Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy – Eventing Cross Country Germany Still On Course For Gold

Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014
Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014

Germany still on course for gold but Britain closes gap

Germany is still on course to win team gold at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy, but Great Britain has closed the gap after a thrilling day’s Cross Country during which the huge cheering crowd witnessed some truly outstanding horsemanship.

Britain, the only team to have four clear rounds, has risen from fifth to second place and is within three Jumping fences of the Germans. Australia is now third, France fourth and Netherlands sixth after the dramatic departures of the New Zealand and US teams.

William Fox-Pitt (GBR) conjured a brilliant performance from Chilli Morning and now heads the individual Cross Country leader board, on a score of 50.3. But the British camp is in subdued mood because after the sad loss of Wild Lone, the horse ridden by team anchorman Harry Meade into 25th place with 26.4 time penalties, which collapsed and died after the finish.

“Harry is a close friend of mine and it’s hard to celebrate much,” Fox-Pitt said afterwards. “It was the hardest terrain I’ve ridden, because the ground was very soft and the course demanding, but Chilli gave me a lovely ride. There are not many Eventing stallions who would keep trying for you like that and I’m very proud of him.”

Despite the devastating tragedy for Harry Meade, he was determined to state that he felt the Cross Country course played no part in Wild Lone’s death.

“The ground conditions played no part in what happened to Wild Lone,” said an understandably emotional Meade. “He gave me a wonderful ride and felt extremely comfortable. I’m obviously devastated but I want to say that I thought the course was a very good test and I would be very sad if anybody was to draw any incorrect conclusions that the tough, testing nature of the competition in any way contributed towards what happened.”

There were 40 clear rounds and 63 completions from the 87 starters, including many excellent displays of sympathetic horsemanship.

An exciting Jumping phase is in store tomorrow as only 2.2 penalties cover the first five riders on the individual leader board. The Dressage leader Sandra Auffarth (GER) had a superb round on the powerful French-bred chestnut Opgun Louvo. She added 16.8 time penalties compared to Fox-Pitt’s 12.8, and is now in second place just 1.7 penalties adrift on a score of 50.2.

Auffarth’s team mate, defending champion Michael Jung (GER), proved an inspirational pathfinder on the relatively inexperienced nine-year-old fischerRocana FST. Jung is now third on 50.3 and could easily become the first rider to win back-to-back world titles since Bruce Davidson (USA) in 1974-78.

“She did a wonderful job,” said Jung of his gallant mare. “She was very focussed. I gave her a little more time in between fences, but her energy when she saw the fences and lit up was fantastic.”

Ingrid Klimke (GER) incurred 32.4 time penalties on FRH Escada JS and is now in 21st place, while Dirk Schrade is Germany’s discard score after two run-outs on Hop and Skip.

The New Zealand team had a less than happy day, but individual rider Jonelle Price produced the class round of the day, finishing with fastest time to collect just four penalties, rising 22 places to fourth on the neat little thoroughbred Classic Moet.

Andrew Nicholson (NZL), the only remaining member of the Kiwi team, also made Pierre Michelet’s exacting course look easy and produced the second fastest time, for 7.2 penalties. He is now in fifth place on a score of 52.5 on Nereo and is another within touching distance of becoming his country’s fourth world champion, following Blyth Tait (1990 and 1998) and Vaughn Jefferis (1994).

New Zealand’s pathfinder Mark Todd fell when Leonidas ll tripped on landing up the step out of the water at fence 30, which was the most influential obstacle. Then Tim Price on a tiring Wesko was pulled up by stewards near end of the course. Jock Paget, third after Dressage on Clifton Promise, was left to go all out for an individual medal, but pulled up after a run-out at the second corner at fence 5 and plans to re-route to Burghley next weekend.

The USA team was eliminated when their first two riders, Buck Davidson (Ballynoe Castle RM) and Phillip Dutton (Trading Aces), both retired. Their best rider is Boyd Martin, who is in ninth place with Shamwari.

William Fox-Pitt (GBR) and the stallion Chilli Morning take over the individual lead after a superb Cross Country round which puts Great Britain three fences behind overnight leaders Germany in team Eventing at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (Trevor Holt/FEI)
William Fox-Pitt (GBR) and the stallion Chilli Morning take over the individual lead after a superb Cross Country round which puts Great Britain three fences behind overnight leaders Germany in team Eventing at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (Trevor Holt/FEI)

Badminton winners Sam Griffiths and Paulank Brockagh, 17th, were excellent pathfinders for the Australian team, who are now in bronze position. With the team down to three riders, following the withdrawal of Christopher Burton’s TS Jaimaino due to colic, there was great pressure on Shane Rose (Taurus, 30th) and Paul Tapner (Kilronan, 13th), who both went clear.

The French team is fourth, with their youngest rider, Maxime Livio, the highest-placed in eighth on Qalao des Mers. “I have never ridden with such patriotic support, not just for French riders but for every nation,” he said.

There were many notably determined performances, including that of British pathfinder Zara Phillips, for whom this was by far the biggest test since giving birth to her daughter Mia in January. She survived an alarming moment at the bounce of hedges after the water at fences 17-18 and found herself hanging perilously out of the back of the saddle, but recovered well and is now in 15th place on High Kingdom.

“My horse was definitely in charge,” said the 2006 world champion. “I was just steering and trying to hang on. I was too far off the hedges but he got me out of trouble. I wasn’t nervous because I knew the horse I was on. He was fantastic.”

Sam Watson, 23rd on Horseware Bushman and pathfinder for the sixth-placed Irish team, summed up the day. “You had to combine looking after your horse with remembering it was a world championship and riding for your life. For me, it feels like a great day’s hunting in Ireland when you’ve jumped fences you’d never dreamed of and you’re now in the pub recovering!”

Tomorrow, there will be a final Horse Inspection at Haras du Pin before the horses are driven to Caen for the Jumping phase which starts in the main D’Ornano Stadium at 14.00 CEST. Follow all the action on FEI TV (www.feitv.org) and with live scoring on http://www.normandy2014.com

Individual Results after Cross Country
1 William Fox-Pitt/Chilli Morning (GBR)* 37.5 + 12.8 = 50.3
2 Sandra Auffarth/Opgun Louvo (GER)* 35.2 + 16.8 = 52.0
3 Michael Jung/fischerRocana FST (GER)* 40.7 + 11.6 = 52.3
4 Jonelle Price/Classic Moet (NZL) 48.5 + 4.0 = 52.5
5 Andrew Nicholson/Nereo (NZL)* 45.3 + 7.2 = 52.5
6 Karin Donckers/Fletcha van’t Verahof (BEL)* 42.3 + 13.6 = 55.9
7 Andreas Ostholt (GER) 46.3 + 10.4 = 56.7
8 Maxime Livio/Qalao des Mers (FRA)* 45.3 + 13.2 = 58.5
9 Boyd Martin/Shamwari 4 (USA)* 46.3 + 13.6 = 59.9
10 Peter Thomsen/Horseware’s Barney (GER) 46.3 + 14.0 = 60.3
(* denotes team rider)

Team Results after Cross Country
1 Germany 177.9
2 Great Britain 186.8
3 Australia 226.8
4 France 235.5
5 Netherlands 238.8
6 Ireland 294.3
7 Canada 324.0
8 Brazil 347.7
9 Spain 363.8

Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014
Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014

Full results on http://www.normandy2014.com

Kate Green

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LATEST FOOTBALL TRANSFER RUMOURS, DEALS AND TITBITS

Here are the top transfer rumours making the rounds as compiled by our man Paul Ayorinde.

you can follow Paul on twitter: @El_Pauleta on twitter and also follow @NewFanzone and we will follow you right back, lets keep the discussion going.

Alex Song, photo credit blaugrana.gr
Alex Song, photo credit blaugrana.gr

Done Deals:

– Leicester City have completed the signing of defender Danny Simpson from QPR on a three-year deal

– West Ham have announced the signing of Barcelona midfielder Alexander Song on a season-long loan deal

– West Brom have completed the signing of Argentina winger Sebastian Blanco from Metalist Kharkiv for an undisclosed fee

– Brondby have completed the signing of defender Daniel Agger from Liverpool

– Manchester United have agreed a £14million fee with Ajax for Daley Blind subject to medical and personal terms

– Torino have completed the signing of midfielder Juan Manuel Sanchez Mino from Boca Juniors

Danny Simpson

Today’s reports and rumours:

– Ezequiel Lavezzi and Adrien Rabiot are left out by Paris Saint-Germain,fueling rumours of moves to Inter Milan and Roma respectively

– Fiorentina are reportedly making a last-ditch attempt to sign Manchester City defender Micah Richards

– Inter Milan are keen on signing Fabio Borini from Liverppol on loan

– Manchester United are reportedly keen on signing Sampdoria goalkeeper Sergio Romero

– QPR are on the verge of signing midfielder Lassana Diarra

– Chelsea are on the verge of signing QPR striker Loic Remy.

– Aston Villa’s £7million move for Manchester United’s Tom Cleverly could collapse because they can’t afford his wages

– Harry Redknapp is set to sign a two-year extension to stay on as QPR manager

– Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk has told the club he wants to leave

– Arsenal are in advanced talks with Borussia Dortmund for defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos

– According to reports,Manchester United can still sign Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal before the transfer window shuts down on Monday,if they come up with the right money

– According to reports,Marcos Rojo’s move to Manchester United is under treat due to work permit and third party issues concerning the 24-year old defender

– Manchester united boss Louis van Gaal is reportedly ready to offload six first team players before Monday’s transfer deadline

– Leicester City are interested in signing £8million rated Ipswich striker David McGoldrick

– According to reports, Arsenal have asked Swansea to lower Wilfried Bony fee to £16million

– Monaco striker Radamel Falcao has denied posting a social media comment that suggested he was close to joining Real Madrid

– Guingamp forward Mustapha Yatabare is on the verge of joining Trabzonspor

– Nimes striker Ousmane Cissokho is close to joining Ligue 1 side Lorient

– Sunderland are reportedly finding it hard to agree personal terms with Inter Milan midfielder Ricky Alvarez

– According to reports, Hatem Ben Arfa has turned down a move to Besiktas and wants to fight for a place at Newcastle

– Fernabahce have announced that they have released Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo

Football tit bits:

– Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal admitted his sides start to the season has not been good enough after they drew 0-0 at Burnley

– Cristiano Ronaldo will miss Real Madrid’s trip to Real Sociedad to allow him time to fully recover from injury

– Neymar has returned to Barcelona squad after missing their opening La Liga fixture with an ankle injury

– Former Barcelona striker and Assistant Dutch national team coach Patrick Kluivert has emerged as a candidate for the Ross County vacancy

Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy – Para-Equestrian Dressage Individual Freestyle Medals

Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014
Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014

Para-Equestrian Dressage in Normandy hits highest notes

The sun shone, the crowds came, and the horses dazzled at La Prairie Racecourse in Caen today, as the Para-Equestrian Dressage riders at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (FRA) took to the arena for individual freestyle medals.

The Grade Ia title was won by Italy’s Sara Morganti with Royal Delight. She scored 78.800% to beat the reigning European and Paralympic Champion Sophie Christiansen (GBR) on Janeiro 6, who finished with silver on 77.550%. Germany’s Elke Philipp was overjoyed with her bronze medal with Regaliz on 76.750%.

Morganti said: “This is a dream come true. Royal Delight was beautiful today. She was on the music and did everything she could. I hoped and worked for a medal, and I dreamed of gold.”

Christiansen’s Normandy experience has been poignant, as this was her last ride with her trainer, Clive Milkins (GBR), who has worked with her throughout her incredibly successful career. After a few tears, she said: “I rode the best test I could. It shows how much the standard has gone up since London 2012, which is great for the sport. I’m looking forward to the next two years and digging deep. It’s good that this happens now, instead of at Rio.”

FEI President HRH Princess Haya celebrates freestyle medal day at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (FRA) with triple gold medallists Zion and Lee Pearson (GBR), the world’s most successful Para-Equestrian Dressage athlete. (Leanjo de Koster/FEI)
FEI President HRH Princess Haya celebrates freestyle medal day at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy (FRA) with triple gold medallists Zion and Lee Pearson (GBR), the world’s most successful Para-Equestrian Dressage athlete. (Leanjo de Koster/FEI)

Winners take it all

Great Britain’s Lee Pearson sealed his stunning return to international competition with Zion, claiming his third gold medal of the Games with 80.050%. Austria’s Pepo Puch on Fine Feelings S claimed his second silver at the Games with 78.000% and Nicole Den Dulk of The Netherlands was again delighted with bronze on Wallace with 75.150%.

“It’s been an amazing competition for me,” said Pearson. “I’ve trusted this horse for years and this week he has proven me right. He’s been through a lot over the last five years and I’m over the moon. I don’t think he could have gone any better today.”

Waking up as world champion

There was more joy for The Netherlands in Grade II individual freestyle, when Games first-timer Rixt van der Horst on Uniek sealed her Normandy freestyle gold with 76.350%. “It’s what I’ve dreamed of,” she said. “I tried to relax and enjoy it because I had nothing to lose. Maybe tomorrow I will realise I am double world champion!”

Canada’s Lauren Barwick on Off to Paris took silver with 76.250% and Den Dulk’s team mate Demi Vermeulen claimed bronze with 71.900%.

Unstoppable Netherlands

Sanne Voets, runner up to Germany’s Hannelore Brenner in the individual competition, took the Grade III freestyle title. On Vedet PB, Voets scored 77.450% to Brenner’s 76.200% on Women of the World. Denmark’s Annika Lykke Risum won bronze, watched by her seven month old baby Alexander, on Aros A Fenris with 73.050%.

“It’s amazing,” said Voets. “I can’t believe it yet – this is big! It’s the reward for a lot of hard work. The partnership me and my horse have is very special. He gave it everything and was there for me. We did this together.”

In the Grade IV, Belgium’s Michèle George rode FBW Rainman to an impressive 78.650%, claiming gold over Sophie Wells with Valerius who secured silver on 78.050%, and Netherlands’ Frank Hosmar on Alphaville N.O.P. finishing on bronze with 75.950%.

At the end of a week of surprises, emerging stars and sublime performances in the heart of Normandy, Great Britain topped the medal table again, this time with four gold and four silver medals.

The Para-Equestrian Dressage at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 will be remembered for new faces, who are now challenging the champions. The clear winner overall however is undoubtedly the sport itself, which has bathed in the limelight in Normandy.

Rob Howell

The ‘Ricciardo’ in the Flesh of Rosberg and Hamilton

formula1 logo

THE PADDOCK …this isn’t science fiction, this is formula 1

The ‘Ricciardo’ in the Flesh of Rosberg and Hamilton

The 2014 formula 1 season has been largely dominated by Mercedes F1 team with the duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton winning nine of the twelve races of the 19-race formula 1 season so far. But for a certain Daniel Ricciardo, the 2014 formula 1 season would have been a monologue affair.

Our F1 Expert, Soliu ADEYEMO takes a look at what has been a mixed season for the championship front leaders, Mercedes and Red Bull.

Daniel Ricciardo has metaphorically being the ‘thorn’ in the flesh of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton as far as the 2014 f1 season is concerned.

On three occasions, the young Australian has denied the rampaging Mercedes’ duo this season, and rather interestingly, all his three victories have come on the back of one glitch or the other by Mercedes.

While his earlier rare victories in Canada and Hungary were as a result of excusable technical glitches by the championship leader, his recent victory in Belgium came on the back of ill-tempered rivalry between Lewis and Nico.

His only natural victory in his home country was annulled due to his breach of the FIA fuel consumption regulation.

The Top Three (points gained in brackets)

———————Rosberg———————Hamilton——————–Ricciardo

Australia———–1st (25)———————Retired———————Disqualified

Malaysia————2nd (18)———————1st (25)——————–Retired

Bahrain————-2nd (18)———————1st (25)——————–4th (12)

China—————2nd (18)———————1st (25)——————–4th (12)

Spain—————2nd (18)———————1st (25)——————–3rd (15)

Monaco————–1st (25)———————2nd (18)——————–3rd (15)

Canada————–2nd (18)———————Retired———————1st (25)

Austria————-1st (25)———————2nd (18)——————–8th (4)

Britain————-Retired———————-1st (25)——————–3rd (15)

Germany————-1st (25)———————3rd (15)——————–6th (8)

Hungary————-4th (12)———————3rd (15)——————–1st (25)

Belgium————-2nd (18)———————Retired———————1st (25)

Total points——–220—————————191————————-150

Daniel Ricciardo’s sudden ‘rise to stardom’ in a Red Bull team that has the quadruple world champion, Sebastian Vettel as his lead driver is, by all means, a testament to the virile Red Bull youth development program in the shape of their junior team, Toro Rosso.

Also, his amazing potential as a formula 1 driver cannot be overemphasised, the 25-year old Australian made his track debut at the wheel of a Formula 1 car, when he tested for Red Bull at the young drivers test at Circuito de Jerez over three days, from 1–3 December 2009.

On the final day of testing he clocked the fastest time of the test by over a second.

Red Bull’s investment in Ricciardo dates back to 2011 when the team paid the struggling Hispania Racing to give him some track experience in preparation of the lanky driver for a Toro Rosso race seat in 2012.

Ricciardo’s announcement as the replacement for his fellow aggrieved Australian was faulted within the f1 paddock, but his exploits so far has convinced many of his much touted prowess by Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner.

Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo’s Brief Profile

Born: 1 July 1989 at Perth, Western Australia (age 25)

Nationality: Australian

2014 Team: Red Bull-Renault

2014 Car No.: 3

Races: 62 (62 starts)

Championships: 0

Wins: 3

Podiums: 6

Career Points: 186

Pole Positions: 0

Fastest Laps: 0

First Race: 2011 British GP

First Win: 2014 Canadian GP

That his stellar run is coming in a year when Red Bull is facing his biggest technological test having struggled with the new engine regulation is another plus for his amazing potential as a great f1 driver. And, with the recent update packages by Red Bull, the 2014 F1 season can only get more interesting.

For Red Bull Racing, the title charge is now or never, especially as his title rival, Mercedes has failed in its driver management; as Hamilton threatened to avenge his retirement in Belgium against his team-mate, it appears as everything is working in favour of Riiciardo and Red Bull.

The first instalment of the 2014 F1 season was truly eventful, but the second half promises to be more exciting as Ricciardo is seemingly poised to continue thwarting the technological advantage of Mercedes.

*For more updates and analysis follow our F1 expert @soliuadeyemo and @newfanzone on twitter.

FORMULA 1. F1

Privatise NFF and NFA – Tilewa Adebajo Chairman Stationery Stores FC

Stationery Stores FC Logo

Stationery Stores Football Club limited, as the oldest surviving club in Nigeria is concerned and sadden by the current situation with the leadership and administration of the beautiful game in our dear country.

We the Private Clubs are already endangered species and the current situation will only serve to accelerate our extinction.

A situation where the “Challenge Cup” the oldest cup competition in Nigeria is not held and all league matches are put on hold does not speak well for the development and commercial aspects of the game.

Our football league has seen a resurgence with the advent of the LMC, a very positive development that is now attracting significant commercial interest. This has also encouraged private club owners and sponsors to get involved.

The late Israel Adebajo our founder and a Nigerian Football Icon and his contemporaries were selfless patriots who pooled their personal resources to fund the development of the game in the 50s and 60s.

We will like to appeal to the leadership and football administrators to sheath their swords and imbibe the selfless spirit of our founder and his contemporaries by finding credible football elders to arbitrate and negotiate a settlement privately.

The events playing out in public and the media are definitely not for the good of the game.

Finally we will like to appeal to Mr. President to begin the process to Privatize both the NFF and NFA as he had successfully done with NEPA.

Tilewa Adebajo
Tilewa Adebajo

Adetilewa Adebajo
Chairman Stationery Stores FC

LATEST FOOTBALL TRANSFER DEALS, SPECULATIONS AND TITBITS

The Football transfer rumour mills are still as busy as ever, here are the top transfer rumours making the rounds as compiled by our man Paul Ayorinde.

you can follow Paul on twitter: @El_Pauleta on twitter and also follow @NewFanzone and we will follow you right back, lets keep the discussion going.

Done Deals:

– Leicester City have completed the signing of free-agent Esteban Cambiasso on a one-year deal

– QPR have announced the signing of goalkeeper Alex McCarthy from Reading on a four-year contract

– Chelsea have announced that striker Fernando Torres will join AC Milan on a two-year loan subject to a medical

– Swansea City have signed midfielder Giancarlo Gallifuoco on a one-year deal

– Middlesbrough have completed the signing of striker Patrick Bamford from Chelsea on a season-long loan deal

– Montpellier have announced they have reach an agreement with Tottenham over the sale of midfielder Benjamin Stambouli

Esteban Cambiaso
Esteban Cambiaso

Today’s reports and rumours:

– According to reports, Barcelona midfielder Alexander Song is on the verge of joining West Ham on loan

– Chelsea have been told to forget about signing £20million rated Roma striker Mattia Destro

– Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is keen on signing highly-rated Ajax prospect Timothy Fosu Mensah

– Hull City are considering an approach for Schalke defender Christian Fuchs

– Napoli are in talks to sign Liverpool defender Daniel Agger

– Fiorentina owner Andrea Della Valle has confirmed that Juan Cuadrado will be staying at the club

– According to reports, Roma have agreed a €15million fee with Paris Saint-Germain for midfielder Adrien Rabiot

– According to reports in Italy, Juventus have agreed personal terms with Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez

– Swansea have told Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool they must pay £24million if they want to sign Wilfried Bony

– Crystal Palace have made a bid for QPR defender Armand Traore

– Chelsea are reportedly set to make a move for QPR striker Loic Remy

– According to reports, Borrusia Dortmund are on the verge of signing Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa for £10million

– According to reports in France, Herta Berlin are close to signing Lille striker Salomon Kalou

– Manchester United have stepped up their interest in Stromsgodset’s 15-year old midfielder Martin Odegaard

– Besiktas are interested in signing Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa

– Crystal Palace are keen on signing Norwich City striker Gary Hooper

– Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal has been quoted as saying he doesn’t want to leave Juventus this summer

– West Ham have rejected a £3million bid from Hull City for midfielder Mohammed Diame

– According to reports, Valencia have made an offer for Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverly

– Adel Taarabt has conceded he is still holding out for a move to Milan this summer

– Liverpool are reportedly closing in on signing Manchester City defender Micah Richards

– According to Wigan manager Uwe Rosler, James McArthur’s proposed move to Leicester City is off.

– Leicester City are close to signing QPR defender Danny Simpson

Arturo Vidal
Arturo Vidal

Football tit bits:

– Juventus will be without midfielder Andrea Pirlo for four-six weeks after test confirmed he has damaged his hip

– Michel Platini has announced he will not stand against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency and will instead run for re-election for UEFA president

– Ivory Coast will be disqualified from the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations if they forfeit their qualifier against Sierra Leone because of fears over Ebola

LG Named Title Sponsor Of New Women’s International Baseball Event

World Baseball Softball Confederation
World Baseball Softball Confederation

In major boost for women’s sport, global giant LG named title sponsor of new Women’s International Baseball Event

-‘LG Cup 2014’, finale broadcast nationally in South Korea via MBC Sports+

– LG partnership and MBC Sport+ broadcast highlight growing appeal of women’s sport — and WBSC’s disciplines — among potential new sponsors and broadcasters, says WBSC’s President Riccardo Fraccari.

The world’s governing body of baseball and softball, the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC), announced today that South Korea electronics giant LG Electronics (066570: Korea Exchange) has been named the official title sponsor of a new annual international baseball event dedicated entirely to the promotion of women athletes: the LG Cup International Women’s Baseball Tournament.

In a partnership between LG, WBSC’s baseball division — the International Baseball Federation — and the Women’s Baseball Association of Korea (WBAK), the inaugural LG Cup 2014 was successfully launched last week and hosted at LG Champions Park, a state-of-the-art sports complex in Incheon, South Korea that features two playing venues and an indoor baseball training facility.

LG Cup 2014 Official Logo

LG Cup 2014_winner

The opening contest and championship finale of the LG Cup 2014 were both broadcast nationally in South Korea by cable network MBC Sports+.

Commenting on the title sponsorship and launch of the LG Cup 2014, Bon-joon Koo, vice chairman and CEO of LG Electronics, said:

“LG is proud to take a leadership role in celebrating women’s achievements, whether that’s in the sports arena, family, or business. We think it’s important that women continue to have opportunities to participate and succeed in fields that are traditionally off-limits to them.”

Riccardo Fraccari, president of the WBSC said:

“The WBSC is extremely honoured that a global, multinational corporation like LG is committed to offering new and expanded opportunities for women to succeed on the global stage and to inspire and bring more girls and young people to choose sport through WBSC’s disciplines.

“The support and sponsorship of an industry leader like LG sends a powerful message about the growing appeal of WBSC’s sport disciplines — and women’s sport in particular — as vehicles to tear down social barriers and stereotypes, while aligning with various business strategies and socially responsible investments.”

LG’s sponsorship and hosting of the LG Cup also highlights the growing appeal of bat-and-ball sports amongst women, President Fraccari said, with softball being one of the world’s most popular sports for women and more women taking up baseball.

“We are working hard to expand opportunities for more women to participate in sport through softball and baseball, and having the support of important sponsors like LG and our many other great sponsors across both disciplines is fundamental to our efforts to maximize access for women to play our sports — and indeed other sports,” President Fraccari said.

WBSC’s leadership and sport analysts consider new international baseball and softball events in new regional markets for new audiences, along with new and repeat sponsorship and broadcast agreements, digital marketing programmes, and strong youth appeal and fan experience to be key drivers behind baseball/softball’s growing global footprint, and for enhancing the Olympic experience and movement, if the disciplines return to the Olympic programme, pending discussions on the Olympic sports selection process at the IOC Session in Monaco in December.

LG has a long history of supporting women’s health and wellness around the world and has implemented such sports activities as a key component of its Corporate Social Responsibility programme.

LG also helped to cover the expenses of a women’s baseball club from India, enabling the 22-members to make the journey to South Korea to compete in the inaugural LG Cup.

In total, the LG Cup 2014 united eight elite clubs from seven nations, including Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States.

Through the newest showcase of women’s baseball, LG, the WBSC and WBAK hope to create new pathways for women to participate in and benefit from more sports activities — and to encourage more women from all backgrounds to choose sport and WBSC’s disciplines, helping to shape society a sporting landscape that is more relevant and attractive to women. The LG Cup platform also aims to further raise the profile and highlight the achievements and talents of female athletes, while using sport to promote international friendship, respect and excellence.

The recently elected WBSC leadership, under President Fraccari, has made it one of its chief priorities to promote gender-equality and to seek to provide more opportunities for girls and women to be empowered through sports that women like to play and excel at, like baseball/softball — and to harness the skills and leadership of women across all levels of WBSC’s decision-making structure and in society at large.

LG’s partnership on the world’s newest women’s international baseball event follows WBSC’s recent announcement that South Korea has been awarded the hosting rights of the 2016 Women’s Baseball World Cup.

Women’s sport and women’s baseball will continue to be in the spotlight for WBSC next week, when the eight-nation 2014 ENEOS Presents VI Women’s Baseball World Cup begins on 1-September in Miyazaki, Japan.

READY FOR PARA-ROWING FINALS AT THE 2014 WORLD ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS

WORLD ROWING

The 2014 World Rowing Championship regatta in Amsterdam, the Netherlands is ready for the finals of the five para-rowing boat classes that will be raced today, Thursday 28 August, 2014.

Australia has proved to be the team to beat in many of the races and they will contest three out of the five finals.

First up will be the Para women’s single sculls (ASW1x). This final is shaping up to be the race of the newcomers. Great Britain’s Rachel Morris is just half a year into para-rowing after switching from hand cycling and she has proved herself already by winning her heat on Monday. But the fastest qualifier for the final was Norway’s Birgit Skarstein. Skarstein started para-rowing last year and quickly came through to be the 2013 World silver medallist. These two scullers will meet for the first time in the final.

The Para men’s single sculls (ASM1x) is likely to be a battle between Great Britain’s 2008 Paralympic Champion Tom Aggar and the reigning World Champion Erik Horrie of Australia. Both of these scullers won their heats and the final will be their first race against each other at this regatta.

The Para mixed double sculls (TAMix2x) may be a repeat of the World Rowing Championships a year ago when Australia (Gavin Bellis and Kathryn Ross) and France (Perle Bouge and Stephane Tardieu) finished first and second respectively. Both of these crews are back again with both recording similar times in their heats on Monday.

It is the second year for new boat class, the Para LTA mixed double sculls (LTAMix2x) and the 2013 World gold medallists Kateryna Morozova and Dmytro Aleksieiev of Ukraine are back again to defend their title. Ukraine’s strongest challenge is likely to come from the crew from Australia which set the fastest qualifying time when they raced in their heat.

The Para mixed coxed four (LTAMix4+) has been dominated by World and Olympic Champions Great Britain. But the British were challenged in their heat by the United States. Great Britain came out ahead forcing the United States to qualify for the final through the repechage round. The US won it handily and will again face Great Britain in the final.

The para-rowing finals begin at 17:45 CET and will be live streamed on http://www.worldrowing.com.

For results, schedules, full race reports, photos and live blogging go to http://www.worldrowing.com.

Nadine Kessler and Cristiano Ronaldo voted UEFA Best Players in Europe 2013/14

Awards presented at Monaco ceremony during UEFA Champions League draw

UEFA logo 2012

The German international claimed a total of nine votes, with Germany midfielder Martina Müller in second place receiving the remaining three votes, leaving their VfL Wolfsburg teammate and Swedish international Nilla Fischer in third place.

The jury comprising 12 journalists, each regularly reporting on women’s football and selected by European Sports Media Group (ESM), cast their final votes via electronic system based on the shortlist of the top three players that came out from the second round of voting.

The initial shortlist of the top ten players had been provided by the coaches of the teams participating in the 2013/14 UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-finals.

Nadine Kessler. photo credit uefa.com
Nadine Kessler. photo credit uefa.com

Receiving the award on stage from UEFA President Michel Platini, 26-year-old Nadine Kessler said:

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

“It’s an award that gives me confirmation that I have done everything right and that I worked really hard. In the end, it is only possible with good team-mates around you in order to develop in this way.

That was the case with Wolfsburg and also with the national team. It is something really special.

To be honest I didn’t even dream about it. It is a surprise for me. I had some great, competitive team-mates alongside me. But I’m simply over the moon.”

The Portuguese international claimed a total of 26 votes, with FC Bayern München teammates German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (19 votes) and Dutch forward Arjen Robben (9 votes) occupying second and third place respectively.

The jury was composed of 54 renowned sports journalists representing each of the UEFA member associations. The journalists voted live, via an electronic voting system, in order to determine the final winner amongst the last three nominees.

Presented with the award on stage from UEFA President Michel Platini, 29-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo said:
“I am really happy! I worked very hard, but I want to thank my team-mates too, because they were really essential for me to be able to win this individual trophy.

2013/14 was an extraordinary season, both on a personal and on a team level; we managed to play a great Champions League and to win the trophy, I was the top scorer in the competition, and set the new top-scorer record.

I think the trophy was well-deserved. Of course, we still have to train a lot to keep playing like this. This is the first time I’ve won this trophy, so I am really happy.”

For these awards, players were judged on their performances during the 2013/14 season in all competitions, both domestic and international, and at club and national team levels.

Full details of the voting results for both awards, together with lists of previous winners, can be found on http://www.UEFA.org

UEFA PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD
UEFA PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD

Latest Football Transfer Deals, Speculations and Titbits

Xabi Alonso to Bayern is the biggest move of the day, but here are some of the other top transfer rumours making the rounds as compiled by our man Paul Ayorinde.

you can follow Paul on twitter: @El_Pauleta on twitter and also follow @NewFanzone and we will follow you right back, lets keep the discussion going.

Done Deals:

– Crystal Palace have completed the signing of Wilfried Zaha from Manchester United on a season-long loan deal

– Esteban Cambiasso has joined Leicester City details later.

– Swansea City midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung has signed a new four-year contract at the club

– Bayern Munich have announced they have reached an agreement with Real Madrid for the transfer of Xabi Alonso.

– Metz have completed the signing of midfielder Sergei Kryvets from BATE Borisov

-QPR have completed the signing of defender Jack Robinson from Liverpool

Wilfred Zaha
Wilfred Zaha

Today’s reports and rumours:

– Hull City are close to signing striker Abel Hernandez from Palermo

– Sandro’s agent said it is “very unlikely” Tottenham will sell the midfielder to Napoli

– Chelsea are still reportedly keen on signing Roma striker Mattia Destro

– According to reports, Juventus and Valencia are still in the hunt for Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez

– Marseille are keen on signing Sporting Lisbon midfielder Diego Capel

– According to reports, Sevilla are close to signing OGC Nice defender Timothee Kolodziejczak

– Marseille are on the verge of signing Newcastle defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa

– According to reports, Tottenham are pursuing a loan deal for Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck.

– Manchester United are in talks with Sporting Lisbon over a deal for midfielder William Carvalho

– Sunderland are closing in on a deal for Inter Milan’s Ricky Alvarez

– Sheffield Wednesday wants Manchester United defender Marnick Vermijl on a season-long loan deal

– Sunderland have reportedly offer £6million for Celtic defender Virjil van Dirk

– Burnley are looking to submit a bid for Derby defender Richard Keogh

-According to reports, Leicester City have offered £5million for Locomotiv Moscow striker Dame N’Doye

– West Ham are in talks over a deal for Rennes defender Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik

– According to reports, Aston Villa have agreed a £8million deal with Manchester United for midfielder Tom Cleverly

– Arsenal have reportedly tabled a £11.9million bid for Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

– Inter Milan are looking to sign Bayern Munich winger Xherdan Shaqiri

– According to reports, Real Madrid will agree a €23million deal with Borussia Dortmund to sign Marco Reus next summer

-Tottenham have reportedly ended their pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Alexander Song

– Borussia Dortmund are in advanced talks to re-sign Manchester United forward Shinji Kagawa

– QPR are close to signing Gremio defender Bressan on a season-long loan

– According to reports, Manchester United wants a pay-as-you-play deal for Arturo Vidal due to concern about his right knee

– Roma are reported preparing a bid for Newcastle defender Davide Santon

– Newcastle have renewed their interest in QPR striker Loic Remy

Manuel Almunia

Football tit bits:

– Wayne Rooney has been named England’s new captain by manager Roy Hodgson

– Louis van Gaal has warned fans,Angel Di Maria should not be seen as Manchester United “miracle” as his big-money signing was officially presented to the media for the first time

– Leeds United have sacked head coach David Hockaday just six games into his reign

– Former Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has announced his retirement from football after a heart condition was detected at a routine medical

– Defender Cosmin Moti saved two shoot-out penalties to send Bulgarian side Ludogorets into the group stage of the Champions League for the first time

– Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo won UEFA Best Player in Europe Award ahead of Bayern Munich pair Manuel Neuer and Arjen Robben

NFF: No suspension of Premier League Matches

NFF Logo

The Nigeria Football Federation has urged all stakeholders to discountenance a statement from the League Management Company that matches of the Nigeria Premier League are being suspended.

“It has come to our notice that the League Management Company has been issuing notices to clubs in the Premier League that matches are being suspended from this weekend.

“This is totally untrue. If the LMC received a notice from the Nigeria Referees Association about purported withdrawal of referees, the LMC should have brought this to the notice of the NFF and not to take a decision to suspend the League on its own,” NFF President, Ambassador Chris Giwa, said in Abuja on Thursday.

Giwa expressed his unhappiness with the Nigeria Referees Association for the threat to withdraw referees from the Premier League, and said the NFF would not take the matter lightly.

“As the owners of the League, the Nigeria Football Federation is hereby making it clear that Premier League matches are not being suspended. Matches scheduled for this weekend will definitely take place,” Giwa affirmed.

The NFF has therefore called on all referees appointed for this weekend’s matches to go for their matches.

Ondo FA Chairman Denies Membership of Giwa’s NFF Board

ondo state

The NFF Crisis as taken another turn twist as Another member of the Chris Giwa Faction as denied being part of the election that has brought Giwa into the glass house in a press release obtained tonight Sunday Dele Ajayi Chairman of the Ondo State Football Association has denied taking part in any election.

Ajayi also reiterated his belief in the FIFA Statutes stating that he is still preparing for the upcoming elections scheduled for September 2014.

below is a copy of the Ondo State FA chairman’s Statement

a release from Otunba Sunday Dele Ajayi