Williams and Djokovic named 2013 ITF World Champions

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Williams and Djokovic named 2013 ITF World Champions

The ITF announced today that Serena Williams of the United States and Novak Djokovic of Serbia are the 2013 ITF World Champions. Williams is named Women’s World Champion for the fourth time, while this is the third successive year that Djokovic has received the honour.

Americans Bob and Mike Bryan are named Men’s Doubles World Champions for the tenth time in 11 years, while Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy become Women’s Doubles World Champions for the second successive year

Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic and Alexander Zverev of Germany are named ITF Junior World Champions, while the ITF Wheelchair World Champions are Aniek van Koot of Netherlands and Japan’s Shingo Kunieda, who becomes men’s champion for the fifth time.

The ITF’s selection of its senior World Champions is based on an objective system that considers all results during the year, but gives special weight to the Grand Slam tournaments, and two ITF international team competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas.

The ITF World Champions will receive their awards at the ITF World Champions Dinner on Tuesday 3 June, in Paris, during Roland Garros.

Serena Williams is named Women’s World Champion for the second straight year after reclaiming the year-end world No. 1 ranking for the first time since 2009. The 32-year-old was almost invincible in 2013, winning 78 of 82 singles matches played, and a career-best 11 titles. She captured two Grand Slam titles, at Roland Garros and the US Open, to stand at 17 career majors, and went on to win the year-end WTA Championships.

Novak Djokovic narrowly edges out Rafael Nadal to become Men’s World Champion thanks to his consistency at the Grand Slam tournaments and year-end performances. The 26-year-old won his third successive Australian Open title, and was a finalist at Wimbledon and the US Open and a semifinalist at Roland Garros. He won seven titles during the year, including the ATP World Tour Finals, and was unbeaten in seven singles rubbers as Serbia reached the Davis Cup Final.

Djokovic said: “It is an honour to be named ITF World Champion for the third year running. I’ve had a great 2013 season, and managed to end the year on a high. This will definitely serve as a good platform for 2014.”

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “Serena Williams demonstrated once again why she is one of the greatest athletes of all time, and is a worthy winner of the women’s award. The men’s award was more closely contested, but our criteria rewards players for their performances at the Grand Slam tournaments and in our team competitions. Rafael Nadal made a remarkable comeback from injury with two Grand Slam wins, but it is Novak Djokovic’s consistent results across all four Slams, Davis Cup and the ATP World Tour Finals that see him named World Champion.”

Bob and Mike Bryan are named Men’s Doubles World Champions for the tenth time after a spectacular year in which they narrowly failed to complete the Grand Slam. Victories at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon saw the brothers hold all four majors at the same time, before they lost in the semifinals in New York. They won 11 events during 2013, to improve their all-time records to 15 Grand Slam titles and 93 titles in total.

Mike Bryan said: “We are very excited to be named ITF World Champions again. It’s hard to believe we’ve won this award ten times given the strength of the competition the past decade. This may have been the best year of our careers and we look forward to another memorable awards dinner.”

Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci are the first pair since 2008 to be named Women’s Doubles World Champions in consecutive years. The Italians’ year was highlighted by three titles together, including the Australian Open, and they went on to lead their country to victory in Fed Cup by BNP Paribas. They were also finalists at Roland Garros, and ended the year co-ranked No. 1 on the WTA Doubles Rankings.

Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci said: “We are both very happy to be Women’s Doubles World Champions for the second consecutive year. It is a great pleasure and honour to have finished this year as No. 1 in the doubles rankings. Our goal for 2014 is to continue these results.”

Belinda Bencic is only the third Swiss player, after Roger Federer and Martina Hingis, to be named ITF World Champion in any category after securing the year-end No. 1 girls ranking. The 16-year-old was unbeaten until late July, winning 39 straight matches and two Grand Slam titles, at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. She was also a quarterfinalist at the US Open and ended the year with six titles and an overall 42-2 singles win loss record.

Bencic said: “To be World Champion is very special and a great feeling. Without my team and without my sponsors I would have never reached this goal. Thanks a lot to all those who supported me during the last few years.”

Alexander Zverev is also only the third player from his country, after Boris Becker and Steffi Graf, to be named ITF World Champion after becoming the youngest year-end boys’ No. 1 since 2005. The 16-year-old was the most consistent performer on the ITF Junior Circuit, winning two singles titles and reaching three other finals including Roland Garros. He is the brother of tennis professional Mischa.

Zverev said: “Seeing the list of past winners of this award, it is an honour to be named the ITF Boys World Champion for 2013 in this 100th year of the ITF. Hopefully the experience at these international junior events will lead to more experience at the professional level.”

Shingo Kunieda becomes Men’s Wheelchair World Champion for the fifth time after regaining the year-end world No. 1 ranking. The 29-year-old reached the finals of all three Grand Slam singles events in 2013, winning his 14th major title at the Australian Open. He also won the season-ending NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters to finish the year with a total of seven titles and a 41-7 win-loss record.

Kunieda said: “I am proud that this marks my fifth time as ITF World Champion, which gives me great confidence for the next season. It is always one of my goals to be world champion, and I will try my best to retain the title next year.”

Aniek van Koot follows her compatriot Esther Vergeer as Women’s Wheelchair World Champion, having come out on top in a year-long battle with Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock for the No. 1 ranking. The 23-year-old captured two of the three Grand Slam singles titles, at the Australian Open and US Open, and also achieved the doubles Grand Slam with another Dutchwoman Jiske Griffioen. She also led Netherlands to victory in the BNP Paribas World Team Cup.

Van Koot said: “Never could I have imagined to be the best of the world in something. Therefore it gives me great pleasure that it’s in wheelchair tennis, my biggest passion.”

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “It has been another outstanding year for our sport, and I would like to pay tribute to all the 2013 ITF World Champions for their contribution.”

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Aguero could be out for longer…,

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Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero could be sidelined for up to eight weeks with his calf injury, boss Manuel Pellegrini has confirmed.
Aguero, who has scored 19 goals in 20 appearances in all competitions for City this season, sustained the problem in his side’s 6-3 Premier League victory over Arsenal on Saturday.
Initially, it was hoped that the Argentina international would miss around a month, but Pellegrini has revealed this timeframe could now be doubled.

Formula1: FIA sanctioned Bahrain Pirelli tyre test flagged off on the 17 Dec 2013

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Formula1: FIA sanctioned Bahrain Pirelli tyre test flagged off on the 17 Dec 2013

A three-day tyre test began on Tuesday at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC). The special session was approved by the FIA last week in order to give official suppliers Pirelli more track time to help develop their 2014-specification rubber.

The four teams taking part are Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and Toro Rosso (all 11 were invited, with McLaren and Force India also initially accepting), and drivers due in action include Nico Rosberg, Jules Bianchi and BIC lap record holder, Pedro de la Rosa. All will be at the wheel of 2013-spec cars, driving to a programme dictated by Pirelli.

The dramatic changes to the Formula One regulations for 2014, in particular reduced downforce and the move to more torquey, 1.6-litre V6 engines, means the demands placed on tyres will be very different. This week’s tyre test will be followed by three official pre-season F1 tests, starting at Jerez in Spain at the end of January.

Running for world champions Red Bull in Sakhir will be Swiss racer Sebastien Buemi, recently reconfirmed as the team’s test and reserve driver. Mercedes, meanwhile, will use Nico Rosberg. Team mate Lewis Hamilton will not attend as expected, choosing instead to focus on his winter training programme.

Ferrari will field veteran tester De la Rosa for the first two days, before Marussia racer and Ferrari Driver Academy member Bianchi gets a day in the F138 cockpit on Thursday. Finally, Toro Rosso will run their 2014 race line-up of Jean-Eric Vergne and Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat.

FIFPro announces legal challenge to transfer system

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FIFPro announces legal challenge to transfer system

“FIFPro will not stand by and watch from the sidelines as football players’ rights around the world are systemically disrespected and the football industry dismantles itself,” said FIFPro President Phillipe Piat.

FIFPro, the World Players’ Union, has launched a legal challenge aimed squarely at the transfer system and the current economic make-up of professional football.

It follows recommendations from FIFPro’s expert group on transfer matters delivered to the FIFPro board, which approved a strategic plan to address the freedom of movement of workers within the EU, competition law and human rights. FIFPro is preparing all necessary means, including legal action, to reinstall the world’s professional football players’ rights as workers.

FIFPro President, Philippe Piat, said: “The transfer system has always and continues by definition to be built on the back of our members’ rights as workers and human beings.”

The FIFA transfer regulations and their practical application continue to impede the players’ freedom to move. Training compensation is calculated against the European Court of Justice’s Bernard ruling at much higher levels than actual cost incurred and increase the price-tag for contracting a player on the transfer market. Exorbitant compensation for breaches of contract is imposed on players, unimaginable in any other industry. More so, the threat of sporting sanctions for breaches of contract during the protected period is constantly maintained through the renewal of contracts. This was never envisaged in 2001, when FIFA, UEFA and the European Commission reached an informal agreement on the principles of the transfer system.

These legal and monetary shackles binding footballers (the employees) to their current clubs (the employers) can no longer be accepted and upheld.

“The transfer system fails 99% of players around the world, it fails football as an industry and it fails the world’s most beloved game. Football’s governing bodies, clubs and leagues claim the transfer system is necessary to ensure competitive balance, whereby in fact it creates a spiral of economic and sporting imbalance, which only benefits the richest 1% of clubs and player agents.”

“Football players are workers and only when they are able to enjoy the rights enshrined in law and enjoyed by all other workers, will FIFPro be satisfied”, added Piat who announced the transfer system as his “top priority” when elected FIFPro President in October.

Europe historically has played a leading role in the fight for football players’ rights (as with the landmark Bosman ruling) and FIFPro identifies Europe as the stage where this transforming battle will play out. FIFPro will take its recommendations and complaints to the European Commission, the European Court of Justice and human rights courts.

FIFPro Division Europe President, Bobby Barnes, said, “Despite football enjoying record amounts of revenue, football’s regulatory and economic system fails miserably on numerous fronts and drives the professional game towards self-destruction. Destruction through a systemic disrespect for those on the pitch. Destruction through a failure to achieve competitive balance and financial stability. Destruction through an absence of responsible governance, which invites criminals to abuse our game.”

“Thousands of players worldwide are not paid on time, or not at all, while 28% of the global transfer market (an estimated 750 million USD annually) is paid to agents and lost to the game. Something is not right with this picture.”

“Unpaid players are vulnerable targets of crime syndicates, who instigate match-fixing and threaten the very existence of credible football competitions. The current industrial model of football in general fails to ensure a professional management and compliance culture that is capable of safeguarding our game against internal and external abuse. In contrast, in the absence of competitive balance it encourages speculative, unsustainable, immoral and illegal investment models like Third Party Ownership of players.”

FIFPro expects FIFA and other key stakeholders to respond in a timely manner that recognises the players and FIFPro for who we are: one powerful collective voice.

Theo van Seggelen, General Secretary of FIFPro: “FIFPro sits at the same table as FIFA, whose regulations govern the current transfer system, UEFA, the European Clubs Association (ECA), the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL), and we will remain at that table.”

“We are firmly committed to dialogue, provided that all stakeholders possess an honest will to critically question the status quo and a will to implement fundamental changes, now. But, FIFPro will not be limited in its means to bring about change.”

FIFPro

Keshi Picks Four New Players For CHAN Camp …Two Axed, More To Go Weekend… Nsofor Storms Eagles Training …Backs Team For CHAN Honours

Keshi Picks Four New Players For CHAN Camp

…Two Axed, More To Go Weekend

The national team technical crew has began the gradual process of elimination by substitution when on Tuesday afternoon, two players were asked to go for low productivity while four new ones were called up to strengthen the squad ahead of the CHAN tourney in South Africa next month.

The two players dropped are midfielder Mohammed Ajia of Bayelsa United and Elkanemi of Borno defender, Reuben Ogbonnaya. Head Coach Stephen Keshi, who spoke through his assistant, Dan ‘The Bull’ Amokachi, said there was little or no time to prepare the squad hence the need to quickly identify tournament materials.

The four players who are expected to join the squad in Abuja immediately are the Bendel Insurance duo of Obannu Erhune, who stars for the Benin side in the central defence position and his teammate, Ikeleji Bello, who is central defensive midfielder. Others are Warri Wolves Ewenike Achibi also a midfielder and Mfon Udoh who recently crossed from Akwa United to Enyimba fc of Aba. “We have been tracking these players for some times now and we want to give them a chance to prove themselves at a critical point like this and we hope they won’t disappoint”, Amokachi declared.

Indications have also emerged that more players who fail to measure up will be asked to go by the weekend after Wednesday’s test match against Niger Tornadoes of Minna and another practice match that has been scheduled for Saturday both at the mainbowl of the Abuja National Stadium.

Nsofor Storms Eagles Training

…Backs Team For CHAN Honours

Locomotov of Moscow striker, Victor Obinna Nsofor, was guest of the CHAN Super Eagles at Tuesday morning training, during which he told all and sundry that he came not only to support the team but to boost their belief of winning the CHAN trophy at a first attempt.

Nsofor, who said he came into the country last week says he has been keeping fit daily at the Abuja National Stadium and decided to drop by to encourage his teammates ahead of CHAN. He also declared that he was now 100 per cent fit after he copped an injury in Nigeria’s last World Cup qualifier win against Ethiopia in Calabar. Nsofor was the scorer of Nigeria’s second goal in the 2-0 win.

“Coach I’m fit and well and have been training with my club before we went on the winter break”, he told a smiling Stephen Keshi, who congratulated him over his quick recovery and wished him well in his career . Nsofor is one of the players expected to kick-start Nigeria’s preparation for the World Cup when the team reconvenes after the CHAN tourney in South Africa.

PHOTO CAPTION: Keshi and Nsofor in a warm hug on Tuesday during Eagles training session at the Abuja National Stadium

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Akwa United joins twitter

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Akwa United joins twitter

Akwa united football club of Uyo, a professional football club based in Akwa Ibom state in the south-south region of Nigeria today joined the group of football teams that have caught the social media bug as the team announced today that it has opened it’s own twitter handle. The handle is @AkwaUnited_fc and it the club’s Official Twitter Handle of

Akwa United FC of Uyo. Was Founded in 1996. And they also have blog were more information about the club can be sourced the link is

http://www.akwaunitedfc.blogspot.com

Although other teams have opened twitter handles it’s good to see that Nigeria clubs are stepping up their game when it comes to information dissemination.

The League Management Company, owners and managers of the Nigerian elite football league are also on twitter, their handle is
@LMCNPFL

We intend to publish a more robust list of Nigeria football teams, administrators, sports journalist and sportsmen and women that are active on twitter

NewFanzone

COPA Lagos: Maigari praises Supersand Eagles

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COPA Lagos: Maigari praises Supersand Eagles

President of Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Aminu Maigari has
commended the coaching crew and playing body of the Beach Soccer
National Team, otherwise known as Supersand Eagles, following the
team’s third straight triumph in the COPA Lagos International
Invitational Beach Soccer Tournament.

The high-flying Nigeria squad dismantled African champions Senegal 4-2
in the final match played at the Eko Atlantic City on Sunday, to win
the trophy for keeps. And Maigari poured encomiums on the boys while
receiving the trophy in his office on Tuesday.

“I truly and sincerely commend the Supersand Eagles for their
consistency in doing Nigeria proud. This is the third time they are
winning the trophy and this makes it the 10th trophy that the present
NFF administration has won for Nigeria.

“I congratulate the players and their officials and pledge that the
NFF will continue to support all our National Teams, including the
Supersand Eagles, to do Nigeria proud in international championships.”

Sunday’s triumph followed similar spectacular results in previous
years, which saw the Supersand Eagles decimate world power Brazil 9-4
to clinch the inaugural edition in December 2011 and edge
strong-as-bull Portugal 8-7 after a fascinating final on December 16,
2012.

In 2011, the Nigerian boys, quarter-finalists at the FIFA Beach Soccer
World Cup in Ravenna, Italy prevailed over South Africa and England
before overwhelming Brazil, and last year, were too strong for Lebanon
and Argentina before Portugal also chewed sand at the same venue.

This year, Coach Adamu Audu Ejo and his boys blew Germany off the
sands 7-1 before edging out Lebanon and prevailing over African
champions Senegal.

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Ondo dominates Lagos invitational gymnastics tourney

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Ondo dominates Lagos invitational gymnastics tourney

Ondo State showed their stuff at the Lagos Invitational Artistic Gymnastics Championship after mopping the largest number of gold medals at the two-day tournament held at the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Complex, Rowe Park.
To be crowned the overall winner of the competition, Ondo amassed five gold, three silver and five bronze medals, while its neighbour, Ekiti finished second with three gold, one silver and two bronze medals.
However, the host – Lagos claimed third place with two gold, six silver and two bronze medals, while Oyo with a bronze medal settled for fourth place among the five states that took part in the championship.
The competition was organized by the Lagos State Gymnastics Association with over 60 gymnasts drawn from five states participated in the tournament.
According to the organisers, it was aimed to inspire the athletes as well as giving them the opportunity to compete with the best gymnasts in the country.
Lagos State Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development, Wahid Oshodi commended the association for staging the championship, adding that the new equipment, which the state government provided for association has been put into good use to develop the athletes.
Oshodi added that the performance of the state in the gymnastics event at the last National School Sports Festival held in Kwara last month was superb with the state winning 13 gold, eight silver and five bronze medals to dominate the event.
In her remarks, Chairperson of the association, Banke Oloko expressed delight with the performance of the athletes, which she said would help them to do well in subsequent tournaments.
The coach of the winning state, Olamide Fadoju lauded the organisers for deeming it fit to invite other states to participate in the championship.

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