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Sports

British motor racing team, McLaren signs 13-year-old Nigerian-American in a long-term deal

McLaren signed Ugo Ugochukwu, a 13-year old son of the famous Nigerian Super model Oluchi Onweagba to a long term agreement.

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McLaren, a British Motor Raving Team, has signed Ugo Ugochukwu, a 13-year old son of famous Nigerian model Oluchi Onweagba, to a long term deal.

This was disclosed by McLaren via its Twitter handle on Monday.

The FIA European Karting champion was signed at the same age as the famous Lewis Hamilton.

Team Principal, Andreas Seidl explained how McLaren will continue to identify and sign young talent such as Ugochukwu.

He said: “This signing reflects our refocused approach to identifying and supporting new talent, away from a formal young driver programme to a more tailored basis

“Ugo is a promising young talent with strong development prospects. While he is still early in his career, it is clear he has the ingredients to be successful in the sport.”

McLaren’s Chief Executive Officer, Zak Brown gave an insight into how long the team have been watching Ugochukwu’s progress in prestigious karting competitions such as the FIA’s European Championship, and the Challenge of the Americas Junior Championship that he won in 2018

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He said, “We’ve been watching Ugo’s progress with interest, so when the opportunity to sign an agreement with him became available, we had no hesitation moving on it. Now we’ll focus on giving Ugo the right support when he needs it to help him fulfil his potential.”

Ugochukwu, who began his karting career in New York State in 2013, said: “I’m honoured to be signed by such an iconic team as McLaren Racing so early in my career. To have the support of McLaren is fantastic and what any young driver dreams of. I’m focused right now on developing as a driver and racer, so having McLaren by my side can only help me on and off the track.”

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Meanwhile, the Director-General, Nigerians in Diaspora, Abike Dabiri, has congratulated the young talent via her Twitter handle on Monday.

She tweeted, “Congrats to 13-year old Ugo Ugochukwu, son of Super model Oluchi Onweagba as he becomes the first Nigerian to win a world karting championship, and get signed by McLaren to race in Formula 1 when he grows older.”

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What you should know

  • Ugochukwu, who has been described as a “revelation” by McLaren, was victorious in the 2020 FIA OKJ European Champoinship and has also won various national and international karting accolades in his native USA and in Europe.
  • The Working team have a history of picking rising stars, with Hamilton, Kevin Magnussen, Stoffel Vandoorne and Lando Norris all alumni of their “tailored” young driver programme.

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Abiola has spent about 14 years in journalism. His career has covered some top local print media like TELL Magazine, Broad Street Journal, The Point Newspaper.The Bloomberg MEI alumni has interviewed some of the most influential figures of the IMF, G-20 Summit, Pre-G20 Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers, Critical Communication World Conference.The multiple award winner is variously trained in business and markets journalism at Lagos Business School, and Pan-Atlantic University. You may contact him via email - [email protected]

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Sports

Jose Mourinho to earn £16m From Tottenham sack

This means the Portuguese manager will now have earned a total of £79million from just being sacked throughout his entire career.

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English top-flight club, Tottenham Hotspur announced its decision to relieve Jose Mourinho from his managerial duties and his coaching staff which includes Joao Sacramento, Nuno Santos, Carlos Lalin and Giovanni Cerra. He was sacked 17 months into a three-and-a-half-year contract.

Tottenham Chairman, Daniel Levy said the following in an official statement from the club: “Jose and his coaching staff have been with us through some of our most challenging times as a Club. Jose is a true professional who showed enormous resilience during the pandemic. On a personal level, I have enjoyed working with him and regret that things have not worked out as we both had envisaged. He will always be welcome here and we should like to thank him and his coaching staff for their contribution.”

READ: European Champions, FC Bayern Munich taps into blockchain

The club’s recent poor run of form is the major reason behind his sack. It was also reported that he had lost the dressing room. Tottenham Hotspur has suffered three defeats in their last six games and was also eliminated from the Europa League this season by Dynamo Zagreb after a comfortable 2-0 home lead in the first leg of the game.

When rumours were all over regarding Jose Mourinho being relieved of his managerial duties, it was said that his compensation fee will be too much for the club to afford. According to The Independent, it is understood that the former Real Madrid and Chelsea manager will receive a £16m compensation fee.

This means the Portuguese manager will now have earned a total of £79million from just being sacked throughout his entire career.

READ: Manchester United announces Q2 2021 financial results, as net debt increases to £455.5m

Mourinho received a compensation fee of £18m from Chelsea when he was sacked in 2007, which is five years before he also received a £17.5m payoff to leave Spanish giants, Real Madrid.

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Mourinho was appointed as Chelsea’s manager again, he received £12.5m from the Blues when he left the Blues for the second time in 2015. He also earned £15m from Manchester United when he was sacked in December 2018. He will also receive £16m from today’s sack from Tottenham Hotspur.

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A £250 million yearly payout too hot to handle for Europe’s biggest clubs

UEFA has vehemently opposed the competition, which would obviously threaten the popularity and relevance of its own flagship competitions.

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The football world was stunned late on Sunday evening when the European Super League announced its formation, with 12 teams from 3 European nations, namely England, Spain, and Italy confirming their participation, with no representatives from Germany and France.

The founding teams are AC Milan, Arsenal, Atlético de Madrid, Chelsea, FC Barcelona, FC Internazionale Milano, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur. Three more teams will announce their participation before the end of the season while there will be 5 slots for qualifying teams.

The clubs will play midweek fixtures while continuing to play in their national leagues.

The ESL: A background

The competitive nature of the leagues around Europe has meant that a number of top teams miss out on playing in the Champions League, thereby affecting their finances, as well as the ability to attract top talent. Teams such as Arsenal and AC Milan, will mostly benefit from this, as they have been out of Europe’s top competition for a while, although they are European superpower teams.

The ESL offers a lucrative incentive: they won’t need to worry about qualification, which means that income is almost guaranteed. The Super League also offers a chance of regularly playing against the best teams on the continent, which will offer timely reminders on the gaps to the best teams, and also showcase in real time what needs to be done to close this gap.

Different schools of thought

The formation of the European Super League has been met with a lot of criticism by different sections of the football world, namely fans, pundits, the press, former players, as well as other stakeholders. The argument is that it favours the big clubs who will permanently be at the top table regardless of their final league positions.

The other condemnation is that it takes away the excitement many small clubs enjoy from testing their might against the big teams. Gone will be the archetypal fixtures of “good” vs evil”, a scenario in which a modest club through sheer financial prudence can test itself against teams who have oligarchs in charge with an almost inexhaustible pool of resources.

UEFA’s stance

UEFA released a strongly worded statement about its opposition to the competition, which would obviously threaten the popularity and relevance of its own flagship competitions, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. A part of its statement, also signed by the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A, reads, “If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we – UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations – will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.”

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What the clubs stand to benefit

In its inaugural statement, the ESL said that the new tournament would provide significantly greater economic growth and support for European football, as well as include uncapped solidarity payments, which would be substantially higher than those in the current European competition.

Although the amount was not specified, it is believed that the amount will be expected to be in excess of €10bn (£8.6bn) during the “initial commitment period.” The founding clubs have also been promised a further €3.5bn (£3bn) for founding clubs to “support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the COVID pandemic.” The Covid-19 pandemic affected the revenues of major European teams who rely on matchday revenues to augment other income streams.

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The potential TV rights from the ESL is also an attractive proposition, as it hopes to generate €4bn (£3.5bn) annually from broadcasters, with the founding clubs taking the greatest slice.

According to SkySports News reporter, Kaveh Solhekol, the European teams which make between £50-70 million a year from playing in the UEFA Champions League could be making as much as £250 million a year in the European Super League.

Final Thoughts

It is believed that the European Super League will not see the light of day due to stiff opposition from different quarters, but the groundworks have been laid already. If UEFA doesn’t try to make the big teams, who are the top draw of the competition, they would just become more disgruntled. It might not happen now, but it would, eventually. The incentives are too many to gloss over.

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