Tsiamalili made this statement during a visit to the two venues this week.The visit was with members of the Infrastructure Project Steering Committee (IPSC) as part of its weekly meet, and which Tsiamalili chairs.The IPSC comprises of key technical officials that include the Department of Treasury, Department of Finance, Department of National Planning, Central Supply Tenders Board (CSTB), and the FIFA Local Organising Committee.This weekly meet is to ensure that the required support committed by the respective government agencies and contractors in areas of construction and refurbishment of the stadiums as well as upgrading of fields at all training venues are implemented.“The Departments of Finance, Treasury and Planning have been tremendous in their hands-on support for this world event so far.“At this stage, the need for the full draw down of funds from the National Government is crucial. This will ensure that we meet our deadline in 30 days and get our games over the line,” said Tsiamalili.
The Council was formally advised of the government’s decision to pull out on Wednesday, because of financial concerns, five days after the move was approved by cabinet.The Pacific Games Council said it was not consulted in the decision and no attempt was made to seek their assistance to address the Government’s financial concerns over staging the Games.”We have a contract that we signed in 2012, when our General Assembly awarded Tonga the Games and there are termination and suspension clauses in the contract,” said Council CEO Andrew Minogue.”So there are procedures that can be activated if one of the parties wishes to not go ahead and there’s a process that needs to be followed and of course in this case it has not been followed.”So that’s why I think it’s come in a shock and it’s why we’ve said in our statement we haven’t been consulted in the decision,” Mr Minogue said.”I think if finances are a concern of the Tongan Government – and I have no reason to doubt that that’s a concern for them – the Games Council would always stand ready to address those concerns where possible by looking at the size and the scope of the Games.”The Pacific Games Council said it believed preparations had been on track for staging the event despite interference by the Prime Minister in the workings of the independent Games Organising Committee.”Tonga hosted the Pacific Mini Games back in 1989 and there’s some legacy venues from those Games, like the Atele Stadium and Queen Salote Hall, said Mr Minogue.”Those are very very good, very very compact venues that we’re happy to use in 2019.”That’s a very good foundation for a lot of the sports and the Chinese Government have committed to building facilities at Tonga High School, the main (Teufaiva) stadium is being upgraded and Tonga is actually on the verge of having all the facilities that they need to run the Games.”And that’s why the decision is so confusing and so difficult to understand,” he said.Council President Vidhya Lakhan, said the government’s withdrawal from hosting is “an extremely disappointing and confusing decision which robs Tonga’s youth and future generations of the golden opportunity to receive badly needed sport and recreation facilities.”He said “Tonga’s citizens and businesses will also miss out on the many vital employment and commercial opportunities associated with the heightened economic activity around the Games.”Andrew Minogue said the Pacific Games Council’s Executive Board would hold an emergency meeting next weekend to discuss the way forward.
If the first Manchester derby of the season was excessively dominated by the focus on a fascinating coaching rivalry, Thursday’s encounter (10pm) is strictly business.This time, few care about the Pep Guardiola-Jose Mourinho head-to-head records or their previous meetings in Spain’s La Liga.The stakes are high – City are fourth in the Premier League, just a point ahead of United after the same number of games.Both clubs are desperate to ensure a top-four finish and Champions League football next season and Thursday’s clash at the Etihad Stadium will be influential in determining how the pair end their campaigns.“This is about the clubs, the teams, this is about the positions at the end of the season. This is not about myself and Guardiola. I think now that is the correct approach,” Mourinho said this week, reflecting on the hype around the last derby.Still, given their stature in the game, it is impossible for the two coaches to be completely out of the picture.Guardiola’s first campaign at Manchester City risks ending in the worst Premier League finish for the club in seven seasons. City have not ended a campaign out of the top four since coming fifth in 2011 under Roberto Mancini.Sunday’s extra-time defeat by Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final saw the last chance of silverware disappear after City’s loss to Monaco in the Champions League last 16.Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach Guardiola has never endured a trophy-less season as a coach and, while City’s hierarchy will write this year off as a transitional phase, there will still be some surprise that he has achieved less than his predecessor Manuel Pellegrini.United, who lost 2-1 in the first league meeting with City, have steadily progressed under Mourinho.They have already lifted the League Cup and are 23 league games unbeaten while having a chance of more silverware – and a Champions League place – through the Europa League where they face Celta Vigo in the semi-finals.While United have lost top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic and key defender Marcos Rojo to long-term knee injuries, there is a real mood of optimism at Old Trafford.“It’s going to be the game of the season,” said United’s Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera.“We are in a very good moment, on a very good run and we respect them, but we are doing a lot of good things and we have to show it on Thursday,” he said.The long season fighting on several fronts has taken its toll on both teams however.As well as Ibrahimovic and Rojo, Mourinho, who has been rotating his squad, must wait to see if Paul Pogba is fit after he was substituted late in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Burnley.Central defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling and midfielder Juan Mata are also on the injured list.For City, leading scorer Sergio Aguero is expected to play but playmaker David Silva are battling to be fit while Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus could return after a long-term injury.
Qatar Airways said on Sunday it has signed a sponsorship deal with FIFA to be the official partner and airline of the next two World Cups, in Russia and Qatar.The state-owned carrier did not disclose the value of the deal, which it said would cover the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017, the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the FIFA Club World Cup, the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.Rival Middle East carrier Emirates was a FIFA sponsor until 2014 when it said it would not renew its contract following months of calls for sponsors to respond robustly to allegations of bribery to secure the 2022 World Cup for Qatar.Dubai-based Emirates said in 2015 it could be interested in renewing a deal to sponsor the World Cup in the future.Disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter was banned in 2015 for six years by FIFA’s own ethics committee at the height of a scandal engulfing soccer’s governing body.Several dozen soccer officials, including some from FIFA, were indicted in the United States in 2015 on corruption-related chances. Blatter was not among them.Qatar Airways is a major sponsor of Spanish football team Barcelona, and sponsors other sporting teams and events.
Manchester United defender Luke Shaw has praised his former manager Mauricio Pochettino and is hopeful of reuniting with the Tottenham Hotspur coach in the future.Shaw played under Pochettino at Southampton during the latter half of the 2012-13 season as the Saints finished eighth in the Premier League. The England International moved to United at the end of the season.In the epilogue of Spanish pundit Guillem Balague’s new book “Brave New World: Inside Pochettino’s Spurs”, the 22-year-old hailed his fantastic relationship with the Argentine and reckoned Pochettino would like to work with him again as well.“I think with Southampton he achieved the impossible. We were one of the best footballing teams in the league…I do hope that I can play for him again one day. And I think he really wants me to play under him again,” Shaw wrote.“He used to call me his son, that’s how good our relationship was. I’ve had lots of ups and downs, but when I was with Pochettino it was only ever up, up, up.“He made me feel that I was the best. He’d show me clips of my games and say, ‘You should do this better’. Not in a horrible way. Not I could have done better, but I should have done better, because he knows I can be better.”Shaw is struggling to get playing time at United after falling out with manager Jose Mourinho and could meet Pochettino when second-placed United host third-placed Tottenham in the league on Saturday.
Several Olympic events were postponed or rescheduled as strong winds swept through the Pyeongchang region on Wednesday, damaging temporary structures set up for the Games.Nordic combined, biathlon and Alpine skiing events were postponed or delayed due to weather conditions, Olympic organisers said as they rejigged the competition schedule and worked to limit damage sustained around venues.At the Gangneung Ice Arena, the venue for figure skating and short track speed skating, a tent set up for security screenings lay flat on the pavement.Olympic volunteers and reporters trudged with their backs to the wind, shielding their faces from the dust.The Korea Meteorological Administration said on its website that winds in the region were blowing at 7 m/s as of 17:30 (0830 GMT).In text messages sent to mobile phones in the coastal area, Gangneung City Hall called for people to be wary of flying objects and falling debris.The streets of the Gangneung Media Village, where the majority of international journalists covering the Games are staying, were deserted except for a few security officials trying to fix damage to temporary structures. Several tents used as work areas for the press were closed.Athletes have also felt the effects of the treacherous winds.Canadian pairs figure skater Meagan Duhamel wrote on Twitter that the hanger she used for her competition dress “broke from the wind” ahead of the short programme on Wednesday in which she and partner Eric Radford finished third.
Results from the Cyprus football championship playoffs on Tuesday:AEL 3AEK 2Alki Oroklinis 1Nea Salamina 0
Host country:Uruguay Fourth place:Yugoslavia Hosts Uruguay won the first ever final, beating Argentina 4-2 in front of a crowd of around 93,000 people in Montevideo in an entertaining game.Both nations went into the showpiece having won every match en route to the final. It was also a repeat of the 1928 Olympic football tournament, which Uruguay had won 2-1.Interestingly, the final consisted of two match balls. The first was picked by Argentina and was used in the first half. The second ball was chosen by Uruguay and was used after half-time. This was due to a dispute between both countries and it was the Belgian referee John Langenus who came up with the idea.Pablo Dorado opened the scoring for Uruguay but Argentina leveled the score 8 minutes later through Carlos Peucelle. The tournament’s top scorer Guillermo Stabile gave the Argentinians the lead shortly before the break.Uruguay started the second half on the front foot but it was Argentina’s Monti who missed a glorious chance to give his side a two-goal advantage.Pedro Cea was not so forgiving a few minutes later and equalized for the hosts with Sandro Iriarte putting Uruguay back in the driving seat 10 minutes later. Just before the final whistle Castro netted a fourth goal making sure that the first ever World Cup would go to Uruguay.Then FIFA President Jules Rimet presented the trophy to captain Jose Nasazzi.Uruguay declared the next day a national holiday, while in Buenos Aires, the Uruguayan Consulate was stoned by an angry crowd until the police opened fire. Dates:June 13-30 (18 days) VITAL STATISTICS Mexico 6-3 Semi-finalYugoslavia 6-1 Group 3Peru 1-0 Champions:Uruguay URUGUAY Romania 4-0 Top scorer:Guillermo Stabile ARG (8 goals) Past World Cup winners[mp_ads_system ads_system_select=”48205″]THE FINAL – Uruguay 4 Argentina 2 Third place:United States Goals scored:70 (3.9/game) Attendance:590,549 (32,808/game) Matches played:18 URUGUAY 1930 – An Overview Héctor Castro scores Uruguay’s fourth goal in the final Venues:3 ARGENTINA Group 1:France 1-0 Semi-finalUnited States 6-1 The pre-tournament favourites, who won every match en route to the final, then beat Argentina 4-2 to be crowned world champions.It remains the only World Cup where countries did not have to qualify. Thirteen teams (seven from South America, four from Europe, and two from North America) entered the tournament. Only a few European teams chose to participate due to the difficulty of travelling to South America.All matches took place in the capital Montevideo, with only three stadiums used.There were four groups of teams, with each winner progressing to the semi-finals.The event kicked-off with two matches played simultaneously and were won by France and the United States.The first goal in World Cup history was scored by Lucien Laurent of France, while American goalkeeper Jimmy Douglas posted the first official clean sheet.The tournament is also remembered for Bert Patenaude of the USA becoming the first player to score a hat-trick against Paraguay, while Argentina’s Guillermo Stabile remains the only player to score a hat-trick on his international debut during the event.The tournament also saw Placido Galindo become the first player to be sent off in a World Cup match, playing for Peru against Romania. Runners-up:Argentina THE ROAD TO THE FINAL Teams:13 (from 3 confederations) The inaugural FIFA World Cup took place in 1930 and was held in Uruguay.FIFA President Jules Rimet came up with the idea of a tournament featuring the world’s best international sides and Uruguay, the holders of the Olympic football title, were the only country to volunteer as host nation. Chile 3-1 Uruguayan players celebrate just after the final whistle
Mauricio Pochettino defended his team selection after Tottenham Hotspur suffered a “cruel” 2-1 defeat by Inter Milan in their Champions League Group B opener at the San Siro on Tuesday.With England right back Kieran Trippier and Belgium central defender Toby Alderweireld left out of the squad for what Pochettino described as “technical reasons”, it was a chance for Serge Aurier and Davinson Sanchez to stake their claims.For 86 minutes they impressed in a measured away display and Spurs were comfortably protecting the lead given to them by Christian Eriksen’s deflected 53rd-minute effort.But all the good work went to waste as Mauro Icardi volleyed in an 86th-minute equaliser and Matias Vecino looped in a 92nd-minute winner to give the hosts the points.Inevitably the post-match questions returned to Pochettino’s decision to travel to Italy without Trippier and Alderweireld, especially as Dele Alli and keeper Hugo Lloris were also unavailable because of injuries.“Why? They were on the pitch against Liverpool and Watford. They are easy targets,” Pochettino said before losing his cool.“We need to talk about football,” he said. “You force me to say something that is not good. You disrespect the players who were here today. You can blame me on my selection of the starting 11 but please don’t disrespect the players on the pitch.”Pochettino has who has now lost three consecutive matches for the first time since taking over at Tottenham in 2014, felt the defeat in the San Siro disguised what he described as their best performance of the season so far.“I’m happy with the performance — we dominated until the end — but of course the result was so cruel. For me it was our best performance since the beginning of the season,” he said.With Barcelona, who romped past PSV Eindhoven also in the group, the result was a hammer blow for Pochettino, whose side now have precious little margin for error.“The last few games, we’re paying a lot and suffering the punishment for our mistakes,” Pochettino said.Nerazzurri coach Luciano Spalletti said it was more than a “normal victory” after a poor start to their Serie A campaign in which Inter have picked up four points from four games.EXTRAORDINARY SUPPORT“We got the result thanks to strong pressing at the end,” he said. “This win is obviously different to a normal victory, also due to the extraordinary support from our fans.“The game this evening leaves us with a different feeling as regards what we’re capable of doing.”Inter keeper Samir Handanovic said the team had shown great character to grind out a crucial win.“We continued to play even after Tottenham’s goal and the team wasn’t disjointed, as in other games,” he said.“The stadium pushed us on. It was a fantastic evening, a spectacular match with a crazy atmosphere.”With PSV Eindhoven to play next, Inter have put themelves in a good position in a group in which Barcelona are the clear favourites to reach the last 16.“The group will be very balanced right until the end,” he said. “This win gives us strength not to give up and provides us with a lot of enthusiasm.”
FIFA will raise the prize money for the Women‘s World Cup from $15 million to $30 million starting with next year’s edition in France, president Gianni Infantino announced on Friday, though critics immediately said the increase was not enough.Following a FIFA council meeting in Rwanda, the Swiss-Italian also said that $20 million would be made available for pre-tournament preparations, meaning that $50 million in total would be allocated across the 24 participating nations.The prize money is double the amount awarded in the 2015 World Cup in Canada and for the first time clubs will be rewarded for their players taking part in the tournament, as is the case in the men’s edition.“It’s a very important message for women‘s football. It will certainly boost this World Cup even more,” Infantino told a news conference.However, global footballers’ union FIFpro said the changes were not enough to redress the inequality between men’s and women‘s football worldwide.“FIFPro notes the willingness of FIFA to increase prize money for the Women‘s World Cup and make structural improvements to support women’s football. However, despite these changes football remains even further from the goal of equality for all World Cup players regardless of gender,” a FIFpro statement said.“In reality, the changes actually signify an increase in the gap between men’s and women’s prize money. This regressive trend appears to contravene FIFA’s statutory commitment to gender equality.“We strongly support our members, women‘s national-team players in multiple countries, who have written to FIFA in recent days expressing their dismay about the distribution of prize money.”Players’ unions in Australia, Norway, Sweden and New Zealand had written to world soccer’s governing body to protest that even with women‘s prize money being doubled, the rewards in the men’s game still dwarf the new amounts.The total prize money for this year’s men’s World Cup in Russia was $400m, with champions France receiving $38m.The letter from Australia’s PFA argued: “For the group stage alone, Socceroos players have shared $2.4 million for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, while the Matildas will only share $0.225 million, less than 10 percent.“If the Matildas are to become World Champions, they will only receive 50 percent of what the Socceroos received for qualifying for Russia.”U.S. women, the world’s most successful squad and winners of three of the seven Women‘s World Cups, also called for an increase in prize money.“The USWNT Players Association is thankful for the women and men who tirelessly work on a daily basis to advance women’s football within institutions like FIFA and U.S. Soccer, as well as within fellow unions like FIFPro and its members,” it said in a statement.“The common objective of all these institutions – both management and labour – is ultimately to grow the game. Substantial investment is required to overcome generations of inequality and discrimination in the women‘s game, to make football the world’s preeminent sport for womenand girls.“We are committed to … have continuous dialogue around how FIFA and U.S. Soccer can fulfil their respective statutory obligations of gender equality, including the prize money for the 2019 World Cup, which is an area we feel immediate and impactful investment can be made.”Infantino said that FIFA was committed to consistently increasing investment and cited the launch of a new strategy for women‘s football earlier this month which included plans to strengthen the game in all 211 member associations.“Clearly… we want to invest more and earmark more for women‘s football and not only for the best 24 teams in the world who play the World Cup, for which we have increased significantly the allocations and prize monies, but we have a duty to do so all over the world,” he said.“Also in these regulations there are specific requirements for all associations in the world that in order to receive the necessary grants they have to organise women‘s competitions, otherwise they don’t receive these grants.”