Cyprus Football Association (CFA) president Costakis Koutsokoumnis expects the deal with the Turkish Cypriot Football Association (CTFA) to reunite football on the island to be finalised by the summer.Koutsokoumnis was speaking at an event hosted by French Ambassador Jean-Luc Florent, on Wednesday evening in honour of the agreement.Koutsokoumnis reaffirmed his commitment to carry on the process and overcome difficulties. He reminded that the arrangement was about sports and not about politics.He said the friendship and mutual trust between both associations and their teams facilitated the conclusion of the arrangement. He said he expected the process to be finalised during the summer.CTFA president Hasan Sertoglu, stressed “the sincere will of both sides” to unite Cyprus football. Political problems should not hamper the process, he said. Sertoglu proposed that in the near future, Turkish Cypriots play in the Cypriot national team and that Greek Cypriot players participate in Turkish Cypriot teams, with local players status, and not as foreigners.Representatives of more than 20 embassies, mostly at ambassador’s level attended the reception, along with UN, EU and European Parliament officials.In his address, Ambassador Florent commended the arrangement that the two football associations concluded last November in Zurich to reunite Cypriot football. He congratulated both Koutsokoumnis and Sertoglu for their leadership and their courage and encouraged them to continue their efforts for the implementation of the arrangement.Florent underlined the important societal aspect of the process which aimed at unifying Cypriot football and giving Cypriot youth, and the entire population of Cyprus, the opportunity to reunite around sports.
By Constantinos PsillidesA bill aimed at tackling football-related violence was introduced at the House on Thursday, with Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou making clear he wanted it voted on as it stood.“Today we are taking the fist step in our journey to change the unacceptable state our football is currently in. This journey won’t be easy or short but its one we have to see through to the end,” said Nicolaou during a press conference.The most controversial element introduced in the bill is the so called “fan card”. In an attempt to thwart anonymity, the state will require football clubs to only sell tickets to fans who have registered their personal information with the club. The state has been trying to introduce the “fan card” for quite some time but football clubs have always been reluctant, being pressured by their respective fan clubs who strongly oppose lifting anonymity.Police access to personal data of fans will be upon request since football clubs are the ones keeping records.“I know that the bill will get some of the fans and teams upset. We are willing to discuss some improvements on the bill but we will not render it ineffective because some fans reacted. Our only option is to work together and take decisive action without hesitation,” said Nicolaou.Seats in the stadiums from now on will also have to be numbered so police will know exactly who sits where during the match.The bill also calls for increased jail sentences as well as imposing bans on fans, depending on previous incidents the fan was involved in.It also calls for a ban on alcoholic drinks inside stadium grounds, upgrading surveillance equipment, and will also make throwing objects on the pitch a criminal offence. Shouting racial or insult slurs by fans will also be made a criminal offence, under the proposed legislation.Making one’s face unrecognisable either by scarf, helmet or any other clothing will also be forbidden, not only within the stadium but around it as well.During the press conference, the justice minister talked about upgraded surveilliance equipment that was put to the test during the cup final between APOEL and Ermis. Nicolaou said the new cameras could detect the lighting of flares in the stands and follow the perpetrators movements.Nicolaou made clear that he was open to discussion with all political parties on ways to improve the bill but will not accept taking out elements that would reduce its effectiveness.“We are ready to devote as much time as needed into discussing the provisions of the bill and ways to improve it. What we won’t accept is turning this bill into an a la carte menu where everyone can take provisions off and add restrictions,” he said.The justice ministry will push for the bill to be approved within the next two months so that it can be implemented in time for next season.The bill was deemed essential after the recent clashes between AEL and APOEL which resulted in the interruption of the May 17 championship final when a flare was thrown by an AEL fan, hitting and injuring one of the APOEL players who had to be hospitalised.
Former Germany and Bayern Munich striker Gerd Mueller, who is the Bundesliga’s all-time top scorer, is suffering from Alzheimers, his club said on Tuesday.Nicknamed ‘Der Bomber’ for his scoring prowess, Mueller, a 1974 World Cup and 1972 European Championship winner, who also won three consecutive European Cups with Bayern, has been suffering from the disease since early this year.“For some time now Gerd Mueller has unfortunately been ill,” Bayern said in a statement ahead of Mueller’s 70th birthday next month.“He is suffering from Alzheimers. Since February 2015 Gerd Mueller has been treated professionally with strong support from his family.”Mueller, who won 13 titles at Bayern, played for the club from 1964 to 1979, scoring 533 goals in 585 games in all competitions – 365 in the Bundesliga.He also scored 68 goals in 62 appearances for Germany, a mark surpassed only recently by Miroslav Klose.Mueller also played for two years at the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the United States before returning to Bayern to work as a youth coach.“Bayern will always support Gerd Mueller and his family, whenever necessary,” said club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.“Gerd Mueller is one of the greats of world football. Without his goals Bayern and German football would not be what they are today. Gerd was the kind of striker you will most likely never see again.”His turn and speed plus his ability to score from every position made him the iconic figure of the 1970s Bayern and Germany teams but he was always more shy and reserved than his team mates Franz Beckenbauer and Uli Hoeness.“We ask in this difficult situation for him and his family for the necessary respect,” said Rummenigge.
Formula One will revert to its 2015 qualifying format at next week’s Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai and for the remainder of the season, the governing FIA said in a statement after backing down in the face of opposition from teams.The change will be put to the F1 Commission and World Motor Sport Council to be rubber-stamped, bringing an end to a failed experiment to shake up starting grids with elimination qualifying.The statement said International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Jean Todt and the sport’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone had accepted the move “in the interests of the Championship”.The teams had earlier shown their unity in a letter to Ecclestone and Todt, calling for the 2015 system to be reinstated and rejecting an aggregate qualifying proposal put forward by the FIA.With unanimity needed for any change to the 2016 regulations, the apparent impasse had threatened to ensure the unpopular new format continued in China for a third successive race unless one side backed down.The 26-member F1 commission groups the 11 teams, commercial rights holder and governing body as well as other stakeholders.This year’s qualifying system, which saw drivers knocked out at timed intervals during the three sessions, was approved hurriedly before the start of the season to add excitement.However, drivers were eliminated while sitting in the garages in the final stage rather than battling for pole on track as in the past, triggering a backlash on social media.Todt and Ecclestone had ruled out going back to the old system at a meeting with the teams in Bahrain last weekend.Williams deputy-principal Claire Williams said then that both bosses believed “going back to 2015 would create more confusion than is necessary”.Teams agreed at the Bahrain Grand Prix to vote on a compromise solution, which would have seen each driver do at least two laps in each of the three phases of qualifying with the times aggregated.The argument was about more than finding the best way to line up 22 cars on the starting grid, however.In a sport that can crunch vast amounts of data in milliseconds, it comes down to power and who really calls the shots, the teams or the FIA and Ecclestone.World champions Mercedes and Ferrari supply eight of the 11 teams, giving them more muscle in decision-making.“The FIA should write the regulations and say ‘these are the regulations. If you want to enter the championship you enter. If you don’t, don’t,” Ecclestone told reporters in Bahrain.He said the change to the elimination qualifying format came at the request of promoters, keen for more action during the early phases of the Saturday session, and a desire to shake up the starting grid.Dominant Mercedes have won 34 of the last 40 grands prix and eight in a row.
The last games of the first round of the Cyprus championship playoffs will take place this weekend with leaders APOEL facing a difficult trip to Larnaca to face Anorthosis while AEK have a much easier task against Nea Salamina.In the relegation group Ethnikos Achnas need the three points against Paphos FC if they want to maintain their slim chances of first division survival while Ermis can move to the top if they defeat AEL in Limassol.APOEL travel to one of their least favourite hunting grounds to take on Anorthosis without the suspended duo of de Vincenti and Merkis. The absence of de Vincenti is made all the more important following the decision of top scorer Cavenaghis’ decision to end his Cyprus playing days last week.APOEL coach Ketsbaia, who has come under severe criticism from a section of his side’s supporters for his team selections, may opt for several changes in order to find the right blend to put his team back on the winning track and maintain their four-point cushion at the top.APOEL will need to improve considerably in the final third especially as Anorthosis’ newly-appointed coach Neophytos Larkou, is considered a good tactician with keeping a clean sheet his priority.Larkou got off to a winning start last week, and with the return from suspension and injury of a host of players (Pele, Laifis, Ndlovou, Calvo, Svechlen ) will be aiming to extend his winning start in front of the home fans.AEK are at home to (pointless) Nea Salamina and anything other than a win will be considered an upset even though the visitors are the only team not to have been beaten by Thomas Christiansen’s outfit this year.This was something Christiansen noted in his pre-game press conference reminding his players they only took one point off Salamina this year and “it’s high time we defeated them.”In the final top group game, in-form Apollon take on Omonia at the Tsirion with the home side favourites to win.Should they succeed they will open up a five-point gap to the Nicosia team, moving even closer to a much coveted European place.Trailing by seven points, Ethnikos Achnas are favourites for the drop and anything other than a win against the team just above them, Paphos FC, will almost definitely signal the end of their first division status.For their part, Paphos FC are a much improved side since Apostolos Makrides took over and should prove to be a tough opponent.Championship Group (all games on Saturday at 18.00)Anorthosis (55) vs APOEL (72)AEK (68) vs Nea Salamina (33)Apollon (57) vs Omonia (55)Relegation Group (all games on Sunday at 16.00)Ethnikos Achnas (25) vs Paphos FC (32)Doxa (33) vs Aris (34)AEL (39) vs Ermis (36)
AEK Athens beat holders and Super League champions Olympiakos Piraeus 2-1 in the Greek Cup final thanks to goals by captain Petros Mantalos and Rafik Djebbour at an empty ground on Tuesday.Greece midfielder Mantalos headed home a Ronald Vargas cross seven minutes before the break inside an eerily silent Olympic Stadium without any fans due to crowd violence that has blighted this season’s competition.Djebbour added a second against his former club five minutes after halftime from a Vargas through ball in a match that took place at the third time of asking following two postponements.Alejandro Domiquez gave Olympiakos hope with a superb goal five minutes from time but AEK held on to claim a 15th Greek Cup win, denying Olympiakos an 18th double in the process.It was AEK’s first trophy since a 2011 Cup triumph and marked an impressive return to success for Stelios Manolas’ men after bankruptcy and relegation to Greece’s third tier in 2013.“For me this trophy is the prize for the difficult times the club has gone through this past few years — this club is back and has deservedly won the cup,” said Mantalos.SHAMEFUL SITUATIONMarco Silva’s Olympiakos, who had not been in competitive action since beating AEL Kalloni 5-0 in their final league match on April 17, dominated possession in a rather pedestrian affair.However, the Piraeus club looked understandably out of sorts and short of match practice due to the delays as opposed to AEK, who are still in competitive action in the playoffs.“The fact that we waited for a month to play this game is proof that Greek football needs much improvement. What happened is shameful, it’s not right and is very bad for the game here,” said a fuming Silva.“The season hasn’t ended in the best way for us. We were not at all on the ball today and couldn’t find any rhythm, but what has happened in the last few months in this competition has not happened anywhere else.”The game was originally scheduled for April 24 but was moved to May 7 after a high-profile postponement by the government. The match was then once again controversially postponed at the request of the police due to a nationwide 48-hour strike.Greece’s Deputy Minister for Sport, Stavros Kontonis, had cancelled the competition outright after the first leg of the semi-final between PAOK Salonika and Olympiakos on March 2 was abandoned due to a pitch invasion.However, Kontonis reversed his decision last month after soccer’s world ruling body FIFA and its European counterpart UEFA warned that the country would be suspended from international football if the Greek Cup did not resume.The competition restarted with the remaining games played behind closed doors for security reasons.
Members of the two Hanuabada weightlifting clubs have come together demanding that the PNG Weightlifting Federation interim administration step down.The reason is that there has not been an annual general meeting for the past five years since the interim administration was set up, they say.They questioned why the current administration had been continuing for the past five years but had not held any AGMs since they took over as the interim committee.Weightlifting champion Dika Toua called on the interim administration to step down or there would not be any weightlifting in PNG.She said the two clubs that she and Steven Kari are members of have been used in the past years and have no representation in the PNGWF.“These are the only two clubs that have produced elite athletes representing PNG,” she said.Toua said that as the weightlifting national coach, it was not fair that the coaching staff had no say in the selection process.“As an athlete who had been appointed as a national coach, I’m disappointed that I’m not part of the selection process.“The coaching staff train the athletes and we do programs for them. We also have club coaches training the athletes but we don’t have inputs in the selections so we’ve had enough,” she said.She said they had been training elite athletes for many years without the support of the government and the federation when it came to facilities.Loop PNG is yet to get a response from the PNGWF.Meantime, the clubs thanked major sponsor Trukai Industries for their support throughout the years.
The Barras batted first and finished at 8/232, thanks largely to knocks from Vani Vagi Morea (52), Dogodo Bau (46) and Lega Siaka (27).UAE’s run chase had them on track at 3/148, but a batting collapse in the middle order gave way to the win for the Barras bowling UAE all out for 206 inside 47 overs.Captain Assad Vala was the best of the bowlers, taking 3/20 off his ten overs.Vala’s spell included the prized scalp of UAE’s danger man Ghulam Shabber, who top scored with 70.The third One Day International will be played tomorrow.
The Champions Workshop at the Holiday Inn in Port Moresby provided the National Federation executives and coaches the opportunity to speak directly to the staff and management of HPS PNG to better understand the types of services provided.Long-time boxing administrator, Dick Larry described the workshop as a great concept adding it is great to know that we able to locally advance our athletes.Larry also raised concerns of finding access to these programs and services in regional areas where talents scouted regionally can be housed, trained and monitored.Former Paralympian and PNG’s first silver medallist in the Olympics, Francis Kompaon added that it was good for National Federations to come together and meet the HP team because many of these coaches, teams and administrators did not know what kind of services are provided by HPS PNG.“There are services out there that they (NFs) can engage but they can’t do it because it cost money but at HP these same services are provided for free and better quality.“So this Champions Workshop is a good opportunity for NFs to come and see but also know what is provided for them by the Government.”Codes that attended the workshop were Softball, Lawn Bowls, Swimming, Shooting, Boxing, ParaSport, Golf, Basketball, Karate, Netball, Sailing, Archery, Shooting, Bodybuilding, Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Canoeing, Cricket, Handball, Hockey, Rugby 7s, Judo, University Sport, Badminton, Table Tennis, Touch Footy, Volleyball, and Rugby League. The next Champions Workshop will be held in early May in Port Moresby and similarly in Lae, with the invitation extended to National team athletes, their coaches and managers.
The PNG Sports Foundation, as the Government lead agency for sports in consultation with other relevant agencies, is taking preventative measures to counter the risk of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).PNGSF Executive Peter Tsiamalili Jnr said the decision would not be taken lightly as Papua New Guineans are very passionate in sports but the event was an activity that encompasses a large congregation of people and the risk factors could be detrimental if preventative measures were not introduced sooner.“At this time of the year when our global community is shocked by the wild spreading of the coronavirus and combating to control the spread of the pandemic, we Papua New Guinea as a nation must also prepare to take necessary preventive measures to control the epidemic,” Tsiamalili said. “The nation is preparing to prevent and control this globally infectious virus; it is now everyone’s responsibility to maintain our individual health and hygiene as part of the preventive measures against this global threat. “Therefore, in tune with the Prime Minister’s address to the Nation and its recommendations to limit mass gatherings and encouraging social distance, the PNG Sports Foundation, as agency responsible for sports and in consultation with National Federations and Department of Health, has taken its decision as part of the preventive measures in the usage of the sporting venues that are managed by PNG Sports Foundation.“Today we conducted a meeting with representatives from National Federations, PNG Olympic Committee and other stakeholders of sports at the Bisini Sports Precinct and the recommendation to suspend sports for 30 days effective immediately was fully endorsed by those present,” Tsiamalili said. “I’d like to announce to the public, sporting clubs, National Federations and our valued sporting fraternity that the usage of all Government sporting facilities in Port Moresby and throughout the country are suspended for 4 weeks (30 days) until such time, the Sports Foundation completes a risk assessment with health officials on the preparedness of our team and sporting affiliates to manage and deal with the potential of the coronavirus. “Mass gatherings through sporting activities are highly visible events with the potential for serious public health consequences if they are not planned and managed carefully. It is also evident that mass gatherings can amplify the spread of infectious diseases and it is incumbent on my team to take this approach. “Once we are satisfied with our preparations in terms of our sporting affiliate’s management capacity and necessary S.O.P’s (Standard Operating Procedures) to manage the threat, then we will announce the opening of our sporting venues and facilities for normal business. “Currently, the situation is still very fluid and I appeal to all sports and the general public to be content and appreciative as we navigate through these uncertain times with the likelihood of the case still very high.” (Women’s 7-aside at Bisini last weekend. The soccer precinct, like other sporting venues, will be on lockdown as a safety measure)