Messi, Ronaldo to Clash in UCL Group Stage


By Adedapo Adesanya

The two best footballers in the world, Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus will again meet face-to-face for the first time since 2018 in the group stage of this season’s Champion League organised by the Union of European Football Association (UEFA).

The respective clubs of the two players have been put under the same group in the draws held on Thursday. The duo will be expected to give fans something to savour again after Ronaldo left Real Madrid in Spain to join his new Italian outfit.

Speaking of spectators at the stadiums, UEFA has said it will allow the partial return of fans for UEFA matches where local laws permit, starting from next week’s national team matches.

This followed the successful test match between Bayern Munich and Sevilla (the UEFA Super Cup) in Budapest, Hungary on 24 September.

Business Post understands that the number of spectators will be capped at a maximum of 30 per cent of the respective stadium capacity and away supporters will not be allowed into the games until further notice.

Both the admission of fans and the capacity limit are subject to the decision of local authorities. UEFA matches cannot be played with spectators where local authorities do not allow it and the limit of 30 per cent may be reached only where the limit set by local authorities is not lower, in which case such limit would apply.

Social distancing will be mandatory for spectators and additional precautionary measures, such as the wearing of masks must be implemented in accordance with local regulations.

These measures form part of the ‘UEFA Minimum Health and Hygiene Requirements for the Return of Spectators‘ which were approved by the UEFA Executive Committee and which match organisers will have to respect. However, the exact health and safety measures that must be adopted must be based on the local situation and on specific laws and regulations imposed by competent local authorities.

The UEFA Super Cup demonstrated that it is possible for fans to attend football matches in the right circumstances by putting their health and safety first with comprehensive mitigating measures in place. The match also demonstrated the acceptance of fans for precautionary sanitary measures and their readiness to follow them and behave accordingly.

Commenting on the decision, UEFA President, Mr Aleksander Čeferin, said: “Today’s decision is a sensible first step which puts fans’ health first and respects the laws in each country. While we all face a common enemy in COVID, different countries have different approaches and different challenges at any given moment. This decision allows much more local flexibility to deal with admitting fans than was previously the case, always respecting the assessment of local authorities.

“27 countries on the continent already allow fans to some extent. This decision will allow for a coherent approach on a country-by-country basis and not on a competition-by-competition basis which was sometimes difficult to understand for fans.

“In these difficult times, it is important to bring more hope and passion back into the lives of football fans and we urge them to behave appropriately and respect sanitary measures in place for their own health and for the health of their fellow club or national team supporters,” he noted.

At the UEFA Champions League draws held today, the following teams were put in eight groups:

Group A – Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Salzburg, Lokomotiv Moscow.

Group B – Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan, Borussia Mnchengladbach.

Group C – Porto, Manchester City, Olympiakos, Marseille.

Group D – Liverpool, Ajax, Atalanta, Midtjylland.

Group E – Sevilla, Chelsea, Krasnodar, Rennes.

Group F – Zenit St. Petersburg, Borussia Dortmund, Lazio, Club Brugge.

Group G – Juventus, Barcelona, Dynamo Kyiv, Ferencvros.

Group H – Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, RB Leipzig, Istanbul Baakehir.

During the draws, awards were given and the best defenders of the men’s and women’s Champions League were – Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich and Lyon’s Wendie Renard.

The best midfielders of the men’s and women’s Champions League were – Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Lyon’s Dzsenifer Marozsan.

The best forward of the men’s and women’s Champions League were – Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Wolfsburg’s Pernille Harder (she now plays for Chelsea). Also, the UEFA men’s and women’s player of the year went to both footballers.

The best manager of the men’s and women’s Champions League were – Bayern Munich’s Hansi Flick and Lyon’s Jean-Luc Vasseur.

In the face of travel restrictions, UEFA has noted that it will allow matches on neutral territory. If a club suffers a Covid-19 outbreak, a game can go ahead as long as each team has at least 13 fit players including one goalkeeper.

The group stage starts on October 20, more than a month later than usual, and all six rounds of games will be packed into eight weeks.

However, in the event of more delays, UEFA has set January 28 as the deadline to complete the group stage.

Related Stories

Study Reveals Worst-Behaved Premier League Team

A new study by betting comparison site has revealed the Premier League teams who received the most yellow and red cards over the last five seasons. The research ranked the 12 teams that have been ever-present in the Premier League since the start of the 2018/19 season, allocating them an average disciplinary score per game. The scoring system here dictates that a yellow card equates to one point, and a red card to two, therefore the teams with the highest score per game have committed the most cardable offences in the past five seasons. Manchester United are the club


Alleged Assault: Manchester United Recall Anthony to Squad

By Dipo Olowookere Brazilian winger, Anthony, is now eligible to make the Manchester United squad again, a statement from the football club has disclosed. A few weeks ago, the footballer was suspended by the English sports outfit over allegations of assault in his home country. His former girlfriend, Rosilene Silva, accused the footballer of assaulting her, prompting the police in Brazil to launch an investigation into the claims. The police in the United Kingdom also took an interest in the matter, forcing the Old Trafford team to ask Anthony to stay away from the team. In an update on Friday,


Safest Bet in South Africa: Hollywoodbets Mobile App

Enjoy safe, easy and seamless online gambling in South Africa via the Hollywoodbets mobile app. Read on to get more information. South African punters have many bookmakers to bet on. Most of these bookies have dedicated mobile apps, but not all are reliable and user-friendly. Finding a safe and credible betting app that suits your betting style can be challenging for some South Africans. However, the hollywoodbets app offers safety, fairness, and premium betting services in SA. Interestingly, today’s post will discuss the Hollywoodbets app, how safe it is, and how you can get it on your mobile device. What


Golfers Warm up for Forthcoming Ikeja Golf Club Championship

By Modupe Gbadeyanka Momentum is already gathering for the forthcoming 2023 Ikeja Golf Club Championship taking place between November 20 and November 26. No fewer than 200 golfers are expected to take part in the prestigious event, which brings together players from across the country. Speaking during a press conference ahead of the event, the club captain, Mr Sina Akinyemi, said this year’s edition coincides with the organisation’s 55th anniversary. “The Ikeja Golf Club is at the heart of the city of Lagos. We are set to host our annual pinnacle event, the Golf Club Championship, between November 20 and

More Stories

Lagos, Oando Drive Sustainable Public Transport with New Electric Buses

By Adedapo Adesanya The Lagos State government, in partnership with Oando Clean Energy Limited, have taken delivery of electric mass transit buses to kick off a sustainable road transport system in the state. According to a statement provided by Oando, this is in furtherance of a 2022 Memorandum of Understanding it signed with Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) to enable the successful deployment of an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Ecosystem, which include electric buses, charging stations, and other supporting infrastructure, in the state. It stated that the MoU was signed to bridge the gap in the state’s current mass transit


KICC Says Ashimolowo Not Involved In Ponzi Scheme

By Modupe Gbadeyanka The Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC), a London- based organization, of the main church pastored by Mr Matthew Ashimolowo, has refuted the allegation that he was involved Ponzi Scheme. KICC, in a statement issued by Dipo Oluyomi, Chief Executive Officer and James Mcglashan, Chief Operating Offficer, said: “We wish to state that the headline was unfortunate and misleading and has caused damage to the reputation of Pastor Ashimolowo. The sensational headline suggests that Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo lost $5 million when in fact he did not and did not make the decision to invest. “Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo is


Nigeria Ranks 10th Most Stock Market-Obsessed Country

By Adedapo Adesanya Nigeria has emerged as the tenth most stock market-obsessed country worldwide, a new study made available to Business Post has revealed. The study, carried out by UK financial services provider, CMC Markets, examined Google Trends data of search terms frequently used by people interested in stocks and trading. These terms were then combined to give each English-speaking country a ‘total search score’ to discover which countries have been the most interested in stocks in the past 12 months. In Nigeria’s case, the country scored 218 out of a possible 700, a breakdown which showed that phrase searches


African Fund Managers Establish PAFMA to Drive Cross-Border Investment

By Aduragbemi Omiyale The desire to increase cross-border collaboration and drive investment into the green economy has inspired fund managers across Africa to form a formidable group. The trade organisation created by these professionals is known as the Pan-African Fund Managers’ Association (PAFMA). It was launched on Monday, September 4, 2023, at the Africa Climate Summit 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya. The five founding members of PAFMA are the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PENOP); the Fund Managers Association (FMA) in Kenya; the Botswana Investment Professionals Society (BIPS); the Ghana Securities Industry Association (GSIA) and the Investment Management Association of


BOI Pledges More Funds For Mining Sector

By Modupe Gbadeyanka The mining industry in Nigeria will continue to get more funding support of the Bank of Industry (BOI), the Acting Managing Director of the bank, Mr Waheed Olagunju, has assured. Mr Olagunju, in a statement issued in Abuja, disclosed that the move was to boost the emerging mining industry and promote mining activities in the country. He said that the bank had reached out to other financial institutions both at home and abroad to mobilise funding to promote mining activities in the country. Mr Olagunju said that the current efforts by the government, in collaboration with the


Subair Attributes LIRS’ Successes to Mobilisation of Funds

By Modupe Gbadeyanka The executive chairman of the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS), Mr Ayodele Subair, has attributed the successes recorded by the agency to the provision of funds by the state government, thanking Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for supporting the organisation. Mr Subair made this disclosure at the 11th edition of the Vanguard Personality of the Year Award held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. “Without mobilisation of funds, there can’t be any meaningful development,” he said, expressing the company’s delight in contributing to Lagos State’s development and humanity. At the event, the tax master was


Nigeria’s Dollar Bonds Rise After Tinubu Inauguration

By Adedapo Adesanya Nigeria’s dollar bonds rallied after President Bola Tinubu was officially conferred as the 16th president of Nigeria, a day that he announced plans to scrap the fuel subsidy programme, unify the exchange rate regime, as well as reduce high interest rates. Bonds with a maturity date of 2047 jumped 3.3 per cent to 66.750 cents on the Dollar. The debt instrument due in 2049 gained 2.9 per cent, and those maturing in 2051 advanced 3.5 per cent. The gains came as markets in London and the US reopened following national holidays as well as a day after

Recent Stories

Nigerian Startup Pivo Shuts Down Operations After Raising $2m

By Aduragbemi Omiyale A Nigerian startup, Pivo, which raised about $2 million in November 2022, is shutting down its operations, TechCabal is reporting. The platform quoted the co-founder and chief executive of the firm, Ms Nkiru Amadi-Emina, as confirming the intention of the company to fold up. However, no specific reason was given for the decision, though some organisations have been closing shops in Nigeria lately due to the harsh operating environment. One of the biggest pharmaceutical firms in the country, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), announced a few months ago that it would no longer operate its business from Nigeria, opting to


Morgan Capital Restores iTrade Service After 48-Hour Glitch

By Dipo Olowookere The online stock trading platform of Morgan Capital Securities Limited, iTrade, is now back online. The iTrade service went offline on Monday due to a technical glitch, which the company confirmed has been resolved, allowing its numerous clients to buy and sell shares and other securities without hassle. “Thank you for your patience and understanding. “This is to inform you that the trading platform (iTrade) is now fully up and running to enable you to trade seamlessly. “Our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused as a result of this,” a statement from the company, which was sighted


OTC Securities Exchange Rises 0.47% as Food Concepts, Two Others Gain

By Adedapo Adesanya  Appreciation in the stock prices of Newrest Airline Services & Logistics (ASL) Plc, Food Concepts Plc, and UBN Property Plc saw the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange extend its gain by 0.47 per cent on Tuesday, December 5. Data showed that Newrest increased its price by N1.61 during the session to settle at N17.71 per unit compared with the previous day’s price of N16.10 per unit, Food Concepts Plc (owners of Chicken Republic) gained 15 Kobo to close the day at N1.65 per share versus N1.50 per share, and UBN Property Plc rose by 13 Kobo to


Naira Sells N806.73/$1 at Official Market Amid 92.9% Jump in Forex Supply

By Adedapo Adesanya The supply of foreign exchange (FX) into the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM) improved by 92.9 per cent or $68.7 million on Tuesday to $142.63 million from $73.93 million on Monday, according to data obtained from the FMDQ Securities Exchange. This improvement in forex liquidity into the official market supported the Naira to gain weight against the United States Dollar yesterday, as its value soared by N31.04 or 3.7 per cent to N806.73/$1 from the N837.77/$ it ended a day earlier. This also trickled down to the parallel market, which witnessed less pressure from customers, helping


Brent, WTI Weaken on Stronger US Dollar, Demand Worries

By Adedapo Adesanya  The prices of the crude oil benchmarks, Brent and the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) fell to a near five-month low on Tuesday on a stronger US Dollar and demand concerns. According to data obtained by Business Post, Brent futures went down by 83 cents or 1.1 per cent to $77.20 a barrel and WTI weakened by 72 cents or 1.0 per cent to $72.32 per barrel. The prices were the lowest for both crude benchmarks since July 6. This put the market down for a fourth day in a row on doubts over voluntary supply cuts announced by


NGX Gains 0.43% as Buying Activities in GTCO, FBNH, Others Intensify

By Dipo Olowookere The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited quickly returned to the green territory after chalking up 0.43 per cent on Tuesday as a result of buying activities in some financial and industrial goods equities. The high demand for some large-cap stocks at the exchange influenced the rebound recorded during the session, ahead of the forthcoming earnings season. Business Post reports that the industrial goods index appreciated by 1.94 per cent, the banking space grew by 1.45 per cent, and the consumer goods sector improved by 0.08 per cent, while the insurance space depreciated by 0.17 per cent, with the


NNPC Makes Changes to Crude Cargoes Pricing

By Adedapo Adesanya The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited will alter how its crude cargoes are priced from January 2024. According to a new circular, the state oil company will start pricing its supplies against the monthly average of Dated Brent, the physical crude benchmark, raising worries that the nation’s barrels may become more risky. Prior to this latest move, Nigeria prices its crude cargoes based on Dated Brent’s average settlement in the five days after loading. NNPC plans to stick with the initial nominated loading dates for pricing purposes, according to the circular. Bloomberg reported that traders said


Apprehension as Prices of Medication Drugs in Nigeria Surge by Over 1,000%

 By Adedapo Adesanya A new report from SB Morgen Intelligence has shown that prices of drugs have skyrocketed by as much as 1,000 per cent in the last four years, raising worries about Nigerians being able to treat themselves using orthodox methods. In the report Paying the Price on Health, the firm analysed the impacts of the Nigerian economy and foreign exchange crisis on the prices of essential medicines in the country. It was found that between 2019 and 2023, there were massive surges across four broad categories of Antimalarial, Antibiotics, Painkillers and Common Cold medicines. The report indicates that antibiotics


Board Chooses Onaivi to Head mediaReach OMD Nigeria

By Modupe Gbadeyanka From January 1, 2024, Mr Stephen Onaivi will take charge of mediaReach OMD Nigeria as the new Managing Director following the approval of his appointment by the board of the organisation. He was chosen for the position after working as the MD of OMD Ghana, where he contributed to developing a multi-disciplinary, forward-looking media and advertising industry and serviced an array of national, multinational, and regional clients. In his new role, Mr Onaivi will drive the OMD brand across West and Central Africa to enhance client value and ensure the seamless integration of OMD values, technology, and


Tanzanian Sensation Abigail Chams Joins Spotify’s EQUAL Africa as December’s Artist Ambassador

Afro-pop songstress Abigail Chams (real name Abigail Chamungwana) continues to collect accolades. Following her nomination in 2022 for the Emerging Artist award at the Tanzania Music Award, she closes 2023 as the Spotify EQUAL Africa ambassador for the month of December. The prodigiously talented Abigail, or Abby, as she is often referred to, is a multilingual singer who performs in Swahili, French and English. She is also a multi-instrumentalist who plays five musical instruments, the violin, piano, guitar, flute and drums. The Nani hitmaker was born into a family with a musical heritage where her grandfather directed an orchestra and