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Queen Elizabeth: Premier League postpones fixtures

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All Premier League matches this weekend have been postponed as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, it was announced on Friday.

The English top flight took the decision despite guidance from the British government that cancelling sporting events was not compulsory during a period of national mourning.

“At a meeting this morning, Premier League clubs paid tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” the Premier League said in a statement.

“To honour her extraordinary life and contribution to the nation, and as a mark of respect, this weekend’s Premier League match round will be postponed, including Monday evening’s game.”

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All matches in the English Football League and Women’s Super League have also been postponed.

Other sporting action in Britain scheduled for Friday, including Test cricket and European golf’s PGA Championship, have been cancelled as a mark of respect.

Those sports could restart over the weekend.

However, sporting chiefs have been advised to avoid any clash with a state funeral, the date of which has yet to be announced.

“There is no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues during the national mourning period,” the government said in a guidance statement.

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“This is at the discretion of individual organisations. As a mark of respect, organisations might wish to consider cancelling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the state funeral.”

Manchester United’s Europa League clash with Real Sociedad at Old Trafford and West Ham’s game against FCSB in the Europa Conference League at the London Stadium went ahead on Thursday with pre-match tributes.

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The British Horseracing Authority said there would be no races on Saturday – extending cancellations into a third day.

King’s Lynn, the only horse owned by the queen entered to run this weekend, will not run at the Curragh on Sunday.

Racing will return on Sunday, with the programme featuring the St Leger, one of Britain’s five Classic races, which the queen won in 1977 with her filly Dunfermline.

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NFF not aware of Finidi’s resignation -Gusau

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NFF not aware of Finidi’s resignation -Gusau

The President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Ibrahim Gusau, says he is unaware embattled Super Eagles coach, Finidi George, has tendered his resignation.

This comes amid reports online that the coach resigned after the NFF announced Thursday that it would hire an “expatriate technical adviser” for the Eagles, following their dismal performances in the 2026 World Cup qualifying series.

Also read: NFF promises Eagles coach Finidi house, car after unveiling

The Eagles have managed just three points from a possible 12, and sit fifth in the six-team Group C, which has put their qualification hopes in jeopardy.

The Eagles dismal outings drew the ire of the country’s football-crazy populace, who are still smarting from the disappointment of the team’s non-qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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Mixed reactions trailed the NFF’s announcement on Thursday, with some followers of the team calling on the federation’s board members and Finidi to tender their resignations.

According to reports , Finidi is livid that the NFF leadership met with the sports minister two days ago, but failed to mention that players reported late to the camp and that they (NFF) did nothing to mobilise Nigerians in Ivory Coast to support the Eagles in last Monday’s match with Benin Republic.

The reports added that Finidi, who’s overseen just two Eagles games since he took charge in April, resigned from his post Tuesday (today) morning.

However, when our correspondent sent a WhatsApp message to Gusau to confirm if Finidi had resigned, he replied, “Not yet aware.”

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I won’t play at Paris Olympics – Messi

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Lionel Messi said he will not be part of Argentina’s squad for the Paris Olympics as he is no longer at an age where he can play in every tournament.

The 36-year-old Inter Miami forward is currently preparing for Argentina’s Copa America title defence, which runs from June 20 to July 14 in the United States.

Also read: Injured Messi missing as Inter Miami lose US Open Cup final

In February, under-23 manager Javier Mascherano said Messi, who won gold with Argentina at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, had an invitation to join the squad for Paris.

“I talked to Mascherano and the truth is we both understood the situation,” Messi told ESPN.

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“It’s hard (to think about the Olympics right now) because we’re in Copa America. It would be two, three straight months of not being with the club, and more than anything I’m not at an age to be in everything.

“I have to choose carefully, and it would be too much to play two straight tournaments. I’ve been very lucky to play in the Olympics, of winning it together with (Mascherano).

“It was a wonderful experience on a football level. Olympics, U20, memories I’ll never forget.”

The men’s football tournament at the Olympics takes place in July and August. Teams are allowed three overage players in their squads.

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Ten Hag remains Man Utd boss

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Erik ten Hag is set to remain as coach of Manchester United following a performance review of the Dutchman carried out by the Premier League club.

Rumours swirled regarding the future of Ten Hag after a poor second season in the hot seat at Old Trafford, with a lowly eighth-placed finish in the league and group stage Champions League exit.

 

Also read : EPL: Man Utd to cut January transfer budget

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But the 54-year-old coach did oversee an impressive 2-1 FA Cup final win against local rivals Manchester City in May to boost his chances of keeping his job.

Britain’s Press Association reported United have decided that Ten Hag will remain as coach after spending a fortnight reviewing the 2023-24 campaign and overall first-team operation.

With the former Ajax boss’ contract set to expire in Manchester next summer, negotiations over a contract extension have reportedly begun between the two parties.

Prior to the season-ending FA Cup final, reports suggested Ten Hag would be sacked regardless of the outcome of the match.

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