Duro IkhazuagbeNigeria’s greatest ever tennis player, Nduka Odizor, was in tears wednesday at the Sports Reform Committee Retreat in Abuja while recalling how administrators denied the country the opportunity of reaching the World Group stage of the Davis Cup because of greed and selfishness.Odizor who achieved a world ranking of 52 in 1983 and reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon the previous year insisted that tennis officials at the time were “not straight forward” in dealing with players. The former tennis professional whose paper was titled: “Recognition of Athletes” said for any country to excel in sports, athletes and coaches have to be accorded maximum recognition and respect.“Recognition and appreciation will ensure that athletes are assured that they will get their allowances and entitlements as at when due.“This will lead to younger ones emulating and striving to achieve like those ahead of them and bring up sports men and women who can create wealth for the nation,” he said.Odizor stressed that the matter of graft in the running of sports has been there all along.“My biggest disappointment was when I was approached by some government officials to give them some money so they can recommend me for a national award.“That was unthinkable and absurd. My achievements (in tennis) speak for themselves and I do not have to have a national award to be recognised around the world,” the tennis star reasoned.Before Odizor’s presentation at the retreat, one of Nigeria’s most achieved football coaches, Chief Adegboye Onigbinde, in his paper said that there was an urgent need to reform the process that throws up incompetent and self-seeking persons as sports federation presidents and board members.The gaffer who led the Green Eagles to a second place finish at the 1984 Africa Cup of Nations said that football clubs currently run as government parastatals can be financially viable if they instituted a membership plan and worked out partnerships with companies.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
DES MOINES — The 2019 Iowa legislature convenes on Monday and odds are that lawmakers will consider a bill to make it legal to bet on sporting events.“I think we have a really good chance to get sports betting passed here in the State of Iowa this year,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, a Republican from Ankeny who decides which bills get debated in the state senate.The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last May that all states may legalize wagering on sporting events.“As I travel to conferences across the country and meet with other leaders, there’s a lot of states that are looking at that right now,” Whitver told Radio Iowa today. “I think right now the conversations have progressed pretty well in the state of Iowa. You have a lot of people interested in that bill seem to be on the same page and that makes it a lot more feasible this year.”Over the past couple of years, casino industry lobbyists urged Iowa legislators to prepare for the Supreme Court’s ruling and set up a system that would give the state-licensed casinos authority run sports book operations. New Jersey and Delaware immediately legalized sports betting this past spring and Whitver says Iowa casinos seem the likely host for wagering on sports — if it’s legalized here.“We have a fairly good system set up with the casinos and our Racing and Gaming (Commission) overseeing gambling and so I think you’d largely use that structure as you look at how to implement sports betting,” Whitver said.Iowa Lottery officials say several of the state’s largest lottery retailers want the option of offering a sports lottery — similar. perhaps, to the one now legal in Delaware. Whitver said it “makes more sense” to have sports wagering managed by the casinos.“There’s a lot of people that want a piece of the action,” Whitver said. “…The casinos are used to the regulation. They understand the process. The systems are all set up there. It would be totally different to allow the lottery to get into the gambling world and so, right now, I would be more focused on the casinos, but open minded to listen to what those who are advocating for the lottery would say.”Estimates indicate Americans illegally bet hundreds of billions of dollars on sporting events every year. Bills to legalize sports betting in Iowa have been introduced in the Iowa legislature since 2010, but none advanced beyond the committee level.