#AceHealthReport – May.08: Chelsea and Manchester City fans should not travel to Turkey for the Champions League final, says transport secretary Grant Shapps, after he added the country to England’s travel red list:
#CoronavirusNewsDesk Champions League Final: ‘Fans should not travel to Turkey says UK Government: European Football last hosted the Champions League final in 2005, when Liverpool beat AC Milanas the biggest game in European football is set to take place in Istanbul on 29 May’
Schapps said Covid-19 red list countries “should not be visited except in the most extreme circumstances”.
He added that the government was open to hosting the game in England.
Schapps said that the Football Association is in talks with Uefa about switching the game, but that it is “ultimately a decision for Uefa”.
“The UK has a successful track record of hosting matches with spectators so we are well placed to do it,” he said.
“So we are very open to it, but it is actually in the end a decision for Uefa to make. But given it is two English clubs in the final, we look forward to hearing what they have to say.”
The BBC understands that the government will look at solutions for whatever circumstances arise around the final, including exploring travel exemptions for players and club staff.
UK citizens returning from red list countries are required to quarantine at a government-approved hotel for 10 days.
If the final was to switch to England, Wembley Stadium, the most obvious host venue, is already set to host the Championship play-off final on 29 May.
#AceSportsReport – May.04: It was at an entrance round the back of the Stretford End, away from the noise and the flares that accompanied the start of the Manchester United fans’ protest at Old Trafford, that those who made it on to the pitch gained access.
‘Man United Supporters protest outside Old Trafford against the Glazers, who took over ManU in 2005 most of them were young lads in their 20s, coming down the hill in wave after wave, but not all there were women and older men too. One, probably in his late 50s or early 60s, wore a green and gold scarf and woolly hat – the colours of United’s first shirts when they were formed as Newton Heath in 1878, and of the original anti-Glazer protests in 2010’
After he had left the stadium compound, he remained with those waiting for the United team bus that never arrived.
He was not angry and spoke calmly to fans and media in the same area, wanting to know the latest about what was happening on the other side of the ground, or around the team hotel, where he had been earlier.
Those fans, he felt, were more sinister than the ones at the stadium. But he didn’t condemn them. He accepts they have a common goal. Emotions have been simmering for 16 years, so a bit of aggression is understandable, the theory went.
Exchanges like this – and people like that – underline the reason for what happened at Old Trafford.
A large protest was expected outside the ground before the match with historic rivals Liverpool – but no-one expected fans to force their way into the stadium and on to the pitch and for the match to be postponed.’Fans overstepped the mark’ – Shearer and Jenas on Man Utd protest
Like supporters of the other five ‘big six’ clubs, Manchester United’s fans are angry about the European Super League proposals. They don’t want it and will voice their opposition – just as fans of the other five English sides have done.
What sets United apart is that their fans are not surprised at the actions of their owners – the US-based Glazer family.
Indeed, to those fans, it merely underlines their view that the owners of their football club only care about money and that they have no affection for the world-famous 149-year-old institution they are in charge of.
If they did, the argument goes, they would never have landed the club with the enormous debt associated with their controversial £790m leveraged takeover in 2005.
Manchester United were a debt-free organisation when they were on the stock market prior to the Glazers buying the club. The fans believe the Glazers should have used their own money.
That debt currently stands at £455.5m, according to the club’s latest accounts, which were released on 4 March, 2021. It is estimated that in general finance costs, interest and dividends, the Glazer takeover has cost United in excess of £1bn.
There is nothing new in this. Many United fans were genuinely angry when Sir Alex Ferguson used to defend the owners. The Scot repeatedly said the Glazer family backed him in the transfer market and never offered criticism.
Those fans felt Ferguson’s brilliance as a manager masked underlying issues around the money being invested in United’s playing squad.
It is no surprise the ‘green and gold’ anti-Glazer campaign began in 2010, when United were experiencing a dip after three successive Premier League titles, nor that it fizzled out when Ferguson got his team playing like champions again and reached another Champions League final.
But for some, the sentiment never dimmed. Disenchantment with the Glazer stewardship of United has grown with every passing year since Ferguson retired in 2013, not just because the club’s fortunes have slipped, but because despite the relative failure, tens of millions of pounds go out of the club, either directly to the family or because of the way they run United.
There is a counter-balance to this narrative.
The owners are responsible for the phenomenal rise in Manchester United’s commercial revenue. They were the ones who aggressively pursued the regional approach, which every other similar sized club has followed.
The Glazers introduced a commercial plan which was different to any other club. Other than the major deals with Adidas, Chevrolet and others, they sell on a regional basis across the globe, so they have telecoms partners in USA and Canada, another in Africa, another in China. They recognised United were popular and maximised the popularity.
It can be argued, with some justification, that the Glazers are responsible for a significant proportion of United’s rise in income and what they take out is only a percentage of it.
United sources never tire of drilling home the message that the money the club raises is done to improve the playing side, whether it be through big-money signings or academy prospects.
Beyond question, they have spent a lot of money on players. Whether they have bought the right ones is debatable though, and the Glazers are blamed by some for not putting the processes in place to get the recruitment right.
In recent times, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a patron of the Manchester United Supporters Trust (Must), which has campaigned against the family, has, like Ferguson, been condemned for not criticising the owners.
Yet Solskjaer, when I asked him about the planned protests in the build-up to Sunday’s game, said the fans’ voice “needs to be heard”.
That probably explains the wording of the club statement on Sunday night, which in addition to condemning those who put “other fans, staff and police in danger”, also acknowledged their right to free expression and peaceful protest, in addition to highlighting their passion.
In the aftermath of the ESL’s collapse, co-chairman Joel Glazer said he accepted there was a need for greater communication with supporters.
That said, he opted not to join an emergency fans forum on Friday when Must were amongst the signatories of a letter, read out to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, stating the fans did not trust or believe the owners.
It is doubtful whether bridges between the two sides can ever be built but even securing some sort of peace, however uneasy, may not be easy to achieve.
#AceSportsReport – Apr.21: BBC Sport understands bosses at the Serie A club are preparing for their exit following Tuesday night’s dramatic developments.
European Super League: All six Premier League teams withdraw from competition: Manchester City were the first club to pull out after Chelsea had signalled their intent to do so by preparing documentation to withdraw: The other four sides – Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham – have all now followed suit: Italian side Inter Milan are also set to withdraw as they no longer wish to be involved with the project: How football’s volatile 48 hours unfolded
Chelsea fans protested against their involvement in the European Super League outside Stamford Bridge
30 minutes ago
The 12-team Super League, set up by the seven afore-mentioned teams and Spain’s Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid and Italy’s AC Milan and Juventus was announced on Sunday to widespread condemnation.
“Despite the announced departure of the English clubs, forced to take such decisions due to the pressure put on them, we are convinced our proposal is fully aligned with European law and regulations,” the ESL said on Wednesday, adding it was “convinced that the current status quo of European football needs to change”.
In an interview with Italian newspaper la Repubblica, Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli said the remaining clubs will “press ahead” and the project still had “a 100% chance of being a success”.,
“Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is insisting on the idea of keeping the group together to push for change,” says Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.Liverpool owner John W Henry apologises in message to fans
“Barcelona say they agreed to the ESL, but only if the Season Ticket Holders Assembly approve it, which could be their way out.”
Balague also says Atletico Madrid are meeting on Wednesday morning to review their position.
Manchester City confirmed they have “formally enacted the procedures to withdraw” from the Super League.
Liverpool said their involvement in the proposed breakaway league “has been discontinued”.
Manchester United said they had “listened carefully to the reaction from our fans, the UK government and other key stakeholders” in making their decision to not take part.
Arsenal apologised in an open letter to their fans and said they had “made a mistake”, adding they were withdrawing after listening to them and the “wider football community”.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said the club regretted the “anxiety and upset” caused by the proposal.
Chelsea confirmed they have “begun the formal procedures for withdrawal from the group” that they only joined “late last week”.
‘Admirable to admit a mistake ‘ – Uefa
Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin welcomed the reversal, adding: “I said yesterday that it is admirable to admit a mistake and these clubs made a big mistake.
“But they are back in the fold now and I know they have a lot to offer not just to our competitions but to the whole of the European game.
“The important thing now is that we move on, rebuild the unity that the game enjoyed before this and move forward together.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson posted on Twitter: “I welcome last night’s announcement. This is the right result for football fans, clubs, and communities across the country. We must continue to protect our cherished national game.”
Labour leader Keir Starmer added that this “must be a watershed moment, where we change our game to put fans first again”, while Liberal Democrats leader Ed Davey tweeted: “This must be the start of a fans-led football revolution.”
In a statement, the European Super League said: “Given the current circumstances we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community.”
English football’s ‘big six’ were part of a group that announced plans to form the breakaway league, which they hoped to establish as a new midweek competition.
It was condemned by fans, football authorities and government ministers in the UK and across Europe by Uefa and league associations.
Around 1,000 fans gathered outside Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground before their game against Brighton on Tuesday to protest at their club’s involvement.Chelsea legend Petr Cech pleaded with fans to disperse outside the ground before their match against Brighton
Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who was involved in the Super League discussions, has announced he will step down from his role at the end of 2021.
Leading players at some of the six clubs signalled their disapproval of the planned breakaway league.
“We don’t like it and we don’t want it to happen,” read a message that was also posted by many fellow Liverpool players.
After City confirmed their withdrawal, England winger Raheem Sterling posted: “Ok bye.”
Uefa had hoped to stave off the threat of a European Super League with a new 36-team Champions League, which was agreed on Monday.
In announcing their proposals for a Super League that would eventually comprise of 20 teams, the 12-club group said the Champions League reforms did not go far enough.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who was named as the ESL’s chairman, said the competition was set up “to save football” because young people are “no longer interested” in the game because of “a lot of poor quality games”.
None of the Spanish and Italian sides have yet released a statement after the six Premier League teams pulled out.
What did each club say?
The Arsenal board said they did not intend to “cause such distress” and that they joined the Super League because they “did not want to be left behind” and wanted to ensure the club’s future.
“Our aim is always to make the right decisions for this great football club, to protect it for the future and to take us forward,” they added.
“We didn’t make the right decision here, which we fully accept.”
Manchester United said that they “remain committed to working with others across the football community to come up with sustainable solutions to the long-term challenges facing the game”.
Liverpool said the club had “received representations from various key stakeholders, both internally and externally” before reaching their decision and thanked them for their “valuable contributions”.
Levy said that Tottenham felt it was “important” to take part in “a possible new structure that sought to better ensure financial fair play and financial sustainability whilst delivering significantly increased support for the wider football pyramid”.
He added: “We should like to thank all those supporters who presented their considered opinions.”
Chelsea said that after having had “time to consider the matter fully” they had decided that their “continued participation in these plans would not be in the best interests of the club, our supporters or the wider football community”.
Manchester City said they have “formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League”
02:36 on 04/05/2014 Tags: American Basketball and American Football, Canadian Ice Hockey, Fan And Policeman ‘Shot’, Fan ‘Shot’, Football, Italian Cup Final, Italy ( 35 ), Napoli, Napoli and Fiorentina, Napoli and Fiorentina in Rome, Policeman ‘Shot’, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi ( 2 ), Rome ( 25 ), Southern Europe, violence delayed the match by 45 minutes
At least one fan and one police officer have reportedly been shot ahead of the Italian Cup final between Napoli and Fiorentina in Rome. The football supporter was believed to have been hit in the chest and was in a serious condition, while the police officer was shot in the hand. The shootings reportedly happened in an area where fans were gathering for the match at the Olympic Stadium. There were also reports of serious crowd trouble in the Tor di Quinto area close to the venue.
Video in Italian, but shows the scenes
At least three Napoli supporters were reportedly injured in clashes, as rival supporters threw firecrackers and other objects at each other. Fans of Roma, one of the capital’s clubs, were also reportedly seen throwing bottles and stones. Inside the stadium, Napoli captain Marek Hamsik was seen going over to talk with the fans and calm them down before kick-off, which was delayed by 45 minutes.
Napoli overcame the dramatic scenes to claim their second Italian Cup trophy in three years with a 3-1 win over Fiorentina. There was more chaos at the final whistle when Napoli fans invaded the pitch to celebrate, although they were quickly brought under control. Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Senate President Piero Grasso were present at the game. Mr Grasso, who presented the trophy to Napoli at the end of the match, described those responsible as “delinquents, not supporters”. “A game of football cannot be turned into a war between rival gangs,” he said.
14:17 on 03/04/2014 Tags: Commonwealth Games ( 2 ), Distruction of 5 story buildings, Football, Glasgow ( 3 ), Glasgow 2014, Live demolition at Commenwealth games opener, Red Road tower blocks, Soccer, Sport and tagged Celtic Park Glasgow, tower blocks