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Champions League: Man Utd chief, Woodward speaks on changes to competition

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Champions League: Man Utd chief, Woodward speaks on changes to competition

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Manchester United executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, has opened up on the proposed changes to the Champions League.

Proposals, which would come into effect from 2024, include a promotion and relegation system, 24 out of 32 teams being guaranteed automatic qualification regardless of where they finished in their domestic leagues.

The plans have been heavily criticised by a number of league officials, including the Premier League and La Liga, as they are seen in some quarters as an attempt to ring-fence the competition to favour the continent’s biggest sides.

Speaking on a conference call to United investors, Woodward said: “First of all, I think this is partly driven by domestic leagues not necessarily thriving and there being a desire from the clubs that are towards the top of those leagues to play more European games.

“There is a drive from UEFA, which is laudable, which is to try to give greater access to more teams.

“So, if you look at the year just about to finish, 80 teams competed in the two competitions and the proposal for 2024 is 128 teams, so a greater than 50 per cent increase in the number of teams playing in Europe.

“There are other factors as well, from our perspective we view these proposals as interesting but there’s a lot of work to do with stakeholders to assess this.

“We’re doing that ourselves together with our colleagues in the Premier League and the ECA.”

Asked about a potential time-scale for changes to be further discussed and subsequently announced more formally, he added: “We can expect to hear more and more feedback on progress around this through 2019 and so therefore maybe clarity and somewhere around from six to nine months from now.”



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Buhari appoints Amokachi as SA on sports

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Buhari appoints Amokachi as SA on sports

Former Super Eagles player and Nigerian Football Ambassador, Daniel Amokachi, has been appointed as Special Assistant on Sports to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“I am pleased to inform you that Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has approved your appointment as Special Assistant on Sports,” the appointment letter dated August 17, 2020, and signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Mr. Boss Mustapha, reads in part.

As special assistant on sports, Amokachi is expected to advise the President on all sports matters.

The former Everton of England forward, who was earlier in the year named Nigeria’s Football Ambassador, is expected to mentor youngsters and promote the game at the grassroots.

Nicknamed “The Bull”, Amokachi began his career in Kaduna with Ranchers Bees Football Club of Kaduna, played for Club Brugge of Belgium, Besiktas of Turkey, Everton of England and Colorado Rapids.

He played in two World Cup finals, USA 1994 and France 1998. He was a member of Nigeria’s 1994 African Cup of Nations winning team and won the 2013 edition in South Africa as assistant to the late Coach Stephen Keshi.

Amockachi also won Gold with team Nigeria in the Football event of the Atlanta 1996 Olympics.

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Tennis: Djokovic confirms US Open participation

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Tennis: Djokovic confirms US Open participation

Novak Djokovic confirmed on Thursday he will play at the US Open, ending speculation about his presence at the first Grand Slam tournament since the season restarted following the coronavirus-enforced shutdown.

“I’m happy to confirm that I’ll participate at #CincyTennis and #USOpen this year,” the 33-year-old world number one tweeted.

“It was not an easy decision to make with all the obstacles and challenges on many sides, but the prospect of competing again makes me really excited,” added the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

The US Open gets underway behind closed doors in New York on Monday August 31, with Djokovic arriving in the United States on Saturday to tune up in the Western and Southern Open, which is normally played in Cincinnati but has been moved to New York this year.

His decision to take part is a major boost for the US Open after a host of headline names pulled out.

Djokovic makes his competitive return after being heavily criticized for hosting a charity tennis event in the Balkans in June at which he and a raft of players tested positive for COVID-19.

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Sam Okwaraji: NFF begins process to retire Eagles No.6 jersey

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Sam Okwaraji: NFF begins process to retire Eagles No.6 jersey

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) is pondering a move to retire the Super Eagles No.6 jersey previously worn by the late Sam Okwaraji, The PUNCH reports.

NFF President Amaju Pinnick made this known during an interview on a radio programme Sports Salsa, which was aired on Kennis 104.1 FM on Wednesday.

Okwaraji died of congestive heart failure minutes after he slumped during a 1990 World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Angola on August 12, 1989, inside the main-bowl of the National Stadium, Lagos.

The game ended 1-0 in favour of the Eagles.

“Someone made a proposal about retiring the jersey (No.6) at the start of the year and I think it is not too much for us to do that,” Pinnick said.

“I will forward the proposal to the executive committee for implementation because it has been said already. So, we will see how we can retire that shirt in honour of a great patriot (Samuel) Okwaraji.

“His (Okwaraji) death was very tragic because he was a player who showed dexterity, professionalism and maturity each time he played for the Eagles.”

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