George Floyd death: Liverpool and Chelsea among Premier League clubs to show support for Black Lives Matter movement

Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle players have all taken a knee in a show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, following the death of American George Floyd.

Floyd died on May 25 after a white police officer, who has since been charged with his murder, held him down by pressing a knee into his neck.

A number of Liverpool players, including James Milner, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson, tweeted pictures of the squad on one knee around the centre circle at Anfield on Monday with the message, ‘Unity is strength #BlackLivesMatter’.

Unity is strength. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/sSu2sarAXa

The squads at Chelsea and Newcastle followed suit on Tuesday, after footballers Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho had both called for “justice” over Floyd’s death, which has led to protests across the United States.

“It is something where we want to use our position to express that we are living in a world where we have to try to improve it for the future, to be a better world with more love, without hate,” Cezar Azpilicueta told Chelsea’s official website.

“We have seen recently the result of racism and we see every day that that kind of hate has to be eradicated from society, and we have to play our part.”

Before training at Cobham this morning, the Chelsea players and coaching staff formed the letter H, for humans, and knelt in a show of support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. pic.twitter.com/yI6kAywa93

Manchester United forward Rashford said society is “more divided than ever” in a powerful anti-racism message on Monday.

The 22-year-old wrote on Twitter: “I know you guys haven’t heard from me in a few days. I’ve been trying to process what is going on in the world.

  • FIFA tells FAs to use ‘common sense’ over George Floyd protests

“At a time I’ve been asking people to come together, work together and be united, we appear to me more divided than ever. People are hurting and people need answers.

“Black lives matter. Black culture matters. Black communities matter. We matter.”

#blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/LSEeQ61YRz

It follows England team-mate Sancho revealing a message calling for “justice” after scoring for Borussia Dortmund on Sunday.

Sancho put Dortmund 2-0 up 57 minutes into their Bundesliga match against Paderborn, before removing his jersey to reveal an undershirt with a message reading “justice for George Floyd”.

  • Sancho scores hat-trick in Dortmund rout
  • Bundesliga table | results | fixtures

Sancho, who came through Manchester City’s academy before moving to Germany in 2017, and team-mate Achraf Hakimi were both shown a yellow card for removing their shirts during the tribute.

Solid performance from the team!! Delighted to get my first career hat trick, a bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change. We shouldn't fear speaking out for what's right, we have to come together as one & fight for justice. We are stronger together! ❤️ #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd 🙏🏼

A post shared by Jadon Sancho (@sanchooo10) on

The 20-year-old, who was part of the England squad that was subjected to sickening racist abuse in last year’s Euro 2020 qualifiers in Montenegro and Bulgaria, went on to score a hat-trick in the 6-1 victory.

Those tributes came after another Bundesliga player, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram, went down on one knee after scoring earlier on Sunday in an apparent tribute to Floyd.

Thuram, the son of 1998 World Cup winner Lilian Thuram, briefly accepted the congratulations of his team-mates during the 4-1 win over Union Berlin, before dropping to his knee for five seconds with his head bowed.

Thuram later took to Twitter to say: “Together is how we move forward, together is how we make a change #BLACK–LIVES–MATTERS.”

Together is how we move forward, together is how we make a change 👊🏿 #BLACK_LIVES_MATTERS pic.twitter.com/7OJUWqTLQZ

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger posted a photo of the Frenchman’s celebration with the caption “R E S P E C T!” and “no explanation needed”.

Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster, who like Sancho was part of the England squad that won the 2017 U17 World Cup, highlighted the urgent need for change.

Brewster, who has spoken previously of suffering racist abuse on the field, wrote on Twitter and Instagram: “This is way deeper than just pointing out who’s staying quiet and who’s speaking up.

⁣This is way deeper than just pointing out who’s staying quiet and who’s speaking up. Unfortunately for us black/brown people etc, this is a real life & everyday occurrence in so many different ways. For years & generations we’ve been screaming out for change and to be heard 1/3 pic.twitter.com/Lo3pvJlTQJ

“Unfortunately for us black/brown people etc, this is a real life & everyday occurrence in so many different ways. For years & generations we’ve been screaming out for change and to be heard yet the pain continues…”

  • Hamilton hits out at F1 for ‘silence’ over George Floyd
  • Serena, Osaka, Gauff take stand against racism

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton posted #BlackLivesMatter to his 5.7m Twitter follows, which featured a video of a young black American girl in tears about inherent racism in society.

Tennis player Serena Williams tweeted Nike’s powerful ‘Don’t Do It’ video along with the message: “Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America”.

Kick It Out urges all players to kneel for Floyd

Kick It Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari has urged all players to take a knee for Floyd because “we’re all hurt by racism”.

Source: Read Full Article

Premier League restart: Referees hoping to take charge of friendlies as they ramp up preparations

Premier League referees are hoping to take charge of a series of friendlies over the next fortnight as part of preparations for their return to competitive action.

Professional Game Match Officials Board (PGMOL) members will hold talks this week with the league’s medical experts ahead of the proposed return of Premier League fixtures behind closed doors on June 17.

In particular, the PGMOL is keen to consider what can be learned from the four rounds of games played so far in the Bundesliga.

The lack of matches continues to hamper officials’ preparations for a return to competition, and referees in Germany had similar problems prior to their return last month.

With Premier League clubs isolating their players in sterile ‘bubbles’, the opportunities for referees to get up to speed are limited.

However, talks this week may consider a way for referees to take charge of the behind-closed-doors games Premier League teams are organising.

In a temporary relaxation of rules, players and managers will not be cautioned for using foul language when Premier League action returns, despite concerns that viewers and listeners may hear more swearing.

However, it is expected that the Premier League will remind clubs that players and managers should be mindful of what fans can hear.

Players will also be asked to remain two metres away when talking to match officials, although they understand that, on some occasions, players will come into close contact, such as when they are marking out 10 yards for free-kicks.

All PGMOL officials, who hope social distancing can be encouraged wherever possible, have remained fit and well during lockdown and all are keen to return to match action later this month. They have all had regular video conferencing sessions to help bring them up to speed.

Source: Read Full Article

EFL issues Macclesfield with further misconduct charges after allegedly failing to pay players

Macclesfield has been issued with further misconduct charges for alleged breaches of EFL Regulations and will be referred to an Independent Disciplinary Commission.

The club has been charged with failing to pay a number of players on the applicable payment dates due in March 2020, while also failing to act with utmost good faith in respect of matters with the EFL and for breaching an order, requirement, direction or instruction of the league.

  • MP calls for government to invest in EFL aid
  • League Two table

Macclesfield have responded by saying: “The club are deeply surprised by these charges, as the Arbitration Panel at our last hearing adjudicated the following after close examination of all the relevant evidence: ‘…The Commission should make it clear that it does not consider MTFC’s tardiness (yet again) to pay the players’ renumeration for March on time necessarily requires a further charge. Given its reasoning and conclusions as above, it would require strong persuasion to impose a yet further points deduction for any such breach…’

“Macclesfield Town will understandably be appealing these charges vehemently and will provide a further update in due course.”

The League Two side have already been deducted 11 points this season following previous charges and are currently three points above Stevenage at the bottom of the table.

Therefore a potential further points deduction if Macclesfield are found guilty could result in the possibility of the club facing relegation.

League Two clubs have already voted to end their season early, pending approval from the EFL and the FA, but that was before the EFL then said that relegation across all three divisions of the EFL is “integral” to the integrity of the competition.

It is understood that even if the League Two season is curtailed before the disciplinary commission takes place, any punishment can be retrospectively imposed – and so any points deduction could still apply despite the season having already ended.

The EFL will be making no further comment at this time as this matter is now subject to proceedings.

Source: Read Full Article

Harry Kane delighted with worldwide sales of Leyton Orient shirt he sponsors

Harry Kane admits that he is surprised at how wide the sales of the Leyton Orient shirt he sponsors have spread, but is delighted for the club and the charities involved.

In two weeks, Orient have already outstripped sales for all of last season by 25 percent and have had orders from 31 different countries including Mexico, Russia and New Zealand.

“When the idea first came together, we knew it was unique so we were excited about doing it and excited about the launch,” Kane said.

“I don’t think we really knew how big it would become. All of those sales in all those different countries shows how worldwide football really is.

“It’s a great surprise and hopefully they continue to sell that many shirts because I know the charities will really benefit from the 10 per cent they’re getting as well. They’ll use that money to great effect.”

Tottenham striker Kane, who played for The O’s on loan in 2011, has donated the shirt sponsorship to three causes.

The home shirt displays a thank you message to the frontline heroes for their work during the coronavirus crisis, the away shirt is dedicated to Haven House Children’s Hospice, while the third kit supports the mental health charity Mind.

Source: Read Full Article

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says his team will be at 100 per cent for the Merseyside derby

Jurgen Klopp says having the whole group back together is a “massive, massive lift” as Liverpool prepare to try and wrap up a first league title in 30 years.

The Premier League has been on hold since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic but is set to resume on June 17.

Assuming the restart goes ahead, it appears to be a matter of when rather than if Liverpool win the Premier League for the first time, given Klopp’s men boast a 25-point lead over nearest rivals Manchester City.

  • Transfer Centre LIVE!
  • Supplement: How could fans return to football?

The Reds have stepped up their preparations by resuming contact training in recent days, with Klopp looking to hit the ground running in the first game back, which will be a Merseyside derby against Everton.

Premier League return – key points

Provisional restart date of June 17 agreed, subject to safety requirements

Aston Villa vs Sheff Utd, Man City vs Arsenal scheduled for June 17

All games behind closed doors

New staggered KO times

Full match round to start June 19

All 92 games broadcast live in UK – 64 live on Sky Sports

Venues still to be confirmed

He told the club website: “We don’t have to be match-fit now.

“We try it with increasing intensity, day by day, but we have to be fit on the 19th or 20th, whichever day they will give us against Everton, I think.

“That’s the moment when we want to be at 100 per cent.

“It’s around about three weeks until then, that’s good. We want to use that and we will.

“It’s our pre-season. We don’t expect a long break in between the seasons, so this is a very important period for us.

“We never had nine weeks without football training in our lives – since we played football, pretty much. That’s all different but interesting as well. We enjoy the situation, that’s really all good.

“And it makes all the difference for us, to be honest, to come together and have this hour or two here together.

“You get this contact, feedback as well on the pitch directly, not via a computer or a screen. It’s a massive, massive lift.”

Defender Trent Alexander-Arnold confirmed that all was well in the camp, following the return of contact training.

“So far, so good,” said the England right-back.

“It has been positive to be back with the boys, that was the main thing we’ve all been missing.

“It’s just really positive, everyone is in a good mood and good spirits. We’re just happy to be back.

Source: Read Full Article

Jadon Sancho calls for ‘justice for George Floyd’ during Borussia Dortmund win

England winger Jadon Sancho revealed a message calling for “justice” for the death of American George Floyd, after scoring for Borussia Dortmund on Sunday.

Sancho put Dortmund 2-0 up in their Bundesliga match against Paderborn, before removing his jersey to reveal an undershirt with a message reading “justice for George Floyd”.

Mr Floyd was an unarmed black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes as he told them “I can’t breathe”.

Floyd’s death has sparked mass protests across the US, with governors in several states calling in National Guard troops in an attempt to maintain order.

No explanation needed. pic.twitter.com/5JO1CCJexU

Sancho, who came through Manchester City’s academy before moving to Germany in 2017, was shown a yellow card for removing his shirt during the tribute.

The 20-year-old is a full England international, who has earned 11 caps since making his debut in 2018.

Sancho’s tribute came after another Bundesliga player, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram, went down on one knee after scoring earlier on Sunday in an apparent tribute to Floyd.

Thuram, the son of 1998 World Cup winner Lilian Thuram, briefly accepted the congratulations of his teammates during the 4-1 win over Union Berlin, before dropping to his knee for five seconds with his head bowed.

Source: Read Full Article

Uli Hoeness hopes Leroy Sane can join Bayern Munich from Man City this summer

Uli Hoeness says he hopes Manchester City winger Leroy Sane can be a part of a new era at Bayern Munich next season.

Bayern’s honorary president and deputy chairman has expressed his desire for a deal to be done for Sane this summer, but he “can’t imagine” also signing highly sought-after Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen due to the uncertainty around the “economic future of football”.

  • Transfer Centre LIVE! Pogba, Coutinho, Werner

The Bundesliga leaders wanted to sign Sane last summer but he suffered knee ligament damage during the Community Shield with Liverpool, just four days before the window closed.

Bayern want to pay around £52m to £60m (€60m-€70m), according to Sky in Germany, with Sane’s contract set to expire next June.

Hoeness told Bayern 1: “With Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle and hopefully David Alaba, Thiago and also Leroy Sane, we have a young, viable team.

“I can imagine, if everything goes well, that a new era is just beginning at Bayern Munich.”

Havertz is attracting interest from the Premier League but that will not force Bayern into a move this summer.

The 20-year-old has scored 15 goals in 38 matches so far this season, including five goals from the last four games since the German league restarted.

Havertz’s winner against Freiburg on Friday saw him become the first Bundesliga player to reach 35 goals before turning 21.

Source: Read Full Article

Coronavirus: Emile Heskey calls for extra precautions to be taken with BAME footballers

Former England international Emile Heskey is calling for extra precautions to be taken with BAME players.

While the overwhelming feeling among footballers towards the Premier League’s return on June 17 will be happiness, ex-England, Liverpool and Leicester striker Heskey believes all footballers will still feel nervous about going back to competition.

And given how coronavirus has disproportionately affected those from black and ethnic minority backgrounds, Heskey says these players have even more reason to feel worried.

  • PL optimistic fans will return next season
  • Coronavirus in sport: Latest updates

“Every player will be nervous with what’s going on and people dying,” he said. “I know friends who have had family members pass away so they’ll be worried and extra cautious.

“It should be the norm that if I’m more susceptible to something that you focus a little bit more on me than you and just keep an eye on me.

“I’m guessing the players have had some reassurance from the clubs, the FA, the Premier League and from the government as well that they are doing their utmost to look into it and to really give some insight into why it’s happening and what they can do to help mitigate that.”

He added: “It’s important to remember that they are human beings. They do have families, parents, kids, brothers, sisters and no one wants to see them being pushed into a place where they don’t feel comfortable.”

Earlier this week, Sky News revealed the NHS is using a risk assessment tool and scoring chart for employers to use on their Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

Heskey, who has 62 England caps and whose autobiography ‘Even Heskey Scored’ is in the running for the Daily Telegraph Sports Book for the Year, says he personally would have been happier to isolate with the rest of his team for the remainder of the season.

“I thought that was the remit and it makes sense that you could isolate in a hotel or at some training grounds,” he said.

“You could all isolate in one place and at the end of the season go back to your families knowing you’ve been tested and everything is fine.”

“Tough ask to keep fans away”

There is also the question of where certain matches will be played.

With the Merseyside derby taking place on the first weekend of the restart and Liverpool fans so close to seeing their side win the league for the first time in three decades, Heskey says it will be a headache for authorities wherever they decide to play it.

  • Liverpool could win title at neutral venue
  • Sky to show 64 live PL games – with 25 free-to-air

“It’s going to be a tough ask for any stadium and police and security to keep fans away,” he said.

“I think that’s why they are talking about playing it at a neutral venue. You’ve got fans who will travel to Anfield if it’s played there just to be in the vicinity of the stadium.

“It could be played at Wembley down in London but you’d get Liverpool fans there as well – it’s a tough one to police to be honest with you.”

With all matches happening behind closed doors, he feels sorry for not just Liverpool fans who may feel cheated of their big moment when the Premier League title is won, but fans everywhere and the players.

He said: “It’s why they do it. They go out to entertain to give that love back to fans and they’re not going to be able to do that.”

Agbonlahor: I’ve never felt so ill

Heskey’s former Aston Villa team-mate Gabriel Agbonlahor told Sky Sports News he “never felt so ill” in his entire life after contracting coronavirus.

The Villa academy graduate was struck down with Covid-19 symptoms for 10 days in March, but he has now made a full recovery.

“I caught the virus on March 15, and I’ve never felt so ill in my entire life,” Agbonlahor told Sky Sports.

“The symptoms I had, they were terrible, so if I was a player and I was speaking to the players, I wouldn’t want them to go through what I went through as it was a horrible experience and the virus is very deadly as we’ve seen.

Source: Read Full Article

Jonny Hayes signals Celtic exit with emotional post as teammates pay tribute

Jonny Hayes appears to have confirmed he is leaving Celtic after posting an emotional message on social media, with team-mates past and present sending well-wishes in reply.

Hayes, 32, is coming to the end of his three-year deal at the club which he signed after joining from Aberdeen in 2017.

From the lows of breaking a leg to the highs of winning a treble, the last 3 years have been an enjoyable journey, in which I’ve worked under some terrific staff and shared a dressing room with some unbelievable guys! Football at times brings tough decisions, so I’d like to thank you for all the support received along the way! Stay safe everyone!

A post shared by Jonny Hayes (@jonnyhayes11) on

He made 26 appearances in all competitions for Neil Lennon’s side this season, with his only goal coming in Celtic’s 2-0 win at Rangers in September.

His first season at the club was ended early after suffering a broken leg against Dundee in December 2017.

In a post on his Instagram page, Hayes said: “From the lows of breaking a leg to the highs of winning a treble, the last 3 years have been an enjoyable journey, in which I’ve worked under some terrific staff and shared a dressing room with some unbelievable guys.”

“Football at times brings tough decisions, so I’d like to thank you for all the support received along the way. Stay safe everyone.”

Source: Read Full Article

Preston boss Alex Neil says Championship must resume at same time as Premier League

Preston manager Alex Neil believes the Championship must resume at the same time as the Premier League if the season is to be completed.

On Thursday, the Premier League announced a provisional restart date of June 17, with a full round of games taking place on June 19-21, but the return of Championship football is yet to be decided.

Championship clubs are also hoping to resume their campaign next month amid the coronavirus pandemic, but Neil insists they must start playing by June 20 at the latest.

  • PL optimistic fans will return next season
  • Sky to show 64 live PL games – 25 free-to-air
  • EFL to consider season-ending plans on June 8

“I think we’re probably going to have to start by June 20 to fit it in,” the Preston boss told Sky Sports News.

“We’ve got nine league games remaining. I’m not quite sure what the play-offs scenario is going to be, but I think to fit the games in we would need to start on the same weekend as the Premier League.

“I think the Premier League deciding on a date is a massive step forward. What we’ve been searching for as managers is there being a date because if you get a start date you can work yourself back to get your players ready within that period.

“It’s easy to get frustrated because you want to know when your first game is, you want to get your training schedule sorted and the simple fact is those answers can’t be provided.

“I think that’s a little bit frustrating but I don’t think it’s anybody’s fault. I don’t think it’s through a lack of effort or through a lack of organisation.”

‘We want to play all 46 matches’

In case the season has to be ended prematurely, the EFL board “unanimously” agreed upon a framework on Wednesday, but now needs clubs to approve it.

The new framework was laid out on May 21 and included promotion, relegation and play-offs remaining. Clubs will decide whether to change any of these regulations during a meeting on June 8.

Teams in League Two have already indicated they wish to end the season, but League One sides remain undecided.

Neil wants to finish the Championship season by playing the remaining games, even though a potential decision to end the campaign on a points-per-game basis would secure Preston a play-off spot.

“We’ve very much looking at the fairness and the integrity of the league so we want to play the 46 games,” he said.

“If we get the chance to play the games, we’ll be ready to play. We’re certainly not trying to halt the season, all the way along we’ve wanted to get back playing so that certainly hasn’t changed.

“We’re in a good position at the moment and if we deserve to be in the play-offs we’ll win enough games between now and the end of the season and if we don’t do that then we don’t deserve to be there.”

Neil: Training’s been good, but different

Preston players have been back in training since Monday, with strict protocols in place, and Neil says the squad have returned in good shape after the enforced two-month lay-off.

“It’s been good to get back, first and foremost,” he said. “I think the lads have spent most of the time sitting in the house and sort of wondering when we’re going to get back so I think it’s been good for them and it’s certainly been good for us to get back on the grass and get some work done.

“All we’ve really done is break them into groups of five and we’ve just been putting them through individual drills to keep their fitness levels up and try to recreate things that happen in the match. It’s been good, but certainly different.”

‘Contract discussions are ongoing’

Around 1,400 footballers across the EFL see their contracts expire at the end of June, including six Preston players.

Captain Paul Gallagher and Tom Clarke are two of those whose deals are set to run out, but Neil is confident they will sign beyond June 30 until the remainder of the current season.

  • FA Cup set for June 27 return; final on August 1
  • Premier League restart: All you need to know
  • Liverpool could win title at neutral venue on police advice

“I would imagine our lads will extend their contracts to the remainder of the season and then when or if we start playing again there will probably be discussions at that point to see whether it’s going to be extended or not beyond that,” Neil said.

Source: Read Full Article