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Barcelona sells Camp Nou title to raise money to fight virus

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BARCELONA, Spain — Barcelona will sell the title rights to its storied stadium for one year in an effort to raise money for the fight against the coronavirus.

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The Spanish club’s executive board said Tuesday it will donate the entire fee raised by selling the title rights to the Camp Nou to fighting the global pandemic.

The Camp Nou is the biggest stadium in Europe with more than 99,000 seats. It has never had a sponsor since it opened in 1957.

“We want to send a universal message: For the first time someone will have the opportunity to put their name on Camp Nou and the revenues will go to all of humanity, not just Barca,” club vice president Jordi Cardoner told The Associated Press.

“The initiative arose in an emergency situation. We think that we have to have a very quick response, putting our crown jewel at the service (of the fight).”

The club had planned to wait to sell the stadium’s title rights for the first time in the 2023-24 season. At that time, the club hopes to bring in 300 million euros ($326 million) paid up front for a 25-year contract to pay for renovations to the stadium and other facilities.

Cardoner, who has recovered after contracting the virus, said the board conceived of this new charity sale independent of the long-term deal of 25 years. But, he said that if there emerges a sponsor who wanted to include it in the long-term deal, then the club would consider it.

Cardoner said Barcelona wants to listen to offers from companies and private foundations and will consider opening it up to a group of interested sponsors who could team up and hopefully provide even more funds to help battle the new virus.

He would not give any estimate on how much the foundation hopes to earn from this “one-shot” sale. But given the greatness of Lionel Messi and the millions of spectators who tune in each week to watch Barcelona’s games, Camp Nou is one of the most coveted venues in sports.

“Camp Nou is sending out an S.O.S.,” Cardoner said. “We are open to everything. We want to maximize the economic participation and to ensure that the partners share our same social values.”

The stadium will maintain the name “Camp Nou” in addition to including the sponsor, the club said.

Barcelona’s foundation for social charities, which is overseen by Cardoner, will manage the investment of the money in fighting the virus. The foundation runs programs in Spain and in 58 other countries, largely focused on at-risk youth and refugees.

The club said it hopes to close a deal “in the coming weeks.” The decision will then have to be approved by a general assembly of club members, which number 140,000, likely to be held in October, if conditions permit.

How the money is used will be determined by the club’s foundation and the sponsor, with each party proposing how to distribute half of the funds, Cardoner said. Barcelona said it wants to propose using part of the money in Spain, especially in Catalonia, and in countries where the club has current charities. Cardoner said specific projects have not been chosen, but he would like some money to go to helping the elderly, especially in the devastated nursing home sector.

Cardoner said that he took some inspiration from the club’s decision in 2006 to put UNICEF on its shirt, which had never carried a sponsor before. The club moved the UNICEF logo to the back of the shirt in 2011 and sold the front to a corporate sponsor. It has continued to donate 2 million euros ($2.14 million) to UNICEF annually.

The main impetus, however, hit Cardoner while he was confined to his bed waging his own fight against an infection from the virus. He never needed hospitalization and fully recovered after a couple of weeks, but he said that the experience prompted him “think big.”

“I spent a long time in bed and had time to think,” he said. “We do a lot through our foundation, and it occurred to me that we had to think big, think big like we did with the shirt and UNICEF.”

Spain has been one of the hardest-hit countries by the COVID-19 virus, which causes respiratory failure especially in the elderly and the sick. More than 20,000 people have died in Spain, a death toll second only to the United States. The city of Barcelona and the surrounding areas in northeast Catalonia have been hotspots.

The suspension of the Spanish soccer amid the pandemic has put a large hole in the expected revenues of Barcelona, forcing its players to take a pay cut. Still, Cardoner said the club was not tempted to use the title rights revenue now to help plug the holes.

The decision comes during a rocky season for Barcelona and president Josep Bartomeu, who has weathered a mid-season coaching switch, internal tiffs between club officials and players, and the resignation of six board members. Even so, Barcelona leads the league that is now in limbo.

Tottenham – Newcastle United: How to watch, start time, prediction, odds

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Tottenham – Newcastle United: Can Newcastle United score an upset against travel-weary Tottenham Hotspur in North London on Sunday (Watch live at 9 am ET Sunday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)?

Spurs have gone from London to Bulgaria to Southampton to Macedonia and are now back in London for Sunday’s match-up with a Newcastle team that surprised them at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a little over a year ago.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Spurs bent Shkendija in Europa League play on Thursday, with Heung-min Son posting a goal and two assists over 90 minutes. Harry Kane and Giovani Lo Celso came off the bench in what could be a sign of Jose Mourinho’s intent for Sunday.

Newcastle has been off since Wednesday’s 7-0 demolition of 10-man League Two side Morecambe in the League Cup. Steve Bruce did the trick without fitness-question Allan Saint-Maximin as well as rested Jonjo Shelvey and Callum Wilson.

STREAM TOTTENHAM – NEWCASTLE UNITED LIVE

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Tottenham – Newcastle United this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Tottenham – Newcastle United (INJURY REPORT)

Sergio Reguilon makes the bench for Tottenham, but the big news is that Dele Alli has been left off the 18 altogether.

Miguel Almiron finally gets his place back in the Newcastle XI, but it’s only because electric winger Allan Saint-Maximin missed out through injury. Jamal Lewis (eye) makes the bench after a scary injury at the foot of Yves Bissouma, while Andy Carroll heads to the bench for Joelinton.


What they’re saying: Tottenham – Newcastle United

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho on Tanguy Ndombele’s 90 minutes versus Shkendija: “He played very well. Of course in a game where I can imagine our percentage of ball possession was very, very high and our percentage is high he feels obviously much more comfortable. However, even without the ball he had recovery, he had duels, he had defensive transition. It was a really positive game from Tanguy, really happy.

Newcastle’s Steve Bruce on meeting Spurs: “We can’t think we can go and play against the top teams and match them just in a game of football. We have to do something different, tactically. We did it well against the top teams last year. Let’s hope we can do the same again this year.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Newcastle United is not expected to get anything out of this, +600 to win and +360 to take a point compared to Tottenham’s -225 to win.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Prediction: Tottenham – Newcastle United

The Magpies can take some hope from Palace’s consecutive wins away to Manchester United, but Spurs should deliver the goods. Questions about Saint-Maximin’s fitness even if he does play ask even more, as does the fact that Steve Bruce has been keeping Miguel Almiron on the bench to start matches. Throw in Bruce versus Mourinho and it’s safe to expect Spurs to overcome their travel-weary legs and post a 3-1 win.


How to watch Tottenham – Newcastle United stream and start time

Kickoff: 9 am ET Sunday
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Former Huddersfield Town boss, USMNT striker Wagner fired by Schalke

Wagner sacked
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Lopsided defeats to Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen have cost former USMNT striker David Wagner his job as Schalke boss.

Wagner, 48, was fired Sunday after his league unbeaten run as Schalke manager reached 18 matches through a 3-1 loss to Bremen.

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Schalke gave Wagner a little more time to right the ship after wobbling without a win over the final 16 matches of the 2019-20 season, going from fifth to 12th.

From a Schalke release:

“We had all hoped that we could improve on the pitch together with David Wagner. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the right performances and results from the first two games of the season for this to happen,” explained Jochen Schneider, Head of Sport. “We have therefore decided to make a fresh start. Despite the disappointing results, this wasn’t an easy decision for us to make. I would like to thank David Wagner, Christoph Bühler and Frank Fröhling, who, up until their departure, have done everything they can to get Schalke back on track.”

The eight-times capped Wagner began his coaching career with good friend Jurgen Klopp and took his first managerial position at Borussia Dortmund II.

He was then hired by Huddersfield Town and led the Terriers to the Premier League, keeping them in the top flight for one season before leaving the club midway through their relegation-bound second season.

Hired in May 2019, Wagner and Schalke was third after 13 weeks last season, having drawn Revierderby rivals Dortmund and beaten RB Leipzig. But they sunk quickly and had a run of eight matches in which they scored just two goals.

It’s worth monitoring what’s next for Wagner. Back to the Terriers or a Championship side to test his promotion prowess? 2.Bundesliga for that matter?

His star might have appeared to dip due to this run but Schalke has had to deal with significant financial upheaval and sent Weston McKennie to Juve on a loan-to-buy and Daniel Cagliari to Augsburg. Young goalkeeper Alexander Nubel was also sold to Bayern and the only incoming moves were for Vedad Ibisevic and Goncalo Pacienca.

Another thing to note will be whether this is a positive or negative for young American midfielder Nick Taitague, who has battled injuries but had received first team training. The 20-year-old attacking midfielder has one goal in 10 appearances for Schalke II.

Sheffield United – Leeds: How to watch, team news, start time, odds

Sheffield United - Leeds
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Sheffield United – Leeds: Sheffield United is still seeking its first goal of the Premier League season as it welcomes a Leeds United side who is seeing boatloads of goals at both ends of the pitch (Watch live at 7 am ET Sunday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds fell 4-3 to Liverpool to open the PL season and then beat Fulham 4-3 to restart life in the top flight.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Blades started the 2019-20 season with a win and a draw en route to a ninth-place finish in the Premier League but have stumbled out of the gates this season with a 2-0 home loss to Wolves and 1-0 setback at Aston Villa.

STREAM SHEFFIELD UNITED – LEEDS LIVE

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Sheffield United – Leeds United this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Sheffield United – Leeds United (INJURY REPORT)

Sheffield United – OUT: John Egan (suspension), Lys Mousset (ankle), Simon Moore (finger)

The Blades bring in three players as Jack O’Connell needs knee surgery and on-loan Ethan Ampadu makes his first PL start for Sheffield United.

Leeds United – OUT: Gaetano Berardi (knee), Adam Forshaw (groin), Pablo Hernandez (groin)

Leeds bring in Tyler Roberts for the injured Pablo Hernandez in their only change.

 


What they’re saying: Sheffield United – Leeds United

Sheffield United forward Billy Sharp on meeting Leeds: “I don’t know what the betting companies have got but we’re expected to win in my book so we need to make sure that we’re at it from the start.”

Diego Llorente on joining Leeds from Real Sociedad: “I have a lot of energy and with my abilities I think I can help add to the team and this is the goal for me. … I talked with Pablo Hernandez and he told me about the team, the city and all of the things he said were good, so the decision for me was very easy and I am excited to be here. … Marcelo Bielsa was also a key factor, for me he is the greatest manager in the world and it is an honour, I’ve come to learn as much as possible from him.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Blades are +170 to get a win, showing a slight edge to visiting Leeds and their +160 to collect all three points. A draw nets the wagerer a +235.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Prediction: Sheffield United – Leeds


How to watch Sheffield United – Leeds United stream and start time

Kickoff: 7 am ET Sunday
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Serie A: Inter win 7-goal thriller with 87th, 89th-minute goals (video)

Inter Milan - Serie A
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A roundup of all of Saturday’s results in Serie A, where Inter Milan scored twice in the final five minutes of regular time to beat Fiorentina 4-3…

[ MORE: Transfer news: Rice in, Jorginho out at Chelsea; Skriniar to Spurs ]

Inter Milan 4-3 Fiorentina

This is your weekly reminder that Serie A remains the most underrated, insane top-flight league in the world — particularly in the last-game-of-the-day time slot, at 2:45 pm ET. Seven-goal thrillers capped off by a late goal, or two, are more of the rule than an exception.

Anyway, Inter Milan’s title dreams looked set to begin with a home defeat to last season’s 10th-place finishers until Romelu Lukaku and Danilo D’Ambrosio scored an 87th-minute equalizer and an 89th-minute winner, respectively.

Inter started in a hole, down 1-0 after just three minutes. Lautaro Martinez pulled Antonio Conte’s side level in first-half stoppage time, but it was hardly an ideal start to the season. Federico Ceccherini put the ball into his own net in the 52nd minute to put Inter ahead.

The lead lasted just five minutes and just as quickly turned into a deficit, as Gaetano Castrovilli and Federico Chiesa bagged goals in the 57th and 63rd minutes. That, of course, only served to set the stage for the end-of-game heroics.

Torino 2-4 Atalanta

Saturday’s other thriller only featured six goals, though it still proved to be highly entertaining as well.

Andrea Belotti fired Torino ahead after 11 minutes, but Atalanta were level through Alejandro Gomez just two minutes later. Eight minutes after that, Luis Muriel put them 2-1 ahead. It was 3-1 in the 42nd minute, but Belotti scored again to make it 3-2 just a minute later. Marten de Roon restored a bit of breathing room and made it 4-2 with the game’s final goal in the 54th.

After finishing third, four points behind Inter and five behind champions Juventus, it’s a strong start for Gian Piero Gasperini’s side in 2020-21.

Other Serie A results

Sampdoria 2-3 Benevento
Cagliari 0-2 Lazio

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Spezia v Sassuolo — 6:30 am ET
Hellas Verona v Udinese — 9 am ET
Crotone v AC Milan — 12 pm ET
Napoli v Genoa — 12 pm ET
Roma v Juventus — 2:45 pm ET