Archive | February 2020

Coronavirus: Italian Serie A games postponed….

Five Serie A matches this weekend have been postponed because of coronavirus, including Juventus’ game at home to Inter Milan. Matches at Udinese, AC Milan, Parma and Sassuolo have also fallen victim to the outbreak of the virus in Italy. The games were initially going to be played behind closed doors, but Serie A took the decision on Saturday morning to call them off. All five fixtures have been rescheduled for Wednesday, 13 May. As a consequence, the Coppa Italia final, which was scheduled for the same day, has been moved to the following week on Wednesday, 20 May – four days before the end of the domestic season.

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Infantino backs Wenger’s offside law proposal….

Gianni Infantino is in agreement with Arsene Wenger

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has spoken in favour of introducing the ‘daylight’ principle to the offside law to bring extra clarity. There has been a great deal of controversy over offsides in the Premier League this season, with a number of goals ruled out by very fine margins after VAR checks. FIFA’s chief of global football development Arsene Wenger said last week that the law should be changed so that a player is onside if any part of their body that can score a goal is behind or level with the relevant defender, a view which Infantino clearly shares.

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Hoffenheim and Bayern Munich players pass the ball among themselves aimlessly to end a bizarre game….

Hoffenheim and Bayern Munich played out one of the most bizarre conclusions in the history of football as they passed the ball between each other for 13 minutes after a long delay for an offensive banner in the crowd. Bayern were 6-0 up when their travelling fans unfurled an offensive banner about Hoffenheim president Dietmar Hopp. Coach Hansi Flick and most of the players pleaded – angrily in some cases – with the fans to put it away. Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic and board member Oliver Kahn – both former players – also attempted to talk to the ultras.

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Watford ends Liverpool’s 44-game unbeaten record….

Liverpool’s hopes of remaining unbeaten for an entire Premier League season were ended in sensational style by a rampant Watford at Vicarage Road. Ismaila Sarr scored twice while captain Troy Deeney added a third in a sparkling second-half display from the hosts as Liverpool’s run of victories was brought to a shuddering halt. The Reds had won their past 18 Premier League games and another at Vicarage Road would have made history as the longest winning run in the English top flight. But they never got going against a Watford side who were superb from start to finish.

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Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte out for up to a month….

Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte is expected to be out of action for up to a month with a hamstring injury, says manager Pep Guardiola. Laporte, 25, was forced off in the first half of Wednesday’s Champions League win at Real Madrid – having made just eight appearances this season. “He has a hamstring injury. Three weeks out more or less – a month,” Guardiola said on Friday. “Unfortunately this happens after four or five months out.” Laporte returned in City’s 1-0 Premier League victory over Sheffield United in January, following surgery on a knee injury in August 2019.

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Chinese swimmer Sun Yang banned for eight years….

China’s three-time Olympic champion Sun Yang has been banned for eight years for missing a doping test in September 2018. The 28-year-old was initially cleared of wrongdoing by FINA, the swimming federation, in January 2019. Following an appeal by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the decision has been overturned. An eight-year ban was imposed on Sun because this was his second offence. He had served a three-month suspension in 2014 for taking prohibited stimulant Trimetazidine. Sun told China’s Xinhua news agency that he plans to appeal against the decision.

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FIFA to discuss preventing domestic leagues playing games abroad….

Image result for fifa logo

FIFA is set to discuss whether to prevent domestic league games being played in another country. A Stakeholders’ Committee, meeting in Zurich on Thursday, will debate whether to recommend making an amendment to the rules of football’s world governing body. The idea of a ’39th Game’ was first mentioned by Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore in 2008 but was eventually shelved due to widespread opposition within the game. However, the concept of matches being played abroad has been taken up more recently by Spain’s La Liga, who have twice in the last two seasons been denied the chance to host official matches in the USA. The committee itself can only advise the 37-member FIFA Council which would ultimately make any decision to block overseas matches.

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Double amputee appeals to CAS in bid to make 2020 Olympics….

Double amputee Blake Leeper has launched an appeal to run at the Tokyo Olympics after he was banned from competing by World Athletics. Leeper runs with prosthetic blades and qualified for the 2019 World Championships but was not allowed to compete while his case was reviewed. He has now appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to aim to qualify for Tokyo. Paralympian Oscar Pistorius won a similar appeal in 2008.

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Europa League last 16 draw….

Istanbul Basaksehir vs Copenhagen

Olympiakos vs Wolves

Rangers vs Bayer Leverkusen

Wolfsburg vs Shakhtar Donetsk

Inter Milan vs Getafe

Sevilla vs Roma

Eintracht Frankfurt or RB Salzburg vs Basel

LASK vs Manchester United

The matches are set to be played on 12 and 19 March.

Suspect arrested after Guardiola’s emails are allegedly hacked….

A man has been arrested after Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola’s emails were allegedly hacked. Manchester police say investigations are ongoing but a 30-year-old has been released after being questioned. The Sun newspaper claims to have spoken to an IT contractor who says the emails contained players’ contact details and information on transfer talks. It’s claimed Guardiola was targeted in 2017 with the man attempting to sell details for £100,000.

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Samuel Eto’o in Nigeria for Castle Africa 5s….

Image result for etoo in nigeria for Castle Africa 5s

Football fans in Nigeria are in for a big thrill as Samuel Eto’o Fils, one of Africa’s greatest football legends has arrived in Lagos for the launch of the 2020 edition of Castle Africa 5s, the continental leg of the Trophy 5-A-Side developmental football tournament. Eto’o arrived in Lagos yesterday and was received by the Trophy Lager team in company of International Breweries management and members of the sports media.

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Liverpool announce £42m profit….

Mohamed Salah scored from the penalty spot in Liverpool's 2-0 win over Tottenham in last season's Champions League final

Liverpool say they are seeing sustained growth across all areas of the club after announcing a pre-tax profit of £42m and increased turnover for last season which saw them win their sixth European Cup. In the club’s annual financial accounts for the year to May 31, 2019, published on Thursday, Liverpool announced that turnover had increased by £78m to £533m, with media revenue increasing by £41m to £261m. Commercial revenue was also up by £34m to £188m and match revenue increased by £3.5m to £84m. The club spent a record £223m on Alisson, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri during this period, with players including Danny Ings and Dominic Solanke leaving Anfield.

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Cameroon striker Christian Bassogog pledges $16,000 to compatriots in China….

Cameroon attacker Christian Bassogog has announced he will donate 10m CFA Francs ($16,000) to Cameroonian students living in areas of China stricken by the deadly coronavirus. The 24-year-old, who joined the Chinese Super League club Henan Jianye in 2017, is currently in Yaounde while football is suspended in China due to the virus. Cameroon’s embassy in China says there are close to 300 Cameroonians, mainly students, living in Hubei Province, considered the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic.

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Alphonso Davies, the Bayern Munich star born in a refugee camp….

Few journeys to the top of professional football can compete with the story of Alphonso Davies – the Bayern Munich youngster who starred against Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday. Born in a refugee camp in Ghana in 2000, his parents had fled fighting in the second Liberian civil war. They then moved to Canada as refugees when the player was five years old. Davies joined the Vancouver Whitecaps youth set-up in 2015 at the age of 14, before making his MLS debut a year later, and his big break came in the summer of 2018. That was when European giants Bayern agreed a Major League Soccer record £9.84m fee to sign the player the following January – and the teenager quickly found himself rubbing shoulders with superstars.

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Lewandowski out for four weeks….

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski will miss the second leg of their Champions League tie against Chelsea after being ruled out for four weeks with a leg injury. The Poland international assisted two Serge Gnabry goals and scored a third as Bayern won 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg on Tuesday.

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Dele Alli charged over Coronavirus post….

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli has been charged by the Football Association over a post on social media about coronavirus. Alli, 23, put a video on Snapchat in which he joked about the outbreak and appeared to mock an Asian man. He later deleted the post and released a new video on Chinese social media platform Weibo to apologise, saying: “I let myself down and the club.”

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CAS registers Manchester City’s appeal against European ban….

Manchester City’s appeal against their two-year ban from European club competition has been registered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The Premier League champions were also fined 30m euros for serious breaches of UEFA’s financial regulations. City chief executive Ferran Soriano has said the breaches are simply not true. CAS says “it is not possible” to say when the matter will be resolved. CAS arbitration procedures involve an exchange of written submissions between the parties while a panel of arbitrators is convened to hear the appeal.

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Celestine Babayaro shares his thoughts on Yobo’s appoinment and African teams….

Former Chelsea defender Celestine Babayaro has said that while he welcomes ex-players being involved in Nigeria coaching set-up he questions Joseph Yobo’s credentials. His comments come after his former international team-mate and ex-Everton star Yobo was appointed as assistant coach of the Super Eagles two weeks ago. Babayaro, who won an Olympic gold medal with Nigeria at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, said any such appointment must be backed by requisite qualifications. The duo were in the Nigeria squad at both the 2002 World Cup and two years later at the Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia.

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