Hungary reopens border with Serbia for local citizens



Hungary reopened its borders with Serbia on Monday and is making preparations to open them with Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, said the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto.

“On Monday, from 10 a.m., citizens of the two countries can cross the border without restrictions,” Szijjarto announced on his Facebook page.

“Serbian citizens can enter Hungary without a quarantine obligation and Hungarian citizens can return from Serbia without quarantine obligations as well,” he said.

“The opening of the border provides an opportunity for families and communities living on both sides of the border to reunite, and also contributes to a new impetus for economic relations,” the minister underlined.

Szijjarto also spoke about preparations being made to reopen Hungary’s borders with Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

“I discussed with my Austrian, Czech and Slovak counterparts in a video conference on the easing of border restrictions,” Szijjarto said.

The four countries have set on June 15 as the target date for starting to lift border restrictions, the minister said, adding that this depended greatly on the status of the novel coronavirus pandemic.



Fed Cup to be renamed Billie Jean King Cup



Almost 60 years after Billie Jean King helped the United States win the inaugural Fed Cup, the team event is being renamed in honour of the greatest trailblazer in women’s tennis.

The competition will from 2021 be known as the Billie Jean King Cup, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said in a statement.

It was revamped this year to feature a 12-nation finals week to rival the men’s Davis Cup.

This year’s finals, scheduled for Budapest in April, were postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

King, a 12-times Grand Slam singles champion and the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), said she was “humbled” to have the competition named after her.

“Very proud, very humbled,” the 76-year-old told Reuters by telephone. “I keep thinking it’s a dream. And then I start thinking about what an opportunity this is to help the game grow globally.

“(The Federation Cup) was 63 years behind the Davis Cup but we’ve gone from 16 to 116 nations.

“We have equal prize money to the Davis Cup and this sends out an important and strong message of equality.”

The Billie Jean Cup, sponsored by BNP Paribas, is the first major global team competition to be named after a woman.

Next year’s Finals in Hungary will boast 12 million dollars in prize money, equivalent to the revamped Davis Cup.

ITF President David Haggerty paid tribute to King’s fight for gender equality in sports and society.

“From playing the first Fed Cup as a member of the victorious United States team in 1963, founding the WTA and becoming its first president, to being the first female athlete awarded the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, Billie Jean King has never stopped breaking new ground,” Haggerty said.

“Today she adds another `first’ to that list. The new name is a fitting tribute to everything she has achieved.”

King was part of the team that won the inaugural competition, then known as the Federation Cup, in London in 1963.

She won it seven times as a player and four as captain and was appointed its first Global Ambassador last year.

“There is nothing quite like the feeling of representing your country and being part of a team, which is why this competition is so special and important to me,” she said.

“Our job is to share this vision with future generations of young girls, because if you can see it, you can be it.”

France, Russia, Hungary, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, the United States, Spain, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland will contest next year’s inaugural Billy Jean King Cup Finals.

Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN
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FIFA Ranking: Nigeria moves up by two spots, now world 29th



Nigeria’s Super Eagles have moved up by two spots in FIFA’s ranking for September to place 29th after more than six months of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the ranking placed on the world football governing body’s website on Thursday, Nigeria garnered 1493 points during the period under review without playing any match.

The movement also placed Nigeria as the third in Africa behind Senegal and Tunisia who garnered 1555 and 1506 points respectively.

On the global scene, with the exception of Uzbekistan’s 2-1 friendly victory over Tajikistan, the countries back in action have all been European.

The successful staging of these games was nonetheless encouraging for teams from other confederations as they seek to resume international fixtures in the weeks ahead.

The 54 UEFA Nations League games which took place across Europe at the beginning of September had an immediate impact on the oca-Cola World Ranking, which had remained unchanged since April 9.

While there had been no movement among the leading quartet —- in descending order: Belgium, France, Brazil and England —- Portugal (5th, up 2) have moved into the top five.

This was as a result of victories over Croatia (8th, down 2) and Sweden (18th, down 1).

Other countries moving in the right direction are Spain (7th, up 1), Italy (12th, up 1), the Netherlands (13th, up 1), and Germany (14th, up 1).

Each of them gained one place respectively in the global classification.

Wales (21st, up 2) climbed two rungs but remain just outside the top 20.

Russia, hosts of the last FIFA World Cup, are further back in 32nd.

But they had the biggest gain in this edition, ascending six places courtesy of wins over Serbia (31st, down 2) and Hungary (52nd, unchanged).

In spite of not playing, Iran (30th, up 3) moved into the top 30 after Serbia and Turkey (32nd, down 3) dropped points.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru and Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN
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Independent Hungarian radio broadcaster shut down by media authority



Hungary’s media regulator will not extend the operating permit of Klubradio, an independent outlet whose license is due to run out next February, authorities said on Friday in Budapest.

The regulator said in a statement that it plans to close down the outlet due to “ongoing legal violations.”

Klubradio, a news and talk radio station, is one of the last independent outlets with any influence in Hungary.

The authorities plan to put the rights for Klubradio’s broadcasting frequency out to tender.

Its frequency is limited to the Budapest region.

The media council allocates frequencies and ensures media law is followed.

Members of the council are all supporters of the country’s right-wing nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Klubradio’s boss, Miklos Arato, rejected the claim that his outlet had broken the law, telling news portal “If we had broken any important laws, they would have imposed serious penalties, but they didn’t.”

“They could have just said in the statement that they don’t like us,” Arato said.

The shutdown is one of a series of government measures to silence critical media outlets.

In July, a business close to Orban silenced an independent online news portal,, through a hostile takeover.

Nepszabadag, the country’s biggest opposition news daily, was closed down in 2016 after being bought by one of Orban’s supporters from Austria.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Wale Ojetimi
Source: NAN
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European Super Cup: UEFA in talks with Hungary following border closure



UEFA says it is discussing entry requirements for this month’s European Super Cup match in Budapest with the Hungarian government.

This has come in the wake of the decision to close the country’s borders to curb a rise in coronavirus cases.

European champions Bayern Munich and Europa League winners Sevilla are due to meet in Budapest on Sept. 24 in the 2020 European Super Cup.

It is also a match planned to be the first UEFA match to take place with spectators since the COVID-19 outbreak.

However, Hungary said last week it would close its borders to foreigners from Tuesday to curb a rise in coronavirus cases.

UEFA is working closely with the Hungarian Football Federation and its government to implement measures to ensure the health of all those attending and participating in the game,” UEFA said in an e-mailed statement to Reuters.

“Entry requirements into Hungary for various target groups (players, officials, partners, staff, media, fans, etc…) are also part of such discussions.

UEFA will not take risks with people’s safety and further details will be communicated in due course.”

The annual fixture is seen as the opening European club competition game of the season.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyas said last week that, if current circumstances prevail, fans could be allowed to enter the country with two negative tests.

He said they would be taken directly to the stadium and back to the airport afterwards, and there would also be body temperature checks.

UEFA said last week that fans could occupy up to 30 percent of the stadium’s 67,215 capacity.

Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
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