By Adedapo Adesanya
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has reduced the life ban of former Nigerian national team coach, Samson Siasia, for a match-fixing affair to five years.
The court ruled that the life ban, imposed by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) in April 2019 after Mr Siaisia was found guilty of agreeing to join a match-fixing ring in 2010, was “disproportionate”.
The CAS ruling upheld the guilty verdict but reduced the length of the ban and set aside the additional fine of 50,000 Swiss francs ($54,000).
In a statement, the Court ruled that “The panel determined the imposition of a life ban to be disproportionate for a first offence which was committed passively and which had not had an adverse or immediate effect on football stakeholders.”
CAS added that a five-year ban would be placed on the former Super Eagle player, saying that the fine was dropped as the panel felt it would be inappropriate and excessive on top of the ban, noting that Mr Siasia had not benefitted financially and had been hit in the pocket by not being able to work in football.
It wrote, “The imposed fine of CHF 50,000 on Mr Siasia is set aside. The panel determined the imposition of a life ban to be disproportionate for a first offence which was committed passively and which had not had an adverse or immediate effect on football stakeholders, and that a five-year ban would still achieve the envisaged aim of punishing the infringement committed by Mr Siasia.
“The panel acknowledged the need for sanctions to be sufficiently high enough to eradicate bribery and especially match-fixing in football.
“However, the panel considered in the particular circumstances of this matter that it would be inappropriate and excessive to impose a financial sanction in addition to the five-year ban, since the ban sanction already incorporated a financial punishment in eliminating football as a source of revenue for Mr Siasia, and considering that Mr Siasia had not obtained any gain or pecuniary benefit from his unethical behaviour.”
His suspension from any football-related activity nationally or internationally is backdated to August 16, 2019, and runs until 2024.
The former striker played 51 times for Nigeria, including at the 1994 World Cup, and won a French Championship medal with Nantes in 1995.
He was the coach of Nigeria between 2010 and 2011 and took the Nigerian U-23 team to the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Mr Siasia was caught after a wider investigation involving Mr Wilson Raj Perumal, who confessed to international match-fixing.
Mr Perumal, a Singaporean national, was arrested and jailed in Finland in 2011 for fixing top-tier football games in his country to which he later collaborated with investigators to name others.
Tencent Limits Gaming Time for Minors After Criticism
By Adedapo Adesanya
China’s biggest gaming company, Tencent Holdings, will limit gaming time for minors and ban children under age 12 from making in-game purchases following a critique from the Chinese government.
On Tuesday, an article published by the Economic Information Daily, a newspaper affiliated with China’s official Xinhua News Agency called games “spiritual opium” and this led to a more than 10 per cent plunge in Tencent’s stocks.
Although the article was later removed, the damage was done as the company lost $60 billion in market value.
The newspaper article named Tencent’s wildly popular Honour of Kings game as one that minors were addicted to, and cited a student as saying that some played the game for eight hours a day. The online article was removed hours later.
“Spiritual opium has grown into an industry worth hundreds of billions,” the newspaper said, adding that no industry should be allowed to develop in a manner that will “destroy a generation.”
“Society has come to recognise the harm caused by online gaming and it is often referred to as opium for the mind or electronic drugs,” parts of the article added.
Parents quoted in the article spoke of children playing the game for seven hours a day, skipping breakfast to buy games and their grades plummeting.
In response, Tencent said it will now limit gaming time for minors to one hour a day, and two hours a day during holidays.
Children under age 12 will also be prohibited from making purchases within the game, the company said.
Under Chinese law, users under age 18 can play online games for a maximum of one and a half hours a day, and three hours during holidays.
Tencent also called for the industry to control gaming time for minors and discuss the possibility of banning those younger than 12 from playing games.
The critique of the gaming industry sparked a selloff of stocks in Chinese gaming companies including NetEase amid fears that the gaming industry could be the next to experience a clampdown.
Chinese authorities in recent months have targeted e-commerce and online education, implementing new regulations to curb anti-competitive behaviour after years of rapid growth in the technology sector.
In July, the Chinese government also banned companies that provide tutoring in core school subjects from turning a profit, wiping out billions in market value from online education companies such as TAL Education and Gaotu Techedu.
Ese Brume Wins Nigeria’s First Medal at Tokyo 2020 Olympics
By Adedapo Adesanya
Long jumper, Ese Brume, has won Nigeria’s first medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as she claimed the bronze medal in the women’s long jump at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on Tuesday.
She achieved the feat with a 6.97-metre jump, two days after she qualified for the finals with a jump of 6.76 metres.
Germany’s Malaika Mihambo beat Brume to the gold medal with a 7.00-metre jump while Brittney Reese of the United States won the silver medal.
With the development, Brume’s long jump is the first individual event to give Nigeria three medals at the Olympics following Chioma Ajunwa’s gold medal at Atlanta 1996 and Blessing Okagbare’s silver at Beijing 2008.
She also joins both women as the only Nigerians to win individual World Championships and Olympic medals.
Brume’s win adds to positive news for Nigeria at the Olympics after a run of negative news of defeats and the disqualification of some of the country’s athletes.
On Monday, Blessing Oborududu beat Mongolia’s Battsetseg Soronzonbold to reach the final of the women’s freestyle 68kg wrestling.
The win guaranteed Nigeria a medal – gold or silver – at the Olympics.
Current Top 20 Standing as of 09:45 a.m.
|People’s Republic of China||30||19||16||65||2|
|United States of America||22||27||17||66||1|
|Republic of Korea||6||4||9||19||10|
Akwa United Emerge 2021 NPFL Champions
By Adedapo Adesanya
Akwa United was on Sunday crowned champions of the 2020/2021 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) after defeating Mountain of Fire Ministries (MFM) FC with one game left to play at the top-flight competition.
The Promise Keepers defeated the Olukoya Boys 5-2 on home soil at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Akwa-Ibom to secure their first-ever league title.
The star of the match was Charles Atshimene who scored a hat-trick of goals to leave MFM FC winless in their last eight away matches.
Atshimene opened the scoring in the 24th minute followed by Alimi Adebayo’s own goal on the stroke of half-time which gave Kennedy Boboye coached side a two-goal advantage at the break.
Akwa United continued their goal-fest after the restart with Mfon Udoh making it 3-0 in the 62nd minute. In the 68th minute of the match, MFM pulled one goal back through a penalty converted by Michael Mbonu.
The game’s hero, Atshimene, extended the gap as he scored his second of the match in the 87th minute.
The Olukoya Boys responded four minutes later with their second goal in the encounter courtesy of Dennis Obasi in the 91st minute to make it 4-2.
To cap off the thrilling game, Atshimene got his hat-trick and 18th league goal of the season to complete the victory for the Promise Keepers in the 97th minute.
The win sealed Akwa United’s position at the top of the NPFL table with 71 points after 37 matches, nine points ahead of second-placed Nasarawa United, who are scheduled to play Enugu Rangers on Monday.
The triumph secured the Promise Keepers’ first-ever top-flight crown in their 25-year history and it has added to their trophy cabinet which has two FA Cups (2015 and 2017) and the Nigeria Super Cup (2016).
Akwa United will be hoping to stretch their nine-game unbeaten run and also end the 2020-21 campaign on a winning note when they visit Lobi Stars of Makurdi on Thursday.
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