Why is 4-times champion Italy not in the World Cup 2022?

News Network
November 26, 2022

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Four-times champions Italy are not in this year's World Cup in Qatar, marking the second time in a row that the 'Azzurri' will miss the tournament. Here's what you need to know about the European Champions' failure to qualify:

How did Italy's World Cup qualification campaign unfold?

* Italy were drawn in Group C of the UEFA World Cup qualification round along with Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

* The pressure was high on coach Roberto Mancini and the squad as Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia four years earlier.

* They started with three consecutive wins against Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania before taking a break for the European Championships last year.

* After winning the tournament, they drew twice in a row to Bulgaria and Switzerland, before claiming a 5-0 win at home against Lithuania.

* With two games left, Italy appeared to be in pole position to secure qualification, but drew 1-1 with Switzerland to leave both teams on equal points before the last round.

* Four months after their Euro 2020 success, Italy's 0-0 draw in Northern Ireland meant Switzerland finished top of their World Cup qualifying group after a win over Bulgaria, sending Mancini's side to the playoffs.

How did the World Cup playoffs unfold for Italy?

* Italy were on course to meet Portugal in the deciding playoff tie, but they missed out on the World Cup finals after losing 1-0 at home to North Macedonia thanks to Aleksandar Trajkovski's last-gasp strike.

* North Macedonia progressed to the final, where they were beaten 2-0 by Portugal, who claimed the World Cup spot.

Why did Italy not qualify for the World Cup in 2018?

* Italy finished in second place of Group G in the qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

* They then failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years after being held to a 0-0 home draw in 2017 by a defiant Sweden, who booked a place at the finals in Russia with a 1-0 aggregate win.

* The Italians, who had not missed the World Cup since the 1958 finals in Sweden, saw Andrea Barzagli, Daniele De Rossi and captain Gianluigi Buffon all declare their retirement from the national team right after the game.

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News Network
January 19,2023

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New Delhi, Jan 19: The country's top wrestlers on Thursday vowed to intensify their protest, saying the government has given them an assurance but no "satisfactory response" and they will lodge multiple FIRs against WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh if the Wrestling Federation of India is not disbanded immediately.

Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh is a prominent leader of BJP and Member of the Parliament from Kaiserganj constituency.  

The wrestlers, who have accused the WFI President of sexual exploitation and intimidation, continued their dharna for the second day as more grapplers joined them in what they called was a fight to give "a new life to Indian wrestling."

Three-time CWG medallist and BJP leader Babita Phogat came to the protest site with a "message" from the government and assured the grapplers that their demands will be met as the athletes took turn to share their bad experiences.

Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Ravi Dahiya pleaded for more support while young Anshu Malik narrated how WFI President's presence in the players' hotel in Bulgaria during the world junior championship last year made the women wrestlers uncomfortable.

It may be noted that 21-year-old Anshu had not competed in that championship as she was injured.

A team of wrestlers, including Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Anshu, Sakshi Malik, and her husband Satyawrat Kadiyan, was then called for a meeting with the government as they discussed their issues with Sports Secretary Sujata Chaturvedi, Director General SAI Sandip Pradhan and Joint Secretary (Sports) Kunal.

During the one-hour meeting, the wrestlers were asked to end their protest and assured that their grievances will be addressed.

However, the wresters wanted a concrete and immediate action and decided to continue their protest unless WFI President is removed and the national federation is disbanded along with all the state wrestling associations in the country.

Later addressing the media, Vinesh did not disclose what transpired at the meeting but said, "Unfortunately we did not get a satisfactory response."

"Yesterday, we had 1-2 victims amongst us but now we have 5-6 wrestlers, who were harassed (sexually). We can't name them now, after all they are daughters and sisters of somebody. But if we are forced to disclose their identity, it will be a black day," said Vinesh, the two-time World Championship medallist.

"It's not just about his (Brij Bhushan) resignation. We will send him to jail. We did not want to take the legal route, because we had hoped for resolution but if a proper solution is not provided, we will lodge FIRs against the President.

"We are World Championship and Olympic medallists, don't suspect us, we are telling the truth, believe us."

WFI Emergency General Council in Ayodhya

It has been learnt that the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has called for an Emergency General Council in Ayodhya on Sunday to discuss the issue.

"Yes, a meeting has been called and future course of action will be discussed. I can't say if WFI President will resign or not. It needs to be discussed," said a WFI official.

It may be noted that Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh's third term as WFI President is ending soon and he is ineligible to contest again. He was elected WFI President for the third time in February 2019.

According to the National Sports Code, a person may serve as President, and thereby on the Board, of the NOC/NSF for up to three terms or 12 years with or without break, after the completion of which tenure as President, the person shall not be entitled to return as an office bearer or Board member of the NSF.

Trust us, we are not lying

Bajrang said,"The entire wrestling hub (fraternity) is here. We have proofs, we are not lying. We want wrestling to live, start a new life."

The 28-year-old Vinesh claimed that she has got calls of appreciation from Kerala and Maharashtra woman wrestlers for taking up the cause.

"At least 5-6 girls will lodge FIRs tomorrow and it will be a black day if it happens in a country like India where 'Durga' and 'Lakshmi' are worshipped. Then I would say that no woman is safe in this country and no daughter should be born to anyone."

Asked to give details of the meeting they had with the government representative, Vinesh said,"They did not give any time-frame, just gave assurances."

"Everything is at stake now. We have not even taken police protection and (are) sitting here. But where is the WFI President; his office (is) locked. Where are those eyes that used to scare us."

When reminded that London Olympics medallist Yogeshwar Dutt has backed WFI President along with Asian Championship medallist Divya Karan, Vinesh said, Yogeshwar is definitely sitting in the lap of the WFI and that Kakran herself spoke against the President in the past. We have proofs."

"All the videos (in support of WFI President) are being made where he has that "aatank ka adda' (hub of terror), people should come and make videos here at Jantar Mantar while sitting in front of the public.

"We want the government to take control of WFI and we will not compete in any competition under the current President."

Sakshi Malik said all state wrestling associations should be disbanded in the country because the WFI President has all his men in these sports bodies.

Brinda Karat asked to leave protest

Earlier in the day, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat, who arrived at the protest site in support of the wrestlers and wanted to speak, was asked to leave by the grapplers, saying they don't want anyone to give their campaign a political colour.

"We request you, madam, please don't make this political," Bajrang said.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women (NCW) said that the wrestlers can approach it with their complaints.

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News Network
January 16,2023

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Bengaluru, Jan 16: In the wake of the Congress' 'Na Nayaki' convention being attended by Priyanka Gandhi in Bengaluru, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Monday stated that women in Karnataka are not ready to make her 'Nayaki' (leader), and therefore, she is declaring herself as 'Na Nayaki'.

"Let her (Priyanka) come. Many people come to Bengaluru. I don't have objection. May the event take place properly, but one thing which I am failing to understand is the title of the programme 'Na Nayaki'," Bommai said.

"Today people have to say 'Na Nayaki' by keeping Priyanka Gandhi's photo. Such a situation has risen where Priyanka Gandhi has to announce herself as a woman leader", Bommai added.

Congress leaders know that they would not come to power, and therefore, they are giving all kinds of assurances, Bommai opined.

Reacting to Congress leaders terming Yuvajanotsava (youth festival), as 'Yuvavinashotsava', Bommai said Congress leaders are getting dreams of destruction (Vinasha) of the Congress, and therefore, they are seeing 'Vinasha' in everything.

"They do not know to appreciate any good work. Cheap remarks being made by them regarding national issues and state's progress in recent days show their desperation level. People will not give importance to such remarks," he noted.

Bommai was in Hubballi on his way to attend the valedictory of the five-day National Youth Festival in Dharwad, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He said the youth festival was held meaningfully, and youth in the region get inspiration from that to achieve in all fields.

"Our youth policy gives opportunity for youth in all fields including education, employment, sports and culture, while rural games are also being encouraged, to identify and encourage new talents from rural areas," he added.

Bommai also said, the case of a prisoner at Hindalaga jail in Belagavi making extortion calls to Union Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari is taken very seriously, and a comprehensive probe is being conducted. Background of the incident and the motivation behind it would also be brought out, he said. 

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News Network
January 23,2023

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New Delhi, Jan 23: Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Monday agreed to consider urgent listing of the Hijab row case after petitioners cited the need for immediate hearing as students need to attend college exams in Karnataka.

A three-judge bench is likely to hear the matter.

Two judges on a Supreme Court bench in October 2022 had delivered opposing verdicts in the hijab controversy, and asked the Chief Justice to constitute an appropriate bench to adjudicate in the case that stemmed from a ban on wearing the Islamic head covering in Karnataka education institutes.

On March 15,2022, Karnataka High Court had dismissed the petitions filed by a section of Muslim students of Government Pre-University Girls College in Karnataka's Udupi seeking permission to wear the hijab inside classrooms, ruling it is not a part of the essential religious practice in Islamic faith.

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