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Australia and New Zealand withdraw from Rugby League World Cup over safety concerns

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Australia and New Zealand have officially withdrawn from this year’s Rugby League World Cup, citing player welfare and safety concerns.

They have requested the International Rugby League postpones the tournament until 2022 to “minimize the risk of players contracting COVID-19 and ensure the best outcome for player wellbeing”.

The event is due to be held in England this October and this latest news is a major blow to the tournament’s hopes of going ahead.

The ARL and NZRL made the decision after considering the risk of COVID-19 infection in the United Kingdom, the worsening environment in Australia, and the time a majority of NRL players would have to spend away from home under strict biosecurity conditions prior to the World Cup.

“They would then be required to remain under protocols and away from home for the duration of the tournament before again quarantining on return to Australia. This is too much to ask our players and officials to do.

“We have again requested the IRL and Rugby League World Cup consider postponing the event until 2022 to enable all players to participate.”

Peters said: ”There are stark differences between how the pandemic is being managed in the UK compared to Australasia and recent developments have highlighted how quickly things can change.

“The tournament organizers have moved heaven and earth to make this work, so it is not an easy decision, but the COVID-19 situation in the UK shows no sign of improving, and it’s simply too unsafe to send teams and staff over.

“We understand how disappointing this is for fans and those involved, however, player and staff safety remains paramount.”

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Barcelona set 2week deadline for $131m star to decide future amid Manchester United, Liverpool links

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Dembele, who just has six months left on his current deal with Barcelona, has not signed an extension yet and will be free to negotiate with other clubs from January.

It is reported that Dembele’s agent, Moussa Sissoko, has been purposely delaying contract talks by asking for clarification about Dembele’s role at the club.

The Catalans suspect the former is looking to offer his client to the highest bidder.

However, Dembele has since struggled to live up to the price tag, mostly because of his injuries that have ruined his journey so far at Camp Nou. 

Dembele, who came off the bench in Barcelona’s previous two fixtures, has so far played only three competitive matches for Barcelona this season and is yet to go on the scoring sheet.

Dembele is still just 24 and former Al-Sadd boss Xavi believes the player is still capable of big things and wants to help him rediscover his form.

The France national moved from Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona at $131 million ahead of the 2017-18 season.

Read alsoWasafibet – Diamond Platinumz launches new betting company

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Lionel Messi wins record seventh men’s Ballon d’Or

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Messi, who left Barcelona as a free agent to sign for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, was presented with the award for best men’s footballer in the world on Monday night in Paris after another record-breaking 12 months for club and country.

“I’m really proud to win the France Football Ballon d’Or once again,” said Messi. “It’s incredible to win it for the seventh time.

Messi, who wore a sparkly dinner jacket at the ceremony in Paris, collected the honour for a record sixth time in 2019 – one ahead of great rival Cristiano Ronaldo – before the awards were cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Poland international Lewandowski, 33, who was widely expected to win last year, finished second after scoring 38 goals in 30 league games for Bayern in 2021.


Meanwhile, Jorginho finished third after a standout year in which he helped Italy to glory at the delayed Euro 2020 after lifting the Champions League trophy with Chelsea in May.

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling was the highest-ranked England player for the men’s award, finishing 15th, with compatriots Mason Mount, Harry Kane and Phil Foden 19th, 23rd and 25th respectively.

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Wasafibet – Diamond Platinumz launches new betting company, partners with Odibets

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Diamond has officially launched the new betting company dubbed WasafiBet at a ceremony that brought Bongo elites together.

Through his Instagram he launched WasafiBet on Friday, November 26, and captioned it “Pesa lipo.

Due to his massive following, it was established shortly after unveiling the product with over 10K followers in hours.

The betting company’s Instagram page and Twitter handle gained more than 10,000 followers in less than one hour after Diamond’s launching.

WasafiBet Instagram page hints that the company have an association with a Kenyan betting company Odibets.

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