British fans condemn Champions League final chaos

British fans condemn Champions League final chaos
A Liverpool lawmaker from the Labour Party, Ian Byrne, tweeted saying he just endured one of the worst experiences in his life. (AP/File)
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Updated 29 May 2022

British fans condemn Champions League final chaos

British fans condemn Champions League final chaos
  • European football governing body UEFA blamed ‘fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles’ for a 35-minute delay to the final between Liverpool and Real Madrid

LONDON: British politicians and fans on Sunday condemned the treatment of fans around the stadium before Saturday’s Champions League final, when French police sprayed tear gas on Liverpool supporters.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told Sky News on Sunday: “It is concerning to see that people either didn’t get into the stadium or were ... treated with a very aggressive approach.”

Earlier the politician who oversees the sector, Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries, tweeted of “troubling reports” from the stadium.

A Liverpool MP from the opposition Labour Party, Ian Byrne, tweeted that “I’ve just endured one of the worst experiences in my life. Horrendous security and organization putting lives at risk.”

Merseyside Police said in a statement that there were “distressing scenes at the match,” where its officers were deployed.

The force insisted “the vast majority of fans behaved in an exemplary manner.”

Liverpool players were set to take part in an open-top bus parade through the city on Sunday afternoon despite losing in Paris. Police said the city would be “very busy.”

Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson tweeted: “I know many have had a distressing time,” adding that she supported the club’s “call for an explanation into what happened before kickoff.”

Liverpool supporters’ association Spirit of Shankly wrote on Twitter that “Last night was totally shambolic & extremely dangerous — we are gathering evidence from fans & @FansEurope and will be making a statement later.”

One fan, Paul Machin said in a YouTube video that what he witnessed in Paris was “unlike anything I’ve seen at a football match before,” condemning “totally and utterly reprehensible behavior from the French police who were an absolute disgrace.”

Another fan, Andrew Whittle, told Sky News that “Everyone was just funneled into one place” and the crush “was a real Hillsborough sort of moment,” referring to the 1989 stadium disaster at a Liverpool match.

Former Liverpool defender Jim Beglin tweeted that after the match “organized gangs set about mugging departing fans” with “not a police officer in sight.”

Another former Liverpool star Kenny Dalglish said on Twitter that “the way they (fans) were treated by authorities was an absolute joke. Nobody should ever be afraid to go to a football game.”

European football governing body UEFA blamed “fake tickets which did not work in the turnstiles” for a 35-minute delay to the final between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

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 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.

UEFA said they were “sympathetic” to the fans affected and would review the situation together with local police and authorities, as well as the French Football Federation.

However, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin pointed the finger at the Liverpool fans, tweeting that “Thousands of British ‘supporters’ either without tickets or with fake ones forced their way through and sometimes behaved violently toward the stewards.”


Qatar: COVID-19 vaccinations not compulsory for World Cup fans

Qatar: COVID-19 vaccinations not compulsory for World Cup fans
Updated 7 sec ago

Qatar: COVID-19 vaccinations not compulsory for World Cup fans

Qatar: COVID-19 vaccinations not compulsory for World Cup fans
  • All visitors aged over six would have to produce negative COVID-19 tests before taking flights to Qatar for the tournament
DOHA: Coronavirus vaccinations will not be mandatory for the million-plus fans going to the World Cup in Qatar later this year, authorities in the Gulf state said on Thursday.
All visitors aged over six would have to produce negative COVID-19 tests before taking flights to Qatar for the tournament that starts November 20, the authorities said in new health guidelines.

Saudi Arabia take on Bahrain in opening qualifier of ICC U-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Division 2

Saudi Arabia take on Bahrain in opening qualifier of ICC U-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Division 2
Updated 29 September 2022

Saudi Arabia take on Bahrain in opening qualifier of ICC U-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Division 2

Saudi Arabia take on Bahrain in opening qualifier of ICC U-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Division 2
  • Top two teams of qualification campaign in Oman will advance to final 2023 Asia Qualifier with place in 2024 World Cup at stake

Saudi Arabia on Thursday morning take on Bahrain in their opening fixture of the ICC U-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Division 2 — Asia qualifiers taking place in Oman.

The youngsters from the Kingdom will then face the hosts on Saturday, Oct. 1, before concluding their Group A matches with a fixture against Bhutan on Monday, Oct 3.

The eight-team qualification campaign also includes Hong Kong, Qatar, Singapore and Thailand, who make up Group B, and will feature 16 matches over nine days.

The top two teams will then advance to the 2023 Asia Qualifier alongside already-qualified Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal and the UAE, with a place at the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024 at stake.

The Saudi squad landed in Muscat on Wednesday after concluding a 45-day intensive training camp in Riyadh in preparation for the World Cup qualifiers.


John Cena enters Guinness Book of World Records for Make-A-Wish Foundation landmark

John Cena enters Guinness Book of World Records for Make-A-Wish Foundation landmark
Updated 29 September 2022

John Cena enters Guinness Book of World Records for Make-A-Wish Foundation landmark

John Cena enters Guinness Book of World Records for Make-A-Wish Foundation landmark
  • WWE superstar and actor honored after granting his 650th wish earlier this year

RIYADH: WWE superstar John Cena has officially entered the Guinness Book of World Records.

The multiple wrestling champion has set a new record for the most wishes granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, by reaching 650 for their beneficiaries.

Cena’s total was called a “herculean” effort by the Guinness World Records website as no celebrity had managed more than 200.

Make-A-Wish revealed that Cena, who over the last 16 years has become a Hollywood superstar as well, is their most requested celebrity since the foundation’s inception in 1980.

Cena first worked with Make-A-Wish in 2002, and reached his landmark record on July 19, 2022.

“I will drop what I’m doing and be involved because I think that’s the coolest thing,” the 45-year-old WWE superstar said in an interview with Reuters after being honored for completing 500 wishes in 2015.

“If I can offer a fantastic experience, I’ll be first in line to do my part,” Cena added.

This isn’t the first time John Cena has had a major landmark with Make-A-Wish. He also granted the foundation’s 1,000th wish back in 2012.

Inside the ring, Cena is a 13-time WWE Champion, three-time World Heavyweight Champion, two-time WWE Tag Team Champion, two-time World Tag Team champion, five-time US Champion, two-time Royal Rumble match winner, and a 10-time Slammy Award Winner.

He is also tied with “Nature Boy” Ric Flair for the most world championship reigns in professional wrestling history.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation helps grant wishes for children aged two to 18 who have critical illnesses. The non-profit organization provides children the opportunity to meet their favorite celebrities, go to an event of their choice or grant a gift to someone else.

In 1980 a seven-year-old child Chris Greicius, who had been diagnosed with leukemia a year earlier, was granted a wish to be a policeman for a day by an officer he had befriended in Arizona.

The story inspired the creation of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which granted its first official wish to Frank “Bopsy” Salazar in 1981.


Saudi women’s team lose 4-2 to Bhutan in Abha

Saudi women’s team lose 4-2 to Bhutan in Abha
Updated 29 September 2022

Saudi women’s team lose 4-2 to Bhutan in Abha

Saudi women’s team lose 4-2 to Bhutan in Abha
  • The defeat came in the side’s second-ever international match on home soil

The Saudi women’s national football team on Wednesday night lost 4-2 to Bhutan in their second-ever international on home soil.

The defeat at Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Stadium in Abha came four days after Monika Staab’s team had drawn 3-3 against Bhutan at the same venue.

The visitors broke the deadlock on 22 minutes through Shereng Yangdin before the same player doubled the lead only seven minutes later to leave the Saudis trailing 2-0 at the break.

Saudi Arabia reduced the deficit from a penalty by Maryam Al-Tamimi eight minutes into the second half, but Bhutan restored their two-goal lead as Yangdin completed her hat trick with another spot kick six minutes later.

Staab made several substitutions to raise her team’s tempo, but Bhutan asserted their dominance with a fourth goal on 68 minutes. Saudi star Al-Bandari Mubarak did manage to pull one goal back in the 72nd minute but there would be no addition to the scoreline as Bhutan ran out 4-2 winners.

The double-header of matches against Bhutan over the last five days marked the first matches the Saudi women’s team have played in the Kingdom, having previously played only two internationals, against the Seychelles and Maldives in February.


Saudi Sports for All launches multipurpose venue in Dammam

Saudi Sports for All launches multipurpose venue in Dammam
Updated 29 September 2022

Saudi Sports for All launches multipurpose venue in Dammam

Saudi Sports for All launches multipurpose venue in Dammam
  • 150,000 visitors expected in next 12 months, with over 250,000 in the following period
  • Jeddah’s ‘Dome’ expected toward the end of 2022

DAMMAM: The Saudi Sports for All Federation is set to open a multipurpose sports facility in Dammam this month, among several “Domes” to be launched across the country over the coming years.

Supported by the Ministry of Sports and the Quality of Life Program, the state-of-the-art facility has been set up to empower people in communities across the Kingdom by providing greater access to world-class sports and fitness resources.

Marking the launch of the new dome, the Saudi Minister of Sports Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, said: “We are very pleased, and praise be to Allah, on the implementation of such sports projects in the Kingdom. The facilities embody the unlimited support that the leadership of this country provides to the sports sector. The opening of the domes reflects the level of achievement, development, and prosperity required to achieve the Vision 2030 objectives.”

“The Ministry of Sports is working hard to contribute to implementing the Quality of Life Program initiatives, which reflects the wise leadership’s vision in creating the right environment to improve the lifestyles of people across the Kingdom,” he added. “The facilities will enhance participation in cultural, recreational, and sporting activities that help people lead healthier lives, create jobs, promote investment opportunities, and diversify economic activity.”

The opening ceremony, in advance of the doors opening later September, was attended by the President of the Saudi Sports for All Federation Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al-Saud, Deputy Minister of Sports Badr bin Abdulrahman Al-Kadi, Managing Director of the Saudi Sports for All Federation Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini and several other dignitaries.

The inaugural SFA Dome will support the growth and development of sports and physical activity in the Eastern Province. Housing up to nine courts and facilities, it will cater for basketball, volleyball, tennis, five-a-side football, handball, and table tennis.

Individuals and groups can book facilities at the SFA Dome through the SFA App.

The multipurpose destination is also fully equipped to host corporate events, community programs, and educational engagements that promote sports development — such as inter-school, inter-university, and federation events.

Prince Khaled said: “We are proud to see so much enthusiasm in Dammam around the launch of the SFA Dome, the first purpose-built facility meant to bring us all closer to our goals of health and wellness. This venue is for you, your space to thrive, and we’ve launched it as part of our mission to create curated opportunities and well-designed spaces that put health and well-being first on the agenda.”

“The launch of the SFA dome marks another significant step towards enhancing the Kingdom’s wellness infrastructure for all society, its world-class features contributing to the development of the country’s ever-growing lifestyle and leisure landscape,” Prince Khaled said.

Khalid bin Abdullah Al-Bakr, CEO of the Quality of Life Program, said: “We are pleased to support the opening of the SFA Dome in Dammam: A world-class offering that will enhance our work to empower more people of all ages to practice sports. Through the launch of such modern and community focused projects, we aim to inspire an active, sports-loving generation of Saudi citizens and residents — a community of happy, healthy, and productive people that contribute to the ongoing development of Saudi society.”

The SFA expects to welcome 150,000 participants to the SFA Domes over the next 12 months, with the figure rising to more than 250,000 the following year.

The next one is opening in Jeddah before the end of 2022.

The Domes are part of the SFA’s Active Places initiatives, which aim to create an enabling environment for communities to improve their wellbeing.