LFA president Mustapha Raji and Doxxbet-Liberia managing director Branislav Lysonek display the symbolic check of US$24K, for the sponsorship of the league prizes.The Liberia Football Association (LFA) and Doxxbet-Liberia have signed a partnership agreement valued US$24,000 to provide sponsorship for the individual awards in the ongoing national leagues.The prizes include highest goal scorers, most valuable players (MVPs), best defenders, best goalkeepers and best coaches in the first, second and women’s divisions as well as best referee and best sports reporter.The prizes for the highest goal scorers are L$200,000 in the first division, L$150,000 in the second division and L$100,000 in the female division. The MVP in the first division will get a car while the MVP will get L$200,000 in the second division and L$100,000 for the MVP in the female division.The best defenders, goalkeepers and coaches in the first, second and female divisions will get L$100,000 each.For unarguably the first time in the history of the LFA national leagues, the best referee and sports journalist will each receive L$100,000.Doxxbet-Liberia managing director Branislav Lysonek was happy that the deal was finalized after months of negotiations.LFA president Mustapha Raji and Doxxbet-Liberia managing director Branislav Lysonek exchange copies of the signed league sponsorship agreement.“We had to conclude the details of everything over many meetings in the office. And finally we exchanged letters to sign the sponsorship agreement. So we feel good and confident about this partnership and we believe that this is just the beginning,” said Lysonek.The deal is valued for a year and Doxxbet believes it will be used for the support of the national league.“We expect it is going to be all transparent and delivered to the players and referee, who should be awarded for their performances. Doxxbet also hopes it will be seen as the exclusive sponsors of this unique league in the gaming industry,” said Lysonek.LFA secretary-general Isaac T. Z. Montgomery (2n from right) also hailed Doxxbet for support to Liberian football and encouraged other private entities to emulate their example.He said it was Doxxbet’s initial contribution to Liberian football and the deal could be extended depending on further corporation.LFA President Mustapha Raji thanked Doxxbet for agreeing to sponsor the league after tireless negotiation.“Today, I am happy again that the LFA have signed another partnership with Doxxbet Liberia to provide prizes for individuals like most valuable players and best defenders and coaches in all categories.“We are happy that Doxxbet came to our aid after months of negotiations. We hope that this will further motivate the players knowing that they will benefit at the end of the league in addition to the prizes that will be given to the clubs,” Raji said.LFA secretary-general Isaac T. Z. Montgomery also hailed Doxxbet for support to Liberian football and encouraged other private entities to emulate their example.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Brazil, the World Cup host and the clear favorite (in our view), will start off the tournament Thursday with a match against Croatia. Soon after, 30 other countries will take to the pitch with varying prospects of achieving their World Cup dreams. See the FiveThirtyEight World Cup predictions for more on that.But first: a brief tour of World Cup history. We wanted to answer a few basic questions: How often do favorites win? How often do host nations win? Is the spread of soccer talent throughout the world becoming more top-heavy or more even?The 20 charts below provide some answers. They rank each team that entered the World Cup based on its Elo ratings before the tournament.These Elo ratings, which were adopted from a system developed for chess, have relatively little meaning in an absolute sense. We could say, for example, that Italy has an Elo rating of 1879 — but it’s not clear what you’d do with that.The Elo system is set up such that the average team has a rating of 1500. There are more than 200 countries that field national soccer teams, however, so being average (as Cape Verde or Trinidad and Tobago are, according to Elo) won’t normally get a team into the World Cup field, much less win it the trophy.So instead we’ve compared each team’s rating with that of the 32nd-best team in the world, according to Elo (whether or not team No. 32 qualified for the World Cup), at the time the World Cup began.1We only collected Elo ratings data on the teams that qualified for the World Cup. Sometimes, the team ranked No. 32 in the world was not among them. Therefore, we extrapolated the rating for the No. 32 team by looking at others ranked close to that threshold — for example, by taking the average of the Nos. 30 and 34 teams’ Elo ratings if both teams qualified. The 32nd-best team has gotten quite a bit better over the years, having gone from an Elo rating of 1540 in 1930, to one of 1707 this year. (The 32nd-best team in the world is currently Costa Rica, according to Elo.) Of course, the field has also expanded — from 13 teams in 1930 to 32 in World Cups played since 1998.The charts include one other important adjustment: We’ve given a 100-point bonus, in accordance with the Elo system’s recommended value, to the host nation.2This adjustment may be too conservative, especially for the earlier years of the competition.The 1930 World Cup, the first on our tour, was one where the home-nation adjustment makes a difference. Held in Uruguay, it was composed mostly of teams from the Americas; few European nations were willing to make the journey. Argentina and Uruguay were the two best teams in the field by some margin, with Argentina just slightly ahead in the Elo ratings. But Uruguay’s home-nation status was enough to make it the favorite. The two met in the finals in Montevideo, with Uruguay winning 4-2. More surprising: The United States and Yugoslavia won their groups and advanced to the semifinal, ahead of the higher-rated Brazil and Paraguay.Italy played host to the 1934 World Cup. Several South American teams, including Uruguay, declined to participate, as did the countries of the United Kingdom. Overall, however, the field was deeper and had more parity than four years earlier. Italy, Argentina and Austria would essentially have been co-favorites before the tournament began, with Italy slightly ahead on the basis of the home-country effect. Indeed, Italy won.Italy was also the favorite in the 1938 World Cup, which was played in France under the cloud of creeping European fascism. Italy was a clear favorite because Argentina, No. 2 in the Elo ratings at the time and disappointed that Europe had hosted two World Cups in a row, refused to participate. Italy won, keeping the streak alive for Elo favorites.But when the World Cup returned in 1950 after a 12-year hiatus because of World War II and its aftermath, there was a surprise in store. Brazil hosted the tournament and, with its home-country boost, would have been the slight favorite per Elo. But it was a deep field — with England participating for the first time, and strong entrants from Italy, Sweden and several other countries (although Argentina again declined to enter). Uruguay, just the ninth-best team in the field, according to Elo, prevailed in a famous upset.We’ll accelerate our pace a bit now that we’ve gotten the hang of this. The 1954 World Cup, held in Switzerland, featured another famous upset in the final, with West Germany defeating heavily favored Hungary in the so-called Miracle of Bern.The 1958 World Cup featured a deep and competitive field. Hungary or Argentina would probably have been the favorite, but Brazil and England were not far behind them. Brazil won for the first time.This touched off Brazil’s golden era, helmed by its star Pelé. The team entered the 1962 World Cup in Chile as the favorite, and it won — marking the last time a team has won two consecutive World Cups.By 1966, Brazil’s Elo rating had slipped closer to the rest of the world. Among a deep group of contenders, England would have been the Elo favorite because of its host-nation status. And just this once, England won.The 1970 World Cup, held in Mexico, featured one of the deepest fields ever. England was nominally the favorite again, according to Elo, but five other countries were within 100 points of it — including the eventual winner, Brazil.The 1974 World Cup, by contrast, had a relatively clear favorite. West Germany and Brazil were the best teams in the world by some margin, but West Germany, led by Franz Beckenbauer and having built momentum by winning the 1972 European Championships, played host to the tournament and won.The 1978 World Cup, held in and won by Argentina, is one of the least fondly remembered. Argentina was ruled by a military junta, which had come to power in 1976 after the overthrow of Isabel Perón. That World Cup has also long been associated with accusations of match-fixing. Was Argentina’s home-country advantage, for whatever reason, larger than usual? It’s hard to say; Argentina was a good team on its football merits, and the customary 100-point home-country boost would have put it in a group of front-runners that included West Germany, the Netherlands and Brazil.Spain hosted the World Cup in 1982; West Germany and Brazil would have been the favorites, according to Elo. Instead, it was Italy — just the 12th-best team in the field — that won.The 1986 World Cup initiated an era of relative parity. It would have been hard to pick a favorite: 14 teams, including the host, Mexico, were stacked within 140 Elo points of one another, and they weren’t that far ahead of some of the also-rans. Argentina won, not uncontroversially, on Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal.The 1990 World Cup also featured a fairly flat distribution of talent, although the host, Italy, would have been the nominal favorite on the basis of the home-country advantage. West Germany won instead after a low-scoring and poorly played World Cup.The World Cup returned to the Americas in 1994, when it was held in the United States. This was perhaps the first time that the host nation had no real chance of winning; the U.S. was rated as just the 18th-best team, despite its home-country boost. Much like the 1986 tournament, there was a large group of good-but-not-great teams atop the field. The Brazilian team, led by Romário and Bebeto, won in Pasadena, California, after Roberto Baggio’s penalty kick sailed over the crossbar.The 1998 World Cup featured co-favorites, according to Elo: France and Brazil were tied in Elo entering the tournament (after giving France its 100-point home-country bonus). Those two teams met in the final, and France won 3-0.The 2002 World Cup, co-hosted by Japan and South Korea, was one of the oddest tournaments. France was the best team entering the tournament, according to Elo, but it went winless in the group stage. The final featured some customary names — Brazil and Germany, with Brazil winning — but neither the Brazilian or German teams were especially strong by the Elo ratings. Turkey took third place despite being just the 23rd-best team in the field.The 2006 World Cup also featured a great deal of parity, with at least 10 plausible winners, including the host, Germany. It was Italy who prevailed over France on penalties in a final remembered for Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt.The past two World Cups, however, have seen a reversal in the trend of greater equality among footballing nations. Brazil and Spain entered the 2010 World Cup in South Africa as the front-runners, with Brazil just two points ahead of Spain in Elo entering the tournament. In the final, Spain defeated the Netherlands, ranked third in the world per Elo.That brings us back, finally, to this year’s tournament. Here are the Elo ratings, and then a few closing observations.Brazil is the best team in the world, according to Elo, as it is in our Soccer Power Index. There have been several other times when a home country was close enough to the top in Elo that it would have been the favorite after accounting for its home-country bonus. However, this is the first time the No. 1-ranked Elo team also played host.That gives Brazil a significant edge on the rest of the field. In fact, the 506-point gap between Brazil (accounting for its home-country bonus) and the 32nd-best team in the world (Costa Rica) is the largest ever in the World Cup. The 127-point gap between Brazil and the second-best team, Spain, is the second-largest after Italy in 1938.That’s not to say Spain, Argentina and Germany are poor teams. Spain’s Elo rating — 379 points ahead of the No. 32 team — would have made it the favorite in any World Cup played from 1986 through 2010. Argentina and Germany are strong enough that they would have been the favorites in a number of recent World Cups as well. Any of them would be a worthy champion, but they’ll have to get by Brazil.
Meghan MarkleGetty ImagesIt looks like Meghan Markle is being put through the ringer, just like Princess Diana was. The Duchess of Sussex faces the same gruelling treatment upon entering the Royal Family as Princess Diana, with both failing to get any training on life as a royal, according to Princess Diana’s former butler.Meghan Markle will have received no training upon entering the Royal Family in 2018 when she married Prince Harry in a lavish Windsor Castle ceremony, according to royal commentator Paul Burrell. And we have to say, that might just be the case as Meghan Markle has been dubbed “Duchess Difficult” by many, including the Royal staff. What the former Hollywood star may need is proper training to become a Royal. As being a celebrity and being a Royal are not the same thing.Reportedly Paul Burrell worked with Diana from 1987 until her death in 1997 and revealed she received very little training to prepare her for royal life. Mr. Burrell spoke to Yahoo’s Royal Box. When asked what training Meghan would have received after marrying into the Royal Family, he said: “Would you believe there is no rulebook. There is no etiquette lesson. There are no advisers…..Nobody prepares people coming into the Royal Family.” Meghan MarkleGetty ImagesMeghan Markle has already rubbed quite a few people the wrong way with her disregard for Royal rules and protocols. When asked whether Meghan will have to “tone down” her beliefs as a royal, Mr Burrell replied: “Yes, of course. What comes with maturity is a set of beliefs and they don’t always sit well with the Royal Family.”But it looks like that is something Meghan Markle won’t be doing. As the Duchess of Sussex got her independence when the couple Sussex split from the Royal household. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle moved to Frogmore Cottage to raise baby Archie away from the Palace. Meghan Markle already seems to be carving her own path as a Royal.
In an unprecedented development, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress has bagged 34% seats in yet-to-be conducted Panchayat Polls. There will be no polling in 20,076 seats of the total 58,692 seats in the forthcoming three-tier Panchayat polls in West Bengal because the ruling Trinamool Congress has won at about one-third seats uncontested.
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We pay for stories! Send your videos to firstname.lastname@example.orgThere are long delays on the A500 due to a vehicle fire this afternoon – with the D-roads northbound carriageway shut for several hours as a result. A number of readers contacted us about the fire on the carriageway between City Road and Stoke Road – which is believed to have started just before 4pm. The fire was near the bridge near the Civic Centre and Glebe Street – with congestion reported on other major roads across the area and the northbound A500 reopening shortly before 8pm. The southbound carriageway was also closed but is now reported to have reopened, according to traffic data company Inrix. The fire led to long delays throughout the city, with motorists reporting hours added to journeys in some cases. A Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: “We received a call at 15.59, two appliances – one from Hanley and Longton have attended. It is a vehicle fire. Read MoreMan, 25, arrested on suspicion of rape after sex attack in park Paramedics confirmed no one was injured. The video will start in 1Cancel Play now Follow us on Twitter @SOTLive – the official account – real news in real time. We’re also on Facebook – your must-see news, features, videos and pictures throughout Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire & South Cheshire. Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @SOTLive or message us on our Facebook page . And if you have pictures to share, tag us on Instagram at StokeonTrentLive .19:50Police confirm A500 has reopenedStaffordshire Police have confirmed the A500 has reopened.19:14Latest from Highways EnglandA Highways England spoksman said: “On the A500 near Stoke, we’ll soon be re-opening the northbound carriageway following an earlier car fire. Local roads and alternative routes in and around Stoke are busy. Allow extra journey time still.”18:41Latest on the A500 from Inrix A500 D Road Northbound closed, queueing traffic due to car fire from A519 (Hanchurch Interchange, Staffordshire) to A52 (Stoke Road Interchange, Stoke-on-Trent). Congestion to M6 J15 (Stoke-On-Trent). A50 is also struggling towards the Sideway Roundabout, because traffic is forced southbound. Both the A52 and A34 heading into Stoke is also struggling as traffic diverts away. Traffic heading Southbound on the A500 from Basford R.Although the fire has now been put out, the closure has been pushed back to the Hanchurch Interchange around 18:00, to help manage traffic Traffic was also held Southbound but has been released. Long delays on surrounding roads as traffic tries to avoid. 18:28Highways England confirm carriageway remains closedA Highways England spokesman said: A reminder that the A500 in Stoke remains closed northbound while Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and Staffordshire Police deal with a vehicle fire. “18:10Delays on A34 due to traffic avoiding A500Stop-start traffic on A34 Grovesnor Roundabout in both directions from B5038 Whitmore Road to A527 Barracks Road (Grosvenor Roundabout).Traffic using this route to avoid the problems on the A500. (Image: Inrix)17:54Latest from InrixA500 D Road Northbound closed, queueing traffic due to vehicle fire from A52 City Road (City Road Interchange) to A52 (Stoke Road Interchange). Congestion to M6 J15 (Stoke-On-Trent). A50 is also struggling towards the Sideway Roundabout. Both the A52 and A34 heading into Stoke is also struggling as traffic diverts away.Despite social media suggesting a closure at the A50 sensors show traffic getting off at City Road. Traffic was also held Southbound but has been released. Causing bad congestion through Stoke town and on the A53 as traffic finds alternative routes. 17:52Delays on A52 due to traffic on A500Queueing traffic on A52 in both directions from A527 Queen Street to A527 Barracks Road.Not helped by the ongoing problems on the A500. 17:50Queuing traffic on A50Queueing traffic on A50 Westbound from A5005 Lightwood Road (Longton / Dresden) to A5006 (Sideway Roundabout).Not helped by the problems on the A500.17:25Police commentA Staffordshire Police spokesman said:A500 northbound in Staffordshire is currently closed due to a vehicle fire at Glebe Street near Stoke, with a closure in place at the Sideway junction by the A50. Please expect delays in the local area and find an alternative route where possible .”17:24Latest on A500A Highways England spokesman said: “On the A500 near Stoke a car has caught fire. “ Traffic has been temporarily halted in both directions between the junctions of the A519 and the a34, while Staffordshire Fire and Rescue tackle the blaze. Expect delays.”17:20Latest from InrixA500 Queensway in both directions blocked, queueing traffic due to all traffic being temporarily held and vehicle fire from A52 City Road (City Road Interchange) to A52 (Stoke Road Interchange).A vehicle fire on the Northbound carriageway has resulted in traffic being held in both directions. Sensors show traffic is being affected between Sideway Roundabout and Kidsgrove / Tunstall turn off as well as the A53 and going through Stoke town. 16:51Ambulance service confirm no injuriesA West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said:We were called at 4.06pm to reports of a car on fire on the A500. One ambulance attended. There were no injuries and we are now clear of the scene.” 16:38Delays on surrounding roadsInrix reports traffic is being affected between Sideway Roundabout and Kidsgrove / Tunstall turn off as well as the A53 and going through Stoke town. 16:37Latest photo from the sceneLatest photo from the fire on the A500 (Image: Mart Lowe)16:36What we know so farTraffic is being held on the A500 in both directions due to an SUV fireThe fire is near the Civic Centre in StokeFirefighters were called shortly before 4pmMotorists are being advised to avoid the area16:34Video from the sceneDawn Bridges took this video from the scene.16:33Traffic queueingInrix, the traffic data company, confirm traffic is queuing on surrounding roads.16:28Further statement from the councilA Stoke-on-Trent City Council spokesman said:“Motorists are advised that a vehicle on fire on the A500 Queensway is causing serious congestion on the ring road, which may have a knock-on effect on other routes. “Emergency services are on site but check your route before travelling and avoid the area as much as possible. “16:28Location of the fireThe fire is near Glebe Street bridge (Image: Inrix)16:26Another image from the scene (Image: Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service)16:23Council advising motorists to seek alternative routesA Stoke-on-Trent City Council spokesman said:There is a vehicle fire on the A500 near the Stoke Road junction. Traffic is very heavy in the that area so please avoid if at all possible. “Motorists are advised that a vehicle on fire on the A500 Queensway is causing serious congestion on the ring road, which may have a knock-on effect on other routes.” 16:21Another picture of the fire posted in our Traffic and Travel Group Click to playTap to play Dad slams ‘disgusting’ hospital window Video Loading Video Unavailable A500 fireVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPauseUnmute0:01/0:07Loaded: 0%0:01Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-0:06 SharePlayback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMute0:00/0:00Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenClose Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. UP NEXT:UP NEXT: Click for Sound Police search for missing woman Video will play in The fire on the A500 Latest photo from the fire on the A500 (Image: Mart Lowe) A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called at 4.06pm to reports of a car on fire on the A500. One ambulance attended. There were no injuries and we are now clear of the scene.” We’ll bring you further updates as we get them on live feed below. Want to keep up to date with the latest traffic and travel news?Each day Stoke-on-Trent Live journalists bring you the latest news on the roads and railways across Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire, South Cheshire and further afield to help keep you on the move. For the very latest updates on roads including the M6, A500, A50 and more, visit our dedicated traffic and travel news channel here. We also run a live news feed each weekday, which you can access on our website’s homepage from 7am to 9pm from Monday to Friday. And for more as-we-get-it updates on the roads across the region and beyond, join The Sentinel’s traffic and travel Facebook group here. For the latest news and breaking news visit www.stokeontrentlive.co.uk Get all the big headlines, pictures, analysis, opinion and video on the stories that matter to you. Read MoreTop stories on StokeonTrentLive Driver named following fatal collision Punter found hiding in bushes Watch again Share this video Watch Next