Liverpool prevent Salah from joining Pharaohs

Liverpool prevent Salah from joining Pharaohs
Egypt’s football association said Monday that Liverpool refused to release Mohamed Salah for national duties in upcoming World Cup qualifiers due to England’s stringent quarantine regulations. (AFP)
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Updated 23 August 2021

Liverpool prevent Salah from joining Pharaohs

Liverpool prevent Salah from joining Pharaohs
  • The Association was informed by Liverpool of their regret of Mohamed Salah being unable to join the national team in the World Cup qualifiers
  • Egypt and Brazil and are on the UK Government's 'red list'

CAIRO: Egypt’s football association (EFA) said on Monday Liverpool had refused to release Mohamed Salah for the Pharaohs’ upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Angola and Gabon due to UK quarantine regulations.
“The Association was informed by Liverpool of their regret of Mohamed Salah being unable to join the national team in their matches against Angola in Cairo and Gabon in Franceville as part of... the World Cup qualifiers,” the EFA said in a statement posted on its social media.
British media reported earlier that the Reds were also refusing to release Fabinho, Roberto Firmino and Alisson Becker for Brazil’s three upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Both Egypt and Brazil and are on the UK Government’s ‘red list’.
Egypt’s governing body said the decision by Liverpool was prompted by “mandatory isolation for 10 days” for travelers returning from those countries.
The EFA said it had urged FIFA to waive quarantine restrictions for international players to ease them joining their national squads for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
In the summer, Liverpool refused to allow star striker Salah to play in the Olympics, where Egypt reached the quarter-finals before losing to eventual gold medallists Brazil.
After their title defense last season was torpedoed by a string of injuries, Liverpool have made a solid start to this campaign, winning both their Premier League games.
Salah, 29, became the first player in English Premier League history to score a goal on the opening weekend of five consecutive seasons.
Hossam Badry, the Pharaohs’ coach, announced last week a list of overseas players unable to join the Egypt squad including Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny and Olympiakos’ Ahmed Hassan.


Abdulelah Mir Alem takes gold for Saudi at MMA Youth World Championships in Abu Dhabi

Abdulelah Mir Alem takes gold for Saudi at MMA Youth World Championships in Abu Dhabi
Updated 19 August 2022

Abdulelah Mir Alem takes gold for Saudi at MMA Youth World Championships in Abu Dhabi

Abdulelah Mir Alem takes gold for Saudi at MMA Youth World Championships in Abu Dhabi
  • The Kingdom’s first top award at the tournament came in the 62 kg category

ABU DHABI: Saudi MMA fighter Abdulelah Mir Alem has a won a gold medal at the 2022 IMMAF Youth World Championships in Abu Dhabi.

The Saudi fighter defeated Isaac Esparza of the US in the 62 kg category of the tournament taking place at the Jiu-Jitsu Arena in the UAE capital from Aug. 17-20.

After his win, Alem expressed his happiness at claiming Saudi’s first gold of the competition and its first MMA win at international level in that weight category.

Abdulaziz Julaidan, chairman of the Saudi Mixed Martial Arts Federation and head of the Kingdom’s delegation in Abu Dhabi, praised Alem’s achievement and the role that government support for Saudi athletes has played. He highlighted the importance of the continuing programs targeting similar achievements in future competitions.


New Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne credits Diriyah E-Prix for kick-starting triumphant season

New Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne credits Diriyah E-Prix for kick-starting triumphant season
Updated 19 August 2022

New Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne credits Diriyah E-Prix for kick-starting triumphant season

New Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne credits Diriyah E-Prix for kick-starting triumphant season
  • The Belgian, 30, highlights importance of Saudi Arabian races this year as he claims his maiden world title in South Korea

RIYADH: Newly crowned ABB FIA Formula E World Champion Stoffel Vandoorne has credited the season-opening Diriyah E-Prix double-header races as a key factor in his “incredible” year as he paid tribute to his departing Mercedes-EQ team.

In the all-electric championship’s 100th race, the 30-year-old Belgian clinched his first Formula E title following a second-place finish in Round 16 of the Seoul E-Prix. The result meant he finished 33 points ahead of Jaguar’s Mitch Evans, who had triumphed in Round 15 to keep his hopes for the title alive.

It was the perfect end to Vandoorne’s season, who despite only claiming one race victory, showed consistency in picking up regular points throughout the 16 races which began in January this year at Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah E-Prix.

“I felt every race this year was very important, but to start the season at the Diriyah E-Prix with pole position and to then finish second in the first race was a very good feeling, especially as it came after a very long winter break,” he said.

“To start the season on a high is motivating for everybody, not just for myself but also for the team. It made me realize that we’re back and in good shape.

“We had won the championship the year before and it gave a lot of confidence to everyone within the team that we had the competitive tools to fight for the best results.”

The Seoul E-Prix marked the end of the Formula E chapter for Mercedes-EQ, and although Vandoorne hinted that he is likely to feature in the 2023 season, he expressed his disappointment that he will not be able to race for them again, especially after clinching their second consecutive teams’ world championship title in South Korea.

The ex-Formula One driver said: “It’s a shame, as I would’ve liked to have continued with Mercedes-EQ. When I first joined them, I was thinking of a long-term partnership, but all things have to come to an end, and we have to move on.

“Everyone knew about this decision for a long time, which gave them time to figure out their future plans. I obviously will miss racing for them, both as a team and as a brand. They are one of the biggest motorsport teams in the world and it doesn’t matter what series they enter, they are always winning. It will be a team that I’ll miss.”


Gamers8 hosts week-long Gameathon with $530,000 up for grabs

Gamers8 hosts week-long Gameathon with $530,000 up for grabs
Updated 19 August 2022

Gamers8 hosts week-long Gameathon with $530,000 up for grabs

Gamers8 hosts week-long Gameathon with $530,000 up for grabs
  • Contest to develop game prototypes from scratch
  • Runs at AlFaisal University in Riyadh until Aug. 24

RIYADH: Gamers8 on Thursday night launched the week-long Gameathon competition at AlFaisal University in Riyadh, with prize money of $530,000 up for grabs.

The university is a partner in the competition, which is similar to a hackathon, in which competitors try their hand at developing a game prototype from scratch.

Gameathon runs until Aug. 24 and provides a platform for individuals to showcase their creative skills by utilizing video games as a common language.

With more than 600 participants expected, Gameathon is open to people from all ages and backgrounds to explore new technology tools in 10 different educational zones.

Turki Alfawzan, chief executive officer at the Saudi Esports Federation, said: “We aim to develop an industry ecosystem in which different disciplines collaborate for the advancement of the gaming community, and in this case focusing on the educational aspect of esports.

“Gameathon is a bridge to greatly enhance gamers’ ability to professionalize their passion into the world of esports. Developers, designers, and artists will enjoy this experience where they can learn many new, and unexpected, skills while supporting their team by contributing ideas, and playtesting.”

Meanwhile Dr. Yousef Al-Yousef, vice president of Graduate School, Research and Innovation at AlFaisal University, commented: “One of the university’s goals is to partner with industries that positively impact the local economy and the society we live in. The gaming industry — bigger than the movie and music industries combined — is well known and acknowledged as a sector in Saudi Arabia that is immensely capable of achieving those impacts. Gameathon is a big part of that.

“One of the major ambitions of Gameathon is to bring the community together at the junction of art and technology, as well as to offer a space and platform for gaming studios to present their work.”


Bradley off to fast start in bid to make FedEx Cup finale

Bradley off to fast start in bid to make FedEx Cup finale
Updated 19 August 2022

Bradley off to fast start in bid to make FedEx Cup finale

Bradley off to fast start in bid to make FedEx Cup finale
  • Bradley is at No. 44 in the FedEx Cup and likely needs a top 10 to advance to the Tour Championship in Atlanta to chase the $18 million prize

WILMINGTON, Delaware: Keegan Bradley hasn’t been to the FedEx Cup finale in four years, and he started the BMW Championship on Thursday like he was in a hurry to get back.

Bradley matched a career low with a 29 on the front nine at Wilmington Country Club and finished with a 7-under 64 to take a one-shot lead over Adam Scott.

Bradley is at No. 44 in the FedEx Cup and likely needs a top 10 — he hasn’t had one since the US Open — to be among the 30 players who will advance to the Tour Championship in Atlanta to chase the $18 million prize.

He isn’t willing to consider the scenarios until it matters, which is Sunday. Until then, it’s all about try to do win a tournament, just like any week.

“My plan is I’m going to go home and see my kids no matter what on Sunday night,” Bradley said. “I’d love to go to Atlanta. That’s everyone’s goal to start the year.”

Scott started the postseason at No. 77 and tied for fifth in the playoff opener last week just to make it to the second stage. Now he’s at No. 45, giving him a chance. It also meant being paired with Bradley, and they put on quite a show. They combined for 15 birdies.

“He played beautifully today, and I was really just trying to follow his lead,” Scott said. “He kind of had everything going the way he wanted, and most of the time he was teeing off first and I was just trying to follow.”

PGA champion Justin Thomas put a different putter in the bag and responded with a 66 to leave him in the group with former British Open champion Shane Lowry and Harold Varner III.

Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa led the group at 67.

Rory McIlroy was the only player from the afternoon who looked to challenge Bradley, and he was doing just that at 6 under with four holes to play. But then he was between clubs on the par-3 15th, tried to hit a soft cut with a 5-iron and put his tee shot into he water. He took three putts from just short of the green, missing a 3-footer, and made triple bogey.

McIlroy was in the group at 68 that included Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay, who won the BMW Championship last year an hour down the road at Caves Valley on his way to capturing the FedEx Cup.

McIlroy was able to accept one bad swing that cost him three shots, especially having missed the cut last week in the FedEx St. Jude Championship.

“Overall the rest of it was pretty good,” he said. “I knew once I got here last weekend, I knew it was a golf course that was going to suit me better than last week. ... Pleased with my game. Disappointed with how I finished, but encouraged with the rest of it.”

The course is new to everyone — Delaware has never hosted a PGA Tour event — though Bradley has reason to feel right at home. He won the BMW Championship in 2018 some 20 miles away at Aronimink when he was No. 52 in the FedEx Cup, sending him to Atlanta.

The courses are nothing alike. If anything, Wilmington reminds several players of a “big brother” to Caves Valley, about the same length (7,534 yards) except playing to a par 71.

Find the fairway, fire at the flag. Miss the fairway, and it’s all about trying to get into position. It doesn’t always work out that way, and Schauffele is thankful for that.

He pulled his tee shot so far left on the par-5 14th that he was in shaggy round just in front of the on No. 3. He could see a portion of the green between a television tower, some video equipment and the trees. Schauffele got line-of-sight relief, and his drop happened to be on one of the forward tees. He belted a 3-wood onto the green for birdie.

Will Zalatoris won his first PGA Tour title last week at an ideal time, moving to the top of the FedEx Cup standings. Three holes into the BMW Championship, he went bunker to rough to bunker and then three-putted for a double bogey.

He rallied with four birdies on the back and escaped with a 70. Scottie Scheffler, the No. 1 player in the world coming off a missed cut, still felt scrappy but holed enough putts for a 69.


Liverpool clash threatens more misery for Man United

Liverpool clash threatens more misery for Man United
Updated 19 August 2022

Liverpool clash threatens more misery for Man United

Liverpool clash threatens more misery for Man United
  • Always one of the biggest clashes in the English football calendar, Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford has taken on even more importance after a difficult few weeks for both clubs

MANCHESTER: Rooted to the bottom of the Premier League for the first time in 30 years, Manchester United’s disastrous start to the season on and off the field could still get worse when they face Liverpool on Monday.

Always one of the biggest clashes in the English football calendar, Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford has taken on even more importance after a difficult few weeks for both clubs.

Liverpool’s title hopes have already been hit by draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace to leave Jurgen Klopp’s men four points adrift of defending champions Manchester City.

However, Liverpool’s woes of an early season injury crisis and the absence of Darwin Nunez due to his ill-discipline that cost the Uruguayan a red card on his home debut, pale into insignificance compared to United’s troubles.

Erik ten Hag is off to the worst start of any United manager for over 100 years after a 4-0 humbling at the hands of Brentford followed Brighton’s first ever win at Old Trafford on the opening weekend of the season.

A large-scale protest by United fans is planned before kick-off aimed at the club’s owners, the Glazer family.

“A fish rots from the head,” said the Manchester United Supporters Trust this week with pressure rising on the Americans to consider selling the club.

Elon Musk joked he was buying the Red Devils this week, while Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe has signalled his interest.

The lack of a coordinated transfer strategy has left Ten Hag to work with largely the same squad that suffered 5-0 and 4-0 thrashings at the hands of Liverpool in their two meetings last season.

Ten Hag, though, also has questions to ask after pushing for the signing of Lisandro Martinez from his old club Ajax despite the Argentine centerback’s diminutive frame seemingly being unsuited to the rigors of the Premier League.

Martinez was hauled off at halftime against Brentford with United already trailing 4-0, but Ten Hag conceded afterwards all 11 of his starting line-up could have been replaced.

Brentford players covered 13.8 kilometers more in that match and Ten Hag reportedly responded by canceling a planned day off to make his squad run that distance the day after defeat last Saturday.

But it is on the pitch he needs a response with Liverpool also wounded for their trip to Manchester.

City’s transformation into the dominant club in English football over the past decade thanks to the flow of investment from Abu Dhabi appeared the blueprint for Newcastle to follow under the ownership of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.

But Newcastle’s first summer transfer window under the new regime has been surprisingly quiet with Nick Pope and Sven Botman the only new faces at St. James’ Park.

They have still enjoyed a strong start to the season with four points from their first two games, but City’s visit will give an early indication as to how seriously the Magpies could challenge for a top-four finish.

Leicester are the only Premier League club yet to spend any money in the window and manager Brendan Rodgers is not expecting that to change due to the state of the club’s finances.

“I spent my summer holidays convincing players to come but when I come back the reality of the situation is there and we are unable to follow through with it,” said Rodgers on Thursday.

“I don’t run the finances of the club. I run the football department and if they say we can’t sign a player I trust the club that it’s the case.”

The Foxes long-serving captain Kasper Schmeichel joined Nice earlier this month and more key players could still leave with Wesley Fofana a target for Chelsea, while Newcastle have had bids rejected for James Maddison.

After just one point from their opening two games, Leicester badly need a win when Southampton visit on Saturday to lift the mood around the King Power ahead of a tough run of fixtures that includes trips to Chelsea and Tottenham in their next five games.

Fixtures (all times GMT)

Saturday

Tottenham vs Wolves (1130), Leicester vs Southampton, Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa, Everton vs Nottingham Forest, Fulham vs Brentford (all 1400), Bournemouth vs Arsenal (1630)

Sunday

Leeds vs Chelsea, West Ham vs Brighton (both 1300), Newcastle vs Manchester City (1530)

Monday

Manchester United vs Liverpool (1900)