Fifa urges Thailand to release Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi

first_imgFifa has urged Thailand’s government to immediately release the Bahraini footballer Hakeem al-Araibi, who has been held in a Bangkok prison for nearly two months and fears he will be tortured and possibly killed if he is sent back to his home country.In a letter to Prayut Chan-o-cha, the prime minister of Thailand, Fifa warns that Araibi is “at serious risk of mistreatment in his home country”. It also stresses that Araibi should not have been arrested in Thailand while on his honeymoon because he was granted political asylum by Australia in 2017 after being tortured in Bahrain. Thailand Share on Pinterest Facebook Araibi was arrested in Thailand on 27 November on vandalism charges because of an Interpol red notice which had erroneously been issued at the request of Bahrain – contradicting Interpol’s own regulations that notices will not be issued “if the status of refugee or asylum-seeking has been confirmed”. Despite Interpol lifting the notice on 4 December, Araibi’s detention was extended for 60 days, pending a court verdict on whether to extradite him to Bahrain.However, the footballer believes Bahrain’s determination to extradite him is connected to comments he made in Australia three years’ ago about the torture he underwent in a Bahrain jail in 2012. Araibi also accused one of Bahrain’s most powerful figures, Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa – a member of Bahrain’s ruling royal family and president of Asia’s governing body for football, who at the time was in the running for Fifa president – of discriminating against Shia Muslims and using his power to punish pro-democracy athletes who had protested against the royal family during the Arab spring in 2011.“This is nothing to do with my conviction, Bahrain wants me back to punish me, because I talked to the media in 2016 about the terrible human rights and about how Sheikh Salman is a very bad man who discriminates against Shia Muslims,” said Araibi, who once played for the Bahrain national team. “I am so scared of being sent back to Bahrain, so scared because 100% they will arrest me, they will torture me again, possibly they will kill me.”Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, the director of advocacy at the human rights watchdog Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, said Fifa must do more to help secure the footballer’s release. “While Fifa has reached out to the Thai authorities, they have yet to question their own senior vice-president Sheikh Salman. Why has he remained silent?” he said.“Fifa must also ensure that there will be consequences for both Bahrain and Thailand’s national teams if this persecution doesn’t end immediately. Fifa must do everything in their power to save Hakeem’s life,” he added. “Every second he spends in detention should be counted as a failure of Fifa to put its full weight behind this player.” Football politics Pinterest Australia sport Topics Share on Facebook Fifa Share on Twitter Share via Emailcenter_img Bahrain Bahraini refugee, Hakeem Al-Araibi, who lives in Australia, has been detained in Bangkok on a disputed Interpol warrant. Photograph: Hakeem Al-Araibi/The Guardian Share on Messenger Share on WhatsApp Share on LinkedIn ‘Please help me’: refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi tells of his Thai jail ordeal “Mr Al-Araibi is currently being detained in prison in Thailand awaiting the outcome of extradition proceedings to Bahrain,” Fifa’s general secretary, Fatma Samoura says in the letter. “This situation should not have arisen, in particular, since Al-Arabi now lives, works and plays as a professional footballer in Australia, where he has been accorded refugee status.“When according refugee status to Mr Al-Araibi, the Australian authorities concluded that he is at serious risk of mistreatment in his home country,” she adds. “Fifa is therefore respectively urging Thailand to take the necessary steps to ensure Mr Al-Araibi is allowed to return safely to Australia at the earliest possible moment.”Fifa has also asked the Thais for a meeting with senior figures in its government and the players’ union Fifpro so the case can be resolved “in a humane manor”.In an interview with the Guardian from Bangkok Remand prison, Araibi said he was “terrified” and “losing hope” after being imprisoned since late November. “How can they keep me locked up like this?” he added. “Please help me, please. In Bahrain there are no human rights and no safety for people like me.” Read more Twitter Hakeem al-Araibi Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Yaya Toure: I’d teach Pogba a few things

first_imgPaul Pogba ‘I want to teach Pogba some things’ – Toure jokes about Man Utd move Last updated 1 year ago 17:23 5/23/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(2) Yaya Toure Paul Pogba Manchester City Manchester United 2017-18 Getty/Goal Paul Pogba Manchester United Yaya Touré Manchester City Premier League African All Stars The 35-year-old is on his way out of the Etihad Stadium and says he would love to head to Old Trafford to whip a certain midfielder into shape Yaya Toure has joked that he would like to join Manchester United so that he can help Paul Pogba fulfil his potential.The Ivorian midfielder has played his last game for Manchester City after an eight-year spell and is on the lookout for a new club this summer as the 35-year-old hopes to keep his playing career alive for at least another two years.Although Toure admits he would not ditch City for their main rivals, he does like the idea of going there to whip Pogba into shape after the criticism the Frenchman has faced. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now “It’s difficult because of the way the media has treated [Pogba]. We don’t have the same characteristics because for me I was involved in all the ball, I ran everywhere,” he told   Manchester Evening News . “I liked that. I was prepared for that. I was working for that for a long time. When I was in the academy in Africa I had to run everywhere, get box to box in 50 seconds. It’s something I’ve been loving to do.“Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go. Technically and in the ability to score goals as well. It’s a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things.”Pogba is a great player. He’s a fantastic player. He’s a little bit young at the moment.“Criticism is a part of life. If they criticise you it’s because they want you to be good or be better. I’ve been criticised and I love to be criticised. I like it. I don’t mind if people talk about me – it’s good. It means I have to achieve, I have to be better.”Even if you continue to be at the peak of your game, sometimes they are going to find something to tell you. It’s part of life. We have to deal with that.”After spells with Monaco, Barcelona and City, the midfielder is used to playing at a high level, and he hopes to find a positive environment for next term .”I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important,” he added.“I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve.“It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job.“I’ve been playing football for such a long time, I’m no good in the office or something else. I am good in football.“To see myself at a different club is going to be difficult. I have been such a big part of City for such a long time now. I just want to say that definitely I will continue to play at a high level – Champions League or Europa League.“I want to play two more years. They have to be in the higher level and then I can do something else.”last_img read more

10 months agoLIVE FROM SEVILLE: Griezmann free-kick wins point for Atletico Madrid against Sevilla

first_imgLIVE FROM SEVILLE: Griezmann free-kick wins point for Atletico Madrid against Sevillaby Andrew Maclean10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWhile some of Europe’s top leagues were enjoying their winter break, the sun was shining bright in the south of Spain for Sunday’s highly anticipated La Liga fixture between Sevilla and Atletico Madrid.The sublime conditions only furthered the excitement within the stadium for what was an enthralling contest between second and third on the table.The opening 25 minutes played out much as you would’ve expected from both sides; the hosts controlled the majority of possession early while Diego Simeone’s dogged outfit were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure. Despite their control down the middle of the ground, Atleti afforded their opponents far too much space on the wings, with Jesus Navas having a field day against makeshift left-back Saul Niguez.The Spaniard’s dominance almost paid off when, on the 30th minute mark, his teasing cross was floated to the back post, only for Sergio Escudero to send his header two metres over Jan Oblak’s goal. With their tails up, Sevilla’s relentless attack resulted in the match’s first goal after 36 minutes through Wissam Ben Yedder. After Andre Silva’s long range strike smacked off the post, the resulting corner saw Ben Yedder in the right place in the right time, receiving a pass from Daniel Carrico on the edge of the six yard box and finishing neatly past Oblak for his ninth La Liga goal of the season.The home supporters weren’t celebrating for long, however. With the last kick of the half, Atleti’s superstar, Antoine Griezmann, drew his side level with a superb curling free-kick that left goalkeeper Tomas Vaclík fixed to his line.The 15 minute interval done nothing to quell the growing tension from both sides. Referee Mateu Lahoz awarded three yellow cards within the first nine minutes of the second stanza – and would hand out 12 by the final whistle – as the match ramped up in intensity with both sides searching for another goal.Ben Yedder once again found himself in a wonderful position inside the box after receiving Roque Mesa’s knockdown. But this time the Frenchman’s shot, which had Oblak beat, dragged across the far post. With eight minutes remaining, it was Griezmann who would squander Atleti’s best chance of winning the game. Must to the confusion of an otherwise strong Sevilla back three, the World Cup winner found himself onside, but his tame effort was hit straight at the outstanding Vaclik.The result means Barcelona can extend their lead at the top of the table to five points with a win over Getafe on Sunday night. TagsOpinionAbout the authorAndrew Maclean FollowShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Vine: John Calipari Criticizes Karl-Anthony Towns, Gets Videobombed By Karl-Anthony Towns

first_imgCoach Cal subbing a player out.LEXINGTON, KY – JANUARY 30: Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Rupp Arena on January 30, 2018 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)Freshman forward Karl-Anthony Towns was a big part of Kentucky’s close win over LSU, but he was also called for a technical foul that helped spark the huge run that brought the Tigers back into the game. Towns hung on the rim after a dunk, picking up a technical foul. LSU’s Keith Hornsby made one of the two resulting free throws, and drilled a three on the ensuing possession, which cut the UK lead to 60-56.During the post-game interview on the court, John Calipari criticized his star freshman for the foul. While he was doing so, Towns, of all people, decided to photobomb him. The timing here is truly perfect.We just hope that Towns isn’t the next Wildcat to “go missing.” Calipari has a good sense of humor, so he’ll probably laugh it off.[FTW]last_img read more

Phoenix fiasco goes under the auditor generals microscope for a second time

first_imgOTTAWA – The latest auditor general’s report being released Tuesday could be another black eye for the Liberals over how they’ve managed the rollout of the federal government’s reviled employee pay system.Michael Ferguson’s second, more detailed report into what went wrong with the Phoenix system comes as civil servants argue they’re entitled to damages for the financial hardships government employees have endured since the system was launched more than two years ago.Auditors looked at whether the system was fully tested and whether Public Services and Procurement Canada, which oversees Phoenix, provided the support government departments and agencies needed before it was launched.Designed under the previous Conservative government as a “pay modernization project,” Phoenix was supposed to streamline the antiquated multiple systems that for decades issued paycheques to federal civil servants in dozens of departments across the country.It was also supposed to save taxpayers roughly $70 million annually by requiring fewer people to work on pay files.But in his first report on the system’s failures last November, Michael Ferguson called Phoenix a “fiasco,” and warned that it could ultimately take years to fix, if fixing it is even possible, with a total price tag that could exceed $1.2 billion.Already the government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars implementing the system, and then trying to stabilize it, with $16 million more dedicated in the last federal budget to look for a new system to replace Phoenix.But Ferguson suggested it would not make financial sense to scrap the current system.“If they started all over again, it’s hard to see how they would actually end up in a better situation,” he told a news conference in November after the fall report was released.“Their only real option is to try and resolve the problem within the system as it exists.”After its initial rollout in February 2016 across 34 departments employing 120,000 people, it quickly became clear there were problems with Phoenix.By mid-April of that year, about 30 per cent of civil servants had reported errors in their paycheques.Despite the problems, a second phase saw Phoenix take over the issuing of paycheques for 170,000 employees in dozens more departments and agencies.More than half of all federal workers paid under the system have reported experiencing problems including being underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all.To date, the backlog of pay transactions awaiting processing at the government’s pay centre in Miramichi, N.B., has exceeded 600,000, down from a peak of 633,000 reached in January.Some of the errors, such as minor overpayments, have been relatively easy to correct. In other cases, however, government workers have reported months-long pay nightmares and endless headaches — diminished credit ratings and missed tuition payments among them.While the Trudeau government has apologized repeatedly for the “suffering” felt by public servants under Phoenix, and have pledged to compensate “those who have incurred out-of-pocket expenses as a result,” they have also attempted to distance themselves from the debacle, referring to Phoenix as “the Conservative pay system.”Civil service unions, however, have pointed fingers at the Liberals, insisting the current government is responsible for paying its employees.The Conservatives have also deflected blame; Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer argues that, ultimately, it was a Liberal government decision “to press the start button.”The Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents about 140,000 federal workers across the country, threatened last month to campaign against the Liberals in next year’s federal election over the pay system problems.And last week the union called on Trudeau to intervene in talks aimed at compensating employees for stress, the time spent dealing with pay issues and the catastrophic financial losses caused by Phoenix.Those talks stalled when government negotiators said they didn’t yet have a mandate to guide them in the negotiations, the union said.last_img read more

Special needs kids onreserve wait longer for medical services

first_imgAPTN National NewsIt’s an injustice that erupted onto the public scene eight years ago when Jordan River Anderson died in a Winnipeg hospital without ever living with his family in Norway House Cree Nation.The system that was supposed to be changed so that kids don’t ever again fall between teh cracks while governments quarreled over funding.But concerns persist that the changers aren’t happening fast enough.APTN National News reporter Ntawnis Piapot has this story.last_img

US February housing starts fell 7 pct after January surge

first_imgWASHINGTON – U.S. homebuilders broke ground on fewer apartment complexes in February, causing overall housing starts to fall 7 per cent.The Commerce Department said Friday that housing starts last month were at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.24 million, a decline that was anticipated after construction surged in January to 1.33 million.February’s slowdown in construction came from a 28 per cent plunge in starts for multi-family buildings. Groundbreakings for single-family houses actually rose 2.9 per cent.Builders’ efforts have shifted to single-family houses as the economy has improved and as fewer existing homes are being listed for sale. The solid job market and a growing millennial population looking to purchase a home have lifted demand over the past two years. But the number of homes listed for sale has fallen during that time. Increased construction has not fully offset the shortage.The U.S. housing market appears to be stable because of the relative health of the overall economy. That may be tested by rising mortgage rates that could put a new home out of reach for many.“Soaring employment and faster wage growth should support the housing market, but activity is going to be constrained by higher rates,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.Single-family house construction increased last month in the Northeast, South and West, but it declined in the West.The National Association of Realtors said that the total supply of existing homes for sale dropped to 1.52 million in January, which contributed to sales of existing homes declining 4.8 per cent over the past 12 months.Building permits, an indicator of future construction, tumbled 5.7 per cent to an annual pace of 1.30 million. But that decline, too, was largely concentrated in apartment complexes, suggesting that construction companies expect more Americans to segue to home ownership.Builder sentiment remains positive, although it has slipped over the past three months. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index for March ticked down a point to 70. Any reading above 50 indicates more builders see sales conditions as good rather than poor.Stock investors have also decided that homebuilding companies are overpriced after a strong performance in 2017. Shares in D.R. Horton have dropped nearly 15 per cent so far this year. The Pulte Group is down almost 13 per cent. Stock in Tolls Brothers had lost about 8 per cent of its value.Homebuyers are facing greater cost pressures. The shortage of homes on the market has caused prices to climb much faster than wages. At the same time, it has become slightly more expensive to borrow. The average rate for 30-year, fixed rate mortgages has risen to 4.44 per cent from 4.30 per cent a year ago, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.last_img read more

Edmunds How to shop for a car when interest rates are high

first_imgIf you’re new to car buying or it’s been a few years since your last purchase, get ready for a shock when it comes to financing. Interest rates on loans for new vehicles hit an average of 6.2 per cent in October 2018, the highest since January 2009, according to Edmunds research. Used-car shoppers face an even higher rate, with an average of 8.7 per cent. The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates again this month.Many shoppers will be tempted to take out a longer-term loan to ease the pain of a higher monthly payment brought on by these interest rates. But this is a double whammy for your budget: You will be paying more in finance charges over the life of the loan, and it will take longer to gain equity in the vehicle.It’s easy to see why you might feel daunted about car buying in such a market. But you are not doomed to pay the maximum rates. Assuming your credit is generally in good shape, with a score of roughly 720 or higher, there are a few ways to get around today’s high interest rates.GET PREAPPROVEDThis tip applies to loans for both new and used cars. Getting a preapproval for a loan at your bank, credit union or online lender gives you a frame of reference for the financing that a dealership offers you. If the finance manager says, “This was the best rate I could secure,” you’ll have a point of comparison. In many cases, the dealership will be able to offer a better rate thanks to loans that are subsidized by the carmaker’s captive financing company.PROMOTIONAL FINANCE RATESThe majority of automakers offer special finance rates to qualified buyers. While many of the zero per cent offers that were common in the past have disappeared, some are still out there, such as a current offer for the 2018 Nissan Rogue. These offers vary by month, region and vehicle, so go to manufacturer websites to see what’s available.Even if you end up with a 2.9 per cent APR rather than zero per cent, that is a significant improvement over 6.2 per cent. Be open to exploring various vehicle brands, too. A brand that you might not have considered originally may offer better rates. You’ll also want to check the deals for both 2018 and 2019 models to see which offers better incentives.BUY A CERTIFIED PRE-OWNED VEHICLEBuying a used vehicle is typically a good option for shoppers. You avoid the big depreciation hit that comes with new cars, and you usually finance a smaller amount of money. But with interest rates averaging 8.7 per cent, used cars might not be a slam-dunk bargain.Here is where certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles come in. Though CPO cars cost more than run-of-the-mill used cars, some CPO deals offer manufacturer-subsidized interest rates ranging from zero to 4 per cent, depending on the vehicle and automaker. And CPO vehicles are typically in better condition and carry a longer warranty than your average used car.CONSIDER LEASINGHigher interest rates do affect leasing, but since you only pay interest on the amount the car will depreciate, you end up paying significantly less in finance charges than if you purchased the car. Take this 2018 Honda Accord lease as an example: The car had a selling price of $27,315 after taxes and fees. It leased with a $1,000 down payment and a money factor of 0.00092, the equivalent of a 2.2 per cent APR. You would pay about $1,400 in interest over the 36 months of the loan.Compare that to a typical 72-month loan on the same car. Assuming the same down payment and the average 6.2 per cent APR, you would pay $5,264 in finance charges over the course of the loan. That’s paying more than three times the interest for twice as long.You can simplify your lease shopping by focusing on the items that matter most: the lease’s allotted miles, the monthly payment, the down payment and the lease term. Look for manufacturer lease specials and keep your down payment as low as possible.DOWNSIZE THE VEHICLEIf you had your eye on a midsize SUV or sedan, consider a compact one. Compact vehicles cost less than larger ones, which means you’ll finance a smaller amount and pay less interest over the life of the loan. In many cases, you’ll find that the space trade-offs aren’t that significant.EDMUNDS SAYS:Today’s high interest rates shouldn’t deter you from buying a car if you need one. Take time to shop for the best rate possible and be open to vehicles you might not have otherwise considered but which have very low APRs.____This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds. Ronald Montoya is a senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds. Twitter: @rmontoyaedmunds.Related links:— Calculate Your Own Lease Payment https://edmu.in/2ypP6t2— How Long Should a Car Loan Be? https://edmu.in/2uZnNr3— Low APR vs. Cash Back Calculator https://edmu.in/2R0hNHhRonald Montoya, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Pakistans fielding a real worry for me Mickey Arthur

first_imgLeeds: After conceding a 0-4 series defeat against England, Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur admitted that his side did not perform well in the bowling and fielding departments which led to their loss in the five-match rubber. On Sunday, hosts England comfortably defeated Pakistan by 54 runs in the final ODI of the series and made sure that their World Cup preparations were on track and they remain the hot favourites for the showpiece event. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: RijijuPakistan, who are usually termed as a very good bowling side, lacked bite and conceded totals in excess of 300 in the four completed matches. And towards the end of the series, their poor fielding, which saw regulation catches being put down and a slew of misfields, also raised questions over their World Cup chances with less than two weeks to go. “Our fielding has been very disappointing. That has been a massive difference between the two sides,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Arthur as saying after the loss at Leeds. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai Masters “At Southampton and Nottingham, it was anybody’s game going into the last five overs. We competed really well. The one difference has been our fielding and that’s a real worry for me,” he added. The Pakistan head coach was, however, happy with the way the batters performed against the number one ranked ODI side. “We sit here and take a hell lot of the positives out of this series. Our batting has gone to another level and we have batted extremely well. That’s given our dressing room a massive amount of confidence. When we were coming to England, people were saying we were a 280 team. I am taking a fair amount of positives certainly in that department out of this series,” said the South African. “Our bowling and fielding has been average at best. Another thing is that we played against a team which is number one in their own conditions. I don’t think there are too many other teams around in England as prepared as we are in terms of the competition we played against and match fitness, which is something very important,” he added. Despite the humiliating series loss, the 51-year-old insisted that he was confident that his side will perform well in the World Cup. “We’ve got a couple of days now to regroup, two warm-up games and then we’ll go. I’m very, very confident with the players we’ve got. We need to sharpen up on a couple of disciplines but we’ll certainly get there. We’ll be good,” he said. Pakistan will begin their World Cup campaign against West Indies on May 31.last_img read more

Mens Hockey Ohio States Freddy Gerard began career as a gamer off

The Ohio State men’s hockey team celebrates a goal from Freddy Gerard in a game against Michigan on Nov. 24. Credit: Ric Kruszynski | Ohio State AthleticsThe idea of playing video games as a career is a dream for many teenagers. It is a thought that will always be there but most of the time will never become a reality.Not many could do it, but Freddy Gerard achieved this dream at the age of 16.Gerard, a junior forward on Ohio State’s men’s hockey team, played “Call of Duty” just like many other kids — except he quickly turned this time-killer into a skill.“I wanted to see how good I was. So then I started doing little online tournaments,” Gerard said. “I started meeting better players I was playing against and playing with, and after a while I ended up finding a pretty good team, a set of guys to play with, and we ended up being pretty good.”Gerard joined OpTic Gaming, one of the biggest names in video games, at 16 years old under the name “Folsom.”“Folsom’s actually my middle name,” Gerard said. “I wasn’t sure if it would be cool at first.”Gerard made YouTube videos for two years under OpTic, which became very popular. It became so well-known, in fact, that some of his current Ohio State teammates watched him without even realizing.“I actually saw one of his YouTube videos, but I didn’t realize it was him until I played with him on Xbox,” Ohio State sophomore forward Tanner Laczynski said. “I think that was pretty cool that a pretty well-known guy in the video game world was on my team.”Gerard’s YouTube videos with OpTic continued to grow a following while he balanced school and practiced for a junior hockey team. He said he went to school at 8 a.m., then had practice after school for most of the afternoon until he resumed gaming at night.Hockey and gaming became integral parts of Gerard’s life. That only grew when he moved from YouTube to competitive gaming and began traveling across the country.“I didn’t quite expect the jump of how good these kids actually were, because I thought I was pretty good. I’m the best kid in every public lobby I play in by miles,” Gerard said. “I found out real quick how much I need to improve so it was an adjustment for sure, but after sticking with it, I knew I had something.”From an outside perspective, hockey and competitive gaming might seem like two talents on opposite sides of the spectrum, but Gerard said there are more similarities than one would think.“I don’t think people understand how team-oriented it is to play competitive video games like that. There’s four guys on your team, you and three other guys, and you are communicating nonstop,” Gerard said. “On the pressure side of things, yeah, absolutely. I remember my first time playing in front of a huge crowd like that. It’s nerve-wracking. You’re not sitting in your room anymore. There’s a spotlight on you, so that took an adjustment.”While the gaming was taking off, Gerard found himself traveling for hockey, as well. He first moved to Boston to play on the Junior Bandits. Then in 2014, he moved to play for the Madison Capitols in Middleton, Wisconsin, where Ohio State eventually discovered and recruited him.In Boston, however, Sally Gerard, Freddy’s mom, said hockey and professional gaming became too much to handle all at once, and it left Freddy with a decision to make.“I think that was hard for him to do both, at that point,” Sally said. “This was kind of like the cross in the road.”Hockey was his passion his entire life, Freddy said, and gaming was slowly becoming a second priority. Especially with his hopes of going to college, Freddy knew it wasn’t entirely his decision to quit gaming back in 2013.Freddy said he was cut by his gaming team a month before a major event, and this was the eventual breaking point for him.“I was like, ‘All right well hey, hockey it is, let’s do it,’” he said.While she was supportive of Freddy’s passion for gaming, Sally said she had no complaints about her son’s ultimate decision.Ohio State junior Freddy Gerard competed both in the rink as a forward on the men’s hockey team and in the spotlight of the competitive gaming community. Credit: Courtesy of Freddy Gerard“We were happy about him choosing hockey, I have to say. I think he is too, at this point. I don’t think it was, probably, an easy decision for him at one time,” she said. “I think he saw that it would be a big market, that gaming was going to be a big deal, and he was kind of ahead of it.”Moving to hockey full-time is a choice Freddy said he doesn’t regret, but he will always look back fondly at his time at the top of the gaming world.“It was definitely a different experience than most kids I would say, because for a while you’re kind of like a little celebrity,” Freddy said. “I went out to an event in Anaheim and I was signing autographs for half an hour, me and like three of my other teammates, so it was cool…I’m a 16-, 17-year-old kid and I’m signing autographs.”Freddy eventually found his way to Ohio State when he said it approached him after the 11th or 12th game of the season in Dubuque, Iowa, a game Freddy remembers because of how exciting it was for him. Though the Rocky River, Ohio, native took some time to think about it, Freddy said it was a no-brainer to accept the Buckeyes’ offer.“I had finally been told that my dream was going to come true and let alone at Ohio State,” he said. “It’s my state school. It’s a couple hours away from home. It’s an awesome place to be.”In his junior campaign for the sixth-ranked Buckeyes, Freddy has 10 goals and 17 points, more points than his first two seasons combined. Plus, Ohio State should have a NCAA tournament bid on the horizon.It’s been a long road for Freddy, who has seen the ups and downs of two unique fields that both took one major component: hard work.“I worked all my life to play hockey. That was my first love, and I did it every single day for as long as I could,” Freddy said. “I worked my ass off for that year-and-a-half, two years in my last couple years of Juniors to make that happen, and I did it and I made it here, and I’m just trying to love every second of that.”Freddy still plays video games from time-to-time, not with professionals, but with his teammates on the ice.Freddy doesn’t have any plans to return to competitive gaming, at least not while at Ohio State. He might have loved competitive gaming at a time, but Freddy said there are just some things hockey has that gaming does not.“There’s just no feeling like playing hockey,” Freddy said. “That was my first love. I fell in love with it right away. I loved the feeling you get when you score a goal or even just when you’re out there playing, you forget about everything. There’s not a care in the world.” read more