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Italian football club, Pro Piacenza kicked out of third division ‘Serie C’ after a 20-0 defeat

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The Italian football authorities have kicked out Pro Piacenza from Serie C after the cash-strapped club fielded a side containing seven players for a fixture against Cuneo at the weekend, a game which the home side won 20-0.  

It has now emerged that of those seven players, six were youth teamers and one the club masseuse, as the club’s senior players and staff refused to travel in an ongoing dispute over unpaid wages; the club has not paid its players and staff since last August.  

Pro Piacenza had failed to honour their previous three fixtures due to a lack of players and took to the pitch on Sunday in depleted form in an effort to avoid being kicked out of the league. However, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) released a statement on Monday to the effect that Pro Piacenza had been excluded and fined 20,000 euros.

In a statement, the FIGC said that Pro Piacenza has been disqualified from professional competition for failing to comply with league regulations following a complaint filed by the Italian Footballers’ Association union chief, Damiano Tomassi, who described Pro Piacenza’s line-up as “playing with the dignity” of the rest of the sides in Serie C.  

The FIGC also annulled Cuneo’s 20-0 victory, handing the Piedmont-based side a 3-0 win instead. All of the results involving Pro Piacenza in the 2018-19 campaign have also been expunged, with the authorities stating “these matches will not be taken into account as regards the league table.”

Pro Piacenza were propping up Serie C Group A with just eight points from 20 games and a goal difference of minus 41.

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UFC middleweight interim champion, Israel Adesanya causes stir at Lagos airport

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Sixteen years after taking his martial arts skills to New Zealand, Nigerian-born current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) interim middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya stepped his feet on his fatherland yesterday.

The arrival of Adesanya, who defeated America’s Kelvin Gastelum during a UFC 236 fight in Atlanta, USA a few weeks ago, caused a major stir at the Murtala Mohammed International airport yesterday afternoon as immigration officers and other security personnel at the airport scrambled to shake his hand.

After a brief stay at the airport, Adesanya and his accompanying team zoomed off to an unknown destination in Lagos.

His father, Femi Adesanya told The Guardian in a telephone chat yesterday that Last Stylebender, as Israel Adesanya is fondly called, was in Nigeria to feel the environment, which he left about 16 years ago.

“Israel came home just to feel the environment, eat the local food and meet with the people. The visit is just like a holiday for him,” the senior Adesanya revealed from his base in New Zealand.

Adesanya’s victory at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, earned him the interim middleweight championship belt in one of the best title fights ever seen in combat sports history.

The Nigerian won via unanimous decision. He moved to New Zealand when he was 13.

Adesanya had defeated Brazil’s Anderson Silva in February at UFC 234 contest in Melbourne, Australia, but his battle against Gastelum, a Mexican fighter in Atlanta, was fascinating.

It was not clear yesterday if Adesanya will appear at any public function, but a source close to the fighter hinted he might hold a meeting with Ogun State Governor Ibekunle Amusan before he returns to New Zealand. He hails from Odogbolu, Ogun State.

Adesanya trained in taekwondo briefly during his primary school days at Opebi, Lagos before he relocated to New Zealand at the age of 13.

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Van Dijk Crowned EPL Player Of The Season

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Liverpool defender, Virgil van Dijk has been crowned the Premier League’s Player of the Season, just days after he won PFA Players’ Player of the season.

The Holland international, 27, who has been Liverpool’s key player in the 2018-19 Premier League campaign is now the third defender to win the trophy after Nemanja Vidic and Vincent Kompany. 

The winner was decided by a mixture of votes from fans, the captains of the 20 Premier League clubs and a panel of football experts.

Van Dijk who was signed from Southampton in a world record £75m deal for a defender in 2017, has four Premier League goals this season has also helped Liverpool keep 20 clean sheets in 37 games so far.

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Bayern Munich star, David Alaba speaks on how refusal to pay bribe stopped him from playing for Nigeria

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David Alaba, Bayern Munich star, has accused coaches of the Golden Eaglets of denying him the opportunity to join the Nigerian squad at the 2007 FIFA World Cup in South Korea because he refused to pay bribe.

The late Yemi Tella was in charge of the Eaglets at the time.

In an interview with All Nigeria Soccer,  Alaba called the Nigeria U-17 coaches, “jokers” and vowed not to have anything to do with any of them in future.

He claimed to have trained with Palanga midfielder, Haruna Lukman Abdulkarim, UB Conquense forward, Macauley Chrisantus and Slovan Bratislava’s midfielder, Rabiu Ibrahim ahead of the 2007 World Cup.

The 26-year-old was eligible to represent Nigeria but he switched to Austria, his country of birth, after that encounter.

Alaba, who was born in Vienna, capital of Austria, has a Filipino mother and Nigerian father.

Alaba has earned 68 caps for Austria, scoring 13 goals and represented the country at the 2016 European Championship.

On September 9, 2007, the late Tella led a team of youngsters to win the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

That was the third time Nigeria had that title after previous wins in 1985 in China and 1993 in Japan.

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