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English Premier League clubs to resume training from Tuesday

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English Premier League
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Premier League clubs will return to training on Tuesday after agreeing to allow “small group” sessions to begin, the first step on the road to a return to competitive action.

The league held a conference call for all 20 clubs on Monday where the move was given unanimous backing.

ALSO READ  Celtic emerge champions, Hearts relegated as Scottish season ends

It is the first move in the league’s `Project Restart’ plans to restart play in the league, which has not held a game since March 9 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Failure to resume the season could cost the league around 750 million pounds (913.80 million dollars) in lost revenue from broadcasters, according to British media estimates.

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Some reports said clubs could lose out even if the league restarts should broadcasters demand a 330 million pounds rebate. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

“Premier League Shareholders today voted unanimously to return to small group training from tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon —- the first step towards restarting the Premier League, when safe to do so,” the league said in a statement.

“Step One of the Return to Training Protocol enables squads to train while maintaining social distancing. Contact training is not yet permitted,” it added.

The Government last week opened the door for the return of elite sport.

But several hurdles remain before the Premier League can resume behind closed doors with the aim of completing the remaining 92 matches of the season.

Clubs will have been encouraged, however, by the return of the Bundesliga at the weekend —- the first major football league in the world to resume after the lockdown.

Project Restart was originally looking at a June 12 resumption date.

But should the clubs agree and, if there is no rise in infections in the country, a return date of June 19 or June 26 appears the most likely.

However, the prospect of clubs playing their remaining matches at neutral venues has receded with more than half speaking out against such a proposal.

The league said the decision to return to `group training’ had been taken in consultation with players, managers, Premier League club doctors, independent experts and the government.

“Strict medical protocols of the highest standard will ensure everyone returns to training in the safest environment possible,” it added.

“The health and well-being of all participants is the Premier League’s priority, and the safe return to training is a step-by-step process.

“Full consultation will now continue with players, managers, clubs, the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) and LMA (League Managers Association) as protocols for full-contact training are developed,” the statement added.

Safety measures are expected to include tents where temperature checks will be conducted, strict hygiene criteria, no canteens and no showers.

A maximum of five players will be allowed per pitch, with tackling forbidden.

Players will be tested twice a week and are being asked to provide written approval that they have received and understood the club’s COVID-19 policy.

Credit: Reuters/NAN

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Messi leads Barcelona to quarter final as club trashes Napoli

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Lionel Messi, Barcelona
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Barcelona enters Champions League quarter-finals as Lionel Messi led the club to a 3-1 win at home to Napoli on Saturday for a 4-2 aggregate victory.

It is Barcelona’s 13th consecutive time of reaching the last eight and they will face Bayern Munich in a mouth-watering clash in the Final Eight tournament in Lisbon next Friday.

ALSO READ  Messi leads Barcelona to quarter final as club trashes Napoli

The Catalans had a shaky start but took the lead in the 10th minute with a powerful header from a corner by Clement Lenglet before Messi scored a superb second in the 23rd, seeing off four defenders to curl the ball into the far bottom corner.

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Messi had the ball in the net again soon after following a superb team move but the goal was harshly ruled out for handball by the Argentine following a VAR review. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Messi later won a penalty which Luis Suarez converted for Barca’s third.

Napoli got one back when Lorenzo Insigne converted a spot kick at the end of the first half and were the better side after the interval.

Messi had sounded the alarm after Barca’s rusty performance in the 1-1 draw in the first leg back in February, saying they stood no chance of winning Europe’s top prize, which has eluded them since 2015, unless they improved.

He would have been worried by Barca’s stuttering start which saw Napoli swarm all over the home side’s area and Dries Mertens clip the crossbar in the second minute with a scuffed shot.

But Napoli’s slack defending allowed Lenglet to score with a free header which settled Barca’s nerves.

Messi effectively killed the tie off with his goal and by winning the penalty by chasing down Kalidou Koulibaly in the area and earning a foul.

However, the fact Napoli ended the game so well, with Hirving Lozano hitting the post and Arkadiusz Milik’s header ruled out for offside, added to the sense that Barca will struggle to beat Bayern.

The German champions thrashed Chelsea 7-1 on aggregate.

Source: Reuters/NAN

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.

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Celtic emerge champions, Hearts relegated as Scottish season ends

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Amb. (Dr,) Dickson A. O. Akoh FCITr, FCPA
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Celtic have been declared 2019/2020 Scottish champions for a record-equalling ninth successive season by the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), while Hearts were relegated.

This ending came after the clubs voted on Monday to end the Scottish Premiership season early because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

`The SPFL has today announced that, following consultation with all 12 top-flight clubs, the Board of the SPFL has determined that the 2019/20 Ladbrokes Premiership has been concluded with immediate effect,” the SPFL said in a statement.

“The decision means that Celtic are crowned 2019/20 champions and Hearts have been relegated to the Championship.

When the season was stopped in March because of the pandemic, Celtic were 13 points clear of Old Firm rivals Rangers, who had a game in hand.

Also, Hearts were four points adrift at the bottom of the standings.

Places were decided on a points-per-game average.

Hearts said they were still considering legal action, saying they had been “unfairly penalised” because of the pandemic.

In a statement, the Edinburgh club said they would be submitting a member’s resolution offering a “pragmatic solution” to the issues the game is facing.

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Hearts believe there is an appetite for a restructuring of the Scottish leagues.

“It is our belief that this resolution, if supported, will provide an opportunity to avoid disproportionately disadvantaging —- financially and otherwise —- any club,” the club said.

“This is possibly the final chance for our game to stand together, protect each other and not only survive but flourish in the aftermath of this terrible pandemic.

“As previously intimated, the club has been taking legal advice throughout this process and is continuing to do so.

“We hope that the resolution being prepared will avoid the need to go down this route. Legal action will be both time consuming and expensive.

“However, the cost to the club of relegation will outweigh these considerations.’’

Last week Scottish clubs failed to support a request by Rangers for an independent investigation into SPFL’s handling of the season in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The resolution, backed by Hearts and Stranraer.

ALSO READ  Messi leads Barcelona to quarter final as club trashes Napoli

It was put forward after serious misgivings about how a previous vote on the SPFL’s plan to end the lower leagues early, and possibly the Premiership too, was carried out.

The SPFL executive committee last week met all 12 Premiership clubs about declaring the season over.

Media reports had it that relegated Hearts had made a final push for a revamp of the league structure.

Scotland’s three lowest tiers were ended immediately in April, with positions also decided on a points-per-game average, although the door was left open for a resumption of the Premiership.

That has now been ruled out.

Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers were declared winners of the Championship, League One and League Two respectively.

The SPFL released end-of-season payments of over 1.8 million pounds (2.18 million dollars) to clubs to ease their financial burden.

“We will all have rather seen the league season played out on pitches, in stadiums and in front of supporters,” SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan said.

“COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on sports competitions around the world and the repercussions will be felt for a long time.”

ALSO READ  Celtic emerge champions, Hearts relegated as Scottish season ends

Celtic Chief Executive Peter Lawwell dedicated the club’s title, their 51st compared to Rangers’ 54, to the fans.

“I am so proud of our team and proud of you for all you have given us,” he said on Celtic’s website.

“While we rightly celebrate this fantastic, deserved achievement, we must take time to consider the wider circumstances we have all been experiencing.”

Celtic also won nine league titles in a row from 1965 to 1974, a feat matched by Rangers from 1989 to 1997.

Credit: Reuters/NAN

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Park wins in golf’s return to action in South Korea

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Park wins in golf’s return to action in South Korea
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Park Hyun-kyung won the KLPGA Championship title on Sunday as women’s golf in South Korea joined the country’s professional baseball and football leagues to restart amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Park signed off with a second successive round of 67 to erase a three-shot deficit and triumph by one stroke in the tour’s first event since December.

ALSO READ  Messi leads Barcelona to quarter final as club trashes Napoli

Overnight leader Lim Hee-jeong (71) and Bae Seon-woo (68) shared second place at 16-under 272 in the event played without spectators at the Lakewood Country Club in Yangju.

An emotional Park hugged her father, who was caddying for her, after the winning putt.

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She was showered with petals from her peers who also did elbow bumps in what is likely to be a new normal in sports. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

“I was so disappointed not to have been part of that winner’s group last year,” Park was quoted as saying.

“I am so happy that I got the first win out of the way in the first tournament of the year.”

“I don’t think the next win will come easily for me. I have to keep trying.”

Park pocketed 178,400 dollars for her maiden KLPGA victory in her second year on the tour.

It was an unusual experience for those at the Lakewood Country Club, which was open only to players, caddies, officials and media.

Caddies wore masks, players dined separately and fist and elbow bumps replaced post-round hugs and handshakes over the last four days.

Next month’s men’s Korea Open, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, was cancelled on Friday owing to the pandemic.

South Korea on Sunday reported five new domestic cases of coronavirus, raising fears of a fresh wave of contagion after weeks of nearly no new domestic cases.(Reuters/NAN)

Author Profile

Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.

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