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EPL players left divided over keeping Black Lives Matter slogan on shirts

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Premier League players are divided on whether to keep the Black Lives Matter (BLM) slogan on their shirts and have left a decision on the sensitive issue until just days before the new season.   The Premier League has said the decision rests with the players, whose views will be aired at a pre-season meeting of the club captains this week.  The Mail on Sunday understands that some players want to continue with the slogan. The representative of one BAME player indicated that the individual in question felt ‘very strongly’ about the slogan’s part in the ongoing fight against bigotry and two lead.  But several sources have said that players are aware of the controversy the message attracted last season when the BLM message was hijacked by a group of extreme activists. They do not want to put themselves at the centre of an ongoing controversy and feel that would be counter-productive.  There will be a wish to ensure that black and minority ethnic players are given a strong voice in the decision. Yet only two of the 20 Premier League captains are BAME: Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Leicester City’s Wes Morgan, who also sits on the league’s Black Participants Advisory Group.  Kick it Out last week reported 446 incidences of abuse during the 2019-20 season – a 42 per cent increase on the previous campaign – and the organisation’s head of development Troy Townsend said last night that he hoped the shirt slogan would be kept for the new season.   He said: ‘We should not let people hijack it. It’s a message through which players have taken it upon themselves to show solidarity to their teammates – not a political message – and it’s cheap to align that to some political movement. Unfortunately, the decision has come down to the wire but I think the captains will drive the message of solidarity. I hope they are not spoken down.’  Both Townsend and Kick it Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari said that nothing had changed since the death of George Floyd in the US on May 25 became a catalyst for the show of solidarity in which Premier League players decided to wear the BLM message instead of their names on shirts.  Bhandari said: ‘Racial injustice and inequality didn’t just finish at the end of the season. The players’ greatest power is to push for change and how they do that should be driven by them.’  A decision has been left to the last minute because players have only just returned to training. But it is a more complex one than the decision on whether to take knee – which is set to continue when the new season starts.   The Premier League Black Lives Matter logo – designed by Alisha Hosannah, partner of the Watford striker Troy Deeney – was intended simply to send the message that it is unacceptable to treat black people differently to anyone else.  But a series of tweets from a ‘Black Lives Matter UK’ account included anti-Israel messages, with calls to de-fund the police and remove Met Commissioner Cressida Dick. The group’s Twitter feed has hijacked the distinctive black and yellow colour scheme of the original US campaign and has built 77,000 followers, with a crowdfunding campaign which has attracted donations of more than £1million. The group has refused to disclose whom its leaders are.  Some players feel strongly that this extreme fringe group should not be allowed to block a message which many feel strongly about.  Bhandari said: ‘The sentiments of the Black Lives Matter movement mean different things in different countries. In the context of British football, we want to see more black coaches, more Asian players, boardrooms that are not all white and all male and reductions in discrimination and an end to online hate. What we now have to do is translate gestures into action because gestures on their own are meaningless.’   Townsend cited the boycotts staged by NBA and NFL stars and tennis player Naomi Osaka over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, as evidence of the need to maintain solidarity here. ‘The level of protest has only progressed since the end of last season,’ he said.  The Premier League issued a statement when the rogue group’s activities came to light, saying it was ‘aware of the risk posed by groups that seek to hijack popular causes to promote their own political views’ and that ‘these actions are entirely unwelcome and are rejected.’  A compromise on the Black Lives Matter slogan would be the introduction of an alternative type of anti-racism messaging on shirts, though the imminent start of the season creates little time to design and agree on one.  Logistically, it is not a problem that the decision will be reached possibly 72 hours before the first games of the new campaign. Two shirts must be prepared for each player in the 30-man squads and the task of embossing either players’ names or a slogan is one day’s work for Premier League clubs’ kit staff.

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Premier league

Man United captain Harry Maguire released from Greek police custody

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Harry Maguire

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire was released from Greek police custody Saturday, TV footage showed, pending a hearing on assault charges on the island of Mykonos.

Local TV footage showed Maguire leaving a courthouse on neighbouring Syros island, apparently accompanied by members of his legal team, and boarding a dark minivan.

His lawyer Constantinos Darivas had earlier told Greek sports website gazzetta.gr that the England centre-back had denied the charges, and was in “fine condition” despite spending two nights in detention since his Thursday night arrest.

Greek TV channel Mega said Maguire’s father had flown to Greece to be at his son’s side.

The case is being heard on the island of Syros, the administrative hub of the Cycladic island group that includes Mykonos.

The local prosecutor is expected to set a date for the hearing.

The £80 million (88 million euros) defender was arrested late Thursday after what Greek police described as an “altercation” between two groups of British tourists on Mykonos.

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Mega said Maguire had become enraged after someone in the other group struck his sister.

A Greek police statement on Friday said that three men aged 27, 28 and 29 had been arrested in Mykonos.

The police said an officer was punched on the scene, and that a second fight had broken out at the local police station where the three men “strenuously resisted (arrest), pushing and striking three officers.”

The suspects are accused of assault, resisting arrest, verbally insulting and threatening the arresting officers, and attempted bribery, the police said.

Four Mykonos officers sustained slight injuries in the fracas, the authorities said.

Mykonos is popular with sports stars and celebrities for its all-night nightlife and beaches.

United on Friday said in a brief statement they were “aware of an alleged incident involving Harry Maguire in Mykonos last night.”

“Contact has been made with Harry, and he is fully co-operating with the Greek authorities.

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“At this time we will be making no further comment,” the club added.

United’s 2019/20 season ended Sunday in a 2-1 defeat to Sevilla in the Europa League semi-finals.

But the club will be back in pre-season training in two weeks and could begin the new Premier League campaign in less than a month.

On Monday, Maguire had tweeted after the elimination: “Time to go away, reflect, recover and be ready to come back stronger next season.”

 

source: Besoccer

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Premier league: Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang close to signing a new contract at Arsenal.

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Gabon international Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang is set to sign a new contract extension with Arsenal football club, despite speculations linking him out of the club.

With the deal said to be a reality, The Athletic’s David Ornstein believes there is still work to be done with regards to the deal.

The 31 year old was tipped to leave this summer with less than a year left on his current deal, the north London outfit are keen to tie down the Gabon international to a new long-term deal at the Emirates.

According to The Express, the 31 year old is set for a new lucrative contract to see his wage jump from £250,000  to £ 300,000 per week.

The Arteta factor also appears to be key in the players future as the relationship between the two have been positive, causing  a change of mind on his future.

With such positives, the Arsenal chiefs are keen to reward his efforts with a pay rise, and are believed to be in current talks with the forward.

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Aubameyang scored a total of 29 goals this season with two coming at the FA cup final, that gave the gunners their 14 FA cup in their history. He was also votted Arsenal’s player of the year after his brilliant season.

However,  the forward has not yet put pen to paper with uncertainty surrounding his future but there is still light at the end of the tunnel as Aubameyang’s brother willy Aubameyang has hinted on social media that, he is ready to sign on a new deal at the club.

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Liverpool set on when fans can see the Premier League trophy

Liverpool are committed to giving general public access to see Premier League trophy but only when it is safe to do so

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Liverpool are yet to confirm a date for when the Premier League trophy will be on show to the general public, with plans on hold until it is declared safe.

The club remain committed to giving fans the chance to have their picture taken with the Reds’ first league title in 30 years at Anfield, but have steered clear of a definitive time frame for when that may be possible.

Last year, Liverpool opened up the Kop Bar for supporters to head down to Anfield to get their picture taken with the Champions League trophy that was won in Madrid on June 1.

However, with the need for social distancing still very much in place across the United Kingdom for now, club officials aren’t putting the trophy on display just yet.

Such will be the demand at the stadium, the club feel they could not safely execute an event that gives people the chance to view the trophy up close and personal.

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Plans are in the pipeline to ensure fans are given the opportunity to see the club’s 19th league title in person but the ECHO understands they will only be given the green light when it is deemed appropriate.

This week, Liverpool have undertaken a series of pilot events under social-distancing guidelines with established crowd management practices enhanced by a more restrictive approach due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those events included NHS workers, a limited amount of media and a handful of club staff, former players and their family members.

Each pilot run was viewed as a success with social distancing, regular hand sanitizing and temperature checks all part of each event.

But the club are concerned larger groups would overwhelm and make the situation an unsafe one during a global pandemic.

Until the time is viewed as right, the Premier League trophy will stay in the club’s museum from next week and will be available to view as part of the LFC Stadium Tour, the Anfield Origins Tour and the LFC Story.

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Tom Cassidy, Senior Manager of Tourism at Liverpool FC, said: “As ever, the interest from supporters in seeing our latest piece of silverware has been incredible and in normal circumstances we would host a viewing event like we did for the Champions League trophy last year.

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“Unfortunately, that is not possible in the current circumstances so we have committed to hosting an event in the future which prioritises the health of our supporters whilst also maximising the number of fans who will be able to participate.

“While a date cannot be established at this stage our commitment is clear and we look forward to a time when it will be safe and possible.”

 

 

Source: theliverpoolecho

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