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Champions League: Game week six review

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Game week six is where the competition parts away with the weaker teams and get around to the serious business end of the Champions League. The Champions League will take a short break over the winter and resume once again in February.

Zenit too cold for European Champions

A draw that will certainly feel like a defeat for the reigning champions, as they ended the group second behind Juventus. 

A team beleaguered with injuries started off very well, with Timo Werner tapping in within two minutes. However, after Zenit equalised in the 20th minute, the hosts dominated and eventually took the lead just before half time.

Some good work from Werner allowed him to set up Romelu Lukaku for Chelsea to equalise. Werner then went on to score what many believed was the winner. Cutting in and finishing cleanly, a memorial to his days at RB Leipzig.

Zenit, deservedly so, equalised through a stunning strike in added time. Magomed Ozdoev struck a clean volley that sailed through Chelsea’s backup goalkeeper, Kepa. With the tie ending 3-3 and Juventus beating Malmo, it was Juventus who took 1st position. 

Barca dumped into Europa for the first time

Barcelona will be in the Europa League. A headline that would have shocked many if made just a couple of seasons ago. However, the reality of the Calatan’s financial situation has hit all too hard on the pitch. 

Before the game, Barcelona needed to match or better Benfica’s result v Dynamo Kyiv – a tall order versus many people’s favourites, Bayern Munich. Succumbing to a 3-0 defeat, there was no miracle comeback for Xavi’s men. In simple terms, Barcelona are simply not good enough for Champions League football. Goals from Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala sealed Barcelona’s fate. 

Perhaps the Europa League route present Barcelona’s best opportunity to qualify for next season’s Champions League. That being said, with their squad and current form, they are by no means favourites to win Europe’s second tier competition. 

Salzburg create history

RB Salzburg booked their place in the knockouts of the champions league for the very first time in their history after defeating Spanish side Sevilla at home.

The match, which had the added element of “winner goes through”, was decided by Noah Okafor in the second half after the competition’s breakout start. Karim Adeyemi put in a cross for Okafor to finish. Adeyemi was involved again when he was pulled back by Sevilla midfielder Jordan who received a second yellow card for pulling back the Salzburg winger.

Unfortunately, the historic match was played behind closed doors in Austria. However the Salzburg fans will be excited to see how their young team do in the knockouts. Sevilla will be playing in the Europa League, the competition, which perhaps should be named after them.

Atletico, back to best?

Diego Simeone’s side booked their place into the knockouts after a flurry of second half goals. The Spanish champions started the final matchday bottom of the group, but ended it in second place. The resilience shown by Atletico on the nights is a hallmark of what their manager stands for. Goals from Griezmann and two late, late goals from Correa and De Paul coupled with Milan’s defeat to Liverpool was enough for 2014 and 2016 finalists to go through. The game was a feisty encounter, with the referee showing three red cards in the second half. 

As usual, Atletico will be a side that no one wants to face in the knockouts, particularly with Griezmann’s improved form. 

Winner takes all in Atalanta

Simply put, this was a must win match for both teams and United had confirmed their place already. This game had a twist as it was postponed due to the snow, therefore meaning it had to be played on a Thursday.

With that in place, it was a match not to miss as there were goals. Villareal led 3-0 all the way and it was comfortable – 2nd, 42nd and 51st minute. But Atalanta did not give up and had a glimmer of hope when they scored two goals to make it 3-2. For Atalanta, though, it was too late even with the chances at the death, especially in the 85th minute.

Nevertheless, the Europa League champions went through 2nd from the group.

The teams which have qualified for the last 16 as group winners: Ajax, Bayern, Juventus, Lille, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid

The teams which have qualified for the last 16 as runners-up: Atletico, Benfica, Chelsea, Inter, PSG, RB Salzburg, Sporting CP, Villareal

The round of 16 fixtures will be as follows

PSG v Real Madrid
RB Salzburg v Bayern 
Chelsea v Lille
Atlético Madrid v Manchester United
Sporting CP v Manchester City
Inter v Liverpool
Villareal v Juventus 
Benfica v Ajax

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Society

Double Olympic Champion: Losing to Trans Women is About Biology – ‘I Feel Let Down’ 

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Nicola, Wikimedia Commons via Wikimedia Commons

Katie Archibald, the double Olympic champion has criticised the International Olympic Committee and other sports bodies for their transgender policies saying they have not only let down female cyclists by underplaying biology but also left trans women like Emily Bridges to face intense scrutiny. 

“It is my opinion that the international governing bodies of several sports have let down transgender athletes, in particular transgender women, with their inclusion policies,” Archibald said in a statement.

According to Archibald, it was wrong for governing bodies to ignore the science that shows trans women who have gone through male puberty have a retained advantage in strength, stamina and physique. She made it clear that she and other females were also being let down by the unwillingness of sports to accept the importance of biology. 

Sadly, this is just an extension of the policies we have chosen to enact in our society without any regard to their consequences. Following the law for some such as trans results in rights being taken from others such as female athletes in sports. 

“These policies have put the athletes, their involvement in sport, and their personal lives under intense scrutiny when all the athletes have done is follow the rules and enter a category they were encouraged to enter.”

“I feel let down by the International Olympic Committee who tell me there should be no assumed advantage for an athlete with a gender identity different to their sex,” she said.

“I read this and hear that my world titles, my Olympic medals, and the champions jerseys I have at home, were all won in a category of people who simply don’t try as hard as the men. That losing to male androgenisation is not about biology, but mindset. They are wrong.

It’s ironic that women had to live under the tyranny of men for so long but now in a so-called liberal society, we are allowing men to become women and oppress women as women. Katie has shown incredible courage to point out something so obvious that our society continues to ignore with no real questions or fair solutions on offer!

She continued: “The retained advantage of people who have gone through male puberty in strength, stamina, and physique, with or without testosterone suppression, has been well documented.

“Cycling’s global governing body, by its president’s own admission, knows this. But they chose to delay action until it became sadly personal for one rider. That wasn’t fair.”

She also expressed deep sympathy for Bridges, who broke the junior men’s 25-mile record before transitioning in 2020, saying she was only following the rules of cycling’s governing body, the UCI, before it decided to block her racing as a woman last month.

In her statement Archibald also called on governing bodies of sports such as cycling, triathlon and rowing to come together to develop policies based on science, while also making their sport more welcoming for trans athletes. “But I’d like us to do all this without sacrificing one of the foundational pillars of sport: fairness.”

This is a key point, but it is not just limited to sport, in all aspects of society fairness should be a key consideration before making policies that allow individuals to act in a way that is legal but harmful to other individuals. We choose to ignore this principle at our own peril and decisions made in the past are slowly starting to unravel before us. 

When little 8-year-old boys start to transition and when a male swimmer who ranked 554th in men’s competition, becomes one of the top ranked swimmers in women’s competition, it tells us that this question of fairness should have been asked a long time ago! Not just from IOC but from governments and societies at large!

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Politics

Utah Governor Vetoes Bill Targeting Transgender Athletes

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Utah Reps, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday, a republican-backed bill was vetoed by the state governor of Utah that barred transgenders from competing with girls in sports in schools.

Gov. Spencer Cox said in a statement that while “politically, it would be much easier and better for me to simply sign the bill,” he chose to veto it because he “tried to do what I feel is the right thing regardless of the consequences.”

Mr Cox was the second governor in vetoing the bill as on Monday, Gov. Eric Holcomb of Indiana, a Republican, vetoed a similar bill, saying it would likely have been challenged in court and would not have solved any pressing issue.

The two governors’ actions of vetoing the bill are at odds with steps taken in a number of other Republican-led states where transgender rights have become an imminent issue in a broader U.S. culture war over sexuality and gender identity. Whereas governors in states including Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Iowa have signed into law bills that ban trans girls from competing in girls’ sports.

In a series of tweets Cox made an emotional plea for compassion toward transgender youth Tuesday in explaining his decision to veto the bill. He said “No other state has done this, and we hoped that Utah could be the first. Unfortunately, that compromise fell apart in the 11th hour of the session.” Regarding transgenders he also tweeted “I am not an expert on transgenderism. I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting. When in doubt however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion.”

Also in a letter to the state’s Senate president and House speaker, the governor said he was moved by the data that shows that among 75,000 kids playing high school sports in Utah, only four were transgender, with just one involved in girls sports.

“Four kids and only one of them playing girls sports. That’s what all of this is about. Four kids who aren’t dominating or winning trophies or taking scholarships. Four kids who are just trying to find some friends and feel like they are a part of something. Four kids trying to get through each day,” he wrote. “Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few.”

However Republican legislators plan to override the veto on Friday, as State Senator J. Stuart Adams, a Republican, mentioned in a statement.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Russia-Ukraine

Sanctions Against Russia Leave Chelsea Football Club Up for Grabs

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  • Former Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, was pushed to sell the Club amidst the hard sanctions against Russia.
  • Turkish businessman, Muhsin Bayrak, is set to bid 1 billion pounds for the football club, half of the 2.2 billion pounds he intended to offer Abramovich.
  • The British government will issue a license for the sale, despite not being directly involved in the sale process should they agree with the conditions.

Former Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, was pushed to sell the Club amidst the hard sanctions against Russia. Leaving room for potential buyers to submit bids in hopes of taking the Club at a fraction of the cost now that it was transferred to the government. The British government has set Friday as the deadline for any bids.

Turkish businessman, Muhsin Bayrak, is set to bid 1 billion pounds for the football club, half of the 2.2 billion pounds he intended to offer Abramovich. Strict sanctions connected to Russia’s occupation in Ukraine have hit multiple Russian oligarchs. This has caused an opening in the world market where many top Russian business owners held assets. 

Bayrak also intended on offering Abramovich $400 million of his company’s cryptocurrency and the transfer of certain real estate projects to the Russian billionaire. The Turkish investor is set to meet with Abramovich later this week in Turkey to receive his blessing for any deal. The British government will issue a license for the sale, despite not being directly involved in the sale process should they agree with the conditions.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Commentary Box

What does the Russia Ukraine conflict mean for sport? – The Commentary Box

We discuss the consequences of the ongoing war in Russia and how Putin’s invasion is having a direct effect on the Premier League in England and the Paralympic Games in China

#Sports #Football #Ukraine #Russia #TheCommentaryBox

Discover more at https://analystnews.com

Follow us @AnalystDaily on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Sport

FIFA: Foreign players in Russia and Ukraine can opt out of their contracts

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Amid the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, FIFA has announced that any foreign players at
clubs in the two countries can tear up their contracts and move elsewhere.
The statement from the football’s world governing body came on Monday stating that those clubs in
other countries, will be allowed to select and add up to two players who are at Russian or Ukrainian
clubs and have left due to the current situation, this must be done by June 30 th .
Russia has been banned by many sport bodies throughout the world from international sports, due to
the conflict and FIFA has put new measures in place “to facilitate the departure of foreign players and
coaches from Russia” should they wish to leave.
“Foreign players and coaches will have the right to unilaterally suspend their employment contracts
until the end of the season in Russia,” it said.
“Players and coaches will be considered ‘out of contract’ until 30 June 2022 and will therefore be at
liberty to sign a contract with another club without facing consequences of any kind.”
The player’s union, FIFPRO, however, said the measures were not enough, saying in a statement that the
decision “to allow foreign players to only suspend their contracts and thus only temporarily leave
Russian clubs is too timid.
“It will be hard for players to find employment for the remainder of the season with uncertainty looming
over them and, within a few weeks, they will be in a very difficult situation once again.
“It is unsatisfactory even for players who are tied to short-term contracts in Russia – where contracts
typically end in December – and who may not want or be able to return after 30 June 2022… FIFPRO
communicated to FIFA last week that these players should be allowed to terminate their contracts.”
FIFPRO suggested that FIFA and its European partners set up some sort of fund that would aid those
players and coaches who are in Ukraine:
“It is disappointing that other stakeholders in this process were not prepared to agree to this important
step.
“For players, coaches and others in Ukraine, we consider it essential that UEFA and FIFA widen
professional football’s response to the war by establishing a fund to support all those in the industry
who are affected.”
While this does at least offer some support for foreign players, domestic players are once again left out
in the cold, being punished for events outside of their control. With no end to the conflict in sight, there
will undoubtedly be many more instances of talent leaving these two countries.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Sport

What is ‘Sportswashing’?

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Roman Abramovich has announced the sale of Chelsea football club after owning it for 20 years. Being a Russian, he may be “terrified of being sanctioned” said Labour MP Chris Bryant, earlier this week.

First he handed over “stewardship and care” of Chelsea FC to trustees of the Club Foundation, on Saturday, in order to save it. But now he has publicly announced the sale.

All this pressure started with claims of Russian sportswashing amid Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian Airline, Aeroflot sponsors Manchester United and Russian gas company Gazprom has a deal with Uefa’s Champions League. All these are being highlighted as sportswashing.

Asking about the UK Government response to the Russian attack on Ukraine, Labor former minister Chris Bryant presented his demands and said “Surely Mr Abramovich should no longer be able to own a football club in this country? Surely we should be looking at seizing some of his assets including his £152 million home? And making sure that other people who have had Tier 1 Visas like this are not engaged in malign activity?”

There are many among Chelsea players and fans who support Abramovich and his service for the football club over the years. Abramovich, in his statement, states “I have always taken decisions with the Club’s best interest at heart. In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the Club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club’s sponsors and partners.”

But the question is, is sportwashing invented by Russia, Saudi Arabia or UAE? Of course not. The West, especially the US and the UK have used sportswashing and still use it to better their image. 

“We are losing the respect of the peoples of the world,” John F. Kennedy stressed during his campaign. This was before the 1960 Olympics which was used as sportswashing, even though the name wasn’t invented. 

“We don’t feel at all abashed about urging our boys in Rome to go out and beat the pants off the Russians and everyone else,” an editorial of Sports Illustrated stated.

In the middle of the cold war and five years into the Vietnam war, at the time when the Soviet had launched Sputnik in 1957, distracting people with the Olympics is sportwashing by definition. 

By the end of the Vietnam war, in 1973, the US dropped more than 338,000 tons of napalm in Vietnam, which 10 times more than that destroyed North Korea. Even then the North captured south Vietnam by 1975. The US Government tried to cleanse its reputation by getting involved in the 1976 Olympics. 

President Ford made an 18 member Olympics committee in June1975 and said that Committee “shall determine what factors impede or prevent the United States from fielding its best amateur athletes for participation in the Olympic Games and other international amateur sporting events.”

In July 1976, President Ford went to the Canadian border to send off the USA Athletes. “On behalf of all Americans —215 million of us—good luck and God bless you,” the President Said, “From every indication I get we’re going to do darned well in Montreal,” he added.

Whether it is the 1948 London Olympics which was the most covered Olympics until then, or obsession with football league in the UK, at a time when the UK and NATO are involved in wars is in fact sportswashing. 

It is hypocritical that Abrovich is forced to sell Chelsea FC, when it suits the UK, but when they need the US and the UK to utilize sportswashing for their benefit. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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