Category Archives: yfbpvybasnnb

Masked univ students rally at grad rites in HK

first_imgThe protests started over anow-scrapped extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent tomainland China for trial but have evolved into calls for greater democracy andan independent inquiry into complaints of excessive force by police, amongother demands.(Reuters) Graduates wearing masks hold an anti-government rally after their graduation ceremony at a university in Hong Kong, China on Nov. 7. REUTERS/KIM KYUNG-HOON Dressed in formal graduation gowns,many of the students called for the government to respond to protesters’demands that include universal suffrage. HONG KONG – Around 1,000 students,many wearing black masks, attended a graduation ceremony at the ChineseUniversity of Hong Kong.  The students on Thursday defied a banon masks that the government imposed last month in a bid to curb unrest thathas rocked the Chinese-ruled city for over five months.last_img read more

EPL: Spurs, Arsenal duel in London derby

first_imgTottenham vs. Arsenal Venue: Tottenham Stadium Kick off: 4:30PMTottenham Hotspur and Arsenal meet in a unique North London derby today’s afternoon with the sides separated by one point and one place in the Premier League. The famous fixture will be staged behind closed doors at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the first time owing to the coronavirus pandemic.Arsenal enter the fixture in better form than their local rivals and are a point better off in the final Europa League qualifying spot.Far sooner than many had predicted, Tottenham supporters already appear to be losing faith in head coach Jose Mourinho following a poor set of results.Spurs have won back-to-back home matches, against West Ham United and Everton, but those are their only two victories in 11 matches stretching back to mid-February.Losing 3-1 to Sheffield United last week was a tough one to take given the VAR furore surrounding the match, but the stalemate with Bournemouth could well prove Mourinho’s nadir. Against a side horribly out of form and fresh on the back of shipping five to Manchester United, Tottenham failed to register a single attempt on target.Not only have the results been disappointing, with Spurs exiting two cup competitions in the space of a week before the lockdown, the performances have arguably been even worse.Matters boiled over on the field earlier this week, too, with Son Heung-min and Hugo Lloris squaring up just before half time in the slender win over Everton.Jose Mourinho possesses an array of attacking talent, not least prolific striker Harry Kane, but getting the most out of those players is proving very tough.One positive for Mourinho has been an increase in clean sheets – three in their last four games – and he has called on his side to find a balance between attack and defence. That is the only way Tottenham are going to keep their Premier League season alive, with a top-five finish now out of the question and the Europa League the best they can aim for.Bitter rivals Arsenal are in a similar position, having been made to pay the price for a slow start to action last month when losing their first two games back.In truth, the Gunners’ problems go a lot further back than that, but it was after the 2-1 loss at Brighton & Hove Albion that Mikel Arteta seemed to realise the size of the task that he has inherited.The Spaniard has gained a reputation for being a good tactician and Arsenal have certainly showed real signs of recovery in the three weeks since that loss on the South Coast.RelatedPosts COVID-19: NCAA to revoke erring airlines licence over non-compliance FRSC to Schools: We’ll arrest, prosecute drivers who flout COVID-19 rules Sanwo-Olu: We’re committed to fulfilling promises to Lagosians In fact, Arsenal had won three games in a row without conceding before being pegged back in a late 1-1 draw with Leicester City in their most recent outing.Their upturn in form has seen them climb above Tottenham into eighth, which will be enough for a European spot assuming Manchester City’s continental ban is upheld by CAS.Not since October 2018 have Arsenal won three away league games in a row, however, while Tottenham are seeking three successive home league wins for the first time in 15 months.With more than just bragging rights on the line this weekend, both teams will be desperate to prolong those respective runs.Tottenham possible XI: Lloris, Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Sissoko, Winks, Lo Celso, Lucas, Kane, Son. Arsenal possible XI: Martinez, Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac, Bellerin, Xhaka, Ceballos, Tierney, Saka, Lacazette, Aubameyang.Tags: Arsenal FCCoronavirusCOVID-19Jose MourinhoMikel ArtetaTottenham Hotspurlast_img read more

Johnson in frame for starting place

first_img The Black Cats head for the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday evening a little more than 48 hours after the England international appeared before magistrates to face three offences of sexual activity with a girl under 16 and one of grooming. Johnson, whose solicitor indicated at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court that the player would deny all the charges, is in the squad for the clash with the Gunners, from which a point would be enough to secure his club’s top-flight status. Adam Johnson could have a significant role to play as Sunderland attempt to drag themselves over the Barclays Premier League finishing line at Arsenal. And having seen the impact the 27-year-old made as a substitute against Leicester at the weekend, head coach Dick Advocaat has hinted that the former Middlesbrough and Manchester City winger could start. Advocaat said: “He’s in the squad and when you are in the squad, there’s always a chance you will start. “This team works so hard and you have to fair to all of them, but Adam is a player who can do something different for us. His style is different from others, and you saw that when he came on against Leicester.” Johnson is yet to be named in the starting line-up by Advocaat, who will take charge of his eighth and penultimate – for the time being, at least – game in North London, but has come off the bench in six of the previous seven. Advocaat remains coy over his future amid speculation that he could extent his stay at the Stadium of Light should he manage to keep the club up. Reports from Holland have suggested he has promised his wife he will not commit to a longer-term role on Wearside, although he was giving little away when quizzed about his future on Tuesday afternoon. He said: “We will see. Next week, I will take the decision.” Sunderland face a difficult conclusion to yet another testing campaign with away games against FA Cup finalists Arsenal and champions Chelsea. But the point they collected at the weekend means any reward from either will be enough to end their relegation fears even if Hull manage to beat Manchester United on Sunday. Advocaat has refused to write off either fixture from the off and remains as confident as he has been since day one that they will seal their own fate. Asked why he was so certain Sunderland would stay up, he replied: “The quality of the players and the quality of the staff. “As a coaching team, we know what we want. This isn’t our first club and we know how we can get the best out of the players, and we are very straight with them because that is the best way. “When I came, we knew we had nine games left, five away including these two. We have never run away from that. “I think every player enjoys playing at Chelsea and Arsenal. We have nothing to lose because everyone expects us to lose – but we don’t. “I know that we will give both of them a really difficult time and try to get what we need. ” On a personal note, Advocaat is looking forward to the prospect of locking horns with Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho, two men for whom he has enormous respect. He said: “Wenger and Mourinho are two of the best in the world. If you see their records, they are unbelievable. I have great respect for both of them for what they have achieved in the past, prizes and the way they play.” However, asked if he would settle now for a drab 0-0 draw, the Dutchman replied with a smile: “Yes, just a little bit.” Press Associationlast_img read more

The Latest: Valencia player says match may have spread virus

first_imgThe team has also struggled on the field and hasn’t won a league game since January.___The Swiss soccer league will restart several days earlier than planned to help Europa League contender Basel cope with a backlog of matches in August.The restart amid the coronavirus pandemic was set for June 19-21 in the top two divisions.The Swiss soccer federation now says Basel’s Swiss Cup quarterfinal match against Lausanne Sport will be played without fans on June 14 instead of the Aug. 5-6 dates for the other quarterfinal matches. June 4, 2020 ___The European gymnastics championships have been moved to December after being postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.The men’s event will run from Dec. 9-13 and the women’s championships from Dec. 17-20 in Baku, Azerbaijan.Baku was originally supposed to host only the men’s championships but France couldn’t reschedule the women’s event after missing its planned dates in Paris in April and May.European Gymnastics president Farid Gayibov says the body will review the coronavirus situation and react accordingly “should the situation at a later date not be considered safe enough any more.” Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Valencia striker Rodrigo says the return match against Atalanta in the Champions League “perhaps shouldn’t have been played” because of the coronavirus outbreak. Tottenham’s stadium opened last year and can hold more than 60,000 people. It is unclear when spectators will be allowed into events again.Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy says “it is imperative that we now all work together … to find a safe way to bring spectators back to sport and entertainment venues.”___Badminton tournaments in Australia, India and South Korea have been canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.The suspended Australian Open can’t find new dates. The Hyderabad Open in August and Korea Masters in November were part of the revamped calendar announced last month but have now been put off. All referees in Italy’s top soccer league have tested negative for the coronavirus.The Serie A referees and some from the second division were tested at the Italian federation’s training headquarters on the outskirts of Florence.They will remain there until June 10 to have further tests and continue training and preparing for the resumption of Serie A on June 20.___Premier League clubs have agreed to allow five substitutions in soccer matches. The Save Soccer Foundation will need definitive approval at a federation meeting on Monday.Federation president Gabriele Gravina says “it’s an initiative which doesn’t have precedents and represents a great assumption of responsibility which the (federation) is taking in favor of the whole soccer system.”The fund consists of 21,700,000 euros ($24,500,000). It will give up to 5 million euros ($5.6 million) to each of the two divisions below Serie A as well as the same amount to support clubs from the amateur soccer league.It will also give up to 3 million euros ($3.4 million) to soccer players and the same amount to coaches and their staff.The fund will also provide 700,000 euros ($800,000) to help women’s soccer clubs that are set to complete the season. The IOC pays for insurance against the cancellation of an Olympics but it is unclear if its policy covers a one-year postponement.Cancellation policies detailed in IOC accounts cost $14.4 million for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and $12.8 million for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.The IOC said last month it set aside $650 million to cover potential extra costs for the postponement.Costs for organizers in Japan are expected to run to billions of dollars.___ Borussia Dortmund has defended a group of players who were accused of breaking Bundesliga hygiene rules while getting haircuts.German newspaper Bild reports that some of the players were pictured without face masks during appointments at home with a celebrity barber. Forward Jadon Sancho was among the players.League rules during the coronavirus pandemic say players should minimize contact with people from outside their household. They have to wear masks for large parts of game days unless actually on the field.Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc says he spoke with the players about their behavior and adds that they only removed their face masks to pose briefly for pictures. Zorc adds that the 20-year-old Sancho is still “very young.”___ The Korea Open in September is still on.The world tour is scheduled to resume at the end of August in Lingshui, China.___The International Olympic Committee is in talks with insurers over compensation for the postponed 2020 Tokyo Games.Olympic operations director Pierre Ducrey says there is “an open discussion” between the IOC and insurance brokers “to try and find the right level of compensation to help us bear the cost of having to wait another year.”center_img The Latest: Valencia player says match may have spread virus They will adopt the temporary law change when the league resumes on June 17 amid the coronavirus pandemic.There can still only be three pauses to bring on substitutes.Premier League clubs have also agreed to temporarily increase the number of substitute players from seven to nine.___The Italian soccer federation is launching a fund of nearly $25 million to help clubs and their members following the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. German soccer club Schalke has apologized to fans for asking them to justify their refunds for games played in empty stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic.Schalke had asked for evidence of financial hardship if fans wanted tickets refunded this year rather than waiting until 2022.Schalke says it used “impersonal formulations lacking empathy” and fans will no longer be asked to submit documentary evidence of their personal finances. But the club says the approach was legal under German law.The Bundesliga was suspended in March because of the coronavirus outbreak and spectators have not been allowed to attend any of the games since the league restarted on May 16.Schalke has been hit hard financially by the pandemic. Executive board member Alexander Jobst said in March the club faced an existential threat. There are also experiences such as training sessions and dinners with various athletes.Francis says “the true values of sport are particularly important to face this period of pandemic and especially the difficult restart.”The auctions will take place on the site Charitystars.com starting Monday for two months. There will be a new one every week and each auction will last 10 days.All funds raised will go to the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in Bergamo and Fondazione Poliambulanza in Brescia.___ Rodrigo’s comments to Spanish television channel TVE come after the top health official in the Valencia region said Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini “lacked responsibility” for traveling to Spain with symptoms of the virus. He recently told Italian media he felt sick the day before the March 10 match in Valencia.Rodrigo says “this is in the past now … but it’s true that after the tests began many players tested positive” in the Valencia squad. The club said at the time that about 35% of people in the team had the virus.Experts say the first leg on Feb. 19 in Milan was one of the biggest reasons why the virus was so deadly in Atalanta’s home city of Bergamo. The match has been dubbed “Game Zero” by Italian media.___English soccer club Tottenham says it is expecting to lose more than $250 million in revenue with Premier League matches being played without fans and its stadium no longer being used for two NFL games this year. Associated Press The European championships for rhythmic gymnastics will stay in Kyiv, Ukraine, but are now set for Nov. 26-29. That is six months later than originally planned.All three championships were supposed to be tune-ups for the Tokyo Olympics but that event has been postponed to 2021.___Pope Francis is promoting a charity auction of sports items and experiences in support of two of the hospitals hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic in Italy.The “We Run Together” auction includes a personalized bicycle given to Francis by world champion Peter Sagan, a team jersey and captain’s armband signed by former Roma forward Francesco Totti and a swim suit and hat from Olympic champion Federica Pellegrini. Basel is scheduled to resume play in the Europa League in early August. It holds a 3-0 lead over Eintracht Frankfurt from the first leg of the round of 16.Basel also faces a potential clash with this season’s Europa League possibly overlapping with next season’s preliminary rounds.Basel is currently in third place in the Swiss league and the third-place team should enter the Europa League qualifying rounds in late July or early August.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6last_img read more

Declutter your space

first_imgClean and simple · Minimalist tactics include of getting rid of anything deemed unnecessary, including extravagant decoration. – Photo illustration by Mariya DondonyanA new school year often brings a new place of residence. No matter if the move is to a dorm room, apartment or house, it is the perfect opportunity to get rid of clutter that has been piling up for years. The recent trend in organization has had hoarders everywhere questioning whether they really need that ceramic elephant collecting dust on the bookshelf or the bathing suit that hasn’t been worn in 10 years. Whether the student is a freshman or an upperclassman, college is undoubtedly one of the most crucial times to employ a minimalist attitude.1. Don’t need it? Don’t keep it. First, question the need for all belongings. This goes for clothes, decorations, furniture and so on. If the items are used all the time, then they, of course, should be kept. If not, out they go.The trick with this is to be as brutal as possible. The hardest is eliminating sentimental stuff. If something has a specific memory attached to it, hold on to the positive thoughts while disposing of the object. Memories and relationships are not tied to material goods, but it is hard to realize that until unnecessary things are purged. Ultimately, fewer possessions will help clear mental space.2. Think about the psychology. Psychologists have studied the effects of minimalism on everyday life. It is theorized that a desire to hoard is something that has been passed down through evolution. Animals that hoarded food may at one time have had a survival advantage. By collecting more food than necessary, those animals could ensure they would have enough to sustain them in the long run. This tactic to hoard to survive, however, clearly is not necessary anymore. Now, scientists suggest that our desire to hold onto little and meaningless items may even be a symptom of anxiety, distress and loss.Psychologist Jim Stone wrote in Psychology Today that “Perhaps minimalism isn’t about minimizing the amount of stuff we own. Maybe at its core it’s more about maximizing the amount of time, attention and energy we have available for the most important things in our lives.” Minimalism is a positive means of reducing dependence on material possessions and focusing energies on relationships with others. This will funnel into trying exciting new things and not feeling tied down.3. Tidy Up. Another way to practice minimalism is to simply tidy up. When organizing a room or apartment, apply the rule of five. This rule states that every scheduled cleaning, five personal possessions must be thrown out. This can be something as small as a pair of shoes or as big as a rug or piece of furniture that you simply don’t need. This is a method that doesn’t seem as extreme as purging all belongings. It slowly eliminates clutter, and if cleaning days are regularly scheduled, it won’t take long to really reduce the number of unnecessary items in a very visible way.4. When decorating, do so sparingly. Covering every possible surface and inch of your wall with pictures, trinkets and banners isn’t the only way to convey taste and create a unique space. Instead, try to limit decor to just one or two photos.Every USC student in Los Angeles is subjected to intense advertising, making it hard to resist a materialistic outlook on life in such a wealthy city. Adopting a minimalist lifestyle, however, combats this temptation. By organizing spaces and cutting down unneeded items, everyone can focus on future successes, by starting with the little things.last_img read more

Senior forward Taylor Ford battles inconsistency as role player for Syracuse

first_imgAgainst then-No. 10 Florida State on Thursday, Ford poured in 15 points in the 10-point win. The Seminoles were the highest-ranked opponent Syracuse has beat this season and the victory helped clinch a double bye in the ACC tournament.When Ford plays up to her potential, she gives the Orange another shooter off the bench for a team that wants to take every open shot.“You have to pick your poison with them,” FSU head coach Sue Semrau said after Ford knocked down five 3-pointers.Then three days later, Ford picked up three fouls in nine minutes, didn’t record a point against Pittsburgh as her inconsistent play resurfaced. Ford is third on SU in rebounding rate, according to WBBState.com, which measures rebounds per possession. But her overall numbers are low because she hasn’t been on the floor as much as she used to.Hillsman said the back injury has specifically restricted Ford in shooting, defending and boxing out.“I’m upset I’m not producing as much and helping the team out,” Ford said.On Thursday, Syracuse won its third game against a ranked opponent this season, a feat that hasn’t been done since 2001-02. On Monday, Syracuse reached No. 18 in the AP Poll, its highest ranking in program history. A win on Thursday would secure top-three finish in the ACC.Ford has flashed glimpses of the key player she could be, but she’s still facing a troublesome situation that she has no control over.“It’s hard to do everything when your back’s hurting,” Hillsman said. “It’s hard to go to the bathroom when your back is hurting. It’s just tough to overcome.” Comments Published on February 24, 2016 at 1:12 am Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds It took less than a minute for head coach Quentin Hillsman to reference Syracuse’s depth during the media day press conference on Oct. 16. His starters don’t jog out when their names are announced over the loudspeaker before each game because he says he has seven starters.With one regular season game left, though, only five Syracuse players average 15 or more minutes. Last season, six players, including forward Taylor Ford, did that.In her senior year, Ford’s minutes and subsequent production have dropped off while she battles a nagging back injury. When she produces, she can help push No. 18 Syracuse (22-6, 12-3 Atlantic Coast) over the edge against top teams. When she doesn’t, the Orange leans on its typical go-to players. While it hasn’t cost SU, who is riding a program-record eight straight conference wins, Ford’s mercurial play could spark a deep postseason run or help prevent it.“She’s probably more like six or seven (in the rotation). She’s definitely a player we need in our rotation,” Hillsman said. “It’s one of those unfortunate things. There’s no scheme for injury.”As a junior, Ford averaged 6.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 20.7 minutes emerging as a serviceable defensive stopgap and a capable long-range shooter. Without legitimate time off to rest, the forward’s been limited to a secondary role averaging 3.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 11.5 minutes per game. Her field-goal percentage has dropped from 37.2 percent over the past two years to 31 percent this season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFord said her injury hasn’t factored in her decreased production, but Hillsman said balancing her playing time has challenged him. Just twice this season, Ford has played more than 20 minutes. Against Coppin State on Dec. 9, she scored 21 points. Three days later, she scored just three.“Are we going to be able to have a lot of depth,” Hillsman asked at media day while rattling off questions that would determine the season’s outcome.Hillsman regularly uses six players off the bench, but only a couple of them play significant roles each game. Ford has twice, but has been ineffective in the others. Evan Jenkins | Staff Photographercenter_img Related Stories Taylor Ford’s 15 points propel No. 23 Syracuse past No. 10 Florida State Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Caribbean countries affected by hurricanes to receive help from New Zealand

first_img“It is heartbreaking to see the damage done by Hurricanes Irma and Maria”, said New Zealand High Commissioner H Jan Henderson The Government of New Zealand will be contributing NZ$250,000 to the immediate relief efforts to help Caribbean countries affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria. UNDP to disburse fundsThe funds will be disbursed through the United Nations Development program (UNDP) to support governments in early recovery activities such as debris management and the rehabilitation of basic services like water and electricity.“New Zealand and the Caribbean have longstanding links which have been deepened by the opening of four missions in the region in 2014. I have spent time in both Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica, getting to know the countries and the people, and it is heartbreaking to see the damage done by Hurricanes Irma and Maria”, said New Zealand High Commissioner H Jan Henderson.New Zealand CommittedShe added that New Zealand remains committed to continuing long-term support in the agriculture sector in Antigua and Barbuda. The country also is committed to the geothermal development project in Dominica when recovery efforts move to economic revitalization.The New Zealand High Commission serves Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.Medical personnel from Barbados assisting Dominica Meanwhile, arrangements are being made to have doctors and nurses from Barbados travel to Dominica to provide much-needed assistance.According to Dr. Brian Charles, the managing director of Sandy Crest Medical Centre, who is in Dominica, there is urgent need for artisans, medical and nursing personnel to provide much needed care for those requiring assistance.Princess Margaret Hospital badly damagedCharles is in Dominica to provide primary assessments for health- care services and hospitals there, and work alongside the Barbadian military personnel. “The [Princess Margaret] hospital has been badly damaged…it is about 70 per cent destroyed, but it is running somewhat,” Charles said.He noted that the hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department had very limited function, as the institution had no power, water, operating theatre, X-ray or CAT scan departments, laboratories or blood bank. “Our appeal right now is for assistance to get those up and running soon,” he said.Charles also reported there were currently five people who need to be medi-evacuated from the hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department.  “The French authorities have indicated  they will take patients to Martinique. There’s also one critically ill police officer who sustained major trauma that needs to be airlifted,” he said, also emphasizing the needs of dialysis patients were also a cause for concern.Dominica remains in a state of emergency after it was devastated by Category 5 Hurricane Maria last week.last_img read more

Strictly Come Dancing on top in reality television betting stakes

first_imgShare Strictly Come Dancing (SCD) has waltzed back onto our screens, with the BBC’s flagship reality show overlapping ITV’s X-Factor and dominating the viewing figures.Simon Cowell and co managed a paltry 5.4 million compared to its rivals 10.2 million, but is this popularity on screen mirrored in the betting community?Jess Bridge of Ladbrokes has spoken to SBC about the strictly phenomenon, a dwindling X Factor and the overall popularity of this TV genre:  “Reality betting is huge and a multi-million pound market for us throughout the calendar year. In the past X Factor has had the X Factor with punters and it would come out on top in the war of the wagers, however, as the ITV show’s viewing figures dwindle further south and Strictly’s rocket north, we are seeing the same mirrored within betting patterns.”As betting patterns mirror viewing figures, what has happened to make people switch off what was once the standard bearer?  Bridge shed some light, adding:  “I believe this is because both viewers and punters of X Factor have grown a little tired with the same old stories and cliches happening year after year. “In a former life bets would pour in on Ella Henderson or Olly Murs winning X Factor because they’re a “normal’ person and this could change their life, rather than Strictly simply furthering a celebrity’s career, but the format has become a little jaded and everyone knows now it’s a near certainty there will be a ‘controversial’ act, such as Jedward, Rylan or Honey G, that will a) make the live shows, and, b) get quite far in the competition, thus reducing the credibility of the show which then has a knock-on effect to the eventual winner.” Fifteen celebrities have kick started their SCD journey, with ex JLS member Aston Merrygold the favourite at 5/2 with Ladbrokes.  It is, however, another ex-singer turned star of the stage that has attracted the early attention of one punter, Bridge commented:  “Aston’s the favourite due to his background in JLS and the fact he went to a stage school during his youth. He ticks all the boxes of a dancer that will go far in the competition so we’ll be keen to keep him onside. “The biggest wager of the series placed to date has been £1000 on Alexandra at 5/1 – placed before the first show (last) weekend – but as the weeks go on and punters start to get a better idea of who will actually be a serious contender for glitterball glory the large stakes will soon start rolling in.” Submit ITV secures three-year British racing broadcast deal August 5, 2020 Premier League looks to broadcast every behind-closed-door fixture August 28, 2020 Related Articles StumbleUpon GVC hires ‘comms pro’ Tessa Curtis to re-energise media profile  August 25, 2020 Sharelast_img read more

Winning Post: Gambling researchers puzzle the state of independence

first_img StumbleUpon FDJ’s ParionsSport launches sponsorship programme for French amateur football August 24, 2020 Submit Industry strategic consultancy Regulus Partners looks at the shifts in the French market, and the launch of a Christmas abstinence campaignFrance: FDJ IPO – plus ca change?As the IPO of FDJ looms (reportedly at the upper end of the price range on an over-subscribed book) ARJEL has reported another strong online market performance. Domestically regulated online revenue grew 37% YoY to €310m, driven by: a 53% increase in sports betting to €197m, despite WC comps (8% turnover growth but more favourable margins, 15% cut in bonuses); an 11% increase in horseracing (6% turnover growth, bonuses down 38%) to €61m and a 23% increase in poker (12% underlying, 18% cut in bonuses) to €52m. While continuing to show strong mass-market-led growth, Frances’ domestically regulated commercial online sector is still likely channelling less than 50% of the overall market and is dwarfed by retail: FDJ’s run-rate monopoly protected retail revenue is €5.3bn (87% lottery, 13% betting), with only a relatively tiny proportion exposed to online competition. Equally, PMU’s run-rate revenue of €2.3bn contains only struggling and small contributions from sportsbetting and poker, though it has the lion’s share of online horseracing. France’s casino complete the landscape with €2.3bn in revenue, again with a relatively tiny (JOA poker) online presence.France therefore has a €10.5bn revenue gambling market, of which only 8.4% is commercial online gambling (and in 20% of that the racing monopoly has a massive structural advantage). While the French monopolies have broadly done well where they have not faced direct competition, they have performed poorly against a (slightly more) level playing field (vs. Betclic, Kindred and Winamax especially: two of which are essentially local specialists – most big online names are absent due to high turnover taxes and/or the lack of online casino). One of the key questions for the newly privatised FDJ therefore is whether this trend can be reversed – either organically or otherwise. FDJ might be c. 50% of France’s total gambling market, but unless it is a dynamic part, investors are likely to soon lose interest, in our view (even with an 80% dividend payout ratio from 2020).One area that could have generated this dynamism was the potential for offering RNG games, which was suggested in drafts of the legislation to allow privatisation. However, this has now been clarified as not happening, meaning an easy (if highly controversial) government product bung to accelerate growth (deliberately or otherwise) will not be forthcoming.FDJ’s recent acquisition of Sporting Index (including its B2B element) might be a clearer indication of ambitions. It shows an willingness for targeted M&A, a focus on improving sportsbetting capabilities and potentially an appetite for new business streams and geographies beyond France. A newly privatised French business using its balance sheet to shore up its domestic position and expand overseas would likely be both ‘on message’ from a government perspective and potentially provide the kind of strategic impetus necessary to improve performance and keep investors happy. The risks inherent in combining lottery duties of care and financial return with commercial gambling are already implicit in FDJ’s structure, meaning the only ‘leap’ would be an international dimension – which does not seem that far-fetched to us. Tellingly for a market that likes to tax (51% of Q3 overall commercial online net revenue was taken up in duties and sports fees – a notably higher blended figure than much derided Pennsylvania), FDJ nevertheless has the scale both to pay c. €3.5n in duties, fees and good causes (66% of revenue) and also to generate c. €320-400m in adj. EBITDA.In terms of the underlying structure and scale of the French market, the privatisation of FDJ would seem to change very little. However, it might unleash a very big beast on the world stage with an appetite for something more than relatively lacklustre protected domestic growth and an overall market share challenged by poorly executed channel shift…UK: safer gambling – “Won’t you play another day?”; Christmas abstinence campaign launchedA group of gambling concern activists have this week launched a campaign to address concerns around gambling at Christmas. The campaign – “nobet364” – calls on remote operators to suspend activity on Christmas Day; to raise awareness of the need for support for those struggling with gambling disorder during the festive season; and to remind those seeking to quit gambling that abstinence needs to be maintained all year round.The idea that operators should go dark for a day will strike many in the industry as excessive and a curtailment on consumer and cultural freedoms (Christmas is at least notionally a Christian celebration after all). However, licensed gambling venues do shut their doors for Christmas as do many other leisure retail outlets. Indeed, Christmas Day trading for any business (let alone an activity as morally complex as gambling) is very much an early 21st century concept – and so not necessarily an accepted norm.The campaign is also grounded in legitimate concerns around the potential for harm at Christmas. In addition to the elevated alcohol consumption of the season, it can be a very difficult time for those on their own. The absence of domestic fixtures means that sports betting (a lower risk activity) may be skewed towards more obscure events (an area where researchers have flagged concerns); while the idea that people may have nothing better to do on Christmas Day than play online slots will undoubtedly jar with some.While operators are understandably wary of initiatives that seem to resemble the thin edge rather than the wedge entire, they should avoid the temptation to dismiss this latest campaign out of hand. Nobet364 possesses a beautiful simplicity that is the hallmark of popular campaigns – and it plugs into themes of Christianity and Victorian virtue (both celebrated as part of our modern Christmas). It seems likely to appeal to parliamentarians such as the Bishop of St Albans and Iain Duncan Smith but has the potential for wider appeal. Most importantly, the idea has some merit. As the psychologist and Nobel laureate for Economics, Daniel Kahneman encourages us, it is always worth asking the question “what would make this a good idea?”.Companies may not wish to suspend operations for the day (at the very least sites would presumably have to remain open to facilitate withdrawals and allow customers to access safer gambling tools). However, thought should be given to ensuring that risk at Christmas is addressed – for example through analysis of gambling behaviours in prior years; heightened vigilance; seasonal safer gambling messaging; marketing suppression; and ensuring appropriate staffing expertise (including the availability of ‘warm transfers’ to the National Helpline).Many of the advances made by British licensees to reduce risk of harm have arisen from a willingness to explore the middle ground with their critics – and so to make sensible amendments to operating practice. Nobet364 raises a number of valid concerns and warrants a positive and constructive response.UK: out of Parliament – Industry braced for manifesto destinyGiven that this is national anti-bullying week, it is perhaps helpful that MPs (some of whom seem unable to behave with common decency) were not sitting this week. It was thus a rather quiet few days in the politics of gambling. This seems likely to change with the publication next week of party manifestos ahead of December’s General Election.On Tuesday of this week, the Royal Society for Public Health published an open-letter wish-list of items that it would like to see included within party manifestos. This included the establishment of a statutory levy to fund gambling harm research, education and treatment. It seems highly likely that the Labour Party will include such a pledge in its manifesto (it has after all been policy for some time) and others (Liberal Democrats, Scottish Nationalists) could well follow suit.In an article published on Friday, James Noyes (the former advisor on gambling policy to the former Labour Party Deputy Leader, Tom Watson) indicated that a broader range of policies may find their way into party manifestos – including “reasonable limits to online gambling, for an Ombudsman to protect consumers, for a review of offshore licence holders operating in the UK” as well as a levy. These are all Labour policies but Dr Noyes seemed to suggest that other parties may adopt them, writing that gambling reform “is now a broad church. Gambling has become one of the few domestic policy issues that has support across party lines.”Given stock market jumpiness about political intervention, next week could give gambling investors an interesting ride. We will flag anything particularly portentous in WP updates as manifestos are published.Global: safer gambling – gambling researchers puzzle the state of independenceGambling research was in the spotlight this week as first GVC unveiled details of their partnership with Harvard Medical School; and then the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling convened a meeting in London to discuss the future of research in Britain.Despite the fanfare, the GVC-Harvard project is not so much something new as a revival of the old bwin Transparency Project. Begun in 2005, the project pre-empted Gambling Commission calls for data sharing by more than a decade (something that those who think that operators only respond to threats should reflect upon) before closing in 2014. There is a much to admire in the re-launched project – a substantial financial commitment ($5.5m over five years); robust transparency and governance arrangements; the intellectual expertise provided by world renowned researchers Debi LaPlante and Sarah Nelson; and the strong basis (in terms of infrastructure, insight and identified pitfalls) from the previous bwin collaboration.It all raises two important questions: 1) why – in this age of collaboration – are not more operators involved (the initiative has after all been well-flagged by GVC); and 2) why do we need a separate (licensee-funded) data hub and research facility in Leeds – as favoured by the Gambling Commission and GambleAware if the architecture already exists in Massachusetts. There may be valid answers to these questions – but the sake of appearances should not be one.Later in the week, the ABSG called together around 30 of Britain’s leading academics to discuss how research should be conducted in the future. We are not aware of precisely what was discussed (the ABSG and Gambling Commission websites make no mention of the meeting; there are limits to transparency, it seems) and must hope that reforms will be guided by reason and tolerance. Clearer guidance from the Gambling Commission about how research should be conducted would, for example be a positive step forward – and may help to deter the tiresome attempts by all sides to debunk sound studies due to inconvenient findings. GVC hires ‘comms pro’ Tessa Curtis to re-energise media profile  August 25, 2020 UKGC launches fourth National Lottery licence competition August 28, 2020 Share Share Related Articleslast_img read more

Ighalo’s wondergoal compared to famous Tony Yeboah strike: Which was better? [VIDEO]

first_imgTremendous goal from Ighalo, juggling Bruno’s pass to smash it in off the crossbar, on the half-volley.Yeboah-esque!#laskmun #ManUtd pic.twitter.com/jr3vxK1nJl— John McMahon (@JohnMcArts) March 12, 2020 Ighalo breaking out the Tony Yeboah— Tim Junior (@StankyBurger) March 12, 2020 Manchester United’s newest sensation, Odion Ighalo has cemented himself as a fan favourite with his goalscoring form at the club since his loan move from China.He enhanced his reputation as a premier scorer on his day with a magnificent goal against LASK in the Europa League.Receiving a pass from teammate Bruno Fernandes on the edge of the box, Ighalo controlled the ball with his right foot, juggled it with his left foot before taking another touch with his right.As the ball landed on his left side, he took his shot on the half volley, firing the ball into the top corner.It was a great strike that Man United fans couldn’t help admiring again and again.Take a look at Ighalo’s goal below:𝗢𝘂𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗲𝗼𝘂𝘀 from Odion Ighalo! 🔥🔥🔥💫 Skill of the Day winner 💫#UEL | @UKEnterprise | #UELSOTD pic.twitter.com/LI6bRG4y8D— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) March 12, 2020Some United fans also noted the similarities between Ighalo’s goal and one scored by Ghanaian, Anthony Yeboah in 1995.Are we sure this fella isn’t Tony Yeboah in disguise #ighalo 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻— Anthony Masterson (@antomasterson1) March 12, 2020center_img Was that Ighalo or Tony Yeboah?— Darnell (@Nelly_0903) March 12, 2020Yeboah’s effort against Wimbledon was a real stunner; he first controlled the ball on his chest, then his left knee before nudging it past a defender onto his right foot.The shot that followed was so powerful that it hit the bar twice before nestling in the back of the net.See Yeboah’s goal below:Two words: Tony Yeboah Best #GoalOfTheDay ever? 🚀 pic.twitter.com/9n1pzxJFWn— Premier League (@premierleague) October 15, 2019So which do you prefer more?last_img read more