Carlo Ancelotti, Jose Mourinho join coronavirus battle in local communities

Tottenham boss Mourinho has been working with Age UK and community group Love Your Doorstep to deliver vital supplies such as food and medication to those in need. (Twitter: @Age_UK)
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Updated 24 March 2020

Carlo Ancelotti, Jose Mourinho join coronavirus battle in local communities

  • The English top flight has been suspended until at least April 30

LONDON: Carlo Ancelotti surprised an Everton fan with motor neurone disease while Jose Mourinho helped deliver care packages as Premier League managers joined in the battle against the coronavirus crisis.
The English top flight has been suspended until at least April 30 due to the pandemic but clubs and managers are pitching in to help vulnerable, isolated people.
Everton manager Ancelotti joined his club’s “Blue Family” community campaign, making a phonecall to Mark Cruise, a 52-year-old Everton fan diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year.
In a video posted on Everton’s Twitter feed, Ancelotti initially caught the disbelieving supporter by surprise.

“Hi Mark, how are you? I’m Carlo,” Ancelotti, 60, said.
“Who is it?,” Cruise replied.
“I’m the manager of Everton. I know that you are a fan of Everton,” said Ancelotti before Cruise responded: “I’m a big fan of you Mr.Ancelotti, you are a top fella.”
The Italian chatted with Cruise about his favorite Everton games, insisting that he should address him as “Carlo,” not “Mr Ancelotti.”
“Usually in Italy, Mr.is a man of great importance. I’m not so important, I’m just a manager,” joked the boss.
He revealed his fears for friends and his sister in Italy, which has been hit hard by the virus.
Tottenham boss Mourinho has been working with Age UK and community group Love Your Doorstep to deliver vital supplies such as food and medication to those in need.

“I came to give some support to Age UK, Enfield and Love Your Doorstep, Enfield, to help people in our club’s local community,” said the 57-year-old, who was photographed packing up supplies wearing a face mask and gloves.
“It is a difficult time for everyone right now, particularly among the elderly, so I want to offer my assistance in any way I can.”
Tottenham’s London rivals Arsenal have pledged £100,000 ($117,000) to local charities fighting the virus. Gunners manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for the virus earlier this month but has now recovered.

 


What next for Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’

Updated 03 June 2020

What next for Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’

  • Restart to begin with 2 matches on June 17, to ensure every side played same number of games

LONDON: The Premier League's return is just two weeks away but there are plenty of details for the 20 clubs in the English top-flight to work out before competitive action resumes on June 17.

AFP Sport looks at what is on the agenda at the latest in a series of meetings between the clubs on Thursday.

There have been squabbles over how final league standings should be decided if the season cannot be completed but clubs need a contingency arrangement if a spike in coronavirus cases wrecks their plans.

Most of the teams in the bottom half of the table are reportedly pushing for relegation to be scrapped if the season is not completed on the field.

That still seems highly unlikely, with the English Football Association and English Football League both insisting on promotion and relegation throughout the pyramid.

A points-per-game formula is the most likely option and is part of the reason why the restart will begin with two matches on June 17, to ensure every side has played the same number of games.

Once the two outstanding games — Manchester City vs. Arsenal and Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United — have been played, all 20 sides will have nine games remaining.

No dates for other matches have yet been released, but fixtures are expected to continue from where they left off in March and be crammed into just five weeks ahead of the FA Cup final on August 1.

A long layoff, little time together in contact training and a gruelling schedule mean players' bodies will be pushed to the limits.

In an attempt to minimize injuries and fatigue, world governing body FIFA has allowed leagues to temporarily change their rules to allow five substitutes.

Chelsea have also reportedly proposed increasing the number of substitutes available from seven to nine.

However, critics have suggested those changes will simply play into the hands of the bigger clubs with deeper squads.

Premier League clubs appear to have won their battle to have games played in their own grounds rather than on neutral sites.

However, the UK's national lead for football policing confirmed last week that a "small number" of fixtures will take place at neutral venues.

That is likely to include any match that could see Liverpool crowned champions for the first time in 30 years, to try and avoid crowds gathering at Anfield.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is unconcerned by playing at neutral venues, with results from four rounds of Germany's Bundesliga showing no advantage for home sides in a closed-doors environment.

"We will not have the help from the crowd but no team will have that, so where is the advantage?" Klopp told the BBC.

"Whoever we play it is the same situation, which is why I'm not too worried about it."

The use of VAR could also be dispensed with for the rest of the season should the clubs wish to further cut the number of people required for games to go ahead.

However, the Premier League's CEO Richard Masters is keen for it to remain.

"VAR has its own social-distancing issues, but we think there is a way of completing the season with VAR," Masters told Sky Sports.