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Barca president charged with suspected bribery



Barcelona president Joan Laporta has been charged with suspected bribery over payments made to companies linked to the former vice president of the refereeing committee, José María Enríquez Negreira, according to Spanish news agency EFE.

The charges relate to Laporta’s first spell in charge of the Catalan club between 2003 and 2010 after a judge ruled the latter years of that tenure should not be time-barred.

Laporta, who returned to the presidency for a second time in 2021, was not initially named as a defendant when charges for alleged bribery were filed against Barça in September.

Former presidents Josep María Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, as well as Negreira and his son, Javier Enríquez Romero, were listed among the accused.

However, the judge in charge of the case ruled on Wednesday that Laporta and his board of directors — from the time the payments were made — should be added to the probe as it is a case of continued bribery.

Therefore, the investigation period can cover the 10-year period prior to the last payment made to Negreira, which was in 2018, making the final two years of Laporta’s first tenure punishable.

Barça paid Negreira’s companies more than €7m ($7.3m) between 2001 and 2018 while he was the vice president of the refereeing committee. He had previously been a referee in the Spanish top flight.

Laporta has said the payments were for “technical reports about referees” and has repeatedly denied the club has ever “bought referees or influence.”

However, prosecutors accused Rosell and Bartomeu of having an agreement with Negreira in which “he would carry out actions aimed at favouring Barca in the decision-making of the referees in the matches played by the club and thus in the results of the competitions.”

Rosell was Barca president from 2010 to 2014 before Bartomeu replaced him. After six years at the helm of the Catalan club, Bartomeu resigned in 2020, with Laporta elected as his replacement in 2021.

Barça were originally charged with alleged corruption in sport, corruption in business, false administration and the falsification of commercial documents in March.

The bribery charges were added in September after the judge said Negreira “exercised public functions” as vice president of the refereeing committee, which equates him to a civil servant.

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Sports Minister Commits to Enhancing Football Scouting Regulations in Nigeria




The Honourable Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh has expressed his commitment to meticulously review a proposal aimed at regulating the scouting system within Nigeria’s sports landscape.

The proposal was submitted by a delegation led by the National President of Prestige Football Academy, Uchendu Stephen Nwabara, during a meeting with the Minister in Abuja, on Tuesday.

Acknowledging the critical role of scouting in nurturing and harnessing the nation’s sports potential, Senator John Owan Enoh stated that Nigeria’s huge talentpool makes it a destination of choice for scouts from all around the world.

The Minister said the Ministry is concerned about some of the general practices in the sports ecosystem, as it is working to ensure ethical standards are imbibed, and also provide equitable opportunities for aspiring young talents to excel in sport.

“Most people in the sector are concerned about the subject of the scouting process of our young men and women,” the Minister said. “When our talent poor sportsmen and women go out of the shores of Nigeria and break forth, the support they send to their families and the laurels that they win is of benefit to the country.”

“However, how some of our sports men and women leave needs to be addressed. Sports in general being a universal matter, promoted globally, and a country as big as Nigeria with its population and talent, has become like a laboratory for various actors to come in and out.”

Senator Enoh stated that his administration is deeply committed to fostering a conducive environment for the growth and development of sports in Nigeria. Scouting forms the bedrock of identifying and nurturing future sports stars and there is a need to recognize the value of an organized scouting system that fosters fairness, transparency, and professionalism.

There is an urgent need to stop the exploitation of Nigerians, who are taken out of the country by scouts, sportsmen and agents and tied to slave contracts abroad. Nigeria will work to facilitate a process that integrates fair play, integrity, professionalism and equal opportunities for all sports talents, especially footballers.

Leader of the delegation, Uchendu Stephen Nwabara expressed optimism about the Minister’s enthusiastic reception of their proposal.

“We are delighted by the Minister’s commitment to thoroughly examine our recommendations. These reforms are pivotal in transforming the scouting landscape and ensuring that deserving talents receive the attention and opportunities they merit.”

Senator Enoh said the Ministry will review the appropriateness of the proposal, as it remains resolute in its dedication to uplifting the ethics of scouting.

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Scrabble Federation Boss, Aka, Congratulates Grand Patron, Godswill Obot Akpabio On Election Into IPU Executive Committee




The President of Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF), Engineer, Toke Aka, has congratulated the Grand Patron of the Federation, Senate President, Godswill Obot Akpabio, on his election into the Executive Committee of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU), at it’s Congress in Luanda, Angola.

Akpabio was unanimously elected into the Executive Committee of IPU on Friday to become the first Nigerian law maker to occupy the exalted office since 1964, that is about 59 years ago.

“Our dear Grand Patron, your unanimously election and elevation to the position of the Executive Committee member of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) did not come surprisingly. It is a true picture of your passion for service, dedication, and pragmatic leadership attributes that you possess.“ Aka said in his congratulatary message.

The NSF President went further to state that; “We in the Scrabble and Sporting fraternity are elated and excited as one of our own with a burning desire for youth development and empowerment has risen to this new exalted office.”

Toke Aka, who has spent over two decades in Sports administration in Nigeria and the continent as well as on the global level, strongly believes that the Senate President of Nigeria will use his wealth of experience and network of law makers across the globe to provide a veritable platform to show Nigerians your uncommon spirit of excellence in leadership, team work and service delivery at the IPU.

Engineer Toke Aka, stressed that the entire Scrabble and Sporting family are behind Akpabio, the Pillar of Scrabble in Africa, who’s passion for sports is uncommon and has done everything within his might to support all aspects of the sporting industry.

“I pray God Almighty continues to guide your steps, Grand Patron of Nigeria Scrabble Federation, distinguished Senate President Godswill Obot Akpabio and grant him wisdom, understanding, and courage to make his new responsibility count to Nigeria, Africa and the World. Aka concluded.

The Nigeria Senate President and the delegation to Luanda, has returned to the country after a very fruitful participation at the Inter Parliamentary Union Assembly in Luanda, Angola.

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After Continental Ouster: Enyimba’s Management Issues Stern Warning to Technical Crew, Players




The management of Enyimba football club of Aba led by the Chairman, Nwankwo Kanu has issued a stern warning to the players and technical crew of the team following their abysmal performances in recent times

This warning came on the back of the team’s recent loss to Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in the inaugural edition of the African Football League AFL, as the People’s Elephants were eliminated by 4 goals to Nil over two legs in uyo and Casablanca respectively.

Recall that the team also failed to make it through the first preliminary stages of the CAF Champions league after being ousted by Al Ahly Benghazi of Libya.

In the Nigeria Premier Football League NPFL, the People’s Elephant’ lost 2-0 to Gombe United and narrowly scaled through Akwa United 3-2 at home.

The management has reiterated its stance on changing the fortunes of the team noting that it wouldn’t hesitate to take necessary measures if things don’t improve quickly as it has done everything humanly possible, financially and morally for the team to get the much needed results

Enyimba’s next game would be a midweek fixture against Niger Tonardoes in the Nigeria Premier Football ootball League NPFL, this Wednesday.

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