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Long Dog and Bachasson primed for Royal Bond showdown at Fairyhouse

Long Dog and Bachasson primed for Royal Bond showdown at Fairyhouse

first_imgWillie Mullins pits smart novices Long Dog and Bachasson against each other in a fascinating Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday. Mullins’ son and assistant Patrick said: “I’m very taken with Long Dog and with what he does at home. Obviously we think a lot of him. He got injured on his first run and that’s why we ran him over the summer. “Sunday will be a test. He might be best with a trip, but he has the speed, particularly on this ground, for two miles. I think he’ll take a bit of beating. “On a form line with Three Stars, who Bachasson also beat, we think Long Dog might be up to giving the weight away to Bachasson. He is a year older than him as well.” Paul Townend rides French-bred Bachasson, who runs in the Un De Sceaux colours. The grey holds a rating of 147 after clocking up a record of four from four on Irish turf, meaning he is rated 3lb superior to Long Dog who has to give him that amount of weight under the terms of the race. He was also successful at Grade Three level when last seen in Tipperary. Mullins went on: “Bachasson was weak when he came to us and we didn’t think he would be strong enough for winter ground. “He has improved and improved and there possibly could be more improvement in him. His profile is one of progression. His last performance was probably his best. The ground doesn’t seem to bother him too much.” Press Association The County Carlow handler has saddled four of the last seven winners of the Grade One contest, including last year’s hero Nichols Canyon, who subsequently ended champion hurdler Faugheen’s unbeaten record at Punchestown earlier this month. Long Dog is the pick of Ruby Walsh and arrives on the back of four comfortable victories, landing a Grade Three at Limerick last month. Bachasson’s part-owner Colm O’Connell said: “It looks like we’ve got Long Dog to beat. “Our boy is only four and has already had a long campaign, we need to see about the ground and this is his biggest test to date. “When he started out at Sligo I never had any thought in my mind he’d be running in a Royal Bond, but when he won at Galway we started to think he had a lot of potential. “The horses he’d been beating were coming out and winning and a bit like with Un De Sceaux Willie has steadily brought him through the ranks. “He’s getting 3lb as a four-year-old, but horses his age are normally running in bumpers not in the Royal Bond. “He’s bred to act on soft, so we will hope for the best and he showed a really nice turn of foot last time.” Walsh told the Irish Examiner it was a tough choice between the pair. He said: “T he only reason I’ve gone for Long Dog is because I think he’ll handle testing conditions better. ” For horses that won the first race on the Monday and Tuesday of Galway, it’s hard to believe that at this stage of the season you’d still be scratching your head as to which one to ride in a Grade One. ” The handicapper says I’ve made the wrong decision as he has Bachasson rated 3lbs higher and he’s getting 3lbs off Long Dog, but the weather forecast is all that swayed me. “They’ve run at roughly the same time all season, have been winning with similar ease, and improving all the time. “I don’t know how you split them. I asked some of the lads in the yard and they were split 50:50. “It really is that difficult, and Long Dog is just my opinion – anyone who fancies Bachasson, I wouldn’t like to put you off.” Gigginstown are represented by Gunnery Sergeant and Archive. The former won a point-to-point and a bumper before falling two out when leading in a Gowran Park novice hurdle. He has to come into the reckoning for Noel Meade and Bryan Cooper. Eoin Griffin’s Archive was beaten into fourth by Three Stars at Navan, while t he field is completed by the Mouse Morris-trained Baily Cloud, winner of his last two hurdle races. last_img read more

Red Force take honours as Hurricanes stumble

Red Force take honours as Hurricanes stumble

first_imgRED FORCE 1st InningsA Jangoo c Thomas b Louis 0J Solozano c Saunders b Berridge 37Y Cariah c Holder b Berridge 14E Nicholson c wkp Hamilton b Matthew 21*D Ramdin c Thomas b Louis 28T Webster lbw b Campbell 38+S Katwaroo c wkp Hamilton b Berridge 21Imran Khan c wkp Hamilton b Berridge 4K Pierre c Thomas b Louis 29D St Clair c wkp Hamilton b Louis 11A Phillip not out 4Extras (b2, lb4, w6, nb2) 14TOTAL (all out, 75.4 overs) 221Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-55, 3-58, 4-108, 5-115, 6-173, 7-177, 8-177, 9-216, 10-221.Bowling: Matthew 17-9-22-1, Louis 12.4-2-45-4, Holder 20-6-49-0, Thomas 2-0-5-0, Berridge 17-2-71-4, Campbell 7-1-23-1.HURRICANES 1st InningsM Hodge c wkp Katwaroo b Webster 11*K Powell b StClair 15K Carty b Imran Khan 0D Thomas not out 8+J Hamilton not out 0Extras (w1, nb1) 2TOTAL (3 wkts, 11.1 overs) 36Fall of wickets: 1-22, 2-28, 3-36.To bat: S Berridge, C Holder, J Campbell, A Saunders, J Louis, M Matthew.Bowling: Phillip 4-0-18-0, St Clair 5-3-10-1, Webster 2-1-8-1, Imran Khan 0.1-0-0-1.Position: Hurricanes trail by 185 runs with seven wickets intact. PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, (CMC) – Trinidad and Tobago Red Force produced a steady batting effort and an incisive burst with the ball late on, to take honours on the opening day of their eighth round match against Leeward Islands Hurricanes.Opting to bat first at Queen’s Park Oval on Thursday, the hosts got up to 221 all out in their first innings with a number of players getting starts but failing to carry on.Lower order batsman Tion Webster top-scored with 38, opener Jeremy Solozano hit 37, while tail-ender Khary Pierre with 29 and captain Denesh Ramdin, 26, provided support.Fast bowler Jeremiah Louis (4-45) and Sheno Berridge (4-72) were the chief wicket-takers with four wickets apiece.At the close, Hurricanes were tottering on 36 for three, still requiring a further 185 runs to overhaul their target.Among those aready dismissed was captain and West Indies opener, Kieran Powell who counted three boundaries in 15.Red Force had earlier recovered from losing Amir Jangoo without scoring with a single run on the board, to make good progress courtesy of three half-century stands.First, Solozano put on 54 in a second wicket stand with Yannic Cariah who made 14, before Ramdin and Ewart Nicholson (21) added a further 50 for the fourth wicket.When two wickets perished for seven runs in the space of 26 deliveries, Webster and Steven Katwaroo (21) put on 58 for the sixth wicket to revive the innings from 115 for five.Webster struck seven fours in a 69-ball before he was eighth out in a slide that saw three wickets fall for four runs in 18 balls, as Red Force slipped to 177 for eight.Pierre then arrived to lash four boundaries in a 42-ball innings, anchoring a 39-run ninth wicket partnership with Daniel St Clair (11).last_img read more

Loyola balancing expectations of defending champs with injuries, suspensions

Loyola balancing expectations of defending champs with injuries, suspensions

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Loyola was the best team in the country. The Greyhounds were disrespected, but they were the best. And they proved it when they won the national championship.Now, the same teams that played like they hardly scouted Loyola (Md.) in 2012 storm onto the field determined to knock off the defending champs. And the Greyhounds have not proven to be the best.“That’s what we’ve seen from every single team, just energy in the first half, first quarter from every single team that’s just beyond what I’ve seen in the past couple years,” Loyola midfielder Pat Laconi said. “You can see extra fire in other teams wanting to try to bring us down.”Three times already, LU’s opponents have done just that – sometimes due to injury and suspension, others, like Maryland, were just better. As the No. 8 Greyhounds (10-6, 6-1 Eastern College Athletic) prep for their final game of the season against No. 11 Johns Hopkins (8-4) on Saturday, they do so thinking about simply shoring up a spot in the NCAA tournament they ran through last season. It’s a mental and emotional balancing act for Loyola, dealing with unprecedented expectations, the same nagging cynics that doubted the team last season and disappointment.Watching last year’s game film with defensive coordinator Matt Dwan, the Greyhounds hit a humbling realization.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It’s hard to realize because you think, ‘Oh, I thought we played pretty well then,’” Laconi said, “and then he showed us the clip saying, ‘This and this and this and this’ and we’re like, ‘Wow, we got really crossed up.’”It started when Laconi and his teammates watched film of the 2012 season opening win against Delaware. At first, they thought it was just a typically loose start to the season. Then they saw the film from Duke. They weren’t impressed with their old selves despite the 13-8 win.The Greyhounds saw that, results aside, they only vaguely resembled the national champions they became once the ECAC tournament came around. This year, they believe they’re doing the same.Worse still, with the respect they thought they always deserved, teams came in better prepared to play and beat Loyola. Opposing shooters picked out goaltender Jack Runkel’s weak spot, opposing attackers ran less downhill dodges at the LU defenders who relish playing one-on-one defense and offenses ran big-man-little-man combinations to take advantage of Loyola’s hesitance to slide.“We knew it was going to be a different year, and we’ve definitely dealt more with injuries and guys missing games than we dealt with last year,” midfielder Scott Ratliff said.Offensive X-factor and short-stick defensive midfielder Josh Hawkins was suspended for the first seven games for violating team rules. He missed two of LU’s three losses serving the suspension. Midfield playmaker Chris Layne missed Loyola’s last loss in overtime against then-No. 3 Denver.And in the loss to Duke, Matt Sawyer was visibly slowed by a knee injury he suffered earlier in the week.“A big message that we’ve just been talking about is just trying to peak at the right time, getting all our guys on the field and playing our best lacrosse at the right time,” Ratliff said, “which obviously is right now.”Despite holding the national title, doubters swooped in when the Greyhounds struggled to reel off the same early season dominance they showed last year. The players didn’t obsess over it, but they also didn’t ignore it.Ratliff said it was only natural that he and his teammates would read and hear criticisms of their team, and use it as motivation.“After a few games people start doubting you and you start reading stuff about how we don’t have the same drive,” he said.Those doubts have allowed Loyola to assume the natural role it took on last season when it shocked the country all season long.“We almost still kind of see ourselves as the underdog,” Ratliff said.That identity will be highlighted Saturday when LU visits local rivals Johns Hopkins, a team this senior class has never beaten. The Blue Jays were the only team Loyola lost to last season.A win against LU’s historically dominant neighbors – JHU has won nine NCAA titles since 1971 – would likely seal an at-large bid to the NCAAs for the Greyhounds. And Loyola’s back where it started last season: disrespected. For years, they’ve read The Baltimore Sun’s predictions in the build-up to the local rivalry.“It’ll always say ‘Hopkins, Hopkins, Hopkins’ with one or two Loyola picks,” Laconi said. “And that doesn’t mean anything to us. It’s just, it still digs at us that – we don’t deserve respect right now because we haven’t done anything this year.“But we plan on getting it this weekend.” Comments Published on April 23, 2013 at 1:11 am Contact Jacob: jmklinge@syr.edu | @Jacob_Klinger_last_img read more

Linfield rides 58-year streak of winning campaigns into 2014 season

Linfield rides 58-year streak of winning campaigns into 2014 season

first_imgLinfield football’s uniforms haven’t been altered since the 1950s. Its stadium and locker room haven’t moved.And with those constants has come another — 58 straight winning seasons.The Wildcats have finished above .500 in every season since 1956, the longest streak of its kind in college football and 16 years longer than the next best. With a consistent coaching staff and commitment to tradition, Linfield has separated itself from other Division III programs in the Pacific Northwest.Linfield has had five different head coaches since 1948, all of whom had previous ties to the program. Coaches tell first-year players about living in the dorms and playing at Linfield. The school is located in McMinnville, Oregon, which has a population less than 35,000.Eleven of the 12 coaches on Wildcats’ 12 current staff played at Linfield and experienced the same alumni and community support as the players they’re teaching.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“The streak is something that has connected so many generations of football players at Linfield,” Ryan Carlson, a Linfield defensive end from 1994–98 and the team’s volunteer videographer said. “No matter how old you are or how young the current players are, that’s something that the people are all connected by.”No team wants to be the one to end the streak, but the Wildcats turn their focus away from the pressure. Every year the senior class chooses new goals for the season — which sometimes include non-football related objectives like community involvement — and always include winning a national title.Despite having a winning record every year for the past 58 seasons, Linfield has won just four national championships — in 1982, 1984, 1986 as part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and 2004, its lone title in the NCAA. In each of the past three seasons, Linfield has gone undefeated in the regular season and won the Northwest Conference. But the Wildcats lost in the round of 16 of the NCAA tournament in 2011 and in the quarterfinals in 2012 and 2013.“It’s tough knowing we’re a successful program and each year I feel like we have the team to push all the way,” senior linebacker Westly Meng said. “It’s just if we’re going to finish. And that’s a question every year, every game that’s the thing.”This year, Meng said, the team’s goals include finishing every workout and finishing every game. Players and coaches on Linfield feel that if they accomplish these goals, the streak will take care of itself.Tyler Robitaille played for Linfield from 2010–13 and is now the team’s secondary coach. He said the streak isn’t talked about much internally.“We’re prideful of it, but that’s the last thing we’re thinking about every time we enter a season,” Robitaille said. “But it’s definitely a reflection both of how Linfield recruits and how Linfield approaches every season and the expectation that we’re going to win.“We’re going to reach the national championship and the streak will just continue if we do so.”Linfield’s roster is filled with players who could have chosen to play Division-I or Division-II football, but opted for the Wildcats’ rich tradition.Many alumni are still attached to the program and support the team on game days. Oftentimes, former players will interact with current players and discuss the program’s history.“It’s pretty cool when a 75, 80-year-old man comes up to you and knows your name and shakes your hand,” former quarterback and current quarterbacks coach Aaron Boehme said, “and you have no idea who they are, but they’re just an old-school graduate from back in the day and they’ve followed the team for years and years and years.”When Linfield finishes practice, the last thing the team always says is “family.” And as the Wildcats start their question for season No. 59, they’ll be striving for more than just a record.Said Robitaille: “It’s a pretty special place in the Northwest.” Comments Published on September 2, 2014 at 12:02 pm Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Syracuse men’s lacrosse roundtable: Margin of victory, senior attack Jordan Evans, Towson faceoff matchup

Syracuse men’s lacrosse roundtable: Margin of victory, senior attack Jordan Evans, Towson faceoff matchup

first_img Published on May 18, 2017 at 4:19 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ UPDATED: May 19, 2017 at 1:35 p.m.As Syracuse nears its first Final Four since 2013, beat writers Charlie DiSturco, Sam Fortier and Matthew Gutierrez answer three pressing questions surrounding the Orange. No. 2 SU (13-2, 4-0 Atlantic Coast) has lost only once since Feb. 25, most recently beating Yale Sunday in the Carrier Dome to earn a date with No. 11 Towson (11-4, 4-1 Colonial Athletic) on Sunday at noon at Delaware Stadium in Newark, Delaware. The winner advances to the Final Four in Foxborough, Massachusetts for Memorial Day weekend.Syracuse’s narrow margin of victory continued in its matchup against Yale, after an 11-10 win. Should SU be concerned about this as it progresses in the playoffs?Charlie DiSturco: Syracuse should not be concerned about its margin of victory — a win is a win. The team has done it time and time again, as shown by its nation-best 9-2 record in one-goal games. The team knows how to play in situations, whether it be grasping to a small lead or having to comeback in the fourth quarter. I mean, they beat Yale by winning just four faceoffs! Somehow, someway Syracuse has succeeded in one-goal games. There’s no worry here.Sam Fortier: If you ask Guti, who just wrote a column about this very topic, he’ll say no. And I tend to agree with him. To say SU should worry after winning a game only by one goal would be to invalidate its entire season. In its nine one-goal wins this season, Syracuse has shown it can withstand enormous deficits in faceoffs, ground balls, goals and pretty much anything else to pull off a comeback. Plus, the Orange already had its sobering reality game when it couldn’t quite hold on after coming back from down nine in the ACC tournament to North Carolina. Slim margins are Syracuse.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMatthew Gutierrez: Not at all. Syracuse has proved all season it can win in any way. Some players have joked that they almost enjoy going down early, so they can regroup and stage a comeback. Sunday was just the latest example — Syracuse went 4-for-22 at the faceoff X and still won. Are you kidding? That illustrates how resilient this team is and how far from one-dimensionality SU stands. There’s no time to panic with this team.After Nick Mariano and Sergio Salcido, which other offensive player will lead SU in the playoffs?C.D.: The leader of the offense is Jordan Evans, even more so than All-Americans Sergio Salcido and Nick Mariano. Evans finally realized he’s not the top scorer, but instead uses his lacrosse IQ to run the offense and help position more inexperienced players. He accepted his new role and has thrived these past few games. He battles for ground balls, runs, and helps stop opponents’ clears and has such an overall understanding of the game that the balanced SU offense feeds off of. Yeah, he’s not the biggest threat to score. But he’s the leader and quarterback of this offense.Courtesy of SU AthleticsS.F.: No doubt: Evans. Everyone knows about his stature with No. 22 and his past No. 1 recruiting ranking, but the biggest thing he brings to SU — aside from his occasional offensive potency, IQ and quarterbacking — is experience. He’s closely observed the disappointing demise for each of the past three seasons and fully understands the stakes of Syracuse’s playoff run this season. As teams creatively counter SU’s six legitimate scoring threats on the field at once — Towson has the nation’s third-best scoring defense (7.47 goals allowed per game) — there’s only one player teammates have described as a coach on the field. Salcido and Mariano may be more potent threats, but Evans will be the conductor.M.G.: Without question, this is Evans. He has over the last four games led Syracuse in goals and assists. SU head coach John Desko said he’s playing his best lacrosse right now, and much of that won’t even show up in the stat sheet. Evans picks up ground balls, sets up the offense from the X and tells players where to position themselves. Plus, he’s shown he’s capable of scoring while limiting his turnovers. You can’t ask for much more from a guy who quarterbacks a deep offense such as Syracuse’s.Towson’s faceoff specialist Alex Woodall ranks inside the Top 10 nationally in winning percentage. The Orange pulled away with a win after getting decimated at the faceoff X against Yale. Will SU be able to remain competitive again if it doesn’t win at the faceoff X, and will Ben Williams be able to return to form? C.D.: If Williams struggles at the faceoff X, Syracuse still can remain competitive. It showed last week against Yale, a team with a top 10 faceoff success rate in the nation. But SU escaped and were lucky to do so. The game will remain close if Williams struggles, but another poor performance and I can’t see Syracuse coming out on top. That’s where bringing in Danny Varello comes into play. He has been consistent (other than the Yale game) and even Desko raves about his quick hands. Williams will likely struggle again, much like he has all season, before Varello comes in and is tasked with leading a Syracuse comeback once again.Jordan Phelps | Staff PhotographerS.F.: No and likely no. The Orange has somehow skirted challenging opposition — Yale won the Ivy League — despite not maintaining an advantage in faceoffs, but logically less possession time decreases chances of winning. If Williams cannot win, if SU is not competitive at the faceoff X against Towson, Williams’ career and the team’s season will end. Williams has not shown anything to indicate that he will return to the dominant player he once was. His early-season struggles were explained with injury, yet Desko has insisted for the past month that he’s fully healthy. Still, Williams has won 41 of his past 86 faceoffs and just 1-of-11 against the Bulldogs. That nearly cost Syracuse the game. It’s possible Williams returns to form — toughness is his best attribute — but if he doesn’t, the Orange’s best chances rests on someone other than one of the program’s best-ever faceoff men.M.G.: At this point, there are few reasons to be confident in Williams. Even if he starts well, will he sustain success over a whole game? Doubtful. There’s no question Desko and SU assistant coach Kevin Donahue have discussed, more and more, the idea of brining in freshman Danny Varello. While he won only 3-of-10 against Yale, Varello has been much more consistent this year. Expect him to see time Sunday in a heightened role and help SU try to break even at the faceoff X. Commentslast_img read more

Haiti’s Director-General of Tourism Survives Accident that Claims Two Lives

Haiti’s Director-General of Tourism Survives Accident that Claims Two Lives

first_imgPolice confirmed that the accident occurred on Saturday when the vehicle, which was being driven by Durosier’s driver, Jean Pierre Désir, overturned, hit an electricity pole on the RN #3, near Pignon and Dondon in the North department. Secretary of State Eddy-Jackson Alexis, said he was saddened at the accident and “associates himself with the pain of all those seriously affected by this tragedy, in particular, the families of the victims, their loved ones, their work colleagues and employees of the Ministry of Tourism.” Antoine died instantly, while Désir died at hospital. The authorities said that Durosier is in a stable condition, nursing injuries. – CMCcenter_img Director-General of the Ministry of Tourism, Andy Durosier, has survived a vehicular accident that resulted in the deaths of two people, including his assistant, Kimberly Antoine. Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe in a note to the Minister of Tourism, Myriam Jean, noted “in this painful circumstance, I ask everyone to show solidarity with the Minister, her staff, as well as bereaved families. It should be noted that the condition of Director General Andy Durosier is stable.”last_img read more

Osasuna involved in La Liga match fixing case

Osasuna involved in La Liga match fixing case

first_img Osasuna’s former club secretary, Angel Vizcay, has claimed that the club had made a series of payments to Getafe and Real Betis to influence the outcome of matches during the 2012-2013 and 2013-14 seasons. Vizcay claimed in a provincial court in Pamplona on Tuesday that Getafe had been paid €400,000 in cash to lose to Osasuna in 2013, while also paying €250,000 to Betis the following year for the same reason. He continued by stating that Betis were paid a further €400,000 as a ‘bonus incentive’ for beating Valladolid.The issue stems below club executive level as Vizcay stated that one of the payments to Betis was made directly to three players. Xavi Torres, Jordi Figueras and Antonio Amaya are all reported to have accepted payments from the club, with Vizcay identifying Figueras and Torres during the court proceedings. The players had allegedly collected the money in a garage in Seville. Amaya, who was present at the court case, is also on trial after he was identified as the recipient of the earlier payment. Other allegations Vizcay made during the trial included paying Valladolid €150,000 as a win bonus to defeat Deportivo La Coruña; giving Betis  the same sum to beat Celta Vigo, as well as €250,000 to Espanyol following a draw against Osasuna.Miguel Archanco, Osasuna’s former club president, has denied the allegations made by Vizcay, claiming that the club had never paid players nor had they fixed any games. However, he has admitted to the €400,000 payment to Betis against Valladolid in 2014, this was seen as an incentive to the already relegated La Liga side.The case in question is only investigating the payments made to Betis, no other accusations are being investigated. Court proceedings are still ongoing at present. Betway and Dafabet grow La Liga sponsorship portfolios August 14, 2020 Related Articles StumbleUpon Winamax maintains Granada CF sponsorship despite bleak Spanish outlook August 19, 2020 Share Share Europol warns of ‘greater risk’ of match-fixing during pandemic August 7, 2020 Submitlast_img read more

Swansea City drops gambling sponsor

Swansea City drops gambling sponsor

first_img Submit Swansea City has become the latest team to drop a gambling company as its main sponsor, having confirmed that Swansea University will become the front-of-shirt sponsor.This story featured in today’s SBC News 90. To view the latest round-up, watch today’s edition here.The university will feature on the front of the first-team’s new home and away shirts for the duration of the upcoming Championship campaign.The logo will also feature on the home and away shirts of the club’s under-23 and ladies teams.Swansea City’s head of commercial, Rebecca Edwards-Symmons, said: “I am thrilled to have Swansea University as our main sponsor for the 2020-21 season. This is the perfect partnership that encapsulates our club and our city.“This is the first year of not having a betting brand on our front of shirt in four years, which enables our Junior Jacks to wear the same shirt as their Swans heroes.“There is nothing better than having local, prestigious brands involved with us as a club and we look forward to a very successful forthcoming season.”Last year, 27 out of the 44 clubs in the Premier League and Championship divisions had bookmakers as their main shirt sponsor.The news comes after the team faced increasing pressure from gambling campaigners, which welcomed the announcement of the new sponsorship.Commenting on the news on Twitter, Carolyn Harris, MP for Swansea East, and chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for gambling, said: “I’m over the moon that Swansea University will be Swansea City’s new front of shirt partner for 2020/21.“The club’s move away from gambling sponsorship is a really positive step — and is great news for their fans across our city and further afield.”👕 I’m over the moon that @SwanseaUni will be @SwansOfficial‘s new front of shirt partner for 2020/21.👏 The club’s move away from gambling sponsorship is a really positive step — and is great news for their fans across our city and further afield.🔗 https://t.co/f4zOHpV8Fq pic.twitter.com/gE82gzErjC— Carolyn Harris MP (@carolynharris24) August 19, 2020 BGC: GRG APPG approach will only serve the black market  June 16, 2020 Related Articles Share Winning Post: Prohibitionists, government u-turns and parliamentary tittle-tattle June 22, 2020 StumbleUpon Share Winning Post: Swedish regulator pushes back on ‘Storebror’ approach to deposit limits August 24, 2020last_img read more

Fifa scandal: Why the Americans took on FIFA

Fifa scandal: Why the Americans took on FIFA

first_imgAmerica does not even like football, or so many people think. Why is it leading the charge against alleged Fifa corruption?At dawn, Swiss police rounded up seven Fifa officials at the behest of US authorities who have conducted a massive investigation into corruption at football’s governing body.So how did a country where football is more niche than entrenched come to police the world’s beautiful game?”Too many countries are cowed by Fifa,” said Alexandra Wrage, a former Fifa anti-bribery adviser who resigned in protest from the organisation.”As with international bribery more generally, the US Department of Justice has said they’ll step up to investigate corruption if others won’t,” she said.How can the US police a global game?Speaking to reporters just hours after the arrests in Switzerland, FBI Director James Comey set out why the US was able to act. “If you touch our shores with your corrupt enterprise, whether that is through meetings or through using our world class financial system, you will be held accountable for that corruption,” he said.As it turns out, the US charges accuse many of those football officials of doing both.To prosecute cases that involve foreign nationals, US authorities need only prove a minor connection to the United States.But in the case of the charges made public on Wednesday, the alleged corruption hit right at the heart of the game in the US.FBI Director James Comey Fifa and the confederations under it make money by selling the marketing and media rights to the World Cup and other tournaments that they organise.The charges largely relate to “the systematic payment of bribes and kickbacks” that were paid by marketing executives who wanted to increase their chances at winning contracts for the rights to market and sell media access to tournaments.These bribes were at times organised during meetings in the US, and some of the money was transferred through US bank accounts.What sparked the US investigation?At a news conference on Wednesday, the acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Kelly Currie, noted the scale of the allegations.”This sort of bribery and corruption in international soccer has been going on for two decades. Our investigation…that itself took years,” he said. Fifa President Sepp Blatter (r) with Mohammed bin Hammam in Qatar in 2010It is not clear what specific event – if any – prompted the US investigation. Some have pointed to the United States’ failed bid in late 2010 to host the the 2022 World Cup, and suspicions that bribes were paid to encourage votes for Qatar.”I know some people who were in the US bidding committee… They all had really strong suspicions that somebody was getting bought off,” said Andrew Zimbalist, author of Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup. He told the BBC that he suspected the justice department probably got involved following the failed bid.The choice of Qatar raised suspicions in part because of the extremely high temperatures it experiences during the summer months – a fact that prompted a Fifa taskforce to recommend the games be played in November and December rather than the usual June-July timeframe.In the hours after the dawn arrests, Swiss authorities said they were opening a separate investigation relating to the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments. How deep are the US ties to the case?The Miami offices of Concacaf, the football federation under Fifa that governs the game in North and Central America and the Caribbean, were raided by FBI agents early on Wednesday.Two of the people who have been charged – Jeffrey Webb and Jack Warner – are the current and past heads of Concacaf, respectively.Authorities raided Concacaf headquarters in Miami early on WednesdayIt is not clear what specifically the authorities are looking for in these raids, but many of the charges that were revealed today involve bribery and kickback schemes.These schemes are related to the media and marketing rights for World Cup qualifying games in the Concacaf region, as well as the Concacaf Gold Cup, the Concacaf Champions League, and several others. The Copa America, which is set to be held for the first time outside of South America in 2016 when it will be played in the US, was highlighted for the corruption that surrounds it.”Our investigation revealed that what should have been an expression of international sportsmanship was used as a vehicle in this broader scheme to line executives’ pockets with bribes totalling $110 million [£71m], nearly a third of the legitimate cost of the rights to the tournaments involved,” US Attorney General Lynch said during a news conference detailing the charges.Concacaf has been in trouble in the past.In 2012 Concacaf turned itself in to US tax authorities and admitted to not paying taxes for several years.Among those at the helm of the organisation was secretary general Chuck Blazer, who also served as a Fifa executive committee member. It was also revealed on Wednesday that in 2013 he pleaded guilty to several charges related to corruption.Just months ago, the New York Daily News reported that Mr Blazer has been working as an informant for US authorities.The newspaper said that he met with football officials on the sidelines of the 2012 Olympics in London, and used a hidden microphone on a keychain to gather intelligence.This report has not been independently confirmed. Officials say the corruption investigation is on-going.”Nobody is above or beyond the law,” FBI Director Comey said. “We will not stop until we send messages that this is not the way things should be and that they must be different”.last_img read more