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UEFA returning N259bn to broadcasters due to COVID-19

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 European football faces further financial setback amid the coronavirus pandemic as governing body UEFA is returning about 575 million euros (about 259 billion Naira) to broadcasters.

European Club Association (ECA) chairman Andrea Agnelli said on Tuesday that UEFA is repaying 575 million euros (680 million dollars).

He said this was because of the months-long suspension and the ensuing completion, with fewer matches than originally scheduled, of UEFA’s Champions League and Europa League.

Agnelli told a virtual ECA assembly: “That is all money that is not going to be distributed.”

Under the original deal, UEFA would have earned 3.25 billion euros in the past season, with 2.55 billion euros to be distributed among the participating clubs in both competitions.

It was not clear whether the full 575 million euros would be withheld from the clubs or whether UEFA would also suffer losses.

The Champions League and Europa League were suspended in March.

They were then completed in mini-tournaments in August —- with two Europa League last-16 ties, all quarter-finals and all semi-finals played in one match instead of two.

Agnelli, the president of Italian champions Juventus, reiterated that European clubs would lose some four billion euros in the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 seasons because of the pandemic.

Games behind closed doors have hit ticket sales’ income and Agnelli said he also expects less money from sponsorships and the transfer market.

He added that the upcoming season was going to be “very, very challenging both on and off the pitch.”

The ECA chairman also suggested that talks about Champions League reform for the new cycle from 2024 be postponed until 2021.

UEFA president Aleksandar Ceferin said recently he could envision finals tournaments for the club competitions, as happened this year in Portugal and Germany for the Champions League and Europa League respectively.(dpa/NAN)


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Breaking: Nigeria’s D’Tigresses lose again at Tokyo Olympics

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Nigeria’s women basketball team D’Tigresses on Friday lost their second game 87-62 versus France in the ongoing Olympic games in Tokyo Japan.

The Nigerian team had lost to USA during their first encounter at the games 

Details coming…


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Chelsea make ‘audacious’ Lukaku €130m bid

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Chelsea have tabled a monstrous €130million (£110.6m) bid to sign Romelu Lukaku as they ramp up their search for a No.9, according to reports in Italy.

The Blues have monitored Lukaku throughout the summer transfer window after he scored 24 goals to fire Inter Milan to the Serie A title last season.

Stamford Bridge chiefs have also kept tabs on Erling Haaland but they are said to be resigned to missing out on the Borussia Dortmund sensation.

As such, they have stepped up their interest in Lukaku and aim to lure their former player back to west London with an offer Inter may not be able to refuse.

That’s according to Corriere della Sera , which claims Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is keen to bolster Thomas Tuchel’s side with a marquee centre-forward signing.

The report adds Inter have not received an official offer, but they are already tempted by the huge money Chelsea are preparing to put on the table.

A nine-figure fee would make Lukaku the Premier League’s record signing, while the Belgian is no stranger to big-money moves having joined Chelsea, Everton, Manchester United and Inter for sums totalling almost £200million.

Lukaku spent a brief spell with Chelsea after arriving from Anderlecht in 2011 but failed to make an impression before joining Everton on loan in 2013 and permanently the following year.

The report from Italy explains Abramovich is desparate to give Lukaku a second chance at the Bridge and has sent his son to Milan to make contact with Inter chiefs.

Talks are understood to be underway, although the player himself appears to favour extending his stay at San Siro rather than moving back to the Premier League.

Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta recently declared Lukaku is not available for a transfer, telling Sportmediaset : “From our side, we can yes absolutely, Lukaku is not for sale.

“Lukaku is an important piece on the chessboard available to Simone Inzaghi.”

Inzaghi replaced Antonio Conte as Inter manager earlier this summer after the latter fell out with his bosses over the club’s transfer policy, despite the fact he led the club to the league title.

The crux of the problem between Conte and Inter supremos related to the club’s financial crisis and need to sell players, which means Marotta’s resolve regarding Lukaku is not as strong as it may appear.

Inter parted ways with star wideman Achraf Hakimi earlier this month after agreeing an initial £51.3million fee with Paris Saint-Germain.

But the club’s finances remain in a dire state and the huge bid Chelsea are readying for Lukaku may convince them to cash in.


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Breaking: Nigeria’s Okagbare, Nwokocha pick semi-final tickets at Tokyo Olympics

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For the first time since 2012, two Nigerian athletes will be running in the semifinals of the women’s 100m after Blessing Okagbare and Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha qualified from their respective heats Friday in Tokyo, Japan.           

Nwokocha had to run a new personal best of 11.00 seconds to secure her qualification to the semifinals in her debut at the Games.   

The 20-year-old has also moved into fifth in the Nigeria all-time list behind Okagbare (10.79), Glory Alozie (10.90)  Mary Onyali (10.97) and Damola Osayomi (10.99).                                      

The home-based athlete who ran 11.09 seconds to secure her qualification for the Olympics in March at the MOC Grand Prix in Lagos  will however need to make further history by breaking the 11 seconds barrier as the fifth Nigerian woman to do so to stand a chance of joining Onyali and Okagbare as debutants who ran all the way to the final of the event.              

She has been drawn to run from lane nine in the third semifinal heat with the fastest woman alive, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, Daryl Neita of Great Britain, Teahna Daniels of the USA and fellow African, Muriel Ahoure of Ivory Coast.                                          

While Nwokocha qualified for her first semifinal, Okagbare will be running in her third since she made her debut in the event at the 2012 Olympics in London.                             

The 32-year-old ran 11.05 seconds to win her first round heat.              

She has been drawn in the first semifinal heat alongside two heavyweights of the event, defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica who ran 10.82 seconds to win her first round heat and Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, the 200m world champion two years ago in Doha, Qatar who ran 11.07 seconds to come second in her first round heat.         

The 2008 Beijing Olympics Long Jump silver medallist will be in action at exactly 11.15 am Nigerian time on Saturday.


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