Bethany Hamilton, the aspiring surfer who lost her arm in a 2003 shark attack, will highlight an Oct. 23 fundraiser for the Ocean City Tabernacle’s Son Club. Tickets are now on sale.Bethany Hamilton — the young world-class surfer who lost her arm in a 2003 shark attack and inspired the world with her return to the sport — will be the featured speaker at an Oct. 23 fundraiser for the Ocean City Tabernacle’s Son Club.The Son Club has filled a vital need in Ocean City by providing a free program that provides after-school tutoring, snacks, Bible lessons, games, enrichment and life skills for more than 200 Ocean City students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Hamilton’s story of faith and resilience will provide a fitting message for the evening.“I’ll share my life story and encourage people to overcome their struggles,” Hamilton said in a telephone interview on Friday. “My story has been able to touch people’s lives all over the world.”The public is invited to hear Hamilton at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, at the Flanders Hotel (at 11th Street and Boardwalk). All proceeds from this event benefit the Son Club.Hamilton, now 25, said on Friday that she never really felt sorry for herself in the aftermath of the shark attack when she was just 13.“My parents really raised me to look for things to be thankful for,” she said. “My faith was really huge in letting me know that God was going to take care of me.”Now a mother of a young son, Tobias, Hamilton has a new perspective on the importance of mentoring youth like the participants in the Tabernacle’s Son Club.“They need to find something they’re passionate about and center their life around that,” Hamilton said.For her, it was surfing and her faith, she said.Hamilton’s father, Tom, grew up in Ocean City, and she said she’s “super excited” to be returning to a place that she knows and loves.Event attendees will hear her story, enjoy dinner, live music and a silent auction that includes items signed by Hamilton. Special VIP tickets allow guests to meet Bethany and have their photo taken with her.Tickets to a special evening with Soul Surfer Bethany Hamilton are $150 per person. VIP sponsorship packages including meet-and-greet passes are also available. To purchase tickets, call 609-399-1915, visit octabernacle.org or email [email protected] a video on the mission of the Son Club.
NEW president Aleksander Ceferin said UEFA must show Europe’s big clubs who is in charge as he made Champions League reforms his first priority.Ceferin, 48, beat Michael van Praag 42-13 in the poll to become the new head of European football’s governing body.UEFA and European clubs last month agreed changes to the Champions League, which critics said favour bigger clubs.Slovenian Ceferin said his organisation should show the clubs “we are the ones who are the governing body”.Under the reforms announced last month, Europe’s top four domestic leagues will be guaranteed four places each in the group stages of the Champions League from 2018 to 2019.The European Professional Football League (EPFL), which represents the continent’s 24 domestic football leagues, called on UEFA to scrap the proposals, claiming national leagues will suffer.“It will be the first thing to deal with,” said Ceferin, who succeeds Michel Platini following his resignation after being banned from all football activity last year.“UEFA is a very good, strong organisation. It was without leadership for some time and that was a problem dealing with this.“We have to speak and have dialogue with the clubs and I think it can be solved.”Ceferin, who has been the head of the Football Association of Slovenia since 2011, takes on the remainder of Platini’s term of office, until 2019.The lawyer said Financial Fair Play rules – introduced, in UEFA’S words, to “improve the overall financial health of European club football” – should be enforced more strongly.He added there was “a lot of work to do”, citing match-fixing, security and safety, and racism as issues to address.England’s Football Association last week declared its support for van Praag, who – unlike Ceferin – is a member of UEFA’S executive committee.The Scottish Football Association said it would vote for the Slovenian.After the vote, FA chairman Greg Clarke said he was happy to work with Ceferin, and welcomed his clear mandate.MY CONSCIENCE IS CLEAR – PLATINI`Platini earlier said his “conscience is clear” as he spoke to European football’s governing body for what is likely to be the last time.World governing body FIFA gave the Frenchman permission to speak at the meeting in Athens.The 61-year-old was last year banned from all football activity for breaching ethics rules over a £1.3M “disloyal payment” made to him in 2011 by then FIFA president Sepp Blatter.“I am certain that I committed not the slightest fault,” he said. “I am continuing to fight legally. Just simply know that my conscience is clear.“You are going to continue this beautiful mission without me, for reasons that I do not wish to come back on.”FIFA’s ethics committee handed down an initial eight-year ban to both Blatter and Platini, who have always denied wrongdoing.The bans were later reduced to six years on appeal to FIFA, then four years in a further appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).The issue is still under investigation by Swiss prosecutors. (BBC Sport)