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Football / 2022/23 Concacaf Nations League Thread
« on: February 05, 2022, 07:16:18 AM »

Concacaf announces details for 2022/23 Concacaf Nations League presented by Qatar Airways

Concacaf has confirmed the details of the 2022/23 Concacaf Nations League presented by Qatar Airways (CNL). The competition’s group stage matches, featuring the men’s national teams of all 41 Concacaf Member Associations is scheduled to take place during the FIFA Match Windows of June 2022 and March 2023. The Concacaf Nations League Finals presented by Qatar Airways (CNLF), between the four League A group winners, will be played in June 2023.

“The first edition of the Concacaf Nations League was a huge success, and this competition has already transformed men’s national team football in our region,” said Concacaf President and FIFA Vice President, Victor Montagliani.  “Where previously teams had limited opportunities to play and compete, the Nations League provides a consistent set of official matches for every Member Association in Concacaf. Players can look forward to regional rivalries, coaches can test themselves against the best in Concacaf and fans in all 41 nations can follow their teams with pride.”

“By including qualification to the Gold Cup, and promotion and relegation between editions, there is a competitive edge throughout this tournament. I can’t wait for the draw in April and the opening matches of the 2022/23 Concacaf Nations League in June”, added Montagliani.

The official draw for the 2022/23 CNL, which will sub-divide Leagues A, B and C into groups, will take place on Monday, April 4, in Miami, FL. The made for tv live event will feature the participation of Concacaf President and FIFA Vice president, Victor Montagliani, as well as current and former coaches and players, and guests from the world of international football.

Concacaf launched the region’s men’s Nations League in March 2018, with the aim of ensuring all Member Associations have the opportunity to compete in more official matches, driving the development of the game and providing a compelling tournament for fans in all parts of the Confederation.

The group stage of the inaugural CNL kicked off in September 2019 and culminated after one-hundred-and-two memorable matches. The four League A winners, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and USA, all advanced to the 2021 CNLF in Denver, CO. After two high quality semifinals, Mexico and the United States faced off in an unforgettable Final. An extra time penalty conversion by US forward Christian Pulisic proved to be the decisive moment and served as the winning goal in the 3-2 victory for the United States, who were crowned as the first CNL champion.

2022/23 Concacaf Nations League Group Stage presented by Qatar Airways

The 2022/23 CNL group stage will continue to be played in a three League format (League A, League B and League C), with home and away round robin play on the FIFA Match Windows of June 2022 (double window) and March 2023.

The distribution of the teams for each league has been determined based on the results of the 2019 CNL group stage (available here), including a promotion and relegation system (bottom team in each group relegated and top team in each group promoted).

Based on the 2019 results, the 41 Concacaf Member Associations will be distributed in the three Leagues as follows (teams listed in alphabetical order per league):

League A (12 teams): Canada, Costa Rica, Curaçao, El Salvador (promoted), Grenada (promoted), Honduras, Jamaica (promoted), Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Suriname (promoted) and United States.

League B (16 teams): Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas (promoted), Barbados (promoted), Belize, Bermuda (relegated), Cuba (relegated), Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Guadeloupe (promoted), Guatemala (promoted), Guyana, Haiti (relegated), Montserrat, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago (relegated).

League C (13 teams): Anguilla, Aruba (relegated), Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica (relegated), Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis (relegated), Saint Lucia (relegated), Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, Turks and Caicos Islands and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Additionally, the 2022/23 CNL group stage will continue to serve as the qualifier for the Concacaf Gold Cup. More details on the exact qualification process for the 2023 Gold Cup will be announced prior to the start of the 2022/23 CNL group stage.

2022/23 Concacaf Nations League presented by Qatar Airways Official Draw

The official draws for the 2022/23 CNL group stage will take place Monday, April 4, in Miami, FL. The three draws, one for each league, will all be done using a single-blind system involving three pots for League A, four pots for League B and three Pots for League C.

The 41 participating Concacaf Member Associations will be allocated in their respective League pots according to their Concacaf Ranking following the FIFA international match window of March 2022.

League A
Pot 1: 3 highest ranked teams and Concacaf’s representative in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Intercontinental Playoff
Pot 2: Next 4 ranked teams
Pot 3: Lowest 4 ranked teams

Note: The Concacaf representative that qualifies for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Intercontinental Playoff will automatically be allocated in Pot 1. This is to ensure they can participate in the Intercontinental Playoff which will take place in Doha, Qatar, during the second FIFA Match Window of June 2022.

League B
Pot 1: 4 highest ranked teams
Pot 2: Next 4 ranked teams
Pot 3: Next 4 ranked teams
Pot 4: Lowest 4 ranked teams

League C
Pot 1: 4 highest ranked teams
Pot 2: Next 4 ranked teams
Pot 3: Lowest 5 ranked teams

Each of the League’s draws will begin by randomly selecting a team from Pot 1 and placing them in Group A of their respective league. The draws will continue by selecting the remaining teams from Pot 1 and positioning them into Groups B, C and D in sequential order. The same procedure will be done for the remaining pots.

Fans will be able to follow the live event through the Confederation’s partner networks, including CBS/Paramount + (USA-Eng), Univision/TUDN (USA-Spa), OneSoccer (CAN), Televisa (MEX), regional partners in Central America and the Caribbean, and the Concacaf Official App (subject to territory restrictions). The free mobile app is available in the Apple and Google Play stores.

Football / The battle to control football: Fifa versus Uefa
« on: September 12, 2021, 02:52:49 AM »
The battle to control football: Fifa versus Uefa
By Murad Ahmed and Samuel Agini, The Financial Times

Almost a year before the men’s football World Cup takes place in Qatar, Arsène Wenger travelled to Doha this week to meet a group of sporting legends. They gathered not to reminisce about past exploits, but to plot a new future for the game.

Wenger, the venerable former manager of English Premier League club Arsenal, pitched a bold proposition to ex-stars including Brazilian striker Ronaldo and Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel: staging the World Cup every two years, instead of four.

“Times are changing,” says Wenger, 71, who became chief of global football development at Fifa, the sport’s international governing body, in 2018. “The new generation is used to quick responses to what they want.”

The idea is to give fans more of a product they already desire. The 2018 World Cup final between France and Croatia was watched by 1.1bn people worldwide, according to Fifa. But the body also hopes to double its cash. That World Cup, held in Russia, generated an estimated $6bn in revenues from broadcasting, sponsorship and ticketing. Only the Olympic Games captures similar attention and income.

At its heart, the push for a biennial World Cup is a battle over money and power. Fifa is challenging clubs and leagues for greater proceeds from the sport’s expected growth. But its main opponent is Uefa, the European football’s governing body, which runs the Champions League, the world’s most popular club competition. The two sides are fighting for pre-eminence over the world’s favourite game.

Wenger was first asked to investigate the possibility of increasing the World Cup’s frequency by Fifa president Gianni Infantino, a Swiss-Italian bureaucrat who was elected in 2016, rising from obscurity to lead the organisation out of a corruption scandal to become the most powerful person in the game.

Infantino has already secured an enlargement of the World Cup, which from 2026 will include 48 teams, up from 32. Yet, his latest expansion plan is seen by many as a power grab too far.

Staging the World Cup more often will swallow time allocated for other big football contests, including the annual Champions League in Europe, the Copa América, South America’s national team competition, and even Fifa’s own Women’s World Cup.

It would also steal attention — and potentially, broadcasting cash — away from other events, such as rival world cups for cricket and rugby union, while also colliding with summer Olympics.

Infantino faces stiff resistance. Aleksander Ceferin, the president of Uefa, has said Fifa’s move would “kill football” and that Europe and South America could join forces to boycott the biennial World Cup.

Ceferin’s statement came during a series of meetings this week among the continent’s top football executives held across Switzerland. Those gatherings were supposed to be a celebration of a recent victory against plans to launch the so-called European Super League, a breakaway competition outside the sport’s traditional structures and launched by a dozen of the richest clubs.

Unveiled in May, the project quickly collapsed in the face of protests from fans, media and politicians. Only Italy’s Juventus and Spain’s Real Madrid and FC Barcelona remain committed to reviving the concept. Some involved in the Super League believed they had the tacit support of Infantino, who ultimately came out against.

Having beaten back the Super League rebels, European football’s bosses appear blindsided by the World Cup proposals, which were first floated in May, although the details and intense lobbying only came into the open over recent days.

“Let’s talk,” Nasser al-Khelaifi, president of France’s Paris Saint-Germain and the new chair of the European Club Association, the trade body that represents more than 200 leading club sides, said last week. “We haven’t been approached on this yet.”

Instead, Fifa executives have briefed star footballers and international media on its plans, seeking to drum up popular support. A final decision rests not with fans, players, commentators, clubs or domestic leagues: each one of Fifa’s 211 member nations will need to vote on the proposal.

People close to the lobbying say there is strong support in Africa and Asia, where many countries want more chances to participate in the showpiece tournament. Europe and South America, where opposition is strongest, only have 65 votes between them — not nearly enough to form a veto block. Infantino has signalled he may force a ballot by December.

“This is more materially threatening to football than the Super League,” says a senior European football industry figure. “The Super League was a fairytale. But for this, Fifa have the votes.”

Outdated schedule?
The first World Cup was the result of a schism over the sport’s future. In 1927, the International Olympic Committee dropped football from the upcoming 1932 Los Angeles Games, due to the sport’s lack of popularity in the US and a disagreement over which players counted as amateurs.

Fifa’s then president, Jules Rimet, decided to launch an international football contest in 1930 in Uruguay, but retained the Olympics’ quadrennial pattern. Over the decades, football grew in popularity, boosted by the advent of television. Billions of people, from Argentina to Japan, South Africa to India, eagerly follow the World Cup, even if their nations do not qualify. Footballers consider lifting the trophy as the sport’s pinnacle.

Seeking the World Cup’s spotlight, countries engage in bitterly-contested bids to stage the event. Governments pay billions of dollars to build stadiums and the privilege of hosting the jamboree. That includes the US, a co-host of the 2026 tournament alongside Mexico and Canada.

Wenger suggests that the World Cup schedule has become “outdated,” given fans’ apparent desire for ever-more football and the relative ease of international travel.

And Fifa has a rare opening to implement its vision with the expiry in 2024 of the “international match calendar”, a 10-year agreement that dictates the timing of club and national team competitions.

Under the current calendar, in most countries, the football season takes place between August and June. At elite level, players take frequent breaks from playing in domestic club leagues to participate in their national teams’ qualifying matches for major tournaments, which are staged in the northern hemisphere’s summer months. In an unprecedented switch, Fifa moved the 2022 World Cup to November. This was because, having already awarded the event to Qatar, officials decided it was not feasible to play in the Gulf state in July, when temperatures can reach over 40C.

Wenger’s proposal is to alter football’s annual schedule from 2024 onwards. All national team “qualifiers” would take place in a six-week block between October and November — or over two windows in October and March. “Friendly” matches between countries would be eliminated. The rest of the season would be given over to club games.

The changes would create space for a month-long window for national team tournaments in June. Most of July would be reserved as a rest period for players each year.

All this would allow the World Cup to be staged every two years from 2028 onwards. In alternate years, regional contests such as the European Championships, Copa América and African Cup of Nations could take place. Every summer would become a festival of football.

Uefa has attacked the revised calendar, partly because it will probably result in less time for club matches. That would conflict with its plans to expand the Champions League by at least four additional fixtures per team a season. That is another money-spinning move, designed to attract more TV income and increase the €2bn shared between participating European clubs.

Fifpro, the global players’ union, warns that players risk burnout from additional matches. But Brazil’s Ronaldo reckons the world’s best players will welcome more possibilities to capture football’s biggest prize. He says: “if you ask [Lionel] Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo if they love to have more opportunities to win the World Cup, I’m sure they will say yes.”

More World Cups also means many more hosts. That means prospective bidders could back the idea. In May, Saudi Arabia, which is increasing its investment in sport, partly in response to a regional rivalry with Qatar, was the first to call for a “feasibility study” into holding the World Cup every two years. Infantino had made an official visit to Riyadh only a few weeks earlier.

Many smaller countries are in favour, with only 79 nations having ever appeared in the finals of the tournament. Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka are unlikely to reach their first World Cups any time soon. But the football federations for the four Asian nations released a joint statement this week, arguing: “four-year gaps between World Cups is too great — and the window of opportunity too small — to preclude whole generations of talent”.

Increased revenue to Fifa would also allow Infantino to satisfy past presidential election pledges to vastly increase the amount of “development” funding given to national associations.

Some financial analysts warn against tampering with the frequency of the event, though. “If you have too much of the same product, it doesn’t necessarily maintain its value,” says Andrea Sartori, global head of sports at KPMG, the consultancy. “If we are having caviar every evening, you won’t appreciate it as much as on the first night.”

Grand bargain
European club officials detect a more sinister plot: a design to take charge of the club game. In 2018, Infantino held secret talks with a consortium of investors including Japan’s SoftBank, which pledged $25bn to create new Fifa-run tournaments, including expanding the 8-team annual Club World Cup into a sprawling 24-side contest.

Uefa saw the revamped global club contest as a threat to the primacy of the Champions League. Another antagonist is Conmebol, South American football’s governing body, which wants to profit from the growth of its own regional club contests, primarily the Copa Libertadores.

In the face of such bitter opposition, the SoftBank-led consortium withdrew its interest. Infantino ploughed ahead regardless. Fifa hired US-based merchant bank the Raine Group to seek new backers for a Club World Cup, hoping to raise $1bn to launch the inaugural tournament which was set to take place in China this year.

The coronavirus pandemic put the plans on indefinite hold, as Fifa did not want to compete against other events, such as the Euro 2020 championships and Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed to this year.

The chief executive of one of the world’s richest clubs reckons Infantino is now seeking “leverage” to force a grand bargain — get European and South American officials to back his vision for the club game, in return for stepping back from the threat of a more frequent World Cup.

“[Infantino’s] obsession with the Club World Cup is real,” says the executive. “He has a lens on where the power is and where the growth is. The connection that we have with our fans is something he wants.”

A person close to the Fifa president says the World Cup proposal is a “separate” matter to the Club World Cup discussions, though admits it would be hard to fit both tournaments within a congested calendar. “In the end, every year only has 365 days,” the person says.

Club game
Fifa fears losing control over the game altogether. In August, Spain’s La Liga secured €2.1bn in investment from private equity group CVC Capital Partners. Buyout groups have also attempted to take stakes in Italy’s Serie A and Germany’s Bundesliga in recent months, though those deals stalled after opposition from clubs.

Fifa executives have argued that private investors may, over time, gain enough commercial power to force a future breakaway, akin to the Super League project. They say expanding the World Cup is a way of defending national team contests and maintaining their prestige within the game.

Javier Tebas, president of La Liga, rejects this view. He warns Fifa’s plans will instead hamper the development of domestic leagues, the main way that supporters engage with the sport each weekend, not just over a summer.

“A biennial World Cup would worsen what we have today and not allow those who can to build and improve,” says Tebas.

The final result is unclear, but Fifa is confident of securing victory. “To respect the fans, we need simplicity, clarity and meaningful games for them,” says Wenger. “That’s why we want more opportunities for them to watch top competition matches.”

Haitians Who Have Lost Their Homes Are Living On A Muddy Soccer Field

By Jason Beaubien, NPR

The field at the main soccer stadium in Haiti's third-largest city has turned into an expanse of mud. Last night in Les Cayes, as a thunderstorm drenched Haiti's south coast, hundreds of people slept in flimsy shelters on the athletic pitch.

Some had only a bedsheet or sheet of plastic tied over sticks to protect themselves from the elements. Others slept in tents and under tarps.

"We slept in the water," says 27-year-old Charlene Jabrum as she sat under a large tarp with 16 other people, including her 3-year-old daughter. Jabrum says her family's house collapsed in the 7.2 magnitude quake that struck on Saturday and they have no idea how long they'll be here.

"We don't see the end of this situation," she says. "Because we don't have anyplace else to live. We have to stay here. We don't know when we are going to leave."

Aid groups have handed out some relief supplies at the stadium, but Jabrum and the women she's staying with say they haven't gotten any. One of the other women says the young men and boys in the camp fight to the front of the crowd and grab everything when tarps and other supplies are handed out.

Last night, in addition to the rain, another earthquake rattled the area. The aftershock terrified people in the stadium.

Les Cayes, a seaport of just over 100,000 residents, bore the brunt of the casualties from the quake. Of the roughly 2,000 deaths reported by the Haitian government as of Thursday, the majority were in and around Les Cayes.

According to estimates from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 61,000 houses were destroyed by the temblor across Haiti's three southwestern departments, or provinces. Another 76,000 were damaged.

Many of the displaced have ended up in makeshift encampments that have sprung up all across Les Cayes.

At the soccer stadium there's no running water except for what spills out of a drainpipe near the front gate. There are two unserviced portable toilets in the back of the compound. Children are running around everywhere. The COVID pandemic is a distant concern. No one wears masks.

Paul Jean Hilton, 40, is staying in the stadium with his mother. He says he has to stay to protect her. Hilton's an unemployed security guard and he says there needs to be some order established in the camp.

"The first thing we need is shelter," he says. Temporary shelters built with tarps, he believes, are a waste of time and resources.

"We should build solid structures for families," he says. "And we need to manage this space so we can we live in a better condition. Because right now we are all going to get sick."

Currently there's no order to the camp. No one's in charge. Trash is piling up by the bleachers. Even as the stadium compound is getting muddier and messier, young men are using machetes to dig holes near midfield for support posts for what will be another shelter.

Ex-Afghanistan women’s captain tells footballers to burn kits, delete photos


The former captain of the Afghanistan women’s football team has urged players to delete social media, erase public identities and burn their kits for safety’s sake now the country is again under Taliban rule.

Copenhagen-based Khalida Popal said in a video interview on Wednesday that the militants had killed, raped and stoned women in the past and female footballers were scared of what the future may hold.

Popal, a co-founder of the Afghan women’s football league, said she had always used her voice to encourage young women “to stand strong, to be bold, to be visible” but now had a different message.

“Today I’m calling them and telling them, take down their names, remove their identities, take down their photos for their safety. Even I’m telling them to burn down or get rid of your national team uniform,” she said.

“And that is painful for me, for someone as an activist who stood up and did everything possible to achieve and earn that identity as a women’s national team player.

“To earn that badge on the chest, to have the right to play and represent our country, how much we were proud.”

During their 1996-2001 rule, guided by Islamic law, the Taliban stopped women from working. Girls were not allowed to go to school and women had to wear burqas to go out, and then only when accompanied by a male relative. Those who broke the rules sometimes suffered humiliation and public beatings by the Taliban’s religious police.

The Taliban have said they will respect the rights of women within the framework of Islamic law.

Popal said football had enabled women to take a strong stand for their rights, and to defy those who would have them silenced. “They are so afraid. They are worried, they are scared, not only the players, but also the activists ... they have nobody to go to, to seek protection, to ask for help if they are in danger,” she said of the situation now.

“They are afraid that any time the door will be knocked.

“What we are seeing is a country collapsing,” she added. “All the pride, happiness to be there to empower women and men of the country is like it was just wasted.”

A spokesperson for FIFA said the world football body shared “concern and sympathy with all those affected by the evolving situation.

“We are in contact with the Afghanistan football federation, and other stakeholders, and will continue to monitor the local situation and to offer our support in the weeks and months to come.”

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Gymnast Rebeca Andrade Won Gold For Brazil, And Became A National Hero
Weekend Edition Sunday, NPR

Brazilians are desperate for heroes right now, and it looks like they have found one: Rebeca Andrade is the first Brazilian woman to win an Olympic medal for gymnastics.


Women's gymnastics are one of the great showpieces of the Olympics, especially the individual all-around competition. Americans are still savoring Suni Lee's gold medal in that contest on Thursday after Simone Biles withdrew. That sport is also creating another big star who's being celebrated today in Brazil. We are joined now by NPR's Philip Reeves in Rio de Janeiro. Hello.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Happy news from Brazil. Tell us about this...

REEVES: Yes, indeed.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. Tell us about this gymnast.

REEVES: She's Rebeca Andrade, and she won the silver medal in that contest. And that has earned her a place in Brazilian sports history because it makes her the first Brazilian woman gymnast to win an Olympics medal. Her personal story's remarkable. She's 22. She's Black. She comes from a poor, working-class neighborhood in Sao Paulo. She's daughter of a single mom who has eight kids and used to clean houses and would walk to work to save money for Rebeca's training. And she's also - Rebeca's also had lots of battles against injuries, and so now she's become a symbol of what can be achieved against the odds.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How are Brazilians reacting?

REEVES: Well, you know, Lulu, Brazil's been going through a terrible, utterly miserable time. More than 550,000 people have been killed by COVID. That's the second highest number in the world. And under the far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, this country's painfully polarized, like the U.S. So people here are desperate for joy.


REEVES: They're hungry for heroes. And Rebeca is certainly satisfying that need. She's getting huge coverage in the media. We've had TV commentators bursting into tears. Social media is going nuts over her. She's a very charismatic figure. She seems to radiate warmth and excitement, and people have just fallen in love with her.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, we should say Brazilians don't do things halfway. But for those who don't know Brazil, I mean, how challenging was it for a Black Brazilian woman from a poor background to achieve something like this?

REEVES: It's very hard, which is why Rebeca's success is about a lot more than sports. It's being embraced here as an inspiration for women, for Black women in particular. People think it's significant that on Thursday she used a piece of music called "Baile De Favela," which is funk that comes from Brazil's favelas. Those are the low-income neighborhoods that are the hub of the African Brazilian culture. And, you know, this issue's a big deal because there's profound institutional racism here. Even though more than half the population's Black or mixed race, it's hard for Black people to reach the top, especially women, and that's true in business, in politics and also sports. To learn a little more about this, I called Julia Belas. She's a Black journalist who writes for Folha. And she says Rebeca Andrade has had to overcome a lot of obstacles.

JULIA BELAS: I work with sports, and I see every day how gender and race are acting all the time to keep young, Black women from sports.

REEVES: Julie (ph) says that she saw Rebeca win her silver live on TV.

BELAS: I cried (laughter) a lot. It was amazing.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean, Rebeca has been in action in Tokyo again today, right?

REEVES: Yes, she has, in the vault contest. So a lot of Brazilians got up early to watch on TV, even though it's Sunday morning. And guess what? She won gold.


REEVES: MyKayla Skinner, who's American, of course, took the silver. So there are more tears of happiness here and more celebrations this morning, and I'm sure they'll go on all day. This is only Brazil's second gold so far in these games. And tomorrow, Rebeca's competing again, and I'm sure Brazilians will again get up early to watch in the hope that she snags a third medal.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, have a caipirinha for me. That's NPR's Philip Reeves...

REEVES: I will.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...(Laughter) In Rio de Janeiro. Thank you very much.

REEVES: Thanks, Lulu


Ex-escort claims having two vaginas helped her separate work from her personal life
By Gemma Mullin, The Sun.

A former escort claims that having two vaginas allowed her to separate her work from her personal life.

Evelyn Miller discovered she had the rare condition, known as uterus didelphys, when she was just 20.
It means that she has two simultaneous periods and has to wear two tampons, as well as needing two separate smear tests.

And despite being told she may have difficulty conceiving, she's now six months pregnant in her right uterus.

Evelyn, now 30, said she has actually found having two sets of reproductive organs "handy".

She spent eight years working as an escort and said that it left her clients "mind blown".

One was a gynaecologist who even turned their session into a medical exam while another questioned if she'd had a "sex change gone wrong".

Not only that but she said her condition has been good for endurance as well as enabling a separation between her work and private relationships.


The advertising business owner claims it's generated a lot of "intrigue" and has boosted her OnlyFans following by 1,700 new subscribers.

Evelyn, of Gold Coast, Australia, said: "To me it's my normal and I never really thought it was that intriguing, but apparently it's very intriguing.

"I guess not many people can say that they use one vagina for work and one for personal life.

"It was helpful with work to be able to have a whole other vagina.

"It was handy for endurance - if I had a lot of bookings and I was getting uncomfortable in one, I could just use the other one.

"It's tough being in a relationship with an escort for all sorts of reasons and you especially don't want your sex life compromised at home - it really enabled me to have that separation.

"When I got into a relationship it was better for me to separate the two - to use one vagina for work and one for personal life."


Evelyn said her favourite is her right vagina as sex is slightly more comfortable and she can orgasm using that one - so she reserved this one for her personal relationships.

She said she'd mainly refrain from telling her clients about her condition due to fear of it being publicised on an escort review platform and that she'd become a "novelty, not a human being".

Evelyn said: "Some clients I will tell and they don't believe me at first until I show them and then they're completely mindblown.

"I had a couple of clients find out - one was a gynaecologist and he was able to feel the difference and he then turned it into a medical exam.

"Another client thought that I'd had a sex change gone wrong, which was a little bit offensive - he was a little bit scared of it.

"I have a million questions - there's so many questions already with sex work, so together it adds a lot more intrigue."

Evelyn claims her uteruses are half the size and a different shape to a regular one and that she was told she may have difficulty conceiving.

However she's now expecting a baby boy in her right uterus.

Evelyn said: "Not knowing if I'd be able to have kids, and that being pregnant is quite high risk, was really daunting.

"I was told I could get pregnant in each side at the same time, or about three weeks apart - it takes about three weeks for your body to register that you're pregnant in one uterus.

"I could carry babies in each one but they wouldn't be the same age."
Evelyn discovered her condition after an abortion and first mentioned her uterus didelphys on social media around six months ago in a bid to raise awareness and it had a "huge reception".

"I've had so much more intrigue than I thought - people have just been completely taken back by it," she said.

"After I got pregnant I thought I'd talk about it more because the condition won't affect me having a child - so I don't really hate it.

"If I'd had complications I probably wouldn't have been so open about it.

"A lot of people want to see it on Only Fans because it's strange - they [subscribers] can't believe it - they say that they had to sign up to have a look, it's crazy.

"People want novelty and something different - I don't think anyone's ever made porn with two vaginas before."

Click on title for full article.

Football / French Soccer Roiled by Claims of Toxic Workplace Culture
« on: October 15, 2020, 08:41:07 PM »
French Soccer Roiled by Claims of Toxic Workplace Culture
By Tariq Panja and Romain Molina, The New York Times.

From the outside, France’s soccer federation has for two years represented its sport’s gold standard: champions at the men’s World Cup in Russia in 2018 and host of the most successful women’s championship in history a year later.

But inside the federation, current and former officials said, that golden aura has masked at least two years of roiling discontent, including accusations of improper behavior by executives toward female staff members, charges of bullying by the organization’s director general and complaints about a toxic culture in which some men routinely direct sexist language and suggestive remarks toward female staff members.

Things have gotten so bad inside the federation’s Paris headquarters, in fact, that the longtime president, Noël Le Graët, has brought in an outside expert trained in repairing broken businesses to guide his staff out of the tumult.

“For several months now I’ve been made aware of instances of dysfunction and tense work relationships within the leadership team,” Le Graët wrote last month in an email to senior staff members that was reviewed by The New York Times. “I do not want this situation to drag on. It is taking a toll on our organization and on proper working conditions among us all.”

The discord is a serious threat to the organization’s mission, several federation officials said, not only because of the workplace issues, but also because the loss of top leaders could, over time, affect the performance of France’s world-beating teams. France’s women’s team is dealing with its own internal revolt, with several top players feuding with the team’s coach and one announcing she will not play for the squad until the coach is gone.

In interviews far from the field, more than a half-dozen current and former employees of the soccer federation described to The Times a work environment in which bad language, mental abuse and stress were common, and where alcohol had fueled improper behavior at staff events, including at least one incident in which male staff members entered a female colleague’s room without her permission.

The crisis inside the federation belies the success of France’s teams, from the men’s World Cup winners of 2018 to the country’s widely respected youth development programs to a women’s national team that ranks third in the world behind only the United States and Germany.

One director described the situation as a “sad paradox” in which so many positives disguised “two years of sickness.”

“It is a pathetic comedy,” he said.

The soccer body, the Fédération Française de Football (F.F.F.), employs about 300 staff members operating across two main sites: the organization’s headquarters in Paris and a national training center in Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines, about 35 miles southwest of the city. With an annual budget of around $300 million, it oversees all amateur and professional soccer in France, a constituency of more than 2.1 million licensed amateur players and about 1,500 professionals. The federation also runs one of the world’s best talent production systems across 25 sites nationwide, including eight specifically for women.

For Le Graët, insiders said, much of the focus has been on repairing the deteriorating relationships among members of his management team. In September, more than a year after fielding complaints about the leadership style of the organization’s director general, Florence Hardouin, he sent an email to the federation’s directors telling them he had called in a workplace expert, Eric Moliere, whose company, Plein Sens, specializes in repairing damaged organizations.

Le Graët, who also sits on the governing council of FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, has promised to act on the findings of the report being compiled by Moliere. But for more than a year since receiving a letter signed by more than a dozen senior executives who stated that they had lost confidence in management, Le Graët has taken few substantive actions to address the problems, the current and former officials said.

At a meeting in 2019, according to staff members who were present, Le Graët simply implored staff members to work better together. Hardouin, according to people involved, heard the complaints and made her own criticisms, but also vowed to make an effort to improve the situation.

She had a tough job on her hands.

“The working environment has deteriorated so much because of a management method which harms the functioning of the federation and the good accomplishment of its basic missions,” read a portion of the letter sent to Le Graët last year.

This summer, the environment deteriorated further, employees said, with more missives being addressed to Le Graët. In one that was reviewed by The Times, an executive said that his mental health had deteriorated to such an extent that he could no longer carry out his job. Other officials have made similar claims of psychological harassment from colleagues.

Despite the problems, Le Graët insisted that things were not as bad as some officials said.

“There is no ‘civil war’ in F.F.F.,” he said in emailed responses to questions relayed through the federation’s spokesman. “This is wrong, absurd and fake news.” Hardouin, like other staff members, had his full support, he added.

For Hardouin, one of a small group of women in senior roles in global soccer, the skirmishes have been personal. In emailed responses to questions, she said she was aware of the complaints that have found their way with increasing regularity to the office of Le Graët, who promoted her from her position as the head of the marketing division to lead the federation in 2012.

But Hardouin said she did not feel personally targeted by the accusations, and suggested it was healthy for the organization to work with the outside expert to address any problems.

“All this allows us to improve, move forward and be better,” she said.

Moliere, the workplace consultant, has spent hours talking to the senior management team and asking probing questions, according to some of those who have been interviewed.

According to officials at the federation, part of the problem — and perhaps some of the causes of the infighting — lies in a bloated management structure in which 17 directors are constantly vying for prominent roles. (Those internal politics also may be heating up with a specific date in mind: Le Graët, 78, is up for re-election in March.) But the issues, several of those interviewed said, also were a reflection of a culture that in some instances has taken a blind eye to behavior that some employees, especially younger staff members, have said makes them uncomfortable.

After the World Cup in 2018, for example, the federation warned its finance director, Marc Varin, about his conduct after a female employee filed a complaint accusing him of behaving improperly toward her at a party in Moscow.

A police investigation and then an internal investigation by the F.F.F. cleared Varin of sexual harassment, but he was later warned about the language he used toward both male and female colleagues — as well as about his alcohol consumption — at a Christmas party that year, the federation said.

Another episode that frustrated some female staff members occurred a few years earlier, when, after an evening of drinking at a management retreat at Clairefontaine, at least two senior executives brandishing a Champagne bottle entered a female colleague’s room late at night without an invitation. The federation said it had not received a complaint about the incident, which was described by three people with direct knowledge of the evening.

Female staff members, though, told The Times about the casual use of sexually suggestive language by men who work for the federation, as well as being subjected to sexist comments about their appearance.

The federation denied there were any such problems, and noted that 45 percent of its employees were women.

Still, growing concerns about the conduct of federation personnel led to changes after the incident at the World Cup in Russia. Staff members are now barred from consuming alcohol at parties hosted on federation properties, and a program of mandatory anti-harassment training was introduced for federation employees at the start of 2020. That process has stalled since the coronavirus outbreak, however; about half of the senior managers have yet to receive the training.

At the same time, communication at the federation’s senior levels has disintegrated. The F.F.F., like other sports organizations, faces damaging financial consequences as a result of the pandemic, but its directors have not held a board meeting in four months. Factions have formed that either support or oppose Hardouin, the director general, and some officials have hired lawyers to represent their interests ahead of possible exit negotiations.

Le Graët, as he did a year ago, has tried to assure employees that the problems can be overcome. But the tense atmosphere has spread to junior staff members, with one official describing a “zombielike” atmosphere inside the organization.

For now, all of the employees are awaiting the result of Moliere’s report, which they hope will lead to fundamental changes. Failure to reform, according to some, will inevitably hit the federation where it matters most: on the field.

“We are the result of several years’ work, and the mess today you’ll see on the pitch in four or five years’ time,” said the official, a senior federation executive who asked not to be identified given the politics at play in the management fight.

“I think nobody should be saved, not the factions, not Florence, and not the president,” the official added. “I truly think no one cares about football, they just care about themselves. We need a fresh start.”

General Discussion / The David Nakhid General Discussion Thread
« on: June 14, 2020, 04:21:14 PM »
The following sentence from the UNC media release is noteworthy:

Mr Nakhid has long been a staunch supporter of the UNC and an avid believer in the leadership of Kamla Persad Bissessar.

This was a necessary declaration with respect to the political leader. Although the legacy of UNC support challenges comprehensive credulity, it is intriguing messaging to the party base. On balance, both of those sentence clauses are the most important elements of the media release. More important than Nakhid's biography and more important than the legwork that facilitated this opportunity.

General Discussion / Biden's Dilemma
« on: February 10, 2020, 04:52:14 PM »
Biden's Dilemma
By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe, Trinidad and Tobago News Blog

On Monday night I tuned into CNN to listen to the results of the Democratic caucus that had taken place in Iowa earlier in the day. By one am on Tuesday morning the Iowa Democratic Party (I.D.P.) had issued no results although some of the candidates made their speeches and headed off to New Hampshire to continue their quest to become the Democratic presidential nominee for the 2020 election.

The I.D.P. offered many reasons for its inability to produce the results of the election in a timely fashion. Many candidates hoping to use the result of the caucus to fire up the next leg of their campaign were disappointed. Joe Biden, the favorite in the race and the person who portrayed himself as the candidate best equipped to defeat President Trump, finished in a disappointing fourth place.

Paradoxically, the inability to name a winner that evening benefited Biden, the former vice president, who had the most to lose by not finishing among the top three winners. He was lucky. Katie Glueck, Jonathan Martin and Thomas Kaplan explained: “The slow drip of vote totals in Iowa—and a swirl of other major news events—may blunt the attention of Mr. Biden’s challenges. Iowa is an overwhelmingly white state, while Mr. Biden’s political strength is with black voters, who he is counting on for support in later-voting, more diverse states.”

Although Biden promotes himself as the candidate that is most likely to defeat Trump, he was unsuccessful in his previous quests (1984, 1988 and 2008) to be the Democratic presidential nominee. Barack Obama rescued Biden’s political career when he chose him as his vice president.

Biden has always been too early or too late in his quest for the presidency. He has also said some unfortunate things and taken some controversial positions that offended many of his constituents. Now, he argues that he should be given his party’s nomination because of the length of time he has served as a senator and vice president. I am not sure this approach is sufficient to warrant his nomination.

In 1836 Richard M. Johnson was Martin Van Buren’s running mate in the presidential election. Van Buren won the election with 170 electoral votes. Virginia rejected Johnson and the state’s 23 electoral votes went to William Smith of Alabama. Johnson needed 148 electoral votes to become the VP but only received 147, one less than the number required to elect him to that position.

What was Johnson’s sin?

He fathered two children with Julia Chinn, a mixed-race woman. The U.S. Telegraph proclaimed that no American would place “in the chair of the Vice Presidency a man who has for more than twenty years lived in open connection with a negro slave—who has recognized her offspring as his children, educated them, and endeavored to force them upon society, as in all respects equal to those of his free white neighbors, and now boasts that his black or yellow daughters, are as accomplished girls as any in the immediate vicinity.”

The Senate using its powers under the Twelfth Amendment selected Johnson. This led to “the dubious distinction of his being the only vice-president elected, not by the electoral college, but by the Senate of the United States” (Robert Bolt, “Vice President Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky.”

Things have changed. Now that the white voters of Iowa have deserted Biden, he needs the black vote to be successful which makes him particularly concerned with what black voters do in South Carolina and other states.

Can Biden convince black voters that he is worthy of their support? Can he come up with a program that attacks the persistent inequality and discrimination under which African-Americans find themselves? Can he close the increasing wealth gap between black and white America?

Obama elevated Biden to the vice presidency and allowed him to partially achieve his presidential ambitions. Biden thanked Obama for his confidence in him. There is no doubt that Biden’s presence on the presidential ballot contributed to Obama’s election.

Biden needs the black vote and the Obama’s connection to see him through. But will these connections be enough to see Biden through? Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor of Princeton University argues that blacks supported Obama in spite of his troubling record with regards to black people.

She writes: “Mr. Biden continues to frame his own candidacy as an extension of the Obama administration. It’s unclear what that means. Will it be a continuation of Obama’s financial policies that benefited the richest Americans….Or, his dreadful immigration policies?…Will it be the same kind of reluctance to take on issues of racial inequality for fear of being pigeonholed as beholden to black interests?”

Unless Biden can answer these questions in a forthright manner, the black vote may not save him. The Senate saved Johnson even though he had a black mistress. Given how the Republicans pummeled Biden in the Senate last week, one wonders if he can survive the negative publicity that has dogged him from that quarter.

Let’s hope he can up his game and come up with an inspiring program and a message that inspire black people. Trump, it seems, is trying to cut into the black vote. It will neither be a free pass for Biden nor any other Democrat who is nominated to run against Trump.

The Senate saved Vice President Johnson in 1837. African Americans may come through for Biden in the forthcoming caucuses and primaries. If Biden is unsuccessful this time around I wonder if history will record that the Senate and the black vote as being responsible for his failure.

(Click on the title to access the original article).

Football / The shot heard around the world - November 19, 1989
« on: January 12, 2020, 03:18:58 AM »
LISTEN: The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) recently heard testimony from Paul Caligiuri on Sporting Witness about November 19, 1989 and its legacy.

The programme was aired for the BBC's global audience on December 19, 2019. It's available here.

Football / Luke Singh Thread
« on: January 26, 2019, 02:18:07 PM »
Luke Singh has been on trial at the Danish Superliga club, Brøndby IF. However, his stint with the club has been interrupted because he sustained a minor back injury. 

Although Luke has returned to Toronto, Brøndby has stated that an announcement about Luke's future with the club will be made at a later date.

Football / Each One Teach Many: Life Lessons from Players for Players
« on: January 22, 2019, 06:31:19 PM »
Kevin-Prince Boateng speaking with Sid Lowe of The Guardian

‘If you don’t die, I die’

Boateng was raised in Wedding, a “rough” neighbourhood of high unemployment and high immigration where he says “people were shot and police didn’t even enter”, where he recalls Koloniestrasse, the street next to his, being in the “top 10” most dangerous, and where the “rules” were “if you don’t die, I die”. It was the kind of place that shaped you, he says. “We didn’t have much money but that was my life. I didn’t know better so it was OK – and the things you learn and see on the street make you who you are.”

It was also the kind of place you leave, he admits. He says his “brain” and his football talent, his ability to channel that “anger and aggression”, were his way out. Growing up, he knew he had a gift, an ability to see what was next, and he first joined Hertha Berlin at seven. In 2007 Tottenham Hotspur signed him for £5.4m: the “big move”, he says, but the wrong move. Left out, he wasn’t ready for London, and it could have ruined him. One morning, about a year later, he woke up, stood before the mirror, and the realisation hit him.

“I looked old,” Boateng says. He was 20.

“Every night I was out until six. I was like 95 kilos, swollen from the drinking and bad food. I said: ‘This can’t be me, I don’t want to be that guy. I have something inside: I’m a football player.’ I called my friends, two real friends, and they came. Together, we cleaned out my fridge and the house. That day, I said: ‘No, stop it.’ I didn’t drink. I didn’t go out. I started cooking; I wanted to eat healthily. From one day to the next.” Boateng clicks his fingers. “If I did it slowly, maybe I wouldn’t do it. I needed a clean break.”

How had it come to that? “Martin Jol told me he didn’t want me after a month. So, it became me against the world. You know when you shut off? That was me. ‘You don’t want me? I’ll enjoy life.’ I realise now how bad it was: six days a week nightclubbing, drinking for almost a year. But I was only 20. You don’t think things are going wrong. You see money coming in. ‘OK, I get my fun somewhere else.’ Girls, nightclubs, friends … Fake friends.”

The correction jars. There was an emptiness to life. “I left my home, family, all my friends, then my ex-wife left me and I was totally alone. I had friends but not real friends who’ll tell you: ‘What are you doing? Go and train.’ No. It’s: ‘Let’s go out.’” And at the time, [I thought] I needed that. The release, someone to talk to.

“Fans don’t care what’s in your private life, what happened in your past, where you come from. If you don’t perform they judge. I was the same, a fan judging Hertha Berlin players. That will never change. You’re a number in this system. You cost money, if you don’t work, they change the number. I had to learn to understand that; when I was 20 I didn’t.”

It is not just the fans. “In the team, everyone does their own thing; in the end, they don’t really care how you feel, why you’re sad or not training well,” he says.

Spurs’ former sporting director Damien Comolli once said Boateng was the one player he regretted signing, admitting he failed to spot a kid unprepared for the change or do enough to help. “It was probably our failure more than his,” he said. Boateng appreciates the sentiment now, saying it lifts a weight off; back then, he missed it. “No one came to ask: ‘How are you?’ No one. ‘How are you?’ Just one simple question: ‘How are you?’ No one, no one.”

Had they done, he might just have replied: “Fine,” not really aware of the damage being done, that things were even going wrong. “I was spending serious amounts: nightclubs, clothes, cars.” Three in one day, the story goes. “True,” he says. “Because you try to buy happiness. I couldn’t play football so I buy a Lamborghini. Wow, you’re happy for a week. After that you don’t even use it. Who drives around Loughton in a Lamborghini? I still have a picture: three cars, big house, I’m standing there like I’m 50 Cent. I look at it sometimes and say: ‘Look how stupid you were.’ But that made me who I am and I can look back and see it. I’ve learned. I grew up.”

“I woke up one morning, looked in the mirror and thought: ‘No, that’s not me, I don’t want to be that. I’m a footballer.’”

‘Klopp is the best coach in the world’

But footballers have to play and opportunities remained limited until Dortmund took Boateng on loan for six months in January 2009, the eve of their explosion. The manager was Jürgen Klopp and the mention of his name excites. “Yes!” Boateng says. “I could see it immediately. He’s the best coach in the whole world. He knows when to push you and when to comfort you. He knows when you need a drink, when you need water. He has this …” His voice trails off. “He has everything. Ask the players and they’ll say: ‘He’s the best, I’d die for him.’

“He knows exactly what every player needs and gives them time. There were players at Dortmund who played five minutes in six months but they were happy: happy to come to training, happy to work, because he made you feel important. Not necessarily as a player – maybe he doesn’t need you – but as a person. That’s why he’s successful everywhere. And Liverpool’s perfect; just watching his presentation you see it. ‘The normal one’: people there love that. If he’d gone to Paris, it would have been best suit, [different message]. He knows how to grab people.”

Moments, chance, decisions; they can change a career, a life. There must be times when Boateng thinks: “If I’d stayed at Dortmund with Klopp …” The response is immediate. “I’d have played a Champions League final, won the league, the cup. But: ‘if’, ‘when’ … I don’t know. I’ve had a career many dream of. I’m happy, but I know I could have done better; if I’d focused more, worked harder earlier. I’m happy to have met Klopp, to have worked with him, even if it was only six months.”

Dortmund wanted to keep him but not enough to match Spurs’ £4.5m asking price. Portsmouth came, with their invisible owner and impending crisis: a backwards step but a necessary one. “For almost three years, I hardly played; that was all I wanted. They said the stadium is small: ‘I don’t care.’ The pitch is bad: ‘I don’t care.’ They have no money: ‘I don’t care.’ The contract is this: ‘OK, I sign it. Just give me the ball, let me play.’ Portsmouth was small but real. It was crazy, beautiful. I loved playing there.”

His last season in England ended, perhaps inevitably, with relegation, and also an FA Cup final defeat against Chelsea, but he played and even got a semi-final goal at Wembley against Spurs – “a little payback to show them that I made mistakes but they made mistakes too,” he says. It is said without bitterness; that is just how it is. “You didn’t work, they send you away. But when you score against your old team after they didn’t treat you how you wanted, it’s an amazing feeling.”

“I played well at Portsmouth so knew I couldn’t stay,” he continues. What he did not know was where he was going but the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where he faced his brother Jérôme against Germany, the country he represented at under-21 level, and reached the quarter-final with Ghana, whose passport he had acquired in May, meant he had a market. He was in demand again, a star. Even Mandela wanted him, he discovered.

“There were three people I always wanted to meet: Michael Jackson, Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela,” he says. “I only met one, and it’s hard to describe. It’s just joy. Mandela was in prison for 27 years just because he stood up for his rights and he sits there and has no anger inside. He should be angry with the whole world, but he wasn’t. He’s calm, just there in his little seat saying hello to everybody. He makes you feel calm. He was shining. It’s like a movie. It’s like an angel sitting there.”

And what did you say to him? Did you know what to say?

“Nooo! Luckily he broke the ice, because you just stand there. It was the World Cup, people were calling me ‘David Black-ham’, going crazy for me. I was kind of like a star. We go into the room: ‘Hello … hello … hello.’ He shook my hand, pulled me towards him and said: ‘My daughter wants to marry you.’ I said: ‘Sorry I already have a girlfriend.’ He said: ‘No, no but I have others, more beautiful.’ Everyone was laughing. The pity is we couldn’t take pictures because the flash hurt his eyes so I only have one.”

Prince stops for a second then laughs. “And it doesn’t even look like me…”

‘They were all there: Ibrahimovic, Seedorf, Pirlo, Ronaldinho …’

Soon after the World Cup, Boateng was on holiday when his agent phoned. He thought a deal had been done with Genoa – it had – but his agent asked if he fancied Milan. “I said: ‘Come on, are you kidding? Seriously? I’d love to,’” he recalls. “I went out partying. Next morning, he calls at eight. I was still tired. He said: ‘Get in the car, we have to meet.’ ‘Where?’ ‘Milan.’ He said: ‘You have trained, right?’ I said: ‘Of course,’ but it was a lie: I wasn’t training; I was enjoying my holiday. ‘Perfect, because I told them you’re an animal.’ ‘Yeah, yeah.’ Oh my God.”

“They were all there. I signed the day after Ibrahimovic; Robinho signed too. There was Seedorf, Pirlo, Ambrosini, Gattuso, Ronaldinho, Thiago Silva, Jankulovski, name it. My first day, I was there early doing the tests and saw the names. ‘This is a dream, this is a joke.’ I called my older brother: ‘I’m sitting next to Pirlo.’ ‘Take a picture, take a picture!’ ‘I’ve got David Beckham’s old locker.’ He’s like: ‘You’re lying’. I said: ‘I’ll send a picture.’”

Zlatan was the most imposing. “You think he’s this arrogant, big f**ker and completely not a nice guy but he’s the opposite: laughing all the time, cracking jokes. On the pitch, he’s very serious, very professional. But off it, the funniest guy ever.” So his persona is a facade? “Yeah of course because he doesn’t want to talk to you,” Boateng laughs. “So he puts that face on so you don’t even ask him a question.”

Do you see yourself in him?

“Not any more.”

Did you?

“Yeah, yeah. Because I was the same; I didn’t want to talk to people. I didn’t want to show them I had emotions. I [built] this big wall. But you grow up, you’re happier with life, you think: ‘Why not?’ Why not let people talk to you? Help them? Give them a smile?”

Speaking of smiles, Boateng rates Ronaldinho highest of all, his tone hushed. No facade here. “It’s genuine: he’s exactly how he looks. Laughing, smiling, all the time. Never, never, never serious. Impossible. He’s always happy. You win, he’s happy. You lose, he’s happy. He scores three own goals, he’s happy. He just wants the ball. Give him it. That’s why he was the best; he feels no pressure. And by then he had nothing to prove.”

It was no surprise to Boateng that Milan won the league; the surprise was that he was in the team that did it. “They had a superstar in every position but the crazy thing was I was playing. I started on the bench but fought my way in. Talent, technique – everybody there has that. Maybe the only one with less technique was Gattuso, but he ran 120 minutes like a psycho. I had to bring something different so I brought fighting spirit. Running, kicking, to the point where people said: ‘He’s the new Gattuso, the new Gladiator.’”

Title secured, all round to Silvio’s to celebrate. “No, no, no,” Boateng grins. “We knew it would come out, so we never went.” He continues: “[Berlusconi] was fantastic. We had a special relationship, a bond. He saw me as the little star he’d brought and encouraged me to draw out what I had inside. My best seasons were at Milan – and he was the one who pushed me. And he knows football; he won 30 titles. You read stories about him: he did this, he did that. OK. But when you meet him, he shines. He makes you feel you’re special, not him. That was his gift; that’s why they wanted him for president, why people voted for him.”

‘If you’re 18 you don’t know anything’

Six years from that Scudetto, his only major title, Boateng headed for Spain on a free. Las Palmas may seem a curious choice – this is only their second top flight season in 15 years – but, asked why, the answer is swift: “Why not?” Options were not limitless, he had seen them on television, and Mubarak Wakaso told him they were different – an attractive team whose idealistic manager Quique Setien emphasises expression and enjoyment. It’s also tempting to adapt the old joke: so, Prince, what was it that first attracted you to the holiday island of Gran Canaria?

It’s a grey morning at Barranco Seco, the training ground where flowers border a single pitch, and the cloud has not lifted when he arrives at the stadium in the afternoon, but he’s in shorts and wakes most days to sunshine. That matters. It seems he has mellowed – seeking sporting opportunity, sure, but life too. There’s a contentedness about him, comfort and acceptance, little impatience to move. No plans to return to England, either. He’s scored there and in Italy, Germany and Spain – the only current player to have done that – so he suggests: “Maybe I’ll go to France one day, add another.”

“England was good and you never know,” he continues. “But I feel really good here. It’s exactly what I need. I love the way football’s played. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético dominate but we drew 2-2 at home against Madrid and won at Atlético. In Germany or England that’s impossible, not here. We have an incredible team, so much talent.” Given his reputation, Setien feared Boateng’s arrival but he’s been impressed and the Ghanaian fits in. That was best expressed at Villarreal when Pedro Tana completed a wonderful team move with a backheeled assist for Boateng to volley a goal worthy of Fifa’s Puskas award.

He thought so, certainly. In fact, he was counting on it. “I thought I was going to the Fifa gala. It was going to be the best day of my life after my kids’ birth. I always said I wanted to go, even if was just for the fair play award for owning up that it wasn’t a penalty. I felt if you go there, you’ve made it. You’re one of the best, even if it’s for a stupid thing, or for one goal one year. I thought they’d call me because I got so many messages and tweets …”

The call never came. “Someone explained that it’s not the best team goal, it’s the best individual goal. But football’s a team sport. Otherwise, I’ll play tennis. So, I saw all the messages and got excited.” Boateng is giggling now. “I even told my wife: ‘We’re going to Zurich.’ She asked me a week afterwards: ‘What happened to Zurich?’ I said: ‘Oh, forget about it.’ I’ll have to score another.”

He’s 29; there’s still time, but it’s also an age when retirement plans take shape. “My world’s football, my vision’s helping young players: where to put their money, which physio to see, getting them on the right path. Players need help and too many agents think about the quick money and they’re gone.”

“We didn’t study much, we’re not the best at maths or whatever, because we loved football. If you’re 18 you don’t know anything – and today at 18 you get five million net a year. You buy the world. That’s exactly what you think: ‘I. Can. Buy. The. World.’ I buy friends, I buy girls, I buy cars, I buy everything. I buy love, I buy happiness. That’s what you think. When you’re 18 you don’t care what your parents say, so you need this figure guiding you. I didn’t have that. So many players don’t.”

It’s role he’s already growing into. “There are young players here with so much talent. It can be difficult to live here: beautiful place, beautiful weather, you train two hours a day, you can go to the beach. To be focused on this island is difficult but I’m experienced, so I help, advise. If they listen, that’s up to them, but at least I can say I tried.

“I don’t want them to waste their talent. I’ve given them examples of things I did really wrong. I made mistakes in my life. I’m OK with that now, but I don’t want them to do the same stupid things that leave a mark forever: ‘Bad boy’, ‘drinker’, ‘party guy’. Some newspapers still have that image of me. Whatever. Come on, I spoke in front of the UN. Tell me another player who’s done that.”

Football / 2019 in Quotes
« on: January 14, 2019, 03:16:34 PM »
So much for waiting until the end of the year ... this one demanded immediate publication!

The talented Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi invoking the naked ire of ah "hot" Iron regarding his performance during West Ham's match against Arsenal on Saturday, January 12.

"f**king pussy @MatteoGuendouzi, I've seen you go down more in this match than I did in 2014."

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

Football / The Best Pass of 2018-19
« on: December 31, 2018, 02:19:43 PM »
<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win"></a>

Post yuh contenders.

Football / Quotes in Football Thread
« on: December 31, 2018, 12:15:00 PM »
2018 in Quotes

“Mr Bonucci and Mr Chiellini could go to Harvard University to give classes about how to be a central defender” – Mourinho explains why Manchester United could not beat Juventus in the Champions League.

“His first touch is like a trampoline. He’s not going to make it” – former Republic of Ireland striker and Perth Glory’s Andy Keogh on Usain Bolt’s prospects as a footballer.

“I have some bad news” – Arsène Wenger breaks the news to his squad that he is to step down at Arsenal.

“I honestly did not know that no one can smoke in the stadium. I apologise to everyone” – Diego Maradona after lighting up a sizeable Cuban in the stands during Argentina v Iceland. Ten days later, he was treated by paramedics after appearing to collapse during the country’s victory over Nigeria.

“It is just shameful that so much time could be lost over one player. The delay for one player lasted four minutes, and that is a lesson for even children who play. This should be a game of men and not so much clowning around” – Mexico boss Juan Carlos Osorio speaks for the world when discussing Neymar’s play-acting.

 “I am German when we win but I am an immigrant when we lose” – Mesut Özil retires from international duty, citing racism as one of his reasons.

 “3-0, 3-0. Do you know what this is? 3-0. But it also means three Premierships and I won more Premierships alone than the other 19 managers together. Three for me and two for them two [Pep Guardiola and Manuel Pellegrini]. So respect man, respect, respect, respect” – José Mourinho demands respect from Guardian reporter Jamie Jackson.

“I am the manager of one of the greatest clubs in the world but I am also one of the greatest managers in the world … Did you read any philosopher? You spent time reading Hegel? Just as an example Hegel says: ‘The truth is in the whole,’ is always in the whole” – Mourinho again, turning to philosophy.

“Memphis? He came on at Stoke away and messed up for their goal so Louis van Gaal made him play for the reserves the next day. I said, ‘Look, it’s a bit difficult [for you]. Just don’t come in with all your fancy stuff’.’ And he turned up for the reserve game in his Rolls-Royce, wearing a leather jacket and a cowboy hat. And I just thought, ‘What’s the point?’” – Wayne Rooney on where it all went wrong for Memphis Depay at Manchester United.

“He was on a protein diet so we had a chicken curry. He even had a cup of tea. He beat us all at Fifa and then we watched Match of the Day. It was a really nice evening” – N’Golo Kanté spends an evening at a fan’s house after missing his Eurostar from St Pancras after Chelsea’s 4-1 win over Cardiff.

“No” – Ada Hegerberg responds to DJ Martin Solveig asking her to twerk after she won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or.

 “Dear Los Angeles, You’re Welcome” – a full-page ad taken out by Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the LA Times as he signs for the Galaxy

(Sourced from the Guardian)

'Everybody fits in': inside the Canadian cities where minorities are the majority
By Sadiya Ansari, The Guardian

The Foody Mart in Markham, a sprawling city near Toronto, is found in a typical North American suburban plaza, sprinkled with fast-food chains, nail salons and a small legal firm. But look closely and you will notice the mall’s parking signs are in Chinese and the bank serves customers in Cantonese and Mandarin.

Inside the Foody Mart, there are shelves of salted duck eggs, air-shipped mangosteen and durian. Staff hand out samples of fish balls and regulars drink bubble tea alongside young families enjoying hot meals from the takeaway counter, as Shanghai pop plays over the speakers.

This is just one of many large grocers that serve the Chinese population in Canada’s most diverse city. With a population of 330,000, Markham is one of a handful of “majority-minority” cities, where visible minorities – the official term used in Canada for anyone who is not white or indigenous – make up 78% of the city’s population, according to the 2016 census.

Stores such as the Foody Mart did not exist when Jennifer Chin first moved to Markham in 1991. Born in Jamaica, Chin, 53, is ethnically Chinese, as is her husband. They raised three children while running a business manufacturing Jamaican patties, often described as a quintessentially Torontonian snack.

When she arrived, the city’s population was less than half what it is today, and just 14% was Chinese. She witnessed the city transform with waves of immigrants: Cantonese-speaking Chinese from Hong Kong, Indians, Sri Lankans, then Mandarin speakers from mainland China. Today, just 22% of the city’s residents are of European origin; 46% are Chinese, 18% are south Asian and the rest are from a variety of other backgrounds such as Iranian, Italian and Filipino.

One of the most notable characteristics of Markham’s rise has been thriving pockets of businesses – groceries, clothing stores, spas, tea shops – to serve those groups, particularly in Chinese and south Asian malls.

“It’s good and bad,” Chin says. “I love the diversity. I love that we have different kinds of foods: Sri Lankan, Indian-Chinese, even different types of Chinese food. However, sometimes you feel people aren’t encouraged as much to adapt.”

Along with several other majority-minority cities on the outskirts of Toronto, Markham represents a remarkable outcome of Canada’s official policy of multiculturalism, enacted in the 1970s under the then prime minister, Pierre Trudeau. It states that other cultures are valuable as long as newcomers are willing to integrate into “mainstream” Canadian culture – typically understood as the country’s English and French colonial roots. But what does mainstream look like in cities where the primary culture is neither English nor French? And, as Canada’s population is projected to be nearly 30% foreign-born by 2036, what does integration in these cities mean?

Cultural change

Ethnic ties have long attracted newcomers to the suburbs of Toronto, transforming what were once bedroom – or commuter – communities into thriving cities in their own right. Markham’s biggest mall now features high-end shops that rival the shopping centres in Toronto. The city has its own Whole Foods store, as well as chic mid-rise condos to complement the earlier sprawling developments of large single-family homes.

As cities get bigger, it’s only natural to be attracted to those who are similar to you, says Mohammad Qadeer, a professor of urban planning at Queen’s University, Ontario. “You usually hang out and interact with people you share interests with,” he says. “Ethnicity and religion are strong ties that bring people together.”

But majority-minority cities also serve as a reminder that diverse populations do not necessarily generate utopian post-racial societies. White flight and hate crimes still occur, as do coded fights over issues that disproportionately affect immigrants – for instance, blowback against multi-generational housing, where several generations live under one roof.

And just because a city has a high proportion of foreign-born residents does not mean its population is always open to other newcomers. Punches were thrown at a recent protest in Markham, where groups of mostly Chinese-Canadians clashed over a proposal to temporarily house asylum seekers in the city, to ease the pressure on Toronto’s shelter system. The majority (81%) of asylum seekers in the city’s shelter system are from Nigeria.

Markham has nevertheless come a long way since 1995, when the then deputy mayor, Carole Bell, expressed hostility towards Chinese malls, claiming they were driving people out of the city and that residents did not want “signage in a language we can’t read”. Not only does that signage remain, the city’s official website now translates its content into more than 80 languages, using a Google widget. In the last municipal election, some candidates participated in debates in Cantonese and Mandarin.

There remains ongoing debate, however, on how much cultural change can be adopted into mainstream society, and how quickly. For instance, statutory holidays, which are mostly aligned with Christian holidays, are days off for workers in Canada. But in 2011, some Chinese grocers in Markham (including the Foody Mart) stayed open in defiance of the law.

City councillor Joe Li heard both sides of the debate: that grocers were being discriminated against for not being able to stay open, and that Chinese businesses were trying to impose their culture on the city. Ultimately, Li decided in favour of the grocers, arguing that consumers should have the option to shop on holidays. The move proved so popular that York Region, in which Markham sits, voted that from 2018 any business could stay open 364 days a year.

Li asked for something in return: to hire more diversely. “Now you’re starting to see it,” he says. “You walk in and see south Asian people in the store, you see halal meat in the store.”

Easy access to halal meat, south Asian groceries and a mosque are all things Rameeka Khan appreciates about living in Markham. The 33-year-old pharmacist of Pakistani descent was born in Canada and has lived in the city nearly her whole life, choosing to settle here with her husband. She is glad they bought a house in 2010 – her family would be priced out today.

“It would be difficult for a younger couple to afford Markham,” Khan says. “People I know are moving [further east]. If they do decide to live in Markham, it’s more likely they are living with family, like their parents.”

At the end of 2016, seven of the 10 neighbourhoods with the most rapid increase in property values in the Toronto area were in Markham – some properties saw their value jump as much as 90% in just three years. As in Vancouver, conversations about the Markham property boom sometimes have racially tinged accusations about foreign ownership driving up prices. Local media reported that one developer said: “There is no way a Caucasian would pay $2.1m for a bungalow.”

“In general, people know who you are talking about – it must be the Chinese,” Li told a recent council meeting. “I don’t want that kind of impression.”

White flight

Brampton is another majority-minority suburb, west of Toronto. The city’s population – now more than half a million – exploded in a similar fashion to Markham’s. It is now 73% visible minority, with its largest ethnic group Indian, particularly Sikhs from Punjab, earning the city the nicknames “Bramladesh” and “Browntown”. There are also significant populations from the Philippines, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean.

But with its rapidly increasing diversity has come another development: not just a decreasing proportion of white residents, but also a shrinking number. According to numbers cited by the Toronto Star, the white population fell from 192,400 in 2001 to 169,230 in 2011, and now hovers around 151,000.

Rebecca Bromley, 37, says some of her white friends have left for a variety of reasons. “There’s a lot of tension [because of growth], so when people leave I’m not going to assume it’s white flight – especially if they want to buy a place they want to afford,” she says. She points to the city’s many growing pains, including traffic, construction and, for Bromley, more challenges in her work as a teacher.

Bromley attended the same Catholic high school where she now teaches and says the city’s demographic makeup has changed hugely. She sees troubling trends, such as African-Caribbean students being streamed into less-academic courses while Indian students face high expectations to excel. Bromley also sees students trying to bridge the linguistic and cultural gap between schools and their parents, and others who struggle with language themselves.

“You might get a kid who presents like they are struggling with the language, but actually they have a learning disability, or you might have a kid who has no conversational ability but they can write just fine.” Bromley feels ill-equipped to help students with such different needs because they have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, she says, and the English language learners programme doesn’t help her navigate these individual problems.

Gurpreet Malhotra is familiar with such institutional gaps. He is the CEO of Indus Community Services, an organisation that serves newcomers in Brampton. In his experience, businesses have caught on that integration is a two-way street – whether they are clothing shops hiring staff who speak Punjabi or grocers stocking Indian cooking staples – but government-funded institutions have not. Political power, he says, does not reflect Brampton’s population. “We have to dislodge the well-entrenched powers,” Malhotra says of the city council.

On the federal and provincial level, the Punjabi community is well represented in Brampton. The first non-white federal party leader, Jagmeet Singh, has a strong political base in the city, where he held a seat as a provincial politician. But Brampton has only one non-white city councillor, Gurpreet Dhillon, who is Punjabi.

In the last municipal election, Bromley recalls watching a Punjabi candidate on television arguing that the mayoral office should reflect Brampton’s ethnic makeup. “I had a moment where I felt, ‘Now I’m really going to be a minority,’” she says. “To be brutally honest, it felt like I was being pushed out.”

The moment passed. She remembered she had a stable job, in an ideal neighbourhood to raise her five-year-old twins. But she struggles with how to integrate into what Brampton is becoming. She feels lucky to teach students with whom she can have “honest, unfiltered conversations”, but does not feel she can approach, for example, the group of older Indian men hanging out at the park, or busy mums at her skating rink.

Finding common ground

“Intercultural interaction is a matter of common ground and increased opportunity for encountering each other,” says Qadeer. In cities such as Markham and Brampton, where suburban sprawl reigns and most people travel by car, those opportunities outside school and work can be hard to come by.

To ensure people across cultures can better interact, Beasley says the city needs to create places for them to meet. After taking more than 11,000 residents’ comments into account, the plan proposes five city centres – walkable communities that mimic Brampton’s downtown area – to facilitate those interactions.

These new hubs would aim to reduce isolation by bringing together parks, government services, retail outlets and restaurants. The centres would also try and bring employment closer to home: 60% of Bramptonians commute to places outside the city. Beasley hopes to convince the city to adopt the plan by arguing that smarter urban design could help swap commuting time for community time.

Creating a place for communities to converge was also Jael Richardson’s intent when she founded the Festival for Literary Diversity, which brings together writers from a variety of backgrounds. “I wanted to start a festival that gave diverse writers – anyone who’s not typically represented – a space to be the expert,” says Richardson. “We consider having the event in Brampton part of the diversity mandate in and of itself.”

The festival was initially met with scepticism – Richardson says Toronto writers frequently told her the event would do better in Toronto – but her tenacity appears to be paying off. This year it secured a multi-year sponsorship from Audible – the digital audiobook producer – and publisher Penguin Random House sent a sizeable contingent of staff.

Richardson is creating space for writers in a city where diversity isn’t aspirational – it’s a fact. While it is true that changing demographics here have disturbed the mainstream sensibility, Canada’s majority-minority cities also appear to be changing what mainstream means. For some residents of Markham, such as Chin, the question isn’t whether newcomers can assimilate into the city, but whether both can adapt together.

“I don’t think you need to fit in,” Chin says of her majority-minority city. “Everybody fits in.”

British High Commissioner's baby son denied a UK passport after being born in Trinidad
The Independent

The baby son of a former British High Commissioner was denied a UK passport after he was born in a Caribbean state where his father was in post.

Former UK diplomat Arthur Snell, who served as British High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago from 2011 to 2014, said he was left feeling “powerless and nervous” after the Home Office refused to grant his newborn son a passport in 2011.

He said it resulted in his child being rendered “stateless” as he was ineligible for Trinidadian citizenship.

While Mr Snell said he was able to “quickly resolve” the issue, he said it illustrated a “cultural priority within the Home Office to reject wherever possible” – highlighting that, as a white diplomat, he was easily able to resolve the problem where many others can’t.

“What it showed me was that the Home Office tends to default to no as an answer because of the hostile policies. It seems they want to make it as difficult as possible for someone to be British – like that’s almost the mission statement,” Mr Snell told The Independent.

General Discussion / When Dark-Skinned Citizens Lose Their Citizenship
« on: April 28, 2018, 08:21:29 AM »
When Dark-Skinned Citizens Lose Their Citizenship
By The Editorial Board, The New York Times

The Windrush scandal in Britain is, on one level, uniquely British. It’s about people who were brought from Britain’s Caribbean colonies after World War II to help rebuild England and then, decades later, discarded. But it is also a bitter parable of how governments in prosperous Western societies — the United States very much among them — have turned on dark-skinned migrants as alien interlopers.

These immigrants are known as the “Windrush generation” after the ship that brought the first large group of West Indians to London in June 1948, at the invitation of the British government, to fill a postwar labor shortage. More arrived over the next quarter-century, many with children.

Born in British colonies, they held British citizenship under laws in force at the time and rightly presumed that they were fully entitled to live and work in Britain. Immigration laws were tightened after 1962, eventually putting an end to large-scale migration from the Commonwealth.

The current problems for the Windrush-era migrants began in 2012 when the government, with Theresa May as home secretary, cracked down on illegal immigrants, making it necessary for them to document their right to government benefits, including health services. Many people born in Caribbean countries arrived as children on their parents’ passports and had never applied for their own travel or immigration documents; many others took their status for granted.

The Home Office did not keep records that would have confirmed their status, and a Home Office whistle-blower revealed that thousands of landing cards from the 1950s and ’60s, which would have confirmed the migrants’ arrival dates, had been destroyed during a move. As The Guardian chronicled in a series of articles, the callousness of the bureaucracy led many to be threatened with deportation, denied health services, fired or left homeless.

Mrs. May, now Britain’s prime minister, recently apologized to the many thousands of people affected, but she deserves little credit. As home secretary she set the stage for the scandal by pledging to create a “really hostile environment” for illegal immigrants, and it was only when public outrage soared, and leaders of former British colonies had gathered in London for a Commonwealth meeting, that she said, “We are genuinely sorry.”

The British government has now set up a special team to urgently affirm the legal rights of these migrants and reimburse them for their losses. That is the least it should do.

Nothing can really compensate them for the hell many went through. Nor do the apology or belated fixes change the fact that this was due to the government’s hostility to immigrants, and especially immigrants of color. The same official hostility can be found in many parts of Europe toward Middle Eastern refugees and in the Trump administration’s policy toward immigrants from Central America.

When Mrs. May speaks of creating a hostile environment for immigrants; or Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, says that with mass immigration “our worst nightmares can come true”; or President Trump describes immigrants as criminals, they feed a hostility that spreads through bureaucracy, law enforcement and the public. And they inflict suffering even on those like the Windrush generation, people who have lived and worked for 50 years in a country they believe to be their own.

Attacker of black actor in Madrid: “I’m white. I can kill you, nothing will happen”
El Pais

Click here to see the victim and the aggressor.

African actor Marius Makon was involved in an apparent racist incident on Saturday, after a woman in a bar called him a “black piece of shit” before assaulting him with a bottle. The Spanish Immigration and Refugee Support Network has reported the incident to Madrid prosecutors as a hate crime.

According to the report, the attack occurred in an establishment in Móstoles, a city in the Madrid region, at around 7am. The actor, known by his stage name Elton Prince, approached the counter with his friends to order coffee when a woman, accompanied by a man, said to him: “I don’t want black people in this place or in front of me.”

According to Makon’s Facebook post about the incident, he replied: “No Miss, I will only be here for a moment and then I’m leaving. I don’t have any interest in staying near you for long.” The 33-year-old woman, who is from El Salvador, then allegedly replied: “I don’t care, you black piece of shit, get out of here.” He said: “Calm down Miss, I insist, we are in a public place and I don’t understand your anger.”

“Black piece of shit, I’m white. I can kill you and nothing will happen,” she said, before grabbing a beer bottle and smashing it against the actor’s head. She hit him a second time, causing a cut to his head among other injuries, which required medical attention.

The actor was helped by people in the bar and the owners of the establishment called the police. When the authorities arrived they identified the culprits and advised Makon to file a report, which he did at a police station. The woman was detained shortly after and then released once her statement was taken by the police.

In its complaint to Madrid regional authorities and the hate crime special department, the Spanish Immigration and Refugee Support Network said that as well as physically injuring the actor and hurling racist abuse, the woman “was looking to provoke the victim and cause a reaction.”

The organization has called for an “immediate” sentence and is pushing the Móstoles Town Hall and the Madrid regional government of Cristina Cifuentes to “show their condemnation for what happened.” “We will not stop until these types of backward, intolerable and feudal-era assaults are stopped,” the organization published on Facebook.

“Now I am in my house and I look through these images [of his injuries] I do not feel any hate towards the woman,” Makon posted on Facebook. “I want to say that I am not angry with her and I don’t know why. I am sad that she feels such hate, that she lives with hate. It saddens me that she does not enjoy life, that she doesn’t leave a small space in her heart to love.

“What’s funny is that before hitting me with the bottle she said to me, ‘I’m white and we are in Spain. I can kill you and nothing will happen to me.’ The truth is nothing has happened to her,” he added. “After being identified she has gone home, while I have gone to mine with seven stitches. Now the problem is in the hands of the law. The law will decide on the sentence.”

“Racism will never defeat us, love, love, love,” Makon ended on a separate post on Twitter.

The incident comes a week after the Council of Europe released a report urging Spain to create an independent anti-racism body. Spain and the micro-state of San Marino are the only members of the 47-strong Council that still lack an organization specifically designed to tackle racism.


General Discussion / Houston and Harvey
« on: August 30, 2017, 04:13:07 PM »
If you are in Houston or the surrounding affected areas, let us know how we can assist.

Time to doff your cap because the last laugh will be Floyd Mayweather’s
By Bryan Armen Graham, The Guardian.

Lou DiBella was near the end of an 11-year run as an executive at HBO when a young fighter walked into his office looking to renegotiate his contract with the network. The year was 1999 and Floyd Mayweather was the 22-year-old super featherweight champion of the world.

The offer on the table was a four-fight, $5m extension. It was, HBO insisted, one of the best contracts any young fighter in the world had been offered. But for the Olympic bronze medallist who had signed with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions, it was a non-starter. Or, as he put it at the time, “slave wages”.

“I’m not any young fighter,” Mayweather told the room. “I’m not like the rest of those guys. I’m going to be the greatest. I’m never going to lose.”

And here we are. Nearly two decades on, Mayweather is widely recognised as the finest boxer of his generation, unbeaten in 49 professional fights and 26 world championship contests with titles in five weight classes. He will surpass $1bn in career earnings whether he wins or loses in Saturday’s 12-round boxing match against Conor McGregor, a two-division UFC champion who is making his professional boxing debut.

But as the 40-year-old from Michigan prepares for what appears to be his final ring outing, he remains a figure with a complex legacy that can only be drawn in shades of grey. He overcame a chaotic upbringing filled with drug abuse and violence to rise to the 1% but in turn has been dogged by allegations, and a conviction, of domestic abuse. As the frontman for his nascent promotional company, he speaks passionately and credibly about advocating on behalf of fighters but when I asked him last week about his thoughts on Charlottesville, he pirouetted from the query with the elusiveness he’s shown for years. Ali on Vietnam this was not: states are neither red nor blue on Floyd’s map, only green.

Behold Mayweather at the peak of his promotional heft: now he will earn a nine-figure guarantee fighting a non-title bout against an opponent with no boxing experience on the pro or even senior amateur level.

DiBella, who opened shop as a promoter in New York after departing HBO in 2000, remembers the young Mayweather as “a star in terms of ability but not in terms of popularity or recognition” – a precocious talent frustrated with the lack of traction he’d made after signing with Arum. As the network and fighter dug in over the contract extension, DiBella suggested they could walk down to Times Square, a one-avenue jaunt from HBO’s midtown Manhattan headquarters, and if people started stopping Mayweather on the street then the network would renegotiate.

Mayweather never did sign the extension but the implication was clear: there is a difference between an elite boxer and an attraction. Just being good at what you do is not enough. One can only speculate where that demonstration fits into the origin story of Money Mayweather, the pantomime-villain persona that Floyd launched after buying himself out from Arum in 2007 for a lump sum of $750,000 and has since leveraged to untold riches.

There is something to be admired about Mayweather’s ascent in a business that has traditionally conspired to exploit and defraud fighters for as long as anyone can remember, in the way he has leveraged his success to rewrite the rules for himself. Nearly all other boxers receive a contracted purse, with their promoters pocketing the rest. Not Mayweather, who has worked with an enigmatic adviser named Al Haymon – a Harvard-educated former concert promoter who obsessively keeps to the shadows – to develop a unique financial structure based on the exchange of upfront risk for back-end profit.

Of course if it was that easy, everyone would do it. Some, such as Adrien Broner, have tried. But Mayweather did not hack the sport because he was brash or cocksure. It happened because he works harder than anybody else, from his impossibly rigorous training sessions to those famous 4am runs. Unlike so many of his fistic brethren who balloon up and down in weight between fights, Mayweather stays in fighting shape all year round; his is a deceptively monastic lifestyle.

So much of Mayweather’s allure hinges on the zero in his loss ledger, that he has never been down or seriously hurt so much as lost a fight as a professional. Not until he turned heel eight years ago did the eight- and nine-figure paydays become the norm. The fact is, more fans will plunk down $99.95 on Saturday night to watch him lose than to watch him win.

They are almost certain to come away disappointed. Mayweather spent his boxing career so far ahead of everyone else it was embarrassing. The proverbial “puncher’s chance” that is McGregor’s best hope is never less meaningful then against a slippery technician such as Floyd.

No, this is yet another first for Mayweather: a valedictory lap for a fighter. Happy endings such as these are as rare as it gets in this cruel trade. As goes the timeworn chestnut: you don’t retire from boxing, boxing retires you. The decline is almost never gradual. The night when it becomes evident that a fighter no longer has what it takes to compete at the highest level it is often wildly brutal and dramatic, it is not signified by something as harmless as shooting 20% from the field or completing 10-of-35 passes with four interceptions.

When it’s gone for a fighter, they find themselves positioned across from a very dangerous individual who is trying to hurt them. It is a life-threatening situation.

Perhaps that is the fate that awaits Mayweather on Saturday night but the possibility is so astronomically remote that it is barely worth discussing. Instead, even if you despise the man and what he represents, it is time to doff your cap and send him on his way. The last laugh is Floyd’s – and surely he has earned it.

“I still find it remarkable that this cocky little f**ker, he was right,” DiBella said, with a laugh. “It’s nearly 20 years later and this kid still hasn’t lost and he’s amassed the biggest fortune that any fighter ever has in boxing.”

Football / Thread for the T&T vs Jamaica game (24-August-2017)
« on: August 07, 2017, 11:13:52 PM »
As usual, any updates/scores, shout-outs, reports, predictions, views, etc, on the friendly T&T v. Jamaica game at the Hasely Crawford Stadium (8pm) on 24th of August 2017 will be posted here, this way, we can maintain the message board and not make it look too scrappy with unnecessary or related headlines and postings on game day.

For the internet users, you can follow the game at:

To be updated.

Possible Online Streams.

To be updated.

Possible TV Station.

To be updated.

Trinidad & Tobago Squad


Marvin Phillip (Point Fortin Civic), Adrian Foncette (Police FC).


Maurice Ford (W Connection), Triston Hodge (W Connection), Alvin Jones (W Connection), Taryk Sampson (Central FC), Shane Sandy (St Ann’s Rangers), Kevon Villaroel (North East Stars), Aubrey David (PS Remi—Finland).


Hughtun Hector (W Connection), Curtis Gonzales (Defence Force), Jared London (Club Sando), Nathaniel Garcia (Central FC), Hashim  Arcia (Defence Force FC), Nathan Lewis (San Juan Jabloteh), Neil Benjamin Jr (W Connection), Tyrone Charles (Club Sando), Julio Noel (San Juan Jabloteh), Cordell Cato (San Jose Earthquakes—USA).


Rundell Winchester (North East Stars), Marcus Joseph (W Connection).


Joevin Jones (Seattle Sounders—USA).

Coach - Dennis Lawrence.

Jamaica Squad


Amal Knight (UWI), Shaven Sean Paul (Portmore United).


Javain Brown (Harbour View FC), Rosario Harriott (Harbour View FC), Ladale Ritchie (Montego Bay United).


Michael Binns (Portmore United), Jermaine Johnson (Tivoli Gardens), Ewan Grandison (Portmore United), Vishinuel Harris (Arnett Gardens), Marvin Morgan (Arnett Gardens), Ricardo Morris (Portmore United), Kaheem Parris (Cavalier SC), Fabian Reid (Arnett Gardens), Leonard Rankine (Sandals FC), Jamiel Hardware (Boys' Town).


Alex Marshall (Cavalier SC), Shamar Nicholson (Boys’ Town), Leonardo Rankine (Sandals FC), Rondee Smith (Portmore United).

Coach - Theodore Whitmore.

Updates to follow as we get more info, so keep checking back.

Trinidad and Tobago History / A French Creole Saga
« on: April 06, 2017, 09:08:39 AM »
A French Creole saga
By Bridget Brereton, Express.

I’ve said before that Fr Anthony de Verteuil is a national treasure. His many books have researched and documented so many aspects of Trinidad’s history. He’s written about every sector of the society, but he is above all the chronicler of the French Creoles, who played such an important part in the island’s past.

Fr Anthony’s latest book, co-authored with Adrian Camps-Campins, is a lavishly illustrated family history, Thank God for Trinidad: The Agostinis. It’s the story of one immigrant who arrived in Trinidad in the 1800s, and the family and businesses he founded.

Of course, François Agostini wasn’t just any immigrant. As Fr Anthony says, “he had five things in his favour. He was white, he was educated, he knew the language (French), he was Catholic, and he was young, strong and ambitious”. Few of the people who arrived in Trinidad after the end of slavery enjoyed any of these advantages, let alone all five.

Agostini arrived here from his native Corsica, part of France, in 1855, to join relatives already established in Trinidad—what we call “chain migration”. Only 17 years old, he quickly got a job as an overseer and then a manager of a sugar estate in the deep South. From this start, he was able to acquire land in several different parts of the island, and to accumulate great wealth.

By the time he died in 1921, Agostini owned a large coconut plantation in Icacos, Constance, with a copra factory and an estate house; several cocoa plantations in Central Trinidad (Montserrat) with an elaborate Great House; and a mansion on Henry Street, Port of Spain.

The book gives us a vivid sense of how this privileged and wealthy French Creole family lived in the early 1900s. “Great House life” at Constance and at San Juan (Montserrat) is described in detail, partly through the many fascinating photographs, partly from family tradition shared with the author, and partly from an unpublished memoir by one of Agostini’s granddaughters. So too is the lavish lifestyle at Castiglione, the town house named for a place in Corsica.

This is a success story, of course, but Fr Anthony—who is largely responsible for what I’ve called the French Creole narrative of Trinidad’s history—is not uncritical of his subjects. François Agostini is described as a “mean” employer, and his brother Henri as a “brutal” one (both employed indentured and free Indian labour, as well as Afro-Trinidadians, as estate workers and domestic servants).

One interesting aspect of the story is that the Agostinis, perhaps untypically of the island’s French Creoles, always remained essentially French. The tradition of sending the children (girls and boys) to schools in France, not England, was carried on well into the 20th century. The family went on holiday to France every year, and nearly all the girls, of several generations, married Frenchmen. Agostini boys fought (and died) with the French army in World War I. François twice refused a seat in the Legislative Council because of his “imperfect English”—a man who’d lived in Trinidad since he was 17.

There’s much more to learn from this book: about Hosay in Cedros and in Montserrat; about the horse races held on the beach at Cedros; about how the upper class celebrated Carnival in the early 1900s; and about the lively (and exclusive) French Creole social life in Montserrat, based on the cocoa estates there during the heyday of the “Golden Bean”.

The photographs, mostly from Camps-Campins’ collection, add a rich dimension to the book; as Fr Anthony says, the text was written around them. It’s a family history, but you don’t need to be an Agostini, or a French Creole, to appreciate this window into the island’s past.

Bridget Brereton is professor emerita of History at The UWI, St Augustine.

Boston schools ditch conventional world maps in favor of this one
By Akilah Johnson, Boston Globe.

For decades, geography teachers have relied on a more than 400-year-old map that grossly distorts the size of the world’s landmasses — the byproduct of trying to depict a sphere on a flat surface and, perhaps, of Colonialism.

The world maps that have hung on school walls in Boston and around the country portray North America as larger than Africa (but it’s not) and Alaska as more mammoth than Mexico (also untrue).

But now, social studies classrooms throughout the Boston Public School system are getting an upgrade some 448 years in the making. On Thursday, about 600 elementary, middle, and high school classrooms received new 24-by-36-inch laminated maps – yes, paper maps and not high-tech, satellite images – in an effort to show students what the world really looks like. The district is swapping out conventional maps for those that more accurately depict the dimensions of continents and countries.

The map exchange is part of the district’s effort to “decolonize the curriculum” within the next three years, said Colin Rose, assistant superintendent in charge of the Boston Public Schools’ Office of Opportunity and Achievement Gaps. A goal of the office is to eliminate structural bias and inequality within the school system while ensuring that what students learn in the classroom is culturally competent.

“So this is about maps, but it isn’t about maps,” Rose said. “It’s about a paradigm shift in our district. We’ve had a very fixed view that is very Eurocentric. How do we talk about other viewpoints? This is a great jump off point.”

The previous map, created in 1569 by Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator for navigational purposes, warps the sizes of continents and countries. Africa is three times bigger than North America, for example, but appears smaller on the map. On the Mercator map, Greenland looks massive compared with Africa, which is actually 14 times bigger than the island. And while Alaska appears to eclipse Mexico, the country’s 49th state can actually fit inside of our nation’s neighbor to the south with room to spare.

The replacement map shows countries’ true proportions to one another. Created by German historian Arno Peters and introduced to the world in 1974, the Peters Projection map has been adopted for use by the United Nations.

A 20-foot inflatable globe was on display at Boston Public School headquarters in Dudley Square on Thursday, part of an effort to show students what the world really looks like.

This map literally changes how people see the world, historians and geographers say.

“It maintains the sizes of places. It challenges the conventional way of looking at the world,” said Vernon Domingo, a geography professor at Bridgewater State University and a member of the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance.

But, Domingo and others say, maps do more than show the physical size and shape of landmasses. They also represent the historic and political battle lines of the world.

“Most of the early world map projections that lasted were created by North Europeans,” Domingo said. “And so, their perspective was from the northern hemispheric perspective, but a Colonial perspective as well.”

Casey Cullen, a history teacher at Westborough High School and the president of the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies, said he often quotes noted scholar Ali Mazrui by telling students, “Geography is the mother of history.”

“The story starts from where we start,” Cullen said. “If we’re going to try to tell the tale of people from other nations and where they come from, we need to be as accurate as possible.”

He said what Boston doing is “unique,” in that he’s heard of individual teachers in Massachusetts using the Peters Projection map, not an entire school system. The advent of technology has many classes abandoning traditional maps that roll down from the blackboard, opting for Google maps or virtual tours, he said.

The idea to add the Peters Projection map to Boston classrooms came about this summer when Rose hired Hayden Frederick-Clarke as the director of cultural proficiency. Frederick-Clarke came up with a short list of changes that would help make a school system that is about 74 percent black and Hispanic more culturally competent. Things, Frederick-Clarke said, he deemed as “easy wins. If we had the political will to do them.”

Replacing the Mercator map was at the top of the list, he said, because the map “is, in my mind, one of the most insidious examples of how schools perpetuate racism.”

So on Thursday, 600 freshly laminated maps, which cost a total of about $12,000, were distributed to Boston principals and headmasters.

Natacha Scott used this inflatable globe on display at Boston Public School headquarters on Thursday to explain the size of countries to students from The Nathan Hale School.

The maps will be distributed by grade and area of study: second grade classes because the curriculum teaches cultures from around the world; seventh grade because students study world geography; and 11th grade because world history is taught.

The goal is not to toss out all the old maps but to use the new ones to compare competing narratives about the world, said Natacha Scott, the district’s director of history and social studies.

“One of the things we teach students is, to become good historians, they must question and analyze,” she said.

The maps, she added, will help them do just that.

Click on title to be linked to the original article.

Football / 2017 Caribbean Club Championship Thread
« on: January 16, 2017, 11:07:49 AM »
2017 Caribbean Club Championship teams, groups & schedule announced

CONCACAF announced Monday the clubs, groups and schedule for the 2017 Caribbean Club Championship.

A record 20 sides from 11 countries – headed by Trinidad & Tobago’s Central FC, the two-time defending champion – qualified for the 19th edition of the competition, which will determine the region’s representatives to the next edition of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League.

The first round consists of five groups of four teams, which will play a round-robin format from late February through March.  Greenbay Hoppers FC (Antigua & Barbuda), Don Bosco FC (Haiti), Montego Bay United FC (Jamaica), Central FC (Trinidad & Tobago) and System 3 Sport Academy (St. Vincent & the Grenadines) will host the group stage.

Group Stage Venues

Group A: Antigua Recreation Ground – St. John's, Antigua & Barbuda,
Group B: Stade Sylvio Cator – Port-Au-Prince, Haiti
Group C: Montego Bay Sports Complex - Montego Bay, Jamaica
Group D: Ato Boldon Stadium. – Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Group E: Victoria Park - Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

The five group winners will advance to the final round, scheduled to be played from May 13-21.

The Caribbean Club Championship has been contested annually since 1997 (with the exception of 1999 and 2008), when United Petrotrin of Trinidad & Tobago captured the inaugural title.  A champion has been crowned 16 times, with DirecTV W Connection, also of Trinidad & Tobago, lifting the trophy a record three times.

Besides Central FC, the 2017 field includes two former Caribbean champions: San Juan Jabloteh (Trinidad & Tobago) and Portmore United (Jamaica).  Additionally, Transvaal, a past CONCACAF club champion (1973, 1981) qualified for the event as runner-up in the 2015/16 Surinamese league.

2017 Caribbean Club Championship Participating teams (alphabetical order)

Bequia United FC (St. Vincent & the Grenadines)
Central FC (Trinidad & Tobago)
Cibao FC (Dominican Republic)
Club Barcelona Atletico (Dominican Republic)
Club Sportif Moulien (Guadeloupe)
Don Bosco FC (Haiti)
Elite Sport Club (Cayman Islands)
Flames United SC (Sint Maarten)
Greenbay Hoppers FC (Antigua & Barbuda)
Grenades FC (Antigua & Barbuda)
Inter Moengo Tapoe (Suriname)
Montego Bay United FC (Jamaica)
Police FC (Montserrat)
Portmore United FC (Jamaica)
Racing FC des Gonaives (Haiti)
San Juan Jabloteh FC (Trinidad & Tobago)
Scholars International (Cayman Islands)
SV Transvaal (Suriname)
System 3 Sport Academy (St. Vincent & the Grenadines)
USR Sainte‐Rose (Guadeloupe)

First Round Schedule

GROUP A (Antigua & Barbuda)
February 22, 2017
Racing FC v Inter Moengo Tapoe
Greenbay Hoppers v Bequia United FC

February 24, 2017
Bequia United FC v Racing FC
Greenbay Hoppers v Inter Moengo Tapoe

February 26, 2017
Inter Moengo Tapoe v Bequia United FC
Greenbay Hoppers v Racing FC

GROUP B (Haiti)
March 1, 2017
Police FC v Cibao FC
Don Bosco FC v USR Sainte-Rose

March 3, 2017
Cibao FC v USR Sainte-Rose
Don Bosco FC v Police FC

March 5, 2017
USR Sainte-Rose v Police FC
Don Bosco FC v Cibao FC

GROUP C (Jamaica)
March 1, 2017
Club Barcelona Atletico v Elite Sport Club
Montego Bay United FC v Grenades FC

March 3, 2017
Grenades FC v Club Barcelona Atletico
Montego Bay United FC v Elite Sport Club

March 5, 2017
Elite Sport Club v Grenades FC
Montego Bay United FC v Club Barcelona Atletico

GROUP D (Trinidad & Tobago)
March 8, 2017
Scholars International v Portmore United FC
Central FC v SV Transvaal

March 10, 2017
Portmore United FC v SV Transvaal
Central FC v Scholars International

March 12, 2017
SV Transvaal v Scholars International
Central FC v Portmore United FC

GROUP E (St. Vincent & the Grenadines)
March 8, 2017
Flames United SC v San Juan Jabloteh
System 3 Sport Academy v Club Sportif Moulien

March 10, 2017
San Juan Jabloteh v Club Sportif Moulien
System 3 Sport Academy v Flames United SC

March 12, 2017
Club Sportif Moulien v Flames United SC
System 3 Sport Academy v San Juan Jabloteh

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