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Zimbabwe’s President Mnangagwa unhurt after blast at rally

HARARE: An explosion rocked a stadium in Zimbabwe where President Emmerson Mnangagwa was addressing a political rally on Saturday, his spokesman said, adding the head of state was unhurt and taken to safety. “There has been an incident at Bulawayo (White City Stadium) where the president was addressing a rally. This is now a police issue but the president is safe at Bulawayo State House,” spokesman George Charamba told Reuters. “We are still to get information on what exactly happened as we understand that some people…

India soccer captain urges stay-away fans to fill stadium

MUMBA: As European clubs flock to India looking for footholds in a potentially huge market, the lack of interest in the national side has prompted captain Sunil Chhetri to launch an impassioned plea for fans to show their support by attending matches. Cricket-mad India may be home to 1.3 billion people but the country is a massive under-achiever as far as soccer is concerned, yet to make a single appearance at the World Cup finals and languishing at a lowly 97th in the FIFA rankings. They did qualify for the 1950 World…

Saudi women to attend football game for first time

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will allow women to enter a football stadium for the first time to watch a match Friday, as the kingdom eases strict decades-old rules separating the sexes. The new measure comes after Riyadh, long known for imposing harsh restrictions on women, announced it was lifting a ban prohibiting them from driving as well as reopening cinemas. The Islamic kingdom has announced a series of reforms initiated by powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since last year. The first football match that women…

Brussels loses Euro 2020 matches to Wembley

NYO, SWITZERLAND: Wembley Stadium in London will host four Euro 2020 matches originally set to be staged in Brussels, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said on Thursday. Brussels had been one of 13 venues picked to host this unique edition of the European Championship -- to celebrate the tournament's 60th anniversary -- held across the continent rather than in a single host country. But the European football governing body's executive committee decided "unanimously" to strip Brussels of its four matches due to the…

Russia vows ‘no white elephants’ after World Cup

MOSCOW: Russia's World Cup organising committee chief vowed to AFP on Thursday that next year's addition of the showpiece football competition will leave behind no abandoned "white elephant" stadiums or hotels. Speaking on the eve of Friday's group stage draw for the June 14-July 15 tournament, Alexei Sorokin said in an interview inside the State Kremlin Palace that Western sanctions on Russia did not impact its preparations in any way. And he admitted that the national squad faced strong pressure to do well at home,…

Qatar unveils World Cup’s first ‘reusable’ stadium

DOHA: Qatar on Sunday unveiled the design for what it claims is the World Cup's first 'reusable' stadium, the seventh of eight expected venues that will stage games during the 2022 tournament. Ras Abu Aboud is a 40,000 stadium that will be built on Doha's southern waterfront and host matches up to the quarter-final stage. After the tournament the stadium will be taken down, with the parts put in to containers in the hope it will be reassembled and used elsewhere. "This venue offers the perfect legacy, capable of…

Egypt jails 14 over deadly 2015 stadium stampede

CAIRO: An Egyptian court jailed two people for life on Sunday and 12 to between two and 10 years over violence that led to a deadly football stadium stampede in Cairo. At least 19 people died in the disaster after police fired tear gas at fans who tried to push their way into the stadium in February 2015. The defendants faced charges including murder, thuggery and vandalism, and were accused of clashing with police, leading to the stampede. Two received life sentences, three were given 10 years, five got seven…