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Gianni Infantino: New FIFA President

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The recent FIFA Presidential elections resulted in the victory of Gianni Infantino, the former lawyer from Switzerland and the Uefa general secretary by a whopping 115 votes out of 207, 27 more than his rival Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa. Gianni is a 45-year-old lawyer and holds Italian as well as Swiss nationality. His term will end in May 2019.

Blatter who had been the FIFA President since 1998, stepped down last year due to many allegations against him and then was also suspended from all football-related activities for 6 years for violating ethical guidelines of FIFA. Michel Platini, former UEFA president who was expected to be the successor of Blatter was also suspended for similar charges and hence could not stand in the elections.

The impactful 15-minute speech delivered by Infantino before the first round voting began was jaw dropping. He spoke in many languages without the help of any notes and presented himself as a leader for the world. He explicitly said that he travelled almost five times around the globe meeting the people who could vote for him.

“We will restore the image of FIFA and the respect of FIFA. And everyone in the world will applaud us.” Infantino said in his speech citing the corruption and bribery allegations during the Blatter era. “I will work tirelessly to bring football back to Fifa and Fifa back to football,” he said. “This is what we want to do.” He mentioned his administrative experience as he led Uefa out of a financial crisis and increased the revenues manifold.

Soon after the elections, Blatter voiced his opinions too. “I congratulate Gianni Infantino sincerely and warmly on his election as the new president. With his experience, expertise, strategic and diplomatic skills he has all the qualities to continue my work and to stabilize Fifa again”, he said.

This was the first time since 1974 that a second round was needed in the Fifa presidential elections. Joao Havelange of Brazil succeeded to win in the second round of the elections 42 years back.

It seems as if the most deserving and capable of delivering leader has been elected as a result of the elections. Infantino has a good practical experience in a significant football association, being involved with Uefa since 2009. Sheikh Salman has been alleged of human rights violations and also vote buying in the past. Jerome Champagne (also stood in the election) has been associated with football for only the past few years. 

Now the future will tell us whether Infantino will be able to carry the disgraced reputation of Fifa in the recent years on his shoulders and revamp it into the well-respected body it used to be or even take it to greater heights.

(Inputs from agencies)

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#BacktoWin: LaLiga and Facebook Begin Countdown to League Return

#BacktoWin will feature episodes once a week on LaLigas Facebook page until the competition returns

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LaLiga Santander
LaLiga and Facebook have started the countdown for the return of the Spanish football league by launching a series called #BacktoWin, Wikimedia Commons

LaLiga and Facebook have started the countdown to announce the return of the Spanish football league by launching a special series called #BacktoWin, episodes of which will be shown once a week on LaLigas Facebook page until the competition returns.

This show will reveal the major news stories from across LaLiga, including the umbrella strategy behind the return of LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank, kick-off times and the new audiovisual broadcast features set to be rolled out between now and the end of the current campaign, a statement from them said.

Facebook LaLiga page
#BacktoWin episodes will be shown once a week on LaLigas Facebook page until the competition returns. WIkimedia Commons

The weekly, 30-minute episodes of #BacktoWin will be aired up until Spanish league resumes. LaLiga president Javier Tebas will feature in the first episode, which will be shown on Wednesday, on LaLiga’s Facebook page.

Each episode will see a leading figure from within LaLiga take centre stage and will involve the participation of several LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank players who will share their experiences of the quarantine period and their expectations for when the competition gets up and running again.

LaLiga SmartBank
LaLiga SmartBank players who will share their experiences of the quarantine period. Wikimedia Commons

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Football-related content focusing on the return to action will dominate this new show, with viewers set to be entertained with fascinating stats and storylines such as the race to be crowned LaLiga’s top scorer at the end of the season and the latest news, including the new audiovisual features set to be incorporated into match broadcasts.

Jose Antonio Cachaza, managing director, LaLiga India said: “Through this initiative, we will bring exciting and engaging football-related content to the fans who are eagerly waiting to hear from their idols.” (IANS)

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COVID-19: Sports Enthusiasts Keep the Sports Spirit Alive

Keeping the sports spirit alive

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Sports calendar of 2020 has seen all major events either cancelled or postponed. Pixabay

By Puja Gupta

Another dreadful result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is that the sports calendar of 2020 has seen all major events either cancelled or postponed.

Sports enthusiasts have been left with nothing but reliving old matches, playing e-sports and interacting with fellow sports fans as a way to keep their spirit alive. Resulting in an increase in their activity and engagement on sports community platforms like Rooter, says its CEO and founder Piyush Kumar.

“Our user growth has been tremendous in last three months. We have more than 3 million active users (7 million overall users) who are spending close to 20 minutes everyday,” claims Kumar.

“People are reliving old matches and engaging with their fellow sports fans via live chat and discussions. We have also seen an increase in old-school games like book cricket and Ludo, which are shifting to the virtual world now,” he adds.

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“We have also seen an increase in old-school games like book cricket and Ludo, which are shifting to the virtual world now,” says Rooter, CEO and founder Piyush Kumar. Pixabay

Founded in 2016, the idea behind Rooter was to build a technology product that will connect fans with each other and create a strong community. “We initially made this community using live games during sports matches and later pivoted to content where now fans chat, create content and go live with audio/ video to connect with fans,” Kumar tells IANSlife.

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Sports fans get a dedicated and personalised sports feed as per their sports consumption. “It’s a never ending set of information on sports in multiple languages and across videos, images, polls etc. Sports lovers also get fastest and detailed scorecard of all matches across cricket, football and kabaddi in 10 Indian languages,” he informs.

Another feature of Rooter is the live audio/ video session that allows users to go online and do commentary, debates, quizzes, polls, games and connect with other fans. “It is our most engaged feature,” he says.

The company this year aims to create a new stream of content through e-sports and gaming. “Our user base is spending an equal amount of time watching sports and consuming e-sports, playing games and we believe we can provide a great product that will serve them right content and connect them with other fans/ gamers. We also want to build a strong user monetization feature thereby focusing on creating commerce on top of high engaged content we offer.” (IANS)

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University Corruption EXPOSED: Retrenchment Was Like a COVID-19 Attack

For 69 lecturers of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), the door was shut against them since May 11, 2018 – two years ago.

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University of Trinidad and Tobago has declared that lecturers’ teaching load (as opposed to work-load, which would have included research and service) was the main criterion used to select teaching staff for retrenchment. (Representational Image). Flickr

By Dr Kumar Mahabir

University
Dr. Mahabir is a former Organization of American States (OAS) Fellow and the recipient of a Government National Award for Education.

Schools, colleges and universities worldwide have been closed since March 11, 2020 when COVID-19 was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global pandemic.

But for 69 lecturers of the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), the door was shut against them since May 11, 2018 – two years ago. Like the outbreak of COVID-19, there was no warning. These lecturers were ambushed with retrenchment letters in the middle of the semester while teaching students in class.

The dismissal letters gave them seven days to take their personal property and vacant the premises. They were caught off-guard with mortgages, loans, rent and bills to pay as well as families to feed. They were suddenly without a job and medical insurance.

The stay-at-home retrenchment order was triggered to these “surplus” lecturers who had become “redundant” in the university’s “restructuring exercise.” Was their forced quarantine justified? Let’s look at the facts and revelations, using my situation as a case study.

University
Lecturers at University of Trinidad and Tobago were ambushed with retrenchment letters in the middle of the semester while teaching students in class. (Representational Image). Pixabay

My teaching load was higher

In all its internal and external releases, University of Trinidad and Tobago has declared that lecturers’ teaching load (as opposed to work-load, which would have included research and service) was the main criterion used to select teaching staff for retrenchment.

UTT’s disclosure to my Freedom of Information (FOIA) application after I was dismissed states that I was carrying a teaching load of 70.8%, excluding Practicum. However, there were other Assistant Professors who had considerably lower teaching load percentages, but were not selected for retrenchment. 

Some of them had scores as low as 15%, 28%, 35%, 38%, etc. In fact, of the 20 Assistant Professors who were retained, only two (2) or 10% had higher teaching load percentages than mine. 

Although my teaching load percentage (70.8%) was higher than most of my former colleagues, who were retained, I should have earned yet a higher teaching score had it not been for an error and contradiction on the part of UTT. 

University of Trinidad and Tobago’s disclosure to me after I was fired reveals that the PRACTICUM courses I taught were not counted as part of my teaching load. However, the same PRACTICUM Term 2 courses (PRAC 1002 and PRAC 2002) were counted for my colleagues, Additionally, a PRACTICUM Term 3 course (PRAC 2001) was counted for others but not for me.

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These errors and contradictions by UTT are important to note because the university has declared that lecturers’ teaching load was the main criterion used to select teaching staff for retrenchment.

These errors and contradictions in computing the teaching load scores for me constitute bias, inequality, unfairness and injustice in selecting me for retrenchment. These mistakes and paradoxes resulted in my dismissal which caused me grave humiliation, pain, suffering, stress, trauma and rejection as well as loss of income, status, dignity, pride and institutional affiliation.

Was this Programme really being phased out?

In many of its releases and correspondences, University of Trinidad and Tobago has stated that I and other lecturers were retrenched because the Secondary School Specialisation courses which they taught were being phased out as part of the university’s restructuring exercise. 

At the dismissal meeting at the Centre for Education Programmes (CEP) at UTT, administrator Dr Judy Rocke also told the assembled lecturers that all Secondary School Specialisation courses were being phased out, resulting in us being “redundant” in the university’s “restructuring exercise.” The following facts reveal that this statement is not true.

University
Lecturers at University of Trinidad and Tobago were suddenly without a job and medical insurance. (Representational Image). Pixabay

These same courses were timetabled for a NEW cohort of students during the new semester which began in September 3, 2018. These Secondary School Specialisation courses are taught from Year 2. One of these courses which was not phased out for the new Year 2 student-intake was ANTH 2001- Caribbean Cultural Anthropology, which I taught. After my retrenchment, I was replaced by a lecturer who was not qualified to teach ANTH 2001. 

Substitute lecturers not qualified

The Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT) made the following written disclosures to me, dated August 23, 2019.  Its Executive Director, Dr Eduardo Ali, stated that my substitute lecturer was “not qualified to teach” ANTH 2001.  Additionally, Dr Ali stated that another substitute lecturer teaching the course TVOC 2003: Job Task Analysis in Semester 1 during the Academic Year 2018-2019 at CEP was also “not qualified to teach the said course”.

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I began my tenure at UTT as an Assistant Professor in January 2007 – longer than most of my former colleagues, who held Ph.D. degrees in CEP. My latest Performance Management and Appraisal Process (PMAP) appraisal score dated October 3, 2017 was 95 out of 100. This score was given, approved and endorsed by my immediate supervisor, Dr Judy Rocke, who paradoxically selected me for dismissal. 

My skills and qualifications are more diverse than those of most of my former teaching colleagues. My M.Phil. degree is in the Humanities (Literatures in English) and my Ph.D. is in the Social Sciences (Anthropology). 

Dr. Mahabir is a former Organization of American States (OAS) Fellow and the recipient of a Government National Award for Education.