KOLKATA: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Goa Football Association (GFA) are not on the same page regarding six matches in the Goa Professional League identified for ‘suspicious betting patterns indicative of match manipulation’, which as per a former FIFA official should be addressed on priority.London-based Sportsradar — a company that monitors betting odds, movements and patterns worldwide and has FIFA as one of its clients — has cast their suspicion on six matches played between October 16, 2019 and November 19, 2019 in the Goa Pro League last season. Sportsradar identified these suspicious activities through the Fraud Detection System and sent it to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), which in turn informed the All India Football Federation (AIFF) integrity officer Siraj in March. GFA secretary Jovito Lopes said his organisation had conducted an investigation and also caught hold of one person — Gabriel Fernandes — who was giving ball-by-ball commentary of Goa League matches but said match-fixing could not be proved due to a lack of evidence. GFA had sent a letter to Siraj on March 9 stating that the suspected person was caught red-handed while he was giving the commentary during an I-League match at Margao on March 8 between Churchill Brothers and Gokulam Kerala FC. The suspected person was having an I-League media accreditation card which said he was a reporter of Genius Group, which is allegedly linked to Bet 365. “There is no conclusive evidence. These are separate issues,” Siraj told IANS on Tuesday when asked about GFA’s report on March 9 regarding the Goa Pro League matches’ investigation. “GFA sent a two-line letter regarding the Goa Pro League matter on March 6. They said ‘we are looking into this matter’. It was like an acknowledgement. “See if this guy is a player, he can attend matches. The report is not conclusive enough. You need evidence to prove anything. So see we are still awaiting the investigation report on the matter and then we will take it forward. This is not to be confused with the March 9 letter from GFA,” said Siraj, a former CBI officer. When contacted, GFA secretary Lopes said not only did they send a letter on March 9, there was another note sent on Tuesday morning furnishing more details. “We have explained everything in the letter. The same person who was present in the I-League match on March 8 was also doing the same ball-by-ball commentary of Goa League matches. So there is a connection there,” Lopes told IANS. “We started investigation the moment we got the letter on March 5. We cannot say that he is involved but then the same person is doing the same thing in I-League and Goa Pro League matches. “We are still to hear anything from AIFF after the March 9 letter. We sent him a note today morning also apprising of further developments.” Shaji Prabhakaran, President at Football Delhi, was actively involved during the time AIFF appointed an integrity officer in 2014. Shaji is a former FIFA South Central Asia Development Officer. “In India you don’t get to know many things. But globally you get to know that Indian leagues are also in demand for betting markets,” he told IANS. “Indian leagues are also in demand and demand is growing. So when demand is growing, there will be people who will try to manipulate by getting into your system. “That was the whole reason for (having) an (AIFF) integrity officer. I played a key role in initiating everything when I was with FIFA. Even we have done FIFA interpol CBI seminars in India. “I took that initiative and that’s how it was done. It was a very good step. Now states will have to be also proactive and clubs also. AIFF alone cannot manage this. Everything needs to be on their toes. This GFA thing is not surprising for me because the suspicion was there. Right now these are all suspicions and it is not proven. Now is the right time for Indian football to be more proactive and put a system in place. “These things can impact football commercially at a time when sport is in critical juncture. “We have to protect the game in every way. That’s why as a local association we have partnered with Sportsradar,” Shaji said. “We also did a workshop last month. You have to always presume that something will happen. This is a very serious issue which has come to the notice of AIFF involving Goan football and this should be dealt with utmost intensity. If local leagues are suspicious, they can penetrate to any competition,” he added. IANSAlso Watch: #NewsMakers: Bharat Bhushan Dev Choudhury, Sec. General Administration, Gov. of Assam, Dispur
[media-credit name=”Steve Gotter/The Badger Herald” align=”aligncenter” width=”540″][/media-credit]They are three completely different people, but one common thread ties together Kodee Williams, Kinley McNicoll and Genevieve Richard, making them a unique trio within the University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team. It’s not that the three occupy the same position — Williams and McNicoll are midfielders while Richard is the starting goalkeeper — or have superior abilities.Instead, it’s their heritage that sets Williams, McNicoll and Richard apart. But unless it’s Richard (pronounced REE-shard) talking, that different heritage is hardly obvious.The trio hails from different parts of Canada — McNicoll grew up in Oakville, Ontario, Williams in Toronto, and Richard in Saint-Bruno, Quebec — giving them something in common with Badger assistant coach Tim Rosenfeld, a Thunder Bay, Ontario, native.Rosenfeld experienced Canadian collegiate athletics at the University of Toronto, but as a coach in his 18th year at an American college under NCAA jurisdiction, he explained there’s a stark difference between college sports in the two countries.“You can’t compare it,” Rosenfeld said, noting he was lucky to get a new uniform every year while in college. “To see what these [players] get — and I think that’s maybe the difference with the Canadians as well, is they can appreciate the things that they get when they get to [the NCAA] level and say, ‘Had I gone to the University of Waterloo, this would not be happening to me right now.’ There’s certain appreciation that they have for the experience.”But it’s not just college sports that differ between Canada and the United States, it extends down into high school sports as well.“We definitely don’t take our high school sports as seriously. We have provincial championships, but it’s nothing like state championships. Our high school teams are just … not that great. I didn’t even play soccer in high school just because the level wasn’t there for me,” said Williams, who instead played on club teams and youth national teams. “It’s a lot different. They take their sports very seriously in America.”According to Rosenfeld, soccer is just as popular in Canada as it is in the United States, and although there may be fewer players in Canada, there is still plenty of talent available for American universities to recruit. Wisconsin head coach Paula Wilkins and Rosenfeld have done just that, with a little help from Rosenfeld’s special connection.Rosenfeld’s uncle, Bryan Rosenfeld, has been coach of the Canadian National women’s U-17 team for the last three cycles, giving his nephew valuable insight into some of the best up-and-coming talent in all of Canada.“So far it’s really worked out well for us. It’s not something that’s backfired. It’s been a good angle and they’ve been successful in the classroom, on the field and we’ve just kept on going with it,” Rosenfeld said of recruiting Canadian players with the help of his uncle.Once Williams, McNicoll and Richard got to Wisconsin, naturally all three had to make adjustments to not only going to college, but life in a new country.As the sophomore McNicoll remarked, making those accommodations was not difficult.“It was not hard to adjust at all. Wisconsin is so much like home. People are so friendly. With the soccer team it’s just so much easier to fit in,” McNicoll said, emphasizing that Wisconsin has become like a second home.In their time with the Badgers, Williams, a redshirt junior; McNicoll; and Richard, a junior, all have accomplished success in different ways, on which Rosenfeld elaborated.“There’s a kid that’s taken the American college experience and decided, ‘I’m going to make the most of this.’ It’s unique,” Rosenfeld said of Williams. “The college experience in the States is unique. There’s no other place in the world that has created what the NCAA has created. There’s nothing, in terms of the opportunity that these kids have and the level that they’re playing at and the support that they have.“There’s somebody that’s taken advantage of it,” he said. “She’s brought that kind of leadership not only within the student organization but on the team as well.”“You look at Kinley and that kid has a huge future ahead of her. She is the shining star of the Canadian U-20 national team right now,” Rosenfeld said. “I’ve spoken to the coach in the last couple of weeks and he just keeps on checking on her because he thinks the world of her and that she’s going to be the next full team on his 20, so she’s got a whole good national career ahead of her for sure.”“[Richard] has really developed into a top-notch goalkeeper and she’s got international experience,” he said. “I know she’s on the radar over there. I obviously work with her a lot and she is the consummate professional. I hate to use that word in college, but she comes out to train and works her butt off. She’s good academically. She has it figured out. She knows what she needs to get done and she gets it done.”The three Canadian players also have something else in common: they have played a large role in Wisconsin’s success this season.The Badgers (8-2-2 overall, 3-1-1 Big Ten) have had a potent offensive attack that is averaging almost 2.5 goals per game, headed by McNicoll who has 21 points on six goals and nine assists. Williams has also aided the offense with 10 points of her own (3 goals, 1 assist).And then in the thick of things on defense, Richard has lost only one game, a 7-1-2 record, and has recorded 45 saves with a .789 save percentage. With her strong performance as of late, Richard earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week last week following back-to-back shutouts against Michigan and Michigan State.In the end, the nationalities of McNicoll, Williams and Richard have little effect. It’s their soccer capabilities of this trio that could mean big things for Wisconsin.“We always get picked on because we say things funny and we definitely, we know what we’re talking about when we talk about Smarties. We’re not talking about the chalky candies that you guys have here. We’re talking about chocolate. And of course, there’s all the little nuances that we know. There’s definitely a bond between us that the Americans will never understand,” Williams said.
So is Jordan, though he wished he could have played in his first NBA All-Star Game with teammates Chris Paul (nine-time All-Star) and Blake Griffin (five-time All-Star). Paul has missed the past 13 games after having surgery to treat a torn ligament in his left thumb. Griffin sat out 18 other games to recover from right knee surgery. Still, the Clippers (35-21) remain in striking distance behind San Antonio (43-13) and Golden State (47-9).“Being without (Paul) is tough, but they’ve done a good job of weathering the storm and winning some games while he has been out,” Kerr said. “Once he’s back, you know they’re going to get a lot better.”Will the Clippers be better enough after either falling in the first round (2016, 2013) or West semifinals (2015, 2014, 2012) since Paul, Griffin and Jordan have played together?Jordan mused Paul and Griffin’s possible inclusion in this year’s All-Star Game would not have come at the expense of the Warriors, which boast Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Jordan argued the “Spurs are never a sleeper” before calling Gregg Popovich “a hell of a coach” and forward Kawhi Leonard “one of the best players on both sides of the ball.”Though he said it would be “really cool” if the Clippers acquired Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony before the Feb. 23 trade deadline, Jordan sounded concerned about something else.“We have to get healthy,” Jordan said. “When we get a full team, we’ll be OK.”The Clippers have been OK mostly because of Jordan, who observed he took on a heavier workload and leadership role without Paul and Griffin. That arguably secured an All-Star nod for Jordan, enabling him a more pleasant experience to break up the NBA grind.“We beat each other up so much during the season. It’s good to get a break,” Jordan said. “It’s good to see these guys and not be intense.”So, Jordan jokingly revealed his mock dislike for Durant after he declined the Clippers in free agency last summer. With Kings center DeMarcus Cousins mused he most looks forward toward seeing Jordan shoot free throws during the All-Star Game, Jordan called Cousins a “hater.” Jordan also soaked in his visit to New Orleans with friends and family, while enjoying po-boy sandwiches.“I’m really excited,” Jordan said. “I want to have as much fun as possible.”It sounds like Jordan already has with frequent smiles, laughs and playful insults. “I’m excited; this is my first one,” Jordan said. “Hopefully, there will be more.”He also swatted away any notion of feeling snubbed in recent seasons as quickly as he does with one of his blocks.“That’s a way harsh word,” Jordan said. “I could’ve made it a couple of times. But everything happens for a reason. The timing was right this year. I’m just excited to be here. I didn’t really come out and play hard to make the All-Star team. I’m lucky and blessed to be a part of this.”Western Conference coach Steve Kerr listed Jordan, San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge as well as Portland’s Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollom as players recently “being on the outside looking in.” But Kerr argued Jordan’s play should not escape the naked eye as he ranks first in the NBA in field-goal percentage (69.5 percent), third in rebounding (13.8) and ninth in blocks (1.7).“It should have happened a couple years ago. He means so much to his team,” said Golden State forward Kevin Durant, who became close friends with Jordan during the 2016 Rio Olympics. “He’s well respected around the league as one of the best big men and a different big man than what we’re used to seeing. He’s so athletic and gets off the floor so quickly. He’s a freak of nature. I’m so happy for him.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error NEW ORLEANS >> The endless quips captured a man eager to crack a joke any chance he can.As Clippers center DeAndre Jordan discovered, NBA All-Star weekend provides a format both for stars and standup comedians.Jordan jokingly called Saturday’s practice the toughest of his life in preparation for Sunday’s All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center. Jordan contended he plans to shoot “every time I touch it” so he can break the record that Indiana’s Paul George set in 3-point field goals (nine in 2016). Jordan said he also practiced more on his free throws than preparing for Saturday’s NBA dunk contest, an obvious jab on his poor marks from the foul line this season (50.2 percent) and through his nine-year NBA career (43 percent).In between laughs, Jordan spoke of his upcoming stint as a Western Conference reserve with the same excitement children have when they open Christmas presents.