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Referee, VAR taken off Prem duty after Onana penalty error

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Simon Hooper and Michael Salisbury will not be included in the referee appointments for next weekend’s Premier League games after they failed to award a stoppage-time penalty to Wolverhampton Wanderers in Monday night’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Goalkeeper André Onana clattered into Wolves’ Sasa Kalajdzic in the sixth added minute at Old Trafford, but on-field referee Hooper did not award a penalty and the VAR, Salisbury, failed to intervene. Richard West, the assistant VAR for the match, will also not be selected.

Salisbury initiated a lengthy VAR check but cleared the incident as not a clear and obvious error.

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil said afterwards that Jon Moss, the manager of the Select Group 1 officials who referee in the Premier League, had told him it was a mistake.

“I was told live that they didn’t think that it was a clear and obvious error,” O’Neil said. “But having spoken to Jonathan Moss, and fair play to him for coming straight out, he has apologised and said it was a blatant penalty that should have been given.

“I feel bad because he has come out honestly. I spent the afternoon with him, trying to understand the new guidelines and trying not to get myself booked with the new guidelines, which I failed to do.

“Fair play to Jon saying it was a clear and obvious error. He can’t believe the on-field referee didn’t give it and VAR didn’t intervene. That probably makes me feel even worse. Once you know you’re right, you feel worse leaving with nothing.”

Since Howard Webb took over as chief refereeing officer for refereeing in the Premier League the organisation has admitted errors and taken action against officials who make mistakes to show greater transparency.

It is the second time Salisbury has been stood down in recent months. In April, he was the VAR for the controversial game between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton & Hove Albion. PGMOL apologised after Kaoru Mitoma was denied a penalty after being caught by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, with Salisbury taken off duty for the following weekend and not selected as a VAR for the next 3½ weeks.

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Anniversary: PUNCHERS perfect winning strategies as Agali opens Media Amalgamated training

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With just eight more days before the kick-off of the highly anticipated novelty match between The PUNCHERS and Media Amalgamated team as part of celebrations of the 50th anniversary of The PUNCH, The PUNCHERS worked on their winning strategies on Friday at the Mountain Top University, Magboro, Ogun State.

 

The PUNCHERS go up against Media Amalgamated, a select group of journalists from Tribune, Nation, Vanguard, ThisDay, Leadership, Telegraph and The Guardian newspapers at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos February 24.

 

The highly anticipated and potentially explosive novelty match marks the commencement of an array of epoch-making activities for the 50th-anniversary celebration of Nigeria’s most-read newspaper.

 

In the second training session held at the team’s home ground, Mountain Top University, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the PUNCHERS, with 31 players from different departments of the company and coaches by AFCON 1992 bronze medallist, Friday Ekpo, intensified training ahead of the clash.

PUNCHERS’ veteran midfielder, Godspower Otor, said along with his teammates, they would concentrate on training and do their talking on the pitch.

“I read what one of our opponents said that they would flog us and I just laughed,” he said.

 

“We will allow them do their talkings in the media while we focus on training and allow the results to do justice. We are focused and training hard, our coach Friday Ekpo is not leaving any stone unturned as he ensures we get our movements and tactics right.

Friday’s training focused on our strategy, which we will perfect before the game day and I am sure we will be ready for the encounter.”

 

The PUNCHERS will have their third training on Saturday (today) as they intensify preparations for the novelty game against Media Amalgamated.

 

Former Super Eagles forward and bronze medallist at the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations, Victor Agali, has been handed the task of coaching the Media Amalgamated team, who have their first training session today at the Legacy Pitch of the National Stadium, Lagos.

 

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Ivory Coast vs. Nigeria: How to watch Africa Cup of Nations, TV channel and live stream

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The Africa Cup of Nations will see a true heavyweight clash as hosts Ivory Coast take on Nigeria in Group A.

Back on Saturday, Les Éléphants started AFCON off well, notching a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau in the tournament’s opening match.

However, one day later the Super Eagles were stunned by Equatorial Guinea, and needed a Victor Osimhen goal to come back for a 1-1 draw.

That leaves Nigeria in need of a result — and possibly even a win — to avoid a must-win situation during the final round of group-stage matches. A loss would leave a star-studded side on the brink of elimination.

For Ivory Coast, meanwhile, a win would guarantee a place in the knockout stages, and a draw in Group A’s other match would secure the top spot in the section.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the match.

Ivory Coast vs. Nigeria (AFCON)
When: Thursday, Jan. 18
Where: Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé (Ivory Coast)
Time: 12 p.m. ET
Channel/streaming: beIN SPORTS, Fubo

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Elegbeleye: NPFL Broadcast Rights still Available, No Exclusivity

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Companies seeking to acquire Broadcast rights of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) have been invited to approach the league body with offers for negotiation.

Chairman of the NPFL, Hon Gbenga Elegbeleye on Wednesday clarified that the adopted marketing approach of the board is for non-exclusivity which has not foreclosed the signing up of more rights holders.

Elegbeleye described as shocking, claims by an individual alleging that there was an offer for $11m dollars to the NPFL for the rights before the StarTimes deal was executed.

“For the avoidance of doubt and for public records, the NPFL and StarTimes deal took months to conclude and all through the duration of our negotiations, nobody approached us with any offer”, explained the NPFL Chairman.

He further narrated efforts of the defunct Interim Management Committee (IMC) to attract a Broadcast partner including getting the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to broker a meeting with Supersport which at the end didn’t express interest in taking up the offer.

“The NPFL has an office in Abuja and the facilitator of the said $11m offer knows this place and has contacts of the NFF President. We are still very much open to negotiating as our deal with StarTimes provides for a third-party investor. 

“Let the person please come to our office or to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) because we are still open for more partnerships in the Broadcast space”.

The NPFL boss explained that the unbundling of the broadcast bouquet has made it possible to accommodate multiple partners

“It is obvious that we have unbundled the broadcast products and segmented the number of matches any rights owner can show every matchday. So there is still a window to accommodate genuine interests in our league broadcast partnership”, declared Elegbeleye, who also is the NFF’s Second Vice President.

Faulting claims that the League fail foul of the Public Procurement Act which governs sales of government assets in the country, the former member of the Federal House of Representatives, said, “The NPFL is incorporated as a private company limited by guarantee at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and is not captured in government funding.

“We do not receive funding from the Government but run our programme from money generated through sponsorships and we operate a transparent system that accounts for sponsors/investors’ funds to maintain the integrity of the league.

“In any case, we have made sufficient noise right from the inception of the IMC and we were able to have the very successful Super 6 on television, so there’s no person in the industry who is not aware that the League hasn’t been on television for the past six years. Where were they”? he retorted.

So far, the NPFL has secured two Broadcast Partners in Propel Sports Africa (PSA) for the Over The Top (OTT) platform and StarTimes for the Direct To Home (DTH) cable platform.

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