Bayern Munich, other Bundesliga clubs, take pay cut

Footballers at Germany’s top teams including Bayern Munich have agreed to take pay cuts to help other clubs survive the economic impact of the coronavirus, media reports said Tuesday.

Newspaper
Bild reports that players and club officials at champions Bayern, top
of the Bundesliga when the Bundesliga season was halted on March 13,
have accepted a 20 percent cut in their salaries.

Like all top European leagues the German top flight is losing income from broadcasting, sponsorships and ticket sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, with matches in Germany suspended until at least April 2.

Bayern has a massive wage bill which reached 336 million euros (364 million dollars) last year, almost half of club turnover.

Players at Borussia Moenchengladbach were the first in the Bundesliga to propose a pay cut, followed by others at Werder Bremen and Schalke 04. Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen players are in talks over pay cut proposals with management.

Uefa formally postpones UCL, Europa League finals

Uefa announced on Monday that it has postponed the Champions League, Europa League and women’s Champions League finals, originally scheduled for May, due to the coronavirus pandemic, with no new date given.

European football’s governing body had already postponed the competitions until further notice earlier this month.

Uefa said that “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,” Uefa said in a statement.

La Liga postponed indefinitely as coronavirus crisis worsens

The Spanish soccer calendar has been postponed until further notice, La Liga and the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) said in a joint statement on Monday.

All
organised soccer in Spain had been postponed for two weeks due to the
spread of the coronavirus but was initially due to resume on April 3.

The statement said a joint commission between the two bodies had agreed to postpone all professional soccer competitions until the Spanish government considered they could start again “without creating any health risk”.

RFEF chief Luis
Rubiales last week ruled out cancelling the current season, insisting
the campaign would resume once the health crisis was under control.

“Both the RFEF and LaLiga wish to express our greatest public gratitude to all those who are dedicating their best efforts to provide essential services to the Spanish people,” added the statement.

Life in lockdown for Europe’s footballers

Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira is learning to play the piano, La Liga clubs are facing off on playstation and Atalanta’s Robin Gosens has been revising for exams in psychology.

Yet
as thousands of footballers, from the highest levels to the lower
leagues, remain on lockdown while coronavirus spreads across Europe, all
of them are tasked with keeping themselves fit, as well as entertained.

“Everyone needs to be ready so that when the health advice says resume, we can resume straight away,” Emmanuel Orhant, medical director of the French Football Federation (FFF), told AFP.

Nobody knows when that will be and with the global death toll from coronavirus passing 13 000 on Saturday, there is little appetite yet even to address the question.

But within football, the absence of a deadline only
enhances the sense of urgency. In theory, the season could restart in a
matter of weeks and clubs are determined to be ready.

Premier League eyes June return – report

The English Premier League is tentatively targeting a resumption on June 1 with a view to completing the season over six weeks before making an August start to the 2020-21 campaign, the Sunday Telegraph reported on Sunday.

The report said the
sketchy plan was a “best-case scenario” aimed at mitigating the heavy
losses clubs are sustaining as they continue to pay wages while football
remains shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On March 13, all elite level soccer matches in England, including the Premier League, were suspended until April 4 with that stoppage subsequently extended until April 30.

The postponement of the Euro 2020
championship for a year, however, has cleared space in the calendar for
domestic competitions to finish if the public health situation allows.

Player
contracts, some of which end in June, could be an issue although world
governing body Fifa has said it is looking into possible
‘dispensations’.

Football clubs step up help for communities as virus bites

Prevented from plying their usual trade by
the coronavirus pandemic, English football clubs are turning to their
attentions to helping local communities cope with huge disruption to
daily life.

Liverpool’s cruise towards a first league title in 30 years has been put on hold, with the Premier League suspended for the foreseeable future.

But the loss of four home games for the Reds and five for neighbours Everton could have had much more severe consequences for those dependent on the North Liverpool Foodbank.

Around a quarter of food donations are
collected at Liverpool and Everton home games by an organisation called
Fans Supporting Foodbanks.

Liverpool’s players and the club’s
foundation have contributed £40 000 ($46 000) towards ensuring the
foodbank does not run dry at a time of crisis.

“If people are
having to use a foodbank week in, week out anyway, the most
disadvantaged in our community will be the hardest-hit during this
period of time,” LFC Foundation director Matt Parish told AFP.

“They can’t stockpile, they can’t build up reserves of food in the house. They will need that ongoing support during this time.”

Liverpool
staff will take an active role in the collection and distribution of
food due to the added complication that many of the foodbank’s
volunteers are older people, who are more at risk from the virus.

The
foundation’s range of programmes in the community, including football
coaching, sessions for disabled children and activities for the elderly
have been cancelled.

However, provisions are being made by
providing fitness videos available at home and keeping in touch with
people who are isolated.

“We are very conscious that physical
activity is important, but also that people don’t feel like they are
just stuck at home,” said Parish.

“We have the ability to call
people to maintain that contact. It’s going to be challenging for all of
us to isolate, but if you are older or living alone that is probably
even more stark.”

Italy Serie A >> Ribery’s Fiorentina suffer ten coronavirus cases

Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso revealed on Wednesday ten members of the Italian outfit have tested positive for coronavirus, with three in hospital.

“The situation is worsening,
in the club we have about ten people affected by this unfortunate
disease, three members of staff are in hospital,” Commisso told Sky
Sport Italia from the United States.

Players infected include Italian forward Patrick Cutrone, Argentine German Pezzella and Serbia forward Dusan Vlahovic.

As a result the Tuscany side have launched a
fundraiser to help city hospitals with former France midfielder Franck
Ribery donating 50 000 euros ($54 000).

“I want to thank Ribery for his donation,” said Commisso.

“We’ve started well, we’ve already raised 420 000 euros with a target of 500 000.”

Serie A rivals Brescia also confirmed two employees had tested positive for COVID-19 which has killed nearly 3 000 people in Italy.

Liverpool’s Milner goes viral, snaps coronavirus gloom

Liverpool star James Milner has become a
social media star in playing up to his no frills image by filming
himself doing domestic chores whilst the Premier League is suspended due
to the coronavirus outbreak.

The 34-year-old former England
midfielder first posted images of himself sorting his tea bags one by
one as a response to team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain posting a
glamorous video of himself and his pop star girlfriend Perrie Edwards
dancing on their stairs.

The players have been left to their own devices after team training was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After rationing his tea bags, the 61-times capped Milner took to his garden and filmed himself nose down to the lawn clipping the grass with a pair of scissors and a ruler to ensure each blade was the same height

Copa America postponed to 2021

The Copa America due to kick off in June in
Argentina and Colombia was on Tuesday postponed by a year to 2021
because of the coronavirus pandemic, organisers CONMEBOL said.

The announcement came shortly after Uefa’s decision to also push back the 2020 European Championship by 12 months.

Sport
and football all over the world has come to a grinding halt due to the
coronavirus outbreak with the Champions League, Copa Libertadores and
almost all national football leagues suspended.

Other sports like tennis, golf, rugby and Formula One have also either delayed or cancelled a host of events and competitions.

According
to the latest figures more than 180 000 people worldwide have been
affected by the coronavirus outbreak with 7 400 people dying from the
COVID-19 disease.

Euro 2020 postponed until 2021

The Euro 2020 soccer Championship, trumpeted as a continent-wide
feast of football to mark the 60th anniversary of Uefa’s flagship
tournament, was postponed for a year on Tuesday as the coronavirus
pandemic claimed its biggest sporting casualty yet.

The fate of
the 24-nation, month-long showpiece due to start in June, had hung in
the balance ever since Europe’s domestic leagues shut down in the wake
of the sweeping health crisis, which has killed around 7 500 people
worldwide.