Arsenal have signed Brazil winger Willian on a three-year deal, the Premier League club said on Friday.
The 32-year-old joins Arsenal on a free transfer after failing to agree on a new long-term contract with Chelsea.
Willian scored 63 goals in 339 appearances for Chelsea after his arrival from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013.
Twice a Premier League winner with the Blues, he would add experience to an Arsenal side full of talented youngsters in Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock, Gabriel Martinelli and Reiss Nelson.
“I believe he’s a player that can really make a difference for us,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said in a statement on the club’s website on Friday.
“We have been monitoring him for the past few months, we had a clear intention to strengthen in the attacking midfielder and the winger positions (and) he is a player that gives us a lot of versatility,” he said.
Willian had confirmed last week that he would leave Chelsea after seven “wonderful” years at Stamford Bridge.
“I have been really impressed with all the talks I have had with him and how much he wanted to come,” Arteta added,
The Spaniard is also working toward tying down striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to a new three-year contract as Arsenal, who finished eighth in the Premier League last season, look to bridge the gap to the top four.
The moves came amid a backlash against the north London club who announced plans to lay off 55 staff a week after their FA Cup success over Chelsea at Wembley, guaranteed them a spot in next season’s Europa League.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu (NAN)https://nnn.ng/arsenal-signs-brazil-winger-willian-on-a-3-year-contract/
Sustain Ihedioha’s blueprint on sports development, administrator urges Imo governor
A seasoned sports administrator, Fan Ndubuoke, has appealed to Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo to sustain his predecessor’s blueprint on sports development.
Ndubuoke, the immediate past Chairman of Imo Sports Commission, made the appeal during an interaction with members of the state chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), on Friday in Owerri.
He said that Uzodinma’s predecessor, Chief Emeka Ihedioha, had a clear vision on sports development.
Ndubuoke called on Uzodinma to implement some lofty policies of Ihedioha’s administration on sports development.
He said that Ihedioha’s administration established Imo Sports Commission aimed at eliminating bureaucratic bottlenecks associated with the `old order’.
He urged the governor not to allow politics to kill sports in Imo, in the interest of the people.
On the crisis in Heartland FC of Owerri, Ndubuoke said that the problem was traceable to greed and selfishness.
Ndubuoke, a former Heartland FC Chairman, said he ran the club with N8 million monthly subventions and won trophies for the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that state government has yet to register Heartland FC players for the new season as directed by League Management Company, due to the crisis.
The state Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr Dan Ogu, had recently announced the dissolution of Heartland FC’s Interim Management Board but the board Chairman, Babatunde Ezekwem, claimed that the commissioner lacked powers to dissolve the board.
According to Ndubuoke, the Ezekwem-led board ought to cease to be when the government established the sports commission through a law.
“The Interim Management Board was a child of circumstance; it was introduced when the government was waiting to perfect the law establishing the sports commission,” he said.
Ndubuoke, who expressed worry at the crisis, warned that it might lead to a setback for the club, if not urgently tackled.
According to the sports administrator, the way to sports development in Imo is through the sports commission.
He urged Imo Football Association to play a ‘fatherly’ role in resolving the crisis.
“I call on the FA Chairman in Imo, Mr Amanze Uchegbulam, to caution some of his members on the roles they are playing in the crisis in Heartland FC,” he said.
He also urged SWAN members not to be biased in reporting sports activities and the crisis in the club.
“You should use your various media to educate and inform the public properly; I beg you to be impartial and productive in your job,” he said. |
Edited By: Celine-Damilola Oyewole/Ijeoma Popoola
China testing 11 COVID-19 vaccines, 4 undergoing stage 3 trials — Minister
China is conducting clinical trials of 11 vaccines against the coronavirus disease, four of which are in phase 3, the country’s Science and Technology Minister Wang Zhigang said on Friday.
“At the moment, 11 vaccines have entered the phase of clinical trials, four of them are already in phase 3,” Wang said while speaking at the Zhongguancun forum in Beijing.
According to the minister, Chinese researchers focused on the development of five types of COVID-19 vaccine at once.
The vaccines are a recombinant protein subunit vaccine, an inactivated vaccine, an adenoviral vector-based vaccine, a nucleic acid-based vaccine, and a live attenuated influenza vaccine.
“The COVID-19 epidemic continues to spread around the world, it has not yet been taken under full control, and with the arrival of the autumn-winter season, there is still a possibility of a return to what it was initially.
“The situation in the prevention and control of the epidemic remains serious.
“The virus knows no boundaries, we need to join forces, provide each other with assistance and support in order to overcome difficulties together,” Wang said.
One of the Chinese vaccines is being developed by China National Biotec Group, which said earlier in September that around 50,000 people from several countries were participating in Phase 3 clinical trials.
Another vaccine, which is also in Phase 3 of the trials, was created by Sinovac, which is testing the vaccine in several countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Brazil and Indonesia.
Similarly, China is leading in the development of a vaccine against COVID-19 and thus Beijing does not need to steal vaccine-related data from other countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Friday,
Wang said this while commenting on media reports claiming that Chinese hackers had allegedly stolen data on coronavirus vaccine development from Spain.
Earlier in the day, El Pais newspaper reported, citing sources informed about cyberattacks, that hackers from China had allegedly stolen information from Spanish centres working on coronavirus vaccine.
According to the publication, cyberattacks targeting research centres were carried out from several countries, mostly from Russia and China, and in the case of Spain, it is known that the hackers had acted precisely from China.
“China strongly opposes and fights against all forms of cyberattacks and cybercrime, and this position is clear and unchanging.
“I would also like to add that China is one of the world leaders in [anti-coronavirus] vaccine research and development.
“We do not see any need for any illegal means to obtain a vaccine,” Wang said.
According to the spokesman, cyberattacks are the common enemy of all countries, and China hopes that other countries will not draw so many reckless and irresponsible conclusions if they do not have any evidence.
At the same time, Spanish scientists are now working on dozens of vaccines against COVID-19, with none of them having entered the clinical trial stage yet.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Wale Ojetimi
Premier League urges government to stick to Oct. 1 date for fans return
The Premier League has urged the British government to stay committed to its plans for a controlled return of fans into stadiums from Oct. 1.
The government last week restricted pilot events to 1,000 spectators after a spike in COVID-19 cases, and said it would review the date for when fans could enter stadiums.
The Premier League said in a statement on Thursday that clubs remain committed to ensuring stadiums will be a safe environment for supporters.
“Clubs will adopt a range of common standards, which will help deliver bio-secure, safe environments for fans across the League,” the league said.
The English top-flight had written to the government, saying clubs face losses of up to 700 million pounds ($906.78 million) if matches continue to be held behind closed doors.
“Clubs reaffirmed that the continued loss of match-day revenues is having a significant impact across the League as well as on the football pyramid, local and national economies,” the league said.
“The League and clubs urge Government to remain committed to the Oct. 1 date for the controlled return of fans to sporting venues,“it said.
Edited By: Joseph Edeh/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Premier League secures China broadcast deal with Tencent
England’s Premier League said on Thursday its shareholders had unanimously agreed to a broadcast deal in China for the 2020/2021 season with digital media platform Tencent.
Financial terms were not disclosed for the deal, which replaces a 700 million dollars contract with Chinese retail group Suning’s PPLive Sports International which was terminated earlier this month.
The league confirmed that viewers in China would be able to watch all 372 remaining league matches on Tencent’s streaming and news platforms.
“We are excited to have agreed this partnership with Tencent, ensuring our supporters in China can enjoy following Premier League action throughout this season,” Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said.
“We and our clubs have an extremely passionate fanbase in China and are looking forward to working with the team at Tencent to engage with fans in new ways over the coming season.”
Tencent will broadcast half of all the matches available for free in China, with the remaining fixtures available via a membership service.
“In collaboration with the Premier League, Tencent Sports hopes to leverage its platforms and technology to bring the drama of Premier League matches to fans and share with them the passion and excitement of football,” Tencent Sports general manager Ewell Zhao said.
The league’s previous deal with PPLive was struck during the peak of Chinese interest in international football and was due to expire in 2022.
The partnership ended abruptly after the Daily Mail newspaper reported that the Chinese broadcasters had withheld payments due to the league in March.
The new agreement with Tencent will help Premier League clubs offset some of the financial losses caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The pandemic had forced matches to be suspended for several months, before the 2019/2020 season resumed in June without spectators.
The league said it would continue to explore opportunities for free-to-air broadcast coverage in China for the current season.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)