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Premier League chief 'to be quizzed over Liverpool fans' celebrations'

Premier League chief Richard Masters ‘to be quizzed by MPs over chaotic celebrations from Liverpool fans in wake of their Premier League title win’ as one member of DCMS committee says Jurgen Klopp and his players ‘should’ve shown more leadership’

  • Premier League chief executive Richard Masters is set for a grilling from MPs 
  • Liverpool fans have had wild celebrations since they were crowned champions 
  • There are fears the celebrations could spark a huge rise in coronavirus cases
  • MPs will ask if the Premier League will take responsibility if that is the case 

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters is set to be questioned by MPs on Tuesday over the chaotic scenes on Merseyside that have accompanied Liverpool’s title win. 

The Reds were crowned league champions for the first time in 30 years last Thursday when Manchester City were beaten by Chelsea. It sparked scenes of jubilation all over Liverpool, with fans celebrating together into the early hours of Friday.

Supporters had been told to stay at home and adhere to the government’s social-distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic, but those warnings were ignored by large numbers of fans as trouble broke out.

Premier League chief Richard Masters will be questioned by MPs over Liverpool’s celebrations

Thousands of Liverpool fans gathered outside Anfield to celebrate their title win last Thursday

More than 1,000 fans gathered in the city centre and police confirmed 15 arrests were made

The celebrations stretched into Friday evening, with chaotic scenes around Pier Head where missiles were thrown at police during scuffles with officers. A total of 15 people were arrested.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, claimed that 300 fans had fought with police for over two hours on Friday evening, while the streets were left littered with rubbish the following morning.

A 19-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of arson after fireworks were launched at the Liver Building – now the city HQ of bitter rivals Everton – which caused £10,000 of damage.  

According to The Telegraph, Masters will be asked by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee ‘whether the Premier League and its members ‘accept responsibility for a rise in coronavirus cases across the city’ on Tuesday.


Police were assaulted and struck by missiles by Liverpool supporters on Friday night as fans gathered to celebrate winning the league title in the city centre

Police have urged more understanding of the need to adhere to social distancing rules

Steve Brine MP, a member of the DCMS committee, believes Klopp and his players fuelled the wild celebrations with their own party on Thursday night when they were crowned champions.

He said: ‘It’s all very well Klopp saying this now. It’s a bit like closing the door after the horse has bolted, isn’t it? Filming yourselves on Instagram, hugging each other, what do you expect your fans to do? I don’t blame the fans entirely.

‘Their football team won the league. Their players and their manager should’ve shown more leadership and now to write open letters decrying it, the saintly Klopp doesn’t look so good today.’

‘People were always going to behave this way. So, if you wanted to avoid these scenes, you should have avoided restarting the Premier League until such time as we could accept those scenes.​’

On Monday, Liverpool manager Klopp condemned the behaviour of some supporters in an open letter published in The Liverpool Echo, writing: ‘What I did not love – and I have to say this – was the scenes that took place at the Pier Head on Friday. 

‘I am a human being and your passion is also my passion but right now the most important thing is that we do not have these kind of public gatherings. 

Jurgen Klopp has asked Liverpool supporters to calm down and stop their mass gatherings

Fans congregated outside Anfield on Thursday to toast the Premier League title win

‘We owe it to the most vulnerable in our community, to the health workers who have given so much and whom we have applauded and to the police and local authorities who help us as a club not to do this. 

‘Please – celebrate – but celebrate in a safe way and in private settings, whereby we do not risk spreading this awful disease further in our community.

‘If things were different I would love nothing more than to celebrate together, to have a parade that would be even bigger than the one after we won the Champions League last year, so that we could all share this special moment but it just is not possible.

‘We have all done so much to fight COVID-19 and this effort cannot go to waste. We owe it to ourselves and each other to do what is right and at this moment that means being together and being there for one another by being apart.’

Liverpool had earlier put out a joint statement with police and the council in which they condemned supporters failing to abide by social-distancing rules. 

It is claimed one club who could win a competition this season is considering ‘banning players from using social media channels to post photographs or footage of themselves doing anything that did not comply with social-distancing rules.​’ 




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Rugby

Magic Weekend: Super League cancels 2020 event in Newcastle

Super League has cancelled this year’s Magic Weekend because of ongoing restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The event, which sees all 12 sides play at the same venue over two days, was due to be held at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park on 23 and 24 May.

It was postponed in April, when the league said it hoped the event would take place later in the season.

The 2020 Super League season is due to resume behind closed doors on 2 August.

No matches have been played in the competition since 15 March.

Although there will be no Magic Weekend this season, a deal has been agreed in principle for it to return to Newcastle on 29 and 30 May 2021, with tickets purchased for this year remaining valid.

Magic Weekend has become one of rugby league’s major events in the calendar, aimed at growing the audience of the sport in new areas.

Since its first incarnation at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, the event has been played at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield, Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium and, last year, Anfield in Liverpool.

The most successful venue for the competition in terms of attendance has been Newcastle, with a record cumulative crowd over the two days of 68,276 in 2016, and more than 40,000 attending in a single day the previous year.

Hull KR will play Toronto Wolfpack, champions St Helens will face Catalans Dragons and Huddersfield will take on Leeds all at the same as yet unnamed venue when Super League restarts in August as the sides play matches that were postponed before the season was suspended.

A full round of fixtures will follow during the weekend of 8-9 August.

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Soccer

Premier League, PFA and EFL launch BAME player-to-coach scheme

Premier League, PFA and EFL launch new BAME player-to-coach placement scheme – with up to six coaches set to be handed 23-month work programme at EFL clubs amid criticism over lack of coaching staff diversity

  • A new coach placement scheme targeted at BAME coaches has been launched 
  • The Premier League, PFA and EFL had unveiled the joint endeavour on Monday 
  • The scheme will see up to six BAME coaches handed a 23-month placement 
  • The successful applicants will undertake a variety of football roles at EFL clubs 

The Premier League, PFA and EFL have launched a new coach placement programme aimed at increasing the number of Black, Asian or ethnic minority (BAME) players making the step into full-time coaching roles.

The scheme, which was unveiled on Monday, will be open to BAME PFA members of any age – and it will ensure that up to six coaches per season will be handed a 23-month work placement at clubs in the EFL.

It has been jointly funded by the top flight and the PFA, and bursaries will be awarded to successful applicants by their placement clubs. 

A new coach placement programme has been launched to increase the number of BAME players making the step into full-time coaching roles

Premier League boss Richard Masters says the scheme will create pathways for BAME coaches

It was also revealed that the very first intake for the programme will run as a pilot, with coaches spending time in a club’s academy set-up or with the first team, beginning at the start of next season. 

Those who are given placements will work across a wide range of football roles at clubs to ‘broaden their learning experience’, according to the Premier League. This is likely to involve undertaking sessions with different age groups, recruitment, analysis and administration. 

The scheme, supported by the FA, has been developed over the course of the last 18 months – and the coaches able to take up roles at EFL teams will also receive additional mentoring from the PFA’s coaching team. 

Darren Moore, chair of the Premier League Black Participants’ Advisory Group, lent his support

Both Darren Moore and Paul Nevin, experienced coaches and part of the Premier League’s Black Participants’ Advisory Group, have given their support to the programme. 

Up to six applicants will be successful, and they must also hold a minimum UEFA B qualification.

Richard Masters, chief executive of the Premier League, said: ‘It is vital that there are no barriers to entry to the pipelines for employment in coaching. We need more BAME coaches entering the system to create greater opportunities throughout the professional game.

Masters also believes it is ‘vital’ there are no barriers for BAME coaches to find employment

‘This new programme has been developed through collaboration and consultation with our colleagues across football. We have taken what we have learned from running the Premier League Elite Coach Apprenticeship Scheme and applied that experience to develop this framework.

‘We welcome the support from our Black Participants’ Advisory Group and the PFA Coaching team, their experience and knowledge will undoubtedly provide meaningful mentorship to those involved in the programme. We hope this scheme will create clear pathways and substantially improve future employment prospects for BAME coaches.’ 

Sportsmail learned in June that informal talks were held between the Premier League and the FA over the possibility of top flight clubs committing to having at least one BAME coach on their first team staff.

An FA equality action plan sees Chris Powell work alongside England boss Gareth Southgate

Pressure has mounted on the Premier League to address the lack of BAME coaches and managers operating at the highest level of the game with the Black Lives Matter movement continuing to gather momentum. 

Manchester City and England star Raheem Sterling has remaining vocal in expressing his wish for an increase in black former players making the transition into coaching. He also believes that more BAME individuals should be handed key roles at football clubs. 

The FA introduced a policy of assigning one BAME coach to each England team two years ago as part of a new equality action plan – and this measure has seen Chris Powell work alongside Gareth Southgate in the senior team. 

And last summer, the EFL brought in the Rooney Rule. This stipulates that clubs have to interview at least one BAME applicant when looking for a new first-team manager, although exceptions apply if they do not have a shortlisting process or interview just one candidate. 




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Soccer

League Two winners Swindon carry out a socially-distanced trophy lift

Is this what Liverpool can expect? Swindon become first English side to carry out a socially-distanced trophy lift as they celebrate winning League Two without their fans in County Ground

  • Swindon Town’s players lifted the League Two trophy on Friday morning 
  • The club were declared champions in early June via the points-per-game system 
  • The players maintained distancing as Dion Conroy and Mathieu Baudry lifted it
  • Crewe Alexandra and Plymouth Argyle will also join Swindon in League One 

Swindon Town may have just shown Liverpool the way to celebrate their Premier League title after becoming the first English side to carry out a socially-distanced trophy lift.

Swindon could finally celebrate being crowned champions of League Two on Friday but had to carry them out without their fans in the County Ground.

And despite the absence of supporters, a video on the club’s official Twitter page showed the players beaming and displaying their joy in style.

League Two champions Swindon Town lifted the League Two trophy on Friday morning

Champagned flowed as captain Dion Conroy and deputy Mathieu Baudry lifted the silverware

Champagne flowed as captain Dion Conroy and deputy Mathieu Baudry lifted the League Two trophy, before the whole squad took a knee in front of the silverware to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

But the squad maintained social distancing and maintained hygienic practices and showed Liverpool the circumstances in which they will have to lift their first league title in 30 years.

Swindon were officially declared champions earlier this month after it was decided a points-per-game system would be used to decide the final standings.  

They lost 2-0 at home to Forest Green Rovers on March 7 and sat second behind Crewe in the table with a game in hand when the season was paused due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

But the players maintained social distancing and showed Liverpool how they will have to do it

The players also took the knee to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement

They had 10 fixtures remaining but the points-per-game system was eventually decided upon as the way to declare final positions.

As a result, Richie Wellens’ men were joined by runners-up Crewe Alexandra and third-placed Plymouth Argyle in being promoted to League One.

They will be joined by either Exeter City or Northampton Town, with the League Two play-off final set to take place at Wembley on Monday evening.

This is the third time that the club has topped this league’s table after similar successes in the 2011-12 and 1985-86 seasons.

This is the third time that the club has topped this league’s table after 1986 and 2012




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Soccer

Premier League and EFL locked in dispute over transfer deadline plans

Premier League and EFL clubs locked in dispute over calls to end transfer window in October in line with UEFA’s wishes… with Football League clubs keen for it to stay open until JANUARY to ease post-Covid financial worries

  • FA may be required to resolve dispute between Premier League and EFL clubs
  • Premier League plan to conform to UEFA’s transfer deadline outlined for October
  • Meanwhile lower league clubs hope to keep window open until January 2021
  • EFL clubs want to continue trading players to lessen impact of coronavirus crisis 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Premier League clubs are at loggerheads with their Football League counterparts over dates for this summer’s transfer window in a dispute which may require the FA to resolve. 

Clubs in the lower divisions want to keep the window open from next month until January as they see regular player trading as the only way to survive the financial calamity caused by the shutdown and the ongoing absence of gate receipts.

However, the Premier League are conscious of falling into line with UEFA’s recommendation of an October transfer deadline.

EFL clubs are in disagreement over plans to impose summer transfer deadline in October

The Football Association may intervene to sort the dispute with EFL and Premier League 

As Sportsmail revealed on Tuesday, the Premier League are considering four different models for the summer window and will vote on the final proposal at their next shareholders’ meeting in July. 

All four timetables involve shutting the window in October, although two would see an extension to UEFA’s recommended deadline of October 5.

One proposal is for a two-week extension to cover solely domestic transfers, while the other would permit new signings until October 19.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin wants member associations to close window by October 5

The EFL, in contrast, want the transfer window to be open much longer. With the ongoing uncertainty as to when fans will be permitted to attend matches, many clubs fear that selling players and trimming their wage bills may be the only way to survive.

While several clubs will argue for the window to be open all season to give them the flexibility to trade as required, the EFL board may propose a January cut-off as a compromise.

The EFL have operated with a slightly different summer window from the Premier League in recent years after the top flight moved the deadline two years ago to before the start of the season.

Before the pandemic Championship clubs had voted to align with the elite this summer and close their window at the start of August though Leagues One and Two had planned to stick with their existing deadline of August 31.

While Championship clubs remain eager to be closely aligned to the Premier League, the latter told clubs on Tuesday that in the event of an ongoing dispute with the EFL it would fall to the FA to determine the dates of the transfer window.

EFL clubs want to continue trading players until January to alleviate financial pressure




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