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Report: Real Madrid to fire Lopetegui within 24 hours

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Fire a coach early in the season? Don’t threaten Florentino Perez with a good time.

Real Madrid will reportedly cut ties with Julen Lopetegui, heaping misery on a man whose 2018 has gone about as poorly as possible.

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Dismissed from the Spain job on the eve of the World Cup for negotiating with Real Madrid, Lopetegui’s tenure at the Bernabeu is reportedly over after a 2-1 home loss to Levante left the three-time reigning Champions League winners with 14 points through nine matches.

VAVEL’s Mootaz Chehade has the report, saying the announcement will come in the next day.

Real started 4W-1D in La Liga, but has now lost three of four in the league. Los Meringues beat Roma but lost to CSKA Moscow so far in the Champions League, and lost to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup.

A trip to Barcelona is next for El Clasico after a midweek Champions League visit from Viktoria Plzen.

La Liga to restart on June 11

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La Liga will restart on June 11, the Spanish sports council have confirmed, and below are details on the new schedule and how to watch on TV in the USA.

Three months after Spain’s top-flight was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic it will return with the full schedule yet to be released, but the plan is to open up with the Seville derby on June 11, Sevilla against Real Betis, then play the full Matchweek 28.

It follows the Premier League restart being confirmed for June 17, while Serie A will return on June 20 and the Bundesliga returned on May 16.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule

The Spanish sports council released the following statement following detailed meetings with the Spanish FA and La Liga.

“The Spanish football federation [RFEF] and La Liga have agreed, as part of the Contact Group formed together with the National Sports Council [CSD], the format of the eleven remaining matchdays to complete La Liga Santander and La Liga SmartBank [the first and second divisions].”

Further details revealed the La Liga season will finish on July 17, which means the 11 games would be squeezed into just over a month with games every single day to fit this season in. The majority of games are set to be played late in the evening local time due to the extreme heat in Spain during the summer months, while players will be given at least 72 hours rest between games.

Barcelona currently sit top of La Liga but have a slender one-point lead over arch rivals Real Madrid, while the top four battle is incredibly congested and should lead to some epic battles in the final weeks of the season. The relegation battle is also intense with up to 10 times in danger of being relegated to the second tier. The Spanish second tier will also resume play in mid-June, with Cadiz and Real Zaragoza currently in the automatic promotion spots and Almeria, Huesca, Girona and Elche in the playoffs.

Matchweek 28 will be played from June 12 to June 15 with the full La Liga schedule below, while there are also details on how you can watch on TV in the USA.

La Liga schedule

  • TV Channels: beIN Sports USA
  • Stream Live: Via beinSports
  • When: From June 11 to July 17

June 11
Sevilla v Real Betis

June 12-15
Real Madrid v Eibar
Leganes v Real Vallodolid
Valencia v Levante
Real Mallorca v Barcelona
Celta Vigo v Villarreal
Espanyol v Alaves
Real Sociedad v Osasuna
Granada v Getafe
Athletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid

FA Cup schedule released

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The schedule for the 2019-20 FA Cup has been released with the quarterfinals, semifinals and final now having dates.

All eight teams left in the competition are from the Premier League and FA Cup quarterfinal and semifinal games will be played at weekends and see their respective PL games rescheduled for makeup dates. The Premier League has confirmed it will return from June 17 and the FA Cup will now restart just 10 days later.

The quarterfinals will take place in late June, the semifinals in mid-July and then the final will be on August 1. This decision then allows Premier League clubs still in European action to play in the Champions League and Europa League in August, when UEFA are planning to host those competitions.

In the quarters Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and Man United all face tricky away trips to Leicester, Newcastle, Sheffield United and Norwich respectively. It has not been confirmed whether or not the semifinals and final will be played at Wembley Stadium, as usual.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham revealed that the new dates are dependent on safety measures being met.

“The health and wellbeing of players, staff and supporters remains our priority. The competition has been an integral part of the English football calendar for nearly 150 years, and we would like to thank the Premier League executive and clubs for their support in scheduling the remaining matches during this unprecedented time,” Bullingham said.

With so much focus on the Premier League restart, the FA Cup almost became an afterthought but it will carry on and the oldest knockout competition in the world will continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Below is the FA Cup schedule with the planned dates to play the remaining games.


Quarterfinals – June 27-28

Leicester City v Chelsea
Newcastle United v Manchester City
Sheffield United v Arsenal
Norwich City v Manchester United

Semifinals – July 18-19

Final – August 1

Brendan Rodgers reveals he had COVID-19

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Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed he had COVID-19 and has recovered fully from the coronavirus.

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The Premier League manager spoke to BBC Radio Leicester and revealed that he contracted COVID-19 in March and has recovered fully.

“Me and my wife had it just after [the season] broke up. A week later I really started to struggle, I had no smell and no taste. I had no strength, and I really struggled, and my wife was the same as well. I got tested and we both had it. I could hardly walk,” Rodgers said. “It reminded me of climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro, as you climb higher you get more breathless. Walking 10 yards felt very different. I went for a run, and I just couldn’t do it. I felt really weak, had no real appetite, and had a weird sensation for three weeks of having no taste”.

Brendan Rodgers is the second Premier League managed confirmed to have had COVID-19, as Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta tested positive back on March 12, just before the season was suspended.

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All players and staff at Premier League clubs will be tested twice a week during the strict return to training protocols put in place, with contact training now allowed after a return to small-group training was a success.

The third round of COVID-19 testing saw a slight rise in positive tests compared to the last, as a total of 2,752 COVID-19 tests have now been carried out on Premier League players and staff with a total of 12 positive results. All 20 Premier League clubs have agreed to return to contact training in stage two of the ‘Project Restart’ plan.

The 2019-20 Premier League season will restart on June 17, the league confirmed Thursday, as ‘Project Restart’ is all systems go.

The Premier League held in-depth meetings with all 20 clubs and, among other matters, June 17 emerged as the date games will return. Due to the coronavirus pandemic the Premier League season was suspended on March 13 with 92 games remaining.

Premier League reveal update on neutral stadium plan

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The Premier League have issued an update on the plan to use a neutral stadium for certain games when they restart the 2019-20 season from June 17.

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Police in the UK are concerned about fans congregating outside home stadiums for certain high-profile matches and Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has said talks are ongoing with the authorities about which games may have to be played at neutral stadiums.

Speaking to our partners in the UK, Sky Sports, Masters hopes to have more clarity on the situation in the next 7-10 days.

“Obviously it is our preference to play the games as they were originally planned, at home and away,” Masters said. “We are in discussions with the authorities, there are some concerns and we are working through that. I think that in the next 7-10 days we will have a clearer picture as to whether any of our fixtures are going to have to be played in neutral venues. We hope the number is going to be low.”

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A further statement from the Premier League confirmed that they are “working with our clubs to ensure risks are assessed and minimised, while cooperating with the police at a local and national level” and said talks with police forces “have been positive and are continuing” while they are “prepared for all outcomes and have a neutral-venue contingency.”

Masters didn’t want to reveal the identity of games which could be moved to neutral stadiums but multiple reports claim that most of Liverpool’s games, home and away, could be played at neutral stadiums due to fears over fans congregating ahead of a possible title-winning situation.

The Premier League chief executive added that Liverpool’s games at Anfield are part of the discussion but said no decision has been made on any neutral stadium games so far: “Ultimately we want the season to be played out on the pitch and we are discussing a number of mitigating factors as part of the whole model and try and keep it as fair as it possibly can be. That is what we are trying to deal with.”

Masters has handled this extremely tough situation with poise throughout negotiations with the clubs, players and government and the Premier League should be applauded for taking their time to work through all of this, while still remaining as close as possible to their mid-June deadline to restart.

Via the BBC, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts has revealed that six games could be moved due to concerns over crowds congregating but said nothing has been confirmed.

“The majority of remaining matches will be played, at home and away as scheduled, with a small number of fixtures taking place at neutral venues, which, contrary to some reports, have yet to be agreed,” Roberts said. “The views and agreement of forces which host Premier League clubs have been sought and where there were concerns, the Premier League has been supportive in providing flexibility in arranging alternative venues where requested. This plan will be kept continually under review to ensure public health and safety and a key part of this is for supporters to continue to respect the social distancing guidelines, and not to attend or gather outside the stadiums.”

Simply put, there are still quite a few things to work out between now and June 17 when the Premier League is set to restart and if a few games have to be played at neutral stadiums to ensure the safety of players, staff and the general public, then that is surely a very small part of this mammoth undertaking to ensure the 2019-20 season is finished.