Police make arrest in PSG women’s team assault case

Police make arrest in PSG women’s team assault case
Aminata Diallo and Kheira Hamraoui. (Getty Images)
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Updated 27 April 2022

Police make arrest in PSG women’s team assault case

Police make arrest in PSG women’s team assault case
  • A source close to the case said the arrested man was a ‘friend’ of Aminata Diallo, Kheira Hamraoui’s team-mate and midfield rival
  • Hamraoui reportedly told police after the assault that she suspected Diallo might be involved because of the unusual route she took home and the slow speed of their vehicle

VERSAILLES, France: French police arrested a suspect Wednesday over the unresolved street attack against Paris Saint-German women’s footballer Kheira Hamraoui last year, which shook the Qatar-owned club.
The prosecutor’s office in Versailles, southwest of Paris, said that a suspect had been taken into custody five months since Hamraoui was dragged from a car and beaten on the legs with an iron bar near the French capital.
A source close to the case said the arrested man was a “friend” of Aminata Diallo, Hamraoui’s team-mate and midfield rival who was detained by police immediately after the incident last November but has always denied involvement.
Police believe that the arrested suspect, who was described as “known to police,” might have played a role in the assault, said the source, asking not to be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the case.
Hamraoui was assaulted on November 4 as she returned home from a club dinner in a car being driven by Diallo.
The two players, both capped by France, were competing for the same spot in the PSG team and police appeared to initially focus on a theory that sporting rivalry might explain the attack.
“We are not aware of any friend of Aminata Diallo having been placed in custody,” Diallo’s lawyer, Mourad Battikh, told AFP.
“Aminata Diallo, more than anyone else, wants the light and the truth to be found in this case.”
Diallo and one of her friends, who was in jail at the time, were detained but released without charge in early November last year.
In a statement released after her two days of questioning, she denounced a “totally artificial suggestion of a rivalry” between her and Hamraoui, and she blasted “media speculation which has already condemned her, without justification.”
Hamraoui’s relationship with several of her teammates has reportedly deteriorated because they blame her for Diallo’s arrest.
Hamraoui reportedly told police after the assault that she suspected Diallo might be involved because of the unusual route she took home and the slow speed of their vehicle when the two attackers sprang out to stop the car.
Last Saturday, a new altercation occurred during PSG training between several players and Hamraoui, according to a source close to the club.
Hamraoui was not in the PSG squad for the Champions League semifinal first leg against Lyon on Sunday and will not join club training this week or play in the second leg on Saturday.
Last month, Hamraoui’s lawyer, Said Harir, wrote to PSG to denounce “a campaign of harassment and denigration.”


Swiatek racks up 31st straight win as French Open gets Nordic twist

Swiatek racks up 31st straight win as French Open gets Nordic twist
Updated 56 min 17 sec ago

Swiatek racks up 31st straight win as French Open gets Nordic twist

Swiatek racks up 31st straight win as French Open gets Nordic twist
  • Swiatek’s winning streak is the best since Serena Williams’s 34 successive victories in 2013

PARIS: World No. 1 Iga Swiatek was the only top 10 women’s seed left standing at the French Open on Saturday as Casper Ruud and Holger Rune gave Roland Garros a rare Nordic twist with landmark performances.

Swiatek, the 2020 champion, dropped serve three times against 95th-ranked Danka Kovinic of Montenegro before sealing a 6-3, 7-5 third round victory, her 31st successive win.

“I wanted to play really aggressively but sometimes I felt I was hitting with too much power and it was hard to control,” said the 20-year-old Pole.

Swiatek’s winning streak is the best since Serena Williams’s 34 successive victories in 2013.

She next faces Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen who made the last 16 on her debut when French veteran Alize Cornet, playing in her 61st consecutive Grand Slam, retired with a leg injury, trailing 6-0, 3-0.

Having stunned 2018 champion Simona Halep in the second round, Zheng becomes only the fourth Chinese woman to make the fourth round in Paris where compatriot Li Na captured her landmark Slam title in 2011.

“I always knew I had the level to do well, now I just want to keep going,” said the 19-year-old Zheng, ranked at 74.

Cornet, the last Frenchwoman in the draw, was booed off by the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd.

“It hurt more than my injury,” she said.

Spain’s Paula Badosa, who made the quarterfinals in 2021, retired due to a calf injury when she was trailing Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 2-1.

Aryna Sabalenka, the seventh seed, slipped to a 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 defeat against Italy’s Camila Giorgi.

The exits of Badosa and Sabalenka meant that for the first time in the Open era only one top 10 seed has survived to the fourth round.

In stark contrast, nine of the top 10 men’s seeds have made the second week.

Eighth-seeded Casper Ruud became the first Norwegian man to reach the last 16 with a 6-2, 6-7 (3/7), 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego.

Ruud hit 39 winners and goes on to face Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, a Wimbledon semifinalist last year who is also in the last 16 in Paris for the first time.

Meanwhile, Holger Rune became the first Danish man in the Roland Garros fourth round since 1959 when he knocked out France’s last man, Hugo Gaston.

Rune, 19, and ranked at 40, breezed to a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win and next faces 2021 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The last Danish man to make a Slam fourth round was Kenneth Carlsen at the 1993 Australian Open.

Fourth seed Tsitsipas needed just 92 minutes to clinch a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 win over 95th-ranked Mikael Ymer.

The Greek star had to come back from two sets down to beat Lorenzo Musetti and then needed four hours and four sets to see off 134th-ranked qualifier Zdenek Kolar in his first two outings.

However, the 23-year-old was never troubled on Saturday, breaking his Swedish opponent six times.

“It was different from my first two matches. The conditions were warmer and drier, which suited me better,” said Tsitsipas after a season-leading 34th win.

World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev eased through by defeating Serbian 28th seed Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.

Medvedev has not dropped a set in three rounds and will next play former US Open champion Marin Cilic who ended 37-year-old Gilles Simon’s 17-year-old Roland Garros career with a 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 win.

Medvedev fell in the opening round on his first four trips to Paris before reaching the quarterfinals a year ago.

“It was really hard, everyone was asking how I could be number two in the world without getting past the first round,” said the US Open champion who has never won a clay title.

Mackenzie McDonald, the 60th-ranked American, lost to Italian 11th seed Jannik Sinner after managing to squander 11 set points in the second set.

Sinner, a quarterfinalist in 2020, triumphed 6-3, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 and will face seventh-seeded Andrey Rublev for a last-eight spot.

Rublev, also a quarterfinalist two years ago, defeated Chile’s Cristian Garin 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (13/11).


Real Madrid beats Liverpool 1-0 for 14th European Cup title

Real Madrid beats Liverpool 1-0 for 14th European Cup title
Updated 29 May 2022

Real Madrid beats Liverpool 1-0 for 14th European Cup title

Real Madrid beats Liverpool 1-0 for 14th European Cup title
  • Brazil winger Vinícius Júnior applied a close-range finish in the 59th minute from Federico Valverde’s drive across the face of goal
  • Game started 37 minutes late because of disturbing crowd issues outside the Stade de France

PARIS: Real Madrid became European champion for a record-extending 14th time after beating Liverpool 1-0 in a Champions League final that started 37 minutes late because of disturbing crowd issues outside the Stade de France on Saturday.
Brazil winger Vinícius Júnior applied a close-range finish in the 59th minute from Federico Valverde’s drive across the face of goal, securing a win that gave Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti a record fourth European Cup title.
While Madrid completed a Champions League-La Liga double, Liverpool finished a season that promised so much — a week ago, it was in contention for an unprecedented quadruple of major trophies — with just the two domestic cups in England.

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior (L) scores the opening goal past Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the Champions League final match on May 28, 2022. (AFP)

The English team couldn’t find a way past Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who tipped Sadio Mane’s first-half shot onto the post and produced an even better save to turn away Mohamed Salah’s effort in the 81st.
“Today nobody was going to get in my way,” Courtois said. “I was going to win a Champions League no matter what.”
Vinicius sank to his knees and covered his face at fulltime. Many of his teammates sprinted the length of the field to celebrate in front of Madrid’s fans at one end of the stadium.

Real Madrid's Marcelo celebrates with teammates after winning the Champions League title on Saturday in Paris. (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

Marcelo, Madrid’s serial winner of trophies who didn’t even play a minute of the final, was given the honor of lifting the trophy to a backdrop of fireworks and tickertape.
Madrid underlined its status as the king of European soccer, given the Spanish giant owns double the number of European Cups as the No. 2 on the list, AC Milan.
And this time, there was no need for the kind of stirring comeback that the Spanish giant had to produce in getting past Paris Saint-Germain, defending champion Chelsea and Manchester City in the knockout stage.
It might go down as the most grueling run to the title in the long history of the competition.

Real Madrid's Lucas Vazquez holds a child after their Champions League final soccer match with Liverpool on May 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) 

For many, especially Liverpool fans, pre-match crowd issues overshadowed this final, though, and are sure to be the focus of an investigation by UEFA and authorities in the coming days.
Riot police fired tear gas and pepper spray at supporters waiting in long lines to get into European soccer’s showpiece game, whose kickoff was delayed.
UEFA blamed the chaos on people trying to get into the stadium without legitimate tickets, without providing details on where they could be from.
“In the lead-up to the game, the turnstiles at the Liverpool end became blocked by thousands of fans who purchased fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles,” UEFA said in a statement.
Some fans climbed fences surround the stadium to get in. Others barged their way past security and sprinted onto the concourse before getting wrestled to the ground.

Fans climb the fence of the Stade de France before the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid on May 28, 2022. (AFP)

Riot police with batons and riot shields ran from gate to gate to prevent pockets of fans forcing their way into the stadium.
“I’ve got really bad asthma and I’ve been tear gassed twice,” Liverpool fan Angela Murphy told The Associated Press through a fence. “I’m really struggling.”
About 15 minutes before the scheduled kickoff of 9 p.m. local time, an announcement was made that there would be a delay. It was greeted by jeers inside the stadium.
The scenes were reminiscent of the chaos outside Wembley Stadium before the European Championship final last year between England and Italy.


Champions League final kicks off late after crowd issues

A fan is held by a police officer and a steward inside the stadium by the turnstiles as the match is delayed. (Reuters)
A fan is held by a police officer and a steward inside the stadium by the turnstiles as the match is delayed. (Reuters)
Updated 29 May 2022

Champions League final kicks off late after crowd issues

A fan is held by a police officer and a steward inside the stadium by the turnstiles as the match is delayed. (Reuters)
  • Angry Liverpool fans held in the lines were seen hanging onto railings and heard shouting: “Let us in. We’ve got tickets”
  • There were many instances of fans breaking through security and attempting to get into the stadium

PARIS: Police deployed tear gas on supporters waiting in long lines to get into the Stade de France and security struggled with fans desperate to see the Champions League final that was delayed by 37 minutes on Saturday.

Media reports said the process of organizing the fans’ entry was disrupted due to fake tickets that were alleged to have been sold through pirated online portals.

European football governing body UEFA then blamed “fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles” for a delay.
UEFA said French police had fired tear gas to disperse thousands of frustrated fans who were building up outside the Stade de France as a result of the fake tickets issue.
But English giants Liverpool said they were “hugely disappointed” that their supporters had been subjected to an “unacceptable” breakdown of the security perimeter at France’s national stadium.

Angry Liverpool fans held in the lines were seen hanging onto railings and heard shouting: “Let us in. We’ve got tickets.”
There were many instances of fans breaking through security and attempting to get into the stadium. The Associated Press saw two fans — one was wearing Liverpool attire — wrestled to the ground by stewards and bundled out of the gates.
Three more fans were seen evading stewards and sprinting through the concourse and into the bottom level of the stadium. Others climbed the fences instead.
Supporter Colm Lacey saw “children crying, people trapped” outside the entrances.
“People started jumping the queue, then they ripped the gate open and then there was a push,” Lacey said.
Police officers with batons and riot shields ran from gate to gate to prevent pockets of fans forcing their way into the stadium without showing tickets. One policeman collapsed to the ground and had to be helped by other officers. Officers used tear gas on Liverpool fans on repeated occasions.

Correspondents from the BeIN sports channel reported acts of hooliganism outside the stadium.
One Liverpool fan kissed his ticket and looked to the sky after finally getting through security.
The scenes were reminiscent of the chaos outside Wembley Stadium before the European Championship final last year between England and Italy.
There were long lines of Liverpool fans still outside the stadium when there was 40 minutes to kickoff.
Then, about 15 minutes before the scheduled kickoff of 9 p.m. local time (1900 GMT), an announcement was made that there would be a delay, blaming the late arrival of fans to the stadium. It was greeted by jeers inside the stadium, given those fans had already endured long queues.
The game eventually started at 9.37 p.m. local time.

(With AP and AFP)

 


Chelsea takeover imminent after final agreement reached

Chelsea takeover imminent after final agreement reached
Updated 28 May 2022

Chelsea takeover imminent after final agreement reached

Chelsea takeover imminent after final agreement reached
  • The club said Saturday that “a final and definitive agreement was entered into last night” to sell to the Boehly and Clearlake Capital consortium
  • The price is 2.5 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) — the highest ever for a sports team

LONDON: The sale of Premier League club Chelsea is expected to be completed Monday after a “final and definitive” agreement was reached with the consortium fronted by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly.
The club said Saturday that “a final and definitive agreement was entered into last night” to sell to the Boehly and Clearlake Capital consortium. The price is 2.5 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) — the highest ever for a sports team.
“It is expected that the transaction will be completed on Monday,” the club said.
The announcement followed a series of approvals allowing Roman Abramovich to sell after he was sanctioned over his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin after the invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich has owned the club for 19 years.
The British government, which had sanctioned Abramovich, approved the sale this week after ensuring that the Russian oligarch could not profit from it. The Premier League had earlier given its approval.
Chelsea have been operating under a government license since Abramovich’s assets were frozen in March and it expires Tuesday.
“It has been an honor of a lifetime to be a part of this club,” Abramovich said in a statement posted on Chelsea’s website.
“My goal has been to ensure that the next owner has a mindset that will enable success for the men’s and women’s team, as well as the will and drive to continue developing other key aspects of the club, such as the academy and the vital work of Chelsea Foundation,” he added.
The men’s team have won 21 trophies during Abramovich’s ownership. Chelsea fans have become accustomed to lavish spending under Abramovich, with more than $1 billion net spending on players.
Boehly’s group was chosen earlier this month after pledging to invest 1.75 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) in the teams and infrastructure.
The consortium also features Dodgers principal owner Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, and funding from private equity firm Clearlake.
“I am pleased this search has now come to a successful conclusion,” Abramovich said. “As I hand over Chelsea to its new custodians, I would like to wish them the best of success, both on and off the pitch.”


Winners of Prince Faisal bin Fahad Award for Sports Research announced

Winners of Prince Faisal bin Fahad Award for Sports Research announced
Updated 28 May 2022

Winners of Prince Faisal bin Fahad Award for Sports Research announced

Winners of Prince Faisal bin Fahad Award for Sports Research announced
  • The $2 million international research grant program was launched in 1983 by the late Prince Faisal bin Fahad Al-Saud

Seventeen project proposals exploring topics related to sports in Saudi Arabia have been chosen in the latest funding round of the Prince Faisal bin Fahad Award for Sports Research.

The $2 million international research grant program was launched in 1983 by the late Prince Faisal bin Fahad Al-Saud, President of the General Presidency of Youth Welfare (later the Ministry of Sport) and chairman of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, to capitalize on the tremendous role research played for the development and training of world-class Saudi athletes.

Selected from more than 400 proposals – covering  public health, coaching and education, or youth and grassroots tacks – coming from over sixty countries, the winning projects were awarded grants ranging from $80,000 to $120,000 to execute a year-long research project focused on sports in Saudi Arabia. An independent scientific committee appointed by the International Academy of Sport Science and Technology based in Lausanne, Switzerland selected the winners.

The recipients include Dr. Amanda Visek from The George Washington University, whose project explores why Saudi youth opt out of sport participation and their motivations to opt in and stay involved with sports; Dr. Matthew Reeves from the University of Central Lancashire, whose project examines the talent identification and talent development processes and practices in football in Saudi Arabia; Prof. Hussein Ageely from Jazan University, whose project examines the effects of a home-based physical activity program on the quality of life for Saudi type-2 diabetes patients

Also chosen was Dr. Deepti Adlakha from North Carolina State University, whose project explores the correlation between physical activity, sedentary behavior, and weight status in adolescents, and neighborhood environments in Saudi Arabia; and Dr. Ahmed Alanezi from Alfaisal University, whose project explores the governance and the gender equality agenda of professional football clubs in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Mahmoud Abulmeaty of King Saud University on the development and validation of new predictive equations for energy requirements in Saudi athletes and Dr. Abdulrahman Alshabeb of Imam Mohammed bin Saud Islamic University on Fun Move Saudi: Promoting physical activity and health in children through fundamental movement skill development will also be funded.