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Russia to allow some spectators in stadiums when top flight matches resume

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Russia’s Sports Minister said on Friday he welcomed a decision by the authorities to allow spectators into stadiums when matches in the country’s top professional football league resume next month.

The Russian Premier League halted matches in mid-March because of the COVID-19 crisis and is set to resume action on June 21.

“It’s important that the football championship resumes in the presence of spectators, even though small in number,” Russian news agencies quoted Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin as saying.

“I watched Bundesliga matches. The mood is very strange. There isn’t enough emotion. Without spectators, the matches do not look the way we are used to.”

Several European professional leagues resumed matches this month, including German’s top professional league, but without spectators.

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Russia’s consumer health watchdog agreed on Thursday that stadiums could welcome spectators at Russian Premier League matches if they took up no more than 10 percent of a given venue’s capacity.

League champions Zenit St Petersburg currently leads the standings on 50 points after 22 matches played.

Lokomotiv Moscow and Krasnodar are second and third respectively, nine points behind the leaders.

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Earlier this month, Russia said it would allow foreign athletes competing in its domestic sports leagues to enter the country even though its borders remain closed to foreigners.

It said the move was designed to help clubs resume training.

As of Friday, Russia had recorded 387,623 cases of the novel coronavirus, the third-highest reported total in the world after the U.S. and Brazil

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Newcastle United bounce back to draw with West Ham

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Newcastle United twice came back from a goal down as they grabbed a 2-2 Premier League draw with visiting West Ham United on Sunday.

The result robbed the visitors of the chance to put some more daylight between themselves and the relegation zone, having lost their previous seven away league games.

West Ham started the day three points above the drop zone, and they got off to the perfect start when Michail Antonio opened the scoring after four minutes.

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Newcastle United leveled in the 17th minute through Miguel Almiron.

But they went behind again in the 66th minute when midfielder Tomas Soucek fired home a rebound after Declan Rice hit the crossbar with a header from a corner kick.

Jonjo Shelvey struck back immediately for Newcastle United, dancing through the visitors’ defense before slotting home to make it 2-2.

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This has now left West Ham in 16th spot on 31 points, four points ahead of Aston Villa in 18th, with Newcastle United 12th on 43 points.

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English-born Ghanaian footballer dies at 24 after drowning in US lake

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Derick Otim

English-born Ghanaian footballer, Derrick Otim has died at the of 24 after he drowned in a lake in the US.

The former Nottingham Forest midfielder drowned on Friday, July 3, in Lake Keowee, South Carolina, according to reports.

In 2018, Lake Keowee was branded South Carolina’s “most deadly body of water” in a local news article which said 32 people had lost their lives there within 25 years.

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Otim trained with Forest Academy, before moving to America for university four years ago.

He had recently graduated from Xavier University – and is claimed to have been visiting friends in South Carolina before his sudden death.

Tributes have been paid to the star player by Nottingham Forest FC and his former teammates, who described him as a ‘top lad.’

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EPL: Man City confirm player to miss Southampton fixture

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Manchester City has confirmed that striker, Sergio Aguero, will miss the Citizens’ away Premier League fixture against Southampton tonight.

Man City also disclosed that midfielder Fernandinho could be in contention to feature for Pep Guardiola’s men after serving a two-match suspension.

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City stated this in a post on the club’s official website on Sunday.

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Guardiola’s side head to the match after thrashing Liverpool 4-0 in their last Premier League encounter at the Etihad Stadium.

“Sergio Aguero (knee) will miss the game, but Fernandinho could be in contention to return after serving a two-match suspension,” a club’s statement read.

The kick-off time for the Southampton vs Man City game is at 7 pm.

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