Sharapova fails drug test, Nike suspends ties

first_imgRussian tennis star Maria Sharapova said on Monday she had failed a drug test at the Australian Open due to a substance she was taking for health issues, leading longtime sponsor Nike to announce it was suspending ties during the investigation.The 28-year-old Sharapova, a five-time grand slam champion and the highest paid woman in sports, will be provisionally suspended starting March 12, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said.She is the seventh athlete in a month to test positive for meldonium, which is used to treat diabetes and low magnesium, and was only banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as of Jan. 1.“I made a huge mistake. I let my fans down and I let the sport down,” said Sharapova, a teenage tennis prodigy who became the third-youngest Wimbledon champion. “I take full responsibility for it.”“I know that with this I face consequences and I don’t want to end my career this way. I really hope that I will be given another chance to play this game,” former world number one Sharapova told a news conference in a downtown Los Angeles hotel.Nike, the world’s largest sportswear maker, said it was “saddened and surprised” by the news and released a statement saying it was putting ties on hold with the player.“We have decided to suspend our relationship with Maria while the investigation continues,” it said.The ITF’s anti-doping program calls for a four-year suspension for a positive test, but that ban can be reduced in various circumstances, such as for first-time offences or if the player shows no significant fault or negligence.If a player bears no fault or negligence, there is no suspension.TAKEN MELDONIUM FOR 10 YEARSAccording to Forbes, she earned $29.5 million in 2015, mostly from endorsements.Sharapova said her family doctor had been giving her mildronate, which is also called meldonium, for 10 years after she frequently became sick, had irregular EKG results, a magnesium deficiency and a family history of diabetes.“It is very important for you to understand that for 10 years this medicine was not on WADA’s banned list and I had been legally taking the medicine. But on January the first, the rules have changed and meldonium became a prohibited substance.”WADA declined to comment until ITF issues a final decision.Meldonium is used to treat chest pain and heart attacks among other conditions, but some researchers have linked it to increased athletic performance and endurance. It is listed by WADA among its prohibited metabolic modulators, along with insulin, and some researchers say it can also help recovery.It is not approved in the United States but is available in Russia, Latvia and other countries in that region.Over the past month, Russian cyclist Eduard Vorganov, Russian figure skater Ekaterina Bobrova, Ethiopia-born athletes Endeshaw Negesse and Abeba Aregawi, and Ukraine biathletes Olga Abramova and Artem Tyshchenko have all tested positive for meldonium.Sharapova is the most prominent tennis player to test positive for a banned substance in recent years.Croatia’s Marin Cilic was banned for nine months in 2013 after testing positive for a prohibited stimulant, though the suspension was cut to four months on appeal.Former world number one Martina Hingis retired after receiving a two-year suspension for a positive cocaine test in 2007, though the Swiss denied taking the drug.WTA SADDENED BY NEWSLast year, the sport banned U.S. player Wayne Odesnik for 15 years after his second doping violation, testing positive for steroids and other banned substances.Sharapova is the biggest name in sport to test positive since New York Yankees baseball slugger Alex Rodriguez was banned for a year in 2013 after using performance-enhancing drugs and American cyclist Lance Armstrong was banned for life from racing in 2012 after a U.S. Anti-Doping investigation.Sharapova, one of the most popular figures in global sports, has long been a favorite with her sponsors. Cosmetics maker Avon Products Inc declined to comment on its endorsements.Steve Simon, CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association, said in a statement he was saddened to hear the news.“Maria (Sharapova) is a leader and I have always known her to be a woman of great integrity,” he said.“Nevertheless, as Maria acknowledged, it is every player’s responsibility to know what they put in their body and to know if it is permissible. The WTA will support the decisions reached through this process.”The news came a day after Sharapova’s management team said she was going to make a “major announcement,” which had many speculating that she was going to announce her retirement from professional tennis.Sharapova, who has struggled with a series of injuries in recent years, has not competed since she lost to Serena Williams in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January.Renowned for her never-say-die approach, a gritty baseline game and high-decibel shrieking, Sharapova at 17 became the first Russian woman to win Wimbledon when she beat Serena Williams 6-1 6-4 in the 2004 final.That victory also made her the third-youngest Wimbledon champion, behind only Lottie Dod and Hingis, and the fourth-youngest grand slam winner in the open era after Hingis, Monica Seles and Tracy Austin.last_img read more

Sanchez accepts blame for loss

first_imgBy Scott Wolf and Paul Oberjuerge STAFF WRITERS EUGENE, Ore. – Mark Sanchez didn’t point any fingers. Except at himself. USC’s sophomore quarterback, starting only his third game, all but took personal responsibility for the Trojans’ damaging 24-17 defeat at Oregon on Saturday. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.And Coach Pete Carroll didn’t seem to be in a mood to argue with him. “Last week I was a hero,” Sanchez said, “and this week I’m a zero.” Sanchez passed for 277 yards and two touchdowns on 26-for-42 accuracy. But he also threw two costly second-half interceptions. The first ruined a promising third-quarter drive and set up Oregon’s final touchdown thrust. The second killed USC’s last-minute attempt to snatch victory from defeat, coming 33 yards from a potential tying touchdown on a play that began with 23 seconds to play. Sanchez passed for four touchdowns without an interception in a 38-0 victory at Notre Dame last week, but his two interceptions, both by safety Matthew Harper, were too much for the ninth-ranked Trojans to overcome against the fifth-ranked Ducks. “They can be your worst enemy,” a somber Sanchez said quietly of the interceptions. “That first one was a good read, a physical mistake, just a bad throw. You can’t do that. I have to take that one on the chin. There’s no excuse for that. “The second one, we were driving, had a little momentum going. I had Fred (Davis) break open over the middle. That free safety, he must have read my eyes, but he made a pretty good play. He jumped in front of Fred. That one I have to look at on film.” Not that film will help much. “There’s no excuse for things like that,” Sanchez said. “It killed us. I let the other 10 guys on the field down, I let the 11 guys on defense down. It’s tough. It’s a bad feeling.” Carroll often finds alibis for his quarterbacks, but he didn’t rise to Sanchez’s defense Saturday. “I thought Mark battled all day long,” Carroll said. “He feels terrible about turning the ball over. “The last one he was just, he was just trying too hard … you don’t need to take the ball down low, not go downfield yet. He was a little bit late, he made a bad decision. “He made a bad throw on the other pick … Those things happen.” Sanchez has been open about wanting to keep the No. 1 job at quarterback, which he assumed 15 days ago in a victory over Arizona. He took over for second-year starter John David Booty, who suffered a broken middle finger on his right (passing) hand during the Stanford game. Booty also has been frank about wanting to return to the starting lineup as soon as he is physically up to par. What happens next? Carroll refused even to speculate. “I don’t even care to comment about it,” he said. “We’ll figure it out next week.” Questionable call Carroll was unhappy with a holding call that nullified a 64-yard touchdown run by freshman tailback Joe McKnight in the first quarter of the Trojans’ loss to Oregon. An official flagged offensive tackle Drew Radovich for the penalty, which occurred with Oregon leading, 7-0. “That was the backside tackle, that was (questionable),” Carroll said. Booty wants call Carroll said it was too soon to make a decision on who starts at quarterback but senior John David Booty (broken finger) said he wants to play against Oregon State. “I’ve got to come back,” Booty said. “I want to be out there.” Booty’s passes sailed in practice this week, which made Carroll’s decision easy. “We have to put some drives together,” Booty said. “We keep beating ourselves.” Confused coaches Oregon coach Mike Bellotti gave himself a pat on the back when he said after the victory that USC is “as talented as any football team in the United States.” Bellotti did say the victory was important because “USC has been the flag-bearer for this conference for the last three years.” Actually, USC has won the last five Pacific-10 Conference titles. But Carroll also was confused after the game when he said, “we were tied at halftime and thought we had a good chance to get back into it.” USC trailed Oregon, 10-3, at halftime. Baker hurt Offensive tackle Sam Baker reinjured his hamstring and also experienced pain in his hip. He left the game in the second half and did not return and was unsure if he would play next week.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Southampton vs West Ham LIVE: talkSPORT commentary for key relegation clash

first_img West Ham fan furious with owners and says the club have gone backwards since Upton Park moveSouthampton vs West Ham: Match statsSouthampton have lost four of their last five Premier League meetings with West Ham (W1), conceding at least twice in each match. Saints had only lost three of their previous 12 against the Hammers in the competition (W5 D4).West Ham have won more Premier League games against Southampton than they have versus any other side (16).West Ham haven’t opened the scoring in any of their last 15 Premier League visits to Southampton, since a 1-1 draw in March 1995. Despite that, they’ve ended on the losing side in under half of those games (W3 D5 L7).After a run of eight successive home games without a win (D3 L5), Southampton have won their last two at home in the Premier League. They last won three consecutively at St Mary’s in the competition in May 2016 (a run of four).After an unbeaten run of six Premier League away games (W3 D3), West Ham have lost three of their last four on the road (W1). However, the Hammers have won a higher proportion of their Premier League points in away games this season than any other side (56.3%).Only Aston Villa (13) have dropped more points from winning positions than West Ham (12) in the Premier League this season. Indeed, the 12 points West Ham have dropped is as many as they lost from ahead in the whole of 2018-19.Southampton’s last 13 Premier League goals have been scored by English players – excluding own goals, the last team to have a longer run of English goalscorers in the competition was Swansea City between October 2011-January 2012 (14).Southampton’s Danny Ings has already scored in five Premier League defeats this season – the only Saint to score in more defeats in a single campaign in the competition was Matt Le Tissier in 1992-93 (7).Southampton’s Danny Ings has ended on the winning side in just nine of the 28 Premier League games he’s scored in (32%), the lowest win ratio of any player to have scored in at least 20 matches in the competition.West Ham have lost just one of their seven Premier League games with Lukasz Fabianski starting in goal this season (W3 D3), and have lost seven of nine when the Polish stopper hasn’t started (W1 D1). Getty Images – Getty Getty Images – Getty LIVING THE DREAM update LATEST PREMIER LEAGUE NEWS appointed Southampton vs West Ham: Line-upsSouthampton: McCarthy, Cedric, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand, Ward-Prowse, Hojbjerg, Redmond, Djenepo, Long, Ings.Subs: Yoshida, Vestergaard, Adams, Romeu, Armstrong, Obafemi, Gunn.West Ham: Martin, Fredericks, Balbuena, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Noble, Rice, Antonio, Snodgrass, Fornals, Haller.Subs: Zabaleta, Yarmolenko, Roberto, Sanchez, Diop, Masuaku, Ajeti.Referee: Martin Atkinson statement Spurs investigation into alleged racial abuse of Rudiger is so far ‘inconclusive’ Ian Holloway thinks Arsenal have made a mistake in hiring Mikel Arteta Pep Guardiola gives Man City injury update and talks Christmas schedule Steve Round reveals how Mikel Arteta convinced him to join Arsenal staff 2 Man United transfer news live: £17m bid for Barca wonderkid, English starlet linked 2 Manuel Pellegrini is under pressure at West Ham Chelsea fan arrested for allegedly racially abusing Heung-min Son latest SAY THAT AGAIN? PEP TALK Kevin De Bruyne ‘loves Man City and wants to keep winning’, reveals father Relegation-threatened Southampton and West Ham go head-to-head on Saturday evening in a crucial game at the bottom of the Premier League table.Both sides have struggled this season with Southampton in the bottom three and West Ham just a point above.They each lost last time out and are in desperate need for points. ‘Are you ready for this?’ – Souness in rare praise of returning Paul Pogba MIKEL TALKS Southampton vs West Ham: How to listenThe Premier League clash will get under way at 5:30pm on Saturday, December 14.Full commentary from St Mary’s will be live on talkSPORT, with our coverage starting at 5:15pm.Laura Woods will bring you all the build-up before our live and exclusive commentary.To tune in, just click here for the live stream or click the radio player below.You can also listen through the talkSPORT App, on DAB Digital Radio or on MW 1053 or 1089.For more information about how to listen LIVE on talkSPORT click here.Southampton vs West Ham: What has been said?Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has challenged his side to be brave in their battle to stay in the Premier League.“We analysed the behaviour of being in the lead (at Newcastle),” Hasenhuttl said.“We had not played that brave before, and also not that brave after the equaliser, so that was a completely different game.“We should stay on our track, also if you are in the lead.“We had taken seven points and had a lot of self-confidence, but then you must play differently than we did it after being in the lead at Newcastle and this was the big topic in the week.“We must make this step in our game development and then we don’t give points away when we are in the lead.“We must focus on our way that we want to play, on our philosophy.“The intensity of the game must be a high one in our stadium. If we are in a good mode at our own ground, then we have shown in the last two games that we can win.” Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:30Loaded: 11.02%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:30 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreen deals Liverpool transfer news live: Mbappe latest, Lille star wants to join Reds in future Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Southampton take on West Ham this weekend rookie error They go head-to-head on the south coast this weekend and a relegation six-pointer.West Ham won 2-1at St Mary’s last season thanks to Felipe Anderson’s double.talkSPORT’s GameDay special will conclude at Southampton this weekend with full coverage of the top-flight clash. Arteta confirms Ljungberg’s role, discusses transfer plans and Mesut Ozil last_img read more

How depleted Man City could look against Leicester as they try to stop Liverpool

first_img 4 Pep Guardiola knows his side must beat Leicester on Saturday to stand a chance of retaining the title Predicted XIs Getty Images – Getty Manchester City are in danger of being cut adrift in the Premier League title race Google 4 Getty Images – Getty At the start of the season, few would have expected this fixture to be a potential title decider. However, Brendan Rodgers’ side are serious contenders.With Jamie Vardy leading the line and Caglar Soyuncu proving to be a more than able deputy in the place of Harry Maguire, the Foxes have found the perfect balance between substance and style.Conversely, the champions are flattering to deceive at this moment in time and are in serious danger of being cut adrift from the title race.With Liverpool in Club World Cup action, Pep Guardiola is all too aware his side must win here in order to cut back on the 14-point deficit.center_img Here’s how the two sides could line p at the Etihad on Saturday 4 Premier League champions Manchester City welcome Leicester City to the Etihad on Saturday evening.The game, which starts at 5.30pm, will be available for fans to listen to for free as part of talkSPORT’s GameDay coverage. Sane has not played for City since the Community Shield in August Team NewsDespite their riches in terms of finance and squad depth, City are currently crippled by injuries at this current moment.Leroy Sane, Aymeric Laporte, Sergio Aguero, David Silva and John Stones are all missing for the champions.But Rodgers has virtually a whole squad to pick from, with only Matty James unavailable for the clash at the Etihad.However, the former Liverpool boss may well choose to rest players after their Carabao Cup exertions against Everton on Wednesday night. 4last_img read more

Can Neilson put grumbles to bed and bring joy back at Hearts?

first_imgNot a lack of happiness. Victories have been plentiful, the team is solid and skilful and largely content swathes of fans are packing out the stands.Off the field recovery is ongoing through financial consolidation. Ann Budge is widely admired and a new main stand will be built over the next 18 months.But where the last year has deviated from previous one of their oft-marketed ‘revival’ is in a lack of joyous occasions – the intangible moments in football that make it the intoxicating pursuit it is.The Championship campaign had it in spades. Defeating Rangers and Hibernian, going on dizzying unbeaten runs; putting 10 (ten) goals past Cowdenbeath. The fight to save the very existence of Hearts is now long over.The survival fundraisers are a memory, the songs of defiance no longer echo. A two-year-long fight is now pages in a history book.The battle for Hearts in 2016 is more existential. On the surface things are going very smoothly indeed, but dig a little deeper and there is some discomfort.The past year has seen the advent of a lack of joy in the Gorgie area. Scoring multiple goals – home or away – was a matter of course as Hearts romped to the biggest ever points tally in the second tier.The return to the top league was considerably more pragmatic.Hearts adopted a style of containment – particularly away from home – that yielded great defensive statistics (less than a goal a game conceded on the road) and a comfortable third place finish.Consolidation complete. Mission accomplished?Nobody at Tynecastle is balking at the league position or the crowds they are pulling – but satisfaction levels now seem to be dipping.Robbie Neilson has faced criticism despite leading Hearts to third place. SNSWhat the fans crave to return is a regular feeling of joy at their matches.Rigid structure, methodical preparation and prescribed sports science are all great – even vital – things for a modern football side. But to take their project further Hearts require a level of spontaneity on the field that sat dormant last season.Robbie Neilson appears to be left carrying the can for this nascent dissatisfaction among some parts of the Hearts support.His dedication to hard work – manifested in double and sometimes triple training sessions at the Hearts academy – was credited with fuelling that sensational Championship season. It also earned him a nomination for manager of the year.He is the quiet man fronting the football operation with Craig Levein in the background overseeing everything from first team recruitment to building a coaching plan for pre-teen prospects.Sometimes the support seems to want more passion from him. Tynecastle took the touchline theatrics of Csaba Laszlo to their heart, and Paulo Sergio’s passionate media displays earned him their love. Neilson’s style shies away from both.Perhaps most infamously, telling reporters after Hearts’ collapse from 2-0 to 2-2 against Hibernian in last season’s Scottish Cup that the result made for “another money-spinner” in the replay hit all the wrong notes with a smarting support (losing the match at Easter Road and Hibs going on to claim the cup has only intensified that bitter disappointment).These are all learning points for a head coach still only in his mid-30s. Neilson’s dedication to the task is enviable. He is a thinker and a tactician and he has the players to respond to that level of preparation.Most significantly he has a lot of talent at his disposal. If, as in 2014/15, he finds the right way to make them tick, then past missteps will start to slide out of mind.His defence looks sound. Alim Ozturk is a fine footballer and beside him Igor Rossi defines the love of pure defending. Faycal Rherras is settling in to the back four and at right back Callum Paterson looks like a Scotland regular in-the-making. If he is sold on this summer on to preserve his transfer value, Liam Smith looks ready to step up.Perry Kitchen has impressed following his arrival from MLS. SNSPerry Kitchen has been quietly dominant in the anchor midfield role and Arnaud Djoum is a technically gifted box-to-box midfielder who Robbie Neilson may still be learning how to get the most out of.Jamie Walker is up there with the most exciting attacking midfielders in Scotland and if Sam Nicholson can regain a semblance of his 2014/15 form then it solves a huge creative problem for Neilson.Converting chances has been identified as an issue and Hearts have gone gung-ho in the centre forward market with Tony Watt, Bjorn Johnsen, Conor Sammon and Robbie Muirhead joining Juanma Delgado in the ranks.On paper it is a very valuable group. In reality, the punters are starting to have grumbles.To prevail across a campaign on the field – and in the minds of supporters – season 2016/17 requires a Hearts team willing to take more risks. To not take a deserved lead then go into protection mode and fall victim of a sucker punch, as happened against Kilmarnock, Dundee and Hibernian to name but three.To play up-tempo and with freedom. A Sam Nicholson more concerned with his Ball Oriented Defense than how he is next going to bamboozle a full back is a waste of a fiercely talented player.It may take a new creative player to spark it. It may take a lot of hard work on the training field. Or it may just take the simple shift in mindset of a squad which has been in cruise control since February entering a new league season.No matter which way it happens, those capacity Tynecastle crowds will be sitting nervously on Saturday afternoons until they sense that return of footballing joy to the pitch.A Hearts side that cannot take the fight to Aberdeen and Rangers (at the very least) this season will make for a diminished Premiership.Luckily for Neilson, Levein, Budge, and 14,000 season ticket holders, the talent is in place to do it. Just add that elusive magic to put the growing grumbles to bed.last_img read more

Car Flips On Voyles Road

first_imgPolice responded to a one vehicle accident on Voyles Road Thursday afternoon.According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, one person was injured and transported to Floyd County Hospital for treatment of injuries.Deputy Wayne Blevins worked the crash.last_img

Couple cut security tag from shoes and stole them

first_imgA Letterkenny couple who cut a tag from a pair of children’s shoes and then stole them have been ordered to pay the shop €20.Patrick and Presilla McDonagh appeared at Letterkenny District Court charged with criminal damage and theft from TK Maxx on August 22nd last.The court heard that Patrick had been seen on CCTV cutting off the tag and the Presilla was observed putting the shoes down her top. Solicitor Frank Dorrian said it was an opportunist theft and because of the excellent CCTV footage they were “doomed to failure.”Judge Kelly ordered the couple to send a postal order for €20 to TK Maxx.Couple cut security tag from shoes and stole them was last modified: December 12th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

A fairy tale come true

first_imgSpeech by former president FW de Klerk on 8 September 2010, Pestana Chelsea bridge hotel, london.“The legacy of the first African world cup – let’s make sure it’s just the beginning”.Six years ago the Fairy Godmother – in the guise of Sepp Blatter – waved a magic wand, and announced that South Africa had been chosen to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. For the first time in history, Africa – the Cinderella continent – had been chosen to host the world’s premier sporting event.Mind you, had it not been for a little legerdemain and the mysterious voting of the FIFA representative from Oceana, South Africa – and not Germany – would have hosted the preceding World Cup in 2006. President Nelson Mandela who had attended the announcement in 1999 with great expectations, remarked laconically “Ah well… there evidently were some aspects of the end game that we South Africans did not fully understand.”So, in the 2004 announcement, it was Africa’s turn. Sepp Blatter had all but promised that no more ugly first-world stepsisters would be permitted to jump the queue.From that moment the countdown started.Would South Africa be able to make the grade?Would an African country actually be able to deliver a top class world event?Would we be able to turn our third world pumpkins and mice into of the glittering stadiums, airports and infrastructure that the event would require?The world was skeptical. We heard again the old familiar choruses that precede all major global sporting events, wherever they are held: The stadiums would not be ready; security was inadequate; the infra-structure of airports, railways and roads would simply not be able to cope.The skepticism continued right until the eve of the event. In May this year YouGovStone, on behalf of SABMiller, carried out research among its network of influential people to establish their views on the coming event. The results were, to say the very least, discouraging:Only 29% of those polled thought that the World Cup in South Africa would be a great success;58% expected that there would be problems with security;57% thought that there would be transport and logistics problems; and59% thought that the average South African would not benefit from the event.Most South Africans, on the other hand, had little doubt about our ability to hold a successful World Cup. After all, we had already hosted very successful Rugby and Cricket World Cups in 1995 and 2003. In 2009 – at the drop of a hat – we had been able to step into the breach and host India’s wildly popular 20/20 Cricket Competition after the security situation in India had made it necessary to move the event.The fact is that one of South Africa’s strengths is its ability to manage large projects. We have excellent – and highly competitive – civil engineering companies that successfully participate in and manage large projects all over the world.If anything, South Africans were a little too optimistic. One of our leading real estate companies provided advice to home owners on how they could convert their homes into B&Bs and make fortunes during the four weeks of the World Cup. As a result, hundreds of expectant homeowners built luxury guest suites and waited forlornly for bookings that never came. Small entrepreneurs seriously overestimated the number of visitors who would come to South Africa for the event.Restaurateurs geared up for a bumper season – but most were deeply disappointed: not only did international crowds not descend on their eateries, their regular South African customers also stayed away in droves because for a whole month they were glued to their TV screens watching soccer!Despite all this, Danny Jordaan, the Chairman of the local organizing committee, and his team made steady progress.Magnificent new stadiums were built – and old ones were renovated and refurbished.New highways and rapid transit systems were constructed.South Africa’s major airports were vastly expanded and modernized. After years of being cocooned in hoardings and scaffolds, Cape Town’s new international airport emerged just before the World Cup like a gigantic crystal butterfly.In our major cities large clocks counted down the days to the opening match on 11 June.Our leading companies jumped onto the bandwagon and helped to sweep up national support. Government, opposition, religious and civil society leaders embraced one another and exhorted the nation to make a success of the event. Unprecedented security arrangements were made and special courts were established to dispense swift justice to law-breakers.In the process, South Africans also learned that the FIFA fairy godmother was not motivated solely by altruism. She made it clear that she – and she alone – would choose Cinderella’s ball gown and accessories. Apparently unconcerned about any practical implications, Sepp Blatter insisted that the Cape Town Stadium should be built in Green Point – because he thought it would look pretty with Table Mountain as its backdrop. The City would rather have upgraded the existing Newlands Stadium – or built a new stadium at Culembourg, close to existing rail and road routes. However, FIFA was adamant that it would either be Green Point – or there would be no games in Cape Town at all.Most of the accessories – including the flags, vuvuzelas and even Zumi, the World Cup mascot, were manufactured in Asia. Companies that were not official FIFA sponsors were prohibited from displaying their wares or advertising anywhere near the games. Our stadiums were suddenly flooded with American Budweiser beer – a virtually unknown product – and our own excellent Castle Lager was nowhere in sight.Nevertheless, it worked.For a glorious month South Africans laid down the burden of our divided history and joined one another in a magnificent national festival.The noise of our divisive national debate – of the Julius Malemas and right wing extremists – was drowned out by the discordant but joyous blare of the Vuvuzela.The only colours that were important were the colours of the South African flag. Hundreds of thousands of South Africans festooned their cars, taxis and trucks with the national flag.Enterprising university students developed and marketed socks, emblazoned with the flags of participating nations, that fitted snuggly over car wing mirrors.We celebrated wildly when, against all expectations, Bafana Bafana drew against Mexico. We commiserated with one another when we lost to Uruguay and had to exit the competition. Nevertheless, despite our 83rd ranking we did quite well and performed better than many other countries – including France – that were much higher up the international ladder.Once we had been knocked out, South Africans switched their allegiance whole-heartedly and without reservation to Africa’s best remaining hope, Ghana. Black South Africans were surprised that nearly all whites identified with Africa – with Baghana, Baghana – rather than with England or some other European country.When Ghana sadly – and unluckily – left the fray, many black South Africans returned the compliment and supported Holland, because of its historic ties to many of their white compatriots. Such were the times and such was the spirit that animated our people for that magic month in the depth of the southern winter.But as with all fairy tales the clock struck twelve.Cinderella had to scurry down the palace steps, and confront again the harsh realities of our national life. The party was over. The bunting was removed. Our national attention shifted from the empty stadiums to the continuing poverty and inequality in which too many South Africans continue to live. The vuvuzelas were silent. Strident voices again began to dominate the national discourse.Nevertheless, during those four weeks we had successfully changed international perceptions of our country. It was clear from another survey carried out by YouGovStone on behalf of SABMiller in August 2010 that there had been a major and positive shift in attitudes toward South Africa. The survey revealed thatfully 72% believed that the World Cup would have a very positive or positive legacy for South Africa – compared to only the 29% of those polled before the event, who had thought it would be a success.54% thought that it would bring great benefits to South Africa.61% said that, as a result of the success of the World Cup, they thought that South Africa would be a good place to hold global events of all kinds.42% felt more positive about visiting South Africa as a tourist.Unfortunately, since then we South Africans have been attracting attention for all the wrong reasons. On the soccer field of international opinion we have been resolutely scoring one own goal after another.First came the Protection of Information Bill that would give government broad powers to classify virtually any information regarding its activities in the “national interest”. The effect would be to stop whistle-blowers and investigative journalists from trying to obtain and publish information on government corruption and inefficiency.Then came ANC proposals for the establishment of a Media Appeals Tribunal that would ensure “responsible” and “balanced” reporting by the press and that would lay down stiff penalties – including prison sentences – for recalcitrant journalists.This was followed by reports of a new system of land ownership which would cap the rights of South Africans to own freehold property and that would require all new foreign landowners to have local South African partners.During the past few weeks we have witnessed a protracted strike by relatively well-paid civil servants who are demanding salary increases twice the current rate of inflation. All this threatens to send the government deficit over 7% of GDP.Alas, the silly season continues. Julius Malema continues to bellow about the nationalization of the mines. President Zuma and the ANC – with a weather eye on international credit ratings – continue to insist that this is not their policy. The increasingly divergent factions within the ANC Alliance continue to circle one another, hurling insults, before the ANC’s important National General Council later this month.The situation is back to normal.Cinderella is back in the kitchen, sitting on the ash-heap. The FIFA fairy godmother has flown off to her next assignment in Brazil – weighed down by almost two hundred million dollars in profits. The Afro-pessimists have returned in strength, confident that South Africa’s World Cup success was just a flash in the pan.However, we South Africans have always been much more realistic than that.We did not expect that the World Cup would change the underlying realities of South Africa – and it did not.It did not have much impact on poverty and inequality.It did not resolve the issues of race and class that have dominated our national discourse for hundreds of years.It did not bring the scourges of AIDS and crime to an end.Anyone who expected such outcomes would really have to believe in fairy tales.However, by the same token, all these developments have not seriously undermined the strengths that made the World Cup success possible.We South Africans are remarkably resilient and have a wonderful ability to confound the pessimists. Most foreigners who have visited our shores since 1652 have confidently predicted that the country could not possibly work. But we have proved them wrong.Nobody in 1985 thought that we ourselves would be able to end apartheid and find a peaceful solution to the spiraling conflict in our society. Yet we did.After 1994 Afro-pessimists doubted that a black ANC government would possibly be able to run a sophisticated economy. But for sixteen years it has done so – and achieved uninterrupted economic growth for thirteen of those years until bankers in the northern hemisphere upset the global economic apple cart.I am confident that we will once again prove the pessimists wrong.I do not believe for a moment that the ANC will be successful with its current assault on the media. The Protection of Information Bill will be withdrawn or satisfactorily amended; and the Media Appeals Tribunal will be shelved.The current proposals relating to land tenure will wither in the light of national and international economic scrutiny. Our farmers, together with government, will hammer out a workable approach to land reform.The ANC will successfully resolve the divisions within its Alliance. Or even better, it will split and open the way to national politics based on social and economic policies rather than on race.And South Africa will retain the Rugby World Cup next year. Just you wait and see!The glorious weeks of the FIFA World Cup are receding further and further into our collective memory – but some things will remain,Including our ability to compete with the best in the world;Including the world-class infrastructure that was created for the event; andIncluding the natural beauty and the warmth and hospitality of our people that the World Cup has introduced to hundreds of millions of potential tourists.As we all know, Cinderella, in her headlong flight down the palace steps, left something of her magic behind in the form of the crystal slipper that was retrieved by Prince Charming. The FIFA World Cup left us with a similar magic legacy: it is the shining vision of the brilliant, multifaceted nation we can and will become.This, I believe, is the main legacy of the World Cup: it has shown us the nation that we can become if we all unite behind a worthy vision and work together in the spirit of June/July 2010.last_img read more

Getting the Most Out of Your Advisory Board

first_imgRelated Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… audrey watters Tags:#How To#start No matter how carefully you build your founding team, questions will come up as you start your business that will make you want to turn elsewhere for advice. And so it’s good to have a carefully selected group of people you can turn to for help: your Advisory Board. As Bernard Lumm notes in “Startup 101, “You may have any number of advisers – friends and family – who you turn to informally for advice and who expect nothing in return except your friendship. But we use Advisers here with a capital “A” to denote someone with an official, compensated relationship with the company.”Who to AskWhen building an Advisory Board, you want to select people who bring knowledge and credibility and who have the time and willingness to help. It’s important the members of your Advisory Board have some background in your startup’s field, and it’s good to pick people who have succeeded as entrepreneurs. The members of your Advisory Board should also be able to speak with experience to the challenges and the successes of being executives. In other words, your Advisory Board is not made up of your attorney and your accountant. The latter, you pay for their professional advice. And while you can offer members of your Advisory Board somecompensation, their primary role is to offer mentorship, not to take on a fiduciary responsibility. As you build the Advisory Board, try to draw from areas in which your startup could use the most advice. You want to balance the board and have its makeup compliment your founding team.You can approach potential members informally, but you should put together a formal, written agreement to finalize the deal. Lumm recommends this be a formal invitation letter that can also include your business plan executive summary, the Advisory Board’s objectives and focus, and expectations for the length and level of commitment and involvement.Seek AdviceAsk good questions that take advantage of the expertise your Advisory Board offers. Before a formal meeting with your Advisory Board, send them a summary of the issues you are contending with. This way, everyone is prepared at the meeting to discuss the key questions at hand. (And you can listen to their advice, which is the point.)Follow up and follow throughIt’s good to maintain communication with your Advisory Board beyond just your face-to-face meetings. After a board meeting, you can follow up with members, indicating specifically how their advice will shape your strategy.Taking care as you shape your Advisory Board will pay off in the long run as you will be able to work with people that can bring credibility, insight, and experience to your startup. And as your startup matures, Advisory Board members can also make good candidates for more formal positions, as in your Board of Directors.center_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

Spain snatch late draw with Morocco to top group,Spain snatch late draw with Morocco to top group

first_img COMMENT June 26, 2018 SHARE SHARE EMAIL football Spain players applaud fans after the match against Morocco in Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Russia on June 25, 2018.   –  REUTERS Published on × COMMENTS Portugal draws with Iran to qualify for the round of 16 Spain snatched a 2-2 draw against Morocco on Monday to qualify for the World Cup last 16 and take top spot in Group B ahead of Portugal on goals scored.Morocco striker Khalid Boutaib gave the north African side a shock early lead but Isco levelled, blasting high into the net after a layoff from Andres Iniesta.Morocco, already eliminated, struck again in the 81st minute when substitute Youssef En-Nesyri crashed in a header which looked set to inflict a first defeat on Spain since Euro 2016. But substitute Iago Aspas levelled in stoppage-time after consultation from the video assistant referee (VAR).Spain will play host Russia in the last 16.Portugal Iran drawPortugal qualified for the round of 16 at the World Cup despite being held 1-1 by Iran in World Cup Group B on Monday after Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo has a penalty saved by Iran’s Alireza Beiranvand in Mordovia Arena, Saransk, Russia on June 25, 2018.   –  REUTERS  The European champions, needing a draw to qualify, went ahead with a stunning Ricardo Quaresma goal in the 45th minute.Ronaldo had a chance to extend the lead when he won a penalty in the 51st minute but Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand dived to his left to save his effort from the spot. Karim Ansarifard equalised with a stoppage time penalty awarded after a video review.Portugal finished the round with five points, but are second in the group behind Spain on goals scored. The team will face Uruguay—group A’s table toppers—in the last 16. sport Spain players applaud fans after the match against Morocco in Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Russia on June 25, 2018.   –  REUTERS SHARElast_img read more