Pet Projects: FIFA’s Infantino Ignites New Opposition

FIFA President Gianni Infantino is set to ignite new opposition Friday in Kigali, Rwanda over his ambition to introduce two money-spinning pet projects.

The projects are a revamped global club cup and a bold new international championship.

Infantino’s Saudi-backed plans, which have already been harshly criticised, are on the agenda of Friday’s meeting of FIFA’s ruling council.

It is unclear whether the council’s 37 members will vote on the projects, giving world football’s governing body authorisation to implement them.

Most Valuable Club in Europe

Manchester United has again been named most valuable European football club, being worth about €3.25bn (£2.9bn) says business services group KPMG.

The English club tops KPMG's study of top sides' "enterprise value", ahead of Real Madrid and Barcelona, BBC reports.

The study, based on the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, studied profitability, broadcasting rights, popularity, sporting potential and stadium value.

Champions League finalists Liverpool are in eighth place in the rankings.

More Medals for Team Nigeria

Amusan Wins Gold for Nigeria
Nigeria’s Oluwatobiloba Amusan has made history as the first Nigerian to win 100m hurdles at commonwealth games.

20-year-old Amusan representing Nigeria at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia on Thursday, advanced to the final with 12.73seconds while her compatriot, Grace Ayemoba clinched fifth position.

Amusan, who competed in lane two of Heat one, was the only athlete to clock a sub 12 in the heat.

Commonwealth Games: Ezuruike, 3 Others Win Gold in Powerlifting

Photo/NAN: Roland Ezuruike (middle) and three others win gold medals for Nigeria in Australia.

Ibrahim Abdulazeez, Roland Ezuruike, Esther Onyema and Ndidi Nwosu made it a clean sweep of gold medals for Team Nigeria in the Para-Powerlifting event on Tuesday at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Abdulazeez emerged tops in the men’s heavyweight category with a lift of 191.9kg to finish ahead of a field of 10 contestants.

1.7m World Cup Tickets Sold –FIFA

FIFA says almost 1.7 million tickets have been sold for the World Cup in Russia after some 400,000 were snapped up in the latest sales stage which ended on Tuesday.

The ruling body FIFA said that 394,433 tickets were sold during a first-come, first-served window since March 13.

Russians dominated by buying 216,134 of them, followed by fans from the not qualified U.S. (16,462), Argentina (15,006), Colombia (14,755) and Mexico (14,372).

Heartland FC Strikes Deal with Dana Air

Heartland FC of Owerri has bagged a multi-million naira sponsorship with Nigerian carrier, Dana Air, which is also the operator of Imo Air.

The season-long sponsorship deal which is part of the airlines’ support to the newly-promoted Imo-based team’s 2018 league campaign, will see the airline get shirt sleeve branding and lots of other branding opportunities with the club.

The airline confirmed the development in a statement on Monday in Lagos by its Communications Manager, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa.

Egypt's Salah named African Footballer of the Year

Egypt forward Mohamed Salah was named African Footballer of the Year for 2017 on Thursday, finishing ahead of his Liverpool team mate Sadio Mane of Senegal and Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Salah, 25, polled 625 points from a voting panel made up of national team coaches and captains, plus a selection of officials and journalists, to win the award.

Mane finished second on 507 with Aubameyang third on 311.

Salah helped Egypt reach the African Nations Cup final and qualify for this year’s World Cup.

Soccer: Reaction to the World Cup draw

Group-by-group reaction to the World Cup draw on Friday, compiled by Reuters:

Group A
Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay

Russian coach Stanislav Cherchesov: “I cannot say if I am happy or not after the draw. The group is what it is.”

“My emotions ahead and after the draw are the same. I smiled when we got Uruguay because they asked to have a friendly match against us and we did not agree. They were chasing us and finally got us.”

Cristiano Ronaldo wins Men's FIFA Best Player Award

Cristiano Ronaldo was named the world's best player at the 2017 Best Fifa Football Awards in London.

The Real Madrid and Portugal forward beat Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Paris St-Germain's Neymar to the honour, BBC reports.

Ronaldo, 32, helped Real to a Champions League-La Liga double in 2016-17.

Lieke Martens of Barcelona and the Netherlands won best female player, Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane was named best men's coach and Netherlands' Sarina Wiegman the best female coach.

Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar on FIFA Player of the Year Shortlist

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar have been nominated as finalists for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award, the sport’s governing body said on Friday.

Ronaldo helped Real Madrid to a second consecutive Champions League title and finished as the tournament’s top scorer with 12 goals earlier this year.

Messi and Neymar claimed the Spanish King’s Cup with Barcelona with the former finishing as La Liga’s top scorer with 37 goals last season.