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Paris 2024: French towns say ‘non merci’ to Olympic torch relay over cost concerns



Citing costs, departments across France have turned down the chance to be in the world’s spotlight. So, how much are they being asked to pay and is it worth it?

The eyes of the world will turn to France in July 2024, as the summer Olympic Games begins with a spectacular opening ceremony on the River Seine.

Before that, the Olympic torch embarks on a two-month journey around the country, after criss-crossing the globe on its way from Mount Olympus in Greece, to the French capital.

But this Olympic tradition is turning into a headache for organisers, with towns and cities saying a polite ‘no merci’ to a visit from the Olympic flame torch relay, citing the high costs involved.

Departments have been asked to fork out €150,000 – amounting to €180,000 with taxes included.

At least 10 of France’s 96 mainland departments – the administrative rung below the regional level – have formerly declared that they won’t be hosting the torch.

Sparking tensions
Citizens of the Rhône department in southeastern France – where the country’s third largest city Lyon is located – will not be catching a glimpse of the torch.

It’s a cause for frustration for some.

In a statement released by the Rhône branch of Emmanuel Macron’s youth supporters, ‘Les Jeunes avec Macron’, the department garnered criticism for a decision supposedly made on environmental grounds.

“The narrow-mindedness of environmentalists who confuse the fight against global warming with an environmentalist puritanism that would ban all forms of festive spirit”.

However, these are not the reasons that the department and city stated.

“Asking for 180,000 euros from each department does not make any sense. Some departments are smaller and others are less robust. It would have been more logical for regions to organise financing of the torches at the regional level in order to ensure territorial equity”, stated Bruno Bernard, President of the Lyon Metropole.

“We would naturally have liked to host the flame, however the economic conditions required by the Olympic Committee – 180 000 euros for an activity which lasts only one day, seem unreasonable in terms of public action”, he added.

Prioritising local sport
Christophe Guilloteau, President of the Rhône region spoke out against hosting the flame as early as January 2022.

He told Euronews “on top of this expense there is the cost of the activities which will compliment the torch’s relay. The Rhône Department would rather invest in local events, and support the sports industry on our territory.”

The departments of les Vosges, la Meurthe-et-Moselle, l’Indre-et-Loire, le Lot-et-Garonne, la Creuse, la Haute-Loire et la Haute-Vienne, la Loire-Atlantique, les Côtes-d’Armor et l’Orne have all declared they will not be hosting the flame.

“This sum is more than of my subsidies to fund sport events over the whole year”, Ludovic Gouyette, vice-president of the Côtes-d’Armor department told France Bleu Armorique. The department is located in northern Britanny.

Why this cost?
The organising committee for the Paris 2024 Olympics, Cojo, said a “very large majority of departments have already welcomed” the flame, adding that the €150,000 ensures that the torch crosses “the maximum number of territories” on its way to Paris.

Cojo underlines that the torch’s relay is funded “for the most part by the committee and its partners”, stating that it will go ahead no matter what.

In January 2023, the French government announced that the part of public funding for the games would increase to €2.4 billion.

According to a study by the Paris 2024 Olympics could generate €10.7 billion in economic benefits and produce 250,000 jobs.

However, the cost of hosting the Olympic Games has skyrocketed in recent years. As fewer and fewer countries bid to host the huge multi-sport event, the International Olympic Committee has called for a reform of the process of selecting the host city.

Past glories
France has previously hosted the Olympic games on five occasions – and twice to date in Paris.

Chamonix, located in the Haute-Savoie department will be hosting the flame: a moment in history as the ceremony will take place 100 years on from the Chamonix 1924 Olympics.

The cities of Grenoble and Albertville also hosted the winter games in 1992 and 1968 – but they won’t be reviving past glories. Located in the Savoie and Isere departments, local leaders once again chose to pass on the chance of hosting the flame.

“Hosting the Tour de France has already allowed to gain more visibility from the population”, at “a must lower cost”, stated Frédéric Burnier Framboret, Mayor Albertville in an interview with l’Equipe.

However, the organisers insist that the relay will “offer a unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on the regions of France, its heritage and savoir-faire… villages and iconic locations will benefit from the focus of the Games to reveal themselves to the world.”

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Jos, Plateau Comes Alive As NNL AGA Holds This Friday




All is set for the Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria National League which is scheduled to hold in the capital city of Plateau state.

Already, stakeholders have started arriving the Tin City for the one-day deliberation.

The AGA which is the first activity of the season will see the NNL board meet with the 40 club representatives to fashion our all formalities for a successful season.

Kickoff date, format, funding and other matters of critical importance will be decided at the assembly.

NNL Chairman George Aluo who is already on the ground, gave further insight on the agenda.

“At the NNL AGA we will be rubbing minds with the club owners, share our thoughts and plans with them and be on the same page and decide when the league will start basically, as that is the most important thing so that after the AGA in Jos, we should be able to tell Nigerians when the league will kickoff.”

He continued, “The President of the NFF Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau has given us a mandate to start the league on time and ensure it aligns with the international calendar and that is the direction we want to go. So we have come up with our own plans and by the time we finish with our AGA in Jos, we’ll tell Nigerians what the plans are and how the league will be played.

He revealed that the board ” has put some plans in place as the NNL has been able to partner with the National Institute for Sports (NIS) for a pre-season capacity building seminar for our coaches. We want to upscale our coaches to make them better. Already, we have invited some resource persons from the NIS and the Technical Director of the NFF Augustine Eguavoen who will be involved in that and a Portuguese coach Thiago Conde so, at the end of the day, we would have upscale our coaches technically and before the start of the season by the time you’ve taken them to the classroom, I’m sure it will rub-off on the NNLas the 2023-2023 season gets underway.”

He appreciated the Plateau state Government for hosting the board as they begin deliberation this Friday.

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Colombia 2024: Falconets progress to third round as Mauritius withdraw




The Mauritius Football Association has notified the Confederation of African Football of the withdrawal of the country’s U20 Women National Team from the ongoing African qualifying series for next year’s FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup finals.

“Kindly note that CAF was informed of the withdrawal of Mauritius FA from the African qualifiers of FIFA U20 WWC 2024. Consequently, Nigeria is qualified to the next round of the competition and the missions of all officials of matches 37 & 38 are cancelled,” read a communication from CAF to the Nigeria Football Federation.

The Falconets were to fly to Mauritius next week for the first leg in Saint Pierre against the Mauritius U20 girls, with the return leg scheduled for the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Saturday, 14th October.

With this situation, 2022 World Cup quarter-finalists Nigeria now progress to the next round of the qualification series.

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Confed Cup: Insurance players vow to beat RS Berkane for their chief motivator, Obaseki




As Federation Cup champion, Bendel Insurance of Benin plays RS Berkane on Friday in a Caf Confederation Cup match, the players and officials said they are ready to shed blood to win for the good people and government of Edo State especially their number one supporter and motivator Governor Godwin Obaseki.

Though Insurance has a mountain to climb in the decisive leg in Morocco after they were forced to a 2-2 draw by RS Berkane at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, in the first leg on Saturday, September 16, they are confident that will beat their host and qualify for the next round of the competition.

Monday Odigie’s side will miss the services of striker Osarenkhoe Imade, who scored their opener in the first leg as well as their other goal in the last round.

The 22-year-old just penned a deal with United Arab Emirates side, United FC.

Despite missing their highest goal scorer from last season, stand-in captain and goalkeeper, Amas Obasigie, echoed the confidence of the team.

“Knowing the honour that awaits us if we beat our opponents to qualify for the group stage, we are going to fight for everything in the field of play to go home happy. We made two mistakes in Benin and will not want a repeat. We are facing very strong opponents who have been champions twice in a space of three years, but we will not allow their intimidation to affect our play. They should expect a good fight from us the way they also fought in Benin.

“Above all, we want to fight to win for our state Governor, who has been wonderful in giving his all, in sponsorship and motivation that has taken us thus far both in the domestic league and continental level,” Obasogie said.

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