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FIFA Bars Eight Countries From Hosting World Cup Qualifiers

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FIFA Bars Eight Countries From Hosting World Cup Qualifiers

Having failed to meet up with the requirements of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) venue inspection.

Mali and seven other Africa countries have been barred from hosting their 2022 World Cup qualifiers next month.

The other nations who must use a neutral ground for a home fixture between September 1 and 8 are Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Namibia and Niger.

Mali boasted six international-standard stadiums, including two in Bamako, when they staged the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations.

Poor stadium maintenance is a major problem in Africa and South African Patrice Motsepe warned offenders soon after being elected CAF president this year to rectify the situation or face the consequences.

The bans were confirmed when FIFA released the fixtures for the first two rounds of a group programme that also involves double match days in October and November.

All 40 teams bidding for five places at the 2022 finals in Qatar will play two fixtures — one home and one away — during September.

With only the 10 section winners advancing to the final elimination phase next March, the potential loss of home advantage for three matches could be crucial.

READ ALSO: Pochettino Gives Update On Messi’s Debut

Countries whose stadium facilities and or playing surfaces were considered not up to international standards were allowed to nominate alternate venues.

Burkina Faso, Niger (both Marrakech), Djibouti (Rabat) and Mali (Agadir) opted for Morocco and Malawi and Namibia (both Soweto) selected South Africa.

The Central African Republic (Douala) picked Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau (Nouakchott) decided on Mauritania.

All the countries chose venues relatively close geographically except Djibouti as Djibouti City is about 5,600 kilometres (3,480 miles) southeast of Rabat if flying directly between the capital cities.

AFP

 

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LaLiga President Reveals How Players Caused Messi’s Exit From Barcelona

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LaLiga President Reveals Players Who Caused Messi's Exit From Barcelona

LaLiga President, Javier Tebas, has told COPE, that Lionel Messi’s departure from Nou Camp, could have been avoided if the club had not brought in Memphis Depay and Sergio Aguero during the summer transfer window.

He also stated that if Barcelona had sign the CVC deal, which could have seen the Spanish giants sell off 15% of its shares, it would have been able to renew Messi’s contract

READ ALSO:  Barcelona Manager, Koeman Calls Messi A ‘Tyrant’

“I had dinner at Laporta’s house and he agreed to sign the CVC agreement.

“I didn’t know if Messi could renew because of that, but later I got a call [from Laporta]. ‘Can we accelerate the CVC deal? The kid [Messi] is getting nervous,’ he said.

“I told him: ‘The day it comes out, Florentino is going to try and burst it.’ And Laporta told me: ‘No, no, I have character.’ Florentino’s behind it all, I have no doubt.

“There was an agreement that if [Barca] signed the CVC deal, they could have put 15% of the money towards signing players. In my opinion, they could have signed Messi.

“Laporta signed players like Memphis, Aguero… if he didn’t sign those players, Messi could continue,” he said.

 

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Mourinho Blames Poor Officiating For Roma’s Defeat

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Mourinho Blames Poor Officiating For Roma's Defeat

Roma manager, Jose Mourinho, has accused match officials of being responsible for his side 3-2 defeat to Lazio on Sunday.

The Roma tactician alleged that the officials were “not at the right level”.

Mourinho’s side came back twice from a two-goal deficit only to fall 3-2 against Maurizio Sarri’s side in the Rome derby.

READ ALSO: Anthony Joshua Loses Heavyweight World Champion Title To Oleksandr Usyk

During the game, referee Marco Guida dished out six yellow cards, but Mourinho feels the match was undone by his grip on the whistle.

“Unfortunately, a fantastic game was ruined by the referee and VAR, who were not at the right level for this match.

“The second goal could’ve been 1-1, it went to 2-0. The [lack of a] second yellow for Lucas Leiva was important too. I think my team was the best on the field today.

“We dominated, we gave Lazio huge problems, they controlled the final minutes the way they wanted to, and because the referee allowed them to do so,” Mourinho told DAZN.

 

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BREAKING: Anthony Joshua Loses Heavyweight World Champion Title To Oleksandr Usyk

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Anthony Joshua Loses Heavyweight World Champion Title

Oleksandr Usyk shocked Anthony Joshua in their heavyweight clash on Saturday evening as he emerged victorious on points.

He has been crowned the new unified WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight world champion.

Usyk went into the fight as the underdog.

The 34-year-old was unbeaten in his 18 professional bouts going into the clash but had fought just twice in the heavyweight division.

He was given a hostile reception by fans inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as the Ukrainian national anthem sounded.

In contrast, the atmosphere was electric as Joshua made his way to the ring.

READ ALSO: Rudiger Speaks On Rumours Linking Him With Move From Chelsea

There were concerns that Usyk was too small for the heavyweight division but he made a mockery of those claims in the opening rounds.

The Ukrainian was looking good with Joshua struggling to cope with the challenger’s movement.

Usyk was bossing Joshua in the early stages and he hurt Joshua with a big shot in the third round.

Joshua needed to respond and the fourth and fifth rounds were much better from the champion.

The Englishman landed some big shots in the latter half of the fifth round and then continued his momentum in round six.

Usyk wasn’t going away though and he rocked Joshua once again in the seventh round with another big left hand.

It was all still to play for going into the final rounds.

Joshua’s right eye was swelling and was completely closed, while a cut had formed under Usyk’s right eye.

Usyk’s performance levels did not drop and he controlled the fight in the closing stages.

Sensing he needed a knockout to win, an exhausted Joshua gave it his all to drop his opponent.

But Usyk was not to be deterred and he so nearly dropped Joshua himself in the 12th.

Joshua survived but he fell on points, with all three judges giving the fight to Usyk (117-112, 116-112, 115-113).

It was a masterclass from Usyk and he was well worth his victory.

AJ has a rematch clause and it’s very likely that he will activate it to try and win his belts back.

 

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