Koeman uncertain about Messi’s future at Barcelona

Koeman uncertain about Messi’s future at Barcelona
Lionel Messi. (AFP)
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Updated 21 November 2020

Koeman uncertain about Messi’s future at Barcelona

Koeman uncertain about Messi’s future at Barcelona
  • After returning from a 15-hour trip back to Barcelona on Wednesday morning following international duty, a frustrated Messi faced questions about his relationship with French forward Antoine Griezmann

MADRID: Ronald Koeman has admitted he has no idea if Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona next summer and said it is not his job to persuade the Argentinian to stay.
Messi made an attempt to leave Barcelona this summer before backing down. He can talk to other clubs in January and leave for free when his contract expires in June, with Manchester City expected to make a renewed attempt to lure the 33-year-old away from Camp Nou.
“Messi still has a contract and in my opinion he has to stay here,” said Koeman in a press conference on Friday, ahead of Saturday’s crunch La Liga game away at Atletico Madrid.
“But I am not the person that has to try to make him stay here. We will see about his future, still he is a Barcelona player. Nobody knows what will happen with the future of Messi.”
After returning from a 15-hour trip back to Barcelona on Wednesday morning following international duty, a frustrated Messi faced questions about his relationship with French forward Antoine Griezmann.
A former agent of Griezmann’s had claimed Messi was difficult to play with at Barca, to which Messi said: “I’m tired of always being the problem with everything at the club.”
When the comments were put to Koeman, he said: “I can un`derstand why Leo was fuming. People should show a lot more respect to people like Lionel Messi.
“After such a long trip, to ask Messi about Antoine is a lack of respect, once again to create controversy.

I’m tired of always being the problem with everything at the club.

Lionel Messi

“I have not seen any problem between the two of them, not in the changing room on the training pitch. There are enough pictures who showing them working well together.
“Someone has said something and that someone has not been a client of Griezmann for three years. It’s bullshit.”
Messi was one of a number of players to return from long trips to play for their countries and Koeman complained that La Liga’s schedule has Barcelona facing Atletico Madrid at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday.
“And then we hae have to play in Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday night,” said Koeman. “It doesn’t help the big teams or the players.”
Barcelona will be without the injured Sergio Busquets and Ansu Fati at the Wanda Metropolitano while Atletico’s Luis Suarez will be denied the chance to face his former club, after he tested positive for coronavirus.
Atletico will go nine points clear of Barca if they win but Diego Simeone’s side have not beaten the Catalans in La Liga since 2010.
“It’s an important match and we want to get a good result but La Liga is very long and a lot can happen,” said Koeman.


Postponed Tokyo Olympics to cost extra $2.4bn

Updated 04 December 2020

Postponed Tokyo Olympics to cost extra $2.4bn

Postponed Tokyo Olympics to cost extra $2.4bn
  • The extra costs come as officials work to build enthusiasm for the first Games postponed in peacetime,
  • Tokyo 2020 said an additional $1.5 billion would be needed for operational costs related to the delay

TOKYO: The coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Olympics will cost at least an extra $2.4 billion, organizers said Friday, with the unprecedented postponement and a raft of pandemic health measures ballooning an already outsized budget.
The extra costs come as officials work to build enthusiasm for the first Games postponed in peacetime, insisting the massive event can go ahead next year even if the pandemic is not under control.
But more spending, on top of the previous budget of about $13 billion, could further harden public opinion in Japan, where polls this year showed a majority of people think the Games should be postponed again or canceled together.
“Whether it’s seen as too much or that we have done well to contain the costs, I think it depends on how you look at it,” Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters.
“We have done all we can to earn the public’s understanding,” he added.
Tokyo 2020 said an additional $1.5 billion would be needed for operational costs related to the delay, with another $900 million in spending on coronavirus countermeasures.
The dollar figures are calculated at an exchange rate of 107 yen, and the total is around $2.56 billion at today’s rate. The costs look set to rise further, with Tokyo 2020 saying it would also release an additional $250 million in “contingency” funds.

The new spending swells a budget that was set last year at around $13 billion, and will add to disquiet about the cost of the Games after an audit report last year argued the national government was spending significantly more than originally planned.
The extra costs will be split between Tokyo, the organizing committee and the national government. The International Olympic Committee will not be chipping in, but has agreed to waive its sponsor royalty fee for the first time, organizers said.
The unprecedented decision to delay the Games has thrown up a plethora of extra costs, from rebooking venues and transport to retaining the huge organizing committee staff.
And with organizers committed to hosting the Games even if the pandemic remains a threat, extensive safety measures will be needed.
Tokyo 2020 this week released a 54-page plan they said would make it possible to hold the Games, including restrictions on athletes touching and fans cheering, and an infection control center in the Olympic Village.
Organizers have tried to scale back elements of the Games, offering fewer free tickets, scrapping athlete welcome ceremonies and making savings on mascots, banners and meals, but so far they have cut just $280 million in spending.
And on Thursday, they said 18 percent of Olympic tickets sold in Japan will be refunded, with domestic fans demanding their money back on about 810,000 of the 4.45 million tickets sold in the country.


Organizers hope to now resell those tickets, and demand for seats at the Games was high before the pandemic.
But enthusiasm has since waned, with a poll in July revealing that just one in four people wanted to see the event held in 2021, and most backing either further delay or cancelation.
Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said the spending plan was carefully considered and he hoped people would accept it.
“If you have a drink, you could say your glass is half-full, or half empty. It depends on how you look at it,” he told reporters.
“There’s a rationale behind this plan. I hope the Japanese people will understand it.”
Tokyo 2020’s final price tag has been hotly disputed, with an audit report last year estimating the national government spent nearly 10 times its original budget between 2013-2018.
Organizers countered that the estimate included items not directly related to the Games.