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BALLON D’OR: Messi, Ronaldo Miss Out As Football’s Most Coveted Individual Award Cancelled

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France Football has announced that the prestigious prize will not be handed out this season due to the “lack of sufficient fair conditions”

There will be no Ballon d’Or winner in 2020, with France Football announcing that due to the “lack of sufficient fair conditions”, the prize that has been dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in recent times will not be awarded for this calendar year.

A prestigious Golden Ball has been handed out to the best player on the planet since 1956, however the decision has been taken that it would not be right to pick out a leading performer given the circumstances in which professional sport is currently being played out.

That means 2019 winner Messi will keep his crown for another 12 months. The Barcelona superstar has six Ballons d’Or to his name, with rival Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus boasting five.

Two all-time greats would have been expected to come into contention again in 2020, along with the likes of Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.

Every top performer is, however, going to have to wait another year, with United States star Megan Rapinoe also set to keep hold of her title in the women’s game.

France Football said in a statement on their official website: “For the first time in its history, which began in 1956, the Ballon d’Or will not be awarded in 2020, due to the lack of sufficient fair conditions. 

“Messi and Rapinoe (as well as [Mattijs] de Ligt and Alisson, winners of the Kopa and Yachine Trophies [for young player and goalkeeper]) will have to wait a year. The winners of the last edition  will have no successors at the end of the year. Because there will be no Ballon d’Or 2020 edition.

“Why? Because such a singular year cannot – and should not – be treated as an ordinary year. When in doubt, it is better to abstain than to persist.

“Because the Ballon d’Or trophy conveys other values – like exemplarity, solidarity and responsibility – rather than merely sporting excellence alone.

“Because the fairness that prevails for this honorary title could not be preserved, in particular at the statistical level and also in the preparation since all the aspirants to the award could not be rightly compared, some having seen their season cut radically short, others not. So how can we compare the incomparable?

“Because of our approximately 220 jurors (men and women combined) distributed around the world, some may have been distracted or diverted from their observation due to other priorities and emergencies to manage.

“We did not want to put an indelible asterisk on the prize list like “trophy won in exceptional circumstances due to the Covid-19 health crisis”. We will always prefer a small sprain to our history to a large scar.

“This is the first time since 1956 that the Ballon d’Or has taken a break. The situation does not enchant us but seems to us the most responsible and logical decision. Protecting the credibility and legitimacy of such an award also means protecting it over time.

“The Ballon d’Or story is too precious to take the risk of damaging it with a wobbly exercise. In these turbulent times, taking a break is a luxury and an invaluable necessity. So that football, as a whole, regains momentum, passion and emotion.”

Sports

Road to 2020 NBA Finals – Eastern Conference Finals Underway

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The ball is set to roll for the continuation of the NBA playoffs today which happens to be the beginning of the Eastern Conference finals. This match-up will be between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. These two teams have played fiercely to have reached this point in the playoffs and NBA fans cannot wait but anticipate their game 1. Another reason why this Eastern Conference final will be remarkable is that these teams have pulled upsets in the previous round. Miami Heat knocking out potential Finals team the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics beating 2018-19 NBA Champions, Toronto Raptors.   

Both Celtics and Heat have seven players who have been on teams that reached the conference finals before.

Which team marches on to the Finals after this series? Will we see Jimmy Butler carry the Miami Heat to victory, or will Kemba Walker and his teammates sail past their rivals?  

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Neymar Makes Racism Accusation after Losing Second League At Home To Marseille

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Neymar claimed he heard a racist slur during Paris St Germain’s defeat to Marseille on Sunday. The Brazilian made the accusation to the fourth official when walking off the pitch after being one of five players to be sent off during the match and later repeated the claim on social media.

The PSG forward was dismissed for a punch on Álvaro González. Neymar tweeted after the match that his “only regret” was not hitting the Marseille player in the face, having caught him on the back of the head. González later tweeted there was “no place for racism”, adding, “sometimes you have to learn to lose and accept it on the pitch”.

A full scale brawl broke out on the pitch in the last minute of stoppage time, forcing referee Jerome Brisard to send off Neymar in addition to PSG teammates Laywin Kurzawa and Leandro Paredes as well as Marseille’s duo of Benedetto and Jordan Amavi.

Marseille head coach André Villas-Boas said: “There is no place for racism in football but I don’t think that was the case… we’ll have to look at it.”

Marseille earned a smash-and-grab win after Florian Thauvin struck in the 31st minute of a pulsating though ill-tempered match at the Parc des Princes.

It was Marseille’s first league win over PSG since November 2011, condemning last season’s Champions League runners-up to their second straight league defeat after they suffered a 1-0 opening day setback at Lens.

Thauvin scored against the run of play, steering in a Dimitri Payet free-kick inside the near post from close range after the home side had come close through Marco Verratti and Neymar, who also missed a pair of chances in the second half.

Littered by crunching fouls at either end in the first half, the game produced some free-flowing football after the break as visiting keeper Steve Mandanda pulled off several superb saves and both sides had goals disallowed for offside.

Ángel Di María’s effort for PSG was ruled out in the 62nd minute and Marseille substitute Dario Benedetto’s scorcher was also disallowed two minutes later as Thauvin, who unleashed the initial shot, was marginally behind the last PSG defender.

PSG were missing several first-team regulars who had contracted the Covid-19 virus but pressed hard in the closing stages only for Marseille’s rugged defence to hold firm as the 1993 European Cup winners made it two wins out of two.

“A tough and important win as well as a historic one,” Villas-Boas told reporters. “We struggled to cope with PSG’s early pressure because they are very good at it, but we found a way to grind out a great victory. It wasn’t pretty and we suffered.”

– theguardian.com

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Radio and TV News

DStv and GOtv Promise Football Lovers An Exciting Broadcast Ahead Of New Season

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SuperSport is the home of world’s top leagues in the 2020/21 football season, starting this September on DStv and GOtv, with an unmatched offering of the beautiful game from the best players in the world, all in HD!

As the 2019/20 season draws to a close, interest in the upcoming season is ramping up. If the hype of the previous season – with Liverpool’s momentous triumph –  is any indication, the looming season is bound to be captivating.  And with SuperSport’s comprehensive coverage of the most loved football leagues, with hundreds of games from Premier League, La Liga (with exclusive English commentary) and Serie A – on the new dedicated thematic channels – there’s no need to look any further.

In addition to the big three leagues, SuperSport will also be bringing viewers unprecedented coverage which includes the Euro 2020 Championship, UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers, European qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Nations League   – it’s set to be a year-round football feast!

The breadth and depth of the coverage, will, as usual include build-ups with respected analysts as well as language options for commentary including Pidgin, Swahili and Portuguese – cementing SuperSport as the unrivalled football destination of choice for viewers across Africa.

Cecil Sunkwa Mills, General Manager of MultiChoice Ghana says of the upcoming season: “Building on the euphoria of the season that just concluded, we are excited to deliver world-class football to fans as we always do. There’s a lot to look forward to and we are proud to provide a platform for customers to experience the significant moments of the game at high quality.”

Football fans on the continent were given a preview of the ‘new normal’ of live football in the last part of the 2019/20 season as a result of the worldwide pandemic, changing the dynamic of how the game is broadcast. Other changes for this season also include team and leadership adjustments:

New start dates

The dates for the season to begin usually arrive in August, but the suspension and late finish due to world events, means all three of Premier League, La Liga and Serie A  will kick-off their new campaigns in September: the 12th for England and Spain, and the 19th for Italy. All three leagues are scheduled to wrap up on 23 May 2020.

New teams

In the Premier League, the trio of Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham will be the ‘new boys’ after securing promotion at the end of last season. West Brom and Fulham have been regular competitors in recent Premier League seasons, but the return of Leeds is big news: the Whites are truly one of the biggest clubs in England and a first showing in the top flight since 2003-04 adds to the excitement and intrigue for 2020-21.

In Italy, Benevento and Crotone secured direct promotion to Serie A, with both set to appear in the top flight for just the second time in their histories, while La Liga sees Cadiz and Huesca as new members of the elite league, with the former promoted to the top tier for the first time in a decade.

New managers

The arrival of the legendary Marcelo Bielsa, the man at the helm of Leeds United, adds to the managerial spice in the Premier League, with the Argentine revered as the “coach’s coach” by the likes of Pep Guardiola. His tactical nous will be put to the test by the likes of Guardiola, Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, Carlo Ancelotti and others in a stacked line-up of brilliant managers.

Meanwhile, Italy will have the fascinating scenario of rookie manager Andrea Pirlo in charge of Serie A champions Juventus – if the former midfielder is half as good a coach as he was a player, then the Bianconeri will be well on their way to a 10th straight title.

In La Liga, as far as new managers are concerned, it’s all about who will be in charge of Barcelona. Quique Setien’s tenure ended in disgrace with the team’s 8-2 annihilation at the hands of Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League, and Ronald Koeman (a Barca club legend) has been confirmed to take over at the Camp Nou.

New players

The transfer market hasn’t really clicked into top gear just yet, but there has already been some major signings completed. Chelsea have done amazing work by securing the services of Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech and German striker Timo Werner, two signings which could transform them into potential Premier League title contenders.

The biggest signings into La Liga include Miralem Pjanic to Barcelona (as part of a deal which saw Arthur head in the opposite direction to Juventus) and Suso swapping Milan for Sevilla (and he’s already impressed for the club in the UEFA Europa League), while Serie A has seen the arrival of two rising African stars: Achraf Hamiki from Real Madrid to Internazionale, and Victor Osimhen from Lille to Napoli.

As we build towards the eagerly-anticipated 2020-21 season – having only just seen the back of 2019-20! – don’t miss everything new coming to the Premier LeagueLa Liga and Serie A which will excite SuperSport viewers for the New Football Season!

Get or reconnect to on DStv or GOtv today to enjoy the football programming on your #HomeofFootball. Visit www.dstv.com or www.gotvafrica.com, or download MyDStv or MyGOtv to subscribe or upgrade, and join in on the excitement. DStv viewers, while you’re on the move, you can stream matches on DStv Now.

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Entertainment

Burna Boy And DJ Cuppy “Glow” In Man Utd’s Third Kit

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Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu – 2019 Grammy nominated Nigeria artiste professionally known as Burna Boy, has joined a few selected notable celebrities, including Cuppy, a Nigerian disc jockey & producer and other footballers who have been given the opportunity to outdoor and be part of the official jersey campaign for the new Manchester United’s third (3rd) kit for the 2020/21 football season.

Adidas and Manchester United today present the new 2020/21 season third kit, introducing a visually distinctive design, inspired by striped jerseys from the club’s history. From United’s first striped kit over 100 years ago, to the eye-catching designs of the 1970s and 80s, the latest release aims to provide a fresh update to tradition, while delivering a vibrant new print.

To create this new design, adidas re-drew, hacked and re-imagined combined elements from various jerseys throughout the club’s long history to create a bold new pattern. Utilising United’s iconic club colours of red, white and black, the kit is an original story with a modern update.

The result is surprising, unexpected and demonstrates a continued ambition to push the boundaries of shirt design. The release of the new third shirt follows the launches of the new home kit, which celebrates the club’s DNA with an imprint of running through the shirt, and an away jersey which pays homage to the club’s famous travelling away support.

Manchester United’s relationship with all-over stripes goes back to the team’s first year at its home in Old Trafford, when the team wore a classic blue-and-white striped shirt as the alternative kit. The collar on this new jersey features a ‘110 years of stripes’ sign-off, signifying the history of the club’s jerseys.

Most memorably, adidas brought disruptive jersey graphics into the world of football at the end of the 1980s, causing a visual revolution in shirt design. It is these graphics, and the spirit of bringing a new approach and innovation to the field, that inspired the design of the 2020/21 third kit launched today.

While the team will take to the field wearing the jersey with accompanying white shorts and white socks, there will also be shorts and socks with the same pattern as the shirt, available for fans to buy.

The kit is available today exclusively at adidas.com/football, adidas stores, and official club stores including online at United Direct. A wider release with select retailers will be available from 15 September 2020.

David Beckham

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