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COVID-19: Relegation Destined Serie A Club’s Boss Wants Season Cancelled

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The head of an Italian football club based at the heart of the coronavirus pandemic in Brescia said it was time to cancel the Serie A season because of “the plague”.

The top Italian league’s basement dwellers are destined for relegation — should the matches ever play out to their logical end in May.

No ball has been kicked in anger in the football-mad country since March 9 because of an outbreak that bore down on Italy from China last month.

The nation of 60 million is under a lockdown that could well run for many more weeks.

Schools are not expected to reopen until after the summer. Stores may be shuttered for many weeks. The government ordered huge factories to suspend their operations Saturday night.

Yet some Italian clubs with title aspirations are thinking of resuming practise in preparation for possible matches behind closed doors.

The idea created understandable interest in an Italian sports media market starved of anything to write about — or debate.

It also prompted Brescia president Massimo Cellino to bluntly tell those thinking of playing during a national crisis that has killed close to 5,000 people in Italy to focus on saving lives.

“Life first. Life, damn it,” the 63-year-old businessman told the Corriere dello Sport in a frank interview.

“Everything has to be moved to the next season. It is time for realism, gentlemen. This is the plague,” Cellino said.

– ‘Lunacy’ –
Brescia is one of the cities in Italy’s northern Lombardy region around Milan most heavily hit by the new infectious disease.

Lombardy’s death toll shot past 3,000 on Saturday.

The region’s 12-percent mortality rate among those officially infected is much higher than anything reported out of China’s Hubei province at the peak of its outbreak this year.

None of the teams based in the region have expressed an interest in playing any time soon.

This is not the case for those based around Rome or playing in southern regions that have been relatively spared in the first month of an outbreak that has now spread around the world.

The capital region’s Lazio — just a point behind perennial champions Juventus — have said they wanted to start training as early as Monday.

Italian media speculate they might postpone it until after the ban on public gatherings formally expires on Wednesday.

Sixth-placed Napoli also aired plans to start practise next week.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has already indicated that all the national bans and closures will be extended for weeks if not months.

Torino club president Urbano Cairo told Italian media it was “lunacy” to be thinking about football during what Conte on Saturday called Italy’s biggest disaster since World Way II.

Cairo said clubs from region that had managed to largely avoid the outbreak were “foolish to argue (for a resumption) based on contagion data”.

Napoli’s southern Campania region has recorded only 22 deaths.

“Saying my region has no problem, when the situation is constantly changing, makes no sense,” Cairo said.

Brescia’s Cellino agreed.

“This season is finished. Anyone who wants this cursed (title), take it. It is closed. Finished,” the club president said.

And I am not saying this because Brescia are last in the standings.”

AFP

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Former Senegalese Footballer, Papa Diop Dies At 42

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By Agency Report

Former Senegalese International, Papa Bouba Diop has died at the age of 42, according to reports. Canal+. The former Fulham and Portsmouth midfielder passed away following a long illness.

Diop also represented West Ham and Birmingham in England, as well as winning 63 caps for his country Senegal.

Diop retired from professional football in 2013 after leaving Birmingham.

He started his career at Senegalese club ASC Diaraf in 1996 and had spells in Switzerland with Vevey, Neuchatel Xamax and Grasshoppers.

Diop moved to France to play for Lens in 2002 before he joined Fulham in 2004.

He spent three years at Craven Cottage, scoring nine goals in 84 appearances, before his switch to Portsmouth in 2007.

He was part of the Pompey side that won the 2008 FA Cup, coming on as a 78th minute substitute in the 1-0 win over Cardiff.

Diop played 72 times for Portsmouth before leaving to join AEK Athens.

He only had a brief spell at AEK between 2010 and 2011 before moving back to England with West Ham in 2011.

Diop’s international career began in 2001 and he played for his country at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

He will be remembered for scoring the goal to beat defending champions France 1-0 in the first game of the tournament.

Tributes have flooded in for the former midfielder.

Lens posted a message on their Twitter account shortly after the news of Diop’s death.

The tweet read: “It is with great sadness that Racing Club de Lens has just learned of the disappearance of its former player Papa Bouba Diop, at the age of 42.

“We offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones.”

Former England striker Gary Lineker tweeted: “How terribly sad. Taken so young. RIP Papa Bouba Diop.”

(SOURCE: Express UK)

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Maradona No Longer Wanted To Live, Says Manager

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Agency Reporter

Diego Armando Maradona’s manager and friend, Stefano Ceci, said the legend ‘was tired and let himself die’ while the family around him was ‘tearing each other’s hair out.’
The Napoli and Argentina icon died on Wednesday at the age of 60 after numerous health problems and addictions that ravaged his life and career.
“There’s an investigation into Diego’s death and people now point the finger at what could’ve been done, but that’s a concept that should be extended to his entire life,” manager Stefano Ceci told Radio Kiss Kiss.
“Diego was always alone: people only ever thought about Maradona. Diego stopped being Diego when he turned 17. He was very difficult to deal with as a person, because he was fragile, full of insecurities, humble and good-natured. I have 20 years of wonderful memories.
“Recently he was letting himself go, physically and mentally. I think he was tired and let himself die, he no longer really wanted to live.
“The family chaos that surrounded Diego meant he never had real peace. Even now that he’s dead, they are still tearing each other’s hair out.
“At least now he can be with those he loved the most, his mother and father. Now Diego is in peace.”
Maradona was buried next to his parents in Buenos Aires.

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Football Legend, Maradona Is Dead 

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Football legend Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60 as a result of cardiac arrest.
He recently underwent an operation to remove a blood clot on his brain on October 30.
Mirror reports that the Gimnasia boss fell unwell after his side beat Patronato 3-0 and was taken to hospital in La Plata, near the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.
Scans discovered a subdural hemetoma, requiring Maradona to undergo immediate surgery to remove the problem before being sent home to continue his recovery.
Reports in Argentina say Maradona was showing signs of recovery, but the 60-year-old then suffered a cardiac arrest and has passed away.
A tweet by the Argentine Football Association through its President Claudio Tapia, expressed its deepest pain at Maradona’s death saying he will always be in their hearts.
Gary Lineker referred to Maradona as “arguably the greatest of all time”.
Lineker tweeted: “By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time. After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God.”

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