AtilaTheHun from Manchester, England, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to Manchester United after 12 years, to the club where he made his name in world football. It is being reported that Manchester United have paid €20 million to re-sign one of the world’s best football players. This transfer window has been ballistic and surprising to say the least – it will go down as the one of best transfer windows in history.
During his 12 years away from United, Ronaldo played for Real Madrid and Juventus. He enjoyed success at both clubs, including with his country Portugal, becoming their all-time record goal scorer and winning the European Championship in 2016. He has in total won two La Liga trophies, two Copa del Rey trophies, two Spanish Super trophies, two Serie A titles trophies, two Supercoppa Italiana trophies, four Champions League (which included three successive titles from 2016-2018), two UEFA Super Cups and two FIFA World Club Cups. Not to mention, the five personal Ballon d’Ors to his name.
Even at an “old age”, he is winning trophies, but most importantly he is fit and healthy. It was once reported he has a body fat of 7%. He looks after himself very religiously.
Initial reports were that he was leaving for Manchester City, however, the deal broke down. This was because City were unwilling to pay a fee, which forced United to sign him. It only felt right that he signed for Manchester United – his home, as he has called it in the past.
The big questions
There are two main questions from this transfer which Ronaldo will undoubtedly be trying to answer himself whilst playing and silencing his critics.
Firstly, on a personal level, can he perform in the physically demanding Premier League and live up to his reputation – at the age of 36?
He has been to Portugal, Spain, Italy and now returns once again to England. Wherever he has set foot, he has left his mark. For instance, in his three seasons at Juventus, he played 97 times and scored 81 goals, always finishing as the top goal scorer in the Serie A.
Many may argue that Lionel Messi has chosen an easy transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in France, in a league, which is not regarded as competitive at all. However, the truth is that only PSG could afford him. But, football fans around the world will keep an eye on both of them. Usually at 36, footballers are retired or get a transfer to a less demanding league – Major Soccer League, to name one.
As mentioned before, he is still in perfect shape and should be able to handle the league’s fast and physical pace. It is expected that he will be deployed as a number nine with willing runners on both sides to aid him.
As Manchester United evaluate themselves, the real question will be whether Ronaldo is the missing piece to United’s “defensive” problems? As the famous saying goes, the best form of defence is attack.
United have failed to win the Premier League since 2013 though they have come close. (Close meaning they came 2nd in the league last season with a 12-point gap to City, who comfortably won the league.) They scored 73 goals but conceded 44 – the most by a top four team in the last campaign.
The Red Devils did reinforce their defence this summer by signing centre-back Raphael Varane from Real Madrid and winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. But one position they are struggling to find is the central defensive midfield. Currently in their disposal, they have Fred who plays in the role but is not strong and defensively minded and capable. Nemanja Matic does not have the legs anymore to hold. He was regarded as one of the best in his prime with Chelsea, but the move has not worked out. Scott McTominay is another player who is young at the moment but is at times deployed as a box-to-box player.
It is often said that players like Ronaldo bring a certain persona and change the attitude around them. Just look at Virgil van Dijk, he got injured early on in the season as he was the core of the group and the team collapsed. Liverpool, however, now look a more confident and stable team with him on the pitch. Likewise with Ronaldo, he will change the attitude of many of United’s players on and off the pitch because he is all about winning. It is a young squad around him too, so they will be eager to rub off on his glitter. He demands excellence and one hundred percent commitment.
This could be Ronaldo’s last dance at football. He has a two-year contract with United and he has stated once before about his desire to play in his 40s. It is yet to be seen if he does or does not. We can all agree, however, except perhaps Manchester City fans, it is nice to see Ronaldo back home and playing in the world’s best football league once again.
Umar is currently studying the Legal Practice Course. He has a LLB Law and LLM International Human Rights Law degree. When he is not studying or volunteering, he likes to Cycle and play Football
Mo Farah’s experiences show the impact of compassion toward the “others”
While the world spins in a gyre of unrest, a BBC documentary on the life of British Athlete Mo Farah has brought another darker aspect to light. In a 60-minute documentary, Mo Farah, whose name at birth was Hussein Abdi Kahin, revealed he was trafficked into the UK from the former French colony of Djibouti.
Sharing experiences of his bleak past and his feelings of devastation and alienation in a world that was new to him Farah told the BBC how the conflict in his birthplace of Somaliland forced his mother to send him to his relatives in Djibouti from where his miseries began. While the documentary shows the struggles he went through to make his way in a country far away from home, it also serves as a reminder of being considerate and compassionate toward immigrants and the “others” of a society.
According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), young kids in countries of conflict, economic decline, and marginalized communities are at higher risk of getting “tricked, forced or persuaded to leave their homes”. They are then forcefully used as work slaves or treated as commodities for sale.
The International Organization for Migration has also noted that trends in human trafficking are gendered as well. Both men and women are chosen and trafficked to perform certain jobs. It further explains how immigrants can also fall prey to human traffickers as their social vulnerabilities, unfortunately, makes them an easier target.
As per the most recent figures available, about forty-nine thousand people were trafficked . These figures, up till 2018, do not include the cases that went undetected because of the lack of resources for identification and screening at borders. 65% of these people comprised women and girls, while 20% of men and 15% of young boys were trafficked from various regions around the world. Since then, however, the state of the world has drastically changed. Covid-19 has put various communities on the verge of financial decline. This, in turn, has increased the risk of people in those communities and countries, trying to find stability and financial security, and falling prey to human traffickers.
Similarly, after the US pulled its forces out of Afghanistan deserting an already socially, politically, and economically turbulent country. It created a huge influx of migrants towards western nations as well as its neighboring countries, thus escalating opportunities for the unscrupulous to exploit those desperate enough into forced labor.
The ongoing Russia-Ukraine is another example of a conflict that has also forced people from both countries to evacuate to a safe place. In these types of situations, vulnerable, people and especially children become an easy target.
While the victims are forcefully exploited for work, they continue to live in visually civilized societies. The biasedattitude of people towards the “others” of society renders them unnoticed. These biases are fed to people through electronic and print media. While stereotyped accents and professions make it difficult for immigrants, refugees, and the apparent “aliens” of society to find their place, it also increases the chances of victims of child and human trafficking to continue being under the shadow of their oppressor.
The trauma of fleeing an area of conflict, or forcefully being removed from one’s home makes it difficult for victims of human trafficking and refugees to play an active role in society. But as proven by Mo Farah, when proper attention and care is given to even those who seem “misfits,” they can become an asset and inspiration to a whole nation.
A boy separated from his mother at a young age, was able to return to her years later as Knight of the Realm and honored by Her Majesty the Queen, and all because of the decency, care, and humanity shown to him by his early education teachers.
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Maybe add the year/s being referred to
José Mourinho wants African players to represent their countries of origin
José Mourinho, coach of A.S. Roma and a former Portuguese football player, has stated that he wants FIFA to stop African players from representing other countries other than that of their origin, believing that that will lead to “African countries winning the world cup”, according to multiple sources.
Mourinho believes that Africa has quality players and has even said “My success is always based on having on African strikers. Without an African striker I feel like I won’t succeed.” He believes that when African players leave their homeland to play for European teams, African nations are deprived of winning the world cup.
He also said: “I want the world to realise that Africa is equal to everyone…they have the ability to win any game, only because most of their players are scattered all over the world playing for other countries beyond their homelands.”
“I know I won’t be popular for making this statement, but FIFA should make things fair by refusing to let players represent other countries, this will make FIFA tournaments even more competitive not one-sided.”
Mourinho is spending his summer in Africa due to his special relationship with the beautiful continent. He lovingly says about Ghanian superstar Michael Essien “He is not my player, he is my son. I am his white daddy…He’s the only one who took me to his home, to his real home…”
Some sources believe that through this potential rule, Africa could win this year’s World Cup if players played for their countries of origin. Many people are talking about France suffering under this potential rule especially, since the French national football team is half made up by black players.
Many disagreed with Mourinho by saying that Africa is ‘too’ corrupt to make Africans play football in their home countries or that the new idea is wrong since you cannot force someone to be attached to a certain country.
Saddick Adams, a popular sports journalist, also disagreed with Mourinho online and said “African countries must first be interested and willing to invest and develop their own talents as well. No person should be banned from pulling on a shirt for a country that has shown them love and invested in them. Africa should even be thankful.” In response to this tweet Adams received a lot of positive feedback from others, liking and sharing his tweet.
More than 90 Women Sue the FBI for $1Billion For Mishandling the Nassar Case
- More than 90 women and girls, including Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, who were sexually assaulted by the disgraced USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar plan to sue the FBI for $1 billion for mishandling the credible sexual assault complaints.
- The FBI agency’s own watchdog found that the FBI disregarded allegations about Nassar, and in a long-awaited report from the US Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, it was stated that various missteps and cover-ups by FBI agents allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue for more than a year after the case was opened in 2015.
- The FBI field office took very limited action against Nassar and did not document any investigation or alert other authorities. Also, just two weeks ago, the US Justice Department decided not to prosecute the two FBI agents accused of mishandling the Nassar case.
- The plaintiffs’ claim is being filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which allows people who have been harmed by negligent actions of the federal government to seek recompense for damages. The plaintiffs are all seeking different amounts for damages, but the total claims amount is expected to surpass $1billion.
Liverpool Fans Tear Gassed by French Police Before Final Match: UK Calls for an Investigation
- French police are criticized for firing tear gas and pepper spray at Liverpool fans waiting to get into the stadium in Paris.
- The French sports ministry has called a meeting with Uefa (the French Football Association), stadium officials, and police to “draw lessons” from the event.
- French interior minister Gérald Darmanin appeared to blame British supporters, tweeting on Saturday that thousands were without valid tickets and had forced entry while also claiming that some fans had assaulted stewards.
- However, Merseyside Police said its officers who were stationed in Paris and attended the match “reported the vast majority of fans behaved in an exemplary manner, arriving at turnstiles early and queuing as directed.”
- Liverpool FC also called for an investigation into the event and said they would be asking fans to contact them directly with their experiences.
The untold stories of Qatar and the FIFA World Cup
While many acknowledge deep problems within the host country, one expert says the overly negative attention on Qatar overshadows much of the positive change the games are creating.
“Having the world cup in Quatar (sic) just makes me sick and not interested,” said one Twitter user, decrying the alleged abuses against workers who built the stadiums for the World Cup. “Those guys could never afford a ticket to these games, even though they loved the game and worked hard.”
“Give me a free final ticket if Germany played in it, I still won‘t go there. Never,” said another.
Qatar is hosting the World Cup in November, the very first Middle Eastern country to do so. Since Qatar was awarded hosting rights for the sporting event, there have been controversies over the way the country was chosen (including allegations of bribing FIFA) as well as scrutiny of the country’s human rights record (over the country’s alleged treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ rights).
But while many acknowledge deep problems within the country, some say the overly negative attention on Qatar overshadows much of the positive change the games are creating.
“There’s politics with FIFA and World Cup organizers of Qatar,” said Luv Randhawa, an international singer based in British Columbia, who still hopes to attend his first World Cup this year. “For us as fans, we want to see the best sport.”
He has conflicting feelings about the “beautiful” stadiums built by migrant workers.
“I look at it in two aspects: I pledge the pride of the people of Qatar for what they’ve done, but I’m also somber about the people who have lost their lives and livelihood because of the building of these buildings that the world is coming to see.”
Umer Hussain, who has a PhD in sports marketing, says while the controversies around Qatar are concerning, they’ve detracted from the positive aspects of the first World Cup since the pandemic.
“One of the goals of FIFA was to grow its own fan base, so that’s why when the FIFA World Cup was awarded to Qatar, it made me very excited,” said the postdoctoral researcher at Texas A&M University.
He noted this World Cup generated around five million jobs. Qatar also changed some of its laws to support the rights of migrant workers and to prevent wage theft. Muslim women are also being encouraged more to play sports as a result of the Cup, Hussain said.
But he added the media has only been focusing on the negative aspects of the host country.
As far as allegations of corruption go, Hussain points to the Global Transparency Index, whose Corruption Perceptions Index in 2021 ranked Qatar as less corrupt than the three previous FIFA hosts: Russia, Brazil and South Africa. (Russia also faced controversy over alleged bribery and human rights violations.)
Hussain says the negative portrayal of Qatar as a corrupt country reflects historical stereotyping of Arab countries as inhumane.
“People think … Qatar wanted to take soft power in the Arab world, that’s why they’re holding this World Cup,” Hussain said, noting Qatar has however lost more than it’s gained from this Cup.
“There has been a lot of damage already done.”
￼Double Olympic Champion: Losing to Trans Women is About Biology – ‘I Feel Let Down’
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!
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