Charlie Austin

Getty Images

UCL, Europa League finals postponed

Leave a comment

UEFA have announced the the finals for the men’s Champions League and Europa League and the women’s Champions League have been postponed.

In a statement on their website European soccer’s governing body said they will “rearrange their showpiece fixtures due to the ongoing health crisis in Europe” as the coronavirus epidemic continues to hit the vast majority of Europe hard each and every day.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

All three finals were due to be played in May and this update was expected following UEFA’s previous announcement that it would extend its season until June 30 and canceled EURO 2020 to allow domestic leagues to finish play.

No details where given on whether the Champions League and Europa League finals will still take place in Istanbul, Turkey and Gdansk, Poland respectively for the men’s game or in Vienna, Austria for the women’s UCL final. This decision was taken by the new working group set up to manage UEFA’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and it suggests that domestic leagues and UEFA competitions will not be ready to return by the start of May when most have suggested that would.

Below is the statement from UEFA in full:

As a result of the COVID-19 crisis in Europe, UEFA has today formally taken the decision to postpone the following matches, originally scheduled for May 2020:

  • UEFA Women’s Champions League Final
  • UEFA Europa League Final
  • UEFA Champions League Final

No decision has yet been made on rearranged dates. The working group, established last week as a result of the conference call among the stakeholders of European football, which was chaired by UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin, will analyse the options available. The group has already begun its examination of the calendar. Announcements will be made in due course.

Latest coronavirus connections to soccer:

Asensio leads Real Madrid to victory in online tournament

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MADRID — Real Madrid forward Marco Asensio led his team to victory in an online video game tournament that raised more than 140,000 euros ($149,000) for the fight against the coronavirus.

[ MORE: La Liga suspended indefinitely

Marco Asensio beat Leganes player Aitor Ruibal 4-2 in Sunday’s final of the three-day tournament hosted by well-known Spanish e-sports play-by-play commentator Ibai Llanos.

Eighteen teams participated, each represented by a player from their real squads.

Spanish authorities have said more than 33,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus in the country, with 2,182 deaths.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover.

Latest coronavirus connections to soccer:

Liverpool’s Andy Robertson behind massive food bank donation in Scotland

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Andy Robertson is quietly doing his part in making sure that people experiencing food insecurity in his native Glasgow have food during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Liverpool and Scotish star is reportedly believed to be the player behind a major donation that has helped to keep six food banks in Glasgow proper and in surrounding areas afloat.

Glasgow NE food bank, a nonprofit organization based near Celtic Park, home of the left back’s first childhood club, has reportedly provided more than 53,000 meals for community members in need. On Wednesday, the food bank thanked a “Scottish footballer” for donating “a large sum” to its organization and five others via a heartfelt tweet.

The 26-year-old Scotland captain is reportedly keen to charity work but prefers not to publicize his contributions on any medium – personal or professional.

Latest coronavirus connections to soccer:

Brescia president Massimo Cellino wants Serie A to be cancelled: ‘Anyone who wants this cursed title, take it’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Brescia president Massimo Cellino wants the current Serie A season to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, calling for league officials to prioritize public health, while dubbing the league title “cursed.”

“You don’t have to think about when to start again, but if you survive,” Cellino told the Corriere dello Sport newspaper. “Everything has to be moved to the next season. It is time for realism, gentlemen. This is the plague.”

“You can no longer play this year,” he added. “Think about the next one. Some people still do not realize what is happening, and those people are worse than the virus. I don’t believe in miracles, I stopped doing it long ago. We reset.”

While some Serie A teams are reportedly eager to resume training, Cellino, who owned Leeds United from 2014 to 2017, wants the season to be voided. Brescia are dead last in Serie A, which has been on shutdown since March 9, with 16 points after 26 matches.

 “Anyone who wants this cursed [title], take it. It is closed. Finished. And I am not saying this because Brescia is last,” Cellino said. “We are last because we deserve it.”

Latest coronavirus connections to soccer:

Steven Naismith agrees to cut wages in half to save jobs at Hearts amid coronavirus shutdown

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Hearts captain Steven Naismith has agreed to cut his wages by 50 percent in order to keep the relegation-bound club afloat amid the coronavirus shutdown.

The 33-year-old attacking midfielder, who played for Everton and Norwich City, announced the decision after Hearts owner Ann Budge asked for all employees to cut their wages in half until play resumes. One of the highest earners on the team, Naismith joins manager Daniel Stendel, who has agreed to work for no pay, in taking serious initiative to better Hearts’ cash-flow crisis.

“Like my team-mates, I’ve been thinking a lot about the request from Hearts to reduce our wages by 50 per cent to help the club and protect as many jobs as possible during this uncertain period,” Naismith said. “I have discussed it at great length with my family.

“The current circumstances put everyone in a very difficult position, but this isn’t a problem of Hearts’ making. My family and I feel that, through a long career, football has been very good to us. Therefore, I personally feel that I can and should accept the 50 per cent reduction in wages.

“I hope this can contribute in some way to the long-term survival of the club at a challenging time and save jobs, especially those that are the lowest earners and hence those who will be struggling the most at this time,” he added.

After finishing sixth in the 2018-19 campaign, Hearts currently sit dead last in the table (23 points), four points behind second-worst Hamilton with three matches to go in the Scottish Premiership.

Latest coronavirus connections to soccer: