Press Association Manager Arsene Wenger maintains there can be no regrets over former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas moving to Chelsea from Barcelona this summer. The Gunners will come up against their ex-skipper in Sunday’s Barclays Premier League trip to Stamford Bridge after the Spain international signed for the Blues ahead of the World Cup. Arsenal held first option on the 27-year-old, who left to rejoin his boyhood club for £30million in August 2011 having come of age under Wenger’s guidance after arriving as a raw teenager. Wenger, however, insists all of that is now water under the bridge. Asked whether he believed Fabregas’ first choice would have been to rejoin the Gunners, Wenger said: “Certainly, yes. (But) I don’t want to make a big story of that because you have to accept that once he had moved away from us, and it was the first separation which was difficult for us. “Once he went to Barcelona, he could have gone anywhere else after. “I personally believe that deal (with Chelsea) was done a long time ago, early 2014.” Wenger continued: “I didn’t speak to Cesc directly. I was informed that he might go to Chelsea, but when I was informed I thought the deal was already done. “Everybody has the freedom to go where they want. We have to respect their decisions. “As long as we are not in contention (for the transfer), we cannot stop people going where they want. “I have also told you before why it was not a subject for us – we were in search of more up front and more defensive opportunities than creative midfielders. We have many. “When Cesc left we bought Ozil to buy an offensive player. We have Cazorla, we have Wilshere, we have Ramsey, we have Oxlade-Chamberlain, who are all offensive players. We were not in the need to buy offensive players. “It makes sense if you just look at the balance of the team. I think that was a decision that is easy to understand.” Wenger hopes Arsenal fans will not vent their frustrations on Fabregas and they should only have happy memories. “When Cesc looks back at his career he will find that Arsenal and myself had a very positive impact on his career. Nobody can dispute that,” he said. “After that, I hope that everyone has the feeling we had a positive influence and that he had a great career. That is all you can do. “I have no personal animosity against Fabregas. “I wish him well. He is a great player and a person and player I love. “Once he left us, he left us. We are all professionals and we have to accept that.” Wenger conceded the 6-0 mauling at Stamford Bridge in March – where Arsenal were 3-0 down inside 17 minutes and had Kieran Gibbs sent off – was a day they would certainly “never forget” on his 1,000th match in charge. He said: “It was of course a very bad memory, but football is not made of history, it is made of performance and performance in the next game that counts, that is what we want to do.” Wenger has yet to get the better of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho in their 11 meetings and on the eve of last season’s encounter was branded a “specialist in failure” by the Portuguese coach. The 64-year-old, whose side went on to lift the 2014 FA Cup at Wembley, is not about to get involved in any pre-match mind games. “One of the privileges of age is that your ego is less important and you more offer your knowledge to what is important, and that is the performance of the team,” he said. “It is not a game between two managers, it is a game between two teams and two clubs. “The recent history (at Chelsea) was negative for us and on Sunday we have a good opportunity to change history.” Wenger, meanwhile, maintained forward Lukas Podolski was still part of his plans, despite the German World Cup winner hinting he may look to leave to find more regular football.
The final Asian qualifying place for the women’s soccer tournament at the Tokyo Olympics is set to be decided in February.The Asian Football Confederation says the postponed two-leg series between China and South Korea will be played Feb. 19 and 24. No venues for the games were announced.The games were previously postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed for one year.The 12-team women’s tournament is scheduled to start in Japan ahead of the Olympic opening ceremony on July 23, 2021.___ ___The Kontinental Hockey League says it plans to return on Sept. 2 to open the 2020-21 season.The last KHL game was played on March 12. The season was then suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.The KHL is widely considered to be the strongest hockey league outside the NHL. It ended its 2019-20 season part-way through the playoffs without declaring a champion.The league says Sept. 2 is a preliminary date which could be subject to “necessary corrections” depending on how the coronavirus situation develops. Some assistant coaches and sports department support staff will lose their jobs as Youngstown State University eliminates 22 positions as part of budget cuts related to the coronavirus pandemic.Athletic director Ron Stollo said about half of the 22 are coaching positions. The school has 21 intercollegiate sports, and none are being eliminated.Strollo said as an enrollment-boosting measure the school had added men’s swimming and women’s lacrosse and doubled the size of the men’s and women’s cross-country teams before the pandemic and uncertainty about the future adversely affected revenue.The personnel cuts and other moves in the sports department are expected to save $2 million, said Strollo, who along with coaches took pay cuts ranging from 6% to 10%.New football coach Doug Phillips was in the process of hiring his coaching staff when the school was forced to shut down. Four positions in the football program will be eliminated, Strollo said, but they don’t include any on-field coaching personnel. The FFF says that “the two relegations for the 2019-20 season are maintained and the second division will remain at 20 clubs for the 2020-21 season.”The French government ordered soccer and rugby leagues to be canceled at the end of April because of the coronavirus pandemic.___Bologna says a member of its staff may have coronavirus and if it is confirmed the entire squad will go into quarantine.Bologna says the latest series of tests revealed “a suspected positive case for COVID-19.” ___The Premier League says four people from three clubs have tested positive for the coronavirus in the third round of testing in the last 10 days as teams return to training.The league did not identify whether the people infected with COVID-19 are players or club staff. There were tests on 1,008 people.English soccer was suspended in March and hopes to restart next month.___ ___The NHL’s Vancouver Canucks are considering moving training camp to the United States because of Canada’s 14-day mandatory quarantine requirement for those arriving in the country.Canucks general manager Jim Benning says the team is still in the early stages of that possibility. He said he has talked to colleagues with other Canadian teams about the quarantine regulation and how it might put them at a competitive disadvantage.The NHL on Tuesday unveiled a 24-team playoff format if it can return this summer but said camps aren’t expected to begin before July 1.___ May 27, 2020 International travel restrictions became a problem for KHL teams. The league has teams in six countries but most are in Russia.The projected Sept. 2 start date is broadly in line with other recent KHL seasons.___The French soccer federation has rejected the league’s bid for a 22-team second division next season to save clubs from being relegated.The French league voted last week to allow Le Mans and Orléans to stay in the second division while Pau and Dunkerque were promoted from the third division. But the executive committee of French soccer’s governing body has overruled that decision. The league says players are now able to train as a group and “engage in tackling while minimizing any unnecessary close contact.”Play has been suspended in the world’s richest league since March 13.The league says “discussions are ongoing as work continues toward resuming the season.”Players returned to training last week and have been practicing in small groups with social distancing maintained.___ The club says that as a precaution the team will train individually on Thursday.It would be the first positive case in Serie A since the teams started training in groups if it is confirmed.Serie A has been suspended since March 9 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league is hoping to restart on June 13.___The Spanish soccer federation says it will allow games to be played on Mondays and Fridays until the end of the season even though a judge has denied the Spanish league’s official request to play on those days. A 16-player team tennis event featuring Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu will take part at the LTP Daniel Island in Charleston, South Carolina, next month. The Credit One Bank Invitation will also include Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys. It will be played from June 23-28.Organizers say the event will be conducted without fans. The facility had been scheduled to host the Volvo Car Open this past April, but the tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event will work with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to ensure safety and health protocols are adhered to. To minimize people necessary on site, players will call their own lines and get assistance from only one ball person and one official on court.___ The Latest: NHL teams likely to have 28-player rosters Keeneland canceled its 16-day spring meet in March amid public health concerns because of the coronavirus outbreak. That initially eliminated the $600,000 Grade 2 Blue Grass and $400,000 Grade 1 Ashland, which award points toward the Derby and its sister race for fillies, Oaks. The track last week requested the special meet, which the KHRC granted after Ellis Park made the dates available.The Ashland and Blue Grass are now back in play for the Oaks and Derby, which are set for Sept. 4-5 at Churchill Downs in Louisville.“Keeneland appreciates the quick response of the Commission to our request, and we applaud all their work on behalf of Kentucky racing during these unprecedented times,” said Keeneland President/CEO Bill Thomason, who also thanked Ellis Park in a news release.Added Ellis Park general manager Jeffrey Inman, “We are all in this together, and Ellis Park is pleased to work with Keeneland on a plan that benefits our horsemen and Kentucky racing.”Keeneland plans to run at least nine races each day and will feature 10 graded stakes events. The Blue Jackets had a group of veterans sidelined and were patching together lines with rookies when the season was halted in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.Now with plans for the playoffs moving forward for this summer, Columbus is expected to be at near full strength, general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a conference call Wednesday with reporters.That includes star defenseman Seth Jones and the team’s leading scorer, Oliver Bjorkstrand, both of whom had broken a foot. And goalies Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins will be healthy simultaneously for the time since late December.In the 24-team playoff plan announced by the NHL on Tuesday, the Blue Jackets will play the Toronto Maple Leafs in a best-of-five qualifying series.“Now it’s time to put what we learned this year to good use and make sure it’s not wasted,” Columbus captain Nick Foligno said. “If we’re going to get healthier, then the bar gets raised.” Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has announced a multimillion-dollar commitment through the team’s foundation to provide jobs and food during the coronavirus pandemic.Starting Monday at the Dolphins’ stadium, the initiative will give out a minimum of 1,000 meals each weekday for up to 12 months. On Sundays, the Dolphins will work with churches and community groups to purchase food from restaurants to provide a minimum of 1,000 meals.The team said Ross will invest at least $2 million, and with matching donations the goal is a $4 million total impact. The program will generate jobs and revenue for the restaurant industry, and employ guest services and security staff at the stadium, the Dolphins said.___The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has approved Keeneland’s request for a five-day, spectator-free meet July 8-12 that will allow the running of marquee prep races for the rescheduled Kentucky Derby and Oaks. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___The NHL has advised its teams to prepare for a roster of 28 players and an unlimited amount of goaltenders for training camp and the playoffs if it can return this summer. Several general managers on Wednesday said they were told that would be the anticipated roster limit. Each team is limited to 50 personnel of any kind in one of the two cities that would host games.The league says training camp isn’t expected to begin before early July. If the NHL goes ahead with its 24-team playoff format, games could begin in late July or early August.___Houston Texans superstar J.J. Watt hopes there are fans in the stands when the NFL season kicks off this fall.“We love our fans and (having their) energy, the excitement, the adrenaline, it makes it what it is,” Watt said Wednesday. But if fans aren’t allowed in stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic, it won’t change anything about how the defensive end plays.“As an athlete, as a competitor you can play in front of no fans,” Watt said. “We want to go out there and compete. It doesn’t matter if it’s a practice against another team, it doesn’t matter if it’s a practice against our own team, it doesn’t matter if it’s in the weight room against yourself, you’re always looking to compete.”The NFL season is scheduled to open Sept. 10 when the Texans travel to face the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Watt said he doesn’t have any inside information as to whether the season will begin as planned amid the pandemic, but he’s working on the assumption that it will.___The pause in the NHL season has allowed the hard-luck Columbus Blue Jackets to get healthy again. Associated Press League president Javier Tebas has said he wants matches to be played every day but the federation had been against the idea.The federation says it “wants to clearly show its good will” and is also willing to extend the exception into the beginning of next season depending on how the pandemic progresses and if games will continue to be played without fans.The league says it will appeal the judge’s decision. It says it jeopardizes the soccer industry in Spain. The league was not able to schedule matches on Mondays before the competition was suspended in mid-March.___Premier League clubs have voted unanimously to resume contact training in the latest step toward restarting the soccer season amid the coronavirus pandemic. More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6
StumbleUpon Submit Share Betfred counters Oppenheimer bid in race to rescue Phumelela August 26, 2020 Share Related Articles SBC Magazine Issue 10: Kaizen Gaming rebrand and focus for William Hill CEO August 25, 2020 Betfred extends World Snooker Championship deal until 2022 August 17, 2020 The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has welcomed UK bookmakers’ decision to supply an additional £3m in funding to the provision of greyhound welfare and the uplift of the greyhound racing industry as a whole.The funding commitment will be paid for by UK bookmakers, after the UK Gambling Commission secured a voluntary agreement with Betfred, William Hill, Sky Betting & Gaming and Paddy Power Betfair.It will form the foundations of the long term strategic plan announced by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, the ‘Greyhound Commitment’, which will ensure that animal welfare and sport integrity remain at the forefront of the sport.An ABB spokesperson said: “The relationship between greyhound racing and the betting industry is a long-standing and strong one and this increase in industry funding should help secure the future of greyhound racing in the UK. “Over 95% of all retail bookmakers are now contributing to this voluntary fund and we are pleased that this additional funding will form part of a long-term strategic plan that will provide safer race tracks, training for veterinary staff and homes for retired greyhounds.”UK Sports Minister Mims Davies announced that the funding will be used to provide tailored training for veterinary staff, the development and expansion of post-injury rehabilitation scheme for greyhounds, UK-wide improvements to safety standards. and the provision of more homes for retired dogs. This will be overseen by The Greyhound TrustBacking the new funding scheme arrangement Davies commented: “I am delighted to have reached an agreement with leading operators to ensure the welfare of our greyhounds is protected and improved through this fund.“As the sixth most watched sport in Britain, it is clear that the welfare and care of all racing greyhounds, from registration to retirement, must be a fundamental part of its successful future.“I strongly urge all remaining bookmakers that take bets on greyhound racing who have not signed up to this agreement to follow suit and support the sport.“Any greyhounds put to sleep due to medical treatment being too expensive, or poor prognosis is one too many – we must stop this.”The new contributions follow the Ladbrokes-Coral, bet365 and Jennings Bet announcement in 2018 that they would be backing a new co-funded scheme for Greyhound racing.