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RUSSIA BANNED FROM FIFA WORLD CUP

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The immediate past FIFA World Cup hosts, Russia were on Monday banned from Qatar 2022 and other world’s top sporting events for four years for tampering with doping tests.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) executive committee in Switzerland acted after concluding that Moscow had planted fake evidence and deleted files linked to positive doping tests in laboratory data that could have helped identify drug cheats.
“For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport,” WADA president Craig Reedie said.

 “The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of RUSADA’s reinstatement conditions…demanded a robust response. That is exactly what has been delivered today,” he said in a statement.
The impact of the unanimous decision was felt immediately, with WADA confirming that the Russian national team cannot take part in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar under the Russian flag and can only participate as neutrals.
“If they qualify, a team representing Russia cannot participate, but if there is a mechanism put in place, then they can apply to participate on a neutral basis, not as representatives of Russia,” Jonathan Taylor, chair of WADA’s compliance review committee, told a news conference
FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, said in a statement: “FIFA is in contact with WADA and ASOIF to clarify the extent of the decision in regards to football.”

 The ban also means that Russian sportsmen and sportswomen will not be able to perform at the Olympics in Tokyo next year under their own flag and national anthem.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic organising committee said it would welcome all athletes as long as they were clean.
“Tokyo 2020 hopes that athletes from all teams and NOCs/NPCs will participate in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in compliance with all anti-doping regulations,” said Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya in a statement.
It would work with relevant organisations to fully implement anti-doping measures, it added.
Russia, which has tried to showcase itself as a global sports power, has been embroiled in doping scandals since a 2015 report commissioned by WADA found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics.
Its doping woes have only grown since, with many of its athletes sidelined from the past two Olympics and the country stripped of its flag altogether at last year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping cover-ups at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Monday’s sanctions, which also include a four-year ban on Russia hosting major sporting events, were recommended by WADA’s compliance review committee in response to the doctored laboratory data provided by Moscow earlier this year.
One of the conditions for the reinstatement of Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA, which was suspended in 2015 in the wake of the athletics doping scandal but reinstated last year, had been that Moscow provide an authentic copy of the laboratory data.
The sanctions effectively strip the agency of its accreditation.

 RUSADA head Yuri Ganus could not be immediately be reached for comment. His deputy, Margarita Pakhnotskaya, told the TASS news agency that WADA’s decision had been expected.
Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov last month attributed the discrepancies in the laboratory data to technical issues.
The punishment leaves the door open for clean Russian athletes to compete at major international sporting events without their flag or anthem for the next four years, something they did at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
“This protects the rights of Russian athletes by allowing re-entry for those able to demonstrate they are not implicated in any way (in doping),” Reedie told a news conference following the decision. “The decision is designed to punish the guilty parties…it stands strong against those who cheated the system.”
Some Russian officials have tried to cast WADA’s behaviour as part of what they say is a broader Western attempt to hold back the country.
Igor Lebedev, a lawmaker and deputy speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, said on Monday the move was a serious blow to Russian sport that required a tough response from Russia’s authorities, the RIA news agency reported.
If RUSADA appeals WADA’s punishment, the case will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Some thought the sanctions did not go far enough.
“I wanted sanctions that cannot be watered-down. I am afraid this is not enough,” said WADA Vice President Linda Helleland on Twitter.
“We owe it to the clean athletes to implement the sanctions as strong as possible.”

 The European soccer body UEFA had no immediate comment.
-Reuters

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Barcelona Announce New Financial Boost

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Barcelona

Barcelona have announced they’re getting their finances on track.

 

 

Barca has issued an official statement communicating that it has received a stable triple B negative rating from the credit rating agency Fitch.

 

 

This is an important vote of confidence in terms of the club’s image. It is worth remembering that the club has already reached an agreement with the American investment fund Goldman Sachs, which has loaned the club 500 million euros.

 

 

The same fund already injected 90 million euros into the club during Josep Maria Bartomeu‘s presidency, with said loan conceived to aid the development of the Espai Barça project.

 

 

In a statement, the club announced:

“The sporting and financial project of the new FC Barcelona board of directors has received a vote of confidence in receiving a stable triple B negative credit rating from the credit rating agency Fitch.

 

 

“The credit rating agency gives a triple B rating to companies that are satisfactory at the time of rating, just as has happened to FC Barcelona after their assessment.

 

 

“With this BBB stable negative rating the Fitch agency values positively the Club’s financial project, which will have to undergo important readjustments to balance books.

 

 

“The confidence shown by Fitch allows the Club to look to the future with optimism and at a moment when the organisation is adjusting is financial viability plan as well as its strategic plan.”

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Gerrard Frustrated With Liverpool Links: I Don’t Welcome It, I Don’t Add To It…

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Steven Gerrard

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard does not welcome the speculation linking him with replacing Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

 

 

The Reds legend is consistently linked as a future replacement for Klopp, who is expected to leave Anfield when his contract expires in 2024.

 

 

But Gerrard is unhappy about the speculation as he is “very happy” in Glasgow.

 

 

Asked about the constant links to his old club and England, Gerrard told ESPN: “I can’t control any media speculation about my position.

 

 

“I don’t welcome it, I don’t add to it. All I do is focus on the job I have here and I’m very flattered and grateful for the position.

 

 

“I’m very happy here, I’ve said it on numerous occasions, it’s a huge club, I’m settled, I’m happy and I can continue to develop and keep trying to push this team forward.”

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Tokyo Olympics: Nigeria Leads Countries With Highest Figure Of Banned Athletes

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OLYMPICS

Ten athletes from Nigeria have been banned from participating in the Tokyo Olympics.

 

 

While the names of the affected athletes were not released, a statement from the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), revealed that a total of 18 athletes have been declared ineligible, with Nigeria being the most affected.

 

According to AIU, the 10 athletes from Nigeria failed the minimum testing requirements under Rule 15.

 

 

“Under the framework of Rule 15 governing National Federation Anti-Doping Obligations, which came into force in January 2019, National Federations are accountable for ensuring appropriate anti-doping measures are in place in their respective jurisdictions.

 

 

“Among other things, the Rule sets out minimum requirements for testing on the national teams of ‘Category A’ federations deemed to have the highest doping risk and considered as a threat to the overall integrity of the sport.

 

 

“The key requirement in Rule 15 is that an athlete from a ‘Category A’ country must undergo at least three no-notice out-of competition tests (urine and blood) conducted no less than 3 weeks apart in the 10 months leading up to a major event. Only then do they become eligible to represent their national team at the World Athletics Championships or the Olympic Games.

 

 

“For the year 2021, the seven identified ‘Category A’ National Federations are: Belarus, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and Ukraine.

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