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‘You are bemoaning reality’: Man. City make case in UK court after UAE deals reportedly allow club to outspend rivals by $825MN

A news report from the UK has revealed some of the details of the hearing as Manchester City appealed against the public release of a judge’s findings in the investigation over the club’s alleged Financial Fair Play breaches.

In a lengthy Twitter thread, Sportingintel’s Nick Harris explained how it had become common knowledge to the press earlier in 2021 that the English champions and the Premier League were still embroiled in a now two-year legal battle.

A series of gagging orders had prevented news of this being published, but the Mail on Sunday was recently able to obtain a ruling for one of its reporters to attend a court hearing related to the matter on June 30. 

On Tuesday, three of Britain’s most senior judges ruled that the Blues’ secret legal battle can be made public, which has led to subsequent reports from other outlets.

The case includes an email written for a member of staff in City’s ‘partnerships’ department. While both of the individuals have since moved on from their posts, it allegedly reads: “Dear [XXX] … there seems to be some confusion about an outstanding balance of the sponsorship fee for the 2010/11 season.

“As you are aware. Etihad’s commitment is for £4 million [$5.5 million] and the remaining balance (£8 million) [$11 million] is handled separately by the [UAE] Executive Affairs Authority [EEA].

“Please can you clarify this to your accounts department and pick it up direct with the EAA in due course? Kind regards.”

The Mail claim to have had access to paperwork that shows City invoiced Etihad Airways for a sum of £12 million ($16.5 million) in their 2010/11 sponsorship deal.

However, the document is alleged to include a hand-written note explaining how the airline was only due to shell out three times less than that total amount.

The EAA, who are reported to have covered the difference between the two amounts, “provide strategic policy” for His Highness Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is Abu Dhabi’s crown prince.

The report has suggested that City inflated their income to get around FFP rules.

Specifically, the Mail said that City earned £1.7 billion ($2.3 billion) in commercial income in the 2010s. 

Across the same period, other Big Six rivals such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal achieved an average of around £1.1 billion ($1.5 billion) each, meaning the English top flight champions appeared to earn £600 million ($824 million) more from their commercial deals than those outfits of similar dimensions.

One marked difference is that City are hugely reliant on sponsors from just one country – the UAE.

In the 2012-13 Premier League season, City’s commercial revenues jumped by 33 per cent to £143 million ($196 million), and UAE-based companies accounted for around 83 per cent of this total, with £67.5 million ($93 million) from Etihad, £15 million ($20.6 million) from investment company Aabar, £16.5 million ($22.7 million) from telecoms firm Etisalat and £19.75 million ($27.1 million) from Abu Dhabi’s Tourism authority.

By 2015-2016, six separate entities from the UAE put up £122 million ($168 million) in sponsorship for City, which represented 68 per cent of a total £179 million ($246 million), and in 2019-20, these figures were slightly less at 56 per cent or £140 million ($192.5 million) of a total £250 million ($343 million).

While there would be no problem with this usually, City will encounter heavy penalties and potential suspensions if it can be proven that these sums come from parties that are ultimately funded by City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, and not those claimed on officials documents. 

Elsewhere, the Portuguese whistleblower who set the ball rolling in 2018 with his Football Leaks expose has offered to help in further investigations.

Rui Pinto, who submitted his hacker findings to German newspaper Der Spiegel, had his lawyers tell the Mail he “remains committed to collaborate with national and international authorities in order to help uncover wrongdoing in football and contribute to football’s transparency”.

At the hearing over the publication at London’s Royal Courts of Justice, Lord Pannick QC, speaking as one of City’s representatives, is said to have been told by Sir Geoffrey Vos: “You are bemoaning reality. This is a matter of the greatest public interest.”

Pannick reportedly said of City’s challenges to the Premier League’s attempt to secure documents and information: “What the court is saying is that the price [of bringing the challenges] might be publication.”

His remarks were reportedly made as part of a purported argument by City that keeping the details under wraps will make it easier to reach a resolution, avoid further arbitration and avoid disputes with other clubs.

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French Senate Approves Controversial Coronavirus Health Passports as Mass Protests Rock Nation

The Fifth Republic has been shaken by two weeks of protests over a government initiative which would dramatically tighten anti-coronavirus restrictions, introduce strict vaccination requirements for some categories of workers and implement ‘Pass Sanitaire’ health passports which restrict access to leisure and cultural venues to the unvaccinated.

‘This is not freedom’: Macron denounces ‘irresponsibility and egoism’ of those who refuse Covid jab

French President Emmanuel Macron argued on Sunday that refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19 is not “freedom” because anti-vaxxers infect and kill others through their “irresponsibility” and “egoism.”

Macron said during a visit to French Polynesia that though “everyone is free to express themselves,” there is “no such thing as freedom where I owe nothing to anyone.”

What is your freedom worth if you say to me ‘I don’t want to be vaccinated,’ but tomorrow you infect your father, your mother or myself?

The French president argued that freedom “rests on a sense of reciprocal duty,” not selfishness. Macron also floated the possibility of a patient in hospital getting less medical attention as a result of medical professionals helping another person who refused the vaccine.

“This is not freedom, it is called irresponsibility, egoism,” Macron declared, issuing a “very strong message” for “everyone to get vaccinated.”

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FIERCE CLASHES between protesters & police in Paris as tens of thousands rally against Covid certs, vax mandates in France (VIDEO)

Tens of thousands of people in France protested the government’s decision to introduce a vaccine passport and mandatory vaccination for certain professions this weekend. France’s vaccine passport will prohibit people from entering restaurants, bars, museums, and more if they cannot provide evidence of vaccination or a recent negative test.

Similar massive protests against vaccine passports and lockdown restrictions have also been held in the UK, Italy, and Australia.

London protesters held signs that read “No to forced testing” and “No to forced vaccination” during a “Freedom Rally” of thousands on Saturday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last Monday that proof of vaccination would soon be required to enter nightclubs and other establishments.

Following the news that Italy planned to introduce a similar vaccine passport system, thousands of Italian protesters marched across the country, including Rome and Turin, with some comparing Prime Minister Mario Draghi to Adolf Hitler.

Though a vaccine passport system has not yet been introduced in Australia, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Sydney on Saturday to campaign against the city’s strict lockdown restrictions.

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File photo: Protest against 'health pass' announced by French President Emmanuel Macron, July 17, 2021.
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Champions League winner mocked for spurning certain goal with incredible miss – as boss claims he was not ‘serious’ enough (VIDEO)

Champions League winner Joshua Zirkzee has been widely mocked for missing an absolute sitter for Bayern Munich, failing to score in a pre-season friendly against Ajax at the weekend that could determine his future.

The 20-year-old Dutchman joined the Bavarians’ youth setup from Feyenoord in 2017.

Despite progressing to the seniors two years later and being part of the squad to have won the Champions League in 2020, he has only made 12 appearances for Bayern and was loaned out to Parma in the last transfer window. 

In this preseason, then, Zirkzee is singing for his supper – not only to stay on at the Allianz Stadium, but also, perhaps, to attract a potential buyer that won’t be a massive step down in his career.

On Saturday, against visitors from his homeland, he did little to entice current or future employers with a horror miss.

Approaching half-time, with Bayern level at 1-1 against Ajax, Zirkzee produced some good work to force an error from Jurrien Timber after a bad backpass.

With one touch, he left goalkeeper Remko Pasveer in his wake as he approached an open net.

But instead of chasing after the loose ball to smash it home, Zirkzee jogged at a snail’s pace and seemed happy to watch it roll in.

Perr Schurrs wasn’t ready to give up, however, and beat Zirkzee to the ball to stop a potential goal and clear to safety. 

As footage of the incident went viral, fans the world over waded in on the Netherlands youth international.

“Do not fall asleep in front of the goal,” he was advised, alongside a facepalm emoji.

“Sunday League. I mean come on, man,” remarked another.

“Same energy” one viewer quipped, accompanied by a meme of football badboy Mario Balotelli in his heyday.

The Euro 2012 finalist with Italy was rightly hooked by then-coach and countryman Roberto Mancini at Manchester City after attempting a ridiculous flick when he was through on goal that went horribly wide during a pre-season match.

“Hopefully he’ll be a little more serious in a Bundesliga game,” Zikzee’s manager Julian Nagelsmann told Abendzeitung after the match. “But I don’t have to talk to him – he’ll know that himself.

“We were a bit too deep in the first half, weren’t really so forceful in the first line of attack. Still, we had the chance to take the lead just before half-time,” the new Bayern shot-caller also added after the 2-2 draw.

“We had to score that. We then changed things a bit during the break and were really good in the first quarter of an hour after half-time. We applied a lot of pressure and had some good spells of possession. Then we substituted ten players.

“The boys also did very well. They were brave and played well with the ball. Given the squad available to us, it was absolutely fine on the whole.

“We’re very pleased there were spectators today and they supported us. That was a nice experience.”

Next up for the Bundesliga kings are meetings with Monchengladbach on Wednesday and Napoli next Saturday.

With Bayern’s season starting on August 6 in the DFB-Pokal, Zirkzee’s auditions are running out.

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Erling Haaland gave a fan an autograph on the pitch © Twitter / ESPNFC
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VC firms are pouring billions of dollars into green tech

Green technology is quickly emerging as the hottest investment sector for venture capitalists, with private firms completing $7.7 billion in deals this year.

ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing: it’s in every media outlet and on every bank’s business plan. A rush to what many call alignment of values with investment goals has led to a flourishing new industry with funds popping up like mushrooms after the rain. Green-tech startups are the new dotcoms, it seems, and the danger of a bubble seems distant—for now.

Interestingly enough, things were very different just a few years ago, as the Wall Street Journal’s Scott Patterson noted in a recent article. The past decade, he wrote, saw a pullout of investors from the green energy technology field after a couple of notable demises—one of solar company Solyndra back in 2011 and one of battery maker A123 Systems a year later.

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From today’s standpoint, this is ancient history. Now, hardly a week goes by without a breakthrough of some sort in batteries, solar power tech, or, say, hydrogen. Most of these breakthroughs have to do with cost and efficiency, which are the two things that can guarantee a product a long life. Yet, most of these breakthroughs never make it to the consumer. They never make the leap across the so-called valley of death between the lab and the market. Especially if funding is scarce and hard to come by.

Venture capital funds are changing this, the WSJ’s Patterson writes, citing data from PitchBook, a private capital market research provider. According to PitchBook, venture capital funds are seen completing $7.7 billion worth of green tech deals this year, which would be up from $1 billion ten years ago.

It’s not just venture capitalists, either. JP Morgan earlier this month launched not one but three new sustainability investment funds. This was only the latest move in a rush to set up clean energy investment funds to take advantage of growing investor appetite for environmental, social, and governance, commonly known as ESG, investing.

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Police officers float on a boat on the river Ahr as damaged houses reflect onto the water and wyneyards are seen on the hills in the background, in Mayschoss, Rhineland-Palatinate, western Germany, on July 21, 2021, after devastating floods hit the region. © CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP
The floods in Germany show how fear-mongering about climate change is preventing us from combating actual disasters  

Demand for new investment opportunities by a new generation of investors is one driver of this trend. Another, more important driver is government support for low-carbon technology. The European Union has tied its post-pandemic recovery funding program to commitments by national governments to invest a solid portion of the funds in low-carbon energy. This is effectively an open invitation to anyone doing anything in green tech. The Biden administration has also opened up the US federal purse for green tech startups.

Now, the EU and the US are discussing something they are calling a green technology alliance. In a joint statement, the two said, “We intend to lead by example through becoming net-zero greenhouse gases (GHG) economies no later than 2050 and implementing our respective enhanced 2030 targets.”

With such solid support, investment in green tech has become a lot less risky for investors… except in the part where a technology simply has no chances of survival as happens to an awful lot of breakthroughs that sound so groundbreaking in the lab but never cross the valley of death. However, this is a risk inherent in any startup investment.

We’ve seen some instances of this risk materializing in the EV space recently. First, EV and hydrogen vehicle startup Nikola suffered a major share price drop when a report from a short-seller revealed that the company’s CEO had overstated the company’s progress on its flagship model. The revelation cost Nikola a huge deal with GM, too. Another EV maker, Lordstown, recently teetered on the brink of collapse as the company ran out of money before it started commercial production of its Endurance truck.

Many more startups, not just in the EV space but also in other green tech fields, will go under if their products don’t live up to the hype. But at least now they have access to abundant funding, unlike a few years ago. Then, it was a buyers’ market. Now, it’s a sellers’ market, and buyers are lining up, eager to take part in the energy transition. How long before the situation escalates into a bubble? That would depend on how many more Solyndras and A123 Systems there are out there.

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Source: NEWS

Bloodied Russian MMA star Lobov set to retire after brutal bare-knuckle loss to Ukrainian in scrap surrounded by sandbags (VIDEO)

Conor McGregor training partner and ex-UFC star Artem Lobov admitted that he does not have “fire in the heart” after losing his latest bare-knuckle bout, falling to Denys Berinchyk in a scrap caged by sandbags on a card in Kiev.

Notoriously durable Lobov survived two standing counts in the Mahatch FC brawl, when he bravely took on unbeaten professional boxer, 2012 Olympic Games light-heavyweight silver medalist and former World University Boxing Championships king Berinchyk, ending with his face covered in blood.

Following a third successive defeat of his two-and-a-half year UFC spell in 2018, Lobov had earned wins over Paulie Malignaggi and Jason Knight in a bare-knuckle career that was as entertaining as his 30-fight MMA career.

The 34-year-old yet again showed his willingness to take on the toughest of opponents in Berinchyk, and had been backed by McGregor ahead of the showdown.

“I knew that Denys is a high-class fighter,” ‘The Russian Hammer’ acknowledged after the scrap was called off between the fourth and fifth rounds.

“So I wanted to fight him. Why go out [against who] knows who? If I go out, then I try against the strongest and aim for the stars. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll be close to the moon.

“Congratulations, Denys – it was a great honor for me to perform here. Most likely, I will [retire]. There is no fire in the heart that there used to be.

“I just went out here to see how and what [I was capable of]. Thanks to everyone – and, especially, to my team. “

WBO International lightweight title holder Berinchyk praised Lobov and said his first fight in the discipline had been positive. “Thank you for agreeing to fight an undefeated boxer,” he said.

“Respect to my opponent. My debut was a success. I liked to fight with [bare] fists. I think this is not the end, but only the beginning.”

Berinchyk was not Lobov’s only admirer in what may have been his final fight. “Artem, you made a lot of fans proud as always,” said one supporter on social media.

“Even in times of a loss, Artem never disappoints the fans. There’s not one boring Artem Lobov fight – they don’t exist.

“You made your fans proud last night and you’re never afraid of a good fight, no matter the opponent.”

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UFC star Conor McGregor (left) and pop singer Justin Bieber © Jonathan Bachman / Reuters  | © Instagram / thenotoriousmma
UFC’s McGregor sups whiskey with pop star Bieber in the sun as he backs Russian training partner Artem Lobov in bare-knuckle bout

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