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Sports Ministry Gives Conditions for NPFL Kick-off

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Following the approval of the resumption of sporting activities across the country, the Ministry of Sports has listed the conditions the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), League Management Company (LMC) and the clubs must fulfill before the kick off of the 2020/2021 Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL).
In a statement yesterday, Sports Minister, Mr. Sunday Dare, warned that no stadium should be opened for any football game without strict adherence to the sports protocols. He also directed that there must be total implementation of the club licensing control before the new football season can resume.

According to the statement signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Gabriel Aduda, Dare said: “We are happy that the ban on sports has been lifted after so many months of inactivity due to the COVID-19 scourge. The ministry is not oblivious of the challenges that would be encountered in organising football matches.

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“We cannot take anything for granted. As a way of safeguarding the lives of our players, coaches, officials and fans, approval must be sought and given before any game is played. The ministry would ensure that all protocols and guidelines are obeyed as directed by PTF and NCDC.”

The statement disclosed that the ministry has set up a COVID-19 monitoring and approval team, which would ensure compliance before any game is played.

Dare warned that the Nigerian domestic league would not resume until basic conditions were fulfilled, adding, “we have a responsibility to enforce the implementation of the club licensing control as stipulated in the statues setting up the Nigerian Professional Football League.

“Thedomestic league will not commence until the regulations and controls bothering on financial and licensing control are enforced.

“The NFF must enforce these regulations and controls as stipulated, otherwise the Nigerian professional and amateur leagues will not be approved to resume.

“These include proper licensing of players, insurance for players and coaches, compliance with FIFA rules on players’ contract and transfer, running the clubs as professional endeavours, among others.”The statement directed the NFF to communicate these decisions to the clubs to forestall any crisis

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Steven Gerrard Sacked as Aston Villa Manager

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Steven Gerrard has been sacked as manager of Aston Villa after just 11 months in charge.
Former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino and ex-Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel have been linked with the role, but whether either man could be enticed to Villa Park remains to be seen.

Gerrard’s sacking was announced immediately after his side suffered a comprehensive 3-0 defeat against Fulham at Craven Cottage – Villa’s sixth defeat in just 11 Premier League games.

A statement released after the match read: “Aston Villa Football Club can confirm that head coach Steven Gerrard has left the club with immediate effect.

“We would like to thank Steven for his hard work and commitment and wish him well for the future.”

On Friday, Villa confirmed Gary McAllister, Neil Critchley, Tom Culshaw, Jordan Milsom and Scott Mason have also left the club following the sacking of Gerrard.

First-team coach Aaron Danks will take charge of the team for Sunday’s Premier League match against Brentford at Villa Park.

The former Liverpool midfielder replaced Dean Smith at Villa Park in November 2021 but lasted less than a year before becoming the fourth top-flight manager to lose his job this season, following Scott Parker, Thomas Tuchel and Bruno Lage.

Gerrard admitted he was in a “very difficult position” straight after Villa’s hefty loss in south west London.
The former Rangers manager insisted he would not quit his role but was given no choice in the matter as Villa’s board acted swiftly to remove him.

“I’ve been sending messages to the fans for the last few weeks because I certainly share their frustration and their pain,” said Gerrard in his post-match press conference.

“I’m someone who is honest. I know that they’re not enjoying it at the moment – I’m certainly not – so we’ll see what happens moving forward. But you know and I know I’m in a very difficult position right now.

“The performance was miles away from what I want, expect and stand for. I understand the fans’ frustration and it was so far from how we looked at the weekend. We’re in this situation, I’m in it to face the tough questions because the reality is it’s not good enough for the club.

“Those decisions are out of my control. I have been around the game a long time, I understand the situation and won’t sugar-coat the situation or give anyone false lines. I want to be as honest as I can.

“We’ll see what happens moving forwards. But football is in my DNA and quitting is certainly not, so we’ll see what happens moving forwards.”

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Chelsea Appoint Brighton’s Graham Porter as New Manager

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Chelsea has announced the appointment of erstwhile Brighton and Hove Albion Manager as the new Manager at Stamford Bridge. The appointment follows the recent sacking of Thomas Tuchel after guiding the side for two years.

•Potter handed long-term deal

•Joins Chelsea squad in
disarray

•First game will be derby clash
with Fulham

WHAT HAPPENED?

Chelsea confirmed Potter’s arrival in an official statement on Thursday, with the 47-year-old departing Brighton after three years in charge at the Amex Stadium. Potter has been handed a long-term contract after replacing Tuchel, whose 20-month reign at Stamford Bridge ended following the Blues’ surprise Champions League group stage defeat against Dinamo Zagreb.

THE BIGGER PICTURE:
Potter guided Brighton to their best-ever top-flight finish in 2021-22 as they secured ninth place, and they also made an impressive start to their latest campaign under his stewardship. He leaves Brighton sitting fourth in the Premier League after six matches – three points ahead of his new employers Chelsea.

AND WHAT’S MORE: The Blues’ newest head coach has a huge job on his hands to steady the ship at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea spent more than any other club in the summer transfer window to bring in the likes of Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana, but Tuchel was unable to deliver instant results with a new-look squad. Potter, who also reunites with former Brighton defender Marc Cucurella, will face the same level of pressure as an expectant board continues to set the loftiest of expectations.

WHAT WAS SAID:
‘I am incredibly proud and excited to represent Chelsea FC, this fantastic football club,” Potter said in a statement. “I am very excited to partner with Chelsea’s new ownership group and look forward to meeting and working with the exciting group of players and to develop a team and culture that our amazing fans can be proud of.”
(Goal.com)

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SHOCKER, as Sterling Leaves Chelsea

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Chelsea on Thursday confirmed that their defender, Dujon Sterling, has left the club to join Stoke City on a loan deal.

The Blues disclosed this in a statement via its website on Thursday.

The statement read in part, “Dujon Sterling is returning to the Championship on loan where he will play for Stoke City this season.

“The right-sided defender was in that division at Blackpool last season where he made 25 appearances prior to injury, having previously had loans at Wigan and Coventry.

“The 22-year-old, who came through our Academy, signed a new Chelsea contract until June 2023 a year ago. He has one appearance for our men’s first team, in a League Cup game against Nottingham Forest in 2017/18.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal have reportedly seen a second bid for midfielder Douglas Luiz rejected by Aston Villa.

Arsenal came forward with an unsuccessful £20million bid for Luiz on Thursday.

However, their second bid of £23m plus add-ons was also turned down later in the day, according to talkSPORT.

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