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Victor-Mooney

US man rows across Atlantic, reaches Caribbean

US-MAN-row-across-atlantic---25897071_BG1

Victor Mooney

NEW YORK – An American rower who set out to cross the Atlantic Ocean in honor of his brother reached the Caribbean island of Saint Martin.

A spokeswoman for 48-year-old Victor Mooney said early Saturday the specially built oceangoing rowboat was towed about 20 miles to shore Friday while Mooney was aboard a search and rescue vessel. He has lost 80 pounds as he continues a 3,000-mile journey from the African coast to the British Virgin Islands, and then another 1,800-plus miles to New York.

Mooney was taken to a hospital for observation when he arrived, spokeswoman Lisa Samuels said in an email. She said that Mooney survived a shark attack that punctured his boat and will continue to the British Virgin Islands after getting “some needed rest.”

Victor-MooneyMooney set off Feb. 19 in a 24-foot boat from Maspolamas, Gran Canaria. His journey is being done in honor of a brother who died of AIDS in 1983. Mooney is hoping to encourage voluntary HIV testing.

Mooney has tried the same feat three other times, without success.

Mooney’s first trans-Atlantic attempt, in 2006, ended when a 24-foot, wooden rowboat he’d built himself sank off the West African coast just hours after he’d pushed off from a beach in Senegal.

Three years later, he tried again with an oceangoing rowboat boat built by a professional. Its drinking water systems failed after two weeks at sea and he had to be rescued.

In 2011, Mooney set off from the Cape Verde Islands in an even more sophisticated boat. But that vessel, dubbed the Never Give Up, had apparently been damaged in transit and sprang a leak shortly after he put to sea.

He escaped in a life raft then spent two weeks drifting 250 miles on the open ocean.

US man rows across Atlantic, reaches Caribbean

by Danica Coto
Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Three times, Victor Mooney tried to row across the Atlantic. Three times he failed. One boat sank. Another lost its freshwater system. A third sprang a leak and left him drifting on a life raft for two weeks. As he planned for a fourth attempt, his wife made it clear it would be the last.

“I’m going to give you all the support you need, but this is it. We have to close the book on this one,'” Mooney recalled her telling him.

Now the 48-year-old Brooklyn native has finally completed the roughly 3,000-mile (4,800 kilometer) journey.

Mooney was recovering Saturday in the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten, a day after reaching shore and ending a 128-day ordeal during which he lost 80 pounds (36 kilograms).

The trip was fueled by his desire to bring attention to the need for HIV testing and to honor a brother who died of AIDS in 1983.

“Not everyone has to row across the Atlantic. You can wear a red ribbon,” he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “We all have a responsibility to do something.”

On Feb. 19, Mooney left the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa in high spirits. But those faded as big waves and violent currents began to toss his 24-foot (7-meter) boat around, alarming nearby boaters who radioed him.

“It was a tanker who said, ‘Do you know where you’re at? Are you OK? Are you in your right mind?'” Mooney recalled.

He paused, and the devout Roman Catholic, who had placed crucifixes all over his boat, reminded himself to be still.

The weather began to improve, and Mooney also received help from an oceanographer and meteorologist, among those he chatted with by radio while crossing the ocean, saying he never felt alone.

The African-American recalled that his journey took the path of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

“I asked my ancestors also for help to push me along,” he said.

Mooney settled into a routine, awaking at 4 a.m., then rowing for about an hour at a time and taking 30-minute breaks until 7 p.m. But the ocean remained rough for most of the journey, often erasing his progress.

“Sometimes you can row 10 miles (16 kilometers), and then you wake up and you’re 15 miles (24 kilometers) behind,” Mooney said. “You get those days, and you’re like, ‘Oh, man.'”

He would devour several portions of freeze-dried food in one sitting and eventually ran out. He resorted to fishing until his tackle line broke, so he began to scoop fish up with nets or rely on flying fish jumping into his boat.

Then a shark attacked his boat and punctured it.

“I can remember like it was yesterday,” Mooney said. “They circle your boat. They go around, they go under, they go around.”

He felt the hit and scrambled to repair the damage while the shark chased fish milling underneath the barnacles attached to his boat. He reminded himself to be still again and prayed, thinking about his wife and other supporters.

“Sometimes just putting on deodorant, smelling that fresh deodorant was encouraging, inspirational,” he said.

As he neared the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten, he had a final conversation with a nearby tanker.

“He said, ‘Mooney, I have a big ship, do you need a rescue?'” he recalled. “I said, ‘No, I don’t need a rescue, I want a burger. Do you have a burger for me?'”

Medical officials have not yet allowed Mooney to eat that burger, feeding him instead small portions of oatmeal and light sandwiches as he recovers.

“I haven’t weighed 140 pounds (64 kilograms) since 6th, 7th grade,” he said with a laugh.

In St. Maarten, he plans to eat well and replenish his energy with help from doctors and supporters, including a government team from Anguilla – his intended destination – who visited him on Saturday.

Once he gains back his strength, Mooney plans to row to the British Virgin Islands and then another 1,800-plus miles (2,900-plus kilometers) to New York and eventually home to Queens, where he runs a nonprofit South Africa arts organization. It’s a journey he said he never plans to do again, but he urged people to get tested for HIV and to keep fighting to find a cure for AIDS.

He recalled an audience that supporters arranged for him with Pope John Paul II in the early 2000s.

“When John Paul gave me his blessings on World Aids Day and said, ‘Row,’ that always stayed in my mind,’ he said.

 

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Angelica Morrone and Gary di de Silvestri of Dominica

CARIBBEAN ATHLETES TO PARTICIPATE IN WINTER OLYMPICS

Jamaican athletes

Jamaican athletes

A number of athletes representing the tropical Caribbean region will participate in the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in the Black Sea city of Sochi in South-Eastern Russia from February 7-23.

Among the featured athletes from the Caribbean are a five-member Bobsleigh delegation from Jamaica, a husband and wife team from Dominica and athletes from the US Virgin Islands (USVI), the Cayman Islands and Tortola in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

Peter-Adam-Crook of the British virgin islands

Peter-Adam-Crook
of the British virgin islands

CEO of CANOC Broadcasting Inc. (CBI), Larry Romany said it’s another moment of pride for the Caribbean to have athletes representing their national countries at the Winter Olympics and vying for medals.
“Our Caribbean athletes have demonstrated that they have an unconquerable spirit and it is this undeniable perseverance and grit determination that has put them at the top of their field and also for many individuals, to achieve personal excellence.
Angelica Morrone and Gary di de Silvestri of Dominica

Angelica Morrone and Gary di de Silvestri of Dominica

“We know our Caribbean athletes in Sochi will make us proud and it will be another unifying period for our region to support these exceptional athletes who spent countless hours working hard to qualify for the Winter Olympics,” said Romany.

Jamaica’s five-member delegation to the games are pilot Winston Watts, brake-man Marvin Dixon, crew members Wayne Blackwood, alternate crew; Thomas Samuel, coach, and Nelson Christian Stokes, Chef de Mission.
The Jamaican Bobsleigh team gained international fame during their debut in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta as underdogs among the professional and was the inspiration for the major motion picture, Cool Runnings.
jamaican_bobsled_teaUnited States-based Gary di Silvestri and his Italian-born wife Angelica Morrone di Silvestri who have Dominican citizenship will represent the island at the Games. Di Silvestri will take part in the men’s 15-kilometre classical race and his wife in the women’s 10-kilometre classical race.
Jasmine Campbell, representing the USVI, Dow Travers, the Cayman Islands and Peter Adam Crook, the BVI said they were all looking forward to the Winter Olympic s and doing their personal best to represent their countries.
“I will be going to the Olympics trying to ski my personal fastest, my personal strongest, my personal best. That is all I can really hope to do. The Olympics are also about bringing the world together in a community of sport and human excellence. It’s a time to transcend beyond differences and divisiveness. I will consider my time at the Olympics a success by doing my own personal best, while connecting with this very special community of athletes,” said Campbell who feels honoured to represent the Virgin Islands.

Jasmine-Campbell of the US Virgin Islands

Jasmine-Campbell of the US Virgin Islands

Born and raised in the Grand Cayman, Travers, 26, competed for the island in the 2009 Val D’Isere Alpine World Championships and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The eldest of three talented athletic brothers, Travers who lives and works full time in the Cayman after graduating from Brown University with a degree in Geology-Biology said he’s fully prepared for the Winter Games.
“I believe I am prepared and as ready as I’ll ever be,” said Travers who has been training in Aspen with his brother Dean under Coach, former Olympic skier, Jake Zamansky and the Aspen Valley Ski Club
.
Travers who will be competing in the Giant Slalom said he has been training during the week and racing as much as possible followed by strength training in the gym.
Crook who lives in Utah said he is “excited and a little nervous” about his first Winter Olympics and representing the small mountainous island of Tortola.
“When people hear I’m representing Tortola, they always ask me if I ski there! Is there snow there! And then I have to explain it all over again,” said Crook who started competing professionally four years ago.
“It’s a small island and the support for me from the people there is unreal. My biggest goal at the Olympic is to make it through the final round. You never know what can happen. I’d just like to make everyone proud,” he added.
###
CANOC Broadcasting Inc. (CBI) is a company that has been formed by the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) across the Caribbean to purchase, monetise and manage the broadcast rights for the Olympic Games and other sporting properties. CBI’s mission is to develop extensive Olympic broadcast coverage that maximises the public’s awareness of National Olympic Committees, Commonwealth Games Associations, Caribbean Athletes and the Olympic Movement, and create long‐term sustainable sources of funding for Caribbean NOCs and CGAs through the acquisition and sale of broadcast rights for sporting events.
For further information, please contact:
The CBI Media Relations Team: Donna Ramsammy and Linda Hutchinson
Tel: +1868 686 645 0368 or +1 868 472 4777
Email: Linda at hutchlin@gmail.com or donna@virtual-tt.com
Or contact VYTT/Virtual Editors at media@virtual-tt.com
January 30, 2014

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Costa Rica is the first stop that the official FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca- Cola plane will be used. It will now carry football’s most coveted trophy and the global trophy tour team all over the world.

The FIFA World Cup Trophy jets off in style on the Caribbean leg

Costa Rica is the first stop that the official FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca- Cola plane will be used. It will now carry football’s most coveted trophy and the global trophy tour team all over the world.

Costa Rica is the first stop that the official FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca- Cola plane will be used. It will now carry football’s most coveted trophy and the global trophy tour team all over the world.

Jamaica Observer (By FIFA.com) – After a successful launch at the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with a bird’s-eye view of the iconic Estádio do Maracanã, the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola jetted off to start its international tour by visiting Tahiti, Fiji and Vanuatu.

With three of 89 countries having already welcomed the trophy, it was now time to set off on the Caribbean leg of the tour.

In true superstar fashion, the most sought-after symbol of football had at its disposal its very own branded plane. This plane has started to carry world football’s most coveted trophy and the global trophy tour team all over the world, with the final destination set to be back in the FIFA World Cup host country to start its domestic tour.

The plane was first spotted when it landed in Costa Rica last Friday, where the trophy spent three days before heading off to an unprecedented 34 member associations from the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).

Joining the tour in five of the upcoming stops is former Aston Villa, Manchester United and Trinidad & Tobago forward Dwight Yorke, a man who has great experience winning trophies, with UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, and FA Cup titles to his name. Yorke was also captain of the Trinidad and Tobago squad during the 2006 FIFA World Cup campaign. He will be accompanying the trophy in Haiti on the 25th to the 27th of October, Grenada on the 28th, Suriname on the 29th, Guyana on the 30th, and finally in his home country Trinidad and Tobago on the 31st of October.

“Having won almost every trophy there is in my career, this is still the one that got away,” joked Yorke. “It’s just as surreal for me to have the opportunity to be so close to the trophy as I’m sure it will be for all the people that get the chance to see it on this worldwide tour. It really is the ultimate prize for any football fan or player. It’s a great opportunity and a joy to have it brought over to a part of the world that doesn’t often get these opportunities. I can’t wait to join the tour,” added Yorke.

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Hollywood-actor,-Gerard-Butler-gerard_butler_25

Second Hollywood actor buys into CPL franchise

KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) -A second Hollywood actor, Gerard Butler, has taken an equity interest in a Caribbean Premier League (CPL) franchise, Jamaica Tallawahs, as the tournament heads for a climax this weekend.

Butler, who stars in a number of top movies such as Law Abiding Citizen and The Ugly Truth, is also planning to be in Trinidad on Friday to support the Tallawahs when they play Barbados Tridents in the second semi-final.

Hollywood-actor,-Gerard-Butler-gerard_butler_25“It is obvious that this tournament is the home of the greatest party in sport so I wanted to get in on the fun,” said Butler.

“Having said that, as a Scotsman I definitely have an appreciation for cricket and I also recognise that the LCPL is a great combination of sports and entertainment. I’m excited about joining the Jamaica Tallawahs franchise, and hopefully being a part of the team that wins the inaugural tournament.”

Tallawahs squeezed out a last ball, three wickets in over Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel in the final preliminary game at Sabina Park Sunday night.

They ended the League with 10 points, equal with top ranked Guyana Amazon Warriors who had a better net run rate.

“We are thrilled that Gerard has seen the enormous potential of the Limacol CPL and has taken an equity interest in the Jamaica Tallawahs,” said Limacol CPL Chief Executive Officer Damien O’Donohoe.

“I think more people are realising its global appeal, and how it is an experience like no other”.

Last month organizers announced that Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg, known for his starring roles in films such as ‘Boogie Nights’ and ‘Planet of the Apes’, had taken an equity interest in the Barbados Tridents team.

Butler’s next movie‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’, comes out in 2014.

“Celebrities owning sports teams is nothing new but to have two Hollywood actors taking a vested interest in cricket teams is quite novel,” said Ajmal Khan, Chairman of Verus International and Founder of the Limacol CPL.

“I think it’s a testament to the quality of the tournament, the carnival party atmosphere, the music, the entertainment, the fans, and the experience that only the Caribbean can deliver”.

The inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League began on 30 July in Barbados, and concludes on Saturday in Trinidad.

 

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Man-of-the-match-Tillekaratene-Dilshan-good-all-round-game-for-the-Warriors

LCPL cricket: Semi-final 1…Guyana Amazon Warriors melt T&T Red Steel in own their backyard, book final spot

By KNews |

image001By Sean Devers

Guyanese fans celebrating at Queen's Park Oval, Trinidad

Guyanese fans celebrating at Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad

The atmosphere in Port- of-Spain last night was like a funeral instead of the usual Carnival as Guyana Amazon Warriors made the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel fans see red.
A partisan capacity crowd of over 25,000 left the Queens Park Oval dejected and disappointed as the Amazon Warriors produced a professional performance to whip the Red Steel by seven wickets in the first Semi-final of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League T20 cricket tournament.

Guyana marched into tomorrow’s final, as T&T, urged on by a raucous crowd which created a sea of red in the stands, stumbled in their own backyard after the South American based team reached 107-3 off 16.2 overs replying to the 103 all out in 19.3 overs by the home team.

Man-of-the-match Tillakaratne Dilshan, with a cultured 39 from 27 balls decorated with three fours and a six, led the Guyana run chase after Krishmar Santokie, Dilshan, Lasith Malinga and Veersammy Permaul conspired to take two wickets each to shackle the home team batsmen.

Pep talks from West Indies batting Maestro Brian Lara and an impassioned flag-waving crowd, which danced to rhythms of Tassa Drummers, Steel pan players and the pulsating music blaring from the Trini Possie Stand, failed to produce the impetus to propel T&T into the finals after Guyana won the toss and elected to field first under lights.

T&T would have gotten some confidence from their win against Guyana when the teams last met at this venue and Kevin O’Brian got going with a boundary in the opening over from the tournament’s leading wicket-taker left-arm seamer Santokie.

Dilshan (2-14) struck in the second over when he removed O’Brian (8) to a sharp return catch to leave T&T on 11-1. It was soon 14-2 in the third over when Mahela Jayawardene (2) popped an easy catch to extra cover as the hosts slipped to 14-2 and the large Guyanese contingent in the crowd, which also included several Hollywood movie stars and former great West Indies players, went wild with delight.

Guyana-Amazon-Warriors-get-excited-over-another-Red-Steel-wicket.-

Guyana-Amazon-Warriors-get-excited-over-another-Red-Steel-wicket.-

‘Slinger’ Malinga was introduced in the fourth over and Sunil Narine in the next over as Skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan cleverly wrung the changers as Ross Taylor joined Adrian Barath.

Taylor (6) top-edged Permaul into ‘no man’s land’ before he pulled the left-arm spinner to deep mid wicket in the same over to leave T&T on 25-3 in the sixth over.

The left-handed Darren Bravo joined Barath on a track offering assistance to the spinners. The noisy crowd was stunned into silence when Barath (12) was run out at 32-4 and Bravo (3) fell off Dilshan without addition to the score in the ninth over.

Skipper Dwayne Bravo was joined by 17-year-old Nicholas Pooran, who scored 54 against Guyana on debut from 18 balls, and together they took the score to 56 before Pooran (14), who hit the first six of the match, edged a cut off Permaul, next ball.

Kevin Cooper, who clobbered Narine for two sixes and his Captain, who smashed a Santokie full toss to cover for only the second four of the innings, tried to orchestrate a mini-revival as they carried T&T to 101-7 before Cooper, who hammered 27 from 17 balls, lofted Narine to long-on in the 18th over.

After clarification from the third Umpire, Suleiman Benn was give out caught at point by Permaul for duck as Santokie took his 16th wicket in the competition as he finished another excellent spell to finish with 2-20 from his four overs.

It was 103-9 when Bravo (24) was taken on the cover boundary before Malinga, who ended with 2-18, finished the match on a hat-trick by bowling Fidel Edwards (1) first ball.

Man-of-the-match-Tillekaratene-Dilshan-good-all-round-game-for-the-Warriors

Man-of-the-match-Tillekaratene-Dilshan-good-all-round-game-for-the-Warriors

William Perkins, playing his first match in tournament, and fellow Trinidadian Lendl Simmons pounced on leg-spinner Samuel Badree, who opened the bowling, and smashed him for four.

Perkins climbed into the lively Edwards and swatted him for a boundary before Simmons (8) was beaten for pace and removed in the same over to leave Guyana on 14-1 in the third over.

Perkins, who sweetly cut Badree for four and Dilshan who played a ‘Dilscope’ for six off Edwards before gloriously stroking back-to-back fours off Benn, took the score to 47 before Benn got rid of Perkins in the sixth over.

Sarwan got the shock of his life when he tried to use the electronic bail to mark his guard and the bail started to light up when it was removed from the stumps.

However, the right-handed former West Indies Captain settled down to support Dilshan, who played an array of audacious shots, in their 31-run partnership before Sri Lankan Dilshan was caught and bowled by Cooper at 78-3 in the 11th over.

James Franklyn (16) and Sarwan (18) then saw Guyana home in emphatic fashion with 22 balls to spare.
Tonight, Jamaica led by Chris Gayle face-off with the Kieron Pollard led Barbados in the second semi-final to decide who will battle Guyana in the grand finale tomorrow.

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image001

Limacol CPLT20 move to the final phase

image001So ends that phase of the Limacol CPLT20, everyone calling it a success. And what entertainment it has provided so far!

The organisers invite: Okay! That ends the League Phase of the inaugural edition of the Caribbean Premier League. We now take a 3-day break and return on Thursday, 22nd August, 2013 at 8 pm local at Trinidad where Ramnaresh Sarwan’s Guyana Amazon Warriors take on the home side, Trinidad and Tobago, in the first semi-final! The following day, at 8 pm local again, will witness the second semi-final between Jamaica Tallawahs and Kieron Pollard’s Barbados Tridents. The last few days of this tournament have been action packed and we certainly hope that the final three days end in a frenzy! And we invite you to join us for the party and enjoy the carnival! Until then, on behalf of the commentators and scorers, ADIOS! TAKE CARE!

See what you may have missed – highlights and much more –

Visit the following:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8ILUEsWKmM&list=PL3Wi6IXez6q6jfYTt5lEczdzjdgPvuGSX

http://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialCPLT20?feature=watch

http://cplt20.com/news-overview

The main site is: http://cplt20.com/

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West Indies criket legend, Sir Vivian Richars

Vivian Richards tips Caribbean Premier League to develop young players

Vivian Richards says the inaugural edition of the Caribbean Premier League should also give the young players an opportunity to assess their professional career.

West Indies criket legend, Sir Vivian Richars

West Indies criket legend, Sir Vivian Richards

CMC, Antigua:  Former West Indies captain and batting legend Sir Vivian Richards believes the inaugural Caribbean Premier League (CPL) will provide young cricketers an opportunity to display and hone their skills in a competitive environment.

In an interview, Sir Vivian said the tournament should also give the young players an opportunity to assess their professional career, reports CMC.

“It could also be that sort of a pinnacle that maybe our young professionals, or guys who are aspiring to be young professionals, can now maybe look forward to the cool and smooth T20 tournament; and now with the CPL, this could be the point where maybe the younger professionals would really like to reach,” Sir Vivian said.

“It is an opportunity for them and it is that sort of a playground for them to assess their careers and where they would like to go and hopefully with the professional stuff which has been in the area itself, it gives them an opportunity to become better professionals and something to strive for.”

The tournament includes six franchises with 15 contracted players each including a maximum of four international players and four players under the age of 23.

The teams are Antigua Hawksbills, Barbados Tridents, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Jamaica Tallawahs, St Lucia Zouks and Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel.

Reacting to the non-selection of Antigua and Leeward Islands’ captain Sylvester Joseph, Vivian, who will coach the Hawksbills, said the idea was to select a nucleus of players capable of complementing each other.

“We try and look for individuals who we think can be part of a family because if it is that this tournament, the CPL, is going to be a period of about four to five weeks, we look to have individuals who want to represent that brand,” the former batsman said.

“There are certain processes that we have and everyone is on the list and the sheets that we were sent had everyone who were available and we just didn’t go in that direction, it is simple and plain as that.”

The CPL, organised by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), replaces the Caribbean Twenty20 as the premier T20 cricket tournament in the Caribbean.

The competition, which is slated to run from July 29 to Aug 26, will be played in Antigua, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
ENDS

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Digicel will sponsor inaugural Caribbean Premier League

Bridgetown (Barbados): April 17, 2013
By Indo-Asian News Service
Telecommunications major Digicel will sponsor the inaugural Caribbean Premier League (CPL) to be played in July-August.

The CPL in a statement stated that the sponsorship will be a multi-year deal of a significant investment from Digicel, reports CMC.

“We are thrilled to have Digicel as our partner in this venture,” said CPL founder Ajmal Khan of Verus International.

“Its wealth of experience in the region and in West Indies cricket will be an invaluable asset to the CPL, ensuring its initial and long-term success,” Khan said.

Four overseas players and six leading regional cricketers have already signed up for the CPL which will be played at venues across the region.

They include former Australian captain Ricky Ponting and former New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor as well as regional stars Darren Sammy, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard and Marlon Samuels.

“The CPL is a perfect fit for Digicel. We’re huge fans of West Indies cricket and this is a great opportunity for us to invest not only in what will be an amazing event, but also in the young cricketers who will benefit from around the region,” said Digicel Group Marketing Director Kieran Foley.

“Having seen all the plans for the inaugural tournament, we know the CPL will be a spectacle like nothing else seen in the region and we are looking forward to being front and centre…”

Digicel has been the main sponsor of West Indies Cricket since 2004.

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Mohamed Bin Hammam

AFC head Jilong slams Bin Hammam’s “intimidation tactics”

By Andrew Warshaw

Zhang Jilong

October 19 – The acting head of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Zhang Jilong, has accused his predecessor Mohamed Bin Hammam of “intimidation tactics” designed to derail the investigation into alleged financial wrongdoing by the one-time most powerful man in Asian football.

Zhang (pictured left) said Bin Hammam was trying to “intimidate and create technical legal issues and objections in the hope that the more serious allegations of secret commissions, bribery, corruption and other wrongdoings are never exposed to the light of day”.

Bin Hammam, whose lifetime ban following last year’s cash-for-votes scandal was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS),  was placed under further suspension in July as a result of claims made by an AFC-commissioned independent report carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which highlighted serious breaches of regulations during Bin Hammam’s 10-year tenure as AFC President, including allegations that he negotiated important contracts on his own and used AFC bank accounts for personal use.

That ban ends on October 23 and although it could be further extended, Bin Hammam has gone back to the CAS to have his name cleared once again.

Zhang has now written to the AFC’s member associations denying any “conflict of interest in the ongoing AFC Disciplinary Committee action against Bin Hammam” or that he had “personally benefited” form Bin Hammam’s support.

He also denied interfering with the ongoing disciplinary process.

In an uncharacteristic outburst, Zhang charged that Bin Hammam and his lawyers “do not want the Asian Football Confederation to consider the evidence that now exists and for which Mr Bin Hammam must answer”.

“The immediate task I believe is that we must all agree to allow our independent Judicial Bodies to hear the evidence and decide the case against Mr Bin Hammam,” he added.

“We can then take the next steps in our journey of rebuilding the Asian Football Confederation.”

Zhang was responding to a widely circulated emailed letter from Bin Hammam’s lawyers, which asserted that “a group of AFC officials working with FIFA” was “trying to seize control of the AFC” and “trying to take over the disciplinary decision-making machinery in order to make sure that Mr Bin Hammam cannot return to AFC”.

The correspondence continued: “They have threatened to bring disciplinary charges against anyone in Asian football who communicated with Mr Bin Hammam to oppose their tactics.”

Mohamed Bin Hammam

Bin Hammam (pictured left) has repeatedly denied all the charges against him and last month reportedly handed FIFA investigators his own independent report that is said to have torn apart the PwC findings line by line.

Whoever is right or wrong in this unsavoury and long-running dispute, the issue has totally divided the AFC and Zhang warned that the organisation was at a crossroads.

“We have a simple choice to make in the face of the distractions being thrown in our direction,” he wrote.

“We can decide to roll up ourselves and do the work such as amending our controlling statutes to put in place comprehensive bylaws and regulations which actually create a system of governance that leads to transparency and accountability.

“Or, we can ignore the truth and go back to business like it was before while pretending that it is acceptable for one man to assume control of this football confederation and run it like it was his own private business.”

“I believe, I understand and know the direction we must take to get where we want to be – and I believe right now we must stay the course and see the legal process that has been started through to its end.

“I never asked to become the Acting President or to take on these incredibly difficult problems and responsibilities.

“But I will not run away from this work either and I ask for your help and support.”

Contact the writer of this story at andrew.warshaw@insideworldfootball.biz

 

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Montserrat represented a the World Domino Federation General meeting

Montserrat was represented for the first time at the World Domino Federation Annual General meeting in Orlando, Florida this week. The meeting followed the conclusion of the World Domino tournament from August 17-26.

A two-member delegation in vice president of the Montserrat Domino Association (MDA) Mr. Winston Telesford and seasoned domino player Mr. Leon Spinks, returned  for Florida, after attending the final two days of the Federation Championship games and the annual general meeting.

Mr. Telesford told The Montserrat Reporter (TMR) that the visit was a good experience. He revealed that apart from observing the championship games they were afforded the opportunity to also play two friendly matches with the Barbados team, who won the tournament. The Montserratians won the first of the two matches they played.

He said one of the things the Association was informed of, was the lengthy time that is devoted to the games, which is significantly different from what is practiced here in Montserrat. Another observation made during their visit, was the difference in the rules governing the matches. He explained that two of the challenges the Association would face in putting on such lengthy matches is getting sponsorship and players.

According to the Vice President, countries such as Barbados were able to produce several teams, where most of the players play domino professionally, which is different from Montserrat players. However, he said that the Association will look at reviewing their rules and other areas, where it is beneficial to Montserrat.

Meanwhile, MDA president Mr. Gregory Willock, explained that the main purpose for their attendance was to build closer ties with the Federation and present Montserrat non-coding method of playing domino to the Federation, which is contrary to the international coding method.

Willock said, “We are really pleased to get the opportunity to send our delegates to the meeting. This would allow us to determine if we need to change the style of Domino that we are playing, or whether we don’t want to associate ourselves and probably be honorary members of the Federation.”

“A few years ago… Antigua volunteered to play some friendly games with us to allow us to get a feel of what this coding style of domino is like at the international level. But when Antigua came here we were at a loss, because…they played a style of coding, a form of coding which we are not accustomed to in any form of dominos here. What we experienced against Antigua was really unfamiliar territory for us,” he said.

He continued, “We decided as an Association that it was necessary for us to make representation even if we weren’t sending a team to the World Domino Federation Championship, to send a two-member delegation to the AGM so we can give the Federation a country update and also inform them of the style of Domino that we play and the rules we play under.”

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