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CAF fines Eto’o $200k for ethical breaches

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has fined Cameroon’s football legend and current president of the Cameroonian Football Federation (Fecafoot), Samuel Eto’o, the sum of $200,000 for an ethics breach, but freed him on charges related to allegations of match-fixing as the football governing body could not find sufficient evidence to pursue the allegations.

CAF had opened an investigation into Eto’o’s conduct in August last year after allegedly receiving written statements from several Cameroonian football stakeholders.

Eto’o was, last month, invited by a disciplinary panel set up by CAF and after its investigations, the panel said the four-time African Footballer of the Year had “seriously violated the principles of ethics, integrity and sportsmanship of CAF by signing a contract to be an ambassador for betting company 1XBET.”

The panel noted that Eto’o committed ethical breaches by signing the ambassadorial contract since 1XBET is the sponsor of the top two divisions of men’s professional football in Cameroon and both the men’s and women’s international sides, while the regulations of world football governing body, FIFA, state clearly that “people bound by its code are not allowed any involvement in betting related to football.”

A group representing amateur football clubs in Cameroon had last year, called on Eto’o to resign as Fecafoot President, expressing their concerns over his relationship with 1XBET and citing “grave irregularities” at Fecafoot.

The former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea striker was being investigated alongside Valentine Nkwain, president of newly promoted club side Victoria United, following a leaked phone conversation said to be of the pair discussing Victoria’s return to the top flight before promotion had been guaranteed.

However, both Eto’o and Nkwain have previously denied involvement in any conspiracy to manipulate results.

Earlier in the week, a group of football administrators, including former members of Fecafoot and the president of the country’s Professional Football League, wrote an open letter to CAF President Patrice Motsepe and FIFA boss Gianni Infantino, urging them to speed up their investigations and pointing out that possible sanctions included a lifetime ban.

Part of the letter had said:

“Many stakeholders who have been in the game for several decades are leaving because of the abuses that have taken place over the past two years.”

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Moroccan novelist Leila Slimani makes history as she co-writes Paris Olympics ceremony script

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Moroccan novelist, Leila Slimani, has made history after she was selected alongside world renowned
historian Patrick Boucheron, and French screenwriter, Fanny Herrero, to write the script for the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

According to the Games organizers, the opening ceremony will be a spectacle that promises to be the contrary of a heroized story, cleverly subverting clichés with humor in a production that will also feature contributions from playwright and actor Damien Gabriac.

In an interview with Le Monde on Tuesday, Slimani and Boucheron shared how they envisioned the show within artistic director Thomas Jolly’s team.

“I had the concept of an immense spectacle, but I lacked a narrative to address the world,” Jolly explained, adding that having the four scripting is the ideal team.

The opening ceremony of the games will take place on July 26, and Jolly said it will break conventions as it will take place on the Seine River and amidst Paris’s iconic landmarks instead of a stadium like in previous ones.

“Along the riverbanks and bridges, 3,000 dancers and actors will present 12 artistic scenes, while national delegations will parade aboard boats,” Boucheron said.

He stated further that he drew inspiration from “the ceremony imagined by Jean-Paul Goude for the bicentennial of the French Revolution in 1989,” a landmark event in live performance history.

“The parade subverted national stereotypes and boldly advocated for global mixing with an optimism that we seem to have lost today,” he emphasized.

According to him, Paris 2024 will be the opposite of the ceremony at the 2008 Beijing Games, which was “an ode to greatness and a display of strength.”

“The opening of the Olympics must speak to the world about France and speak to France about the world, aiming to be the opposite of a virile, heroized tale,centered around France as a promise of freedom.”

Slimani also describes it as “a very generous narrative, filled with joy, emulation, movement, excitement, and sparkle, not just the famous philosophical values that France often proudly exhibits, sometimes with too much assurance.”

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Nine killed, 20 injured in Somalia cafe bombing during Euro football final

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At least nine people have been confirmed killed and 20 others injured following a powerful car bomb blast at a cafe in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu that was packed with football fans watching the Euro 2024 final on Sunday night.

An official from the national security agency, Mohamed Yusuf. who confirmed the incident to journalists on Monday, said the death toll could well rise as some of the injured were in critical condition.

“Nine civilians were killed and 20 others wounded in the explosion,” Yusuf said.

“There were many people inside the restaurant, most of them youth who were watching the football match… but thanks to God, most of them made their way out safely after using ladders to climb up and jump over the backside perimeter wall,” he said.

A staff member at the cafe, Mohamud Salad, who also spoke to journalists, said five people were killed outside the shop instantly.

“People were watching the European football final between Spain and England on a screen inside the café in the Somali capital when a car loaded with explosives blew up outside,” Salad said.

“We have confirmed five deaths so far and twenty others wounded. Most of the casualties were among those who were outside. Fortunately, everyone inside survived, but there was extensive damage to vehicles and properties,” Salad added.

Images posted online showed a huge fireball and plumes of smoke billowing into the night sky as the explosion ripped through the popular restaurant in the center of the city.

Though no group has claimed responsibility for the bombing, state-run Somali National News Agency said the attack was carried out by Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab jihadists.

The news agency, in a report, said that “Al-Shabaab group has been waging a bloody insurgency against Somalia’s fragile federal government for more than 17 years and has carried out numerous bombings in Mogadishu and elsewhere in the country.”

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