Nedum Onuoha
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English defender Onuoha speaks out on fear of police in the U.S.

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Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha is speaking out on his experience as a black man in the United States in the wake of ongoing protests and violence following the killing of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleaded for air in Minnesota.

Speaking with the BBC, Onuoha says he has loved his time in the United States but admitted a wariness around law enforcement that he does not experience at home in England. The 33-year-old says there are “plenty of good” police in the country but admitted he doesn’t feel “100% safe” around law enforcement officers and that he has a “fear and distrust” of them.

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Onuoha says the protests and demands for reform are “emotional” and “overdue,” adding that he feels empowered by the non-black voices joining the calls for justice.

From The BBC:

“I have loved living in this country but there is [another] side of it. In the UK, I am more comfortable because if something happens it probably will not be deadly – but over here because of their rights it is more common that altercations become deadly. I am always very aware of that whenever I go around anywhere.

“I am comfortable but when it comes to any kind of brutality, if it’s from the police, if they read me the wrong way then my life could be taken. I feel that every single day. It is not just me but everybody else as well.”

The Nigeria-born English defender joined RSL in 2018 and has played 36 times for the Utah club. Onuoha previously spent seven years with Queens Park Rangers after beginning his career with City and Sunderland.

MLS released a statement on the Floyd killing earlier this week, expressing unity with the black community and “horror” at the “senseless murder” of the 46-year-old American man.

League Two over, League One fail to agree end to season

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Clubs from League One and League Two (the third and fourth tiers respectively) have held meetings to vote on the 2019-20 season and one league is over, while the other is not.

League Two clubs have voted unanimously to end the 2019-20 season now as a points-per-game model was used to finalize the table. They also agreed to that the top three teams will be promoted to League One, the League Two playoffs will still take place, and no teams will be relegated to the National League.

That decision is pending EFL and English FA approval but the EFL released a statement confirming League Two want to end the season, and suggested an unweighted points per game model should be used.

“In the event of a curtailment of the season, the EFL Board outlined how this could be addressed through a framework that includes maintaining the principle of promotion and relegation, league tables to be determined via unweighted points per game (PPG) and playoffs to remain in every division to determine the final promotion place. The EFL Board, whose aspiration has always been to conclude the 2019/20 season by completing the remaining fixtures, has previously stated that any decision on how to conclude the season is a matter for Clubs to determine in their respective divisions.”

As for League One, clubs could not agree on ending the season and they will meet again on Monday for another vote. The EFL added that League One clubs agreed they need to find “innovative and creative solutions” to help “decisions to be taken quickly.”

Six League One clubs (Sunderland, Portsmouth, Ipswich Town, Peterborough, Oxford and Fleetwood Town) released a statement on Thursday stating they wanted to finish the season no matter what.

However, the harsh reality is that in the lower leagues of English soccer clubs heavy rely on ticket revenue to operate and with no fans allowed, there is no way to make a return financially viable in the near future. Harry Kane agreed to sponsor Leyton Orient’s jerseys next season to help out and we will be seeing a lot more of that to help these teams in dire financial situations.

Also, it is believed the financial implications of paying for widespread COVID-19 tests is something that is beyond both League One and League Two.

It is expected that the playoffs could take place in both League One and League Two to decide the final promotion place in each league but that also has to be ratified by the EFL and FA and it also depends on what happens in the Championship and National League (fifth tier) who have yet to decide the outcome of the 2019-20 season.

The Premier League have already released over $160 million to the lower leagues to help them survive the suspension during the coronavirus pandemic.

Premier League On this Day: Mourinho’s Stamford Bridge streak snapped

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A week before Steven Gerrard’s slip against Chelsea cost Liverpool a title, a Chelsea hero’s slip cost the Blues’ their shot and Jose Mourinho an incredible streak.

Relegation-threatened Sunderland came back from an early Samuel Eto’o goal to beat the Blues 2-1 in London to hand Mourinho his first home loss in 77 matches at Stamford Bridge.

Cesar Azpilicueta fell over on the flank and gifted the ball to Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore, then chopping down the American for a penalty that Fabio Borini converted for a 2-1 win.

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Altidore had a tough time with the Northeast set, but he enjoyed his time against the Blues, scoring his only Premier League goal for Sunderland in December at the Stadium of Light, then drawing the match-winning penalty at Stamford Bridge,

Chelsea wound up affecting both its failure to win the league and Liverpool’s by beating the Reds a week later, opening the door for Manchester City’s fourth top-flight title (City, for what it’s worth had slipped into third early in April by losing to Liverpool and drawing… Sunderland).

Chelsea would finish in third place, four points off leaders Man City and two back of Liverpool.

It’s a match that looks so odd in the rear view mirror, and not only because Gerrard fell over a week later; Chelsea star Marcos Alonso was on the field for Sunderland. Mohamed Salah was taken off the pitch for Andre Schurrle in the 66th minute, while David Luiz and Frank Lampard were saved for a midweek draw at Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.

Weird, weird game.

EFL letter recommends clubs prepare for return ‘at short notice’

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The English Football League has sent a letter to all clubs advising they return to training in mid-May and prepare for a return to play from the coronavirus shutdown at what the EFL described as “relatively short notice.”

The letter from EFL chairman Rick Parry, which was sent to all 72 clubs before it was obtained by The Independent and shared by the BBC, notes that while the EFL does not have the power to enforce training schedules for clubs, it interestingly advises that clubs may suffer public relations damage should they return to training earlier than the advised May 16 date. The letter then addresses a rumored start date in early June without confirming or denying the viability of that date.

“By advising a mid-May return to training,” the letter reads, “it has inevitably led to speculation that the season will recommence on June 6 – three weeks later. No date has been discussed and we continue to work with the government and health authorities to help identify the date where we can resume our season. Our planning needs to be agile enough to allow us to be as prepared as possible for a return at relatively short notice.”

The letter is intentionally vague, leaving room for multiple possibilities, but does admit that “these [scenarios] are expected to take further shape over the course of the next two weeks and clubs will receive an appropriate briefing once these plans are at an advanced stage.”

The letter also invites clubs to share their thoughts and possibilities as the EFL notes “collaboration is key to achieving success in these challenging times.” It notes that many clubs have already expressed their thoughts about playing behind closed doors, admitting that is a very likely possibility for when the games recommence.

The Premier League is likely to follow suit shortly after videoconferencing Friday with all 20 clubs to discuss plans for the next few months and how to potentially return to play.

While it was not discussed in the letter openly, The Telegraph reported Friday morning that the EFL is considering its return to play using a limited number of Championship grounds – more specifically 10 stadiums – while closed-door games remain at the forefront.

Newcastle fills left back hole with Spurs loanee Rose

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Steve Bruce calls Danny Rose a “class act” and hopes the Spurs loanee can shore up Newcastle’s injury-plagued left back position.

The Magpies saw loan star Jetro Willems suffer a season-ending injury, and Paul Dummett has a similar lengthy injury. Right midfielder Matt Ritchie has been pitching in at left back.

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Rose has struggled for a couple of years but has as many England caps as years on Earth (29) and will play in a new shirt for the first time since a 2013 loan to Newcastle rival Sunderland.

Overall, Rose has scored 10 goals with 29 assists in 214 appearances for Spurs.

As for the man himself, here are his thoughts from NUFC.co.uk:

“It’s a great honor for me to be here. I’m so grateful that the manager has brought me in and I’m looking to repay him in every way I can as soon as I’m playing. For me, it’s really exciting that I can come here and have the chance to play in front of the Newcastle fans.

“Newcastle is one of the biggest clubs in England. I spoke to the manager last night and he told me there were 50,000 fans here at the weekend against Oxford. You can’t go wrong with that kind of passion and support from the fans, and it’s something I’m looking forward to.”

Rose had planned to run down the final 18 months of his deal, so this could easily turn into something bigger if Rose refinds a semblance of his best form.

It wasn’t too long ago that Rose was being linked with Manchester United, Schalke, and others. Might Newcastle become his surprise long-term home.

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.