Japan to ease COVID-19 state of emergency, focus on Games spectators

Japan is set to outline how it will lift its “state of emergency” curbs while keeping some restrictions, including spectator numbers at big events, amid fears that next month’s Olympics could trigger a new wave of COVID-19 infections. Media reports say the government is considering allowing up to 10,000 spectators into stadiums during the Games, in line with a plan endorsed by health experts on Wednesday (Jun 16) for local events. Instead of removing all lockdown measures, the government is seeking to call a “quasi-emergency” in seven of those prefectures,  meaning…

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Man City to visit Spurs in Premier League opener

Premier League champions Manchester City will start the defence of their title away to Tottenham after the fixtures for the 2021-22 season were unveiled on Wednesday. City are among the sides heavily linked with Spurs striker Harry Kane, throwing up the tantalising possibility that the England captain could line up against his boyhood club on the opening weekend. Pep Guardiola’s side won the league by 12 points last season ahead of rivals Manchester United, who open their campaign against old foes Leeds at Old Trafford. Both clashes were played behind…

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Taiwan's Chou eyes Olympic badminton gold, even without a coach

It’s an unorthodox approach, but Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen is hoping his decision to go without a coach will help him win badminton gold at the Tokyo Olympics. The world number four has flourished since parting ways with a full-time coach in 2019, with his physiotherapist Victoria Kao filling the role of mentor, cheerleader and critic. With Kao in his corner, Chou won his first Super 1000 title at the 2019 Indonesia Open, and lifted the Taipei Open trophy for a record third time. Now Chou, who reached the last eight…

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Eriksen in 'good spirits', remains under observation, says agent

The agent of Christian Eriksen says that the Danish player is in “good spirits” but anxious to find out the cause of his cardiac arrest during his country’s opening Euro 2020 game in Copenhagen. “We all want to find out what happened, him included. The doctors are conducting detailed tests, it’ll take time.” Denmark’s team doctor on Sunday confirmed that the 29-year-old Inter Milan midfielder had suffered a cardiac arrest. “He was gone, and we did cardiac resuscitation,” doctor Morten Boesen told a press conference. “How close were we? I don’t…

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Tokyo to vaccinate 18,000 Olympics workers, volunteers

About 18,000 Tokyo Olympics workers including referees and volunteers will be vaccinated from next week, organisers said Friday (Jun 11), as they try to build confidence that the Games will be safe. With just six weeks until the pandemic-postponed Games open, officials are still battling domestic opposition and fear that the event could spread the coronavirus. Japan’s vaccination programme got off to a slow start and, while it is now picking up pace, just over 4 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated, with close to 13 per cent…

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IOC reallocates North Korea's qualification spots for Tokyo Games

North Korea’s qualification places for next month’s Tokyo Olympics were reallocated on Tuesday after it decided not to attend the Games, the International Olympic Committee said. North Korea said in April it would not be attending the Olympics due to coronavirus concerns, dealing a blow to the IOC’s efforts to have 206 national Olympic committees, including both North and South Korea, at the Games in Japan. “In April they (North Korea) held a general assembly and there was a decision at the time,” James Macleod, the IOC’s director of Olympic…

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Singapore lose 5-0 to Uzbekistan in World Cup qualifier

Singapore fell to another World Cup qualifying defeat on Monday (Jun 7) after a 5-0 loss to Uzbekistan in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh. Singapore’s joint qualification campaign for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the 2023 Asian Cup in China, delayed due to the COVD-19 pandemic, had resumed last week with the Lions’ 4-0 defeat to Palestine. The latest result leaves them out of the running for the next World Cup. Monday’s penultimate Group D match at the King Fahd International Stadium saw Uzbekistan getting a comfortable three-goal lead at half time, before adding…

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Euro 2020: When is the tournament in 2021 and who has qualified?

The Euro 2020 group draw Group A: Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Wales Group B: Belgium, Russia, Denmark, Finland Group C: Ukraine, Netherlands, Austria, North Macedonia Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, Scotland Group E: Spain, Poland, Sweden, Slovakia Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, Hungary   When and where is Euro 2020? The 16th UEFA European Championship runs from June 11 to July 11, 2021, and to celebrate the tournament’s 60th birthday, 11 cities across the continent have been selected as hosts. The 12 cities and stadiums are: Amsterdam (Netherlands) – Johan Cruyff Arena Baku (Azerbaijan) – Olympic…

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Why Chelsea are one of the most worthy Champions League winners in recent history

Chelsea lifted the UEFA Champions League trophy for the second time in their history on Saturday night after defeating Manchester City 1-0 at the Estadio do Dragao in Portugal. Thomas Tuchel deserves even more credit for the Blues’ Champions League triumph as his system recorded impressive underlying numbers. Summer signing Kai Havertz scored the only goal of the game in the 42nd minute to ensure the Blues won their first piece of silverware under Thomas Tuchel. Although Chelsea only won by a one-goal margin, the statistics told a different story as…

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Nike says it split with Neymar over refusal to cooperate with sex assault probe

Nike said on Thursday (May 27) it parted ways with Neymar last year after the superstar Brazil attacker “refused to cooperate in a good faith investigation” as the company probed an employee’s claim that he sexually assaulted her. The apparel giant said in a statement that its investigation into the alleged 2016 incident – which was reported to the company in 2018 – was inconclusive. “No single set of facts emerged that would enable us to speak substantively on the matter,” the company said. In a Wall Street Journal article…

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