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Spanish football admits it has racism problem

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JOSE JORDAN/ AFP [For illustration]

Spanish football has a racism problem, federation chief Luis Rubiales said on Monday, after Real Madrid lodged a complaint following alleged insults hurled at their Brazilian star Vinicius Jr.

The top-flight LaLiga is under pressure to do more to combat racism after the Brazilian president, FIFA and fellow stars such as Kylian Mbappe voiced support for Vinicius, even as LaLiga President Javier Tebas wrote on Twitter that it is doing enough and Vinicius should inform himself “before you criticise and slander LaLiga”.

“The first thing is to recognise that we have a problem in our country,” Rubiales said at a press conference in Madrid on Monday.

It is “a serious problem that also stains an entire team, an entire fan base, an entire club, an entire country.”

A match at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia was stopped for 10 minutes after the 22-year-old forward, Real Madrid’s second top scorer this season (23) behind Karim Benzema (29), pointed out fans who were allegedly hurling racist comments at him.

Videos posted on social media and verified by Reuters showed hundreds of Valencia fans singing “Vinicius is a monkey” as the Real Madrid bus arrived at the stadium before the match.

“I am sorry for those Spaniards who disagree but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists,” Vinicius Jr wrote on Twitter after the game.

Rubiales criticised Tebas’s comments, describing them as “irresponsible behaviour.”

“Probably Vinicius is more right than we think and we all need to do more about racism,” Rubiales said.

Real Madrid said on Monday they have lodged a hate crime complaint following the incident in Valencia.

It is the 10th episode of alleged racism against Vinicius that has been reported to prosecutors this season, according to LaLiga.

Spanish police are also investigating a possible hate crime against Vinicius Jr after a mannequin wearing his number 20 shirt was hung from a bridge outside Real Madrid’s training ground in January ahead of the club’s derby match with Atletico Madrid.

Prosecutors dropped a complaint filed for racist chants aimed at the player in September during another game against Atletico Madrid.

The prosecutor archived the case because the chants of “monkey” were only said a couple of times and “only lasted a few seconds,” highlighting how Spain’s penal code makes it difficult to prosecute racist incidents at football games.

Spanish prosecutors officially investigated just three cases of racist acts during the 2021-22 season, according to the Interior Ministry.

Under current rules, people found guilty of racist behaviour can be fined up to 4,000 euros ($4,403) and banned from stadiums for a year.

There is growing momentum for Spain to do more to tackle the problem.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called on FIFA and LaLiga to “take real action” while FIFA President Gianni Infantino offered his “full solidarity” and called for LaLiga to enforce a rule that penalises clubs with points deductions if racist chants persist.

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How World Championship of Legends will change legends cricket forever

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Cricket enthusiasts worldwide are witnessing a groundbreaking shift in the legendary game of cricket through the World Championship of Legends. Here’s why this championship is reshaping the cricketing landscape

Firstly, it stands out as the only league in its category approved by a Test Playing Nation. This validation brings a new level of prestige and authenticity to the championship.

Secondly, the matches are set to unfold on the iconic grounds of Edgbaston. These hallowed cricketing grounds hold a rich history and add an aura of grandeur to the championship.

One of the distinctive features of this league is that players will proudly don their country’s colors while competing. This patriotic display adds a layer of pride and passion to the matches, fostering a deeper connection with fans.

A highlight of the championship is the India versus Pakistan clash, a rivalry steeped in cricketing lore. This showdown not only ignites the competitive spirit but also captures the imagination of fans worldwide.
Moreover, the championship boasts an extensive pool of cricketers, including legends like Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Suresh Raina, Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Kamran Akmal, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs, and many others. This diverse lineup ensures fierce competition and thrilling performances on the field.

Cricketing legend Kevin Pietersen current player for England Champions at WCL, shares, “I can’t wait to feel the energy of Edgbaston. It is truly one of the exciting atmospheres to be in, especially when you are playing for England at one of the prestigious venues of cricket. Edgbaston is known to have one of the most passionate crowds, and I am excited to be in action.”

Cricketing icon Brett Lee, playing for Australia Champions, shares, ‘I am beyond proud to be a part of World Championship of Legends. Putting on my country’s colors back again and playing on one of the leading venues of world cricket, Edgbaston, is about representing the pride and passion of millions of fans while giving it my all on the field.’

Sharing more on playing for Australia Champions, Brett Lee shares, “Playing for the World Championship of Legends is not just a privilege, it’s a reminder of the honor and passion that fuels the game.”

What sets this league apart is its inclusion of not just retired players but also those who are not currently signed with their respective cricket boards. This inclusion of free agents adds an element of unpredictability and toughness to the competition, making every match a must-watch spectacle.

Adding to the league’s allure is Bollywood megastar Ajay Devgn, who has invested in the championship, further elevating its profile and appeal. This partnership has garnered significant interest, evident in the sale of tickets worth 125K USD on the very first day.

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Al Ain v Al Hilal ACL semi-final postponed due to weather – ARN News Centre

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Tuesday, 16 April 2024 16:59

By ARN News Staff

via X

The Asian Champions League semi-final first leg between Al Ain and Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal has been postponed due to the weather, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said on Tuesday.

The match was set to be played on Tuesday evening in Al Ain but will now be played on Wednesday, April 17 after the country experienced heavy rainfall and thunderstorms.

UAE authorities had urged residents to stay at home due to the weather conditions.

“The UAE Football Association has suspended all football activities for Tuesday, keeping in view the safety of all fans, players and stakeholders,” AFC said in a statement.

The match has been rescheduled for Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.

 



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England’s highest wicket-taking spinner Underwood dies at 78 – ARN News Centre

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AFP

Former England bowler Derek Underwood has died at the age of 78, his former team Kent County Cricket Club said on Monday.

Underwood played 86 test matches for England and took 297 wickets, the country’s highest wicket-taking spinner of all time in the format and the sixth highest wicket-taker overall. His 16-year international career includes 17 five-wicket hauls.

The retrospective ICC rankings put him as the world’s number one bowler for nearly four years between 1969 and 1973.

Underwood, born in Kent, played for his local club for 24 years before retiring in 1987 and had 10 seasons where he took 100 or more wickets.

“Watching Derek weave his unique magic on a wet wicket was a privilege for all who were able to witness it,” Simon Philip, chair of Kent Cricket, said in a statement.

“His induction into the ICC Hall of Fame shows the esteem in which he was held in world cricket.”

Underwood also served as the president of Kent Cricket and the Marylebone Cricket Club after retiring as a player.

“Derek also made substantial contributions off the field as well as on it and he will be sorely missed by everyone at Kent Cricket,” Philip added.

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