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Arsenal to re-open training ground next week

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Arsenal will re-open their London Colney training ground to their players next week for individual training but the Premier League club will continue to observe social distancing rules amid the coronavirus outbreak, they said on Saturday.

Soccer in England was suspended indefinitely last month due to the virus and no clubs have been in training.

“Players will be permitted access to the Colney grounds next week,” Arsenal said in a statement.

“Access will be limited, carefully managed and social distancing will be maintained at all times. All Colney buildings remain closed.

“Players will travel alone, do their individual workout and return home,” the club added.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus on March 12, which led to the Premier League postponing the next round of matches and none have been played since.

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Arsenal spoke to all their players after Alexandre Lacazette, David Luiz, Nicolas Pepe and Granit Xhaka were pictured allegedly breaking social distancing guidelines.

Premier League clubs have been working on the basis that the earliest they may be allowed to resume training would be in early May. The British government is expected to review current lockdown restrictions on May 7.

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Should teams be allowed to train, it is expected they would need two to three weeks to get prepared to play competitive matches, making the earliest possible return in June.

But with the ban on mass public gatherings likely to be one of the last restrictions to be lifted, rescheduled games will almost certainly be held behind closed doors.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has been liaising with a number of sports bodies, led by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on how things might work should the green light be given by the medical experts for sport to resume safely.

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The Football League (EFL) which organises the three divisions below the Premier League, on Saturday highlighted testing of players and others involved in games as the key issue.

“Clearly, before any return to football can take place, suitable testing arrangements for participants must be in place and this is core to our current planning, as is ensuring there is absolutely no negative impact on the country’s front-line workers, the Emergency services, League and Club staff members,” the league said in a statement.

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JUST IN: CAS lifts Manchester city’s champions league ban

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Manchester City will be free to play Champions League football next season after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) lifted a two-season ban from European competitions imposed by UEFA on Monday.

An initial fine of 30 million euros ($34 million, £27 million) was also reduced to 10 million euros on appeal.

City were accused of deliberately inflating the value of income from sponsors with links to the Abu Dhabi United Group, also owned by City owner Sheikh Mansour, to avoid falling foul of financial fair play (FFP) regulations between 2012 and 2016.

The case against City was reopened when German magazine Der Spiegel published a series of leaked emails in 2018.

However, CAS found that “most of the alleged breaches reported by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB (UEFA Club Financial Control Body) were either not established or time-barred”.

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City welcomed the decision that will have huge ramifications on the club’s finances and potentially the future of manager Pep Guardiola and star players such as Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.

“Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present,” City said in a statement.

“The club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered.”

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Since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover 12 years ago, City’s fortunes have been transformed from perennially living in the shadow of local rivals Manchester United to winning four Premier League titles in the past eight years among 11 major trophies.

On Saturday, they secured qualification for the Champions League for a 10th consecutive season with a 5-0 win at Brighton.

More silverware could come before the end of the season as Guardiola’s side face Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday before restarting their Champions League campaign in August, holding a 2-1 lead over Real Madrid from the first leg of their last 16 tie.

City’s victory in court will raise fresh questions over how effectively UEFA can police FFP.

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But European football’s governing body said it remained committed to the system which limits clubs to not losing more than 30 million euros, with exceptions for some costs such as youth development and women’s teams, over a three-year period.

“UEFA notes that the CAS panel found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB’s conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred due to the five-year time period foreseen in the UEFA regulations,” UEFA said in a statement.

“Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and UEFA and ECA remain committed to its principles.”

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British MMA star, Jahreau Shepherd is dead

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British MMA fighter, Jahreau Shepherd has tragically died.

The 30-year-old welterweight champion, nicknamed ‘The Nightmare’ is believed to have died suddenly on Saturday, with no cause of death yet confirmed.

Shepherd’s death was confirmed by his MMA promoters ‘the Contenders’ in a tweet via its official Twitter account on Sunday.

“The tweet read

“Everyone at Contenders is absolutely devastated to hear of Jahreau Shepherd‘s death.

“Jay, our welterweight champion, was hugely talented and great fun to be around, a big personality with a huge smile and infectious laugh.

“Inside the cage, he was destined for the top – a champion in three different organizations with heavy hands and a warrior’s heart.

“Our thoughts are with all his family and friends at this terrible time. Rest in peace, champ.”

Also, MMA commentator, Michael Morgan in a tribute to him via his Twitter account said he was shocked when he received the sad news of Shepherd’s demise.

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He said

“Absolutely shocked to hear the news this morning.

“A true gentleman inside and outside the cage.

“Rest in peace UKMMA’s Jahreau Shepherd.”

The 30-year-old from London defeated Quinten de Vreught in February to be crowned welterweight champion at Contenders 29.

He was well known for his pace and aggression and was also a member of the London Fight Factory.

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EPL: Klopp confirms Liverpool exit plan, next move

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Klopp

The Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp has revealed when he may leave the club and return to Germany.

The German also said it is not clear at the moment whether he stays in football after the Liverpool job.

The former Borussia Dortmund manager says he will manage Liverpool for the next four seasons.

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Klopp has spent five years at Liverpool after taking over from Brendan Rodgers in 2015. He has guided the Reds to a Champions League trophy and their very first Premier League title in 30 years.

He signed a new contract at Anfield in December 2019, which tied him to the club until 2024, should he avoid being sacked.

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Asked if he was planning on returning to Germany, Klopp told SWR,

“Definitely to live, after my career. Most likely even to Mainz.”

On how long he’ll remain at Anfield, he added:

“Four years in Liverpool.”

After that, he confirmed he may be interested in returning to management, but added he may retire from football.

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He said:

“In five years the world can look very different again.”

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