Nyon, Mar 20 (AP/UNB) — Paris Saint-Germain won an initial legal battle with UEFA on Tuesday over the monitoring of its spending on player transfers and wages, and sponsorship deals linked to the club's Qatari owner.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld PSG's appeal against an attempt by UEFA investigators to reopen a previously closed investigation.
The judgment in favor of PSG is separate from another UEFA investigation of its finances in the 2017-18 season when the French champions, backed by Qatari sovereign wealth, signed Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
The most severe punishment in that ongoing probe could see UEFA ban PSG from the Champions League. World soccer's most coveted club competition is key to building the club's global appeal and paid the French club 62 million euros ($70 million) last season in prize money alone.
The appeal judgment Tuesday from CAS related to UEFA's club finance monitoring panel wanting to review its own decision that declared PSG's accounts through June 2017 compliant with "Financial Fair Play" rules.
The court said UEFA's panel of independent investigators and judges missed the deadline to challenge their own previous decision.
"The challenged decision was untimely and must be annulled," CAS said in a statement, announcing the ruling while PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi attended talks at UEFA headquarters about future changes to the Champions League.
Al Khelaifi, who is also a member of UEFA's executive committee representing European clubs, declined to comment to The Associated Press.
PSG's victory was expected after Turkish club Galatasaray won a similar CAS ruling against UEFA last month.
"The CAS decision does not put in doubt the objectives of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play system," UEFA said, repeating its statement issued in the Galatasaray case.
UEFA said its lawyers will analyze the CAS judgment and make "any clarifications or amendments to its rules" required.
PSG has long been a major target of UEFA's FFP project since the launch in 2011. It requires clubs to approach break-even business on soccer, such as on player transfers and wages, and also assesses the fair market value of sponsorship deals.
"The club emphasizes it has always respected the rules and always striven to reply calmly and transparently to repeated requests from UEFA and its club finance panel," PSG said in a statement Tuesday.
Critics say FFP protects storied clubs from being challenged by ambitious rivals with wealthy owners, though UEFA insists it aims to control club debts and over-inflation of the soccer market.
Since being bought by its Qatari owners in 2011, PSG has been suspected of using overvalued sponsor deals from the gas-rich emirate to balance its accounts and comply with UEFA rules.
The club forfeited 20 million euros ($22.8 million) of Champions League prize money in a 2014 settlement that avoided a more high-stakes legal fight. Manchester City, which is owned by Abu Dhabi's ruling family, got the same deal from UEFA.
In April 2017, UEFA released PSG and Man City from their settlement agreements for complying with three years of stricter monitoring.
PSG then spent heavily in that offseason, breaking soccer's transfer record to buy Neymar from Barcelona for 222 million euros (about $250 million). A loan deal was agreed with Monaco for Mbappe that became a 180 million euro ($205 million) purchase last year.
UEFA opened an investigation soon after the loan for Mbappe was completed in August 2017.
Miami Gardens, Mar 20 (AP/UNB) — When John Isner first got to town for his Miami Open title defense, he went for a practice session at the old tournament site in Key Biscayne instead of the new location at the stadium used by the NFL's Dolphins.
It wasn't that he wasn't sure where to go, of course. Nor was he trying to soak up the good vibes at the place where he won an ATP Masters 1000 trophy for the first time.
"It was just about convenience. Close to my hotel. I just wanted to break a sweat and went out there. It was pretty weird, actually. Kind of quiet. The place still has its allure to it, but it definitely seems different," Isner said Tuesday. "We're all used to pulling into that parking lot and the place is bustling. Wasn't like that."
There wasn't much bustle at the new-look Miami Open on the initial day of scheduled main-draw play, which was completely wiped out because of rain throughout Tuesday.
They'll try again to get started Wednesday; No. 9 Isner and other seeded men such as Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer won't play before Friday thanks to first-round byes.
Isner, 10-6 this season, arrived at the hard-court tournament in 2018 with a 1-6 mark. He proceeded to win six matches in a row, three against men ranked in the top six.
"I do know that, look, odds are, I probably won't defend this title," he said with a chuckle after touring the Humane Society of Greater Miami with Alexander Zverev, the runner-up at the Miami Open a year ago. "At the same time, it is cool coming back as the defending champion of a tournament of this magnitude. Never been in this situation before. Just looking forward to it. No pressure. I don't look at it as, 'Oh, I'm going to lose a bunch of points.' You can't look at it like that. It's just another tournament you want to do well in."
Isner says his performance in Florida gave him a boost that helped him later in the season, including his semifinal showing at Wimbledon in July, the best he'd ever done at a Grand Slam tournament.
So did that carry over into this season, too?
"Unfortunately, I feel like it has a shelf life," said Isner, who lost to Reilly Opelka in an all-American matchup in the first round of the Australian Open in January. "Every player is different, but I feel like, for me, when you start the new year, everything is reset. Even if you played fantastic at the end of the year last year, you have two months off, and everything resets."
Dhaka, Mar 19 (UNB) – Willes Little Flower School and College retained Dhaka Metropolis title of the Prime Bank School Cricket Tournament on Tuesday.
They beat Ahmedbagh Adrasha High School by eight wickets in the final at Zahurul Haque Hall ground of Dhaka University.
Sent to bat first, Ahmedbagh were bundled out for 67 runs with Emon Khan making 20 and Labib 11 runs.
Joytu Barua grabbed three wickets while Hridoy and Afnan took two wickets each.
In reply, former national school champions Wills Little Flower chased down the target losing only two wickets with Afnan Islam making unbeaten 36 and Shams Shahadat unbeaten 22 runs.
Afnan, the younger brother national cricketer Shadman Islam, was adjudged the match of the match.
Dhaka, Mar 19 (UNB) — Bangladesh will participate in the forthcoming World Cup in England with their strongest-ever team, hopes the former captain of the Tigers and current selector Habibul Bashar.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is all set to announce the preliminary squad for the World Cup. Before that, Habibul said they are taking the time to announce the team because they need to think about many things.
“We play a World Cup once in every four years. So it is a special occasion for us. At the same time, the World Cup squad is different from any other squad. Actually, every event is important, but the World Cup is special,” Habibul told the reporters on Tuesday at BCB headquarter.
“We are (selectors) thinking in many ways to select the team. We are going to play the World Cup with our strongest-ever team; if you look back to the previous World Cups. We have an experienced bunch of cricketers. We had never got this before,” Habibul further said.
The New Zealand series, which has ended in an unexpected way, was Bangladesh’s last full series before the World Cup. The Tigers disappointed in the series as they lost all of five matches that they have played. In the ODI series, they displayed poor performances. They replicated the same acts in the Test series as well.
“We went to play in New Zealand with pretty much of expectation. But we failed in an unwanted way. So we are disappointed with this. The injuries to several key players were harmful to us. At the same time, some of the players lost their rhythm. If we had played well in New Zealand, it would have helped us to go to the World Cup with a lot of confidence,” he also told.
But the former captain does not want to stay focused on this misfortune but he wants the team to move on. Habibul believes that one bad series did not make the team a bad team.
“We had nothing to worry about the series what we have done with. We will think about it but not too much. I don’t think our team transformed into a bad team just because of a poor series. This is the same team who has played well in the last one and two years. We have won some series, we have played in the final of last Asia Cup as well. We are taking the last series just as a poor one. It can happen to any team in the world,” Habibul added while talking to the reporters.
Habibul hinted that they are reluctant to add many new faces in the World Cup team. Instead of doing that, they are more comfortable with selecting the tasted players who have done well in past.
“The last series will not make much impact in the team selection for the World Cup. Mushfiqur Rahim was poor during the last series, but it does not mean that he will not be picked up for the biggest cricketing tournament. We believe the World Cup is not an ideal stage to examine the team combination. The pressure in the World Cup is more than any other series or tournament. So it is risky to depend on the young guns more in the World Cup. But still, we are observing the ongoing Premier League. If someone does something special, we might consider him,” Habibul said to the reporters.
Before the World Cup, Bangladesh will participate in a tri-series in Ireland where they will face West Indies alongside the hosts. The Tigers will play at least four ODIs in this series. This series will surely help the Tigers to adapt to the condition of England.
Dhaka, Mar 19 (UNB) – Runners up at the last edition Bangladesh are adopting a positive outlook ahead of their crucial semi-final clash of the six-nation SAFF Women’s Championship with four-time champions India at the Shahid Rangashala in the Nepalese city of Biratnagar on Wednesday.
The tournament’s 2nd semifinal between the two neighboring nations will kick-off at 3:15 pm (Bangladesh time) while hosts Nepal will meet Sri Lanka in the first semifinal at 11:15 am on the same day at the same venue.
Ahead of the game, the Head Coach of Bangladesh team Golam Robbani Choton said, “Our preparation for the game with India is very good, players have fully recovered and recharged themselves and look positive ahead of the clash with India.”
Bangladesh captain Sabina Khatun meanwhile said, “We learnt some hard lessons against Nepal but we will be very positive in our match against India” India has never lost a match in the SAFF Women’s Championship since its inception in 2010.
Out of nine meetings, India beat Bangladesh on eight occasions and the other one ended in a goalless draw, in the group phase of the last edition. In that same tournament, they clinched the title for the 4th time in a row outplaying Bangladesh 3-1 in the final.
Bangladesh also suffered a humiliating 1-7 goals defeat against India in the Tokyo Olympics Qualifiers in November last year in Myanmar.
Bangladesh goalkeeper Rupna Chakma said, “We have recovered very well since our group game with Nepal. We are all looking forward to this game with real optimism.”
Indian Head Coach Mrs Maymul Rocky said, “For semifinal match of SAFF, both teams Bangladesh and India come here with preparation. We do not underestimate our opponent Bangladesh team, because they are also good team."
Ahead of the semifinal, Bangladesh team completed an array of dynamic stretching exercises, passing practices with some tactical patterns and concluded the session with the team rehearsing set plays both from a defending and attacking perspective, including penalty kicks on Tuesday afternoon.
Bangladesh team management was due to meet individually with some selected players and the final team meeting will be held on Wednesday morning prior to the semifinal.
Bangladesh team have a good news that their talented forward Kristina Rani Sarkar, who missed the last two matches due to knee injury, will play in the semifinal against India.
Earlier, Bangladesh reached the last four stage of the meet as the Group A runners-up losing to hosts Nepal by 0-3 goals in their 2nd match after beating Bhutan by 2-0 goals in the first match while India stormed into semifinals as Group B champion with all-win record outplaying the Maldives by 6-0 goals and Sri Lanka by 5-0 goals.
The Himalayan nation and hosts Nepal reached the semifinals as the Group A champions with all-win record beating Bhutan and Bangladesh by 3-0 goals each while Bangladesh a managed semifinal berth as the Group A runners-up eliminating Bhutan by 2-0 goals.