French flair will prevail

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Tags: sport, Euro, Football and France

Terim: We threw in the towel

Turkey coach Fatih Terim.
CHIN UP: Andres Iniesta (right) backs his Barca teammate Arda Turan, who was booed by the Turkish fans.

Spain are unbeaten in 14 games at the Euros (11 wins 3 draws) and have not conceded a goal in 690 minutes of action.

Turkey coach Fatih Terim accused his team of throwing in the towel in their chastening 3-0 loss to holders Spain in their Group D clash yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Turks suffered their second successive defeat and must win their final match against the Czech Republic to have a realistic chance of reaching the second round.

"Today our national team threw in the towel," said Terim.

"You can be sure that I will never accept this. On behalf of my team, I am deeply upset. I will do the necessary thing."

Terim bemoaned the individual errors that cost his team dear, including a woeful header by Mehmet Topal which presented Nolito with a simple chance to score Spain's second goal shortly before half-time.

"We conceded two goals by individual mistakes. One of them was unbelievable," said Terim.

"I congratulate Spain. They are a very important team, a special team.

"First 30 minutes, it was okay but, afterwards, we didn't play well.

"Conceding the second goal made it very difficult for us."

Terim also had harsh words for Turkish fans who booed star player Arda Turan.

"Whatever happens that shouldn't happen," said the Turkey boss.

"The expectations were very high for the team, but nobody deserves that - we need to enjoy being here".

After Spain scored the last of their three goals in the 48th minute, Turkish fans booed the Barcelona player whenever he received the ball.

"Obviously, it made an impact on our team," Terim said.

EMBATTLED

Spain fans chanted Turan's name in response to the booing and in solidarity with the embattled 29-year-old who has been capped 92 times for Turkey, but has received criticism at home for his performance during Euro 2016.

"It's a difficult situation for a player to experience the whistles of your own fans," said Andres Iniesta, Turan's Barcelona teammate.

"It leaves a bad taste in the mouth for me, and for Arda. Afterwards, I wished him the best for the rest of the tournament as I always want the best for my teammates".

Turkey need to beat the Czech Republic in their final match on Tuesday and hope other results go their way to have any chance of progressing as one of the four best third-placed sides from the six groups. - Wire Services.

Downturn or not, football's appeal remains sky-high

VIVA ESPANA: Spain fans catching a live telecast of their team's 3-0 win over Turkey yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The economic slowdown clearly isn't having much of an effect when it comes to football, if the latest numbers coming out of France - the host country for Euro 2016 - are any indication.

According to European football's governing body Uefa, the month-long tournament, now into its second week, is regularly pulling in an average of 130 million TV viewers for each of the group matches so far.

By comparison, this year's Super Bowl - the most prestigious professional football game in the United States - drew a TV audience of about 112 million when the match was played in February.

But the Super Bowl is the lesser-followed American brand of football, where the ball is oval-shaped and not round.

FOOTBALL FEVER

When we talk about the other kind of football, more commonly known as soccer in North America, the popularity of the sport is staggering, to put it mildly.

Tournament organiser Uefa has estimated that the tournament's global TV viewership will rise to 300 million by the time the top two teams meet in Paris for the final on July 11.

As Uefa's marketing director, Guy-Laurent Epstein, put it recently, the organisers will deliver "51 Super Bowls" in the space of a single month, referring to the total number of matches at Euro 2016.

With a record 24 nations taking part in France, Uefa expects to make about two billion euros ($3.04b) in revenue, up from the 1.4b euros it made four years ago when Poland and Ukraine were hosts to 16 teams.

This year's TV rights were sold to broadcasters around the world for about 1.05b euros, 25 per cent higher than in 2012.

The vast majority of a total of 2.5 million match tickets - a million more than what was available at Euro 2012 - have been snapped up by fans from all over the globe, eager to catch one or more of the 51 matches being contested in 10 cities across France.

HOT ITEM

The most expensive ticket for the final, to be played at the 80,000-seater Stade de France in the French capital, Paris, has a face value of 895 euros, with tickets already being traded on the black market for many times that amount.

It's no wonder that major events like Euro 2016 spell big bucks for football's biggest sponsors, all of them eager to cash in on the sport's universal reach and the spending prowess of a growing middle class.

The value of sponsorships is up 40 per cent from 2012, to about 450 million euros. There are the usual suspects such as adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai and Carlsberg, all aggressively tapping on football's appeal to reach out to their customer base.

Carlsberg, the Danish brewer, a long-time sponsor of the European Championship, was reported to have pumped in as much as 80m euros on the tournament.

Adidas, the German sports equipment giant, provides the kits for nine of the 24 teams at Euro 2016, including the defending champions Spain, Germany, Wales and Belgium.

Adidas expects to sell a total of 1.3 million Germany jerseys this year, which is 300,000 more than what it sold four years ago.

Nike's famous swoosh logo is emblazoned on the jerseys of six teams, including the host nation France, England and Portugal.

Puma, the smaller German brand, has five teams, including Italy and the Czech Republic.
Such replica jerseys cost a pretty penny in Singapore, going for around $100 each at most retailers.

Fans are known to shell out as much as $40 to $50 more to print the name and shirt number of their favourite players on the back.

It's quite evident that football these days is much more than just the 90 minutes of action on the pitch.

The sport is both a thriving multi-billion dollar business and a lifestyle.
Before, during and after the matches, the cash tills are ringing loudly despite the downturn as companies big and small compete for every dollar they can get their hands on.

  • This story was first published in The 
Business Times Weekend on June 18.
Tags: Football and Euro 2016

Eight winners took home prizes on Saturday

ALL SMILES: Mr Wari Ismail (above) and Mr Loke Kok Kean won $100 each yesterday.
ALL SMILES: Mr Wari Ismail and Mr Loke Kok Kean (above) won $100 each yesterday.

The New Paper had given him "the best birthday present", said Mr Wari Ismail on Friday night when he won the jackpot of $2,000 and another $100 prize in the Match & Score contest.

Last night, on his 58th birthday, Mr Wari returned to the SPH News Centre with his wife to collect another $100.

The taxi driver said he could not believe he had won again when he checked the newspaper at 8am yesterday.

Mr Wari, who bought copies of TNP from various places, said: "I didn't think I would win again, but I did. My birthday just became better."

Another excited winner was retiree Loke Kok Kean, 69, who is a loyal TNP reader.

"I've been buying the paper since it started, but I have never won anything until today," he said.

Mr Loke said he got his wife to collect the jersey cut-outs for him every day before checking and matching them against the results at the end of the week.

Of his $100 win, he said: "I wanted to win the jackpot but I'm happy with this prize."

The TNP Match & Score contest saw six other winners yesterday - two more readers won $100 each and another four won $200 each.

HOW TO PLAY

For the contest, images of football jerseys are printed in TNP from Monday to Thursday, with the jerseys featuring a number or a country.

New printing technology allows every copy of TNP to include a different combination of jerseys.

These jerseys can then be collected to match the winning combinations published in TNP from Friday to Sunday. The jerseys are valid only for that week.

During those three days, there will be a daily jackpot prize of $1,000, which will snowball if it goes unclaimed for the day.

There will also be combinations for the $100 and $200 cash prizes.

Up to $31,000 can be won from the contest, which lasts until July 10.

Winners must collect their prizes at the SPH News Centre, at 1000, Toa Payoh North, between 8pm and 9pm on the same day.

Singapore has most light pollution in the world

S'pore has the most light pollution in the world - so where are our brightest and darkest places?

SO BRIGHT: A satellite picture of Singapore (above) taken on March 17.

Children in Singapore will probably never get to experience the beauty of the Milky Way, thanks to a little-known environmental disturbance - light pollution.

Singapore was named the country with the worst level of light pollution in the world - with a pollution level of 100 per cent - in a recently published Science Advances study.

The study, The New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness, said that Singapore's use of artificial light exceeds the level of light pollution tolerable per capita.

"The possibility of seeing the Milky Way from home is precluded to all of Singapore," the study said.

The study's authors, who are from the Light Pollution Science and Technology Institute in northern Italy, based the extent of light pollution primarily on how brightly lit the streets of a country are and the percentage of population exposed to the artificial brightness.

Other countries with similar light pollution levels include Kuwait with 98 per cent and Qatar with 97 per cent.

Chad was said to be the least light polluted country, followed by Central African Republic and Madagascar with "more than three-quarters of their inhabitants living under pristine sky conditions".

Dr Christopher Kyba, from the German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam, told BBC: "The artificial light in our environment is coming from a lot of different things.

"Street lights are a really important component, but we also have lights from our windows in our homes and businesses, from the headlights of our cars and illuminated billboards."

Light pollution washes out starlight, interferes with astronomical research and disrupts ecosystems.

Researchers have also suggested thatit can have adverse health effects, particularly on the eyes.

Senior consultant ophthalmologist at Dr Leo Adult & Paediatric Eye Specialist, Dr Leo Seo Wei, 43, tells The New Paper on Sunday: "Excess illumination and constant exposure to different wavelengths and intensities of light may cause retinal degeneration or accelerate genetic retinal diseases."

She explains that the cumulative effect of excessive and constant illumination can speed up eyesight deterioration in the long haul.

"Light acts directly on the retina to fulfil two important roles. First, vision... and second, non-image forming tasks, such as the synchronisation of 24-hour biological rhythm.

"Excessive light can thus reduce the brain's production of melatonin, a hormone which helps to control sleep and wake cycles," she says.

Research has also proven that melatonin levels are linked to both ovulation cycles and cancer.

NO SURPRISE

For astronomy enthusiasts here, the news that Singapore has the worst light pollution comes as no surprise.

Vice-president of The Astronomical Society of Singapore, Mr Albert Lim, 57, says astronomy enthusiasts often go overseas to places such as New Zealand and the US to indulge in their passion if they want to peer deeper into space.

Those who want to do it here have to hunt for areas that are away from buildings and roads that are lit by street lamps. Fortunately, recent technological advancements in telescopes have made it possible to do deep sky gazing from a highly light-polluted place like Singapore.

"Now, we can use filters to give us a peek at nebulae (interstellar clouds of dust, hydrogen gas, helium gas and plasma)," says Mr Lim.

But these do not come cheap.

Telescopes can cost from a few hundred dollars to about three thousand dollars, says Mr Lim. Strap on special filters that help cut through the light pollution, and the cost of the equipment can quickly double.

Says Mr Lim: "If you want to do deep sky gazing from here, that is the only way to do it."


Most light-polluted areas here

Where are the most light-polluted places in Singapore? Ms Gerarddyn Britto, president of Stargazing Singapore, says these are the places to avoid if you want to enjoy a night of star gazing.

CONTAINER TERMINALS AT PASIR PANJANG AND TANJONG PAGAR/KEPPEL/BRANI ISLAND

MARINA BAY

CHANGI AIRPORT

Least light-polluted areas here

While no place in Singapore can be considered totally "dark", president of The Astronomical Society of Singapore, Mr Albert Ho, says there are some locations which astronomy enthusiasts deem as "favourable" for stargazing in Singapore.

SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS

LABRADOR PARK (AREA NEAR THE RED BEACON)

SPRINGLEAF NATURE PARK


Most light-polluted countries

1. Singapore

2. Kuwait

3. Qatar

4. United Arab Emirates

5. Saudi Arabia

6. South Korea

7. Israel

8. Argentina

9. Libya

10. Trinidad and Tobago

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Tags: hong kong, China and rally

Police conducted checks at both spas

The two massage parlours are known to the police, a police spokesman tells TNPS.

In March this year, the police conducted enforcement checks at the Prinsep Street massage parlour. They did the same at the Sophia Road massage parlour in May.

Says the spokesman: "Actions have been taken against offenders under the Massage Establishment Act and the Immigration Act.

"We take a tough stand against vice activities and will continue with our regular enforcement checks to deter and detect such illegal activities. Operators found conducting illicit activities in massage establishments will be taken to task."

Last week, seven unlicensed massage parlour operators were charged in court for carrying on an establishment for massage without a valid licence.

Police officers had targeted massage establishments in Chinatown, Little India, Jalan Besar, Middle Road, Bencoolen Street, Jalan Sultan and Coleman Street that had flouted regulations under the Massage Establishment Act.

The spokesman did not reveal what penalties were meted out to these two massage parlours but confirmed that they were not among the seven charged last week.

Despite the police enforcement, TNPS found that the two massage parlours are back at it.

But why are they allowed to continue?

ACT BLUR

Private investigator James Loh explains that the massage parlour owners can simply deny knowledge of what the girls are doing and the businesses would technically be legal if they followed the regulations under the Massage Establishment Act.

The spas' counter staff will never acknowledge that they offer extra services.

Says Mr Loh: "By acting 'blur', they are not making it easy for the authorities to get evidence. If anything happens, they simply push the blame to the workers and recruit new ones if they get sent back."

They also keep a muted online presence. Knowledge of these two places are handled like a trade secret and the information is traded only among trusted regulars.

Unlike other spas, they do not actively advertise their services and are tucked away in corners where the public might not see customers entering.

Their names are also never mentioned on commercial sex forums online.

Those who unknowingly post on the forum divulging these locations are quickly chided and made to edit their posts to avoid incriminating the two massage parlours, TNPS finds.

But it is still relatively easy to tell if a massage parlour is vice-free or not.

One telltale sign is whether there are attractive ladies at the door to greet and beckon customers to enter.

Adds Mr Tan: "Of course, if all the customers who enter the spa happen to be male, that is another sign too.

"But if the massage is done in full view of other customers and (the place) has glass doors so as not to hide what happens inside, then it is usually 'clean'."

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