Former Real Madrid and Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini is set to take over at La Liga side Real Betis from next season, Spanish newspaper El Pais said on Wednesday.
The report in El Pais said the Chilean, 66, has agreed to sign a two-year contract with the option of a third year with Betis, who sacked coach Rubi last month.
One of Spain’s best-supported clubs with more than 50,000 season ticket holders, Betis are currently 14th in La Liga, nine points above the relegation zone.
A report in newspaper Marca said the club wishes to wait until they have mathematically guaranteed their status in the top flight before announcing they have hired Pellegrini.
Pellegrini won the Premier League title with City in 2014 as well as two League Cups and had successful stays in Spain’s top-flight with Villarreal, who he took to the Champions League semi-finals in 2006.
He led Malaga into Europe’s top competition for the first time in 2012 and to the last eight of the competition the following year, losing to eventual finalists Borussia Dortmund.
Edited By: Buhari Bolaji/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
Spain reports post-lockdown record number of coronavirus cases
Spain‘s Ministry of Health reported on Friday 1,525 new coronavirus cases, the biggest spike since the lockdown was lifted in June.
It was the first day since the end of the State of Alarm, which ended on June 21, when the total number of cases surpassed 1,500. It was also the third day in a row that Spain diagnosed over 1,000 infections, resembling figures from the beginning of the lockdown.
The cases reported on Friday were concentrated in four regions — Aragon (511), Madrid (372), the Basque country (158) and Andalusia (107). Catalonia registered 64 infections in the last 24 hours.
The ministry said that another ten people had died in the last seven days.
As of Friday, the number of coronavirus cases totaled 288,522 since the beginning of the pandemic.
At a summit with regional leaders on Friday, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called the health crisis “an economic and social emergency.”
Sanchez insisted that Spain must focus on economic recovery after it registered an “unprecedented” collapse in its second-quarter gross domestic product (GDP). According to the National Statistics Institute, GDP sank by 18.5 percent quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter of 2020.
“Very tough months await us, but we are going to get out of this,” Sanchez said.
Newcastle United back to square one after Saudi take-over bid fails
Newcastle United head into the short English Premier League (EPL) close season surrounded by uncertainty.
This has come after the collapse of the proposed Saudi take-over ——-with an owner who wants to sell the club but with no viable purchaser in place.
Club owner Mike Ashley was ready to sell the club to the investment group in a deal worth more than 305 million pounds.
But the take-over bid, announced in April, never emerged from the Premier League’s owners and directors test and on Thursday the consortium pulled out.
Fans, who had dreamt of big money signings and competing for European places, now face a more mundane reality for a team which finished 13th in the Premier League last season.
While there have been some reports of possible interest from potential purchasers in the US, no actual proposal has appeared.
Sources close to the Saudi consortium said they never had to deal with any rival bid.
Staveley has however suggested there may yet be some way to get the deal done.
Newcastle United managing director Lee Charnley offered similar hope by saying Ashley, founder of retail firm Frasers Group, remains committed to the Saudi deal.
“We acknowledge yesterday’s statement. Never say never, but to be clear Mike Ashley is 100 percent committed to this deal.
“However our current focus must now be on supporting (manager) Steve Bruce in the transfer market and on the preparations for the new season,” he said.
Ashley has not taken the club off the market but his chances of finding a new buyer may be hampered by the economic uncertainty following the pandemic.
“It is genuinely unlikely at the moment. Premier League buyouts either need very deep pockets (sovereign funds, et cetera) or a high degree of borrowing,” said football finance expert Rob Wilson of Sheffield Hallam University.
“This risk associated with the latter in an unsteady market looks unlikely. Hence, with no Saudi acquisition, it looks difficult,” he added.
Newcastle United have not featured in the UEFA Champions League since 2004.
They have not even won the English title since 1927 or the FA Cup since 1955, in spite of claiming one of the country’s largest fan bases.
One of the key problems for the bid was the continued conflict over Saudi Arabia’s response to cases of unauthorised broadcasting of Premier League games in the country.
This is part of a long-running dispute between the kingdom and neighbouring Qatar.
A source close to the bid said that PIF had offered to put together a Saudi consortium to buy the rights to broadcast the games in Saudi Arabia.
This is in view of the fact that Qatari company BeIN Sports, who owns the rights, has had its licence to broadcast in the kingdom removed.
Another source close to the deal put the blame for its collapse firmly on the Premier League.
“The problem with the deal was the intransigence of the Premier League. Everyone else was happy to proceed,” the source said.
The Premier League, who last year hired legal counsel to deal with the broadcast issues in Saudi, has declined to comment.
Former Newcastle United and England forward Alan Shearer said on Friday that disappointed fans were hoping that a new owner would yet emerge.
“There’s a lot of anger, understandably so, and a massive amount of disappointment,” he said.
“We can only hope and pray that new owners come in at some stage and take the club back to where it belongs because that’s what the fans of Newcastle United deserve.”
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Moore to step down as Liverpool CEO next month
Liverpool’s Chief Executive Officer Peter Moore will step down at the end of next month after three years in the role, the Premier League champions said on Friday.
Liverpool owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Mike Gordon said in a joint statement that Moore had helped the club move forward since coming onboard in 2017.
“He has strengthened the club’s business operations through his leadership and we are grateful to him for his passion, dedication and support, “ they said.
Managing director Billy Hogan would replace Moore from Sept. 1, the club said.
“To think we have won the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and the Premier League title during my time here is way beyond my dreams,” Moore said.
“It’s been a phenomenal achievement by the manager, players and staff. The team fully deserves the plaudits and recognition – and the memories I will cherish forever.”
Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Felix Ajide (NAN)
England hits highest level of excess deaths in Europe in 1st half of 2020: ONS
England recorded the highest level of excess mortality in Europe amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a report Thursday.
Albeit not seeing the “highest peak mortality”, England did have the “longest continuous period” of excess mortality, resulting in showing the highest levels of excess mortality in Europe for the period as a whole, the official body said.
“While none of the four UK nations had a peak mortality level as high as Spain or the worst-hit local areas of Spain and Italy, excess mortality was geographically widespread throughout the UK during the pandemic, whereas it was more geographically localised in most countries of Western Europe,” said Edward Morgan, health statistician at the ONS.
According to the ONS’ report, during the period from the week ending Feb. 21 to the week ending June 12, the highest rates of excess mortality occured in areas in central Spain and northern Italy at the local authority level across Europe.
Among them, Bergamo, located in northern Italy, hitting the highest peak excess mortality of 847.7 percent in the week ending March 20.
In terms of major cities, the highest peak excess mortality erupted in Madrid, with 432.7 percent in the week ending March 27. While in Britain, Birmingham reached the highest peak with the rate of 249.7 percent in the week ending April 17.
Excess mortality is generally used in epidemiology and public health, which refers to the number of deaths above what we would have expected to see under normal conditions.