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Ronaldo gets 1-match ban for obscene gesture to fans chanting ‘Messi’

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The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has banned Cristiano Ronaldo for one match for his obscene celebration on Sunday.

Ronaldo scored in Al-Nassr’s 3-2 win away to Al-Shabab in their Saudi Pro League match, leading to chants of Lionel Messi, his perennial rival, by the home supporters.

This provoked a response from Ronaldo who cupped his ear before repeatedly pumping his hand forward in front of his pelvic area.

His action appeared to be directed at the rival Al Shabab supporters.

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Although the celebration was not captured on local broadcasts, a fan uploaded the video on social media.

The footage was thereafter presented to the disciplinary and ethics committee of the SAFF who stated that the Portuguese striker violated article 57-1 of the disciplinary and ethics regulations.

Ronaldo was also asked to pay a fine of 10,000 Saudi riyals ($2,666) to the Saudi Football Federation and 20,000 riyals to Al Shabab to cover the costs of the complaint filing fees.

In a statement on Wednesday, the committee said the decision is not subject to appeal.

It is the eighth disciplinary action of Ronaldo’s storied career and his first since joining Al-Nassr. He was previously fined and banned for two matches in November 2022 by the English FA for smashing the mobile phone of a young fan during his second spell at Manchester United.

Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr on a free transfer from Manchester United in December 2022. He has scored 20 goals in 22 league games this season for Al-Nassr.

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EPL to adopt semi-automated offside technology next season

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The English Premier League (EPL) says semi-automated offside technology will be used in matches from next season.

The league announced the decision in a statement on its website on Thursday.

The decision was made after a unanimous agreement by all the clubs at a Premier League Shareholders’ meeting.

The technology will be ready for use from the 2024/25 season after the autumn international breaks.

“The new system will be used for the first time in the Premier League next season, and it is anticipated the technology will be ready to be introduced after one of the autumn international breaks,” the statement reads.

“The technology will provide quicker and consistent placement of the virtual offside line, based on optical player tracking, and will produce high-quality broadcast graphics to ensure an enhanced in-stadium and broadcast experience for supporters.”

The first usage of the semi-automated offside technology in top-level football was at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The offside rule has been subjected to change in recent years, with the video assistant referee (VAR) technology also deployed to assist the on-field officials in checking for offside calls leading to a goal.

The EPL further updated its offside rule in the summer of 2023 to include that “a player who is clearly offside should not become onside on every occasion when an opponent moves and touches the ball.”

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Nigerian chess master, Tunde Onakoya sets to break Guinness World Record

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Nigerian chess master, Tunde Onakoya has revealed plans to break the Guinness World Record for the longest chess marathon.

Onakoya who made the plan known on his X account on Friday said that he is “doing this for the dreams of millions of children across Africa without access to education.”

He added that the attempt will hold on April 17th at the New York City’s Times Square and he is to play chess for 58 hours without a single defeat.

He wrote, “On the 17th of April 2024, I will attempt to break the Guiness World record for the longest Chess marathon in the heart of Times Square New York City for 58 hours without losing a game. Doing this for the dreams of millions of children across Africa without access to education.”

Onakoya disclosed that the attempt will start at 10am and would be available for all to stream on YouTube.

He appealed to Nigerians residing in New York, urging them to come forward and provide their enthusiastic support as he strives to establish a new world record.

Tunde Onakoya is renowned for his philanthropic efforts, notably utilizing chess as a tool to offer opportunities for young people residing in the marginalized areas, often referred to as ‘slums,’ within the country.

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NFF reappoints Manu Garba as Golden Eaglets head coach

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has reappointed Manu Garba as the head coach of the Golden Eaglets.

The federation announced the appointment in a statement on Friday.

Garba held the same position in 2013 when he led the Golden Eaglets to win the FIFA U17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

His world-conquering squad included Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, Isaac Success, Musa Mohammed, Chidiebere Nwakali and Dele Alampasu.

After a brief stint handling the men’s U-20 squad, Garba was reappointed to the Golden Eaglet role in 2018.

His second spell bore little success as his team crashed out in the Round of 16 of the 2019 U-17 World Cup in Brazil.

Garba’s latest stint with the team will commence with the preparation for next month’s WAFU B U-17 Championship, taking place in Ghana.

He will be hoping to put together a team that will surpass Nigeria’s performance at the 2023 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), where the country crashed out in the quarter-final and failed to qualify for the age-grade World Cup.

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