FIFA panel bans three disgraced officials for life

FIFA panel bans three disgraced officials for life

22/11/2017, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 24921217

ZURICH: FIFA’s ethics watchdogs have banned for life three former officials who pleaded guilty in American courts to accepting bribes as part of efforts to address widespread corruption in the sport, the world football governing body said on Tuesday.

They include former FIFA audit committee member Richard Lai of Guam, who testified in federal court that the source of his bribe money was Olympic powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah of Kuwait.

“His guilty plea related, amongst others, to schemes in which he received bribes in exchange for his support in relation to the FIFA presidential elections and to gain control and influence within the AFC [Asian Football Confederation] and FIFA,” the football body said of Lai, a former member of the FIFA audit and compliance committee, in a statement.

Sheikh Ahmad referred his own case to the ethics committees of FIFA and the International Olympic Committee in April after Lai’s guilty plea was revealed. The Kuwaiti royal also withdrew from an election to retain his seat representing Asia on the FIFA Council.

The sheikh has denied wrongdoing and continues to work on Olympic duty, including chairing an IOC panel with a $500 million budget to distribute grants, and leading the global group of national Olympic committees known as ANOC.

Two more former football federation presidents, Rafael Esquivel of Venezuela and Julio Rocha of Nicaragua, were also banned for life Tuesday. They were arrested in Zurich in May 2015 in early morning raids on luxury hotels and later extradited to the United States.

Though the life bans were announced during the trial in Brooklyn of three other FIFA-connected officials from South America, the ethics panel investigations were separate and did not use new evidence being aired daily in court.

FIFA said its ethics judges imposed “appropriate fines in relation to the amounts of the bribes that they have admitted having taken.” Esquivel was fined 1 million Swiss francs ($1 million), Lai was fined 870,000 Swiss francs ($870,000), and Rocha was fined 500,000 Swiss francs ($500,000). It is unclear if FIFA can enforce fines on people who have left the sport.

All three men had pleaded guilty in the United States to separate federal charges ranging from wire fraud to racketeering and money laundering.

The US investigation, which came to light in May 2015, uncorked the largest scandal in the history of world football.

The first trial in the case began last week in New York, where three South American former officials are accused of graft worth million of dollars.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2017
FATA triumph in run fest, Lahore Blues beat Islamabad

FATA triumph in run fest, Lahore Blues beat Islamabad

22/11/2017, Pakistan, Cricket, Pakistan Cricket Board, Article # 24924785
Three centuries were scored on a frenetic day in the National T20 Cup as Lahore Blues sealed their spot in the semifinals
Power-hitting Faisalabad trio deliver knockout punch to Pindi

Power-hitting Faisalabad trio deliver knockout punch to Pindi

22/11/2017, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 24921218

KARACHI: On a day of bizarre happenings in the Brighto Paints presents Cool & Cool National T20 Cup on Tuesday, Faisalabad staged a blitzkrieg upon Rawalpindi bowling to complete an astonishing chase a few hours after a swarm of bees had held up play at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.

Lahore Whites’ charge to the last-four stage of the competition was held up briefly in the afternoon during Peshawar’s innings when the players and umpire — Aaley Haider — all of them hit the ground to avoid being stung by the swarming bees. Remarkably, Khalid Mahmood, the other on-field umpire, stood all this time calmly at his square-leg position, bemused by what was going on.

Although Lahore Whites ran out comfortable winners by 27 runs, their fourth success was marred by a foot injury to in-form opener Kamran Akmal, who was in sheer agony when discarded Pakistan fast bowler Sohail Khan produced an unplayable toe-crusher shortly after reaching fourth successive half-century.

While Umar Akmal replaced his older brother behind the stumps in the second half of the match, Kamran was later deemed ‘fit’ for the rest of the tournament by the Lahore team management after an X-ray revealed just bruising on his left foot.

Lahore Whites survive Kamran injury scare to make semis

Kamran’s 52 off 40 balls, featuring five fours and three sixes, were scored out of the first-wicket stand of 85 inside 11 overs after Peshawar’s stand-in skipper Riffatullah Mohmand decided to field first at the toss.

Salman Butt finished unbeaten for the second time in three innings as the captain compiled a fortuitous 85 with his 59-ball knock embellished with 14 boundaries after the ex-Pakistan skipper was let off several times in the field.

Chasing 164, Peshawar never were in the mood to win and when the fourth fell at 50, the rest of play of only academic interest and enabled the hardworking seamer Umaid Asif become the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with career-best haul of 4-26 in four overs — a performance that earned the 33-year-old half share of the Rs25,000 man-of-the-match prize with his captain — as Peshawar crashed out of the knockout-round race by folding up for 136 in 19.3 overs.

If the first game lacked in intensity and flair, the evening fixture was a riveting affair until the very last moment. Rawalpindi needed to win to stay in contention for the semi-finals, but phenomenal power-hitting from Sohaib Maqsood, Khurram Shehzad and Fahim Ashraf carried Faisalabad to an incredible five-wicket win.

After Rawalpindi thought they had done enough with the bat by riding on a second-wicket left-handed stand of 103 in 65 balls between skipper Umar Amin (67 off 47 balls, seven fours and three sixes) and Zain Abbas (62 off 45, four fours and two sixes) to collect 193-3, Faisalabad never gave up in the chase.

Sohaib, the injury-plagued right-hander, reminded the national selectors that he is still a force to earn an international recall as he cut loose to lead Faisalabad’s charge after makeshift opener Ali Waqas was out for a first-ball duck in the second over.

The 30-year-old from Multan, who last played for Pakistan on the tour of New Zealand in January 2016, after arriving at 4-1, blazed his way to a blistering 87 — which surpassed his previous highest T20 score by a single run — from just 43 deliveries until he was fourth out at 108. Sohaib’s man-of-the-match contribution included nine fours and six sixes.

Thanks to Sohaib’s belligerence, Faisalabad timed their acceleration to perfection. At the halfway point they had only made 79 but the next 120 runs came off only 59 deliveries when Fahim Ashraf effortlessly deposited paceman Adnan Ghaus straight six — the left-hander’s third of his 10-ball cameo of 26 — to finish off Rawalpindi as the unbroken partnership between him and Khurram Shehzad yielded 78 in only 34 balls.

The 35-year-old Khurram may not be a familiar name for many but the unsung right-hander, crossed 50 only for the third time in 77 matches. But perhaps the 25-ball 52 — embedded with five fours and three sixes — he blasted on Tuesday was the most significant he would ever play.

The only bowler to command respect in the carnage was Pakistan leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who took 2-23 in four overs.

Tuesday’s results:

Faisalabad beat Rawalpindi by five wickets.

RAWALPINDI 193-3 in 20 overs (Umar Amin 67, Zain Abbas 62, Sohail Tanvir 32 not out); FAISALABAD (Sohaib Maqsood 87, Khurram Shehzad 52 not out, Fahim Ashraf 26 not out; Shadab Khan 2-23, Adnan Ghaus 2-62).

Lahore Whites beat Peshawar by 27 runs.

LAHORE WHITES 163-4 in 20 overs (Salman Butt 85 not out, Kamran Akmal 52); PESHAWAR 136 in 19.3 overs (Naved Yasin 25, Saif Badar 23, Sohail Khan 22; Umaid Asif 4-26m Asif Ali 2-17, Ehsan Adil 2-21).

Wednesday’s fixtures: Karachi Whites vs Fata (12:00noon); Islamabad vs Lahore Blues (4:00pm).

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2017
Unfamiliar, untested line-ups to spice up latest Ashes battle

Unfamiliar, untested line-ups to spice up latest Ashes battle

22/11/2017, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 24921410

BRISBANE: New-look Australia will bank on their pace attack terrifying England once again when two unfamiliar line-ups open hostilities for the Ashes, the oldest prize in Test cricket, in Brisbane on Thursday.

Australia’s surprise selections raised plenty of eyebrows but they will hope their pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins can replicate Mitchell Johnson’s devastating bowling at the Gabba in 2013.

England also have an untested batting line-up and their campaign to retain the Ashes urn was dealt a major blow when star all-rounder Ben Stokes was suspended pending investigations into a brawl outside a nightclub.

The build-up to the series has been traditionally feisty, with several Australian players reminding the tourists of their treatment by Johnson four years ago.

The firebrand left-armer set the tone for the 2013-14 Ashes with his ferocious fast bowling to take nine wickets at the Gabba as the Australians inflicted a crushing 381-run defeat, triggering a 5-0 series rout.

The Starc-led pace trio have never bowled together in a Test but they stack up favourably with Australia’s greatest pace combinations, with their combined career strike rates better than their gloried predecessors.

Australia have a formidable record at Brisbane’s intimidating ‘Gabbatoir’ where they have not lost a Test match since 1988, and where England are winless in 31 years.

Starc appears key to Australia’s series hopes and he has targeted England’s big two batsmen, captain Joe Root and ex-skipper Alastair Cook, in the five-Test series.

““Both of them are guys we have to focus heavily on in hopefully getting them out cheaply and getting stuck into that inexperienced batting order,” Starc said.

Starc said watching footage of Johnson’s fireworks at the Gabba four years ago had inspired him to replicate his match-winning performance.

“We all still are [inspired]. Whenever you see highlights from that series it was unbelievable,” he said. “How well he bowled and just the aggression and the fear in some of the English eyes, it was always great to watch as a bowler and see batsmen struggle, especially the Poms.”

The pace trio, along with the batting of skipper Steve Smith and David Warner, are seen as Australia’s pillars against a similarly placed England, who will look to Root and Cook and pace attack of James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

England have had a gentle run-in to the Gabba Test with three warm-up games against inexperienced teams, but their Australian coach Trevor Bayliss said they will be ready for what is thrown at them.

“Australia like to hit the opposition hard early and we have been talking about going hard ourselves,” Bayliss said. “An Ashes Test will see our intensity rise as high as it possibly can. We are not here to make up the numbers. We are here to win.”

Former Test captain Ian Chappell says both sides’ batting appears brittle, but Australia will start favourites to reclaim the urn based on the strength of their bowlers.

“Steve Smith’s strike-force is superior to Joe Root’s solid bowling line-up, which lacks the genuine pace that so often leads to success in Australian conditions,” Chappell said.

The ‘Gabbatoir’ has proved impregnable to visiting teams for nearly 30 years, with its willing pitch, stifling weather and hostile crowds adding up to one of the world’s tougher introductions to a Test series.

Only Root, Cook, Broad and Anderson remain from the England team that suffered a 381-run hiding at the Gabba four years ago, when a marauding Johnson took nine wickets and set the tone for the series.

The wrap-around terraces at the bowl-like stadium create an impression of being hemmed in and stifle any breeze that might relieve the players as they labour in the soupy heat of a Brisbane summer.

Four years ago, an ailing Jonathan Trott was dismissed cheaply in both innings amid a barrage of bouncers from Johnson and the Australian quicks. He promptly left the tour with a stress-related illness.

In 2006-07, England fast bowler Steve Harmison famously sent the first delivery of the series to his captain Andrew Flintoff at second slip. England lost the match and the series 5-0.

Another England quick, Simon Jones, also had a first day to forget at the Gabba when he ruptured knee ligaments sliding to retrieve a ball in the outfield in the 2002-03 series.

He was abused by spectators as he lay in agony and the injury ended his series. Nasser Hussain’s team lost the match by 384 runs and the series 4-1.

England have not won at the Gabba since Mike Gatting’s team in the 1986-87 series and it may be no coincidence that the last time they held their own at the Gabba in 2010-11, they went on to win the Ashes.

Teams (from):

AUSTRALIA: David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (captain), Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers.

ENGLAND: Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Joe Root (captain), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Craig Overton.

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and Marais Erasmus (South Africa).

TV umpire: Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand).

Match referee: Richie Richardson (West Indies).

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2017
PFF suspension POA should be asked to talk to FIFA, says Shah

PFF suspension POA should be asked to talk to FIFA, says Shah

22/11/2017, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 24918928
KARACHI: Pakistan Olympic Association’s (POA) vice-president and former senator Syed Aqil Shah on Tuesday said that the government should ask POA to talk to FIFA to resolve the football conflict.
“The government should take an initiative so that the issue could be resolved,” Shah told ‘The News’ from Peshawar. He was quick to add that in case of any sports dispute in the country the national Olympic committee should be consulted. “It’s the NOC which is affiliated with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC talks to the NOCs and federations and not to any other. Football is an Olympic sport and FIFA is its international body. The POA can talk to FIFA. So there is a procedure and that should be adopted,” Shah added.
FIFA suspended Pakistan last month because of third party interference. It has left a message that unless Pakistan Football Federation’s (PFF) headquarters in Lahore and its accounts were handed over to the federation, the suspension would not be lifted.
The matter is being heard by the Lahore High Court (LHC) and a hearing will be held on Wednesday (today).Because of the conflict between the PFF and its rival group football has seen a long lay-off. Since April 2015, no Pakistan team has toured abroad. Besides, the Premier League which is considered the major source of income for the players of departmental sides has also not been held.
POA’s legal advisor Ali Reza gave his input on behalf of the NOC in the previous hearing held a few days ago.After FIFA suspended Pakistan last month, the federal minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Riaz Pirzada told this correspondent that the government would act after the court’s verdict.
However, sources in the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) are of the view that the Board could not play any role in the resolution of the issue. The PFF is no longer affiliated with the PSB and both the bodies have already contested a case in the court.
The issue is in the knowledge of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the top military leadership. But so far no concrete step has been taken to resolve the matter. The PFF’s court-appointed administrator Asad Munir briefed a Senate committee about the PFF in Islamabad on Monday.
About the meetings of Senate Standing Committees and other parliamentary bodies, Shah said that these would be of no utility unless sports experts were invited.“If you want to discuss a sports issue you should invite sports experts. I have been serving sports in various capacities for the last 40 years. I have been a senator and was member of its standing committee for many years. I am the POA vice-president and president of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Olympic Association. I ask why these committees don’t invite me. They should invite me. I will tell them how sports could be developed,” Shah said.
“If you keep the major stakeholders away, there will be no serious discussion on any sports subject and all such meetings will be futile,” Shah asserted. Shah, a former sports minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said that only experts could give a clear idea about what should be done.
Ireland pick Malahide to host first ever Test

Ireland pick Malahide to host first ever Test

22/11/2017, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 24918931
DUBLIN: Ireland cricket bosses have chosen Malahide near Dublin to host the country’s inaugural Test match against Pakistan next year.
The side, who have been playing One-day Internationals (ODIs) since 2006, were handed Test status in June, along with Afghanistan, and will make their debut in the five-day format in the May 11-15 match.
“We are delighted that Malahide has agreed to host this historic game against Pakistan,” Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said.“Even in its short history of hosting our matches, the club has already given us some wonderful memories, and we trust that May 11 and its ensuing days will provide many more.”
Malahide chairman Ciaran Keohane said: “Malahide Cricket Club is delighted to host the Inaugural Test Match in Ireland. We are looking forward to welcoming both teams to The Village.”
Cricket has been played in Ireland for nearly 200 years but it was not until 1969 that they made the rest of the world game take notice when they bowled out the West Indies for just 25 at Sion Mills in a televised match.Ireland have since established themselves during the course of several World Cups, recording ODI wins over Pakistan, the West Indies and England.
Lahore Whites virtually into T20 semis

Lahore Whites virtually into T20 semis

22/11/2017, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 24918930
KARACHI: Skipper Salman Butt led from the front and pacer Umaid Asif pulled off his career-best figures to enable Lahore Whites to virtually qualify for the semi-finals when they put former champions Peshawar out of the event with a 27-run win in their game of the National T20 Cup at the Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi, on Tuesday.Salman played a captain’s knock of 85 not out, which guided Lahore Whites to pile up 163-4.
Umaid picked 4-26 to dismiss Peshawar for 136.This was the fourth successive win for Lahore Whites. They are now at the top spot with nine points and have one match remaining.
After opting to bat first, Salman and Test stumper Kamran Akmal (52) provided a rapid start of 85 off 63 balls, although the pitch was not easy for batting, especially in the beginning. This was the fourth successive fifty from Kamran, who hit five fours and three sixes from 40 balls. He is the first Pakistani batsman to do so in T20s.After Kamran fell, Salman stayed till the end, taking his side to a formidable total.
Salman, who hit his second fifty of the event, played superb shots towards all sides. The left-hander, who has been playing domestic cricket for the last two years after serving a five-year suspension due to his involvement in spot-fixing, smashed 14 fours in his unfinished 58-ball knock.
Kashif Bhatti (1-39), Kamran Ghulam (1-33) and speedster Sohail Khan (1-28) were the successful bowlers.In response, truncated Peshawar failed to put up any substantial resistance and were folded well away from the target in 19.3 overs.
Left-hander Naved Yasin scored 28-ball 25 with two fours. Saif Badar made 25-ball 23 with one four. Sohail Khan (22) used long handle near the end, striking two sixes and one four in his brisk 12-ball innings.
Asif Ali (2-17) and Test discard Ehsan Adil (2-21) also bowled well.Salman and Umaid were jointly declared men of the match.In the day-night show, Faisalabad notched up their third win from five outings when they put Rawalpindi out of contention, beating them by five wickets. Faisalabad are now second with seven points.
The hero for Faisalabad was discarded international Sohaib Maqsood, who slammed his career-best 87 to enable his side to chase the 194-run target with one ball to spare after losing five wickets.
Faisalabad required 12 runs from the last over, bowled by England-groomed pacer Adnan Ghaus. They needed one off the last two balls when international all-rounder Faheem Ashraf hit the right-armer for a glorious six to bring in a well-deserved victory.
After losing openers Sahibzada Farhan (6) and Ali Waqas (0) in quick succession, Sohaib took the responsibility, dominating 52 runs third-wicket partnership with Gohar Ali (13). Sohaib smashed six sixes and nine fours in his quick-fire 43-ball feat. Sohaib’s contribution was strongly backed by Khurram Shehzad (52*) and Faheem Ashraf (26*) who put on 78 off 33 balls for the sixth-wicket unbroken partnership.
Khurram smashed five fours and three sixes from 25 balls. Faheem smacked three sixes in his explosive ten-ball knock.Adnan Ghaus (2-62) and leggie Shadab Khan (2-23) were among the wickets.
After opting to bat first, Rawalpindi amassed 193-7. After losing Ahsan Ali (14) early, skipper Umar Amin (67) and Zain Abbas (62) added 103 off 65 balls for the second wicket to set momentum.
Amin, who is in prolific form in the event, smashed seven fours and three sixes from 47 balls. Zain struck two sixes and four fours from 45 deliveries. In the death overs, international all-rounder Sohail Tanvir hammered an explosive 16-ball 32 not out to ensure his side staged a decent total. Tanvir smacked two sixes and three fours.
Left-arm pacer Taj Wali (1-31), Asad Raza (1-34) and Faheem (1-43) took one wicket each. Sohaib Maqsood was adjudged man of the match. On Wednesday (today), Karachi Whites face FATA and Lahore Blues meet Islamabad.
We stand behind Hafeez: PCB

We stand behind Hafeez: PCB

22/11/2017, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 24918932
KARACHI: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday ran a clarification note where it said that it stands behind Mohammad Hafeez and is lending all its support to Mohammad Hafeez to rectify his bowling action.
The PCB will like to state that already a bowling action review committee has been setup where Ahsan Raza, Ali Zia, Saleem Jaffar and Sajjad Akbar are its members. The committee has been tasked to provide all possible training and assistance to rectify his bowling action at par with ICC standard.
On the recommendations of the four-member committee, Mohammad Hafeez will work on his action at the National Cricket Academy, and after every 10 days will undergo a test at the biomechanics lab setup in LUMS.
The committee will, therefore, analyze the reports of the tests, and will further guide Mohammad Hafeez before he proceeds with the official test to ICCThe PCB refuted the news circulated in the media that it was not backing the premier all-rounder.“The story on the media is a deliberate attempt to mislead and defame the PCB,” PCB release said.
Izquierdo earns Brighton point in Stoke duel

Izquierdo earns Brighton point in Stoke duel

22/11/2017, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 24918934
BRIGHTON, United Kingdom: Jose Izquierdo earned Brighton and Hove Albion a point as Chris Hughton’s side twice came from behind to record a 2-2 draw against visitors Stoke City on Monday.
Stoke twice went ahead at the Amex Stadium, first through Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and then Kurt Zouma, but Brighton hit back on each occasion via goals from Pascal Gross and Izquierdo.
Brighton — promoted from the Championship last season — remain ninth, seven points above the relegation zone and three points above Mark Hughes’s Stoke, who stay in 15th.“When you have been behind twice you have to show character and we did,” Hughton told Sky Sports.“We have to be realistic. We are playing against better teams and better players and if you can’t win games then don’t lose them.”
The outcome of a lively game on the English south coast means Brighton have gone five consecutive matches unbeaten in the top flight for the first time since March to April 1983.There were opportunities at both ends in the early stages, but Brighton seemed to be getting the upper hand when Stoke drew first blood in the 28th minute.
Xherdan Shaqiri’s fine, raking pass from the halfway line fell perfectly into the path of Choupo-Moting, who expertly plucked the ball from the sky before planting a shot past Mat Ryan.The home fans — and players — were enraged when Glenn Murray appeared to be felled inside the box by Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross, only for referee Lee Mason to award a goal-kick.
Anger turned to celebration in the 44th minute when Brighton midfielder Davy Proepper’s twinkle-toed run took him into space on the right and his low cross was driven past Lee Grant by Gross.
But within two minutes the visitors had restored their lead, a corner striking Brighton captain Bruno on the back and Zouma throwing himself at the loose ball to head in his first Stoke goal.
Brighton goalkeeper Ryan kept his side in touch by blocking from Ramadan Sobhi early in the second half and on the hour the hosts drew level again.After Zouma had failed to cut out a high ball, Izquierdo’s attempted cross from the left came back to him and the Colombia winger lashed the ball past Grant.
Shaqiri lashed narrowly wide from outside the box, but despite the introduction of Peter Crouch — who made a Premier League record 143rd substitute appearance — Stoke could not get their noses back in front.
“Brighton didn’t create much, so we are disappointed with their goals,” said Stoke manager Hughes.“It’s an away point and you have to be happy with that.”