Footy http://www.footy.to/ Your Daily Football NEws Source Fri, 27 Mar 2020 21:41:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.13 FIFA president Infantino admits coronavirus means football set for long-term changes http://www.footy.to/2020/03/27/fifa-president-infantino-admits-coronavirus-means-football-set-for-long-term-changes/ http://www.footy.to/2020/03/27/fifa-president-infantino-admits-coronavirus-means-football-set-for-long-term-changes/#respond Fri, 27 Mar 2020 21:41:25 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=17556

Fewer tournaments, fewer teams, fewer games: FIFA president Gianni Infantino admits coronavirus crisis means football is set for sweeping long-term changes

  • Gianni Infantino admits that coronavirus may lead to notable changes in football 
  • FIFA chief revealed that fewer tournaments and less games could be considered 
  • Infantino conceded that the demands on players will now have to be reined back 
  • European Super League is also not under consideration, according to Infantino 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has admitted that the coronavirus crisis may lead to notable changes at the very top of football.

The ongoing pandemic has heavily disrupted the game’s calendar, with countless domestic competitions postponed and Euro 2020 having been pushed back until next year.

And Infantino revealed that sweeping measures may have to be introduced, which could include cutting back significantly on the amount of tournaments and games played.

FIFA chief Gianni Infantino admitted that coronavirus could lead to notable changes in football

Infantino conceded that 'less tournaments, fewer teams and less games' may be considered

Infantino conceded that ‘less tournaments, fewer teams and less games’ may be considered

As global authorities ramp up their attempts to contain the spread of the virus, sport has been placed into a state of indefinite suspension – although there are plans at the highest level of the game to resume action within the near future in order to complete the current campaign.

Football chiefs are faced with the dilemma of allocating time to allow the remaining games to take place, with the controversial decision to scrap the season likely to be met with litigation from countless disgruntled clubs.

With Euro 2020 and the Copa America both postponed, players may have to battle through an incredibly congested fixture list next term.

FIFA were also planning to introduce a 24-team Club World Cup from 2021 to further add to the headache, although Infantino has conceded that the demand on footballers may have to be scaled back in the wake of the current crisis.

FIFA were planning to introduce a 24-team Club World Cup before the pandemic rocked sport

FIFA were planning to introduce a 24-team Club World Cup before the pandemic rocked sport

‘An assessment of the global economic impact is needed. It’s difficult right now, we don’t know when it will return to normal,’ he told Gazzetta dello Sport when questioned about finances in football.

‘But we look at the opportunities. We can perhaps reform world football by taking a step back. With different formats. Less tournaments, but more interesting. Maybe fewer teams, but more balanced. Less games, to protect the health of the players, but more competitive.

‘It’s not science fiction, let’s talk about it. We quantify the damages, let’s see how we can cover them, we have to make sacrifices. The ones who managed their “company” in a healthy way, will benefit – then we start again.

‘Not from scratch, we are privileged. But let’s all save football together, from a crisis that risks being irreversible.’

Infantino also played down speculation that a European Super League would be part of his plans for the future.

Infantino also played down speculation that a European Super League was part of his plans

Infantino also played down speculation that a European Super League was part of his plans

Several of the continent’s leading clubs were believed to have supported the concept, which may threaten the Premier League and Champions League, but Infantino has waved away the concept.

He added: ‘It makes me laugh.

‘And what else? From what I see, others are already planning and organising tournaments around the world, outside the institutional structures, and without respect for how domestic, continental and world football is organised.

‘In the future we must have at least 50 national sides that can win the World Cup, not just eight in Europe and two in South America.

‘We need 50 clubs that can win the Club World Cup, not just five or six European ones. And 20 of these 50 will be European, which seems better than today’s five or six. But it’s not the right time to talk about this now.’

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FIFA’s PLAN: Football stars contracts to be extended, longer transfer window and more http://www.footy.to/2020/03/27/fifas-plan-football-stars-contracts-to-be-extended-longer-transfer-window-and-more/ http://www.footy.to/2020/03/27/fifas-plan-football-stars-contracts-to-be-extended-longer-transfer-window-and-more/#respond Fri, 27 Mar 2020 21:31:08 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=17553

2020 OLYMPIC GAMES  

The 2020 Olympic Games has been postponed until 2021 on March 24 – becoming one of the last major sporting events this summer to fall victim to the coronavirus.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe held a crucial conference call with Olympics chief Thomas Bach on Tuesday to formally decide a plan and they have chosen to postpone for 12 months.

The decision also means the Tokyo Paralympic Games will be subject to a one-year delay.

Despite the delay, the name of the delayed Games will still be Tokyo 2020, the city’s governor Yuriko Koike revealed.

A joint statement from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organising committee read: ‘In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

‘The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. 

‘Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.’ 

There was plenty of scepticism whether the Olympics would pull through and continue as scheduled while events linked to the games were called off. The Olympic torch relay in Greece was cancelled on Friday March 13 – just a day after the flame was lit in Olympia.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been postponed by one year due to the coronavirus

Large crowds mobbed Hollywood actor Gerard Butler as he lit the cauldron in the Greek city of Sparta despite repeated warnings for spectators not to attend because of coronavirus.

That forced the decision by the Greek Olympic Committee to halt the torch relay on Greek soil on just the second day of its scheduled eight-day journey. It is the only the third time that a relay to Athens for the summer Games has not been completed.

The Olympic flame will still be handed over to the Tokyo 2020 organising committee at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on Thursday March 19, but without fans present. 

Athletes were told to keep training but many struggled considering the government lock-down measures put in place. 

On Friday March 13 US president Donald Trump’s suggestion to postpone the Tokyo Olympics for a year because of the coronavirus was immediately shot down by Japan’s Olympic minister.

‘The IOC and the organising committee are not considering cancellation or a postponement – absolutely not at all,’ Seiko Hashimoto, an Olympic bronze medalist, told a news conference in Tokyo.

On Tuesday March 17, Kozo Tashima, one of the Japanese Olympic Committee’s vice presidents and president of the Japanese Football Association, tested positive for coronavirus.  

The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organisers have stayed on message since the viral outbreak in China three months ago spread across Asia and then the globe: The games will open as scheduled on July 24. 

Tokyo 2020 organisers received the Olympic flame in a scaled-down handover ceremony in the Greek capital on March 19. 

ATHLETICS 

The World Athletics Indoor Championships, which was due to be held from March 13-15 in Nanjing, is postponed until March 2021.

The World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, has been postponed due to concerns over the danger of the coronavirus and its ability to spread

The World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, has been postponed due to concerns over the danger of the coronavirus and its ability to spread

North Korea cancelled the Pyongyang Marathon scheduled for April after imposing a border lockdown due to the level of outbreak in South Korea, where the Seoul Marathon is cancelled in a bid to protect runners.

The Paris half-marathon is cancelled and the French government also decided to ban all public gatherings of more than 100 people, before ordering people to stay at home from March 15 for at least 15 days. The race involving some 44,000 competitors was scheduled for Sunday March 1. Organisers said the race will be postponed to a date yet to be determined.

The London Marathon, which had been scheduled to take place on April 26, has been postponed until October 4. Over 40,000 runners were due to take part. 

The Barcelona marathon scheduled for March 15 has been postponed until October.

BOXING 

Olympic boxing qualifiers to be staged in Wuhan were cancelled by the International Olympic Committee, but went ahead in Amman from March 3-11.

The IBF title fight between Daniele Scardina and Andrew Francillette in Milan on February 28 was postponed by Matchroom due to restrictions in Italy following the outbreak.

The Japanese boxing commission cancelled all fight cards scheduled for March on government advice to suspend all pending sporting fixtures. They will not be rescheduled.

Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce's Battle of Britain has been pushed back from April to July

Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce’s Battle of Britain has been pushed back from April to July

The British Boxing Board of Control announced on Tuesday March 17 that all boxing events under their jurisdiction for March will be postponed due to the coronavirus.

That decision has lead to the heavyweight clash between Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce being postponed. That fight, which had been penciled in for April 11, has been rescheduled for July 11 at the O2 Arena. 

Matchroom Boxing has also postponed all events scheduled for March and April, including Josh Kelly’s European title fight against Russia’s David Avanesyan (scheduled for March 28). 

The European Olympic boxing qualification tournament in London has been suspended. It was due to secure qualification for Tokyo 2020 for 77 male and female boxers, with 322 taking part. 

Matchroom Boxing chief Eddie Hearn has said Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev, which is scheduled for June 20, could be rearranged for July. All Matchroom promoted fights in March and April have been postponed. 

Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders, earmarked for May in Las Vegas, was postponed before even being announced, however the Mexican is reportedly still planning to make the bout happen in June. 

CRICKET 

England’s tour of Sri Lanka was postponed on March 13, with the England and Wales Cricket Board citing ‘completely unprecedented times’.

The decision was confirmed while Joe Root’s side were in the field at Colombo’s P Sara Oval, contesting a warm-up game for a two-Test series.

On March 18, the West Indies offered to host England’s upcoming home Tests against them in the Caribbean instead of in the UK – should the coronavirus outbreak not have improved by then. England are due to face the Windies in a a three-Test series, which is due to start at the Oval on June 4 but could be delayed until September. If playing the series in England proves unworkable, CWI have offered to step in for this series, and also for England’s three Tests against Pakistan, due to start on July 30. Although there are Covid-19 cases in the Caribbean, its impact there has been limited so far. 

The start of the Indian Premier League season has also been delayed until April 15. The 2020 campaign had been set to start on March 29. The IPL franchises are also ready to quarantine their foreign players for a period of 14 days, if travel restrictions are lifted to allow them to arrive.

On March 13, India’s ongoing one-day international series against South Africa was postponed, while Australia’s one-day internationals against New Zealand will be played behind closed doors.

Scotland’s one-day series against the United States and UAE have been postponed. The games were scheduled to be played in Florida in April. 

England’s cricketers would not play any rescheduled Test series against West Indies in the Caribbean until December at the earliest, it emerged on March 19.

CYCLING 

Cycling’s Giro d’Italia has been called off, with the race scheduled to start in Hungary in May. 

The final two stages of the UAE Tour were cancelled after two members of staff on the race were suspected of having the disease. 

Danish cyclist Michael Morkov was tested for coronavirus after being put in isolation

Danish cyclist Michael Morkov was tested for coronavirus after being put in isolation

The Tour de France is under threat of cancellation, with the scheduled start in Nice taking place in just over three months, on June 27. With British and French governments anticipating that the pandemic will last until the summer, race organizers are studying alternative scheduling. 

The Paris-Roubaix cycling race, another major event on the French sports calendar, was postponed due to the pandemic, while the April 5 Tour of Flanders, only previously cancelled during World War I, was also postponed in a further sign that Le Tour is under grave threat.

FOOTBALL 

This summer’s Euro 2020 tournament has been moved to next summer (2021) following a UEFA conference held on March 17. The postponement provides a chance for European club competitions to be completed.

All football in England is suspended until at least April 30 – but the 2019-20 season should eventually be completed after the FA bend their own rules to extend the campaign INDEFINITELY after holding crisis talks on March 19.

The decisions to suspend follows players and staff becoming affected by the virus, or individuals self-isolating as a precaution after reporting symptoms consistent with Covid-19.

The Premier League has moved to cancel games following the global outbreak of coronavius

The Premier League has moved to cancel games following the global outbreak of coronavius

The Premier League clash between Manchester City and Arsenal, scheduled for March 11, had already been postponed as a ‘precautionary measure’ after Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive for coronavirus weeks after watching his Greek team play at the Emirates Stadium. 

On March 13, UEFA announced all Champions League and Europa League fixtures scheduled are postponed, as well as the quarter-final draws for both competitions. UEFA hope to conclude the competitions in the summer but no dates are yet set. 

All Chinese domestic fixtures at all levels were postponed and the season pushed back, the first football to be affected by the outbreak in the country of its origin. However, reports suggest that the league could resume on April 18 as China gets to grip with the virus.

Asian Champions League matches involving Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG are postponed until April.

The start of the Korean K-League season is postponed. The four teams in the AFC Champions League are playing their matches behind closed doors.

Japan’s J-League postponed all domestic games until the middle of March, but further delays are inevitable. 

Ludogorets players were taking no chances after the coronavirus outbreak in Italy

Ludogorets players were taking no chances after the coronavirus outbreak in Italy

Italy, the country worst hit by the virus outside China, suffered a spate of cancellations before the government put the population on lockdown. All sport, including Serie A games, were suspended until at least April 3 to contain the virus.

In France, it was announced on Friday 13 March that there will be no top-flight football in France for the immediate future after their governing body postponed all matches.  

In Spain, April 18’s Copa del Rey final between between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad has been postponed. LaLiga is also postponed until the end of March at least.

Germany’s Bundesliga, the other major European league, is also suspended until April 3 at least. 

The Dutch Eredivisie and Portugal’s Primeira Liga are also suspended.

The Football Association of Ireland announced that all football under its jurisdiction will cease until March 29. 

Major League Soccer has been suspended for 30 days until mid-April with David Beckham’s first Inter Miami home game delayed.  

The South American Football Confederation postponed this year’s Copa America, due to take place from 12 June to 12 July, until 2021.

FIFA said that the newly-expanded Club World Cup, originally scheduled to take place in China in June 2021, will be postponed and a new date announced when ‘there is more clarity on the situation’.

On March 13, the FA announced that all of England’s games scheduled for the month would be postponed, including those of development teams. It means that England’s friendlies with Italy and Denmark have been called off.    

Euro 2020 play-off matches due to be held on March 26, including Scotland v Israel have been put off until June. 

Olympiakos' owner Evangelos Marinakis has tested positive for the coronavirus

Olympiakos’ owner Evangelos Marinakis has tested positive for the coronavirus

Manchester United clash at Austrian side Lask was behind closed doors, with United handing out £350 to each fan to help with travel and accommodation after they sold 900 tickets for the Europa League game. 

Newcastle United banned their players from shaking hands with each other amid coronavirus fears. 

Cristiano Ronaldo went into isolation in Madeira after it emerged that his Juventus team-mate, Daniele Rugani, has coronavirus. Squad members Blaise Matuidi and Paolo Dybala also tested positive. 

Elsewhere in Italy, Fiorentina striker Patrick Cutrone, who is on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, tested positive for coronavirus.

In Spain, 35% of Valencia’s squad staff tested positive for coronavirus, with all cases being asymptomatic. 

Real Madrid’s first-team squad were in quarantine after a member of the basketball team tested positive for Covid-19. The two teams share the same training facility.   

Liverpool have announced a charity match between a Reds Legends side and Barcelona Legends, due to be played at Anfield on March 28, has been postponed.

FIFA says it will postpone South American World Cup qualifying matches due to take place in March. 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus on March 12 with the entire first-team squad being put into isolation. The Gunners’ game against Brighton, scheduled for Saturday March 14, has been postponed.

In the early hours of Friday, March 13, Chelsea announced that winger Callum Hudson-Odoi had been diagnosed with the illness.

The club’s first team went into self-isolation, while two buildings at their training ground in Cobham were closed. 

Premier League clubs, including Manchester United and Manchester City, have sent players home to train alone following the British government’s increasing crackdown on mass gatherings and unnecessary social contact.   

West Ham chief Karren Brady called for the season to be null and void while Aston Villa believe no team should be relegated. In this situation Liverpool, the runaway league leaders, could face the horror of being denied the title despite being on the brink of securing their first league trophy in nearly 30 years.

Reports suggest football bodies across England and the rest of Europe are bracing themselves for a reported total shutdown of every league until September.

Top-level English and Scottish football was initially suspended until April 3 at the earliest. The Football Association, the Premier League, the English Football League, FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship all agreed to call a halt to competitive action with immediate effect. 

FORMULA ONE 

The season-opening Australian Grand Prix was called off after a McLaren team member came down with Covid-19, leading to the British team pulling out prior to a decision being made on whether the race would still go ahead. 

The announcement came hours after Lewis Hamilton said it was ‘shocking’ that the race was going ahead. 

The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 19 was the first race to be postponed, with no decision over whether it will be reinserted into the 2020 calendar for later in the season. 

The Bahrain Grand Prix, scheduled for March 20-22, is also called off, as is the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix, which was scheduled to take place in Hanoi on April 5. 

It was hoped that the Dutch Grand Prix on May 3 would be the first race of the new season but that has also been postponed due to Covid-19. 

The iconic Monaco Grand Prix on May 24 was cancelled for the first time in 66 years before Formula One announced their race in Azerbaijan had been postponed. 

The Chinese GP was first to be cancelled and other races could yet follow that lead

The Chinese GP was first to be cancelled and other races could yet follow that lead

GOLF 

On March 13, the Masters was postponed. In a statement released online, Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, emphasised that the decision makers hope to hold the championship ‘at some later date’. The first men’s major of the year was due to begin on April 9.

The US PGA Championship, the second major of the year, has now joined the  Masters in being postponed. It had been due to take place at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco from May 11-17, but has been rescheduled for later this summer.

After deciding to play with no spectators from the second round of the Players Championship onwards, the PGA Tour cancelled the event entirely after the first round on March 12. 

They also scrapped the following three events leading up to the Masters, but after that was cancelled four further events in April and May – the RBC Heritage, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Wells Fargo Championship and the AT&T Byron Nelson – also bit the dust. It is hoped that the season can be resumed in late May.

The European Tour have cancelled all tournaments until the popular Made in Denmark event on May 21. Many of them were due to be held in China or east Asia in countries badly hit by the outbreak.

The women’s game has also been hit by postponements and cancellations, with the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration, the highest profile casualty.

The Masters has been postponed for the first time since the Second World War

The Masters has been postponed for the first time since the Second World War

Lorenzo Gagli and Edoardo Molinari were withdrawn from the Oman Open on medical grounds after Gagli showed symptoms of the virus. He shared a hotel room with Molinari and he was told to self-isolate. They were later reinstated to the tournament after testing negative for the virus. 

HORSE RACING 

The Grand National was called off following new British government restrictions to fight the spread of coronavirus made it impossible to stage the Aintree showpiece on April 4. The Cheltenham Festival went ahead amid some criticism before the social distancing measures were tightened. 

The Japan Racing Association revealed that ‘government-sanctioned races’ will go ahead behind closed doors.  

Racing in Ireland is to take place behind closed doors starting until March 29.  

The Dubai World Cup meeting will go ahead on March 28 ‘without paid hospitality spectators’. 

The Cheltenham Festival went ahead despite travel disruption caused by the virus

The Cheltenham Festival went ahead despite travel disruption caused by the virus

RUGBY 

This year’s Six Nations will have to wait for its conclusion with all remaining games postponed.

England’s game with Italy and Ireland’s trip to France had already been called off with Wales and Scotland leaving it until the day before before calling off their game. 

Saturday, 31 October is a possible date for the final weekend of matches. 

The Women’s Six Nations has also been hit by postponements.

Ireland's Six Nations encounter with Italy on March 7 has been postponed

Ireland’s Six Nations encounter with Italy on March 7 has been postponed

The RFU has suspended all levels of rugby in England until April 14, with the announcement coming shortly after the Premiership was halted for five weeks. 

The quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have also been postponed. Those games were scheduled for April 3, 4 and 5.   

The RFL and rugby league’s Super League have now followed suit and postponed all fixtures for at least three weeks. Eight Leeds Rhinos players had been confirmed to be self-isolating.  

TENNIS

The French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, is postponed until September amid a wide lockdown in France.

The clay-court major was scheduled for May 24 to June 7, but that has shifted to September 20 to October 4, after the US Open, which was due to be the final major of the year. 

Players have been quick to criticise the move, which has created a conflict with the Laver Cup men’s team event spearheaded by Roger Federer, and a women’s tournament in China.

All events on the ATP Tour have been suspended for six weeks. 

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in California, set to start on March 9, was postponed at the eleventh hour.  It came after a confirmed case of the coronavirus in the nearby Coachella Valley.

The final of an ATP Challenger event in Bergamo, Italy, between Enzo Couacaud and Illya Marchenko of Ukraine was cancelled. Both players received ranking points and prize money for getting to the final. They were denied the opportunity to play behind closed doors.

China forfeited a Davis Cup tie because the men’s team were unable to travel to Romania for the March 6-7 play-off.

WTA events have also been cancelled. The WTA announced they are assessing their schedule with a number of events set for China in the second half of the season.

The International Tennis Federation has announced that the Fed Cup finals have been postponed. The event was due to be held in Budapest in April and the competition’s play-offs, which were set to take place in eight different locations, have also been placed on hold.

The WTA also announced no tournaments will be staged for at least five weeks.   

OTHER SPORTS 

The NBA has been suspended indefinitely after two Utah Jazz players contracted the virus. On March 17 Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant confirmed he had tested positive for the virus alongside three unnamed team-mates.

In an aid to decrease risks of exposure to the virus, the NBA had told players to avoid taking items such as pens, markers, balls and jerseys from autograph seekers. 

The NHL has announced it has paused the 2019-20 season with no date confirmed for when it will resume. 

The UFC has cancelled its next three events, although president Dana White is still pushing ahead for the highly-anticipated lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. 

MotoGP have cancelled their first two races of the season in Qatar and Thailand. 

South Korea’s baseball league cancelled all 50 pre-season game which were slated to take place from March 14-24. It is the first time since the leagues inception in 1982 that an entire set of exhibition matches are off. 

The first-stage draw for the Table Tennis World Championships, scheduled for South Korea from March 22-29, is postponed.

A beach volleyball tournament, due to be held in Yangzhou from April 22-26, is postponed until after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

World Short track speed skating championship in Seoul is cancelled.

The World Triathlon Series event in Abu Dhabi was postponed as a precautionary measure.  

The Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships in Canada have been cancelled.   

All 72 pre-season baseball games in Japan are to take place behind closed doors

All 72 pre-season baseball games in Japan are to take place behind closed doors

In badminton, the German Open (March 3-8), Vietnam Open (March 24-29) and Polish Open (March 26-29), all Olympic qualifying events, are cancelled due to ‘strict health protection’. 

The Japanese professional baseball league made the decision to play their 72 pre-season games behind closed doors until March 15. Baseball is among the most popular sports in Japan.  

Doubts remain as the Asian weightlifting championships, scheduled for March, are relocated from Kazakhstan to neighbouring Uzbekistan. They could still be postponed. 

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Lyon starlet Rayan Cherki reveals plans to seal switch to Real Madrid http://www.footy.to/2020/03/27/lyon-starlet-rayan-cherki-reveals-plans-to-seal-switch-to-real-madrid/ http://www.footy.to/2020/03/27/lyon-starlet-rayan-cherki-reveals-plans-to-seal-switch-to-real-madrid/#respond Fri, 27 Mar 2020 20:33:21 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=17550

‘My dream is to play for Real Madrid’: Lyon wonderkid Rayan Cherki reveals ambitious plan to join Spanish giants as the 16-year-old forward continues to dazzle in France

  • Lyon starlet Rayan Cherki has revealed his heart is set on a move to Madrid 
  • The 16-year-old has wowed with a number of impressive displays for Lyon 
  • Cherki has attracted interest from the likes of Barcelona and Manchester United
  • Madrid’s reputation of developing young French players may appeal to Cherki 

Lyon starlet Rayan Cherki has revealed his dream is to move to Real Madrid as the 16-year-old sensation continues to impress with his performances in France.

Cherki has burst onto the scene for Les Gones this campaign, putting in exciting displays in a variety of roles. The youngster can play in an attacking midfield position, out wide, or even up front as a lone striker. 

The France-born teenager has made six Ligue 1 appearances for Lyon this season, and was trusted by manager Rudi Garcia to start away at Paris Saint-Germain.

Rayan Cherki has revealed his dream is to seal a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid 

The 16-year-old Lyon wonderkid has dazzled with his displays since bursting onto the scene

The 16-year-old Lyon wonderkid has dazzled with his displays since bursting onto the scene

Cherki has seen his reputation grow massively over the course of the season and has attracted interest from the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid.

However, it is Real that Cherki has his heart set on. The 16-year-old revealed that Los Blancos is his preferred destination. 

‘My dream is to play for Real Madrid,’ he said in an interview with Lyon TV via AS

Zinedine Zidane's reputation for developing French youngsters may be of appeal to Cherki

Zinedine Zidane’s reputation for developing French youngsters may be of appeal to Cherki

The Spanish giants have developed a strong reputation for nurturing young French players of late, particularly with Zinedine Zidane in charge. 

Karim Benzema, Raphael Varane and Ferland Mendy have flourished under Zidane’s guidance and the Frenchman looks likely to dip back into the market of his homeland this summer.

Madrid have already identified PSG striker Kylian Mbappe and Rennes youngster Eduardo Camavinga as top targets.



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‘Even Messi is behind Neymar on technical ability’: Brazil legend Cafu makes a bold comparison http://www.footy.to/2020/03/27/even-messi-is-behind-neymar-on-technical-ability-brazil-legend-cafu-makes-a-bold-comparison/ http://www.footy.to/2020/03/27/even-messi-is-behind-neymar-on-technical-ability-brazil-legend-cafu-makes-a-bold-comparison/#respond Fri, 27 Mar 2020 20:23:31 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=17540

‘Even Messi is behind Neymar on technical ability’: Brazil legend Cafu makes a bold comparison between the Barcelona forward and PSG striker

  • Brazil icon Cafu believes that Neymar is the most gifted player in the world 
  • The PSG superstar is no stranger to demonstrating his superb skillset in games 
  • Despite Lionel Messi’s Balon d’Or record, Cafu says that Neymar has more flair 
  • The World Cup winner claims his countryman provides the most entertainment

Brazil icon Cafu has sensationally suggested that Neymar is the most technically-gifted player in the world, ahead of his former team-mate Lionel Messi.

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar has demonstrated his formidable skillset on countless occasions throughout his career, with the forward having even been lectured by a referee over his showboating this campaign.  

And Cafu believes that the 28-year-old’s flair means that he outmatches his rivals in terms of ability on the ball. 

Brazil icon Cafu has suggested that Neymar is the most technically-gifted player in the world

The legendary ex-defender says that the PSG star's flair means he outmatches Lionel Messi

The legendary ex-defender says that the PSG star’s flair means he outmatches Lionel Messi

Messi holds the overall record for the most Balon d’Ors, having clinched the accolade six times, and is also no stranger to dazzling an opponent with a jaw-dropping moment of magic.

But the two-time World Cup-winner Cafu has claimed that his countryman stands supreme in the entertainment stakes.

‘Technically, Neymar is the best player in the world,’ the legendary former defender told Fox Sports.

‘Today, technically, nobody can beat Neymar. Not even Messi, although I am a fan of him. But he does not surpass him in terms of technical quality.’

Neymar has netted 16 goals in the French capital this season, while Messi continues to defy his advancing age by adding another 21 goals to his overall haul in Catalonia.

Messi holds the most Balon d'Ors but Cafu believes Neymar possesses more quality on the ball

Messi holds the most Balon d’Ors but Cafu believes Neymar possesses more quality on the ball 

The star pairing may even re-unite in the future with Neymar eager to return to the Nou Camp

The star pairing may even re-unite in the future with Neymar eager to return to the Nou Camp

And the pair may even re-unite on the field in the near future, with Barcelona having made their interest in re-signing Neymar clear. 

The ex-Santos star is reportedly determined to seal a return to the Nou Camp when the transfer window re-opens, and according to Diario Sport, his representatives have already met with their Barcelona counterparts.

Neymar may even be willing to accept a pay cut to join forces once again with Messi, although PSG are expected to demand a fee of around £135million.

A FIFA loophole could prompt Neymar to buy his way out of his contract with the reigning Ligue 1 champions, and Barcelona would pay roughly £17million to PSG in compensation to seal the deal. 



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Juventus ‘open to offers for Miralem Pjanic this summer with PSG among those interested’ http://www.footy.to/2020/03/22/juventus-open-to-offers-for-miralem-pjanic-this-summer-with-psg-among-those-interested/ http://www.footy.to/2020/03/22/juventus-open-to-offers-for-miralem-pjanic-this-summer-with-psg-among-those-interested/#respond Sun, 22 Mar 2020 21:17:42 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=17535

Juventus ‘open to offers for Miralem Pjanic this summer with PSG among those interested’ after Bosnian suffers slump in form

  • Juventus’ Miralem Pjanic has suffered a decline in form during recent weeks
  • Pjanic was dropped from Maurizio Sarri’s squad for recent win over Inter Milan
  • Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly leading the chase for the 29-year-old 

Juventus ‘are willing to sell out-of-form Miralem Pjanic’ this summer with Paris Saint-Germain reportedly leading the chase for the midfielder.

The 29-year-old Bosnian has struggled in Juve’s midfield in recent months and was dropped by manager Maurizio Sarri for last weekend’s 2-0 win over title rivals Inter Milan.

And, according to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, Juventus are considering moving Pjanic on if a suitable offer comes in.

Juventus ‘could sell midfielder Miralem Pjanic’ this summer after a recent decline in his form

Pjanic, who signed from Roma in 2016, has scored three goals and contributed four assists in 32 outings for Juventus this season.

Though he has completed the majority of their Serie A and Champions League fixtures, Pjanic has come in for criticism along with other members of the Juventus midfield.

Gazzetta add that PSG are among those who may consider a bid for Pjanic, who is contracted to the Turin club until 2023.

Juventus held a one-point lead over Lazio at the top of Serie A before the league was suspended because of the coronavirus crisis.

The Bosnian has scored three goals and contributed four assists for Juventus this season

The Bosnian has scored three goals and contributed four assists for Juventus this season

 

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Coronavirus: The sports still going on despite the pandemic http://www.footy.to/2020/03/22/coronavirus-the-sports-still-going-on-despite-the-pandemic/ http://www.footy.to/2020/03/22/coronavirus-the-sports-still-going-on-despite-the-pandemic/#respond Sun, 22 Mar 2020 20:59:44 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=17532

2020 OLYMPIC GAMES  

The Olympic torch relay in Greece was cancelled on Friday March 13 – just a day after the flame was lit in Olympia.

Large crowds mobbed Hollywood actor Gerard Butler as he lit the cauldron in the Greek city of Sparta despite repeated warnings for spectators not to attend because of coronavirus.

That forced the decision by the Greek Olympic Committee to halt the torch relay on Greek soil on just the second day of its scheduled eight-day journey. It is the only the third time that a relay to Athens for the summer Games has not been completed.

The Olympic flame will still be handed over to the Tokyo 2020 organising committee at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on Thursday March 19, but without fans present. The start of the Japanese relay, in Fukushima, will take place without fans, and local governments are cancelling their welcoming ceremonies. 

The scale of the outbreak in Japan saw senior International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound describe the disease as ‘the new war’ threatening Tokyo 2020 and he warned the Games may have to be cancelled if the virus was still around by May.

Olympic organisers told athletes to train as normal with no decision on cancellation

The Japanese government later insisted Pound’s comments were not the IOC’s official stance but there remains doubts over whether the summer showcase can still go ahead with health concerns.

Athletes have been told to keep training and the plan remains to hold the Games in Japan as planned but training for around 80,000 volunteers has been delayed for at least until May – it was due to begin on February 22. 

On Friday March 13 US president Donald Trump’s suggestion to postpone the Tokyo Olympics for a year because of the coronavirus was immediately shot down by Japan’s Olympic minister.

‘The IOC and the organising committee are not considering cancellation or a postponement – absolutely not at all,’ Seiko Hashimoto, an Olympic bronze medalist, told a news conference in Tokyo.

On Tuesday March 17, Kozo Tashima, one of the Japanese Olympic Committee’s vice presidents and president of the Japanese Football Association, tested positive for coronavirus.  

The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organisers have stayed on message since the viral outbreak in China three months ago spread across Asia and then the globe: The games will open as scheduled on July 24. 

Tokyo 2020 organisers received the Olympic flame in a scaled-down handover ceremony in the Greek capital on March 19.

World Athletics chief Lord Coe claimed it is too early to cancel this summer’s Tokyo Olympics but has warned it could be done if necessary on March 19.

ATHLETICS 

The World Athletics Indoor Championships, which was due to be held from March 13-15 in Nanjing, is postponed until March 2021.

The World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, has been postponed due to concerns over the danger of the coronavirus and its ability to spread

The World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, has been postponed due to concerns over the danger of the coronavirus and its ability to spread

North Korea cancelled the Pyongyang Marathon scheduled for April after imposing a border lockdown due to the level of outbreak in South Korea, where the Seoul Marathon is cancelled in a bid to protect runners.

The Paris half-marathon is cancelled and the French government also decided to ban all public gatherings of more than 100 people, before ordering people to stay at home from March 15 for at least 15 days. The race involving some 44,000 competitors was scheduled for Sunday March 1. Organisers said the race will be postponed to a date yet to be determined.

The London Marathon, which had been scheduled to take place on April 26, has been postponed until October 4. Over 40,000 runners were due to take part. 

The Barcelona marathon scheduled for March 15 has been postponed until October.

BOXING 

Olympic boxing qualifiers to be staged in Wuhan were cancelled by the International Olympic Committee, but went ahead in Amman from March 3-11.

The IBF title fight between Daniele Scardina and Andrew Francillette in Milan on February 28 was postponed by Matchroom due to restrictions in Italy following the outbreak.

The Japanese boxing commission cancelled all fight cards scheduled for March on government advice to suspend all pending sporting fixtures. They will not be rescheduled.

Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce's Battle of Britain has been pushed back from April to July

Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce’s Battle of Britain has been pushed back from April to July

The British Boxing Board of Control announced on Tuesday March 17 that all boxing events under their jurisdiction for March will be postponed due to the coronavirus.

That decision has lead to the heavyweight clash between Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce being postponed. That fight, which had been penciled in for April 11, has been rescheduled for July 11 at the O2 Arena. 

Matchroom Boxing has also postponed all events scheduled for March and April, including Josh Kelly’s European title fight against Russia’s David Avanesyan (scheduled for March 28). 

The European Olympic boxing qualification tournament in London has been suspended. It was due to secure qualification for Tokyo 2020 for 77 male and female boxers, with 322 taking part. 

Matchroom Boxing chief Eddie Hearn has said Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev, which is scheduled for June 20, could be rearranged for July. All Matchroom promoted fights in March and April have been postponed. 

Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders, earmarked for May in Las Vegas, was postponed before even being announced, however the Mexican is reportedly still planning to make the bout happen in June. 

CRICKET 

England’s tour of Sri Lanka was postponed on March 13, with the England and Wales Cricket Board citing ‘completely unprecedented times’.

The decision was confirmed while Joe Root’s side were in the field at Colombo’s P Sara Oval, contesting a warm-up game for a two-Test series.

On March 18, the West Indies offered to host England’s upcoming home Tests against them in the Caribbean instead of in the UK – should the coronavirus outbreak not have improved by then. England are due to face the Windies in a a three-Test series, which is due to start at the Oval on June 4 but could be delayed until September. If playing the series in England proves unworkable, CWI have offered to step in for this series, and also for England’s three Tests against Pakistan, due to start on July 30. Although there are Covid-19 cases in the Caribbean, its impact there has been limited so far. 

The start of the Indian Premier League season has also been delayed until April 15. The 2020 campaign had been set to start on March 29. The IPL franchises are also ready to quarantine their foreign players for a period of 14 days, if travel restrictions are lifted to allow them to arrive.

On March 13, India’s ongoing one-day international series against South Africa was postponed, while Australia’s one-day internationals against New Zealand will be played behind closed doors.

Scotland’s one-day series against the United States and UAE have been postponed. The games were scheduled to be played in Florida in April. 

England’s cricketers would not play any rescheduled Test series against West Indies in the Caribbean until December at the earliest, it emerged on March 19.

CYCLING 

Cycling’s Giro d’Italia has been called off, with the race scheduled to start in Hungary in May. 

The final two stages of the UAE Tour were cancelled after two members of staff on the race were suspected of having the disease. 

Danish cyclist Michael Morkov was tested for coronavirus after being put in isolation

Danish cyclist Michael Morkov was tested for coronavirus after being put in isolation

The Tour de France is under threat of cancellation, with the scheduled start in Nice taking place in just over three months, on June 27. With British and French governments anticipating that the pandemic will last until the summer, race organizers are studying alternative scheduling. 

The Paris-Roubaix cycling race, another major event on the French sports calendar, was postponed due to the pandemic, while the April 5 Tour of Flanders, only previously cancelled during World War I, was also postponed in a further sign that Le Tour is under grave threat.

FOOTBALL 

This summer’s Euro 2020 tournament has been moved to next summer (2021) following a UEFA conference held on March 17. The postponement provides a chance for European club competitions to be completed.

All football in England is suspended until at least April 30 – but the 2019-20 season should eventually be completed after the FA bend their own rules to extend the campaign INDEFINITELY after holding crisis talks on March 19.

The decisions to suspend follows players and staff becoming affected by the virus, or individuals self-isolating as a precaution after reporting symptoms consistent with Covid-19.

The Premier League has moved to cancel games following the global outbreak of coronavius

The Premier League has moved to cancel games following the global outbreak of coronavius

The Premier League clash between Manchester City and Arsenal, scheduled for March 11, had already been postponed as a ‘precautionary measure’ after Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive for coronavirus weeks after watching his Greek team play at the Emirates Stadium. 

On March 13, UEFA announced all Champions League and Europa League fixtures scheduled are postponed, as well as the quarter-final draws for both competitions. UEFA hope to conclude the competitions in the summer but no dates are yet set. 

All Chinese domestic fixtures at all levels were postponed and the season pushed back, the first football to be affected by the outbreak in the country of its origin. However, reports suggest that the league could resume on April 18 as China gets to grip with the virus.

Asian Champions League matches involving Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG are postponed until April.

The start of the Korean K-League season is postponed. The four teams in the AFC Champions League are playing their matches behind closed doors.

Japan’s J-League postponed all domestic games until the middle of March, but further delays are inevitable. 

Ludogorets players were taking no chances after the coronavirus outbreak in Italy

Ludogorets players were taking no chances after the coronavirus outbreak in Italy

Italy, the country worst hit by the virus outside China, suffered a spate of cancellations before the government put the population on lockdown. All sport, including Serie A games, were suspended until at least April 3 to contain the virus.

In France, it was announced on Friday 13 March that there will be no top-flight football in France for the immediate future after their governing body postponed all matches.  

In Spain, April 18’s Copa del Rey final between between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad has been postponed. LaLiga is also postponed until the end of March at least.

Germany’s Bundesliga, the other major European league, is also suspended until April 3 at least. 

The Dutch Eredivisie and Portugal’s Primeira Liga are also suspended.

The Football Association of Ireland announced that all football under its jurisdiction will cease until March 29. 

Major League Soccer has been suspended for 30 days until mid-April with David Beckham’s first Inter Miami home game delayed.  

The South American Football Confederation postponed this year’s Copa America, due to take place from 12 June to 12 July, until 2021.

FIFA said that the newly-expanded Club World Cup, originally scheduled to take place in China in June 2021, will be postponed and a new date announced when ‘there is more clarity on the situation’.

On March 13, the FA announced that all of England’s games scheduled for the month would be postponed, including those of development teams. It means that England’s friendlies with Italy and Denmark have been called off.    

Euro 2020 play-off matches due to be held on March 26, including Scotland v Israel have been put off until June. 

Olympiakos' owner Evangelos Marinakis has tested positive for the coronavirus

Olympiakos’ owner Evangelos Marinakis has tested positive for the coronavirus

Manchester United clash at Austrian side Lask was behind closed doors, with United handing out £350 to each fan to help with travel and accommodation after they sold 900 tickets for the Europa League game. 

Newcastle United banned their players from shaking hands with each other amid coronavirus fears. 

Cristiano Ronaldo went into isolation in Madeira after it emerged that his Juventus team-mate, Daniele Rugani, has coronavirus. Squad members Blaise Matuidi and Paolo Dybala also tested positive. 

Elsewhere in Italy, Fiorentina striker Patrick Cutrone, who is on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, tested positive for coronavirus.

In Spain, 35% of Valencia’s squad staff tested positive for coronavirus, with all cases being asymptomatic. 

Real Madrid’s first-team squad were in quarantine after a member of the basketball team tested positive for Covid-19. The two teams share the same training facility.   

Liverpool have announced a charity match between a Reds Legends side and Barcelona Legends, due to be played at Anfield on March 28, has been postponed.

FIFA says it will postpone South American World Cup qualifying matches due to take place in March. 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus on March 12 with the entire first-team squad being put into isolation. The Gunners’ game against Brighton, scheduled for Saturday March 14, has been postponed.

In the early hours of Friday, March 13, Chelsea announced that winger Callum Hudson-Odoi had been diagnosed with the illness.

The club’s first team went into self-isolation, while two buildings at their training ground in Cobham were closed. 

Premier League clubs, including Manchester United and Manchester City, have sent players home to train alone following the British government’s increasing crackdown on mass gatherings and unnecessary social contact.   

West Ham chief Karren Brady called for the season to be null and void while Aston Villa believe no team should be relegated. In this situation Liverpool, the runaway league leaders, could face the horror of being denied the title despite being on the brink of securing their first league trophy in nearly 30 years.

Reports suggest football bodies across England and the rest of Europe are bracing themselves for a reported total shutdown of every league until September.

Top-level English and Scottish football was initially suspended until April 3 at the earliest. The Football Association, the Premier League, the English Football League, FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship all agreed to call a halt to competitive action with immediate effect. 

FORMULA ONE 

The season-opening Australian Grand Prix was called off after a McLaren team member came down with Covid-19, leading to the British team pulling out prior to a decision being made on whether the race would still go ahead. 

The announcement came hours after Lewis Hamilton said it was ‘shocking’ that the race was going ahead. 

The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 19 was the first race to be postponed, with no decision over whether it will be reinserted into the 2020 calendar for later in the season. 

The Bahrain Grand Prix, scheduled for March 20-22, is also called off, as is the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix, which was scheduled to take place in Hanoi on April 5. 

It is hoped that the Dutch Grand Prix on May 3 will be the first race of the new season but there are increasing fears that a large chunk of the Formula One calendar will be missed due to Covid-19. 

The iconic Monaco Grand Prix on May 24 still looks under threat. 

The Chinese GP was first to be cancelled and other races could yet follow that lead

The Chinese GP was first to be cancelled and other races could yet follow that lead

GOLF 

On March 13, the Masters was postponed. In a statement released online, Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, emphasised that the decision makers hope to hold the championship ‘at some later date’. The first men’s major of the year was due to begin on April 9.

The US PGA Championship, the second major of the year, has now joined the  Masters in being postponed. It had been due to take place at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco from May 11-17, but has been rescheduled for later this summer.

After deciding to play with no spectators from the second round of the Players Championship onwards, the PGA Tour cancelled the event entirely after the first round on March 12. 

They also scrapped the following three events leading up to the Masters, but after that was cancelled four further events in April and May – the RBC Heritage, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Wells Fargo Championship and the AT&T Byron Nelson – also bit the dust. It is hoped that the season can be resumed in late May.

The European Tour have cancelled all tournaments until the popular Made in Denmark event on May 21. Many of them were due to be held in China or east Asia in countries badly hit by the outbreak.

The women’s game has also been hit by postponements and cancellations, with the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration, the highest profile casualty.

The Masters has been postponed for the first time since the Second World War

The Masters has been postponed for the first time since the Second World War

Lorenzo Gagli and Edoardo Molinari were withdrawn from the Oman Open on medical grounds after Gagli showed symptoms of the virus. He shared a hotel room with Molinari and he was told to self-isolate. They were later reinstated to the tournament after testing negative for the virus. 

HORSE RACING 

The Grand National was called off following new British government restrictions to fight the spread of coronavirus made it impossible to stage the Aintree showpiece on April 4. The Cheltenham Festival went ahead amid some criticism before the social distancing measures were tightened. 

The Japan Racing Association revealed that ‘government-sanctioned races’ will go ahead behind closed doors.  

Racing in Ireland is to take place behind closed doors starting until March 29.  

The Dubai World Cup meeting will go ahead on March 28 ‘without paid hospitality spectators’. 

The Cheltenham Festival went ahead despite travel disruption caused by the virus

The Cheltenham Festival went ahead despite travel disruption caused by the virus

RUGBY 

This year’s Six Nations will have to wait for its conclusion with all remaining games postponed.

England’s game with Italy and Ireland’s trip to France had already been called off with Wales and Scotland leaving it until the day before before calling off their game. 

Saturday, 31 October is a possible date for the final weekend of matches. 

The Women’s Six Nations has also been hit by postponements.

Ireland's Six Nations encounter with Italy on March 7 has been postponed

Ireland’s Six Nations encounter with Italy on March 7 has been postponed

The RFU has suspended all levels of rugby in England until April 14, with the announcement coming shortly after the Premiership was halted for five weeks. 

The quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have also been postponed. Those games were scheduled for April 3, 4 and 5.   

The RFL and rugby league’s Super League have now followed suit and postponed all fixtures for at least three weeks. Eight Leeds Rhinos players had been confirmed to be self-isolating.  

TENNIS

The French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, is postponed until September amid a wide lockdown in France.

The clay-court major was scheduled for May 24 to June 7, but that has shifted to September 20 to October 4, after the US Open, which was due to be the final major of the year. 

Players have been quick to criticise the move, which has created a conflict with the Laver Cup men’s team event spearheaded by Roger Federer, and a women’s tournament in China.

All events on the ATP Tour have been suspended for six weeks. 

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in California, set to start on March 9, was postponed at the eleventh hour.  It came after a confirmed case of the coronavirus in the nearby Coachella Valley.

The final of an ATP Challenger event in Bergamo, Italy, between Enzo Couacaud and Illya Marchenko of Ukraine was cancelled. Both players received ranking points and prize money for getting to the final. They were denied the opportunity to play behind closed doors.

China forfeited a Davis Cup tie because the men’s team were unable to travel to Romania for the March 6-7 play-off.

WTA events have also been cancelled. The WTA announced they are assessing their schedule with a number of events set for China in the second half of the season.

The International Tennis Federation has announced that the Fed Cup finals have been postponed. The event was due to be held in Budapest in April and the competition’s play-offs, which were set to take place in eight different locations, have also been placed on hold.

The WTA also announced no tournaments will be staged for at least five weeks.   

OTHER SPORTS 

The NBA has been suspended indefinitely after two Utah Jazz players contracted the virus. On March 17 Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant confirmed he had tested positive for the virus alongside three unnamed team-mates.

In an aid to decrease risks of exposure to the virus, the NBA had told players to avoid taking items such as pens, markers, balls and jerseys from autograph seekers. 

The NHL has announced it has paused the 2019-20 season with no date confirmed for when it will resume. 

The UFC has cancelled its next three events, although president Dana White is still pushing ahead for the highly-anticipated lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. 

MotoGP have cancelled their first two races of the season in Qatar and Thailand. 

South Korea’s baseball league cancelled all 50 pre-season game which were slated to take place from March 14-24. It is the first time since the leagues inception in 1982 that an entire set of exhibition matches are off. 

The first-stage draw for the Table Tennis World Championships, scheduled for South Korea from March 22-29, is postponed.

A beach volleyball tournament, due to be held in Yangzhou from April 22-26, is postponed until after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

World Short track speed skating championship in Seoul is cancelled.

The World Triathlon Series event in Abu Dhabi was postponed as a precautionary measure.  

The Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships in Canada have been cancelled.   

All 72 pre-season baseball games in Japan are to take place behind closed doors

All 72 pre-season baseball games in Japan are to take place behind closed doors

In badminton, the German Open (March 3-8), Vietnam Open (March 24-29) and Polish Open (March 26-29), all Olympic qualifying events, are cancelled due to ‘strict health protection’. 

The Japanese professional baseball league made the decision to play their 72 pre-season games behind closed doors until March 15. Baseball is among the most popular sports in Japan.  

Doubts remain as the Asian weightlifting championships, scheduled for March, are relocated from Kazakhstan to neighbouring Uzbekistan. They could still be postponed. 

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Chelsea ‘switch focus to Lyon’s Moussa Dembele as Liverpool look to beat them to Timo Werner’  http://www.footy.to/2020/03/22/chelsea-switch-focus-to-lyons-moussa-dembele-as-liverpool-look-to-beat-them-to-timo-werner/ http://www.footy.to/2020/03/22/chelsea-switch-focus-to-lyons-moussa-dembele-as-liverpool-look-to-beat-them-to-timo-werner/#respond Sun, 22 Mar 2020 20:48:01 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=17529

Chelsea ‘switch focus to Lyon’s Moussa Dembele as Liverpool look to beat them to Timo Werner signing’

  • Chelsea have turned their focus to trying to sign Lyon striker Moussa Dembele
  • The Blues look to set to be beaten to the signing of Timo Werner by Liverpool 
  • Frank Lampard eager to bolster attacking options in summer transfer window 

Chelsea have reportedly switched their focus to trying to bring in Lyon striker Moussa Dembele in the summer transfer window.

The Blues were interested in RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner, who has scored 27 goals this season, but Liverpool appear to have edged ahead of Chelsea as far as that deal is concerned.

As reported by The Athletic, Chelsea are now eager to sign Dembele, who has netted 16 times in 27 Ligue 1 appearances this campaign.

Chelsea have turned their attention to trying to bring in Lyon’s Moussa Dembele this summer

Dembele started his senior career with Fulham prior to joining Celtic and subsequently made the switch to Lyon in 2018.

A former France Under-21 international, Dembele, now 23, is highly sought after.  

Chelsea are eager to bolster their attacking resources, especially with Olivier Giroud out of contract in the summer.

Tammy Abraham has scored 13 Premier League goals this season but has endured injury problems, so further backup is required, especially with Michy Batshuayi having been unconvincing.  

Chelsea are in fourth place in the Premier League but Frank Lampard is eager to ensure that his squad is strong enough to push on further next season.

Chelsea are pursuing Dembele, with Liverpool likely to beat them to RB Leipzig's Timo Werner

Chelsea are pursuing Dembele, with Liverpool likely to beat them to RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner

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Mauro Icardi ‘desperate to return to Italy rather than sign for PSG’ http://www.footy.to/2020/03/21/mauro-icardi-desperate-to-return-to-italy-rather-than-sign-for-psg/ http://www.footy.to/2020/03/21/mauro-icardi-desperate-to-return-to-italy-rather-than-sign-for-psg/#respond Sat, 21 Mar 2020 15:50:32 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=17526

Mauro Icardi ‘desperate to return to Italy rather than stay with PSG this summer’ with Argentine striker keen on joining Juventus or Napoli

  • Mauro Icardi wants to return to Italy this summer, rather than sign for PSG
  • The Inter Milan striker was cast aside by Antonio Conte at the start of the season
  • But despite his good form in the French capital, Icardi sees his future in Italy
  • He would prefer a move to Juventus or Napoli but would consider an Inter return 

Mauro Icardi has his sights set on a return to Italy once his loan spell at Paris Saint-Germain concludes this summer.

The Argentine striker was allowed to leave Inter Milan by Antonio Conte last summer and joined the French giants on a season-long loan.

He has impressed in Paris, scoring 20 goals in 31 appearances to help them into the Champions League quarter-finals and put them on the brink of another Ligue 1 title.

Mauro Icardi has his sights set on a return to Italy once his loan spell at PSG comes to an end

But Italian outlet calciomercato has claimed Icardi does not see his long-term future at Thomas Tuchel’s side and is desperate to return to Serie A in the summer.

His contract with Inter Milan expires in June 2022 but Conte made it clear last year that Icardi does not feature in his plans.

It is claimed that if the Nerazzurri cannot reach an agreement to sell Icardi to either Juventus or Napoli then Icardi would consider returning to Inter.

Last month it was also reported that Real Madrid are prepared to offer a player-plus cash deal for the forward. 

Icardi's wife and agent, Wanda Nara, says that she will follow her husband's decision

Icardi’s wife and agent, Wanda Nara, says that she will follow her husband’s decision

But it is understood his wife and agent, Wanda Nara, is reluctant to sanction a move to the Bernabeu and would prefer he went to Juve.

However, she admitted that the choice is her husband’s. 

She said: ‘If Mauro will never go to Juve? That I just do not know. I do not know if next year we will live in Milan or Paris, with football you never know. He will choose and we will follow.’

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PSG defender Thomas Meunier ‘agrees to join Borussia Dortmund in £45m deal this summer’ http://www.footy.to/2020/03/21/psg-defender-thomas-meunier-agrees-to-join-borussia-dortmund-in-45m-deal-this-summer/ http://www.footy.to/2020/03/21/psg-defender-thomas-meunier-agrees-to-join-borussia-dortmund-in-45m-deal-this-summer/#respond Sat, 21 Mar 2020 15:39:50 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=17523

Thomas Meunier ‘agrees to join Borussia Dortmund in £45m deal this summer’ after failing to agree to new terms at Paris Saint-Germain

  • Thomas Meunier is set to join Borussia Dortmund in a £45m deal this summer
  • Meunier’s current contract at PSG is due to expire at the end of the season
  • Reports suggest Meunier wanted to stay at PSG but couldn’t agree to new terms

Thomas Meunier has agreed to join Borussia Dortmund this summer in a move worth £45million, according to reports.

The 28-year-old is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain in June and will be snapped up by the Bundesliga side.

According to ESPN, Meunier was keen to extend his stay at the Parc des Princes but struggled to agree to new terms and will instead complete a move to Dortmund which will include a signing-on fee.

PSG defender Thomas Meunier has reportedly agreed to join Borussia Dortmund this summer

Meunier will link up with two of his international team-mates at the club in Axel Witsel and Thorgan Hazard while current right-back, Achraf Hakimi, will return to parent club Real Madrid following the conclusion of the current campaign.

Dortmund were linked with Meunier four years ago before he completed his move to PSG and now they look very likely to get their man.

The Belgium international was a part of the side that helped PSG knock out Dortmund of the Champions League before international and club football was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Meunier is one of four players that will be out of contract at PSG this summer.

Layvin Kurzawa, Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva will all see their current deals expire unless new terms can be agreed. 

Meunier was a part of the side that helped PSG knock out Dortmund of the Champions League

Meunier was a part of the side that helped PSG knock out Dortmund of the Champions League

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Barcelona ‘plan sensational swap deals for Neymar and Lautaro Martinez’ http://www.footy.to/2020/03/21/barcelona-plan-sensational-swap-deals-for-neymar-and-lautaro-martinez/ http://www.footy.to/2020/03/21/barcelona-plan-sensational-swap-deals-for-neymar-and-lautaro-martinez/#respond Sat, 21 Mar 2020 15:09:14 +0000 http://www.footy.to/?p=17520

Barcelona ‘plan sensational swap deals for Neymar and Lautaro Martinez’ as they look to send Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele to Inter Milan and PSG after being left short of cash due to the coronavirus crisis

  • Barcelona want to rejuvenate their attacking options when the window reopens
  • PSG star Neymar and Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez are the club’s top targets 
  • The coronavirus crisis means the Spanish giants will have less cash to spend
  • Barca could include Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele in swap deals 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Barcelona are lining up two huge swap deals this summer as they look to revamp their attacking options, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The Spanish newspaper claim that Barca want to re-sign Neymar from PSG and land Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez before the start of next season.

However, with the coronavirus continuing to cause havoc in football, the Catalan giants will not have the cash to sign the duo unless they offer players in exchange. 

Mundo Deportivo claim Barcelona are lining up swap deals for Neymar and Lautaro Martinez

Neymar is believed to be keen on a return to the Nou Camp

Martinez has been in superb form for Inter Milan this season

Barca do not have the cash to buy Neymar (left) and Martinez (right) when the window opens

Mundo Deportivo say that Barcelona have a number of stars who could be included in deals, but Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele are the most valuable.

PSG, who are open to the prospect of losing Neymar as they prioritise keeping hold of Kylian Mbappe, have shown interest in the duo previously.

It is claimed that the Ligue 1 champions would consider both players in a deal for the Brazilian, while Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal are also options.

Inter, meanwhile, are determined to keep hold of star man Martinez, who has impressed up front with Romelu Lukaku this season.

Philippe Coutinho, who is currently on loan at Bayern Munich, could be included in a swap deal

Philippe Coutinho, who is currently on loan at Bayern Munich, could be included in a swap deal

Ousmane Dembele is another player Barcelona could look to ship out, with PSG keen on him

Ousmane Dembele is another player Barcelona could look to ship out, with PSG keen on him

However, if the Argentine pushes for a move to play alongside Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp, there is the possibility of a deal being agreed.

Antonio Conte is an admirer of Vidal and Rakitic, while he also likes midfielder Arthur Melo. Coutinho, meanwhile, played at Inter previously and could be keen on a return due to the favourable tax system in Italy.

Barcelona pushed to re-sign Neymar last summer but were unable to agree a deal with PSG, who wanted Nelson Semedo and Jean-Clair Todibo included.

 

 



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