Major League Soccer is headed to St. Louis and Brian McBride is already excited for the prospects of a rivalry between the expansion side and Chicago Fire. The two cities have a long history of sports rivalries, with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals sharing a division in Major League Baseball, while the Blackhawks and Blues are both members of the National Hockey League’s Central division. That rivalry will now have the chance to extend to the soccer pitch, with St. Louis set to begin play in 2022 after being awarded a team by MLS on Tuesday. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? And McBride, who played his college soccer at St. Louis University and made over 100 appearances for the Fire during his professional career, is thrilled by the prospects. “I’m really excited,” former Fulham and Columbus Crew forward McBride said on ESPN. “And not just because St. Louis deserves it, and the history of St. Louis. “But now you’ve got this rivalry between Chicago and St. Louis. [It] is there in all professional sports that they both have sports in. And now you have it with the Fire and the St. Louis team that’s coming in. It’s going to be really special.”The new outfit in St. Louis will be the 28th team in MLS, but the club will be the first in one regard – with a majority female ownership group, the first of it’s kind in league history and a rarity in top-level professional sports. And those new owners are hoping to continue the proud legacy of sports achievement in the city as they add a soccer club to the roster of professional teams. “The most interesting aspect, and one we are very proud of, is the fact that we are the first female majority led ownership group in MLS history, and one of few in all professional sports,” St. Louis owner Carolyn Kindle Betz at Tuesday’s announcement. “This is truly a historic day for St. Louis. “I believe it was just a couple months ago we were celebrating our very first Stanley Cup win. So being awarded this MLS team just continues to add to the positive momentum going on in our city. “We are providing a great opportunity to bring together many different segments of the community, uniting people and their love for the game. As we have stated from the beginning, we did not want to take resources away from the city. Our goal has always been overwhelmingly to privately finance a team and stadium that fuel the region’s continued growth, bringing people together and creating a lasting legacy for this city.”
Discussions have started with the full support of the Government of CAR, which has engaged in talks with the UNICEF since the first UN assessment mission in the Vakaga region identified armed children among the ranks of non-State armed groups in January, the agency said in a news release.General Damane Zakaria, head and founder of the Assembly of the Union of Democratic Forces (UFDR) rebel group that controls parts of north-eastern CAR, close to Sudan’s troubled Darfur region, has agreed on releasing some 400 children, UNICEF said. A first list of 220 child soldiers has been given to UNICEF last week.“This UNICEF programme not only contributes significantly to children’s welfare, but also helps resolve one of CAR’s most pressing problems,” said the agency’s CAR Humanitarian Coordinator, Toby Lanzer. UNICEF is now entering into negotiations with the Government of CAR to study the feasibility of a release agreement after the UFDR has agreed to sign a final commitment in the coming weeks.The Representative of UNICEF in CAR, Mahimbo Mdoe, thanked the Government for its openness and support in this process. “It is imperative for UNICEF to move fast to free these children from this environment of violence.”Under UNICEF’s plan, communities will be supported and social services rehabilitated to welcome the released children and to facilitate their reintegration back into their families.The UNICEF programme will also extend to all the children of northeast CAR, who will benefit from stepped-up health care, schooling and recreation activities, protection and security. Nearly 300,000 people have had to flee their homes in the CAR over the past year because of fighting, banditry and rebel attacks. UN officials have warned that the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region is threatening to engulf the CAR as well as Chad. 21 May 2007The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has started talks with rebel groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) to secure the release of hundreds of child soldiers so they can return to their families, with 220 already freed so far.