first_imgCatholic Bishops across the country are encouraging people to participate in a national “call-in day’ to Congress next Monday to express support for young immigrants know as “Dreamers”.Kristie Arlt of the Catholic Diocese of Sioux City says the call-in represents an escalation of efforts to urge Congress to find a legislative solution for Dreamers before March 5th.That’s the deadline President Trump set for ending the executive branch protection called “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” or “DACA.”Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC……….capitol switchboard. :17The “Dreamers”, young people who were brought into the United States by their parents as children may face deportation as soon as March 6th unless Congress reaches a bi-partisan deal to protect them.Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC………….your senator. ;15The toll free number to call is 855-589-5698 to reach the Capitol switchboard.Press two for your representative or 1 for your senator.Once you are connected to each office, the Bishops want you to ask the person on the phone to deliver the message to support a bipartisan, common-sense, and humane solution for Dreamers.last_img read more


first_imgIowa has reopened a flooded stretch of the Iowa Highway 2 approach to a Missouri River bridge that links southwest Iowa to southeast Nebraska.The Iowa Transportation Department says concrete barriers have been placed along the edges and permeable aggregate has been atop the roadway, followed by a fabric barrier and then covered with road rock.The department’s Scott Suhr says the idea is that water will percolate through the aggregate and allow traffic to pass over.Suhr said Friday that pilot cars will be used on the single lane available to light, local traffic.Motorists should expect delays and slow speeds.last_img

Q/A on Wes Lunt with Zach Grant

first_imgIf you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! Zach Grant was Wes Lunt’s #1 target over the past two seasons at Rochester high school. He had 131 catches (shattering his old high school conference record) and set a new state record (by 679 yards) with 2,310 receiving yards. He sat down with me at the end of last week to talk about OSU’s new starting quarterback.When did you and Wes meet?We actually went to the same preschool here in Rochester and we just kinda started being friends there and all throughtout grade school and high school and so on.Did you guys play sports growing up?We played basketball since kindgergarten. He actually played football before I did in first grade, and then he didn’t play until freshman year. I was actually the quarterback my 5th grade thru 8th grade year then I switched to receiver and it just kind of worked out.Are you going to play football next year?Yeah I am, I’m going to play at St. Ambrose in Davenport, Iowa so I’m excited about that. But being with Wes would be amazing. I’m happy where I’m at and I’m happy for Wes, everything’s falling into place for him and it’s awesome.Was there ever any chance of you walking on at OSU?We’ve talked about it quite a few times, it’s a dream for every high school player to want to play at the highest level. It still is my dream and I’ve thought about it a lot. There’s a chance for everyone and I would love to be on the other end of Wes’ passes for another four years. Things have kind of fallen into place for both of us but you never know what could happen in the future. If something did happen to where I did consider going down to Stillwater, I’d be happy and I know I’d have Wes with me and he’d enjoy that too.Did you go to the spring game?I did. Me and a couple of buddies and Mr. Lunt drove down last Friday. Dakota Greer and Tommy Johnson, we’re all best friends with Wes, we’ve all been pretty tight all throughout school. We went down and hung out in Stillwater Friday night and got to hang out with Wes a little then on Saturday went to the spring game. I was in awe by everything Wes goes through every day. I can’t imagine, it’s my dream, man.What did you think about Stillwater?It reminded me of Rochester, it reminded me of home. You walk into an IHOP and you have 20 people in there with Oklahoma State football shirts on and it’s so much like Rochester where Rochester football means everything to this town. Stillwater is such a close knit town, it’s amazing how much Rochester and Stillwater compare.Are you surprised at all Wes was named the starter?To be 100% honest, no. I was almost overwhelmed, I just couldn’t believe it but it didn’t surprise me. He’s the real deal, I knew just by watching the spring game and just by how he works on the field and always has. He’s always been very calm and composed, I think that was definitely a big part of him winning the job. He came in and handled everything so well, just coming in as a freshman. The whole time I had a feeling, I knew he could do it. The whole time I was pulling for him, I talk to him a lot during the week and ask him how practice is going. He’s honest with me and told me if he did bad or good and by what he said he did pretty good and obviously he’s the starting quarterback now. I think it’s nice for Wes now that he can just kind of settle down, we’re planning on hanging out all weekend and just relaxing. Getting all the hype and all the stress out for a month until he has to go back and get back at it again.What are you guys doing this weekend?St. Ambrose has their spring game tomorrow (Saturday) and Wes is going to drive over with me and I was going to show him what I’m going to go through next year and show him through Davenport. We’re going to go over there and have some fun, watch that game and come back and probably hang out in Rochester.What was the toughest thing for Wes about enrolling at OSU early?I know the toughtest thing for Wes was being away. He’s so close to his family and we’re all in a close knit group of friends and I know it’s tough because he I know he feels like he’s missed out on things, anyone would if they went that far away and had to go through what he did. Just talking to him I know it was a big transition for him and I know he was going through a lot at first but I think he kind of grasped it and took it the right way. He obviously showed everyone what he was all about.What does Wes do on the field better than any other quarterback you saw in high school?Any ball I caught last year, it was where no other defended could catch it. We would run the same play over and over again, pretty much just a fade, and that’s what we would beat people on. I’m telling you, every single ball he would throw was backside shoulder, or if a kid was to my backside shoulder it would be to my inside or if a kid was right on me he would throw it up and let me go get it. It’s amazing, he can put it where nobody else can catch it but me. It made me look pretty good, he was definitely the x-factor there because he put the ball where I was the only one who could catch it.What’s the best throw you’ve ever seen him make?The Springfield game we both set records (story here). That game was a lot of screens and a lot of running and it was a LONG game. But the best throw I’ve seen him make was in the state championship game last year. We were on the opposite 40, I ran a sluggo route and he threw it to my backside shoulder. It was a great play by both of us. I had a kid to my inside, he was kind of trailing me a little bit, probably two yards behind, and Wes put it right on the sidelines. My foot was two inches from the sidelines, it was an amazing ball. I had to go get it a little bit but he put it where it needed to be.Is his throwing ability something he was born with or developed?When he came in freshman year, Wes had it. Wes is one of those kids who you either got it or you don’t…and Wes has it. He’s a great athlete, great basketball player, great football player. I will say Coach Leonard would work with us every single day, he would push Wes and do everything to help him. I think Coach Leonard is a big factor in where Wes is today. If you look back at our recent quarterbacks, Will Lunt (Wes’ brother), one of the most amazing quarterbacks I’ve ever seen, he’s at Western Illinois playing. Sean Robinson went to Purdue to play quarterback (playing LB now), and now Wes, that’s three D-1 quarterbacks just out of Rochester. I think Coach Leonard has changed this program around and he really helped Wes too. I think when Wes came in he had the skills, Coach Leonard gave him the ability and showed him technique and everything. He’s definitely a huge part of it.Who did you guys model your games after?As a white receiver, I think everyone looks at Wes Welker, that’s definitely me. I look at him and he fulfilled my dream and he’s kind of a guy I can look up to. I’ve always seen Wes as a Tom Brady kind of guy, kind of quiet and composed and he’s just got a rocket.Was Wes being quiet an issue for you guys?No, Wes has always been quiet, but when he needs to be loud and speak up and say what’s on his mind, he will. He’s always been the kind of person to do that. You’ll see Wes and just randomly, you won’t expect it, and he’ll just get really fired up and you’re just like “oh my gosh, this isn’t Wes.” We would always, after every touchdown, we just kind of got used to it and we’d look at each other and nod and go do it again. I don’t think that’d be a factor for him. I think Wes knew, and obviously he’s the starting quarterback over there, so I know he has to be a leader and I have 100% respect for him and know he can play the leader role at Oklahoma State.How many TDs did you guys connect for in high school?My junior year we only had nine but my senior year we had 23 so overall 32 in our careers (corrected: Lunt was hurt the first four games of last season so not all of those 23 were via him).Is he the best player you saw when you were in high school?No doubt in my mind. He’s amazing, the thing is people would kind of watch our games and it was an air raid. We’d throw it every single play and it was fun to watch but people don’t realize what you really have. When you have a quarterback like Wes people get used to it and just expect it but I don’t think people know what they had until they see things like this now with Wes starting and you realize ‘man, he’s that good.’What’s his ceiling?For every kid they always think it’s a long shot, but I think he’ll end up playing on Sundays. I think he’s that good. If everything goes well and he stays injury free, I think Wes could definitely be playing on Sundays. That’s what I pray for him and hope that everything falls into place like it has so far. Hopefully he can lead them back to a national championship or a bowl game. I know he can, I definitely think he’s capable of doing it. He has what it takes.How much did you guys follow Oklahoma State this year?I didn’t even really think about Oklahoma State until Wes called me. I was in Florida when Wes called me and said ‘hey man, I’m going to OK State next year.’ Ever since that day I’ve been an Oklahoma State fan, we’d watch the games and we’d go over to Wes’ house and Mrs. Lunt would make us some food and we’d just kind of chill over there. Got to watching Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, and it was a lot of fun. I didn’t really realize how good Oklahoma State was and how great of a program it was until Wes came into the picture. It was pretty cool.How excited is the Rochester community about Wes being named the starter?Everyone is just nuts, Wes is trending on Twitter, everyone’s following him and everyone knows what’s going on. You look on Facebook and it’s just “Wes Lunt, Wes Lunt, Wes Lunt.” I think it’s good for Wes that he’s getting out of here this weekend because I think it’ll all settle down by next week. He told me ‘you know I had 100 texts that day.’ I know that can be stressful for him because he isn’t one to want publicity, he doesn’t want a lot of attention. Rochester is so happy for him and I know Rochester will be Cowboy country for the next four years.Here’s a video of some highlights from Zach’s senior year (the catch at 0:55 is nasty)…last_img read more

10 More Thoughts On Kansas

first_imguspw 6656170 2Photo Attribution: US PresswireI think we’ve all backed off the “we only scored 20 against Kansas” ledge so let’s get to 10 more thoughts on the game (really in-depth stuff here)…1. J.W. Walsh had about the most J.W. Walsh stat line I can imagine (18/29 for 255 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 9 carries for 49 yards and 1 TD). He was really solid in pockets (though never the actual pocket) but I never got the “OK, we got this” feeling I had with Weeden (and to an extent Lunt — though at Arizona we definitely did not have this).I just think Walsh is what he is — a fun teammate, solid leader, and great backup on what looks to be a contender in the Big 12 for the next few years. Let’s not try to transform him into something he’s not (a starting QB on a top 15 team).2. Did anybody else see Justin Horton and Quinn Sharp’s 17-step handshake after one of Sharp’s field goals? Maybe I was hallucinating[1. Part of me wants to think I hallucinated everything that happened on Saturday.] but it looked pretty spectacular. 3. What do we trust less right now — a Walsh deep ball or Justin Gilbert in single coverage?4. Gundy respects Kansas’s defense the way Lindsay Lohan respects herself.5. Was it just me or was every Fox Sports crowd shot buried in the middle of OSU fans? You could easily see the empty seats dotting (engulfing…whatever) the rest of the stadium but it was like Fox wanted to be like “look, it’s a fun game between two teams that couldn’t beat the best 7-on-7 high school team in Texas, we’re having a blast!”6. Serious question here: does KU play its basketball highlights or its football highlights to pump up the crowd before games?7. “Walsh and Stewart are best friends and grew up together” is the new “McCoy and Shipley are roomates and play the guitar together.”8. The Jayhawk logo fascinates me. First of all, what is it? Second, I’m 100% convinced Kansas uses the same design template for their football field as they do their basketball court. I mean, these are the same size, right?hawk9. Saturday was one of the more bizarre experiences I’ve ever had watching an OSU football game. I went from “how many records are we going to break” mode to “how many Charlie Weis whale/rain jokes can I get away with before somebody calls me out” mode to “gosh, this is the most boring non-Savannah State game I can remember since 2005” mode to “holy balls are we going to lose to Kansas” mode over the span of four hours. It was not a particularly enjoyable experience.10. You want to know something weird? We’re halfway through October and only Kansas State, TCU, and Oklahoma State fully control their own destiny in the Big 12 race[2. That is, they are the only three teams that can say “if we win the rest of our games no matter what else happens, we’re Big 12 champs.”]. Here are my first 10 thoughts. If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

The five biggest problems facing OSU

first_imgPhoto Attribution: USATSIPhoto Attribution: USATSIThere are many, many directions we could go with this but at this point in the season, with a 3-1 team coming off its worst loss as a school since Ames in 2011, these are the five biggest challenges I see facing OSU as it tries to recover and win (compete for?) the Big 12.1. Walsh’s arm — This goes hand-in-hand with No. 2. I was talking to my dad today and he brought up a good point that I haven’t written about yet. Teams don’t respect JW’s arm and because of that you’re going to see an offensive line that looks like a problem even if the real problem is that defenses are putting nine dudes up front because they, like us, are unsure about whether or not Walsh can throw it over 15 yards with any accuracy or consistency.That is why your offensive line looks bad at times, not because it’s actually bad.[1. Diamond formation amber alert.]This stifles the offense in so many ways.Now, I think Walsh’s arm has gotten better, way better than last year,[1. And don’t look at me as critic No. 1 — Gundy said on Monday Walsh has been “average” throwing the ball the last two games which is coachspeak for “my gosh, will he be better if we give him Weeden’s old jersey?!”] but it’s still a hindrance to this team for the simple reason that it allows other teams to take away the run.2. Running game — In my segment on the Sports Animal on Wednesday Mark Rodgers brought up the fact that because OSU’s wide receivers are the best unit on the team (by far…on offense, anyway) would it not make sense to play Chelf…?Personally, I think that ship has sailed but the point is taken. If you have no running game (see No. 1) because your QB isn’t always accurate[1. Which, tangent here, but I think Walsh’s bigger issue is his lack of accuracy at times than his actual arm strength. You can go win 11 games with a dude who can’t go super deep but if he’s hitting fingertips and creating tip drills, that’s a problem.] and you can’t get the most prolific part of your offense going, well, that’s a big-time problem.We’ll get to Yurcich in a second but this team needs to figure out how to strike back agains teams that don’t respect Walsh’s arm because if it doesn’t we’re going to see some more “15 carries for one yard” games from Mr. Biceps.3. #CollegeKickers — Gundy said in his presser on Monday that Grogan “can do it” but “he’s never done it in front of 60,000.” How about we all organize a day when we drive to Stillwater and sit in the stands and just scream our heads off while Grogan practices kicking 20-yarders and 30-yarders.And if OSU is anywhere beyond the 13-yard-line, just go for it on fourth down.4. Forcing turnovers — The defense has been phenomenal — Spencer has done a terrific job so far — but they’re ranked No. 63 in the country in turnovers created per game and the competition hasn’t been, uh, stiff on the offensive side.With a QB who’s going to throw it away a little bit and some shaky special teams, OSU is going to have to see even more forceful production from its already-stellar D.5. Yurcich’s creativity — Look, he wasn’t exactly handed the keys to a Ferrari — more like a Camry or maybe a RAV-4 with Walsh at the helm. But he’s going to have to get the Legos out at some point and figure this thing out. His challenge is a unique one — create space for a team that other teams like to bunch up against when they spread it out.OSU is going to see more stuff like they saw last Saturday in Morgantown — between puffs on his cigars stamped with the Longhorn insignia, Art Briles will be watching that tape from now until November — and if he can’t figure out how to move the chess pieces around in a way that gives Walsh time and easier situations, he’s going to be playing checkers again somewhere at the D3 level in a few years.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

Mike Gundy voted OSU ahead of OU in the Coaches Poll

first_imgThe final coaches poll ballots were released on Sunday and Mike Gundy voted 10-2 Oklahoma State ahead of 10-2 Oklahoma despite losing to Oklahoma one day earlier. Here’s his ballot:Screen shot 2013-12-08 at 1.18.36 PMYikes. That’s not a good look. So bad Andrew Gilman of Fox Sports Southwest had a suggestion:After his final vote, Mike Gundy might need to ban himself from talking to the media. #OKstate #Sooners— Andrew Gilman (@AndrewGilmanOK) December 8, 2013Briles had OSU ranked ahead of OU as well:Screen shot 2013-12-08 at 1.21.08 PMDana had OU No. 10 and OSU No. 11 (and how about Michigan State No. 2!!)Screen shot 2013-12-08 at 1.21.36 PMStoops had OU No. 9 and OSU No. 11.Screen shot 2013-12-08 at 1.21.50 PMAnd Kingsbury had OU No. 9 and OSU No. 11 as well.Screen shot 2013-12-08 at 1.22.05 PMArt Briles (at No. 6) and June Jones (No. 8) were the only two coaches who had OSU in the top 10. Several coaches (including Urban Meyer and Kevin Sumlin) had OSU as low as No. 15.I get (and appreciate) that this is a difficult task — especially when OU, Baylor, and OSU all beat each other — but if you’re Gundy you just can’t rank the team you just lost to ahead of you in the final poll when it has the same record as your team.You just can’t.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

Mike Gundy Has 11-Year-Old Son Train Him On Social Media

first_imgSocial media is simultaneously one of the great boons to Mike Gundy’s career (trending on Big 12 media days because of a haircut?) and one of his biggest liabilities. It doesn’t help that the NCAA rules regarding social media are only getting more complicated.“It’s very confusing,” Gundy told the Tulsa World recently regarding social media. “If you just sit down and think about the information that you have to absorb, and when you deal with social media and Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and direct message and all the other stuff, and to not make a mistake is difficult. It takes a lot of preparation.”This is true, and it’s why OSU has folks on staff to help with such things. NCAA college football rules to me are like golf rules. You can keep making them more and more complex and pile rule after rule on to solve all the antiquated rules that don’t make sense anymore. Or you can just wipe everything out and start over. Because the NCAA/USGA is a bureaucracy you can guess which direction this will continue.Maybe Gundy’s kids can save him?Gundy on keeping up with social media trends for recruiting: “I get my 11-year-old son to train me.”— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) August 5, 2016Seems questionable. Although to be fair he has hired good people who do a great job helping him out with this stuff. Presumably so he can worry about his hair instead.Awesome to see @russwest44 staying with the @okcthunder. #ThunderUp Need to keep OKC rocking.— Mike Gundy (@CoachGundy) August 5, 2016 If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

The Reload: OSU Offers JUCO Tight End, Loses Recruiting Battle to Houston

first_imgOSU is the Class of 2020 big man’s sixth scholarship offer to go with Maryland, Stephen F. Austin, ETSU, Western Kentucky and DePaul.Also, his nickname is Baby Olajuwon, which is totally amazing.The second offer this week went out to 2019 big man Isaiah Stewart, a Rochester, New York prospect with dozens of offers nationally. In fact, OSU is offer No. 28, adding to his list that includes Notre Dame, Maryland, Georgetown, Xavier, Indiana, Florida and other premier programs.Stewart, now a household name in recruiting circles, opted this summer to leave Rochester to play at high school powerhouse La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.). Although he missed much of his sophomore season due to a back injury, Stewart is still a top-30 player nationally in his class and the No. 9 player at his position. If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! In addition to his OSU offer, the big-bodied tight end also has offers from Kansas, Coastal Carolina, and UCF.Although Ross has only been playing football for three years, he’s a talented prospect with high upside and incredible size. I’m told Ross, the former basketball star, is expected to be a December graduate and from an eligibility standpoint has three years to play two. So adding him to the mix and getting him into Rob Glass’s system could be a boon for the program looking to develop its talent at the position.Mike Boynton offers two big menWho says OSU has abandoned the Lone Star state in hoops recruiting? OSU extended one of two scholarship offers this week to Houston native Allen Udemadu, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Humble, Texas.center_img The Reload is PFB’s recruiting recap catching you up to speed with the latest Oklahoma State recruiting news, with an ear to the ground for what to expect.Houston nabs OSU targetThe University of Houston has pulled in a commitment from Julon Williams, a dual-threat quarterback/athlete from Judson High School.The three-star prospect from Converse, Texas, was long projected to be an OSU lean before going with the Cougars over offers from K-State, TCU and Virginia.OSU likely missed on Williams because of his preference on position, as OSU is more than happy with its signal-caller position in the class with Spencer Sanders in the fold. Had Williams committed to the Cowboys, he would have likely been an athlete—at Houston, he’ll likely continue his career as a quarterback.OSU offers JUCO tight endOklahoma State has extended an offer to NEO tight end Jake Ross, a 6-foot-7 prospect, he reported this weekend.The offer was extended just a day after tight ends coach Jason McEndoo made a visit to see him in person for a game, a source told Pistols Firing. It also happened to come on his birthday.last_img read more

Arsenal chairman ‘enjoys racing more than football’

first_imgArsenal Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick enjoys racing more than football ‘at the moment’ Last updated 2 years ago 20:23 9/3/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Sir Chips Keswick FRANCK FIFE Arsenal Premier League UEFA Europa League The Gunners executive jokingly said he’s having much more fun at the races these days than watching events unfold on the pitch Given the last few weeks for Arsenal, it’s not surprising that some at the club are grateful for the international break.Count Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick among that group, as the Gunners executive admitted to enjoying a day at the races far more than football ‘at the moment’.Arsenal 15/2 to beat Bournemouth 2-1 Article continues below Editors’ Picks Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina It has been an awful few weeks for Arsenal as, after opening the Premier League season with a win over Leicester, they have suffered back-to-back defeats to Stoke City and Liverpool.The loss at Anfield was a 4-0 embarrassment for Arsene Wenger and his men, and was followed with reported chaos at the transfer deadline, with a deal for Thomas Lemar falling through and Alexis Sanchez discontent at having to remain.And Keswick was pleased to leave it all behind for at least one weekend as he enjoyed watching a horse he owns, Double Treasure, win at Newton Abbot on Saturday.Keswick talked about the requirements of being a patient owner when investing in horses, and claimed he was one. When asked about how it relates to Arsenal, Keswick did not want to discuss football.“Let’s rejoice in racing. I much prefer it [to football] at the moment,” Keswick told At The Races.When asked if it was because Arsenal were not playing, Keswick joked “Exactly.”While the chairman enjoyed his time away from the pitch, he’ll have plenty of football to watch when his club return to action.Arsenal host Bournemouth in Premier League action Saturday, followed by a Europa League date against Cologne on Thursday and a derby meeting at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea the following Sunday. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Chiellini to miss Barcelona match

first_imgJuventus Chiellini to miss Barcelona match with thigh injury Jamie Smith Last updated 1 year ago 00:18 11/23/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Giorgio Chiellini Juventus Getty Juventus Juventus v Barcelona Barcelona UEFA Champions League Juventus have confirmed their defence will be without the experienced centre-back for Wednesday’s Champions League game Giorgio Chiellini has been ruled out of Juventus’ key Champions League clash at home to Barcelona with a thigh injury.Juventus confirmed the 33-year-old will not be able to take his place in the back line for Wednesday’s crunch Group D game, with Barca three points clear of Juve at the top of the pool.Barcelona 7/5 to beat Juventus Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Chiellini is among five Juventus players nominated for a place in the 2017 UEFA Team of the Year, along with Gianluigi Buffon, Paulo Dybala, Alex Sandro and Miralem Pjanic.In his absence, Mehdi Benatia, Benedikt Howedes and Daniele Rugani are the alternative options for Massimiliano Allegri as a defensive partner for Chiellini’s fellow veteran Andrea Barzagli.UPDATE: Giorgio Chiellini is out of tonight’s match after picking up a muscle injury to his left thigh. #JuveFCB — JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) November 22, 2017 Juventus will also be without Federico Bernardeschi for the game against Barca, the winger missing the match after suffering a muscle problem.But Barzagli and goalkeeper Buffon are expected to return to the Juve team after missing Sunday’s 3-2 league defeat at Sampdoria in the wake of Italy’s World Cup play-off disappointment against Sweden.The Serie A champions will qualify for the next round of the Champions League if they avoid defeat, as long as Sporting CP do not win against Olympiacos.last_img read more

Report: Betis 0 Atletico Madrid 1

first_imgReal Betis 0 Atletico Madrid 1: Rojiblancos make history to assuage Champions League pain Matt Dorman 01:15 12/11/17 Saul Niguez - cropped Getty Images Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid set a new club record for consecutive undefeated matches in LaLiga with their narrow win away to Real Betis. Atletico Madrid bounced back from their midweek disappointment in Europe by setting a club record in a 1-0 win at an out-of-form Real Betis on Sunday.Saul Niguez scored the only goal in the first half to make up for their group-stage exit from the Champions League and extend the Rojiblancos’ unbeaten run in LaLiga to a history-making 19th match.Antoine Griezmann suffered a hamstring strain the midweek draw with Chelsea and was forced to sit out the trip to the Benito Villamarin, while Fernando Torres was relegated to the bench. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player The pair’s presence would likely have made little difference to a one-sided start to proceedings as mid-table Betis, now winless in six LaLiga matches, dominated the early possession and territory.But midfielder Saul poked home with his side’s first chance to calm the nerves and put the visitors on course for a third consecutive league victory.Diego Simeone’s men were content to repel Betis’ occasional incursions after the restart in climbing back into third, two points ahead of rivals Real Madrid.95′ | 0-1 | And there’s the final whistle in Seville!Great win, lads! #AúpaAtleti #RealBetisAtleti— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) December 10, 2017Simeone’s four changes included recalls for Diego Godin and Sime Vrsaljko to a defence that was spared by a tame Ryad Boudebouz finish in the third minute.Betis kept the pressure on over the opening 25 minutes and saw Joaquin’s free-kick flash dangerously across the face of Jan Oblak’s goal.Having survived that examination, the visitors needed only one chance to take the lead against the run of play just before the half-hour mark.Vrsaljko received Godin’s raking pass out to the right and whipped an enticing ball across the face that somehow evaded an initial clutch of players. An untracked Saul was the beneficiary, stretching to tap in at the far post.1 – Vrsaljko has provided his first assist in the Spanish League for @atletienglish (four in all competitions). Claim— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 10, 2017And they might have doubled the advantage almost instantly, but Angel Correa passed up better options in shooting straight at Antonio Adan.Unbroken by Atletico’s first half sucker-punch, Betis threatened again after the break as Sergio Leon fired off target from a narrow angle.Cristian Tello went closer with a stinging drive soon after, only for Oblak to spectacularly claw it away from the top-right corner.That superb save proved to be the Slovenia goalkeeper’s last real test of a largely untroubled second half, the away side shutting the gate as they have done numerous times throughout their impressive unbeaten run in the league. read morelast_img read more

Celtic vs Aberdeen: Team news & TV guide

first_imgPremiership Celtic vs Aberdeen: TV channel, stream, kick-off time, odds & match preview Ryan Kelly Last updated 1 year ago 16:30 12/23/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Moussa Dembele Celtic Getty Premiership Celtic Celtic v Aberdeen Aberdeen The Hoops bounced back from a humiliating defeat to Hearts with a win during the week and they face another stern task against the Dons Celtic host rivals Aberdeen in a battle between first and second in the Scottish Premiership at Celtic Park on Saturday.Brendan Rodgers’ side had their record-breaking unbeaten run halted at 69 games by Hearts last week, but they recovered to beat Partick Thistle on Wednesday and they are five points clear of the Dons coming into the gameDerek McInnes’ Aberdeen have been the Bhoys’ chief challengers for the past three seasons and they will be hoping to scythe the gap to just two points by upsetting the champions on their own backyard. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Game Celtic vs Aberdeen Date Saturday, December 23 Time 15:00 GMT / 10:00 ET TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM Kieran Tierney CelticThe game is not being broadcast live on television in the United Kingdom (UK) or United States (US), but it is available to stream online for viewers outside the UK and Ireland on Celtic TV.Aberdeen’s Red TV will also be providing live coverage of the match. TV channel Online stream N/A Celtic TV SQUADS & TEAM NEWS Position Celtic players Goalkeepers Gordon, De Vries, Hazard Defenders Simunovic, Gamboa, Boyata, Ajer, Lustig, Sviatchenko, Tierney, Ralston Midfielders Bitton, Brown, Sinclair, Armstrong, Hayes, Ntcham, Benyu, McGregor, Forrest, E. Henderson, L. Henderson, Eboue Forwards Griffiths, Dembele, Edouard, Miller, Johnston, Aitchison There are concerns over the availability of Jozo Simunovic, while Tom Rogic (knee) and Patrick Roberts (hamstring) will definitely miss out.New signing Marvin Compper will not be available to play until January 1 when the move becomes official.Potential Celtic starting XI: Gordon; Lustig, Boyata, Sviatchenko, Tierney; Brown, Armstrong, McGregor, Sinclair, Hayes; Dembele. Position Aberdeen players Goalkeepers Lewis, Rogers Defenders Logan, Shinnie, Considine, O’Connor, Reynolds, Ball, McKenna, Harvie Midfielders McLean, Mackay-Steven, Arnason, Christie, Storie, Ross Forwards Stewart, Rooney, Maynard, Wright, May Greg Tansey is the only real injury concern for Aberdeen coming into the game. Unlike Celtic, the Dons have had a week to rest ahead of the game and Derek McInnes has a near-full panel to choose from.Potential Aberdeen starting XI: Lewis; Considine, O’Connor, McKenna, Logan; Shinnie, McLean, Mackay-Steven, May, Christie; Rooney.BETTING & MATCH ODDS Adam Rooney AberdeenCeltic are 1/3 favourites to win according to dabblebet, with Aberdeen priced at 8/1 to beat the Bhoys at Parkhead. A draw is available at 17/4.Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele are both rated 12/5 to score the first goal, while Aberdeen’s Gary Mackay-Steven, who bagged a hat-trick against Hibernian last week, is priced at 16/1 to open the scoring.Click here to see all of dabblebet’s markets for the game, including first goalscorer, correct scores and more.GAME PREVIEW Leigh Griffiths Kieran Tierney CelticSaturday’s festive meeting between Scotland’s two top teams is gearing up to be an intense affair, with plenty at stake for both sides before the January break.Despite their dominance of the domestic scene, Celtic are just five points ahead of Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership and the complexion of the title race will change completely should they endure another defeat.Derek McInnes handed the Dons a massive boost when he snubbed overtures from Rangers to remain as manager and, having finished second-best in the past three seasons, he is determined to upset the odds and stage another push for the title.His side will surely sense blood after witnessing the Hoops total capitulation against Hearts last week, but they are all too aware of the effort it will take to win, having suffered a heavy 3-0 defeat at Pittodrie earlier this season.last_img read more

Dejan Lovren blames bad Liverpool form on ‘horrific’ break-ins at his home

first_img“People look at football, they don’t look at what is going on around the life,” the centre-half said. “Some people can understand that, some people not, but in these difficult situations I saw the support from some really good people like the manager, the club, my team-mates and, of course, the supporters, who are ready always to support you.“It is not easy because we are also humans and everyone has problems. I don’t know who hasn’t had some. I am giving my best to have a quiet life but sometimes it doesn’t depend on myself because people just want to come into my home and steal some things, even though I have nothing in my home. Unfortunately my wife was in and two kids. It was horrific.”Lovren believes Jürgen Klopp’s attacking philosophy also contributed to his defensive problems at Liverpool and it required mental resilience to move on from issues on and off the pitch.He said: “I don’t know one player who doesn’t make a mistake, especially a defender and especially how we play at Liverpool. We play really high, offensive football and sometimes you are one against one against top strikers and top strikers need just one chance from 10 and if they score then they will blame you or someone else.“I had many times when I made these wrong decisions, sometimes I can accept it and sometimes not because football is like that, but in the end it depends on yourself and whether you are ready to move on or not. I think I responded quite well even with some different things around my life – burglars and things like that – so it wasn’t easy for me, especially in October. It depends on the person.”Liverpool visit their fierce rivals Manchester United on Saturday in the lunchtime kick-off with an opportunity to retake second place in the Premier League at the expense of José Mourinho’s team, who are two points above them in the table. Lovren expects a United side who have learned to “win ugly” under Mourinho to adopt the negative tactics that secured a goalless draw at Anfield in October.Lovren said: “Maybe they are not in the best shape but still they win ugly. What matters is the points. It will be a tough challenge definitely.“Last time, when they came here, they defended really deep so let’s see what happens now. I think they will do that again. They need the points. For them maybe a point is good but we never play for a point. We will play like we play every day, attacking football. Let’s enjoy.” Read more Share on Pinterest Share on Twitter Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend Liverpool Reuse this content Dejan Lovren has said an attempted break-in at his Liverpool home had a “horrific” impact on his family and affected his performances earlier in the season.The Liverpool defender was targeted by thieves twice last year – while on holiday in Zagreb in June, when cash and jewellery were stolen from his apartment, and while attending the Champions League game against Maribor at Anfield on 1 November when three men attempted to smash their way into the family home. A glass door at the property was shattered before the men were disturbed and fled. Lovren’s wife and children were inside.The Croatia international endured a difficult start to the season and although his low point on the pitch – the 4-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur – occurred 10 days before the attempted burglary he says the incident had a profound effect. Lovren has struck up a good rapport with Virgil van Dijk since the £75m signing’s arrival in January and believes the support of everyone at Liverpool helped his recovery. Share via Email Share on Facebook Topics Share on Messenger Share on WhatsApp news Share on LinkedInlast_img read more

How a deluge of money nearly broke the Premier League

first_imgShare via Email Share on Twitter How a deluge of money nearly broke the Premier League – podcast Facebook Since you’re here… Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Pinterest Ferran Soriano, CEO of Manchester City FC. Photograph: Satish Kumar/Reuters Pinterest Sports rights … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Twitter Twitter Finances Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore. Photograph: Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images Blending into a row of elegant Georgian buildings with white fronts and black railings, the exterior of the Premier League offices at 30 Gloucester Place is marked only by a small silver plaque. Where it publishes its address, the Premier League points out that access is “by appointment only”. The few people who ever stop to take pictures are the tabloid photographers working the pavement whenever the Premier League managers gather for their league-wide meetings – think photos of middle-aged men in ill-fitting suits emerging from black cabs.When the league moved into the space in 2005, domestic TV rights had just cleared the billion-pound mark for the second successive cycle. Ratings were through the roof. Yet for the most popular league on the planet, the offices have none of the ostentation or scale of, for instance, the NFL’s, perched high above the corner of 51st Street and Park Avenue in New York, or the NBA’s, which are in a skyscraper two avenues over. In part, that’s because the Premier League has roughly 10 times fewer employees than the NFL or NBA, with a head count hovering around 110.Visitors to the home of the world’s most popular league are led downstairs to a small waiting area where the sofas are pointed at the Premier League trophy and a tea station. The atmosphere is one of quiet, businesslike efficiency. Until his resignation this winter, the chief executive, Richard Scudamore, kept a spartan office here, as do the aides who make sure that contracts are up to date, partners are kept happy, and the league’s extensive charity operations tick over smoothly. Scudamore, the Premier League’s highest-paid executive, earned a basic salary in the low seven figures – news of the £5m “golden handshake” he received on his way out caused a brief furore in December. But compare that to the $34m that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell earned in 2016, or the roughly $20m the NBA is believed to pay commissioner Adam Silver, and you wonder why the Premier League – for all of the cash flooding into its clubs – makes its brass look so unassuming.The reason is that the Premier League is a much smaller sporting government than any of its US counterparts. It is first and foremost a media-rights-selling organisation that happens to provide 20 clubs with a platform, referees and a ball. The organisation has six league-wide sponsors – no more – in obvious categories such as official timekeeper and official snack, and a ball contract with Nike that has quietly hummed along since 2000. The NFL, by contrast, had 32 league-wide sponsors in 2015, including an official soup.The most profitable sporting organisation to come out of England isn’t in the business of peddling merchandise either. It won’t sell you a baseball cap or scarf – it leaves that entirely to the clubs. The Premier League’s website does not even have an shop. That’s why the whole operation can be happily contained in a single office that almost nobody knows is there. But ever since 2005, that humble residence at Gloucester Place has served as mission control for the Premier League’s quest for global domination.By the time Scudamore was introduced chief executive in 1999, he could tell the Premier League was already on its way to becoming a domestic juggernaut. Sky had renegotiated its contract for UK TV rights a couple of years earlier, agreeing to pay £670m over four years, more than doubling the value of its previous deal. When Scudamore looked at the international revenues, though, he saw a world of untapped potential. The league’s overseas broadcast rights had sold for just £98m in 1997, a figure Scudamore regarded not merely as disappointing but borderline disrespectful. In his mind, the Premier League was the most exciting football competition on the planet. It was time it got paid like it.His first order of business was overhauling the way the league sold itself abroad. Until then, it had auctioned off its overseas rights package en bloc for a fixed fee, with the winning bidder then free to unpackage those rights and resell them in different countries and territories as they saw fit. He wanted to cut out the middleman and negotiate with broadcasters himself. Scudamore was a man who liked to be in the room. He immediately told the club owners that they stood a better chance of finally raking in what they were worth by breaking up the overseas rights into separate territorial packages and dealing face-to-face with the TV companies. Convinced by his commercial background, the owners signed off on Scudamore’s proposal to become their ambassador to the world.The scheme paid off immediately. In 2004, the league’s international rights sold for £325m, an increase of 83% over the £178m it charged in the previous cycle. In 2007, the total jumped to £625m, while in 2010 the Premier League’s overseas rights fees fetched £1.4bn, eclipsing the billion-pound mark for the first time. In just nine years, Scudamore had driven a staggering 687% increase in overseas broadcast revenue. Read more Share on Messenger The way the big six saw it, some clubs deserved a larger share – specifically, them. After all, they were the ones responsible for the league’s explosive global popularity, weren’t they? They were the ones criss-crossing the planet every summer to raise the profile of English football, the ones who boasted of absurd global followings in the hundreds of millions, driving international viewership from Trondheim to Tierra del Fuego. It was only right that they should be compensated accordingly. Nobody in the US or Asia was wrenching themselves out of bed early or staying up late to watch bloody Bournemouth. Unfortunately for the big six, Bournemouth disagreed. So did the likes of Huddersfield, Brighton, Watford and the rest of the league’s smaller clubs. Which is why the executives around the table were slurping their pasta slightly more sombrely than the chef intended.John Henry, seated to the right of Joel Glazer, had come down from Boston to talk things through. Woodward and Gazidis, sitting opposite them, had been called to New York to add their input. But the group around the table knew that any hope of finding the 14 votes they would need to rip up the existing revenue-sharing agreement and draft a new one was all but doomed.The Premier League clubs were due to meet seven days later to discuss the matter, with a proposal on the table to ringfence 35% of future international broadcast money and divide it between clubs according to their final position in the league. But the ugly conclusion to the last meeting on the subject a few weeks earlier was a stark indication of how entrenched the divisions were. Richard Scudamore had worked around the clock to secure the necessary 14 votes on behalf of the big six. But outside of their little clique, only Leicester, Everton and West Ham seemed inclined to endorse the new formula. Newcastle were on the fence, but by no means a sure thing.Beyond that, the smaller clubs were united in opposition – and their resistance appeared to be a little stiffer than what the big six were used to steamrolling every Saturday afternoon. Within minutes of the topic being broached at the meeting earlier that month, it became obvious to the big six that they didn’t have a path to the 14-vote threshold. At least half of the league’s 20 clubs were not going to budge. The consensus was so strong that Scudamore didn’t even bother asking the clubs to go through the motions of a vote. There was no point. Instead, they had agreed to revisit the issue and try again three weeks later.But now, with seven days to go, the diners at Locanda Verde had to admit there had been no meaningful change. After years of attending Premier League meetings, Woodward and Gazidis had everyone’s voting tendencies memorised as if they were political pollsters. But when Woodward and Gazidis tallied up the two camps, even if every swing vote broke their way, they couldn’t make it work. The league was still gridlocked.Which left Henry, the Glazers and the rest of the big six owners backed into a corner. The Premier League’s revenue-sharing model, the two-thirds majority required for rule changes – these had been core tenets of the league ever since Rick Parry wrote them down on a sheet of Ernst & Young notepaper 25 years before. They were the same tenets that had allowed English football to reach its position as the world’s pre-eminent league. But now, in downtown Manhattan, those pillars began to look as if they would have to come down. If the league’s top clubs couldn’t secure a more reasonable revenue split through peaceful means, what option did they have left? Nobody at the table uttered the words “European Super League”, but then, they didn’t need to.‘They threaten it all the time: ‘We’re going to break away,’” said one Premier League owner. “Sometimes they vaguely hint at it, sometimes they outwardly threaten it. But every time they want more money, it’s ‘Well, we’ll just go and play the big European teams.’” The spectre of a breakaway by the big six had been invoked so often during the previous decade that the Premier League now operated in a constant state of high alert, leaving even the most sober observers on edge. Which is how the Times ended up publishing a juicy front-page exclusive in March 2013 outlining secret plans for a Qatar-based “Dream Football League”, a new tournament to be played every two years and featuring 24 of Europe’s elite clubs, including Manchester United and a handful of other top Premier League teams. The DFL had the potential to “change the face of world football”, the Times story noted. Doubtless that would have been true but for one minor detail: the whole thing was a hoax dreamed up by a blogger on a satirical French website.The episode was embarrassing for Britain’s paper of record, but it got one thing right: the desire from forces inside the game to blow up the existing structures and reorganise around the most powerful clubs. In 2018, Fifa president Gianni Infantino was motivated to cook up a proposal for an expanded Club World Cup by an international consortium dangling more than $20bn. At the same time, Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli was trying to convince his fellow superclubs to back a larger Champions League that would play on the weekends and shunt domestic league play into midweek.The big six were not shy about expressing their interest. So Scudamore responded the only way he could. Two weeks after the end of the season, he gathered the clubs again at the league’s annual general meeting in Yorkshire. Scudamore had begun to think of the year-long international rights debate as a boil that needed lancing. This time, nothing was off the table.The solution they agreed on distributed roughly one-third of all future international rights fees according to each club’s finishing position, meaning that the big six were almost certainly guaranteed a raise. To assuage the other 14 teams, they agreed that the ratio between the highest earner and the lowest earner’s payments would never exceed 1.8 to 1, a minor increase on the previous ratio of 1.6 to 1. The smaller clubs could tell themselves that the Premier League was still far more equitable than La Liga or Serie A. But as far as thebig six were concerned, they were finally on their way to righting a great injustice. In the interests of peace, the 20 clubs voted for it 18-2, and left Harrogate feeling relieved. But few gave much thought to the precedent they had just set. For the first time in 26 years, they had ratified a change to the Founder Members Agreement, the document that had governed the Premier League since its creation and provided the framework for its remarkable growth. It was as if they had taken a chisel to the Ten Commandments.Scudamore didn’t think the league would need to revisit the issue any time soon, but he wasn’t about to stick around to find out. Within hours of the Premier League’s announcement about the new revenue-sharing model, it followed up with a notice that Scudamore would step down by the end of the year. The long read Topics Share on LinkedIn Listen That much had been made clear to Soriano during the previous summer’s transfer window. It wasn’t that City lacked the funds to compete at the top end of the transfer market, of course. No team in world football spent more in 2017 than the £221.5m of Sheikh Mansour’s fortune that Soriano plunked down on five new recruits for Pep Guardiola’s squad. They weren’t the only big spenders in the Premier League either. In sum, English clubs splurged more than £1.4bn in transfer fees. That was all well and good. The issue for Soriano was that the summer’s headline moves for the best players and the biggest fees had not involved Manchester City. Nor had they involved Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool or any other English club for that matter. The juiciest transfer of the summer belonged to a different superpower in a different league controlled by a different Gulf state. Paris Saint-Germain, backed by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, blew a world-record €222m on the fleet- footed, flamboyantly coiffed Brazilian Neymar from Barcelona.If that wasn’t bad enough, just a few weeks later, the French teenager widely tipped to be the game’s next global superstar, an 18-year-old forward named Kylian Mbappé, had moved from Monaco for the second-highest transfer fee on record. He had signed for PSG, too.For Soriano, this was a galling development. It was one thing if English clubs had to defer to Real Madrid or Barcelona when it came to signing the game’s most prized players. The two Spanish superclubs had their domestic championships on lockdown, as did Bayern Munich. Players who signed there knew they could spend most of the season beating up on the weaklings that made up the rest of the league, allowing them to conserve energy for the occasional big game, the later rounds of the Champions League, and the serious business of lifting a big trophy above their heads.By contrast, English football was a grind. So Soriano couldn’t blame the likes of Messi and Ronaldo if they chose to spend their careers somewhere more comfortable. But there are only so many world-class players to go around. If Paris Saint-Germain were getting in on the act now, too, that was a problem. And in football, there’s only one surefire way to solve a problem. Soriano knew that if he threw enough money at them, the world’s best players could be persuaded to move to Manchester. Premier League clubs were making more than enough cash for him to do so; he just needed to ensure a greater share of it flowed into Manchester City’s coffers at the expense of clubs at the wrong end of the table. It made perfect sense to him. If English football wanted to attract the world’s best players, then who could argue?When Manchester City reached the midpoint of the 2017/18 campaign with an insurmountable lead at the top of the table, it seemed that the rest of the season might turn into one long victory lap. But if that suggested a Premier League season devoid of suspense, the reality was far different. There was still intrigue, tension and drama out there. You just had to know where to look. For example, in the dining rooms of hip Manhattan restaurants. On a warm night in the middle of October 2017, an incongruous group of diners sat down to eat among the dark wood tables and black leather banquettes at Locanda Verde, a high-end Italian eatery in Tribeca.The group of old white guys with not much hair between them didn’t turn many heads amid the usual gaggle of well-tanned, well-Botoxed VIPs. But if anyone with a keen knowledge of English football executives had passed their table on the way to the toilet, they would have recognised that this party represented the most unlikely gathering of enemies since the heads of New York’s mafia families held their regular meetings in red-sauce joints to keep the peace. Around the table that night were Joel and Avram Glazer, the owners of Manchester Utd, along with the club’s chief executive, Ed Woodward; Liverpool’s principal owner John W Henry; and Ivan Gazidis, then the chief executive of Arsenal.That these clubs had ended up brushing off more than a century of mutual loathing to sit down to dinner together was due to an emerging crisis that concerned all of them. Over the previous 12 months, the Premier League’s “big six” had jointly reached the conclusion that the exorbitant sums the league were now raking in from the sale of overseas TV rights – currently worth £3.3bn – should no longer be distributed equally among the league’s 20 teams as they had been since the Premier League was first founded 25 years earlier. Support The Guardian Pinterest Share on Pinterest Facebook The Premier League offices in London’s West End are located mostly underground. This fact alone does not make them exceptional in the world of football administration – Fifa’s lair in Zurich features five subterranean levels, including a sinister conference room ripped straight out of Dr Strangelove. But the Premier League isn’t going for the futuristic bunker vibe. Nothing about it exudes Bond-villain hideout or military robotics lab. What makes the place remarkable is its modesty. Premier League HQ feels more like the offices of a mid-sized legal practice. Business (Football) Facebook Share on Facebook Twitter Manchester City’s plan for global domination features Figures like those would have been inconceivable to the men who founded the Premier League in 1992. They had so underestimated the global appetite that, in the early years of their enterprise, they were the ones paying foreign broadcasters to carry their games, not the other way around. The clamour for rights packages from every corner of the planet now convinced them otherwise.As Scudamore gradually shaped his role into that of a globetrotting executive, making visits to key markets including India, Thailand, Singapore and the Middle East during each new season, he realised that the Premier League product was equipped with a host of built-in advantages. These factors, so obvious in retrospect, meant that fans around the world were predisposed to the Premier League even before they realised it. Best of all, those advantages were a total coincidence. The league had nothing to do with their existence.The first – and most forehead-slappingly simple – is that this whole show takes place in English. While Italy’s Serie A and Germany’s Bundesliga must first help viewers make sense of names like Sampdoria and Borussia Mönchengladbach, one-quarter of the world’s population can tune in to a Premier League and immediately understand what’s happening – even if it means occasionally wading into the absurdly tedious “soccer v football” debate. (For the record, soccer, like football, is an originally British term short for “association football”.) Beyond the language, the league also benefits from its location. As countless London firms have discovered, the fact that the British business day overlaps with both Asian and American daytime hours gave the league a leg up on rival sports organisations, including the NFL and the NBA.A Premier League match that kicks off in the early afternoon can be consumed both as primetime Saturday-night entertainment in Singapore and over a bowl of Cheerios on a Saturday morning in Brooklyn. On top of all of this, it was obvious to Scudamore that overseas viewers had a sort of natural Anglophilia – and were gravitating to the heritage and culture of English football, its authenticity. In short, they craved the Britishness of it all. “Being British is the essence of what we are,” Scudamore told the Times in 2013. “It’s a bit like being the Queen or the BBC.”By the end of his first decade as chief executive, Scudamore had parlayed that headstart into tenfold increase in the value of the league’s international TV rights. Now he had to add some creativity of his own. To keep global rights fees rising, it was no longer enough simply to cut out the middleman and deal with international broadcasters directly. He needed to sell them on the idea that the Premier League rights they had just paid through the nose for were indispensable to their business model. And to do that, Scudamore developed two clear strategies.The first relied on Scudamore’s own talents as a salesman – or, to be more specific, what one Premier League owner described as his talent for “creating tension” at the negotiating table, never letting buyers get too comfortable. If that gives the impression of Scudamore as a sales shark sniffing out weaknesses and exploiting them to push his product, the reality could not be more different. In fact, Scudamore created the most fiendish auction process in world sports by running the league’s sales department with the sort of folksy, homespun charm of a village post office.He purposely kept his sales team to roughly a half-dozen employees so that broadcasters felt a personal connection when they rang Gloucester Place. And the mantra they lived by was less “always be closing” and more “always be courteous”. Scudamore’s unshakeable sense of decorum taught him that politeness was the key to preserving customer relationships. At the end of every season, he personally emailed thank-you notes to the league’s 80 international broadcasters and sent special goodbye messages to those whose contracts with the league had expired. Scudamore also began to accompany the prime minister on trade missions, taking the Premier League trophy with him. “Everyone who sees the trophy will say, ‘Wow’, he explained. “Heads of state, prime ministers – they all want a photo with the trophy. It’s what we like to call soft power.”For two decades, Richard Scudamore’s professional life had been more or less smooth sailing. He promised the 20 owners of the Premier League that he would sell their game around the world, and for 20 years, that’s what he did. But after all of that peaceful coexistence between the clubs, during which English football’s biggest institutions had made money hand over fist, built towering new stadiums, attracted huge global fan bases and transformed themselves into billion-dollar businesses, the Premier League gravy train came to an unexpected standstill in 2018, just as Britain’s trains are wont to do.For the first time in a quarter of a century, it became apparent that England’s top flight – once a model of collective harmony and mutual benefit – was racked by division of its own; the Premier League had split into a morass of feuding factions that were each blaming somebody else for threatening to blow the whole thing up. The big six clubs wanted a larger slice of the pie. The other 14 felt left behind. And the original, 1992 formula for redistributing income – the very thing that underpinned the league’s wild growth – was being challenged.The simmering tensions were mostly kept behind closed doors, in club boardrooms, in executive boxes and in the conference rooms of swanky hotels. Outwardly, it appeared that the Premier League was a picture of strength. The league was resurgent on the European stage, qualifying a record five clubs for the Champions League’s last 16, while negotiations over the latest sale of domestic TV rights meant the clubs were in line for another windfall.But amid this outbreak of unseen hostility, there was one surprise. It turned out that the biggest agitator was the one club that seemingly had the least to worry about. Not content with laying waste to English football on the pitch, Manchester City and its Catalan-Emirati leadership were pushing to overturn the league’s way of doing business.In official league meetings and private discussions with other clubs, City railed against the league’s revenue-sharing model and repeatedly challenged the age-old Founder Members Agreement – a document handwritten in 1991 by Rick Parry, the first Premiership chief executive, that held the status of Premier League scripture. The reality is that when it was written up, no one paid much attention to the overseas income. In fact, the league was losing money on international broadcasts back then as it was paying foreign networks to carry its games. “Nobody envisaged that it would be as big as it is, so sharing those rights equally was a concession they thought wouldn’t matter,” Parry said.The way Manchester City saw it, the Founder Members Agreement was more like a relic that belonged in a glass case with acid-wash jeans, the Sega Mega Drive and other treasured artifacts of the 1990s. The league’s antique formula and its quaint, old-fashioned ideas about competitive balance had allowed the Premier League to become the richest purveyor of the world’s favourite sport. But for a club like Manchester City – whose modern history dated back to only 2008, when it was bought by the Emirati billionaire Sheikh Mansour – that was all in the distant past.In truth, no one should have been shocked to learn that City gave little thought to the overall strength of the league. The club’s chief executive, Ferran Soriano, had telegraphed exactly those sentiments a decade earlier in his book about running Barcelona. Midway through a meditation on the differences between professional sport in the US and football in Europe, Soriano laid out his thoughts about the concept of competitive balance.“A well-known American sports manager once said to me, ‘I don’t understand why you don’t see that what you should be doing is boosting teams like Sevilla FC and Villarreal FC to make the Spanish league more exciting and maximise income,’” Soriano wrote. “While I was listening to him, I found it very difficult to think about maximising [the overall league’s] income … because all I wanted and cared for was for FC Barcelona to win all the matches and always win.”If anything, Soriano’s conviction was even stronger now. The Premier League’s top clubs – like his – needed a greater share of the wealth if they were ever to hope of luring the world’s best players back to England. Share on WhatsApp His battle to quell the big six was behind him. His UK television rights were sold – he had even brought Amazon into the fold by selling them the live streaming rights to a small package of games. And his international television rights were heading for another jackpot haul. It was time to punch out before the whole edifice started to wobble. “The stronger the Premier League is, the more successful the Premier League is, the more international rights go and generate, the more the TV deals go up, the less incentive there is for any of our clubs to go ‘Well, I’m going to leave the Premier League’,” Scudamore said. “The biggest antidote to chaos is a strong Premier League, for our clubs in England. And that’s the bottom line of it.”But he knew all too well that those outside forces would keep chipping away at the Premier League’s raison d’être, that those 20 businesses had less and less in common with one another, and that they might soon wonder why they were in business together at all. Whether those outside forces were investors from the Gulf trying to reshape the game, or even Fifa and Uefa redesigning the formats of club football hardly mattered. It was now clear that the most serious existential threat to the Premier League, itself formed by a breakaway in 1992, was, improbably, another breakaway.This is an edited extract from The Club: How the Premier League Became the Richest, Most Disruptive Business in Sport, by Jonathan Clegg & Joshua Robinson, published by Hodder & Stoughton and available at• Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, or sign up to the long read weekly email here. Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Mo Salah says photo of Kyiv pain inspired him to score against Spurs

first_imgMohamed Salah believes he was fated to score in Liverpool’s sixth European Cup triumph, having used a picture of last season’s misery in Kyiv to inspire his redemption in the Champions League final.Moments before leaving the changing room to face Tottenham, the striker looked at a photograph of his despair from 12 months ago when forced out of the final against Real Madrid after 30 minutes by Sergio Ramos. Within two minutes of the kick-off in Madrid, Salah had converted his 29th goal of the season from the penalty spot to send Liverpool on their way to the first trophy of Jürgen Klopp’s reign. Jürgen Klopp fulfils Liverpool promise to shed nearly-man tag in Madrid The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. The striker claimed he and Liverpool were destined to emerge victorious at Estadio Metropolitano. “I looked at the picture from last year before the game,” Salah said. “We were disappointed after the final and now we are back and have won it again, the sixth time for Liverpool. It is something great.“I was very disappointed that I got injured and went out after 30 minutes and we lost the game. It was something to motivate me to win. I didn’t look at the picture for a long time. You can feel what you can beat, so I just looked at it one time and said, ‘OK, let’s go.’”Asked whether he believed in fate and that he would star against Spurs, Liverpool’s leading goalscorer replied: “I do. Absolutely. Our job is more mental and you have to believe in yourself before the game. You could see the players; we were believing in ourselves in the game. I think everything happens for a reason and the reason for us to lose the final last season was to come back and win it again.” Read more news Mohamed Salah Liverpool ended cup-final losing streaks for both club and Klopp, and Salah is confident the win will mark the start of a sustained period of success at Anfield.“It is something special. The first trophy and it’s the Champions League! It’s the start. It’s the first competition. We will go next season for the Premier League. This season was the first season we were really fighting for the Premier League; last season we were basically fighting for the Champions League. The year before the Europa League. We lost the Premier League with one point against Man City, which was well deserved.“I don’t want to take anything away from Tottenham. They were great, a good team and deserved to be in the final. They had an unbelievable competition. What I can say to them is: ‘Sorry, and good luck in the future.’“The average age of the team is 26/27 so we still have young players. It is good experience for us to win the trophy now and also last season we learned a lot. As you could see, we were more calm, scored a second goal after 87 minutes and we were patient in the game. We did everything to win the game and we deserved it.” Share on Messenger View gallery Salah had no nerves when he stepped up to convert the early penalty beyond Hugo Lloris. “I prepared myself before the game,” he said. “I scored a penalty to send Egypt to the World Cup after 28 years in the last minute, so this one was easier. It’s great. The final of the Champions League, take a penalty, show the courage and to win the trophy.” Liverpool Share on WhatsApp Champions League Tottenham Hotspur Share on Twitter Reuse this content Champions League final 2019: Tottenham 0-2 Liverpool – in pictures Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Share via Email Topics Share on Facebooklast_img read more

Tracey Neville to leave England role after Netball World Cup to start family

first_imgThe England netball coach Tracey Neville will step down after the Netball World Cup in July after four years with the squad.Under her leadership the side won the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal success at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.She is not set to join another team but has said she will take time away from the game to have a family. Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. Share on Pinterest Netball World Cup 2019 Read more … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Topics Reuse this content Support The Guardian Share on LinkedIn “We hope Tracey will be able to sign off with some more wonderful memories in July and having made today’s announcement, hope she is given the space to continue her work with the squad which is her sole focus for now”The Netball World Cup will take place from 12-21 July with England facing Ugnda in their first match. How Australia match up to the main pretenders to their Netball World Cup crown news Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Tracey said: “Being the head coach is something I have relished and I am extremely proud to have had the opportunity to do. Over the last few months I have sat down with England Netball to look at how I could fulfil my role whilst taking into consideration my personal circumstances. My ambition to have a family is something I want to commit to after the Netball World Cup.“The Roses’ future is paramount in my thoughts and plans and I will passionately and wholeheartedly continue to support them and England Netball. I will hopefully get an opportunity to lead again in the future. To the staff/players, past and present you have challenged me in every way possible and I am eternally grateful for your commitment and support within the program and on our journey together.”Jo Adams, the England Netball CEO, added: “I would like to thank Tracey on behalf of the whole netball family for the phenomenal work she has put in to creating a culture where athletes thrive and ultimately deliver magical and historical moments.“We totally support Tracey’s decision with regards to her personal circumstances and we will continue to do so but for now our focus is entirely on giving her and the Roses squad every possible support as they strive to win a home World Cup. Share on Messenger Since you’re here… Share on WhatsApp Netball Share via Emaillast_img read more

Puel: Mahrez looking better than ever

first_imgTransfers Mahrez looking better than ever, says Puel Alex Fisher 01:26 2/15/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) riyadmahrez - cropped Getty Images Transfers Leicester City Riyad Mahrez Leicester City v Sheffield United Premier League FA Cup The Leicester City boss says the club have welcomed the Algerian back into their squad and he looks better than ever Riyad Mahrez has found a new level since ending his Leicester City exile, according to manager Claude Puel.Mahrez was heavily linked with a deadline-day switch to Manchester City after an impressive start to the 2017-18 campaign, scoring eight and creating seven in the Premier League.The reported £60 million deal was rebuffed by the Foxes, a decision that saw Mahrez miss a number of training sessions and two league matches. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player He eventually returned to the squad for Leicester’s trip to Manchester City on Saturday, a game Puel’s men lost 5-1, with Mahrez coming off the bench after 62 minutes.He could make his first start since January 20 in the FA Cup against Sheffield United this weekend, with Puel saying the 26-year-old looks better than ever.”Yeah, I think better,” the Frenchman said when asked if Mahrez was back to his normal level.”He enjoys playing and training with his team-mates. He is at a good level and without problems.”I think it is important now to put an end to the talking about Riyad. He has come back, he came in against Manchester City. Now we need to move on and for him, he has to kick on.CP: “It is a crucial game for us, and I will pick a team to win the game. We want to go as far as we can. It will be a strong team, like the last games.” #LeiShu — Leicester City (@LCFC) February 14, 2018 “The most important thing now is the future.”And Puel is confident Mahrez will not face a backlash from Leicester’s fans despite openly wanting to leave the King Power Stadium in January.”I think it was good reception when he came on against Man City,” Puel added. “I think the fans understand the difficulties to manage this period.”We have stayed united. It is important now, together, to look forward.”last_img read more

SportingPulse Improvements and Updates

first_imgRelated Filesimprovements_and_updates-docx-pdf For more information, please click on the attachment below. One of the changes involves moving to horizontal top-menu navigation only, so that the area for all page layouts – including fixtures, results and stats – can be maximised. This will impact you if you currently use left and/or right menus, because they will soon disappear. last_img

It Must Be Touch Football Season!

first_imgIt will be a massive couple of days of Touch Football this weekend, with thousands of players taking part in several events across the country. From the Victorian Touch (VT) League, Western Australia’s Super League, New South Wales Touch Association’s Vawdon Cup semi finals, Cobras Cup qualifying finals in Brisbane, Australian camps and the Hunter Western Hornets Regionals, it will be an exciting weekend of Touch Football. On top of this, next week sees the 2012 School Sport Australia National Championships as well as the 2012 Defence Nationals, both in Brisbane, while next weekend will see the Vawdon Cup finals take place. Keep reading to make sure you are up-to-date with all of the latest happening in our sport!VT LeagueThe VT League is heading into its fifth season in 2012/13 and the competition is set to be fierce again with Victoria’s toughest competition kicking off this Friday, 26 October.  The 12 round competition will be held at the Albert Park complex in South Melbourne and will run through until Friday, 15 February, with finals fixtures to be decided after that. Last season saw the inclusion of the Mixed division, which has seen some of the state’s younger participants playing in the same teams as some of the more experienced players. The VT League competition now boasts 18 sides competing across the three divisions – Men’s, Women’s and Mixed. The Eastern Falcons, Melbourne University Northern Blacks, Bayside Vipers, Casey Tigers, Melbourne City Lions and the Western Dodgers are the six clubs battling it out to be crowned the best club in Melbourne. To keep up-to-date with all of the latest news, results and information from the 2012 VT League season, please visit the event website – WA Super LeagueTouch Football Western Australia’s 2012 Super League Series will commence this Friday, 26 October at the South Oval of Curtin University in Bentley. Round one of the 10 week competition will kick off at 6.20pm this Friday and the competition will run until November 30, with finals to be held in the weeks following. The Men’s Open will see a six team fixture with the Southern Stars, Tompkins Park Sharks, Wanneroo Lions, Fremantle Rebels, Perth Brothers and Northern Spirit competing. There will be four teams fighting it out in the Women’s Open division in 2012 – the Southern Stars, Wanneroo Lions, Perth Brothers and Fremantle Rebels. In its second year, the Mixed Open division will see five teams competing – Tompkins Park Sharks, Southern Stars, Edith Cowan University, Perth Brothers and Fremantle Rebels. With the Southern Stars taking out the Men’s and Women’s divisions last year by a touchdown in both finals, every team will be out fighting hard to take the double crown off the Stars. For all the news and results from the 2012 Super League Series, please visit the event website –   And it doesn’t stop there, with the Australian Open squads in camp this weekend in Sydney in the lead up to the 2013 Super Trans Tasman Series in Auckland. Read more about the camp here –[tt_news]=3558&cHash=35ab026a3e. The 2012 Defence Nationals and School Sport Australia National Championships will also be played next week. Stay tuned to for more information. Related LinksBig Weekend of Touch 2012 Vawdon CupIt is semi finals time in the 2012 New South Wales Touch Association Vawdon Cup, with this Friday’s winning teams heading into next Saturday’s grand finals. For two divisions however, their grand finals have already been decided, with the Masters and Seniors finals played last Friday. The Balmain Tigers proved too strong for the Penrith Panthers in the Men’s Masters division, winning 9-0 while the Wests Magpies were 6-5 winners over the Canterbury Bulldogs in the Men’s Seniors division. There will be semi finals in the rest of the divisions on Friday night, with the grand finals to be played on Saturday, 3 November at Tempe. Semi finalsMen’s OpenPenrith Panthers v Wollongong DevilsParramatta Eels v Easts RoostersWomen’s OpenWollongong Devils v Canterbury BulldogsEasts Roosters v Manly Sea EaglesMixed Open Easts Roosters v Campbelltown GhostsTaren Point v Wests MagpiesMen’s Division OneHornsby Lions v Canterbury BulldogsParramatta Eels v Wollongong DevilsMen’s Division TwoEasts Roosters v Campbelltown GhostsWests Magpies v BlacktownWomen’s Division OneCentral Coast Dolphins v Easts RoostersNorthern Suburbs v Manly Sea EaglesWomen’s Division TwoHills Hornets v Canterbury BulldogsLower Blue Mountains Rangers v Liverpool LightningMen’s Division ThreePenrith Panthers v UNSW BulletsRyde Eastwood Hawks v Bankstown JetsSenior Grand FinalsMastersBalmain Tigers 9 defeated Penrith Panthers 0SeniorsWests Magpies 6 defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 52012 Cobras CupIt is also finals time in the 2012 Cobras Cup in Brisbane, with qualifying finals to start this Friday night for the majority of the divisions. The Women’s Division Three still has one round remaining, which will be played on Friday night, before their finals commence the following week. Grand finals will be played on Saturday, 17 November. Qualifying finalsMen’s OpenFirst Contact v Country Club ColtsUni-Rebels v EaglesCrushers Redlands v Coastal SunsDodgers L & T v Southern StormWomen’s Open Southern Storm v Dodgers L & TBrisbane Eastern Suburbs v First ContactUni-Rebels v Country Club ColtsEagles v CrushersMen’s Division TwoCrushers Redlands v EaglesSouthern Storm v Country ClubUni-Rebels v First ContactDodgers L & T v Coastal SunsWomen’s Division TwoEagles v Country Club ColtsUni-Rebels v First ContactCrushers Redlands v Southern StormDodgers L & T v Coastal SunsMen’s Division Three Southern Storm v Country ClubEagles v CrushersUni-Rebels 3 v Southern StormUni-Rebels 1 v Brisbane Eastern SuburbsTo keep up-to-date with all of the latest news and information from the 2012 Cobras Cup finals series, please click on the following link – 2012 Hornets Regional ChampionshipsThe Maitland Touch Fields will host the 2012 Hornets Regional Championships on Saturday, 27 October and Sunday, 28 October. Nine divisions will take part in the event – Women’s 20’s, Men’s 20’s, Women’s Open, Men’s Open, Mixed Open, Women’s 30’s, Women’s 40’s, Men’s 50’s and Senior Mixed. To keep up-to-date with all of the latest news and information throughout the weekend, please visit the Hornets Touch and Maitland Touch Facebook last_img read more