By Adedapo Adesanya
There will be no Ballon d’Or winner in 2020 as the award has been cancelled for this year because of the disruption in football competitions by the coronavirus pandemic.
Organisers of the prestigious Golden Ball award have always honoured the best football player on the planet since 1956. The cancellation of the 2020 edition will be the first in 64 years.
The Ballon d’Or award honours the male player deemed to have performed the best over the previous year, based on voting by football journalists, club coaches and captains.
The prestigious award, which has been dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the last 11 years, will be halted this year due to the “lack of sufficient fair conditions”.
France Football, the French news magazine, which gives out the prize, said that the decision was taken because it would not be right to pick out a leading performer given the circumstances in which professional sport is currently being played out.
France’s Ligue 1 was the most high-profile division in Europe to cancel the remainder of its campaign due to coronavirus, with the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga all resuming after a three-month break.
According to the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Mr Pascal Ferre, in a statement, “For the first time since 1956, the Ballon d’Or will take a break.
“There will be no edition in 2020, because it turns out, after thoughtful consideration, that all the conditions are not met. We believe that such a singular year cannot -and should not- be treated as an ordinary one.
“From a sports perspective, two months (January and February), out of the eleven generally required to form an opinion and decide who should lift the trophies, represent far too little to gauge and judge; without forgetting that the other games were played – or will be played – in unordinary conditions (behind closed doors, with five replacements, Champions League’s Final 8 played in a single game).”
“Finally, the equity that prevails for this honorary title will not be warranted, especially when it comes to accounting and preparation: all the award seekers will not be in the same boat, some having seen their season cut short. Therefore, how can we establish a fair comparison? To avoid overly convoluted calculations and projections, we chose the least bad of the options.
“This decision, which was taken of course with all the Group stakeholders, does not delight us but it seems to be the most responsible one. Protecting the credibility and legitimacy of such an award also means ensuring its flawlessness over time.
“The Ballon d’Or will gather again the football big family and enthusiasts in 2021, to relive the happiness that surrounds the ceremonies as we have experienced them in recent years,” he said.
Titans Win 2021 Shitsuke Flag Football League
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
Titans have retained the 2021 Shitsuke Flag Football League after defeating Lagos Rebels by 61 to 41 in a tense match held recently.
It was a spectacular outing that was every inch a final after nine consecutive Sundays of nine teams going head-to-head.
The championship, in its 5th season, was sponsored by VBank, which prides itself as Nigeria’s digital banking platform and banking app of the year 2020.
For the last year, the platform, powered by VFD Microfinance bank, has sponsored one sporting event after the other.
The V Shitsuke Flag Football league season 5 recognised individual brilliance as Odunayo Komolafe and Vivienne John were awarded the Male & Female Most Valuable Player (MVP) plaques respectively.
Speaking on the championship, the Head of Marketing and Corporate Communication, VFD Group, Ms Efeturi Doghudje, stated that, “VFD as a corporate establishment believes in promoting social cohesion in our local environments and that is why sponsoring sporting activities will remain an attraction for us.”
“In addition to keeping people fit, team sports like flag football encourage more people to bond either by watching and cheering their favourite teams or by playing in the games.
“The Shitsuke league, in particular, is doing a great job of making flag football more popular in Nigeria and VBank will continue to support innovations,” she further said.
Last April, VBank had partnered with Lagos Country Club to host a 2-week snooker & billiards tournament where winners won a total of N600,000 in cash.
Prior to that, the digital bank had sponsored its maiden snooker tournament which was held at eBar in Lekki, Lagos steadily building its footprints in Nigeria’s sporting scene.
Ibadan Golf Club Praises Heritage Bank for Sponsorship
By Sodeinde Temidayo David
The prestigious Ibadan Golf Club (IGC) has commended the management of Heritage Bank for sponsoring its 30th anniversary held recently.
The event, which attracted several personalities, including the Governor of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde, was also to honour pioneers of golf sport in Nigeria.
Captain of the Ibadan Golf Club, Mr Oladiran Ibironke, heaped praises on Heritage Bank and others providing financial support to ensure the success of the event.
“Special thanks to Heritage Bank Plc., the anniversary’s major sponsor for enlarging our coast financially in order to make the anniversary elaborate and eventful. You will forever be remembered in the history of Ibadan Golf Club,” he stated.
“We are celebrating 30 years today because some great minds came together and established what we are celebrating today.
“From the history that we heard, they started from Ibadan Recreation Club before moving over to where we are today in 1990,” Mr Ibironke added.
In her remarks, the acting Group Head, Corporate Communications, Heritage Bank, Ms Ozena Utulu, expressed the gratitude of the lender to support the programme, which had over 150 golfers, as well as to be associated with Ibadan Golf Club.
She explained that the sponsorship was hinged on its brand’s passion to support sports, especially golf in promoting health, wellbeing and nation-building.
Ms Utulu stated that Heritage Bank, as the sponsor of Ibadan Golf Club’s 30th anniversary, was working diligently towards achieving its vision of becoming a bank known for promoting healthy lifestyles and the general wellbeing of the society at large.
Firm Gives NTA Rights to Broadcast Tokyo 2020 Olympics
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria’s leading sports marketing and management company, Integral, has secured the exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on free-to-air television.
As a result, the company will once again work with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Network to deliver all content on its free-to-air-platform
This sub-license deal comes from Infront, a Wanda Sports Group company and the International Olympics Committee (IOC) exclusive rights holder for free-to-air distribution rights in Sub-Saharan Africa. The deal is in addition to Integral’s existing Premier League sub-license free-to-air media rights agreement on NTA.
The exclusive package includes TV broadcasts of live events as well as repeats and highlights from the Olympics.
As a result of the collaboration, over 200 hours of sporting content will be available on the NTA Network with 6 to 9 hours of daily content throughout the period of the Games from July 23 to August 8, 2021.
Speaking on the development, Mr Christophe Van Rothem, Infront Associate Director Media rights said: “Our objective is to maximize the reach of the Olympic Games 2020 and this partnership with our trusted partner Integral, will ensure we are able to bring this unique and thrilling event to millions of households in Nigeria.”
According to the Managing Director of Integral, Mrs Abimbola Ilo, “Following our partnership for the Premier League free-to-air rights, we are pleased to be working with Infront again to deliver high-quality sports moments to Nigerians.
“This is an important avenue to showcase the talents and tell the stories of exceptional athletes as they compete on the world’s biggest stage in Tokyo.”
Also speaking on the deal, Mr Yakubu Ibn Mohammed, the Director-General of NTA stated, “As Nigeria’s most popular broadcaster, we are committed to delivering quality content to our viewers and proud to be partnering with Integral again on what promises to be yet another exciting sports event.
“With this partnership, we will once again be bringing the best of premium sports to the widest distribution in Nigeria,” he said.
For Mrs Chichi Nwoko Integral’s Associate Director, Sports Rights and Media Partnership, she added, “We are happy to partner with Infront to bring another exciting major sports event to passionate Nigerian fans.
“As we add to our growing media rights catalogue, Integral is delighted to be at the centre of delivering live sports content to Nigerians yet again.”
Business Post understands that although the ceremony is officially to commence today, activities like men and women football among others with a longer period have started.
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