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English Tourism Week to go virtual amid COVID-19 pandemic

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England’s official tourism agency, VisitEngland, announced Thursday its showpiece English Tourism Week is going virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual celebration of the tourism industry, a week dedicated to showcasing England’s tourism offer, is held to highlight the economic importance and value of tourism to local economies.

For this year’s event, being held on May 25-31, VisitEngland and local destinations are asking MPs, local authorities, the British government to shine the spotlight on the importance of tourism to the local, regional and national economy and pledge their support to the sector’s recovery.

Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “English Tourism Week recognises the important role the industry plays in our local, regional and national economies, supporting jobs and attracting investment.

“This is a challenging time for the industry and we’re providing support through an unprecedented government package for businesses and workers. I hope everyone will use English Tourism Week as an opportunity to celebrate the sector, and we’ll be encouraging people to book a great British holiday as soon as it is safe to do.”

VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said: “English Tourism Week is all about highlighting the economic benefits that tourism brings to local economies, celebrating our diverse and exciting sector, and showcasing the quality, range and value of English tourism.

“While we cannot run events as usual this year, the spirit of the week has never been more important. Tourism has been one of the first and hardest hit economic sectors due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this year’s virtual week is dedicated to showing support for the industry, the millions of people who work in it and the hundreds of thousands of businesses impacted.”

Stokes said the week is also about looking towards the future recovery and doing everything now to ensure that tourism can bounce back to once again become one of the most successful and vibrant sectors of the British economy.

On Thursday, as part of English Tourism Week, VisitEngland is asking MPs to share photos and social media posts from their favorite English holiday destinations.

(XINHUA)

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English Premier League agrees on 5 substitutes for season restart

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English Premier League clubs will be able to use five substitutes, rather than the usual three, when the season resumes on June 17, it was announced on Thursday.

The changes will be temporary, so as to mitigate the packed schedule clubs will have after a three-month suspension to the season caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are 92 outstanding fixtures with the majority of teams facing nine matches in a six-week period.

For the remainder of the 2019/2020 season, the number of substitutes that can be used during a match will increase from three to five players,” a Premier League statement said after a meeting of shareholders on Thursday.

“This is in line with the temporary law amendment made by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) last month.”

Clubs will be able to have nine substitutes on the bench, up from the usual seven.
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10 positive coronavirus tests in English Championship

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Ten individuals from eight Championship clubs in England have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the latest round of tests, the English Football League (EFL) confirmed on Saturday.

In a statement, the EFL said 1,058 players and staff from England’s 24 second-tier clubs had been tested for the virus on Thursday and Friday.

“Those players or club staff who have tested positive will now self-isolate in line with the guidelines provided by the EFL and only those who have tested negative will be permitted to enter training ground facilities,” the statement read.

The EFL did not identify the individuals although Preston North End confirmed that striker Jayden Stockley had tested positive and was asymptomatic.

As well as the 10 positive tests from Championship clubs, seven positive tests were recorded from fourth tier League Two clubs.

The news came after the latest round of Premier League tests produced no new positive tests.

In the three previous rounds of Premier League testing since players resumed training, there were 12 positive tests.

Championship clubs have unanimously agreed to try to complete the season, while League Two clubs are in favour of curtailing the campaign.

Clubs in League One (third tier) have so far failed to reach an agreement on how to end the season.
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No positive results in latest English Premier League coronavirus tests

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The planned June 17 restart of the 2019/2020 English Premier League (EPL) received a further boost on Saturday when the latest batch of novel coronavirus tests produced no positive results.

The tests were carried out on Thursday and Friday.

The Premier League can today (Saturday) confirm that on Thursday and Friday, 1,130 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, zero have tested positive,” the league said in a statement.

In the three previous rounds of testing since players resumed training there were 12 positives.

No Premier League matches have been played since March but the league said on Thursday that the season would restart on June 17 provided all safety requirements have been met.

Earlier on Saturday the government gave the green light for the resumption of elite sports in England from Monday.

But it also said the resumption would only be if strict safety guidelines outlined in its Stage Three protocol were adhered to.

The Premier League’s Chief Executive, Richard Masters, said he welcomed the government’s announcement, but he added there was still work to be done to “ensure the safety of everyone involved”.

“All major sports, including the Premier League, have been working together with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) to produce this Stage Three protocol,” he said.

“We could not have reached this point without the full support of the government, especially DCMS, Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer’s team.

“If all goes well, we will be thrilled to resume the 2019/2020 season in just over two weeks’ time.”

There are 92 fixtures remaining, all of which will be played without fans.

But the Premier League has said every game would be broadcast live in the UK by its existing broadcast partners: Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC Sport and Amazon Prime.

The Premier League had reached an agreement for a “significant proportion” of its remaining matches to be made available for live broadcast on free-to-air platforms, including for the first time BBC Sport.
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English Premier League says using “home and away’’ venues remains its wish

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The Premier League, which will resume on June 17, says its aim is for the remaining games to be played on the usual home and away basis.

But it insisted that the federation had a contingency plan for neutral venues.

The initial suggestion from the UK government had been for the closed-door matches to be played at neutral venues.

But some clubs have expressed opposition to that idea —– views which have been put to the government by the league.

Some media reports have suggested that select games which may have a risk of fans gathering outside grounds would still be held at a neutral venue.’

One of such is the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool.

And this will be even if most matches are held on a home/away basis.

The Premier League’s ambition is to complete all of our remaining fixtures this season home and away, where possible,” the league said in a statement on Friday.

“We are working with our clubs to ensure risks are assessed and minimised, while co-operating with the police at a local and national level.

Discussions with the National Police Chiefs’ Council and UK Football Policing Unit have been positive and are continuing.

“We are prepared for all outcomes and have a neutral venue contingency,” the statement added.

Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters told Sky Sports News: “We’ll have a clearer picture in the next seven to 10 days. But we hope the amount of games (at neutral grounds) will be low.”

“…(the police) have legitimate concerns but we think we can mitigate some of the issues they’re trying to deal with.
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English Premier League to restart on June 17

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The 2019/2020 Premier League season in England will restart on June 17, according to a media report on Thursday.

Howevet, a spokesman for the Premier League, which stopped play in March, declined to comment as the meeting of 20 club officials was ongoing.

The season will get under way on the Wednesday date with Aston Villa versus Sheffield United and Manchester City versus Arsenal, which are both games in hand.

A full fixture list would then be played on the weekend of June 19 to June 21, the report said.

All games will be behind closed doors.

The Premier League was suspended on March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but teams returned to small group training last week.

On Wednesday, clubs agreed to move to Phase Two of the comeback with players working in larger groups and closer to each other.

The next step would be full contact training and preparation for the return to action.

Liverpool, searching for their first league title in 30 years, lead the standings by 25 points.

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English Premier League clubs vote for return to contact training

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Premier League football clubs in England on Wednesday voted unanimously to return to contact training, including tackling.

The vote has come as the English top flight moved a step closer to a resumption after the shutdown caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A statement, released after a meeting of all 20 clubs, said: “Squads are now able to train as a group and engage in tackling while minimising any unnecessary close contact.

The Premier League’s priority is the health and well-being of all participants.”

Failure to resume the season could cost the league around 750 million pounds (921.75 million dollars) in lost revenue from broadcasters, according to British media estimates.

Clubs last week began the first phase of `Project Restart’ after agreeing to a return to training in small groups under strict limitations and no contact.

The announcement that Phase Two can commence follows 1,744 tests on players and staff for coronavirus which produced eight positives, including Watford defender Adrian Mariappa and Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

A third round of testing took place on Monday and Tuesday with the results not yet back.

No matches have been played in the English Premier League (EPL) since March when the coronavirus pandemic shut down world sports.

However, Wednesday’s vote is a big step towards the league completing the 92 remaining fixtures.

On Thursday Premier League shareholders will discuss the business aspects of `Project Restart’, including a possible broadcast rebate and what to do if the season is curtailed.

Some reports said clubs could lose out even if the league restarts, should broadcasters demand a 330 million pounds rebate.

Phase Two allows up to 10 players to work together and will ease the time restrictions on training sessions and let players to be closer.

The third phase will be a move to a more typical form of training in the build-up to actual games.

The league had signaled June 12 as a potential start date, but it now looks likely to be later in the month.

Matches would be held without fans in attendance.
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English Premier League confirms two more positive cases of COVID-19

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The English Premier League confirmed on Saturday that two more positive cases of COVID-19 were tested in the second round of testing.

The Premier League said that 996 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. “Of these, two have tested positive from two clubs.”

The Premier League clubs have been allowed to start small-group training from Tuesday after the top flight football league in England was suspended on March 13 due to coronavirus outbreak.

In the first round of testing, 748 players and club staff were tested on May 17-18, with six testing positive from three clubs.

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English Premier League records 2 more positive coronavirus tests

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Two people from two English Premier League (EPL) clubs have tested positive for the coronavirus after a second batch of testing, the Premier League said on Saturday.

Since the players returned to limited group training on Tuesday, eight positive tests for the virus have been confirmed from England’s top flight clubs.

“The Premier League can today (Saturday) confirm that on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 996 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, two have tested positive from two clubs,” the league said in a statement.

“The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency.

“Players or club staff who have tested positive will now self-isolate for a period of seven days.”

The Premier League said it would not be providing details of the identities of the two new positive tests.

A total of 748 tests of players and club staff made up the initial round of testing on Sunday and Monday.

Watford’s Adrian Mariappa and two members of the club’s non-playing staff and Burnley assistant manager Ian Woan were among six positive tests.

They are all still in their seven-day isolation period.

Two other Watford players are also self-isolating after coming into close contact with people who tested positive, according to manager Nigel Pearson.

No matches have been played in the Premier League since March, but the government has given the green light for elite sports to resume from June 1, including top flight football.

The Premier League’s “Project Restart” hopes to resume action in June, although no date has been fixed.

Another round of tests are scheduled to take place on Monday and Tuesday.

All 20 clubs will hold a meeting on Wednesday to decide whether they can move to phase two of the restart and allow full contact training.

Chief executive Richard Masters said on Friday the Premier League is “as confident as we can be” about a resumption of the top flight.

He added that the remaining 92 games would be completed.

“We wouldn’t have taken the first step to get back to training if we weren’t convinced we had created a very safe environment for our players,” he said.

Britain’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is the highest in Europe with an official figure of 36,675 as of Saturday.

Germany’s Bundesliga returned to action last week with matches in empty stadiums and strict safety protocols.

Spain’s government on Saturday gave the go-ahead for La Liga to resume from June 8.
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Right time for English Premier League to return, Klopp says

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Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp believes it is the right time for England’s Premier League (EPL) to resume after a two-month stoppage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Premier League hopes to restart its season in June, having been suspended since mid-March.

Its plans were given a boost after the government last week opened the door for competitive football to resume.

Premier League clubs have been given permission to train in small groups and Klopp said that was the first step in a return to normality.

“I always said we don’t want to rush anything, but I don’t think it is rushed. I hope that we are now in England on the right side of the thing.

“It’s all about when —- but you need to re-open different parts of life again,” Klopp said.

“Everybody agrees about that. I think the way how we do it now with the Premier League, it’s now a good moment to do it for the football teams.”

“From a personal point of view I can say it’s a massive boost.”

Liverpool will begin staggered training sessions this week and Klopp said he is not concerned about the fitness of his players.

“From a physical point of view, the boys are in a good shape, I think. Then we have to start getting used to the pitch, football boots and balls again.

“That’s our job, that’s what we do. So, we need to get used to that again,” the German added.

With matches set to be played without fans in the stadiums, the Liverpool boss said his team would have to do without the “best boost in the world”.

“We have to do it, unfortunately, without the best kick in your ass in the right moment in the world, from the Anfield crowd,” Klopp said.

“But that’s how it is. I never understood in life why you always want things you don’t have, you cannot have.

“In this moment we cannot have that. So, let’s take the rest and make the absolute best of it.”

Liverpool were 25 points clear of second-placed Manchester City and two wins away from their first top flight title since 1990 when the season was brought to a halt.
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