Nepal hope for Lamichhane US visa as T20 World Cup deadline passes

Nepal hope for Lamichhane US visa as T20 World Cup deadline passes
Nepal's cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane walks during the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup League 2 match between Nepal and Scotland at the Tribhuvan University International Cricket Ground in Kathmandu on February 21, 2023. (AFP/File)
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Updated 26 May 2024
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Nepal hope for Lamichhane US visa as T20 World Cup deadline passes

Nepal hope for Lamichhane US visa as T20 World Cup deadline passes
  • The World Cup begins next Saturday, co-hosted by the US and West Indies, with Nepal’s first game on June 4
  • Nepal are keen to select Lamichhane, who had his eight-year sentence for rape quashed on appeal this month

KATMANDU: Nepal said Sunday they had not given up hope on including controversial star Sandeep Lamichhane in their T20 World Cup squad, despite the spin bowler being denied a US visa and the deadline for final squads expiring.
The T20 World Cup begins next Saturday, co-hosted by the United States and West Indies, with Nepal’s first game on June 4 in Dallas.
“We are lobbying the embassy through the Nepal government,” Chatur Bahadur Chand, president of Cricket Association of Nepal, told AFP on Sunday.
Nepal are keen to select Lamichhane, who had his eight-year sentence for rape quashed on appeal this month.
The International Cricket Council said that all T20 World Cup squads had been named by the May 25 deadline.
Any alteration to Nepal’s squad would now require approval from the ICC’s event technical committee.
Nepal will play their first two group games in the United States followed by two in the West Indies.
Lamichhane, 23, was once the poster boy for cricket in Nepal, but was not included in the original squad because of the conviction for raping a young woman in a Katmandu hotel in 2022.
Former captain Lamichhane said late on Wednesday that the US Embassy in Nepal had “denied my visa for the T20 World Cup,” calling the decision “unfortunate.”
Nepal are making their second appearance in the T20 World Cup and will face the Netherlands in their opening match in Dallas on June 4, followed by group games against South Africa, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Before his rape trial, Lamichhane’s success as a leg-spinner had dramatically boosted the sport’s profile in the Himalayan republic.
In 2022, when an arrest warrant was first issued, Lamichhane initially failed to return from Jamaica, where he was playing in the Caribbean Premier League.
He was dismissed as national captain and arrested, but Nepal lifted his playing ban when he was freed on bail.
It allowed him to keep playing, including at last year’s Asia Cup in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, until he was convicted in January.


Football great Zidane kicks off Le Mans 24 Hours

Football great Zidane kicks off Le Mans 24 Hours
Updated 56 min 32 sec ago
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Football great Zidane kicks off Le Mans 24 Hours

Football great Zidane kicks off Le Mans 24 Hours
  • Zidane was wearing winter gear as he waved the ceremonial starter’s flag
  • The temperature was a chilly 15 degrees celsius with plenty of rain forecast until Sunday

LE MANS, France: French football great Zinedine Zidane acted as starter to get the mythic Le Mans 24 Hour race on its way at 1400GMT on Saturday.
Ahead of the 62 cars split into three categories on the grid lies the ultimate test of motorsport endurance — for the 186 drivers, their cars, mechanics and last but not least the crowd estimated at 250,000.
One major unknown for the 92nd edition was — despite being mid-June — the weather.
Zidane was wearing winter gear as he waved the ceremonial starter’s flag — a French tricolor with ‘24’ embossed in gold on it — handed to him by French soldiers who had abseiled down with it from a hovering helicopter.
The temperature was a chilly 15 degrees celsius with plenty of rain forecast until Sunday at 1400GMT when the winner will take the cherished chequered flag after around 350 laps of the iconic 13.6kilometer Sarthe circuit in the west of France near the medieval town of Le Mans.
There was nothing ancient about the gleaming machinery setting off led by the elite category Porsche Hypercar, in pole after qualifying on Thursday.
Ferrari are the defending title holders after claiming the centenary edition 12 months ago.
The Hypercar class is the most open in almost three decades with no fewer than nine different constructors presenting 23 cars.
In the early stages, Ferrari’s number 50 car led from the team’s 51 car, which won last year. A Porsche was in third.
Ferrari’s Formula One team principal Fred Vasseur predicted a close race.
“The fight is very, very tight, lot of good drivers.
“Twenty-four hours with this weather, very, very tight, we are just focused on ourselves.”


German police shoot to death an Afghan man who killed a compatriot, then attacked soccer fans

German police shoot to death an Afghan man who killed a compatriot, then attacked soccer fans
Updated 15 June 2024
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German police shoot to death an Afghan man who killed a compatriot, then attacked soccer fans

German police shoot to death an Afghan man who killed a compatriot, then attacked soccer fans
  • The 27-year-old Afghan citizen first attacked a 23-year-old compatriot with a “knife-like object”
  • The man later attacked a group of people watching the soccer game between Germany and Scotland

BERLIN: German police shot to death an Afghan man after he fatally attacked a compatriot and later wounded three people watching the televised opening game of the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in eastern Germany, police said Saturday.
The 27-year-old Afghan citizen first attacked a 23-year-old compatriot with a “knife-like object” in Wolmirstedt, a small town about 130 kilometers (80 miles) west of Berlin, on Friday evening, police said. The victim later died of his wounds.
The man later attacked a group of people watching the soccer game between Germany and Scotland in the yard of private house, injuring three German men, two of them seriously, police said.
Police said the assailant, still armed with the same object, also attacked officers called to the scene. Two of the officers shot and wounded the man, who died soon after in a hospital.
Police said the motive for the attacks was unclear. The Interior Ministry in Saxony-Anhalt state, which includes Wolmirstedt, said police had increased their presence across the state. The soccer tournament is taking place in cities across Germany and runs through July 14.


IOC issues first list of Russians and Belarusians eligible for Olympics

IOC issues first list of Russians and Belarusians eligible for Olympics
Updated 15 June 2024
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IOC issues first list of Russians and Belarusians eligible for Olympics

IOC issues first list of Russians and Belarusians eligible for Olympics
  • The athletes had to qualify for the Games and pass a double check, first by the international sports federations and then by the IOC
  • The athletes named on Saturday compete in four disciplines

LAUSANNE: A total of 14 Russian and 11 Belarusian athletes were included on Saturday by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on an initial list of “Individual Neutral Athletes” (AINs) eligible to compete in the Paris Games.
The athletes had to qualify for the Games and pass a double check, first by the international sports federations and then by the IOC, to prove they did not actively support the war in Ukraine or have any links with their countries’ armies.
The athletes named on Saturday compete in four disciplines.
Sixteen are wrestlers. The IOC has also approved two weightlifters, three trampoline gymnasts and four road cyclists, including Aleksandr Vlasov, who was fourth in the 2021 Giro.
“Our cyclists passed the ‘test’,” Vyacheslav Ekimov, the President of the Russian Cycling Federation told Russia’s state-run TASS news agency.
“The IOC allowed us to the Olympics, although I did not expect a different development. As for Vlasov, despite all his past statements, I think he will participate in the Olympics. And with great pleasure.” Ekimov said.
The President of the Russian Trampolining Federation, Nikolai Makarov told TASS he was not entirely happy.
“The fact that the IOC has decided to admit Angela Bladtseva to the Olympics is very good news,” he said.
“But I don’t understand why another one of our contenders for the only ticket — Yana Lebedeva — is not on the list. I hope that her name will be on the next list.”
Saturday’s IOC statement also listed taekwondo, but that section included no names.
“It is absolutely true — none of our taekwondists will perform at the Olympic Games in Paris,” Vadim Ivanov, Russia’s taekwondo head coach told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
After initially banning the two countries’ athletes from world sport following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the IOC adjusted their regulations to allow their participation, under a neutral banner, subject to strict conditions and excluding team events.
Last March, the IOC said it was expecting 36 Russians and 22 Belarussians at the Paris Games “according to the most probable scenario,” and a “maximum” of 55 and 28 respectively.
That would be far fewer than the 330 Russians and 104 Belarusians that took part in the last Games in Tokyo in 2021.
The IOC will update its list as the final qualifying results come in.
There will be no track and field athletes. World Athletics has banned all Russians and Belarusians.
Other sports have reinstated them so late that their presence is uncertain.
On Friday, Yuliya Efimova, who has three Olympic breaststroke medals, became the first Russian swimmer to be granted neutral status for the Games although she has not yet swum a qualifying time. She also said she did not yet have a visa to travel to France.
While Moscow has finally decided not to boycott the Paris Games, some athletes may opt to. Russia’s gymnasts have said they will refuse to take part.
The neutral athletes will neither take part in the opening ceremony on the Seine nor appear in the official medal table.
In March, the IOC awarded them a dedicated flag, stamped with the letters “AIN” on an apple-green background, as well as a short composition without words, which will serve as their anthem if they win an Olympic title.
At the same time, the IOC set up the Individual Neutral Athlete Eligibility Review Panel (AINERP) to help decide which athletes to invite.
The expert panel “has been able to benefit from new information from various sources, in particular official lists of athletes affiliated to sports clubs of the armed and security forces, published on official websites in Russia and Belarus,” said the IOC.


Former Arsenal and Everton striker Campbell dies at 54

Former Arsenal and Everton striker Campbell dies at 54
Updated 15 June 2024
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Former Arsenal and Everton striker Campbell dies at 54

Former Arsenal and Everton striker Campbell dies at 54
  • Campbell, who died after a short illness, holds the record for most Premier League goals, 83, by a player never to win an international cap
  • “Everyone at Arsenal Football is devastated to hear of the death of our much-loved former player Kevin Campbell,” said Arsenal

LONDON: Ex-Premier League striker Kevin Campbell has died aged 54, his former clubs Arsenal and Everton announced on Saturday.
Campbell, who died after a short illness, holds the record for most Premier League goals, 83, by a player never to win an international cap.
“Everyone at Arsenal Football is devastated to hear of the death of our much-loved former player Kevin Campbell,” said Arsenal.
Campbell joined the Gunners as a schoolboy in 1985, making his first-team debut in 1988. He went on to play 228 times for Arsenal scoring 59 goals and winning a league title, an FA Cup, a European Cup Winners Cup and a League Cup.
“To actually play for the team I supported was a dream come true,” he said.
In 164 games for Everton he scored 51 goals, including nine in five games which saved them from relegation in 1999.
“Everyone at Everton Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the Club’s most popular and much-loved former strikers, Kevin Campbell,” they said on their website.
Campbell, who also played for Leicester, Leyton Orient, Nottingham Forest, Trabzonspor, West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff, said one of his favorite memories in football was scoring the winner in the 2000 Merseyside derby, Everton’s last victory at Anfield for 22 years.
“It was at the Kop End and my view, which will live with me until the day I die, is the Blues in the Kop going crazy,” he said.
In January 2001, manager Walter Smith made Campbell Everton’s first black captain.
“He made me the first black captain of Everton, which is something that I’m so proud of,” Campbell said.
Campbell moved to West Brom in January 2005 and was part of their “great escape,” as they became the first club bottom of the Premier League at Christmas to survive.
His son, Tyrese Campbell, is a striker who has just been released by Championship side Stoke City after seven seasons at the club.
“The pain of this is indescribable and as a son you look at your dad as invincible,” said Tyrese Campbell in a message released on his behalf by journalist Alan Myers.
“He is my idol, the one I wanted to be when I grew up...I’ll miss you dad.”


Al-Nassr to feature in historic first edition of AFC Women’s Champions League in 2024/25

Al-Nassr to feature in historic first edition of AFC Women’s Champions League in 2024/25
Updated 15 June 2024
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Al-Nassr to feature in historic first edition of AFC Women’s Champions League in 2024/25

Al-Nassr to feature in historic first edition of AFC Women’s Champions League in 2024/25
  • The Riyadh-based club become first Saudi Arabian female team to compete in the region’s top women’s club competition
  • Al-Nassr among 22 sides to feature in new-look competition, kicks off with preliminary group stage in August

RIYADH: The Asian Football Confederation has announced that Al-Nassr FC are set to represent Saudi Arabia in the inaugural edition of the AFC Women’s Champions League in the forthcoming 2024/25 season. 

Al-Nassr won the 2023/24 Women’s Premier League to qualify for the new tournament, with the draw for the preliminary rounds to take place at the AFC House in July. The draw will determine the groups for the opening matches, which are set to take place from Aug. 25-31.

Al-Nassr are the first Saudi women’s side to compete in the region’s top club competition, which boasts 22 teams from AFC’s top-ranked nations, including Japan, Australia, North Korea, and China. 

The team’s qualification showcases the remarkable growth of women’s football in the Kingdom in recent years. It follows the formation of the first women’s national team in 2021 and the first professional women’s league in 2022.

The AFC also confirmed that Saudi Arabia would host one group in the preliminary stages of the competition, marking the second occasion that the Kingdom has hosted a professional women’s football event following the successful West Asian Football Federation Women’s Championship.

This is the icing on the cake for women’s football in the Kingdom, following the conclusion of the second season of the Women’s Premier League.

Hosting the opening rounds will add to Saudi Arabia’s legacy as a global hub for international sporting events, with over 25 major football showcases held in the Kingdom in recent years. 

Yasser Al-Misehal, president of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, said: “The fact that Al-Nassr will be competing in the first edition of the AFC Women’s Champions League is a proud moment for Saudi Arabian football, as we achieve another important football milestone in our transformational journey.

“We hope that this will keep inspiring a new generation of girls to engage with the sport.”

SAFF’s Vice President Lamia Bahaian said: “The speed of the journey to reach the pinnacle of women’s club football in Asia is breathtaking.

“Women’s football in the Kingdom is supported at every level but is only possible thanks to the skill, commitment and determination of all the players and coaches in the league.

“We all share in the excitement of this moment. For Saudi Arabia, this is more than just competing. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect, host and learn from the very best in the continent and we will welcome that with open arms. Our journey continues.”

Sara Khalid, the goalkeeper for the Saudi Arabian national women’s team and Al-Nassr, said: “It’s an incredible feeling to have qualified for the first edition of the AFC Women’s Champions League. This moment is a testament to not only the work of everyone at Al-Nassr to support us in our recent successful season, but from everyone within the Kingdom to help us grow the game in our country to this level.”

Women’s football in Saudi Arabia has seen an 86 percent increase in participation within the sport since 2021, with more than 70,000 girls of school age now playing football across the Kingdom.