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Italy captain Parisse angry at off-pitch Rugby World Cup exit

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Veteran Italy captain Sergio Parisse reacted angrily to his country being eliminated from the Rugby World Cup on Thursday by the cancellation of their final match against New Zealand.


The match was cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis.

Saturday’s clash in Toyota between Italy and the All Blacks was scrapped as organisers braced for the impact of Typhoon Hagibis on Japan.

Italy required an unlikely win to reach the quarter-finals and the rules were followed in declaring the game a 0-0 draw.

But Parisse insisted an exception would have been found if the tables were turned.

“It is difficult to know that we won’t have the chance to play a match against one of the great teams,” Parisse was quoted by various media as telling reporters

“If New Zealand needed four or five points against us it would not have been cancelled.”

Earlier, World Rugby chief operating officer Alan Gilpin said cancelling Italy’s match, and France versus England in a different group were part of a “complex and dynamic situation.”

“It would be grossly irresponsible to leave teams, fans, volunteers and other tournament personnel exposed during what is predicted to be a severe typhoon,” he added.

Fans with tickets will be awarded full refunds, the organisers said.

The All Blacks and South Africa will be the two teams making it through from Pool B.

Meanwhile, the highly-anticipated Pool C clash between England and France was set to take place on the same day in Yokohama, 30 kilometres south-east of Tokyo.

Both teams, undefeated in the group stage had already qualified for the quarter-finals, with England topping the group.

Further controversy could occur at the weekend if Japan have their Pool A match with Scotland, also in Yokohama on Sunday, cancelled.

That would likely eliminate the Scots and send the hosts through alongside Ireland.

Never before has the Rugby World Cup been forced to cancel matches, a scenario Parrise said was unacceptable.

“It is ridiculous that there was no Plan B, because it isn’t news that typhoons hit Japan,” the 36-year-old said.

“The alternative is Plan B. When you organise a World Cup you should have one in place.”

According to experts working with tournament organisers, Hagibis will be the biggest typhoon of the 2019 season.

They added it would likely cause disruption in the Tokyo, Yokohama and City of Toyota areas throughout Saturday.

Gilpin said Friday’s match between Australia and Georgia in Shizuoka, and Saturday’s game between Ireland and Samoa in Fukuoka, in southern Japan, were set to go ahead as scheduled.

Shizuoka is 112 kilometres east of Toyota.


OLAL

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

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Sport

Suarez language exam for Italian citizenship rigged, prosecutors insist

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Italian prosecutors said on Tuesday they had evidence that the language exam taken by FC Barcelona’s Uruguay striker Luis Suarez was rigged.


The exam was to enable him obtain Italian citizenship ahead of a possible move to Juventus.

Suarez, whose wife is of Italian descent, passed the exam last Thursday at the University for Foreigners in Perugia.

It cleared the way for a fast-track citizenship approval which would mean Juventus could sign him without exceeding its permitted quota of non-EU players.

But suspicions were quickly raised in the media that he was given preferential treatment.

Perugia chief prosecutor Raffaele Cantone said his investigations showed the questions had been agreed with Suarez ahead of the exam.

He added that it had already been decided what mark to give him, in spite of his scarce knowledge of Italian.

The university denied any wrongdoing, saying in a statement it had acted with “correctness and transparency” and was confident this would emerge at the end of the probe.

Police searched the university on Tuesday looking for further evidence, Cantone said in a statement.

Italian newspaper la Repubblica reported that five university employees had been put under investigation, including the rector.

Suarez himself is not cited among those under investigation.

La Repubblica published alleged conversations tapped by police during their probe, in which a tutor preparing Suarez for the exam told a colleague “he can’t speak a word”.

The tutor had described him as an absolute beginner in Italian.

Suarez obtained the intermediate B1 qualification required for citizenship in just 15 minutes, his examiner said after the test.

The 33-year-old was only required to do the oral part of the exam.

Other citizenship applicants taking the B1 exam on the same day in Rome had to also complete a written paper lasting two-and-a-half hours.

Suarez’s mooted transfer to Juve now looks unlikely, as the Serie A champions have moved to sign striker Alvaro Morata from Atletico Madrid.

The Uruguayan international seems set to take Morata’s place at Atletico Madrid.

Suarez has had a controversial career, including being banned for four months for biting Italy defender Georgio Chiellini at the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil.

He also bit an opponent while playing for his former clubs Ajax Amsterdam in 2010 and Liverpool in 2013, which were punished with seven-match and 10-match bans respectively.

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN

 

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Sport

Hungary and UEFA taking big risk having fans at Super Cup match, health expert warns

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Organisers run a huge risk by allowing 20,000 fans to attend a major football match, a leading Hungarian epidemiologist said on Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s UEFA Super Cup final in Budapest.


A huge crowd is being allowed for the first time at a football match in Europe since the new coronavirus outbreak.

European football’s governing body UEFA normally kicks off the season with the Super Cup match between the Champions League and Europa League winners.

It said it would see how the game with spectators works in Hungary’s capital.

The new Puskas Arena is a recently completed pet project of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, an avid football fan.

It will be up to one-third full for the showdown between European champions Bayern Munich and Europa League title holders Sevilla.

UEFA has said all safety precautions would be observed.

However, Andras Csilek, who advises the Hungarian Medical Chamber, told Reuters that the game’s timing “could not be worse”.

His comment has come with the background of the pandemic’s second wave grows around Europe, topping 600 new cases a day in Hungary.

“It would have had the same terrible effect in the first two to four weeks (of the pandemic), and the plausible effects one can now expect are equally terrible,” Csilek said. “Just think of the football games we know sparked spring madness in Italy.”

Experts have traced a surge in Italy’s COVID-19 infections to February football matches and the Venice Carnival, he added.

“Placing the fans in a stadium… (separation) is not really feasible, especially as fans gather before and after games… Public transit, entry crowds, finding your seats, toilets, beer stands, celebrations, or a fight: plausible infection points.”

Hungary’s government is trying to “keep the country going” to avoid an economic disaster while containing the virus, the country’s nationalist leader Orban has said.

“Super Cup match measures will be so strict that it will be safer to attend than almost any other social gathering,” Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyas had said on Monday.

European countries, including Germany, have placed Hungary on a watch list as coronavirus cases rise, and Bavarian premier Markus Soeder has warned fans to stay away from Budapest.

“Nobody knows where this leads, but if it is an experiment, that is wrong,” Csilek said. “You don’t experiment with people.”

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN

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Economy

East Mediterranean states formally establish Egypt-based gas forum

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Six states signed a charter on Tuesday for an Egypt-based forum to promote natural gas exports from the eastern Mediterranean.


Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Jordan signed the statute in a virtual ceremony to establish the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) as an intergovernmental organisation.

According to a joint declaration, the forum “will contribute to advancing regional stability and prosperity’’ through cooperation in the energy field.

It said the forum would be open to any East Mediterranean country applying to join.

Members of the forum have already held several meetings in Cairo since early last year.

Other states or organisations could join as observers.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN

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Sport

Rohr calls up 21 old faces, 4 new faces for Super Eagles’ 2 friendlies

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Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, has called up 25 players ahead of October’s friendly matches against the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire and the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia, scheduled for Austria.


Ademola Olajire, the Director of Communications, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), disclosed in a statement on Monday in Abuja that five other players have been put on standby.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the friendlies are the three-times African champions’ first games this year, as a result of the prolonged global coronavirus pandemic.

Rohr has listed the team’s top names such as Ahmed Musa, Kenneth Omeruo, William Ekong and Wilfred Ndidi, as well as new brooms Frank Onyeka and Chidera Ejuke.

Former FIFA Under-17 World Cup-winning goalkeeper Dele Alampasu returns to the group, as well as midfielder Mikel Agu.

Captain of the most recent Nigeria under-17 squad, Samson Tijani, will join up with the elite, as well as Portugal-based exciting wing-back Zaidu Sanusi.

Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, now in The Netherlands, is heading to Austria for the games, just as England-based forward Kelechi Iheanacho also returns.

Victor Osimhen, now in Italy with Napoli, and another former U17 World Cup winner Samuel Chukwueze are also called up.

The Super Eagles, now ranked 29th in the world and third in Africa, will take on the Elephants on Oct. 9.

They will four days later engage the Carthage Eagles, who are second in Africa in the rankings.

Both games have been arranged by the NFF to prepare the Super Eagles for the next rounds of 2022 AFCON qualifiers, home and away against Sierra Leone in November.      

THE FULL LIST

Goalkeepers: Dele Alampasu (FK Ventspils, Latvia); Matthew Yakubu (SKF Sered, Slovakia); Maduka Okoye (Sparta Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Defenders: Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain); Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Boavista, Portugal); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Olaoluwa Aina (Fulham FC, England); Jamilu Collins (SC Padeborn 07, Germany); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal)

Midfielders: Mikel Agu (Vitoria Guimaraes, Portugal); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Frank Onyeka (FC Midtjylland, Denmark); Oghenekaro Etebo (Galatasary SK, Turkey); Samson Tijani (TSV Hartberg, Austria)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr, Saudi Arabia); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli, Italy); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal FC, Spain); Cyril Dessers (KRC Genk, Belgium)

Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Chidera Ejuke (CSKA Moscow, Russia)

Standby: Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor, Turkey); Ramon Azeez (Granada CF, Spain); Joshua Maja (Girondins Bordeaux, France); Henry Onyekuru (AS Monaco, France); Tyronne Ebuehi (FC Twente, Netherlands)

 

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN

 

 

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