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Divine Oduduru gets 6-year ban for doping violation

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The disciplinary tribunal of the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has handed Divine Oduduru, the Nigerian sprinter, a 6-year ban for breaching two anti-doping rules.

According to the statement released by AIU on Thursday, the Nigerian got a four-year ban for the possession of prohibited substances and the attempted use of a prohibited substance and an additional two years for “aggravating circumstances”.

He was also ordered to pay $3000 to the World Athletics for its expenses regarding the case.

Oduduru had been provisionally suspended in February after he was identified as one of the clients of Eric Lira, a self-acclaimed kinesiologist and naturopathic doctor, who pleaded guilty in a case titled “US’ first Olympic anti-doping charges”.

Oduduru was sanctioned, alongside Blessing Okagbare, as a collaborator with Lira.

Lira was accused of providing performance-enhancing drugs to athletes who participated in the Tokyo Olympics.

In 2022, Okagbare was banned for 11 years following an investigation by AIU after she failed an out-of-competition doping test.

In the latest statement, AIU said WhatsApp messages between Okagbare and Lira revealed that the former was “soliciting prohibited substances on Oduduru’s behalf”.

“And photographic evidence of multiple Prohibited Substances discovered in Oduduru’s Florida apartment,” the statement reads.

“The Prohibited Substances found in Oduduru’s apartment were two boxes of Somatropin, ‘Xerendip’ and ‘Humatrope’, which were identified as human growth hormone; a plastic ziplock bag labelled ‘IGF LR3’ – an abbreviation for synthetic or ‘recombinant’ Insulin Growth Factor – containing three vials, and two boxes of recombinant erythropoietin (EPO). According to testimony, one of the boxes of EPO was open and had only one of six vials remaining.

“Also discovered in the apartment was an opened US Postal Service envelope containing ‘Xerendip’ – addressed to Okagbare and with Lira labelled as the sender.

“The Panel finds it to be an extraordinary coincidence that all the Prohibited Substances found in the Athlete’s apartment were precisely those requested from Mr. Lira by Ms. Okagbare for her and ‘Divine’, specifying that she had to give (to Divine) his stuff too and for which she tested positive (EPO and hGH).”

The statement said that Oduduru maintained his innocence throughout the investigation.

The ban takes retroactive effect from February 9, 2023, until February 8 2029.

Sports

Reps sports committee chairman, Ekene Adams, dies at 39

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A member of the House of Representatives representing Chikun/Kajuru Federal Constituency, Kaduna State, and Chairman House Committee on Sports, Ekene Adams, has passed on.

He reportedly died in the early hours of Tuesday although the cause of his death has not been ascertained at the time of filing this report.

Different sports groups in the country have started mourning Adams.

“My good friend and one of our frontline members of the NPFL Club Owners Association, Chairman House Committee on Sports, Hon Ekene Abubakar Adams is Dead,” Former secretary of the club owners association Alloy Chukwuemeka wrote on Tuesday.

“May God console his family and friends and may his soul rest in peace.”

A former football player, Adams had served as the general manager of Nigeria Premier Football League side Remo Stars as well as Kada City before he won a seat in the House of Representatives during the 2023 general elections.

His sport background earned him the role of the reps committee chairman on sports despite being a first timer in the green chamber.

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Bayern Munich sign Portugal star Palhinha for €49M

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Bayern Munich on Thursday finally secured the signing of Portugal midfielder Joao Palhinha from Fulham for a reported fee of 49 million euros ($53 million) after coming close to acquiring him last year.

The 28-year-old, who spent two years at Fulham after arriving from Sporting Lisbon in 2022 for 22 million euros, signed a four year contract.

Bayern had been poised to sign Palhinha in 2023, the defensive midfielder had even posed in the club’s strip, but the deal fell through just before the transfer window closed when Fulham failed to find a replacement.

In a statement, Palhinha said it was “one of the happiest days of my life,” adding “this is a dream come true for me… I want to enjoy success with Bayern and win titles.”

Sporting director Max Eberl said the player was “highly sought after by Bayern even last summer –- and rightly so. It was important that we never lost touch”

Palhinha, who has scored twice in 31 international appearances, took part in Portugal’s Euro 2024 campaign which ended at the hands of France in the quarter finals.

His signing is Bayern’s third major arrival of the summer, as the club continues a summer rebuild after a first season without a trophy since 2012.

Forward Michael Olise and centre-back Hiroki Ito have already joined the club, alongside manager Vincent Kompany who was appointed coach at the end of last season.

Kompany will be tasked with returning Bayern to the top of the German football tree after their streak of 11 straight Bundesliga titles was broken last season.

Bayern were eliminated in the semi-finals of the Champions League by eventual winners Real Madrid, while Bayer Leverkusen won the league and cup double under manager Xabi Alonso.

Kompany will have the added pressure the Champions League final is to be held at Bayern’s Allianz Arena next season.

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CAF fines Eto’o $200k over ambassadorship deal with betting company

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has sanctioned Samuel Eto’o, president of the Cameroon Football Association, for ethics violations.

In a statement on Thursday, CAF announced Eto’o was facing “charges of alleged manipulation of football matches and violating the principles of ethics and integrity.”

The continental football governing body added that “there is insufficient proof” to corroborate Eto’o’s involvement in match-fixing alongside Valentin Nkwain.

However, CAF ruled that the four-time African Footballer of the Year “seriously violated the principles of ethics, integrity and sportsmanship” by “signing a brand ambassador contract with the company 1XBET in exchange for remuneration”.

The statement said Eto’o breached “Article 2 paragraph 3 of the CAF Statutes,” which reads: “any person or organisation involved in football in Africa has to respect at all times and unreservedly the principles of ethics and fair play enacted by CAF, the principles of integrity and sportsmanship as well as the Statutes, regulations, decisions, and directives of CAF and FIFA.”

Eto’o was penalised with $200,000 fine for the violation.

The former Barcelona striker has been embroiled in controversy since he was elected president of Cameroon FA in 2021.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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