ruling that prohibited FIFA, UEFA and others from taking any kind of action against the Super League clubs or players.
The ruling may now be obsolete as the remaining teams appeared to crumble amid the condemnations and sanction threats.
The other teams being Barca, Real and Atletico from Spain, and from Italy AC Milan and Inter Milan, as well as Juventus.
(dpa/NAN)

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Iheanacho Shines As Leicester Beats Spartak Moscow 4-3

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Patson Daka scored four goals as Leicester revived their Europa League campaign by fighting back from two goals down to beat Spartak Moscow 4-3 in the Russian capital on Wednesday.

Zambia striker Daka, a close-season signing from Salzburg, became only the fifth player to score four goals in a Europa League game since the competition was rebranded from the UEFA Cup, and the first since Willian Jose for Real Sociedad in 2017.

Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester moved up to second place in Group C behind leaders Legia Warsaw, a point above third-placed Spartak.

“It’s been an amazing few days for me and the team,” Daka told BT Sport. “It was a very good effort from the team. I’m just happy I was able to help the team.”

Goals from Aleksandr Sobolev and Jordan Larsson put Spartak in control, but Daka netted his first European goal for the visitors just before half-time.

Less than three minutes after the break, Kelechi Iheanacho claimed his second assist, crossing low for Daka to tap in from close range.

Leicester, and Daka, made it three goals in the space of nine minutes when the 23-year-old slid the ball under home goalkeeper Aleksandr Maksimenko.

He completed his four-goal haul with 12 minutes remaining by picking out the corner of the net after collecting James Maddison’s pass.

That goal made Daka, who also netted in Leicester’s 4-2 win over Manchester United on Saturday, the Foxes’ all-time joint-top scorer in Europe.

Sobolev gave Spartak hope in the 86th minute, but Leicester held on.

AFP

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Super Falcons Beat Ghana 2-0 In AFCON Qualifier

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The Super Falcons of Nigeria took a two-goal lead over Ghana’s Black Queens in their Women Africa Cup of Nations qualifying fixture, thanks to a brace by Sweden-based forward Uchenna Kanu at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena on Wednesday.

The visitors had come close in the 11th minute when Grace Animah saw her fierce shot inside the box blocked by Onome Ebi for a corner. But it was much against the run of play and nine minutes later, Nigeria made pressure count when Kanu rose to meet a perfectly-weighted pull-out by Francisca Ordega and nodded past impressive goalkeeper Dumehasi Fafali.

Both teams, knowing the loser on aggregate will be without any major qualifying contest or tournament for the next two-and-half years, threw everything into the clash played behind closed doors on Lagos Island, but it was Nigeria that made the breakthrough again in the 26th minute, when Kanu rose highest in the box to meet Toni Payne’s corner kick and nodded firmly past Fafali and a clutch of watching defenders.

Former junior international Kanu could have added an assist to her impressive tally for the day when she darted past two defenders and squared for Asisat Oshoala, but Fafali foiled any intentions of the Nigeria captain.

Three minutes before recess, Grace Asantewaa unleashed from just outside the box but her shot rose far above goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie’s post.

In the second half, the Black Queens did something in the mould of throwing the kitchen sink at the Super Falcons, harrying, pushing, kicking and running all over to try and reduce the tally and make the second leg in Accra something to look forward to. But veteran defender Onome Ebi, youngster Opeyemi Sunday, Glory Ogbonna and Osinachi Ohale thwarted their efforts.

Grace Asantewaa was again foiled in the 50th minute by Nnadozie, who tipped her rising shot over the sticks. Two minutes later, Oshoala darted past her marker and headed for glory, but was again stopped by Fafali.

Ghana’s captain Portia Boakye was the usual energetic warrior with an uncompromising stance and worked well with Gladys Amfobea, Janet Egyir, and Ellen Coleman to minimize the damage from the Super Falcons.

At the fore, Princella Adubea, Vivian Konadu and Nina Norshie sought vainly to unlock the Nigerian rear.

In the 82nd minute, Fafali was on hand to neutralize a plan cooked by substitute Vivian Ikechukwu, leaving the scoreline still at 2-0. And with a minute to the end, the tireless Princella Adubea waltzed her way into the Nigeria box and found herself face to face with Nnadozie, only to see her close-range bullet parried and then cleared out to safety by Ebi.

Both teams clash again on Sunday at the Accra Sports Stadium, as from 4pm Ghana time (5pm Nigeria time), with the winner on aggregate qualifying for the 12th Women Africa Cup of Nations holding in Morocco next year summer.

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Why I want To Fight Fury Before My Career Ends -Anthony Joshua

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Agency Report

British boxer Anthony Joshua celebrates after winning the heavyweight boxing match between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua for the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles in Diriya, near the Saudi capital on December 7, 2019.

Anthony Joshua has said he needs a fight against Tyson Fury “on my record” before his career is finished because boxing as a whole required at least one bout between the two British heavyweights.

Between them, the two boxers currently hold all the major versions of the heavyweight world title.

Talks of a unification ‘superfight’, which went on for months, appeared to be on the brink of ending in an agreement earlier this year only for a United States arbitrator to rule Fury had to fight Deontay Wilder for a third time.

As a result Fury, having previously drawn with and then stopped Wilder, is set to make the maiden defence of his World Boxing Council (WBC) belt against the American in Las Vegas next month.

Before then, Joshua is set to face World Boxing Organization (WBO) mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk in London on September 25, with a crowd of some 60,000 expected at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the home of the Premier League club.

But Joshua, also the World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion, knows that a fight against Fury is the contest boxing fans want to see and that a question mark will hang over his career if he does not face the ‘Gypsy King’.

“Do I need Tyson Fury on my record? I need it,” Joshua told the BBC 5 Live boxing podcast.

“We need it for boxing. It’s what we all need, I need it. Come on, let’s see how good I am.

“Fight good fighters and they bring out the best of you. Training camp is hard. To get better is very difficult in boxing. To fight Tyson Fury is a big challenge.”

Joshua added: “Let’s see how far I can take myself during this period. It’ll be a good challenge mentally. Not about him, but because I actually want to do well.

“When I wake up in the morning early and I’m tired, my body’s battered, I still go out and do what I do. It’s great rewards and only someone like Fury can give that to me.”

AFP

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