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WBC President vows to work with IBA to preserve boxing’s Olympic berth

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World Boxing Council (WBC) President Mauricio Sulaimán has vowed to work with the International Boxing Association (IBA) as the sport fights to preserve its place on the Olympic programme from Los Angeles 2028.

Boxing – along with weightlifting and modern pentathlon – was left off the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) “initial programme” for the Games in the American city in 2028, with the sports’ International Federations given until 2023 to address concerns.

The IBA, which changed its acronym from AIBA at an Extraordinary Congress last month, is required to “demonstrate it has successfully addressed the ongoing concerns around its governance, financial transparency and sustainability, and integrity of refereeing and judging process”.

Sulaimán insisted that the sport must work together to ensure that boxing retains its place in Los Angeles 2028.

“This is a time for the world of boxing to unite, because the basis of boxing is amateur boxing,” the Mexican official said, as reported by Boxing Scene.

“It is the basis for everything.”

read also:Cameroon dream of title at home as AFCON 2021 kicks off

The WBC has been vocal in its criticism of the decision to allow professional boxers to feature at the Olympics, arguing that it puts the safety of amateurs at risks.

It vowed to ban any professionals governed by the WBC for two years if they participated at Tokyo 2020, having implemented the same rule at Rio 2016.

Sulaimán revealed that the WBC has held talks with the IBA, and said he believes it is crucial that boxing remains at the Olympics.

“Professional boxing comes from Olympic boxing and amateur boxing, so we as an industry must not turn away,” he commented.

“We need to face this issue head-on and get to work.

“Whether you are a journalist, a promoter, a manager, a trainer or a fighter, we can’t just stand by and see what destiny brings.

“We have had communications with AIBA and we have tried to have communication with the International Olympic Committee.”

The WBC President added that the professional boxing organisation is hoping to organise a “task force” to address boxing’s absence from the Los Angeles 2028 core programme.

“We are open to support anything,” Sulaimán said.

“The WBC is involved in professional boxing, but we establish a committee for amateur boxing many years ago after the horrible actions that AIBA took to try and bring professionals into the Olympic Games only for money and numbers.

“Boxing is a great sport.

“It had the fourth ranking of all sports in the last Olympics for ratings.

“We have to get active to protect boxing.”

Boxing has featured at every Olympics since St Louis 1904 with the exception of Stockholm 1912.

read also:Teams must play if 11 players available, AFCON organisers say

However, the boxing tournament at Tokyo 2020 was organised by the IOC’s Boxing Task Force, led by International Gymnastics Federation President and IOC member Morinari Watanabe.

IBA – then the AIBA – was suspended as the sport’s Olympic governing body by the IOC in 2019, thus losing its rights to organise the events in the Japanese capital.

The International Federation’s financial situation was a key factor in its suspension, as well as concerns over refereeing, judging and governance.

At least 11 bouts at Rio 2016 are thought to have been fixed, with Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren’s second report published last month revealing that match-fixing continued at major events for a further five years.

IBA President Umar Kremlev was elected in 2020 on a vow to wipe out the organisation’s debts.

At its Extraordinary Congress last month, a series of governance reforms were approved alongside a rebrand.

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Referees are ‘spoiling’ AFCON and have turned it into ‘red card’ party – Fans

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Senegalese Referee Ndiaye Maguette

Africa Cup of Nations has been labelled an ‘absolute joke’ because referees are ‘spoiling’ the tournament with red cards.

Fans angrily took to social media after Cape Verde’s last-16 defeat to Senegal was overshadowed by the fact they were reduced to nine men.

Midfielder Patrick Andrade was sent off midway through the first half before goalkeeper Vozinha was also sent off following a collision with Liverpool’s Sadio Mane.

‘AFCON is an absolute joke,’ one fan wrote on Twitter. ‘Referees are spoiling the tournament man.’

Another disgruntled follower of the tournament wrote: ‘These referees at AFCON 2021 have given me more than enough reason to discontinue watching the tournament. Officiating at its lowest.’

The dismissal of Vozinha was the 13th so far in this instalment of the tournament, as many as in the previous four AFCONs combined.

Many of the red cards have been awarded after the fact following the use of the video assistant referee (VAR).

‘AFCON referees should be reminded that they don’t have to issue a red card every time they visit the VAR monitor,’ another angry fan tweeted.

Another added: ‘These referees at AFCON believe visiting a monitor is red card offense, they don’t challenge the VAR decision, pathetic #AFCON2021.’

The decision to send off Vozinha proved highly contentious in Tuesday night’s Senegal-Cape Verde knockout tie, which Senegal won 2-0.

All five of the last-16 matches has seen a red card, with the group stage also littered with reds

Vozinha and Mane collided in what appeared to be a 50-50 clash of heads but in a blink of an eye the Blue Sharks found themselves down to nine men.

‘#AFCON2021 refereeing is ridiculous,’ another tweet read. ‘The underdogs are always crippled by the decision of the referees. #SENCPV no red card for the keeper.’

The two dismissals in the Senegal-Cape Verde game mean there has now been at least one sending off in all five of the knockout matches played so far.

Across those five games, seven red cards have been shown.

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Denmark’s Eriksen starts comeback training with Ajax

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Danish footballer Christian Eriksen, who went into cardiac arrest at last year’s European Championships, is training with Ajax as he seeks a new club, the Amsterdam side said Tuesday.

Eriksen, 29, who has been fitted with a pacemaker, joined Jong Ajax, the reserve team of his former club after terminating his contract with Inter Milan by mutual consent in December.

Italian league rules bar players with pacemakers.

“Former Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen is training with Jong Ajax this week. The Danish international is working to keep his fitness levels until he finds a new club,” Ajax said in a statement.

Eriksen joined Ajax at 16 in 2008, made his Eredivisie debut in 2010 and moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 2013.

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“I am very happy to be here. At Ajax I know the people, it feels like coming home because I was here for so long. All facilities are available here and with Jong Ajax I can train at a high level in a group,” Eriksen was quoted as saying in the statement.

“I want to be at my best again as soon as possible so that when I find a new club, I can perform well there as quickly as possible.”

Eriksen signed a four-and-a-year deal with Inter Milan in January 2020, helping them to win the Serie A title last season.

He suffered a dramatic cardiac arrest in Denmark’s opening game at Euro 2020 against Finland in Copenhagen on June 12 and had to be resuscitated on the pitch.

Denmark then rode a wave of emotion at the tournament, reaching the semi-finals where they were knocked out by England.

The playmaker spent several days in hospital and had a pacemaker implanted to regulate his heartbeat.

He said earlier this month he hopes to play in the World Cup in Qatar this year and was recently in training with his boyhood club Odense.

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Read Also: Eguaveon reveals plans for new Super Eagles coach after AFCON exit

“If a former player and, moreover, a self-trained product of ours knocks on the door of the club in this situation, we have no doubts, of course he’s welcome back,” said John Heitinga, the coach of Jong Ajax, in a statement on the club website.

“Christian is a footballer who is an example for many of our boys, a source of inspiration for the youth to move up.”

English Premier League Club Brentford – whose Danish boss Thomas Frank on Monday signed a new contract until 2025 – have shown an interest in Eriksen, news agencies in England and the Netherlands reported.

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Eguaveon reveals plans for new Super Eagles coach after AFCON exit

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NFF technical director Austin Eguavoen has revealed his plans for incoming Super Eagles coach Jose Paseiro stressing the Portuguese tactician will  be given all the support needed to perform in his role.

Paseiro is expected to take over the team from Eguaveon who led the Super Eagles to the 2021 African Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup playoffs against Ghana taking place in March, Eguaveon recently returned to his role as the technical director of NFF, said Jose Peseiro will get the backing to perform.

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Read Also: AFCON quarter-final moved after deadly crush kills eight

“We have to sit down together and map out strategies. We need to give him the platform, we have already prepared the team for 80 to 90 percent.

“He just have to add his own style and leadership. We would support him with everything because the country comes first,” he said before the team left Cameroon on Monday evening.

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