Daily Briefing

Sport shorts: Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer is linked with Chelsea and Ajax player Abdelhak Nouri comes out of a coma

Ten things from the world of sport on Friday 27 March

1. Neuer to replace Kepa?

Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is being linked with Premier League club Chelsea. 

According to German newspaper Bild, the 34-year-old has a contract with Bayern until 2021 but it’s questionable whether the two parties will agree on a new deal. 

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard “could be tempted to put in an offer”, ESPN adds, if he is able to offload current No.1 Kepa Arrizabalaga. 

Neuer captained Bayern in their 3-0 victory over the Blues in the Champions League round of 16 first leg on 25 February at Stamford Bridge. He was also Germany’s goalkeeper when the country won the Fifa World Cup in 2014.    

2. United want season to be completed 

Manchester United have offered their “full support” for the completion of the 2019-20 season.

In a statement to fans the club said: “The club fully supports the collective intent to complete the Premier League, Emirates FA Cup and the Uefa club competitions.”

As things stand United are fifth in the Premier League table with 45 points, three behind fourth-placed Chelsea. United’s big rivals Liverpool are 25 points clear at the top.

Premier League: could Saturday 3pm kick-offs go ‘behind red button’?

3. Klopp’s praise for healthcare workers 

Last night millions of people in the UK came together to “clap for our carers” and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was one of the many sporting figures to also praise the NHS staff and key workers on the frontline. 

Klopp said: “Myself, the staff and all the players of LFC would like to take this opportunity to deliver a message to say thank you to all the incredible people who work in the health services and all the health workers out there. 

“It’s unbelievable what you are doing and on behalf on all of us from LFC, I would like to say thank you, or how we would say in Germany - vielen dank.”

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4. ‘It’s up for grabs now!’

ITV Sport has released extended highlights of “The Decider” at Anfield in 1989. As the broadcaster said on Twitter: “Before ‘Aguerooooooo!’ there was... ‘It’s up for grabs now!’” 

In one of English football’s most memorable finishes to a season Arsenal won the First Division title after victory at Anfield against Liverpool. The Gunners needed to win by two goals and they did in dramatic fashion. 

Classic sport to watch on TV and YouTube this weekend

5. Anderson vows to keep playing 

England fast bowler Jimmy Anderson, who turns 38 in July, is putting on a brave face despite the cricketing shutdown. 

It had been assumed that this would be his last summer of Test cricket, but Anderson has vowed that he will play on until 2021 if he doesn’t get a chance to bowl a ball in the coming months. 

He said: “I’m still hungry to play, I’ve still got ambitions to play for England, so I think that’s going to keep me driven at home trying to keep fit, so that whenever it is we play again I’m ready to go. Whether it’s this summer or the winter [England play five Tests in India] my plan is to try and get back into that team.”

6. Ajax’s Nouri comes out of a coma 

The family of Ajax footballer Abdelhak Nouri have confirmed that the 22-year-old has come out of a coma. 

Nouri has been in a coma since suffering a cardiac arrhythmia attack during a pre-season match against Werder Bremen in July 2017. Although Nouri can communicate by raising his eyebrows he is unable to walk or talk.

His brother Abderrahim told Dutch TV: “It’s going well with Appie, but what is good? He’s awake, he sleeps, he eats, he burps but he doesn’t get out of bed. 

“In good moments there is a form of communication where he moves his eyebrows but he can’t keep it up for long.

“Appie is aware of where he is. It’s good for him to be in a familiar environment with his family. We talk to him and watch football with him - he likes that. Sometimes it gets very emotional but often there’s a smile. That’s good for us.”

7. 2020 NFL Draft to go ahead

The 2020 NFL Draft will take place as scheduled from 23-25 April in Las Vegas, Nevada. However, players, fans and the media will not attend because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a memo to franchises NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said: “Everyone recognises that public health conditions are highly uncertain and there is no assurance that we can select a different date and be confident that conditions will be significantly more favourable than they are today. 

“I also believe that the draft can serve a very positive purpose for our clubs, our fans, and the country at large, and many of you have agreed.”

8. Eddie Jones accepts pay cut 

As a result of the coronavirus shutdown the Rugby Football Union (RFU) is bracing itself for a severe financial hit. 

England head coach Eddie Jones has agreed to do his bit to ease some of the financial burden and it’s reported he has accepted a pay cut of more than 25%, as have other senior members of the RFU board. 

RFU chief Bill Sweeney said: “Eddie is overseas at present. When I contacted him regarding our executive pay reduction proposals he immediately agreed.”

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9. Le Tour without spectators?

Following the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, attention is now turning to the Tour de France, one of the most iconic events in the sporting calendar, which is scheduled to start in Nice on Saturday 27 June. 

When asked if Le Tour would be scrapped, the French minister of sport Roxana Maracineanu mooted the outlandish idea that the race could be staged without spectators.

“We have [imposed spectator bans] for other competitions before,” said Maracineanu. “Everyone understands the benefits of staying at home and therefore favouring the television show rather than the live show.”

10. Back pages: ‘See you in court’

Several newspapers claim that The Football Association (FA) will be challenged in court after results for the 2019-20 season were expunged for the third tier of non-league football and below. 

Geoff Thompson, chairman of South Shields, is furious with the decision and according to Metro “has threatened to sue” the FA. South Shields are 12 points clear of the Northern Premier and nailed on for promotion but that won’t now happen. 

The headline on the back page of the Daily Express is “see you in court”, alongside a photo of Truro City manager Paul Wotton. He too is allegedly considering legal action after hearing that his side, top of the BetVictor Southern Premier division, will be denied promotion.

Today’s back pages

Non-league clubs threaten legal action against The FA

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