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Cricket Australia loses major sponsor over players’ conspiracy to cheat

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SYDNEY: Australia’s Magellan Financial Group Ltd cancelled a naming rights sponsorship deal with Cricket Australia after it banned players involved in a ball-tampering scandal, the biggest blow to the country’s governing body reeling from the incident.
Though some sponsors of Australian cricketers have pulled individual sponsorship deals, the decision by Magellan suggests the financial impact of the episode will go to the core of Australias favourite sport.
Cricket Australia slapped captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner with 12-month bans from international and domestic cricket for their role in a scandal that has rocked the sport.
Cameron Bancroft, who was caught on camera attempting to scuff up the ball with improvised sandpaper during a Test against South Africa in Cape Town, was banned for nine months. All three were sent home from South Africa.
In a statement on Thursday, Magellan said it was ending its contract with Cricket Australia a year into a three-year deal which was based on shared values of "integrity, leadership, dedication and an unwavering customer-first culture".
"A conspiracy by the leadership of the Australian Men
s Test Cricket Team which broke the rules with a clear intention to gain an unfair advantage during the third Test in South Africa goes to the heart of integrity,” Magellan CEO Hamish Douglass said in the statement.
“These recent events are so inconsistent with our values that we are left with no option but to terminate our ongoing partnership with Cricket Australia.”
Australian media have reported that the Magellan sponsorship was worth A$17-20 million.
Sports apparel maker ASICS Corp <7936.T> meanwhile cancelled sponsorship deals with vice-captain Warner and Bancroft, effective immediately, because of the incident.
“The decisions and actions taken by David Warner and Cameron Bancroft are not something that ASICS tolerates and are contrary to the values the company stands for,” the ASICS statement said.
For Warner, ASICS was the second sponsor in two days to abandon him. Electronics maker LG <066570.KS> had already said it would not be giving the 31-year-old a new sponsorship deal.
Several of Cricket Australias major sponsors, including cereal maker Sanitarium, have said they would await the results of a full investigation into the scandal before deciding on the future of their deals with the governing body.
Sanitarium was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.
Other Cricket Australia sponsors stood by the organisation, saying they were satisfied with its handling of the matter.
A spokesman for Yum! Brands Inc , owner of fast food chain KFC, a Cricket Australia sponsor, told Reuters in an email it was "pleased that Cricket Australia has dealt with this incident swiftly for the benefit of the game and its fans" without commenting further.
A spokesperson for Toyota Corp &lt;7203.T&gt; said the carmaker supported "Cricket Australia
s decision to initiate an independent review into the conduct and culture of the Australian men’s teams”.


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Salah wants the Muslim world to treat its women better

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London : Salah is joined by fellow Arab and Muslim celebrities such as Rami Malek and Mahershala Ali, as well as Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
Mo Salah is a titan, there’s no denying that. The Liverpool forward has been named as one of Time magazine’s most influential people for 2019 and rightly so. Salah has had one hell of a year. He was named African Footballer of the Year in 2017 and 2018 and was also named English football’s Player of the Year in 2017-2018 along with a whole host of other accolades.
He was listed within the “Titans” section of the list — which includes a record 48 women — and was championed by British comedian and US TV host John Oliver.
Salah however didn’t make waves for being a part of the illustrious 100 but for his statements championing women rights.
“We need to change the way we treat women in our culture,” he told Time.
“That has to be, it’s not optional.”
He added: “I support the woman more than I did before, because I feel like she deserves more than what they give her now at the moment.”
Oliver, a Liverpool fan, wrote an article on Salah for the magazine: “Mo is an iconic figure for Egyptians, Scousers and Muslims the world over, and yet he always comes across as a humble, thoughtful, funny man who isn’t taking any of this too seriously.”

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Kerala Blasters rope in young goalkeeper Lovepreet Singh

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Mumbai : India Super League side Kerala Blasters have roped in young goalkeeper Lovepreet Singh on a free transfer from Indian Arrows with effect from June 1, 2019.
Lovepreet Singh was picked up by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) from the Rurka Kalan Grounds in Punjab during a scouting programme in May 2018 by the National Association. Lovepreet Singh, who was outside of the age bracket, was not eligible for the trials, but he stuck around the trial premises to ultimately be spotted by the scouts and was given a chance.
At 195-cm tall, only Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who is 198-cm tall, has a height advantage over Lovepreet in the entire country as far as Indian Football’s top tier is concerned. He impressed Floyd Pinto in Goa and was given an Arrows contract prior to the I-League 2018-19.
He featured in a single game in the recently concluded I-League against Real Kashmir where he conceded twice as the game ended 2-2.
Lovepreet Singh is an exciting prospect for the Blasters and is one for the future. With his height and physique, Singh surely does have the goods to make it to the big stage as a goal-keeper.
“I’m very excited to join Kerala Blasters. Have heard a lot about the ever-supporting fans in Kerala. I’m looking forward to playing in front of them”, says the very energetic, young member of the team, Lovepreet Singh.
“Lovepreet is a rare find for an Indian goalkeeper, not only is he technically gifted but he also possesses great physical attributes! With Kerala Blasters success of promoting and improving young players, next season should be very exciting”, says Rory Grand, Head Goalkeeping coach, Kerala Blasters FC.
Kerala Blasters now have four goalkeepers in their side with the likes of Dheeraj Singh, Lalthuammawia Ralte and Bilal Khan on the roster alongside Lovepreet Singh. They loaned out Naveen Kumar to FC Goa in 2018 and is unlikely to return.
Kerala Blasters now have a number of Arrows players in their side. Jeakson Singh, Rahul KP, Nongdamba Naorem and Mohammad Rakip feature in the list along with the mentioned goalkeepers in Dheeraj and Lovepreet.
With more and more clubs coming to the fore courtesy the Parallel League action, it is indeed a sensible decision to have a young and lanky goalkeeper in the squad who can provide backup in case of shortage of shot-stoppers in the near future.
However, it needs to be seen whether Blasters do give him ISL game time or demote him to their reserve side for Kerala Premier League and I-League 2nd Division games.

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Super Cup may return as season opener this year

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New Delhi: The recently concluded Super Cup in Bhubaneswar was hardly a super show in the absence of seven I-League teams, but the tournament may return as the season opener (2019-2020) in September-October this year. In the general council meeting of the Indian Super League (ISL) last month, the franchises have been handed out the calendar for the next two seasons indicating Super Cup as the opening tournament.
No I-League club is officially aware of the development. Introduced in 2018, the Super Cup is India’s only knock-out tournament which is played as the season closer involving both I-League clubs and ISL franchises. The format of the tournament is strictly based on the final standings of the two leagues. When contacted, a senior All India Football Federation (AIFF) official said: “They (ISL) have only chalked out a provisional calendar. There is no reason to take it as the final roster.”
I-League clubs have called the Super Cup a meaningless affair which does not offer any prize money. The winners of Super Cup are also not given a berth in the Asian tournaments. The two spots in the AFC Cup and the Asian Champions League are reserved for the winners of ISL and I-League, respectively.

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