Colors: Yellow Color

NBA legend turned social entrepreneur, Magic Johnson, has committed to providing $100 million in capital to fund small business loans through the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). His companies, Magic Johnson Enterprises and EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, have partnered with a New Jersey-based lender called MBE Capital Partners that specializes in financing minority and women-owned businesses.

In total, his investment will fund loans for about 5,000 small businesses.

The former LA Lakers great reportedly has launched the initiative to help the many Black and minority-owned small businesses that were overlooked during the first round of loans that the U.S. government launch. Many who applied never even heard anything regarding their application.

“What we’re launching here now is so important because we’re going to save a lot of small, minority businesses because they can’t just walk into the bank and get that loan,” Johnson said.

Black and minority communities in the U.S. have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Major cities like New York City, Chicago, and Detroit have all seen higher African American death rates because of the virus. Even worse, their local business communities have been shattered leaving many Black entrepreneurs with no other option but to shut their enterprises.

Following an announcement by the English Premier League, the twenty clubs in the top division have agreed to stage one of the return-to-training protocols, which allows teams to start training in small groups.

Clubs voted unanimously to the decision at the recent ‘Project Restart’ meeting.
Players must observe social distancing rules, and contact training is not permitted.

The first stage was agreed in consultation with players, managers, club doctors, independent experts and the government.

Some players, however, are not totally convinced with Watford captain, Troy Deeney, saying that concerned players are yet to receive ‘simple answers’ on health implications of ‘Project Restart’.

He voiced his concerns after being contacted by fellow-players who have shared his fears, but are reluctant to speak pout openly.

“I think that the concern is with Phase 2 (that is when players start to make contact in training)”, he said. “And Phase 3 is not yet clearly laid out. A lot of ‘simple questions’ have not been answered yet.

“One, for example, is the BAME situation, where government guidelines are saying that people of colour are four times more likely to get coronavirus and twice as likely to have lasting illnesses. But, there is no extra screening or additional checks carried out on players because it costs too much money. Simple things like that are where people are asking questions and they are not being answered when people can answer the questions, you start panicking and worrying”.

Adding to his worries, the Chelmsely Wood-born star continued: “I saw Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham saying that he lives with him dad who has asthma and he has concerns there.

“It just shows that from the Premier League to League Two, there are concerns right across the board”.

The Premier League had previously identified June 12 for matches to possibly restart but there is now an expectation that this will need to be pushed back.

A statement – by the Premier League – added; ‘Strict medical protocols of the highest standard will ensure that everyone will return to training in the safest environment possible. The health and well-being of all participants is our priority, and the safe return to training is a step-by-step process. Full consultation will now continue with players, managers, the clubs, the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) and the LMA (League Managers’ Association) as protocols for full-contact training are developed.’

Meanwhile, in the Scotland’s SPL, Celtic was confirmed as champions for the ninth consecutive year after the SPL ended its season, with Hearts being relegated. The decision follows a board meeting after the 12 clubs agreed that completing the campaign was unfeasible.

Average points-per-game played was used to determine the final placing.

English Premier League clubs are hoping to give their players the go-ahead to return to training in small groups this week.

But, there is a growing feeling that the intended June 12 date set for matches to start again will need to be pushed back.

A vote was due to take place on training and medical protocols when the 20 top-flight clubs where due to hold their next meeting.

If at least 14 of the 20 clubs passed through, players would be able to train in groups of five thereafter.

The Premier League would have been encouraged with the return of the Bundesliga, in Germany, this weekend.

They were the first major football league to in the world to resume after the easing of the lockdown.

As in Germany, Premier League will have to undergo safety measures including tents where temperature checks will be conducted, strict hygiene criteria, no canteens and no showers.

A maximum of five players will be allowed per pitch with tackling forbidden.

Players will be tested twice per week and are being asked to provide written approval that they have received and understood the club’s Covid-19 policy.

The prospect of clubs playing their remaining fixtures at neutral grounds has receded with more than half speaking out against such a proposal.

Players and staff at Birmingham City F.C. got together to take up the challenge of covering the entire distance between John O’ Groats to Land’s End to help to raise funds for local hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Championship club’s players and staff; including Men’s and Women’s First Team, Academy, BCFC Community Trust, the Former Players Association, Media, Ticket Office, Commercial and Retail recorded their cumulative miles travelled by either running or walking in their respective local surroundings whilst adhering to guidelines on exercise and social distancing.

Backed by Principle partners, Boylsports, who took part themselves, they chose to support the University Hospital Birmingham Charity.

A statement from the club said: “The money raised can now go to delivering care packs to nurses, provide ‘wobble rooms’ for staff to get psychological and emotional support, helping patients to stay in contact with their families by providing tablets with video conferencing apps and much more”.

Charlotte Schofield, Director of Fundraising at the University Hospital Birmingham Charity said: “Our thanks go out to everyone at Birmingham City who took on, or supported the Keep Right On Challenge, as their support will now help us to do more for our NHS Superheroes and the patients who they are treating at these difficult times/

The eyes of the football world are fixed on Germany as the country’s Bundesliga are preparing for a restart next weekend.

And, with it already suffering a major setback, the powers that be there are determined to push forward nevertheless.

Dynamo Dresden, who plays in the second tier of German football, have put their entire squad and coaching staff into two-week isolation after two of their players tested positive for coronavirus.

The Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 are due to restart on Saturday May 16 and is still fully set to be the first European league to restart following the Covid-19 shutdown.

A spokesperson at Dresden said: “The fact is that we can no longer train nor participate in a game in the next 10 days or so”.

The decision was taken after laboratory samples revealed the news, although the two players concerned are currently free of any symptoms of the virus.

In a statement, the club’s sports manager, Ralf Minge, said; “In the past few weeks, we have made enormous efforts in terms of personnel and logistics in order to strictly implement all of the prescribed medical and hygienic measures.

“We are in contact with the responsible health authorities and the DFL to coordinate all further steps”.

Dresden was due to resume their season on May 17 at Hanover 96, but that match has now been cancelled due to the quarantine measures.

The Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 are set to resume behind closed doors – subject to strict safety checks.

The English Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’ (Their plans to restart their season) was set to step up pace this week.

However, the revelation that three Brighton players tested ‘positive’ for coronavirus may well ‘kick’ those plans further down the road.

Tottenham Hotspur forward, Son Heung-min, has won an award for the best performance after he completed his three-week military service in his native South Korea.

Officials said that the 27-year-old Premier League superstar had excelled in his shooting skills and he was also the top performer among a group of 157 trainees.

He was due to serve 21 months, but earned an exemption after being part of the South Korea team which won the Asian Games in 2018 and, as a result, only had to complete three weeks.

Son returned to his homeland, in March, to continue with his recovery from a fractured arm while the season is in suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is mandatory that all South Korean men must complete military service in their country by the time they reach 27.

With the Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’ hoping to see the top-flight resume in July, it could mean an official return to group training very soon – which Son could miss, due to him having to spend a period of time in quarantine on his return to the UK.

The Spurs star underwent exposure to rear gas, went on lengthy hikes and was trained in how to fire guns during his national service.

Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspurs, Celtic and Rangers are among a number of leading European clubs who will be using social media platforms to help find missing young people.

The project, which will run on International ‘Missing Children’s Day’, on May 25, was inspired by Serie A giants, Roma.

The Italian club showed videos of missing children when they were signing players over the past two transfer windows, and six children who were featured have since been found.

The ‘Football Cares’ imitative is being supported by world football’s governing body FIFA.

The European Club Association, who is co-ordinating the project, said: “With the huge following and global reach that these clubs boast, we hope that someone, somewhere might recognise one of the missing children and young people in the videos so that they can be reunited with their loved ones”.

Clubs who have signed up for the initiative so far include Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund in Germany, Inter Milan, Juventus and Lazio in Italy, Barcelona, Athletico Madrid and Valencia in Spain, Irish side Cork and Linfield from Northern Ireland.

 The NFL has made the decision to cancel the four gridiron games scheduled to take place in London later this year.

Two of the fixtures, involving the Jacksonville Jaguars were scheduled for Wembley Stadium, with two further fixtures due to be played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

They will now be rescheduled to be played in the United States after organisers decided it was impossible to arrange games in a different continent because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The London games were set to be played in autumn 2020, but no dates had yet been set.

It will be the first time that an NFL regular-season game has not been played in London since 2006.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the decision after consultation with a number of stakeholders including clubs, local governments and medical authorities.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said it was “absolutely the right decision to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the sport”.

Tottenham Hotspurs’ chairman, Daniel Levy, said: “We fully appreciate the difficult decision that the NFL has had to make”.

The NFL had also been planning to play one game at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico, but that too will take place in the US.

The United States Women’s football team’s bid for equal pay has been dismissed by a court, with the judge rejecting the players’ claims that they were underpaid compared to the men.

The lawsuit was filed by 28 women’s national team players last year against the USSF (US Soccer Federation).

They had been seeking $66 million (£52.6m) in damages under the Equal Pay Act.

Molly Levinson, the spokesperson for the players, said that they planned to appeal against the decision.

The players filed the law suit against the USSF alleging that they were underpaid compered to men in the same sport last year.

The Judge, R. Gary Klausner, said that the players haven’t ‘demonstrated a triable issue’ that they’re paid less than their male peers.

The Women’s national soccer team once openly protested against the USSF when, in a game against Japan Women’s team, when they took to the field wearing their warm-up vests turned inside out so that the U.S badge could not be seen.- although the 4 stars, which represent the US Women’s team’s four World Cup victories were left visible.

They left their jersey inside-out during the U.S. national anthem, before turning them the right way round just before the start of the game.

In a statement, issued by Levinson, she said: “We wanted to stand together as a team and make a statement on behalf of all women and girls that the federation’s comments are unacceptable.

“We love this sport and this country and we cannot stand for this misogynistic treatment”.

At the request of supporters, USWNT (United States Women’s National Team) has begun selling officially licenced T-shirts and hoodies emulating the inside-out jersey.

Discussions around the rescheduling of the West Indies; cricket tour of England have included the possibility of the visitors going into isolation for as long as 14 days.

The three-Test series was due to start in June, but the shutdown of the sport in England and Wales has been extended until at least July 1.

The earliest date that the first Test could actually begin is thought to be July 8.

If the Windies are to be in isolation, they are likely to have access to practice facilities at a locked-down venue.

Both England and West Indies captains, Joe Root and Jason Holder have been involved in talks over rescheduling the Test series.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced that their new city-based tournament – The Hundred – has been postponed until 2021nbecause of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson said that “positive and on-going discussion with the ECB and CWI (Cricket West Indies) is continuing”.

At the same time, the ECB also discussed their new competition; The Hundred - the 100-ball competition, involving in separate men’s and women’s tournaments - which was due to begin on July 17 and end on August 15.

That meeting concluded that it was not possible for it to be staged this year.

ECB chief executive officer, Tom Harrison, said: “Whilst we are naturally disappointed that we won’t get to realise our ambitions this season, The Hundred will go ahead in 2021 when we are safely able to deliver everything we intended to help grow the game”.

Game of Thrones actor, Hafthor Bjornsson, has set a new world deadlift record after lifting 501 kg (1,104 lbs).

Bjornsson, a power-lifter who portrayed Ser Gregor ‘The Monster’ Clegane in the HBO series, broke the record at his gym in his native Iceland.

He lifted the barbell for two seconds, before dropping the weights and roaring in delight.

The event was streamed by leading sports broadcaster, ESPN, and filmed for Bjornsson’s YouTube channel.

He said: “It’s just great - there’s nothing better than proving people wrong. So many people didn’t believe in me, so many people that said ; ‘501 kg is never going to go up’…But I also had a lot of support”.

Going on, he added: “I feel healthy, I feel good. I am just absolutely speechless, even though I am talking a lot about it now.

“But I am excited, super excited – this is huge for me”.

The 6ft 9ins Bjornsson previously won the World’s Strongest Man competition in 2018.

Previously, the record was held by British powerlifter, Eddie Hall, who was the first man to lift 500 kg, in 2016.

As talks are taking place to find out the ideal time for football to return in the UK, Manchester City striker, Sergio Aguero, has said that players are scared about the prospect of a return to action as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.

The English Premier League is hoping to restart the season’s action on June 8, which would mean that players would be expected to return for training by May 18.

The Premier League’s current champion’s record goal scorer said: “The majority of players are scared to return because they have children and families.

“I’m scared, but I’m with my girlfriend here and I am not going to be in contact with other people.

“I am locked in my house and the only person I could infect is her”.

He went on: “They are saying that there are people that have but don’t have any symptoms but they can still infect you. That is why I am staying here at home.

Aguero believes that when players do return to action, they will be ‘quite nervous’ but also ‘extremely careful’.

Former footballers, Marvin Sordell and Liam Rosenior, are among several new members of the Football Association’s Inclusion Advisory Board (IAB) – the subcommittee of the English FA board which aims to enhance diversity and equality at all levels of the game.

Former Coventry City and Burton Albion player, Sordell has spoken out about his mental health since he retired at the age of 28, while ex-Brighton and Hull City defender, Rosenior was a lead supporter of the ‘Rooney Rule’ legislation in the game.

IAB chair, Paul Elliot, said: “The standard of candidacies was hugely outstanding and, as such, we are hugely delighted with the outcome.

“It was important to bring in people who can offer a free perspective from both within and outside of football.

“We have made great strides since the Inclusion Advisory Board was formed in 2013 and it is crucial to bring in those who can challenge existing ideas”.

Marvin and Liam are joined by Sandra Hughes, chief executive of the Centre for Mental Health, KPMG’s director of inclusion, diversity and social equality, Edleen John and Staynton Brown, who is the director of inclusion and talent at Transport for London.

Kick It Out chair, Sanjay Bhandari is also added to the board, while Roya Mehdizadeh-Valoujerdy will represent the FA Youth Council.

Prejudice towards women playing football is a “continuous issue across many regions of the world” and too many face adverse labour conditions, say world players’ union Fifpro.

In a released report, Fifpro found that “discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse” are major issue.

The union also surveyed 186 players from the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Of those, more than half said that they are not enough support staff at clubs.

The union called for the introduction of global standards for players as they say adverse labour conditions “still plagues the women’s game.

Of the 186 elite women players questioned in the survey, 51% said that there were not enough staff at their club to fulfil their playing needs. 41% said they do not receive health insurance from their club, while only 3% received help to relocate after a transfer and 17% said that they received no non-financial benefits from their clubs.

A spokesperson for Women in Football said: “We regularly support women who face discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace.

“The significant increase in the number of sexist reports received by us is of concern, but sadly not a great surprise.

“What is clear is that this is just the tip of the iceberg: for every offensive tweet or comment posted and reported to us, there are dozens that are not. And we know from our 2016 research, that women who experience sexism at work rarely report it – just 1 in 10 according to our landmark industry survey”.

Premier League side, Manchester United have said that they have received permission to install 1,500 barrier seats – standing with rails – at their Old Trafford stadium as a trial measure.

The club says that they will be installing the new section in the north-east quadrant for the 2020-23 season after receiving approval from Trafford Council.

If the trial proves to be successful, the club says that it will look to install barrier seats in other areas of the stadium.

Standing at grounds in England’s top two divisions is banned although clubs have ;looked to find a ‘middle-ground’, with Wolverhampton Wanderers installing rail seats at their Molineux stadium last year.

A statement from Old Trafford said; “United will now discuss installation options with potential supplier, working within current government recommendations relating to construction site operating procedures and social distancing”.

Manchester United has struggled to deal with the problem of persistent standing at the ground for a number of years.

 

The chief doctor of football’s world governing body, FIFA, has warned against any restart of football after the worldwide interruption of the 2019-20 season and have suggested that preparation for any sort of action to be made for next season instead.

With some professional clubs returning with restarting training – although player5s do so in isolation from each other - Michel d’Hooghe said: “As a doctor, I would be very sceptical about continuing any of the leagues amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The chair of FIFA’s medical committee said: “My proposal is that if it is possible, avoid playing football in the foreseeable weeks.

“Try to be prepared for the start of good competition next season”.