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Celtic emerge champions, Hearts relegated as Scottish season ends

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Amb. (Dr,) Dickson A. O. Akoh FCITr, FCPA
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Celtic have been declared 2019/2020 Scottish champions for a record-equalling ninth successive season by the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), while Hearts were relegated.

This ending came after the clubs voted on Monday to end the Scottish Premiership season early because of the COVID-19 pandemic. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({});

`The SPFL has today announced that, following consultation with all 12 top-flight clubs, the Board of the SPFL has determined that the 2019/20 Ladbrokes Premiership has been concluded with immediate effect,” the SPFL said in a statement.

“The decision means that Celtic are crowned 2019/20 champions and Hearts have been relegated to the Championship.”

When the season was stopped in March because of the pandemic, Celtic were 13 points clear of Old Firm rivals Rangers, who had a game in hand.

Also, Hearts were four points adrift at the bottom of the standings.

Places were decided on a points-per-game average.

Hearts said they were still considering legal action, saying they had been “unfairly penalised” because of the pandemic.

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In a statement, the Edinburgh club said they would be submitting a member’s resolution offering a “pragmatic solution” to the issues the game is facing.

Hearts believe there is an appetite for a restructuring of the Scottish leagues.

“It is our belief that this resolution, if supported, will provide an opportunity to avoid disproportionately disadvantaging —- financially and otherwise —- any club,” the club said.

“This is possibly the final chance for our game to stand together, protect each other and not only survive but flourish in the aftermath of this terrible pandemic.

“As previously intimated, the club has been taking legal advice throughout this process and is continuing to do so.

“We hope that the resolution being prepared will avoid the need to go down this route. Legal action will be both time consuming and expensive.

“However, the cost to the club of relegation will outweigh these considerations.’’

Last week Scottish clubs failed to support a request by Rangers for an independent investigation into SPFL’s handling of the season in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The resolution, backed by Hearts and Stranraer.

It was put forward after serious misgivings about how a previous vote on the SPFL’s plan to end the lower leagues early, and possibly the Premiership too, was carried out.

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The SPFL executive committee last week met all 12 Premiership clubs about declaring the season over.

Media reports had it that relegated Hearts had made a final push for a revamp of the league structure.

Scotland’s three lowest tiers were ended immediately in April, with positions also decided on a points-per-game average, although the door was left open for a resumption of the Premiership.

That has now been ruled out.

Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers were declared winners of the Championship, League One and League Two respectively.

The SPFL released end-of-season payments of over 1.8 million pounds (2.18 million dollars) to clubs to ease their financial burden.

“We will all have rather seen the league season played out on pitches, in stadiums and in front of supporters,” SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan said.

“COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on sports competitions around the world and the repercussions will be felt for a long time.”

Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell dedicated the club’s title, their 51st compared to Rangers’ 54, to the fans.

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“I am so proud of our team and proud of you for all you have given us,” he said on Celtic’s website.

“While we rightly celebrate this fantastic, deserved achievement, we must take time to consider the wider circumstances we have all been experiencing.”

Celtic also won nine league titles in a row from 1965 to 1974, a feat matched by Rangers from 1989 to 1997.

Credit: Reuters/NAN

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Legend FC Lifts Maiden Adedayo Benjamins-Laniyi FCT Unity Cup

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FCT Unity Football Championship ended in Abuja on Saturday 29th July 2023 with Legend FC of AMAC defeated Maracana FC of Kwali 2-1 to lift the maiden Adedayo Benjamins-Laniyi FCT.
 
The grand finale played at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja signalled the end of a month-long competition among teams from the six area councils of FCT. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({});
 
Kelechi Francis of Legend FC opened scoring in the 38th minute before Sheriff Idris of Maracana FC restored parity for the Kwali boys on resumption of the second half in the 47th minute.
 
Francis, however, sealed victory for the Legend boys with a clean finish in the 52nd minute, to ensure a 2-1 victory for Legend FC.
 
Earlier in the third place match, Kickers FC defeated N-Youth FC 5-4 on penalties, after regulation time ended 2-2.
 
Mrs Adedayo Benjamins-Laniyi, organiser of the championship, told NAN after the match that the competition was organised to foster unity and discover grassroots talent scattered across the FCT.
 
The media entrepreneur and former All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial aspirant for FCT, said sports could serve as a veritable tool for empowering Nigerian youth and promoting unity in the country.
 
“This inaugural competition is meant to engage our youth and promote unity in the country, starting with  FCT.
 
“If there is no unity, there cannot be a nation. So, we are trying to use sports to bring about positive change, get our youths off the streets, and build a great nation,” she said.
 
Benjamins-Laniyi said ex-internationals such as Kanu Nwankwo and Femi Ajilore were selected as ambassadors of the competition to give inspiration and mentorship to young talents discovered at the competition.
 
NAN reports that 80 teams comprising 1,200 players took part in the tourney from the preliminary round to the finals.
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Women’s World Cup Kicks-off, Amidst Auckland Shooting

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The largest women’s World Cup on kicked off on Thursday 20th July, 2023  in Auckland after a fatal shooting earlier in the day.

Co-hosts New Zealand and former champions, Norway kicked off the women’s World Cup on Thursday in Auckland, after a short opening ceremony. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({});

A minute silence was observed for the victims of a shooting earlier in the day in the city.

The short ceremony at Eden Park had the indigenous people of host nations Australia and New Zealand at its centre, while singers Benee and Mallrat did the official tournament song “Do It Again.”

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The World Cup trophy was presented before the two teams kicked off the biggest women’s World Cup. The contestants were increased to 32 teams from 24 at the last edition 2019 in France.

Australia were set to play Ireland in the opening day’s other game.

Two-time reigning and record four-time overall champions U.S. are the top favourites, with other contenders including two-times winners, Germany and European champions Germany.

The World Cup which runs until 20th August 2023 started under a cloud of the shooting earlier in the day in which three people died – including the suspected gunman, with five others injured.

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Football’s governing body FIFA said later that the opening game would “proceed as planned”, and the added minute silence was impeccably observed at Eden Park. (dpa/NAN)

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Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media, Information and Computer Technology Consultant. A quintessential Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist is based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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Banja Luka Exit: Djokovic said hopeful of hitting top form on clay

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The world number one tennis player, Novak Djokovic has said he was still hopeful of finding his groove on clay before next month’s French Open.

The Serb revealed this as he was far from his best in his quarter-final defeat to Dusan Lajovic at the Srpska Open. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Djokovic had dropped just four games across his previous two meetings with compatriot Lajovic.

He had missed several chances to get past his opponent on Friday, converting just one of 16 breakpoints as he fell to a 6-4 7-6(6) defeat.

The loss is Djokovic’s second early exit from a tournament in as many weeks, following his third-round defeat to Lorenzo Musetti at the Monte Carlo Masters last week.

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“Lajovic played well. On the other hand, I played much worse than I wanted to,” Djokovic told reporters after the defeat in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“I cannot win matches against opponents who are this solid on this surface by playing like this.

“I didn’t feel well on the court, my legs were slow and my footwork was torpid, many missed shots, totally without direction. I played well at times but I played noticeably under my level.”

With Rafa Nadal having skipped a string of clay tournaments due to injury, Djokovic will be looking to build momentum ahead of the French Open where the Serbian will target a 23rd Grand Slam to go ahead of the Spaniard.

The French Open, the second Grand Slam of the season, begins on May 28.

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“I hope to get into tip top shape for Roland Garros. I want to play my best tennis there,” said Djokovic, who has also been struggling with an elbow injury.

“The conditions are totally different there in comparison with Monte Carlo and Banja Luka. There are still several weeks to practice and play.

“In the previous seasons, I’ve always had an unsatisfying and slow start on clay and then played much better tennis in the final stages.

“I hope to repeat the same pattern this year.” (Reuters/NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media, Information and Computer Technology Consultant. A quintessential Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist is based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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