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Football Team News

» Dominic Cummings scandal highlights hypocrisy of government's football shaming
The likes of health secretary Matt Hancock targeted Premier League players at the start of the lockdown but his comments now look misguided at best
» Troy Deeney says Liverpool's title win would be 'spoiled' by coronavirus
The Reds are on the verge of their first top-flight title since 1990 but Deeney thinks much of the shine will be taken off their long-awaited glory
» Amazon in talks with Premier League over showing further matches after restart
The American tech giants have already made a number of games available to stream this season and are set to do battle with Sky and BT for the right to more
» Klopp told signing Koulibaly would be 'final piece of Liverpool's puzzle'
The Napoli centre-back has reportedly been attracting interest from a number of Premier League clubs and the Reds have been urged to make a move
» John McGovern recalls strict Brian Clough orders after European Cup final win
EXCLUSIVE: On this day 40 years ago the unfancied Nottingham Forest triumphed 1-0 over Hamburger SV in Madrid to win the competition for the second season in a row
» Rodallega recalls seeing Rooney 'drinking like a madman' on nights out
The former Wigan and Fulham forward said he would often see the likes of Rooney and Steven Gerrard letting their hair down during his time in the Premier League
» Scott McTominay explains what Paul Pogba can do better than any other midfielder
The French star continues to be linked with a move away from Manchester United but judging from his comments it appears McTominay wants him to stay
» La Liga to return to English TV next month with all matches free
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez recently gave permission for top-flight football in Spain to resume next month and English fans will be able to catch every minute
» Liverpool misfit Grujic makes Bundesliga mark as RB Leipzig's title bid ends
The Serbian midfielder's loan club Hertha Berlin held RB Leipzig to a draw on Wednesday night, ending Julian Nagelsmann's hopes of challenging Bayern Munich
» Lionel Messi predicts English youngster will become "one of the best"
Barcelona legend Lionel Messi rarely speaks out on other players, but felt compelled to heap praise on Mason Mount, who is enjoying a great season in the Premier League
» Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith's father dies following coronavirus battle
Ron Smith was diagnosed with coronavirus four weeks ago, and the club have confirmed that following a short spell in hospital, he has passed away
» Saudi Arabia to move for Premier League TV rights to ensure Newcastle takeover
Newcastle's £300million takeover bid has been held up over the Saudi state's alleged involvement with beoutQ, a pirate service that has illegally broadcast Premier League matches
» Liverpool's transfer stance after Kylian Mbappe sends message to Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool had been linked to superstar names including Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe and RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner prior to the coronavirus pandemic
» Deeney opens up on disgusting abuse after stating Premier League training view
EXCLUSIVE: Watford captain Deeney made clear his decision to stay away from training over Covid-19 fears, but suffered a host of online abuse over his stance, aimed at himself and his family
» Premier League agenda as all 20 clubs prepare for season-defining meeting
On the agenda is the potential £340million rebate to broadcasters, defining a definitive restart date and more in what is being seen as the most important meeting in Premier League history
» Troy Deeney to return to Watford training after talks with Government chief
EXCLUSIVE: Watford captain Deeney will return to training having stayed away thus far, after having his fears allayed by the Government’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan van Tam
» Liverpool withdraw from Timo Werner talks and won't pursue transfer
EXCLUSIVE: Werner is highly-rated by Jurgen Klopp, but Liverpool aren't willing to go above £30million amid football's current financial uncertainty and have withdrawn from talks to sign the RB Leipzig star
» Takumi Minamino's text messages to old boss about his Liverpool team-mates
Salzburg manager Jesse Marsch has kept in touch with Japan international Takumi Minamino via text message ever since his £7.25million January transfer to Liverpool
» Liverpool lead Premier League clubs in dispute over £340m broadcaster rebate
Premier League clubs are set to meet on Thursday with the Reds leading others in their argument over paying back a possible £340million to broadcasters, with games set to go ahead behind-closed-doors next month
» Four Premier League players and staff test positive in latest coronavirus tests
A total of four Premier League players and staff from three clubs have tested positive for coronavirus in the latest round of testing, it has been confirmed
» RB Salzburg boss admits mistake selling Takumi Minamino for cheap
Takumi Minamino joined Liverpool from Salzburg for just £7.25million in the January transfer window after the Reds triggered the Japan international's release clause
» Liverpool star Gomez delighted with recognition for "unbelievable" Henderson
Henderson has led Liverpool to the brink of a first league title in 30 years, 12 months after winning the Champions League, and has proven his leadership off the field also amid the coronavirus pandemic
» Twitter poll to decide goalkeeper's future sees children's charity reap rewards
Scottish side Livingston shocked football fans by putting Gary Maley's future up to a public vote on social media on Tuesday, but there was a good cause behind the move
» Jurgen Klopp receives Caglar Soyuncu tip ahead of transfer window
Jurgen Klopp has assembled a very strong defence at Liverpool, but former Red Emile Heskey reckons the German should take a look at Leicester City's Caglar Soyuncu
From

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Other sport news:

» Julien Faubert to Madrid: the surreal transfer tale inspiring a TV drama

Yvan Le Mée recalls how his client somehow switched West Ham for the Bernabéu, a move that landed the agent the nickname David Copperfield

There were only two days of the 2009 January transfer window remaining when Yvan Le Mée answered his phone. At the other end of the line was a representative from Real Madrid inquiring whether it would be possible to take his client Julien Faubert on loan from West Ham for the rest of the season.

Le Mée, already a veteran of what is known in Europe as the “mercato” having started as an agent representing Arsenal’s Gaël Clichy, could scarcely believe what he was hearing. Faubert, capped once by France in 2006, was an injury-prone winger who had made only eight appearances for West Ham since joining from Bordeaux in 2007 and was not the type of player who usually attracted the attention of one of Europe’s most famous clubs.

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» Liverpool among clubs to argue against paying £330m rebate to broadcasters
  • Broadcasters argue closed-doors games devalue product
  • Premier League clubs will meet on Thursday

A group of clubs, led by Liverpool, will argue against paying a £330m rebate to Sky and other broadcasters at a meeting to discuss the matter on Thursday, despite the Premier League’s recommendation that it should be accepted.

The finance directors of all 20 clubs were informed on Wednesday of the sum by the Premier League, whose head of broadcasting, Paul Molnar, is leading negotiations. Sky is the prime broadcaster with rights to show 128 live matches a season, followed by BT Sport with 52, and Amazon with 20.

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» Saudis' proxy war hits Newcastle to place the Premier League in a diplomatic bind | Louise Taylor

Newcastle United fans dream of a return to the Champions League should Mike Ashley sell the club, but the politically sensitive Saudi-funded takeover seems to have stalled

Glance at some recent headlines concerning Newcastle United and it would seem safe to assume that the Saudi Arabian flag is already fluttering high above St James’ Park. For the moment, though, fans mesmerised by speculation that Philippe Coutinho, Gareth Bale, Harry Kane and Kalidou Koulibaly are all Tyneside-bound must make do with photographs of an estate agent’s “Sold” sign deposited outside the Milburn Stand.

It was a joke intended to celebrate the apparently imminent end of Mike Ashley’s thoroughly miserable 13-year ownership of Newcastle and mark a long-mooted, largely Saudi-funded £300m takeover of the club. Yet, for the moment at least, the laughter has stopped.

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» Krzysztof Piatek pegs back RB Leipzig with late penalty for Hertha Berlin
  • RB Leipzig’s faint title hopes fade further in draw
  • Düsseldorf win increases pressure on Schalke’s David Wagner

RB Leipzig’s faint title hopes faded further after Krzysztof Piatek’s late penalty earned Hertha Berlin a point at an empty Red Bull Arena on Wednesday, Julian Nagelsmann’s side having been reduced to 10 men in a fluctuating Bundesliga encounter on Wednesday.

The result left Leipzig third on 55 points from 28 games, nine behind the leaders, Bayern Munich, and two adrift of second-placed Borussia Dortmund, while Hertha moved up one place to 10th on 35 points.

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» Lauren: 'No one wanted to ref in training. Wenger hid. Pat Rice was the bravest'

Arsenal’s invincible right-back reveals how the warmth of Dein and Wenger led him to Highbury and the joy almost fighting Henry still brings him

The way he tells it, they messed up his wedding plans and all for nothing but Lauren did not mind. It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him. There are no regrets; there is just laughter, the Cameroon international cracking up so often it is a wonder he can put himself back together again.

In the summer of 1999 the man who went on to be an invincible in London was supposed to be lying on a beach somewhere with his new wife, Monica; instead, he was in a meeting with a couple of men he could not really understand discussing a deal that did not get done.

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» Aston Villa manager Dean Smith's father Ron dies after contracting Covid-19
  • Villa fan and former club steward dies aged 79
  • ‘He passed on his love of the club to his children’

The father of the Aston Villa head coach, Dean Smith, has died four weeks after contracting Covid-19. The Premier League club announced 79-year-old Ron Smith, a lifelong Villa fan, had died.

A club statement read: “The Aston Villa Family are saddened to announce that Ron Smith, the father of our current head coach Dean, has passed away at the age of 79.

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» Arsenal Women fined £50,000 over sacking of autistic coach
  • Club staff to undertake an education programme
  • Carpenter dismissed in 2014 after disclosing he had autism

The Football Association has fined Arsenal Women £50,000 after ruling they had carried out “an act of discrimination” by “reason of disability” in their dismissal of a former coach. Club staff will also be required to undertake an education programme.

The under-15s coach Robin Carpenter, who began working for Arsenal in 2007, had taken the club and the then technical director of the club’s centre of excellence, John Bayer (who was announced to have left his post of interim manager of the Championship side London City Lionesses on Wednesday morning) and then development manager Clare Wheatley, who both denied liability, to an employment tribunal alleging that he had been dismissed in May 2014 shortly after disclosing that he had autism. The club settled the case for £17,200 in 2015. 

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» David Luiz's Arsenal future in doubt with contract set to expire next month
  • Gunners yet to extend defender’s deal beyond June
  • Club seeking to reduce annual wage bill of £230m

David Luiz’s future at Arsenal is in serious doubt, with the club yet to extend his contract beyond the end of next month and financial restrictions likely to mean his spell with Mikel Arteta’s side is curtailed after a year.

Arsenal have the option to extend the centre-back’s deal by extra 12 months when the contract expires on 30 June, a detail that emerged on Wednesday after it had been widely believed that he signed a two-year contract upon joining from Chelsea last summer.

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» Lilian Thuram: 'My classmates judged me because of my skin colour'

In a new book, the World Cup winner discusses growing up in France and the racism he encountered throughout his career

One man in France’s 1998 World Cup-winning squad felt particularly affected by the sense of racial harmony that had descended on the country after that historic triumph. Ever since moving from Guadeloupe as a nine-year‑old, Lilian Thuram was confronted by discrimination. The attitudes he witnessed as a boy shocked him to such an extent that once his career ended, he decided to focus his energy on the fight against racism.

For those few happy weeks after the World Cup, Thuram was delighted to see people in France treated equally regardless of race. “The black-blanc-beur symbol we created was positive and I liked it,” he says of the “black, white, Arab” motto.

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» Listen to the science: it was mad to go ahead with major sporting events | Barry Glendenning

New report suggests Cheltenham Festival and Liverpool match ‘increased several-fold’ the number of Covid-19 cases

Now we know. The much-maligned decisions to go ahead with the Cheltenham Festival and Liverpool’s Champions League match against Atlético Madrid in March “caused increased suffering and death”, according to the scientist leading the UK’s largest Covid-19 tracking project. Well, colour all those who foresaw that particular revelation coming down the pipe surprised.

In much the same way that you don’t need to be an optician to appreciate that loading the family into the car for a 60-mile pre-journey journey is not the best way to test your eyesight, an intimate working knowledge of Bunsen burners, pipettes and Erlenmeyer flasks was never going to be a prerequisite for forecasting that hundreds of thousands of sports fans rubbing shoulders in close proximity during a pandemic would result in unnecessary illness and fatalities.

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» Manchester City's Caroline Weir: 'I want to help girls carry on playing'

Scotland forward and Girls United ambassador aims to highlight football’s physical and social benefits

Caroline Weir has tried to make the most of the enforced break. “A real positive of lockdown is that players have had time to reflect, take a minute and think about what’s important. It has for me anyway,” the Manchester City forward says.

At 24, the Scotland international was playing some of her best football before the pandemic cut short the season. The focus of her career may have been on getting to the top but it had “always been in my head to give back. Now I feel I’m at the age where it is something I want to be more conscious of.”

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» Premier League clubs approve return of contact training
  • All 20 clubs vote in favour of stage two medical protocols
  • Four more individuals from three clubs test positive for virus

Premier League players are to return to contact training this week, but will not be made to self-isolate unless they have spent more than 15 minutes in direct company with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

Clubs voted unanimously to pass “stage two” medical protocols on Wednesday, seen as a crucial step in the attempt to resume the 2019-20 top-flight season. The league also announced four more individuals from three clubs had tested positive for Covid-19.

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» Jeff Hall: the footballer whose death turned the tide against polio – podcast

The best stories from the beautiful game that you may never have heard before, written by some of the world’s leading sports journalists, and spanning more than 100 years of sporting history from across the footballing planet.

In this episode: it took the sudden passing of the 29-year-old England right-back in 1959 to get a generation pouring into clinics for inoculation against polio, a disease that in the previous 10 years had killed over 3,000 people in England and Wales

Read the text version here

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» The Fiver | Being warned not to perform donuts outside English Heritage properties

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!

After the rip-roaring success of our STOP FOOTBALL campaign, The Fiver is drunk on power, as opposed to being, no sir, still tipsy on last night’s Scottish wine. So now that, a mere two weeks in, the Bundesliga is done and dusted yet again in Bayern Munich’s favour, please join us on the front doorstep at 8pm this evening in screaming STOPPEN SIE DIE BUNDESLIGA DIESER SAISON!!! at the very top of our voice, the veins on our temple and neck pulsating in doctor-bothering fashion. Klebe es dort, wo die Sonne nicht scheint, der Jazzmusiker!

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» Quiz: the Football League play-offs

How much do you remember about the last 30 years of Wembley play-off finals?

Who are the only club to have won play-off finals in successive years?

Blackpool

Millwall

Notts County

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Wembley has been hosting play-off finals since 1990. Two other grounds have also hosted them: the Millennium Stadium and …

Hillsborough

Old Trafford

Stamford Bridge

Villa Park

Which of these players has not scored a hat-trick in a play-off final at Wembley?

Clive Mendonca

Scott Sinclair

Steve Claridge

Jermaine Beckford

How many clubs have appeared in the Football League play-offs since they started in 1987?

75

89

95

102

Which of these current Premier League clubs has never appeared in the play-offs?

Chelsea

Manchester City

Newcastle United

Everton

Last year's play-offs attracted a record aggregate attendance. How many people attended the 15 games (12 semi-final games and three Wembley finals)?

250,335

320,335

370,355

430,355

Which club has been promoted to the top division via the play-offs four times?

Charlton Athletic

Crystal Palace

Leicester City

Watford

Huddersfield Town have contested six penalty shootouts in the play-off. How many of them have they won?

None

Two

Four

Six

Brentford and Sheffield United share the record of having reached the play-offs the most times without ever winning a final. How many times have they made it to the play-offs without securing promotion?

Four times each

Six times each

Eight times each

Ten times each

Which club has won a record five play-off finals?

Blackpool

Crystal Palace

Huddersfield

Swindon Town

Who was the first player to score in a play-offs final at Wembley, hitting the winning goal in the Fourth Division play-off final in May 1990?

Dion Dublin

Alan McLoughlin

Tommy Johnson

Craig Short

3 and above.

You were dumped out in the semi-finals

4 and above.

You were dumped out in the semi-finals

5 and above.

You made it to Wembley but were well beaten in the final

6 and above.

You made it to Wembley but lost in the final

7 and above.

You made it to Wembley but lost in the final

8 and above.

You made it to Wembley but lost in the final

9 and above.

You earned promotion in style

10 and above.

You earned promotion in style

11 and above.

You earned promotion in style

2 and above.

You were dumped out in the semi-finals

0 and above.

You didn't even make it into the play-offs

1 and above.

You didn't even make it into the play-offs

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» José Mourinho predicts fewer 'crazy' transfers after football returns
  • Financial hit will force clubs to spend sensibly, Mourinho says
  • Spurs manager also wants transfer window extended

José Mourinho has predicted there will be fewer “crazy” transfers after football returns from shutdown.

Tottenham signed Steven Bergwijn for £27m from PSV Eindhoven in January, while also breaking their club record to acquire Tanguy Ndombele for £55m last summer but Mourinho believes the Premier League, and leagues around the world, will need a different approach because of the coronavirus crisis having hit clubs’ finances.

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» Lask Linz win will help Manchester United play with no fans, says Solskjær
  • United’s last game before lockdown behind closed doors
  • Solskjær: ‘That must play positively in the boys’ heads’

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has said playing Premier League games behind closed doors will be a challenge but believes Manchester United’s recent experience of doing so will help his players.

Related: Pogba and Rashford ready to return for Manchester United, says Solskjær

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» David Squires on … English success in the Anglo-Italian Cup

Our resident cartoonist on the now defunct competition, including his beloved Swindon’s victory over Roma and Fabio Capello

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» The Knowledge | Has a player featured in all their team's wins in a season, and no losses?

Plus: crowdless trophy celebrations and more champions clubs going out of business

“Has a player ever featured in all their team’s wins in a season, but none of the losses? Or vice versa?” asked Eric Bader.

Who has got the golden touch? Ian Burns has been a clever so and so, nominating the entire Arsenal Invincibles side. Darren White has a contender: “Not quite on the button, but in Sheffield United’s League One title winning season in 2016-17, defender Jake Wright played 29 out of 46 games and was never once on the losing side. Though United did only lose six games all season.”

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» When Cambridge United won the first Wembley play-offs final 30 years ago

Cambridge had never played at Wembley before, making it a ‘totally bewilderingly extraordinary moment’ for one young fan

By Richard Foster for the Guardian Sport Network

Thirty years ago, Andy Williamson had an idea that would reshape the Football League play-offs. Instead of clubs contesting play-off finals over two legs at their own grounds – as they had done for the three seasons since the new format had been introduced in 1987 – they would meet for one-off finals at Wembley. Williamson, who worked for the Football League for 45 years in all, saw the potential of holding the three showpiece finals at the national stadium over a bank holiday weekend. Time has proven him right.

The first Wembley play-off final took place on Saturday 26 May 1990, with Cambridge United taking on Chesterfield for promotion to the third tier. Cambridge had been doing alright under Chris Turner in the 1989-90 season but, once John Beck took over as manager in January, the club were very much on the up. Beck’s unconventional coaching methods – which earned him the nickname “Dracula” as he was supposedly sucking the life out of football – included turning up the heating in the away dressing rooms at the Abbey Stadium to unsettle the opposition, allowing the grass to grow long to hamper opponents’ passing, and even chucking sand in the corners to hold up the ball.

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» My favourite game: Gerrard and Torres humiliate Manchester United | Richard Preston

They fell just short of winning a league title, but on a glorious afternoon at Old Trafford Rafael Benítez’s Liverpool thrashed one of the finest sides Alex Ferguson ever assembled

It is a measure of Liverpool’s recent progress that the closest shot at a Premier League title under Rafael Benítez doesn’t feel that close any more.

Related: Football quiz: when Manchester United won the Champions League in 1999

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» Queues, temperature checks, no high-fives: will NRL fans go to the game amid Covid-19? | Megan Maurice

Sports organisations are keen to get spectators back in stadiums, but what kind of match-day experience awaits them?

The NRL wants to get fans back into stadiums as soon as possible, under strict biosecurity guidelines, of course. The rush is understandable – the financial benefits to the league of getting bums back on seats are clear, but what would a match-day experience look like in the Covid-19 era? And would it really be an enjoyable day out?

Picture this: you travel to the stadium, running a little late after having to wait until there were fewer than 12 people in front of you before you could get on a bus. Rushing in, you have your temperature taken by stadium security before meeting up with your friends, or at least waving to each other from a few seats away while you keep your distance from each other.

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» Raymond Goethals: Marseille's messiah who toppled mighty Milan | Paul Doyle

Man who took Marseille to the Champions League is seldom remembered outside France and Belgium but his tactical wizardry and brushes with crime make him a fascinating figure

The first final after the rebranding of Europe’s premiere club competition as the Champions League took place 27 years ago this Tuesday. It was a stinker. Marseille, who beat Milan 1-0 in Munich, had contested an even grimmer final two years previously, losing the European Cup on penalties to Red Star Belgrade. Two lustreless showpieces are part of the reason why Marseille’s then manager, Raymond Goethals, is seldom recalled as a great outside France and his native Belgium despite an extraordinary career spanning nearly four decades.

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» ‘Our defenders have been socially distancing all season’ – keeping Tranmere Rovers alive

When league football was paused in March 2020 due to coronavirus, the Tranmere Rovers chairman, Mark Palios, devised Project Malthus, his plan to keep the League One club alive. As he waits for fellow clubs to vote on the outcome of the season, which could mean their relegation, he explains why football needs to get serious about its messy economic situation, and why a club like Tranmere needs to look after its community in difficult times.

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» Celtic champions, Hearts relegated: how Scotland ended its season – video

Celtic have been crowned the SPFL champions for the ninth season in a row. The decision to end the season prematurely amid the Covid-19 pandemic divided opinion in Scotland, but could the English Premier League eventually do the same? The Guardian's Ewan Murray thinks it over.

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» 'It is very odd': empty stadiums as Bundesliga returns – video report

The Bundesliga has become the first major football league to restart after the coronavirus outbreak after two months of action being paused.

Matches were played behind closed doors as only teams, broadcasters and match officials were allowed to enter the grounds. Speaking after the game Borussia Dortmund manager, Lucien Favre, said: 'It is very odd you don't have any crowd noise. You shoot, you score, you make a great pass and nothing happens.' 

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» Project Restart: what hurdles are facing the Premier League? – video explainer

As the Premier League weighs up a possible return in June, many questions remain unanswered. From testing regimes to where games will be played, Paul MacInnes takes a look at the key hurdles

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» Andrés Iniesta calls children born because of his goal against Chelsea in 2009 – video

Barcelona icon Andrés Iniesta has video-called the children born because of his famous goal against Chelsea in 2009. The late winner at Stamford Bridge led to a spike in pregnancies. 'Has your mum shown you the goal?' Iniesta asks Ignacio, born on 18 January. Of course she had, Ignacio says: 'You were a star.'

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» Lockdown, Bayern and growing up as a refugee: Gary Lineker meets Alphonso Davies – video

Alphonso Davies was born in a refugee camp after his parents fled civil war in Liberia. He has since become the youngest footballer to play for Canada and won a Bundesliga title with Bayern Munich. The 19-year-old talks to Gary Lineker about his incredible journey

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» Bayern end title race and reaffirm game's significance in strange times | Andy Brassell

Bundesliga title is heading to Munich again after a win at Dortmund so absorbing it was easy to forget the emptiness

As Joshua Kimmich roared his approval on the final whistle, hearts may well have sunk among newly assembled enthusiasts around the world and, likewise, in the Bundesliga’s marketing department. Bayern Munich’s Tuesday teatime win at Borussia Dortmund may have been narrow but it was also as significant as football can be in today’s strange world. 

Moving the defending champions seven points clear of their closest irritants with six games to go, there is really no way of looking at the aftermath that suggests the contest is still alive.

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» Dedryck Boyata seals Union bust as Hertha Berlin breeze to 4-0 derby win

Hertha Berlin celebrated their second successive win since the resumption of the Bundesliga after a dominant second-half performance gave them a 4-0 home derby victory over neighbours Union Berlin.

Related: Hertha Berlin 4-0 Union Berlin: Bundesliga – as it happened

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» Bundesliga roundup: Bayern beat Frankfurt while Dortmund keep pace
  • Bayern Munich maintain four-point lead with 5-2 win
  • Sancho sets up second in Dortmund’s 2-0 win at Wolfsburg

Bayern Munich refused to give up ground in the Bundesliga title race after surviving a second-half comeback to beat Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2. Earlier, the substitute Jadon Sancho helped Borussia Dortmund pressure the leaders with a 2-0 win at Wolfsburg. Dortmund now host Bayern on Tuesday and can cut their lead to one point, while Hansi Flick’s side chase an eighth successive championship, with victory in der Klassiker.

Goals from Leon Goretzka, Thomas Müller, Robert Lewandowski and Alphonso Davies did the damage for Bayern, along with a Martin Hinteregger own goal. But lax defending from set pieces allowed Hinteregger to score twice for Frankfurt in the space of four second-half minutes that briefly threatened to derail the procession.

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» La Liga given green light and plans restart with Seville derby on 12 June
  • Spanish PM clears league to restart next month
  • Teams are already training in groups of 10

Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has given the green light for football to return in the week beginning 8 June, allowing La Liga to go ahead with plans to restart the first division with the Seville derby on 12 June. A formal announcement on the date of the return to competition will be made by the league’s president, Javier Tebas, in the next couple of days.

Sánchez made the announcement on Saturday when he said that the “worst has passed” and that Spain was now at “the end of the tunnel”, allowing for a further relaxing of the state of alarm, which was first declared on 14 March.

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» 'This is unjust': Amiens president rails against relegation from Ligue 1

The club has taken legal action after being relegated from a league that had 10 rounds of fixtures left to play

By Jeremy Smith for Get French Football News

When son of the city Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France on 7 May 2017, the people of Amiens must have expected that proud event to be the highlight of their month. However, the small northern city straddling the River Somme was the centre of attention again a fortnight later, when Emmanuel Bourgaud scored a 96th-minute winner against Reims on the final day of the Ligue 2 season to take Amiens from sixth to second in the table. With the last kick of the season, Bourgaud had earned the club promotion to Ligue 1 for the first time in their history.

For club president Bernard Joannin this was the culmination of 11 years of work, most of which was spent in France’s third tier, the club only regaining professional status in 2016. Joannin, a 70-year-old former PE teacher who owns several Intersport franchises (think Sports Direct, although the suave, affable Frenchman could not be more removed from Mike Ashley), had the people of the city in mind when he bought the club. “I took over in 2009 with other local businessmen and my objective was to give back to the city what they had given us by helping us to build successful businesses,” he says.

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» Alleged victims of Haiti FA president say they have received death threats
  • New allegations of sexual abuse made against Yves Jean-Bart
  • FHF says claims are ‘baseless’ and he will be ‘fully exonerated’

Several alleged victims of sexual abuse by Yves Jean-Bart, the president of the Haiti Football Federation (FHF), say they have received death threats since claims against him were reported.

The Guardian has also learned of new claims of alleged abuse from other alleged victims who have come forward. Authorities in Haiti have opened an investigation into the claims.

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» 'I already knew' – the moment dogged Donato gave Deportivo the title | Sid Lowe

Exactly twenty years on, Donato retells the story of sealing La Coruña’s only title, and how he still wanted to play past 40

“When John Toshack came as manager, he said there was nothing left for me to give at Deportivo de La Coruña, that was it,” Donato Gama da Silva says. “I was like: ‘oh, mate’.” It was summer 1995 and the Brazilian was well past his 32nd birthday. Eighteen months later, Toshack was gone; Donato, on the other hand, was still there. In fact, eight more years went by before he left, during which he won a Cup final against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu on their 100th birthday and Depor’s only La Liga title, 20 years ago this Tuesday.

Nothing else to give, huh? “The door had been open, to [Galician rivals] Compostela,” he says, but that first season under Toshack, Donato played 39 league games. The next season it was 30, then 31, 29, 29, and so it went. By the time he reluctantly retired, he had played more games in Spain than any foreigner, was the oldest goalscorer in La Liga history, and still wanted to carry on. That record-breaking goal against Valencia in May 2003 was his 50th; his most important came on the final day of the 1999-2000 season, a header that earned Deportivo the title. He was 37 and a half.

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» As infighting engulfs Ligue 1, Nice CEO Bob Ratcliffe plots a way forward

The Nice boss wants to see stronger leadership from the top and more cooperation from other clubs in France

By Get French Football News for the Guardian Sport Network

The state of French football is somewhat bleak. Luis Campos, one of the sport’s greatest talent-spotters, wants Lille to cancel his contract. Andoni Zubizarreta has quit his role of director of football at Marseille due to tensions with the club’s president, Jacques-Henri Eyraud, who has reportedly tried to turn influential players against him so the club can sell them more easily this summer to assuage pressure from Uefa over their Financial Fair Play violations.

Ligue 1 is the only of Europe’s big five leagues to have terminated the season early due to the coronavirus pandemic, a decision that has triggered three legal cases against French football’s professional body, the LFP – including one from Amiens, who were relegated despite sitting just four points from safety with 10 matches to play.

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» 'Industrial espionage': Lask Linz hit back after claims club 'torpedoed' guidelines
  • 11 Austrian clubs say ‘clear video’ shows Covid-19 rule violations
  • Linz say men broke into their training ground to install cameras

The Austrian league leaders, Lask Linz, have been accused by their rivals of holding training sessions that break coronavirus rules but have themselves complained they have been victims of industrial espionage.

Eleven of the 12 teams in the Austrian Bundesliga, which is due to restart in June, said they had been presented with “clear video material” showing Linz had ignored guidelines that restrict training to small groups of players.

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» 'An exceptional case' – Aritz Aduriz, the striker who got better and better

The 39-year-old, robbed by the crisis and injury of a cup final farewell, had a long road to becoming an Athletic Bilbao legend

Even the man who turned back time eventually ran out of it, denied the perfect farewell by a hip that needs replacing and a virus that has stopped everything. There is something cruel about the way it came to a close, and in what lies before him, but when he announced his retirement on Wednesday Aritz Aduriz had a message for everyone: “Don’t worry about me.”

In the midst of a situation “far more serious, far more painful” that has caused “irreparable damage”, this doesn’t matter, he said. And yet it does, if any of it does – that recurring theme of these past two months. Not least as a symbol of the pandemic, how it reaches everything. Of football’s reach too, what it means, way beyond the medals and the money.

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» Atalanta's Gian Piero Gasperini: 'Players who aren't used to working hard scare me'

The manager on turning his club from relegation candidates to Champions League quarter-finalists – and living through Covid-19 in Bergamo

Gian Piero Gasperini is getting animated. Atalanta’s manager is talking about how he motivates players. He describes how he often puts up messages in the changing room and one of the most recent, he says, was from Michael Jordan: “Twenty-six times, I have been trusted with the final shot and I missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And this is why I succeed.”

Related: 'I already knew' – the moment dogged Donato gave Deportivo the title | Sid Lowe

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» White to Williams: breakthrough players in the Football League this season

Ten players from the Championship, League One and League Two who shot to prominence before matches stopped

The latest Brentford player to make a seamless transition from Ligue 2 to the English second tier, following a path trodden by Saïd Benrahma and Neal Maupay after a club-record £5.5m move from Troyes last summer. Benrahma and Ollie Watkins, who has been reborn as a No 9, have stolen the headlines but Mbeumo has been remarkably consistent in his debut season in the Championship, contributing 14 goals and six assists and, in some quarters, is considered to possess the most potential. Another Brentford forward, Marcus Forss, proved prolific on loan at AFC Wimbledon, scoring 11 goals in 19 appearances before a hamstring injury curtailed his progress in January.

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» The Fiver | The sort of fireworks seldom seen outside of a Rammstein jamboree

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The Fiver has no idea who this Derk Lassiker bloke is but apparently he’s going to be at Tuesday’s big match in Germany, which pits Bayern Munich against the butlers who occasionally nick their silverware, Borussia Dortmund. It’s a must-see clash, all right, so don’t forget to take your nearest and dearest for a cross-country spin beforehand to make sure your eyes are working well enough to watch the action.

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» England's Euro 96 win over Netherlands revisited – Football Weekly

Max and Barry are joined by Simon Burnton and Jacob Steinberg to discuss England’s Euro 96 victory over the Netherlands. Plus Archie Rhind-Tutt and Sid Lowe are on hand to talk Bundesliga and the return of La Liga

Rate, review, share on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast and Stitcher, and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Simon Burnton and Jacob Steinberg to discuss England’s Euro 96 victory over the Netherlands. Plus Archie Rhind-Tutt and Sid Lowe are on hand to talk Bundesliga action and the return of La Liga.

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» The Joy of Six: football's wing wizards | Gregg Bakowski

From the ‘Wizard of Dribble’ to Ryan Giggs, via Garrincha and Jimmy Johnstone, we celebrate touchline-hugging wonders

Formations in modern-day football, improved playing surfaces and the evolution of tactics have completely changed the role of the winger. Now it is more accurate to describe an attacking player who plays on one of the wings as a forward, because the modern-day “winger” rarely hogs the touchline and often plays inside-out. Players such as Johan Cruyff, Luis Figo, George Best and Cristiano Ronaldo all excelled as wingers but their talent was such that their positions evolved to the extent that they are rightly remembered as supreme all-round footballers, not just gifted wide men. Those celebrated in this list get to the essence of what a winger used to be, delighting in trickery, seeing their job as that of an entertainer/provider and never more at home than when within a few feet of a white touchline.

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» My favourite game: Crystal Palace make history in the ZDS Cup final | Ed Aarons

Palace’s 4-1 win over Everton in the 1991 Zenith Data Systems Cup was a huge moment for the club and life-changing for me

Let me start with a confession: I haven’t always supported Crystal Palace. Growing up in Croydon at the same time as Ian Wright and Mark Bright were inspiring the club whose stadium I could see from my bedroom window to reach the top flight for the first time in a decade, I probably should have done; it was the obvious choice. But I didn’t.

Instead I was seduced by the skills of John Barnes and Liverpool’s all-red strip and, as such, there was only one team I wanted to win when the two teams met at Villa Park in their 1990 FA Cup semi-final, which happened to take place the day after my ninth birthday.

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» Have any football champions gone out of business faster than Hallelujah FC? | The Knowledge

Plus: long gaps between players winning the same trophy, the ultimate leisurely pro and Demeaco Duhaney’s ups and downs

“Hallelujah FC, who were the first professional club in South Korea, won the inaugural K-League in 1983,” writes Kári Tulinius. “Two years later they had ceased to be professional, and continued as an amateur club until 1998, when they were dissolved. Despite the name, they were never resurrected. Has any professional club been permanently dissolved so soon after being champion?”

It turns out there are plenty of examples of champions who have tumbled into oblivion in double-quick time. “There are quite a few in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states,” writes Jack Mey. “Unirea Urziceni won the league title in Romania in 2009. By the end of the 2010-11 season, they had been relegated and were subsequently wound up. In Estonia, Lantana Tallinn won the league title twice, in 1996 and 1997. The club was disbanded in 1999. Over the border in Latvia, FK Vindava from the city of Ventspils, won the Latvian Championship in 2007 before being dissolved in 2009. FK Ekranas were one of Lithuania’s most successful clubs, they won the last of seven titles in 2012 and were wound up in 2014.”

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» Happy Hammers: revisiting West Ham's 1980 FA Cup triumph – in pictures

With the coronavirus pandemic putting paid to the plans of 90,000 fans packing out Wembley in this year’s FA Cup final, we’ve had a rummage through the archives to check out West Ham’s win over Arsenal 40 years ago

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» The Guardian and Football School's second Young Sportswriter competition

We have again teamed up for a writing competition for seven to 12-year-olds in the UK and Ireland

For the second year running the Guardian has joined forces with the Football School series to organise a Young Sportswriter of the Year competition. This exciting contest is aimed at seven- to 12-year-olds in the UK and Ireland and looks to bring out all the creativity, imagination and knowledge we know exists in Key Stage 2 pupils.

Entries should consist of a piece of writing, which can be either a match report of a sporting event that has taken place, or a profile piece about an athlete of their choice. The maximum is 600 words but the article can be shorter and it may be about any sport.

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» The Fiver | Doing unto football as Justin Timberlake did unto sexy

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Week two, and they’re still playing football in Germany. A big part of The Fiver, the part that doesn’t answer the door to anyone selling positive news, assumed there would be a load of positive tests after last weekend’s matches. We thought we’d be spending Friday night watching a repeat of a rewatch of a replay from the 1990s. Instead we’ll have our peepers fixed firmly on the Berlin derby, Hertha v Union, which kicks off another weekend of Bundesliga action.

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» Uefa's Aleksander Ceferin: 'Football with fans will come back very soon' | Sebastián Fest

The Uefa president admits to sleepless nights from the Covid-19 crisis but is confident ‘good old football’ will return to normal

The most important official in European football talks to the Guardian about the coronavirus fallout, how clubs could face a “luxury tax” and why he believes footballers are not greedy. Below is an edited transcript.

How would you describe the current situation and your feelings about it? There’s a lot of work still to be done. I was in Switzerland last week for the first time in two months and had meetings from 9am to 11pm. There is so much information [to take in] and so many calendar issues – and so many millions and millions, dozens of millions of dollars, that we will lose. It is then hard to fall asleep at night. You would be quite irresponsible if you could fall asleep immediately after a day like that. The situation for Uefa is not that alarming, we’re not in a dangerous situation, but we still care about the clubs and the leagues and the stakeholders so it is a lot of work.

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» Jürgen Klopp: on clothes, the keys to coaching and Liverpool team talks | Jacob Steinberg

Liverpool’s manager took part in a mentoring session set up by Kick It Out and shared what he thinks it takes to succeed

“Your football has to be mirrored by your soul,” Jürgen Klopp says as he explains why his appearance on the touchline has no effect on his team’s performance. Liverpool’s manager is midway through a fascinating answer about his dress code and has an important message for the aspiring coaches listening to him on Zoom. “You have to bring your own character in.”

This is an unusual setting for Klopp. It is Liverpool’s first day back in phase one training but the manager of the Premier League’s dominant force has given up part of his afternoon to take part in a mentoring session for Kick It Out, football’s anti-discrimination charity. Troy Townsend, Kick It Out’s head of development, has got top coaches involved in the organisation’s Raise Your Game programme – England’s Gareth Southgate is another star attraction – and has landed Klopp.

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» England Women prove to be big social media hit during lockdown | Suzanne Wrack

A concerted effort to stay in regular contact with fans has attracted significant levels of interest on Twitter and Instagram

England Women have reached the World Cup semi-finals, won the SheBelieves Cup and attracted a crowd of more than 77,000 to Wembley. But rarely, it appears, has their popularity been greater than during lockdown.

Players have swapped pitch-side selfies and signings for substantial social media interaction and the forward Beth England is far from alone in having enjoyed producing content and engaging with fans. “They are the voice for us when we’re on the pitch, we can help be the voice for them off it,” she said.

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» Ghost player for the ghost game: Thomas Müller is perfect for the pandemic | Jonathan Liew

Bayern Munich returned on Sunday and so did the forward for whom spatial distancing is his entire job

The silence, really, is only a problem if you want it to be a problem. We football fans are an adaptable bunch. What at first feels disconcertingly novel soon becomes part of the furniture. We survived animated advertising hoardings. We survived Saturday 12.30pm kick-offs. We survived club mascots taking part in the minute’s silence. We’ll get through this too.

Perhaps, conversely, it helps to see the silence as an opportunity. As live Bundesliga football returned to our screens over the weekend amid empty stadiums and eerie hush, it was only natural to wonder how the aural void could be filled. Canned crowd noise feels a bit North Korea: Behold, Our Glorious Footballers Undertaking Athletic Endeavours For The Edification Of A Grateful Nation! If it has to be a crowd, might as well make it a real one: simply assemble the home club’s millions of fans on one giant Zoom call, and pipe in the real-time mayhem.

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» Next Generation 2019: 60 of the best young talents in world football

Eidur Gudjohnsen’s son, the new Paul Pogba and Barça’s Ansu Fati are among our 60 most talented players in the world born in 2002. Check the progress of our 2018 picks | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Photographs by DZfoot, BackpagePix, Club Atlético Belgrano, EFE, EPA, Getty Images, Uwe Gruen/Hoffenheim, AMA/Getty Images, Rex/Shutterstock, Zuma Press/PA, FIFA, Tigres, Damir Krajac/CROPIX, Alamy, Daniel Reyes/Ecuafutbol, Reuters, Atromitos, Imago/PA, fotoBERNAMA, New Straits Times, José Alonso Paredes Sánchez, Agencja Gazeta, David Price/Arsenal FC/Getty, AP, Asian Football Confederation, Danubio FC and Championat Asia

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» Next Generation 2019: 20 of the best talents at Premier League clubs

The Guardian selects the best young players at each club born between 1 September 2002 and 31 August 2003, an age band known as first-year scholars. Check the progress of class of 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Photographs by David Price/Arsenal/Getty Images, Neville Williams/Aston Villa/Getty Images, AFC Bournemouth, Paul Hazlewood/BHAFC, Paul Dennis/TGS/Shutterstock, Clive Howes/Chelsea/Getty Images, Danny Loo/PPAUK, Emma Simpson/Everton/Getty Images, Nick Taylor/Liverpool/Getty Images, Manchester City/Getty Images, Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Images, Jason Dawson/Jasonpix, James Wilson/Sportimage, Simon Bellis/Sportimage, Robin Jones/Digital South/Southampton FC, Tottenham Hotspur/Getty Images, Alan Cozzi/Watford, Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United and Sam Bagnall/AMA

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» Next Generation: after five years, how has our first full class of picks fared?

From Rashford to Tielemans, we check in on how our initial Next Generation players have got on before the 2019 ones are announced this week

In 2014 we decided that it would be interesting to pick the best young players from each Premier League club – as well as 40 from around the world – and follow them for five years to see how they progressed.

The idea was to try to get a sense of how difficult it is to become a professional footballer despite being one of the best in that country at the age of 16 or 17.

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