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Gladbach crash in front of 13,000 ‘cardboard fans’

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MONCHENGLADBACH, Germany, May 23Despite having 13,000 cardboard cut-outs of watching home fans, Borussia Moenchengladbach lost ground in the Bundesliga title race with a 3-1 defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday behind closed doors.

“It looks great, doesn’t make any noise, but creates a certain atmosphere,” said Gladbach right-back Stefan Lainer after playing in front of the silent figures.

“It’s definitely a great idea and I’m glad that so many took part.”

With football fans in Germany locked out in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus, Gladbach fans have come up with a novel way of showing their support.

Season ticket holders can have their cardboard lookalike allocated to their regular spot at Borussia Park.

“We have 13,000 figures mounted (on card), but we have had around 20,000 orders,” said Thomas Ludwig, a Gladbach supporter over-seeing the fan project.

“Our volunteers were busy here on Friday.”

On the second weekend since the Bundesliga restarted, the figures were spread out around the Gladbach stadium along with banners, some of which were protesting against games behind closed doors.

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Visitors Leverkusen also got in on the act with a handful of away supporters having paid 19 euros ($20.72) to have their cut-outs appear in the away end.

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Still life: Cardboard cut-outs of fans at Borussia Moenchengladbach v Bayer Leverkusen © POOL/AFP / Ina FASSBENDER

However, the cut-outs couldn’t inspire the hosts as rising Germany star Kai Havertz, 20, netted an early goal for Leverkusen and converted a second-half penalty.

Gladbach forward Marcus Thuram pulled a goal back for the hosts but defender Sven Bender put the result beyond doubt when a late free-kick struck his shoulder but flew into the net.

The result allowed Leverkusen to claim third place while Gladbach dropped to fourth in the table.

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SDT gives FKF temporary reprieve but CEO Otieno not off the hook

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By JEFF KINYANJUI

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The Sports Disputes Tribunal (SDT) Thursday afternoon offered temporary reprieve to Football Kenya Federation (FKF) by dismissing an application by Milton Nyakundi and other interested parties that sort to have the federation’s bank accounts frozen, assets and properties safeguarded until elections are held.

On March 17, SDT had ruled that the FKF National Executive Council (NEC) term in office had ended and thereafter Nyakundi filed an application seeking orders to freeze FKF bank accounts and all its assets and properties protected, arguing they were in danger of vandalism due to the vacuum.

In a ruling delivered on Thursday via Zoom, SDT Chairperson John Ohaga, however, dismissed the application.

Another application filed by interested parties had argued that the NEC and FKF President Nick Mwendwa were in contempt of court as they continued to operate and work for FKF despite the earlier ruling but Ohaga dismissed it.

“There is no concrete evidence that the NEC members have continued to work. Nick Mwendwa, as per the constitution of FKF, should continue serving until elections are held,” Ohaga read part of the ruling.

FKF CEO Barry Otieno could, however, land in trouble as Ohaga directed that a letter he allegedly wrote to Fifa asking them to protect the federation from the SDT is being investigated by National Security Agencies.

Otieno has been on record denying writing the letter and has signed an affidavit to that effect. If found guilty of lying to the tribunal, he could face “imprisonment of not more than seven years” as revealed by Ohaga during the ruling.

“A full investigation to unearth the authenticity of the letter by relevant authorities will commence. If found guilty of perjury, the penalty for false declaration term is imprisonment not exceeding 7 years,” Ohaga read.

“We had called for a round table discussion by stakeholders, potential candidates and other interested parties and this will come for mention on 2nd June 2020. This is to see how best to convene this round table. It is under the jurisdiction of the SDT to assist parties set up alternative dispute resolution mechanisms,” he said.

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Rudisha undergoes surgery after nasty injury

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By BERNARD ROTICH

World 800 metres record holder David Rudisha is recovering at St Luke’s Hospital in Eldoret after undergoing surgery on Thursday for an ankle fracture.

According to a statement from One4One Sports Marketing and Management, Rudisha sustained the injury after twisting his left ankle at his rural home in Kilgoris, Narok County, on May 19.

“During a walk on his compound, the 31-year-old stepped on uneven ground and initially believed it was not a serious injury,” read the statement in part. “He continued with training that would cause further harm on his ankle but after lack of improvement over the weekend he underwent an examination and was diagnosed with an ankle fracture at St Luke’s Hospital in Eldoret.”

According to his surgeon and Team Kenya lead doctor Victor Bargoria, the injury – which he described as Supination External Rotation – was a fracture on the left ankle. He fixated it with a 1/3 tubular plate and 3.5mm screws.

The statement further said that Rudisha, who was preparing for his third consecutive Olympics next year, will be out for training for 12 to 16 weeks and could return to training in September.

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Speaking to Nation Sport on phone Bargoria said Rudisha was in stable condition.

“The patient is in good condition and I will be seeing him again today (Thursday) before we now start rehabilitation and within some few weeks he should be fine,” said Bargoria.

During the 2012 Summer Games in London, Rudisha clocked 1:40.91 breaking the world record (1:41.11) previously held by Danish Wilson Kipketer.

In 2016, Rudisha defended his Olympics title in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after winning in 1:42.15.

In an earlier interview with Nation Sport, Rudisha was optimistic that he will be in good shape to participate in the Tokyo Olympics Games which were postponed to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I was expecting to come back this year in a big way but again the virus halted my plans but we just have to wait. My injury had healed and my medical specialist had given me a clean bill of health,” said Rudisha who is managed by Mitchell Boeting.

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Toulouse join Lyon, Amiens in appealing to top French court

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By AFP

TOULOUSE, FRANCE

Toulouse have joined the growing number of clubs appealing the way the season ended by taking the French league to the country’s highest administrative court, regional media reported on Thursday.

Toulouse, last in Ligue 1 when play was halted by the coronavirus have appealed to the Council of State, La Depeche du Midi said.

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The club has consistently refused to confirm whether it is appealing but in two emails sent on Tuesday to sponsors and supporters and posted online, it acknowledged that they had been dead last in the table but said they were obliged to “assert” their “rights”, without mentioning the court.

Amiens, 19th in the table and also relegated, and Lyon, who were seventh and missed European football, have already lodged appeals. Ajaccio, left just outside the promotion places in Ligue 2, are reportedly also planning legal action.

The last Ligue 1 games were on March 8. At the urging of the government, the league board voted on April 30 to declare the season over with, for most Ligue 1 teams, 10 rounds of matches to play.

Toulouse, bottom for many months and with only three wins and 13 points from 28 games, were 14 points from potential safety.

Amiens were 10 points better off, but still four points away from the lifeline of a playoff spot.

The league ranked teams by the ratio of points won to games played, but that did not change any of the placings in the final table.

“The Board of Directors of the Professional Football League saw fit to act on April 30, 2020, to relegate our club to Ligue 2 on the basis of a provisional ranking established 10 rounds from the end,”

Toulouse said in an email about next season’s ticket prices on Tuesday.

“This may have surprised some people, but we have made a conscious decision to contest this decision. It is our responsibility to defend sporting fairness and to assert our rights, despite our 20th place.”

Earlier, Amiens also insisted they had been victims of an injustice.

“Amiens are still fighting against this decision which we find unfair, incoherent and unfounded,” Amiens president Bernard Joannin told AFP.

While the league decided to confirmed the two automatic relegations and promotions, it scrapped the playoff between the 18th team in Ligue 1 and a second-division club.

Ajaccio, along with the two clubs just behind it in Ligue 2, appealed to the French Olympic Committee but lost.

The Corsican club responded by saying: “We maintain that AC Ajaccio are destined to play in Ligue 1 next season.”

A first hearing of the supreme court is scheduled for June 4.

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