George Floyd: Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott makes $1m donation to address ‘systemic racism’

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has pledged to donate $1m (£793,850) for police training and addressing “systemic racism” in the U.S.A, following the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, 46, died last week in Minneapolis after police officer Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on his neck for at least eight minutes while arresting him for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 note in a shop.

In a powerful Instagram post, 26-year-old Prescott wrote: “We will clean our streets and our communities not only of the looting and violence, but most importantly the racism, racial-profiling and hate.

“I plan to take action and pledge $1,000,000 to improve our police training and address our systemic racism through education and advocacy in our country.”

On the nationwide protests over the last week, he added: “I have the utmost respect for those of you with a passion for protecting and serving your communities.

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“When you chose to wear the badge of a police officer, you pledged to PROTECT life and property through the enforcement of our laws and regulations.

“How can you claim to uphold the law when those within your own ranks don’t abide by it?

“You need to hold your own accountable! Each of you are as guilty as the men who stood beside Derek Chauvin if you do not stand up against the systemic racism plaguing our police forces nationwide. TAKE ACTION!”

“As our communities take action, protesting and fighting for the justice of George Floyd and every black life, I am with you!”

Prescott’s NFL side the Cowboys have yet to comment formally on the death of Floyd in Minneapolis.

Several high-profile NFL current and former players and coaches have made donations and have spoken out about Floyd’s death and the subsequent protests in the United States.

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has pledged $1m for social justice reform.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement on May 30 calling for a “urgent need for action” and stressed the League was committed to addressing “systemic issues”.

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West Brom hit back at season-ticket holder who called anti-racism message ‘pathetic’

West Brom have hit back at a season-ticket holder who branded their support of an anti-racism message “pathetic”.

The club replied “you won’t be missed” to a Twitter user who asked for his season ticket to be cancelled in response to their support for the social media initiative ‘#BlackOutTuesday’.

The initiative has seen social media users post all-black pictures in a unified stand against racism, with West Brom’s post including the message ‘Together Stronger’.

The Twitter user replied: “Pathetic. Cancel my season ticket. Cheers”; to which West Brom replied: “You won’t be missed”.

The user then said: “How about shops being looted. How about shopkeepers being killed. How about police officers being killed. How about innocent people being killed regardless of colour. How about all lives matter? That’s my point.”

West Brom are among a string of football clubs from across the leagues to have pledged support for the Black Lives Matter movement on Tuesday, as civil disorder continued in the USA following the death of George Floyd.

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Serie A announces fixture list for remainder of season

Serie A teams will play two games a week for the rest of the season once the league restarts on June 20.

There will be matches almost every day from the restart until the final day of the season on August 2.

There are 12 rounds of fixtures remaining, with four other games also outstanding.

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Serie A will resume with those four matches which were postponed from previous rounds, starting with Torino vs Parma and Verona vs Cagliari on June 20.

The following day sees third-placed Inter Milan host Sampdoria while Atalanta entertain Sassuolo.

The first full matchday will be on June 22 with three games, including leaders Juventus at Bologna.

Second-placed Lazio, who are one point behind Juve, will play their first game two days later away to Atalanta.

Juventus will host Lazio on July 20.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) issued a 40-page document on Monday outlining strict new rules for the resumption of Serie A.

Teams must go on and off the pitch at different times with the number of people in stadiums is limited to 300, including players, staff and journalists.

However, Italian media reports that discussions of allowing limited numbers of fans to attend will be discussed at the federation’s next meeting.

“It’s something I really wish for with all my heart,” said FIGC president Gabriele Gravina. “It’s unthinkable that in a stadium that can hold 60,000 there’s not space for a small percentage of fans with the necessary precautions.”

The Italian Cup will be completed in the week before Serie A restarts. The first legs of the semi-finals have already been played: AC Milan drawing 1-1 with Juventus and Napoli winning 1-0 at Inter Milan.

A strict medical protocol has been put in place which includes the contentious, and potentially problematic, regulation that if one person at a club player or staff tests positive for Covid-19, the entire group must go to a training camp retreat for 14 days.

The FIGC hopes that will be shortened if the number of new cases in Italy continues to decrease.

“Football has never asked for shortcuts,” said Gravina. “There are clear rules that allow you to continue activity, isolating an athlete or member of staff, and continuing training.

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Jonny Hayes signals Celtic exit with emotional post as teammates pay tribute

Jonny Hayes appears to have confirmed he is leaving Celtic after posting an emotional message on social media, with team-mates past and present sending well-wishes in reply.

Hayes, 32, is coming to the end of his three-year deal at the club which he signed after joining from Aberdeen in 2017.

From the lows of breaking a leg to the highs of winning a treble, the last 3 years have been an enjoyable journey, in which I’ve worked under some terrific staff and shared a dressing room with some unbelievable guys! Football at times brings tough decisions, so I’d like to thank you for all the support received along the way! Stay safe everyone!

A post shared by Jonny Hayes (@jonnyhayes11) on

He made 26 appearances in all competitions for Neil Lennon’s side this season, with his only goal coming in Celtic’s 2-0 win at Rangers in September.

His first season at the club was ended early after suffering a broken leg against Dundee in December 2017.

In a post on his Instagram page, Hayes said: “From the lows of breaking a leg to the highs of winning a treble, the last 3 years have been an enjoyable journey, in which I’ve worked under some terrific staff and shared a dressing room with some unbelievable guys.”

“Football at times brings tough decisions, so I’d like to thank you for all the support received along the way. Stay safe everyone.”

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Jose Mourinho: Spurs boss warns quality of Premier League may not return instantly

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho says the Premier League may take a while to hot up once it resumes next month.

The league is provisionally set to restart on June 17 after a three-month shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Teams are stepping up their training programmes, this week agreeing the protocols for limited contact training, with further advancements set to come into play soon.

But with only three weeks until the big kick-off – and uncertainty around the possibility of friendlies – Mourinho has warned fans not to expect the premier product straightaway.

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“We’re going to make sure that progressively we’re going to arrive on matchday one and be ready,” said the Portuguese, who confirmed fit-again quartet Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko, Son Heung-min and Steven Bergwijn would all be involved in contact training on Monday.

“We say ready but you look at the Bundesliga and we can feel a difference in quality and intensity between the first match and the third match.

“When you saw Bayern against Dortmund in the third match you feel immediately, ‘wow that’s a proper match’.

“I think the same will happen [here]. Teams are going to progressively reach the level which is what happens in normal pre-season.

“It’s very difficult for teams to arrive at the first game of the season on August 7 or 10 and is really in the top.

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REVEALED: Football fans to be asked if they want crowd noise in games

REVEALED: Football fans to be asked whether they want crowd noise to accompany the broadcast of Premier League matches with officials desperate to keep fans glued to screens when the season resumes

  • Football fans will be asked whether they want crowd noise during matches
  • All top-flight games will be broadcast on TV but will take place without fans 
  • The Premier League are desperate to keep the viewing experience entertaining 
  • The sound of supporters cheering and booing is one of the possible options   

Football fans will be canvassed about whether they want crowd noise to accompany matches when the Premier League returns next month.

The viewing experience was one of the matters discussed at Wednesday’s Premier League meeting, when shareholders voted to allow players to resume full contact training ahead of the action starting again on June 17.

Yet Sportsmail understands that fans will be asked for their opinions on how the games should be presented, given they will all be behind closed doors.

Football fans will be canvassed about whether they want crowd noise to accompany matches

Viewing experience was one of the issues discussed at Wednesday’s Premier League meeting

The Football Supporters Association, the national representative body for fans in England and Wales, is expected to discuss possible ideas within the next 48 hours with Supporters’ Trusts and official supporters’ clubs, and report back to the Premier League.

The governing body’s priority is to ensure fans can be represented during matches even though they cannot be physically present.

With fans unlikely to be allowed back into crowds for a significant period – perhaps well into next season – Premier League bosses are desperate to ensure the game can still attract and retain supporters against a TV backdrop of empty seats.

Bosses are desperate for the game to retain supporters against a TV backdrop of empty seats

One of the options discussed has been to make the sound of fans cheering and booing available to viewers, while another has been to enhance the pitch-side microphones for a greater flavour of what players and coaches are saying to each other – although the use of bad language is a clear stumbling block in this case.

Danish club Aarhus are also attempting to build a ‘virtual grandstand’ at their Ceres Park ground, which would allow fans watching on television at home to appear in the ground via digital platform Zoom.

FSA chief executive Kevin Miles said: ‘We have been regularly briefed and informally consulted throughout the decision-making process, and we are expecting to gauge the views of our members on these matters.’

Danish club Aarhus are attempting to build a ‘virtual grandstand’ at their Ceres Park ground




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AFC Wimbledon set to complete Plough Lane return after investment from new shareholder

AFC Wimbledon are set to complete their return to Plough Lane after signing the final construction contract for their new stadium.

The League One club are now in the position to complete the building of their new home due to investment from local businessman Nick Robertson, a crowdfunding campaign and the Plough Lane Bond scheme.

AFC Wimbledon had hoped to move into their new ground for the start of the 2019/20 season but the move was delayed with the club needing to raise another £11m.

The announcement comes 18 years to the day since the Football Association approved Wimbledon FC’s move to Milton Keynes.

Chief executive said Joe Palmer said: “This really is a historic moment for our club. Without doubt, it’s thanks to our incredible fans that we’re in this position.

“The Seedrs crowdfunding and Plough Lane Bond were the game changers – but we still needed an extra push to complete the job.

“Nick [Robertson] always promised to help when we’d need it most. He has totally embraced our story. He will be taking a 10 per cent stake and invested on terms that leave the Dons Trust in control. That’s how all of us, including Nick, want it to be.”

Wimbledon’s last match in the borough was played in 1991 following the publication of the Taylor Report which regulated that all top-flight stadiums must be all-seated.

The 1988 FA Cup winners ground-shared with Crystal Palace until a 70-mile move to Milton Keynes in 2003. The supporters reacted by starting a new club in the Combined Counties League before reaching the Football League in 2011.

AFC Wimbledon, who have been playing at Kingsmeadow in Kingston, are due to see their new stadium completed by October 25.

Investor Nick Robinson said: “What the fans did was truly amazing. They proved they aren’t just supporters; they clearly take their roles as owners extremely seriously.

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NFL owners table rule change proposals including onside kick alternative

NFL owners have tabled a proposal for an alternative to the onside kick with a fourth-and-15 play and approved testing expanded use of video replay in the preseason to aid in officiating. 

On a conference call Thursday, the 32 owners also increased the number of players who may be designated for return from the injured list during a season from two to three.

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Also passed was making permanent the expansion of automatic replay reviews to include scoring plays and turnovers negated by a foul, and any successful or unsuccessful extra points.

The competition committee’s recommendation to expand defenseless player protection to a kick-off or punt returner who is in possession of the ball but has not had time to avoid or ward off contact of an opponent also was approved. So was preventing teams from manipulating the game clock by committing multiple dead-ball fouls while the clock is running – an issue that came up several times in 2019, including during the postseason.

Using video replay for pass interference calls was dropped after a one-year experiment that led to more uncertainty than clarity. Many people in the league cited the presence of too much subjectivity in the reviews.

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Serie A to resume on June 20 following Italian government approval

Serie A will resume on June 20 after the Italian government gave its approval on Thursday.

After a short and decisive conference meeting featuring Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora, the Lega Serie A and Italian Football Federation presidents, and representatives from the Players’ Association and the Association of Italian Sports Medics, a decision to resume the top-flight in Italy was taken.

    Serie A was the first of Europe’s major leagues to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with games postponed and played behind closed doors before the league was halted completely.

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    The Italian Football Federation will decide on the time frames for Serie A games but it is expected that teams will play every three days across three different time slots: at 5pm, 7.15pm and 9.30pm (Italian time).

    Earlier on Thursday, the Italian government’s technical-scientific committee approved a revised medical protocol to restart Serie A games, giving the all-clear for the league to restart.

    However, a major sticking point in the protocol includes a rule which will force Serie A clubs to put their whole team and staff on a two-week quarantine period should any person from the group test positive to COVID-19.

    It is expected that on June 20, Serie A will restart from its four outstanding games remaining from matchweek 25, which are Atalanta vs Sassuolo, Inter vs Sampdoria, Torino vs Parma and Verona vs Cagliari.

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