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Khama Billiat (AP)

CAIRO, June 28 (Reuters) - The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) and the players were locked in talks over unpaid salaries on Thursday with both parties threatening to withdraw from the Africa Cup of Nations ahead of their final pool match, local media has reported.

Reports said no agreement was reached with ZIFA offering to pay $5,500 of the $12,500 the players are owed on Friday, but it was rejected amid the threat of a boycott of training until the full amounts were settled.

Both parties then threatened to quit the tournament ahead of Sunday’s clash with struggling Democratic Republic of Congo, where victory would give Zimbabwe a strong chance of progressing to the second round.

“We were called in and told of the developments about the possible withdrawal from the tournament and we told them (ZIFA officials) that we were ready to go home because we believe they haven’t fulfilled our contracts,” Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper quoted an unnamed player as saying.

The reports suggested ZIFA has gone so far as to engage the Confederation of African Football over the cost of withdrawing — which could invite a ban from future tournaments.

For their part, a number of players have told officials they are ready to call it quits as the parties trade barbs and clamour for the upper hand in negotiations.

A ZIFA spokesman told Reuters he would not comment on the matter, but suggested clarity would be provided later on Friday.

The players were at loggerheads with ZIFA before the team left for Egypt and had threatened to boycott their opener against the host nation on June 21.

ZIFA crafted a lengthy statement on Tuesday to dismiss “misleading and false” allegations made on social media that funds destined for tournament preparations and player salaries had been misappropriated by officials.

“ZIFA is advising both CAF and FIFA on the role of these individuals in destabilising our football,” the statement read.

“At the right time, a full dossier shall be released by ZIFA with detailed information on resources received and used, (as well as) destabilising efforts prior and during the tournament.” (Reporting By Nick Said; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

FILE - The Twitter logo is shown at its corporate headquarters in San Francisco, California, April 28, 2015.

Twitter will begin labeling tweets by world leaders that violate its rules, but that it says still serve the "public interest," the company announced in a blog post Thursday. The function will apply only to verified government officials and political candidates with over 100,000 followers.

Twitter's rules ban content that glorifies or encourages violence, promotes terrorism or carries out targeted harassment of other users. In the past, the company kept tweets by world leaders on the platform even when they broke the rules. The new disclaimers, Twitter said, are meant to clarify how decisions are made about keeping offending tweets online.

"Our highest priority is to protect the health of the public conversation on Twitter," the blog post says. "An important part of that is ensuring our rules and how we enforce them are easy to understand."

The decision to remove a tweet will depend on its potential to cause harm, particularly physical, its potential to provide context and unique perspectives to users, and its value in holding the official responsible.

"A critical function of our service is providing a place where people can openly and publicly respond to their leaders and hold them accountable," says the post.

A task force with representatives from Twitter's trust and safety, legal, public policy and regional teams will make decisions regarding rule-breaking tweets by world leaders.

If a tweet is marked, Twitter's algorithms and search functions won't actively spread the content, ensuring fewer people see it. Users won't get push notifications and won't be able to see labeled tweets in safe search, top tweets, live events pages or the explore function.

Response to Trump?

Some published reports tie the new disclaimers to U.S. President Donald Trump, who has run afoul of Twitter's rules before. He could find some of his own tweets slapped with a disclaimer. A Twitter spokesperson told Buzzfeed News that the move wasn't aimed at any particular leader.

Though meant to clarify Twitter's decision-making process, the new policy could leave the company vulnerable to criticism from people with views that violate its rules. Some conservatives, including the president, have lambasted the platform for what they view as censorship of their speech.

"They [Twitter] make it very hard for people to join me on Twitter and they make it very much harder for me to get out the message," Trump told Fox Business on Wednesday.

The disclaimers won't be applied to any content posted to Twitter before Thursday.

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