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Premier League Can’t Resume Yet, Says UK

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Britain’s Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden warned on Friday that the Premier League does not yet have the “green light” to resume but restated the government’s hope that the season can be completed.

Premier League clubs are due to meet on Monday to discuss the latest plans for “Project Restart” – a day after an expected minor easing of coronavirus lockdown measures.

Clubs are understood to have been told that the use of a limited number of neutral venues is the only way to complete the campaign, to limit the strain on essential services and discourage gatherings of supporters near stadiums.

But those at risk of relegation argue that the integrity of the competition would be compromised by the neutral-venue plan.

Brighton chief executive Paul Barber is opposed to the idea, with the Seagulls hovering two points above the drop zone. Brighton were scheduled to play five of their remaining nine games at home.

Despite extensive contingency planning, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, warned the Premier League was yet to get the go-ahead, with testing and player welfare major hurdles.

“They’ve not been given the green light,” Dowden told BBC Radio on Friday.

“If we can get a plan that works then I’d like us to be able to go ahead with it because I think it would be good for the nation, it would be good for football as a whole.

“I’m really hopeful we can get this up and running but public safety must come first so it’s only if we’re confident of that, we’ll be able to proceed.”

In Germany, the Bundesliga announced this week that it would resume matches on May 16, behind closed doors and subject to extensive coronavirus testing.

Dowden’s comments came as The Times newspaper reported that Football Association chiefs would block any attempt to declare the Premier League season null and void and abandon relegation.

– Relegation scrapped? –

At least one club reportedly wants relegation to be scrapped if neutral grounds are used.

But The Times said it was understood that the FA board supported the Premier League board’s position that the league table should be decided on sporting merit even if it were cut short.

Burnley captain Ben Mee, whose side are 10th in the table, said he believed footballers could “get over” playing at neutral venues if it meant the game could be re-started.

“It’s not ideal but these times, they call for different measures,” Mee told the BBC. “We can certainly get over that fact.”

And he said players would be prepared to spend time in quarantine if necessary.

“I think football is such an important part of our country, whether you like it or not, and people rely on it,” he said. “And if we can give that positive boost to the country, then that would be fantastic.”

Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand said there was no viable resolution that would satisfy all 20 clubs.

“People are going to feel at a disadvantage if certain decisions are made but I don’t think the Premier League can have a wholehearted 100 percent win on this no matter what decision they make, which is unfortunate,” he told the Press Association.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero and Brighton’s Glenn Murray have raised objections from a safety point of view but Ferdinand said they should put their faith in the authorities.

“The Premier League, the FA and the government, if all of those three bodies give it the green light then I’m sure the players’ protection, health and well-being will be at the top of their agenda to make sure they remain healthy and not at risk,” he said.

(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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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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