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UK marks 3rd anniversary of Manchester Arena attack

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People grieve at a memorial of the Manchester Arena attack in Manchester, Britain, May 22, 2020. Manchester on Friday marked the third anniversary of the terrorist attack which killed 22 people and injured hundreds. The attack happened when Salman Abedi detonated a bomb at the end of a concert by U.S. pop singer Ariana Grande on May 22, 2017. (Photo by Jon Super/Xinhua)

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Manchester United extend Ighalo loan until January 2021

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Manchester United have extended striker Odion Ighalo’s loan from Shanghai Shenhua until the end of January 2021, the Premier League club said on Monday.

The 30-year-old made an impressive start to life at United, scoring four times in eight games after signing an initial loan deal until May 31 from the Chinese Super League club.

Ighalo’s current deal with Shanghai runs out in December 2022 and he is expected to sign a new contract until the end of 2024, Sky reported.

The Nigerian, who has scored two goals apiece for Man United in the Europa League and FA Cup, will hope to open his account in the Premier League when the season, suspended since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resumes on June 17.



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CAS sets aside 3 days to hear Manchester City’s appeal against UEFA ban

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has set aside three days in June to hear Manchester City’s appeal against a two-year ban from European competition for breaching fair play rules.

Updated listings posted on the Switzerland-based court’s website on Tuesday set a June 8 to June 10 date.

European football’s governing body UEFA imposed the ban in February for “serious breaches” of the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

It said Manchester City, whose majority shares are owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, had overstated sponsorship revenue between 2012 and 2016.

The court added that the club failed to cooperate with UEFA’s investigation.

The club were also handed a fine of 30 million euros (32.81 million dollars).

Manchester City, who said at the time that UEFA’s process was flawed and consistently leaked, denied any wrongdoing and appealed to sports’ highest court.

The ruling, if upheld, would mean Manchester City would not be able to compete in the 2020/2021 UEFA Champions League should they again qualify for Europe’s top club competition.

They would also be banned from European competition in the 2021/2022 season.

The FFP regulations were introduced in 2011 to stop clubs running up big losses buying players.

They are also to ensure sponsorships are genuine commercial deals, rather than ways for owners to pump cash into clubs to circumvent the rules.

Manchester City are second in the Premier League, 25 points behind Liverpool, with play halted since March 9 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The league plans to restart in June.
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Manchester unveils memorial design for arena bombing victims ahead of commemoration day

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The Manchester City Council on Monday unveiled a design for a proposed permanent memorial to the 22 people killed in the bombing attack at the Manchester Arena in 2017, as Friday marks three years exactly since the attack.

“The Glade of Light” memorial, which includes a stone halo centerpiece marked with the names of the 22 victims, will be located in the Medieval Quarter near Manchester Cathedral, less than 400 meters from where the tragedy took place.

The plans are being submitted for approval next month.

“Manchester will never forget the terrible events of 22 May 2017. Those who were killed, those who lost loved ones and all those whose lives changed forever that night are forever in our thoughts,” said Manchester council leader Richard Leese.

No public events are planned Friday. People have been urged not to leave tributes such as flowers but to stay home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, to light a candle and pay respects online by watching a service live streamed from Manchester Cathedral.

The attack happened when Salman Abedi detonated a bomb at the end of a concert by U.S. pop singer Ariana Grande on May 22, 2017. It was the worst terror attack in Britain since the London bombings in 2005 in which 52 people died.

(XINHUA)

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Interview: Manchester University to build “even stronger” partnership with China, says vice-chancellor

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Universities have a particularly important role in helping build international relationships and should continue to play a key role in supporting partnerships despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, said president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Professor Nancy Rothwell, the first female president and vice-chancellor of the largest single-site university in Britain, said the university will continue to build an “even stronger” partnership with China after getting through the pandemic.

TAKING CARE OF OVERSEAS STUDENTS

Enjoying a long history of strong relationship between the city of Manchester and China, the University of Manchester now has the biggest number of Chinese students in all the European universities.

After the outbreak of COVID-19, the university set up an emergency response group in February, long before the lockdown imposed by the British government, and quickly made the decision to move nearly all of the teaching online.

The vice-chancellor said they also effectively closed most parts of the university while maintained a presence on campus, particularly supporting students in the residences, which include a number of Chinese students. And the university kept things going including mental health support, counselling service, catering for students in residences, and put in place regular contacts with students whether in Britain or overseas.

According to the number offered by the Chinese consulate general in Manchester, about 3,000 — half of the total number of Chinese students — are staying in Manchester after the virus outbreak.

“We have regular discussions with Chinese Students and Scholars Association, as well as the Chinese consul general and his staff in Manchester. We ask them to alert us if there are students that may be struggling but we weren’t aware of,” she said, adding that the Chinese students are always doing well in supporting each other through their strong community and the big indigenous Chinese community in Manchester has always been very supportive.

As the British government published its plan to gradually ease the lockdown restrictions, the universities in Britain are also considering steps to ensure both the safety of students and education quality.

“We are starting to open some parts of the campus and research labs as a test area. We are looking at extra cleaning and keeping social distancing. We believe that in the autumn, most of the lectures will still be online, but we are hopeful the smaller group teaching, the tutorials, will be allowed to be face to face, depending on if that will being safe,” said Rothwell.

COOPERATION WITH CHINA

Rothwell, also a professor of physiology, co-chair of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology and president of the British Science Association, has visited China many times during the past 20 years, including two visits with former British prime ministers David Cameron and Theresa May.

She told Xinhua that she was deeply impressed by the “strong and incredibly fast” development in China‘s higher education and scientific research sectors.

“From being a number of years, I would say, China was well behind the West, but now it is no longer behind at all. In fact, in many areas it is leading on. The research institutes and universities are among the best in the world,” she said, adding that she witnessed many partnerships being built between the University of Manchester and universities and businesses in China.

She particularly noted the university’s strong relationship with the Chinese city of Wuhan, a sister city of Manchester, especially during the battle against coronavirus.

“We had sent protective equipment out to Wuhan and they sent it back again to help us. We also have been working with doctors in Wuhan. They have been teaming up with doctors in Manchester to share their experience and advice in dealing with patients with COVID-19, which is really helpful,” she told Xinhua.

Besides, the institute has COVID-19-related researches with joint efforts from Chinese partners. One example is the on-going work with the Peking University in genetics trying to understand all the things in human genes that make some people more likely to get infected while others more likely to recover quickly, she said.

PREJUDICE “UNHELPFUL”

The vice chancellor noted that the University of Manchester has always played a leading role in enhancing Britain-China ties, therefore she sees the prejudice and some unfriendly voices emerged in the British society against China since the COVID-19 outbreak “unhelpful”.

“I think it’s unhelpful. I see the university as having a key role in international relations generally in building bridges and in supporting partnerships. Together with the Chinese community in Manchester and the Manchester China Institute, we’re not listening to these voices. We are going to build up strong relationships, even stronger, once we are through the worst of it,” she said.

She especially mentioned the Manchester China Institute, which was established on campus particularly for promoting mutual understanding and learning between the two cultures. It is now having a study looking around the social impact of the pandemic, to explore how the British and Chinese public have responded to it.

She reaffirmed that the university is looking forward to welcoming more Chinese students on campus and building a stronger partnership with China in the future.

The university is developing Innovation District Manchester, an ambitious world-class innovation park in the heart of Manchester, which has already attracted big interest from Chinese companies.

“As soon as we start to get back to normal, we will not only start building our existing links, but also developing new ones,” she said.

(XINHUA)

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People participate in weekly “Clap for Our Carers” in Manchester, Britain

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Staff of Salford Royal hospital participate in the weekly “Clap for Our Carers” in Manchester, Britain on May 7, 2020. (Photo by Jon Super/Xinhua)

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Premier League, clubs “scared’’ to publicly back restart, ex-Manchester United player says

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The Premier League in England and its clubs are “frightened to death” about publicly backing the resumption of the season, television pundit Gary Neville said on Sunday.

Neville said this was because they do not want to be held liable if someone dies because of the coronavirus.

Professional football has been suspended since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has infected over 182,000 people in the United Kingdom, killing more than 28,000.

The 20 Premier League clubs held a conference call on Friday in which they looked at plans for a resumption of training this month.

But they deferred making a decision on resuming the season until the government gave the go-ahead.

The government had originally set May 7 as the day it would review lockdown restrictions.

“The PL are having a CV nightmare. They keep spouting health first but then brief constantly `We have to re-start’,” Neville wrote on Twitter.

“I’d respect them more if they said, `We accept the increase in health risk, but it’s one we are willing to take’. They won’t, as they are frightened to death!”

When a Twitter user asked him what would happen if they restarted the season and someone died, Neville said: “That’s why we haven’t heard one single prominent CEO, Chairman, owner or executive open his mouth to back the re-start.

“Scared to death of the liability and blame.”

The clubs have reviewed plans for resuming training which will initially be restricted to small groups of players with no use of indoor facilities.

Some clubs started individual sessions for players at their training grounds last week.

Neville said that although he understands the complexities of a return to action, it was “depressing” to see the league and clubs not communicating their plans.

“It would be good for them (the Premier League) to speak at least once. Any of them! Clubs included,” the former Manchester United and England defender added when it was suggested to him that the league has press briefings.

“They are bottling this virus on comms (communications). Very happy to tell us when they are delivering food parcels though.”
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Manchester United to install 1,500 barrier seats to allow fans, stand next season

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Manchester United have received approval to install 1,500 barriers at its Old Trafford stadium next season.

The barrier will allow supporters to safely stand, the Premier League side said on Wednesday.

The club submitted their proposal to Trafford Council last year and the seats, which come with a rail for fans to lean on, when they stand, would be installed in the north-east quadrant of the stadium.

Standing at grounds of the top two tiers is banned, but clubs have looked to find a middle ground, with Wolverhampton Wanderers installing rail seats at their Molineux stadium last year.

”United will now discuss installation options with potential suppliers, working within current UK government recommendations relating to construction site operating procedures and social distancing,” the club said in a statement.

The club’s Managing Director, Richard Arnold said the seats would improve spectator safety in areas where fans are prone to standing more often during games.

”It also allows us to future-proof the stadium in the event of any changes to the current all-seater stadium policy.

”If the trial is successful, we may consider further implementation of barrier seating in other parts of the stadium,” Arnold said.

Manchester United Supporters’ Trust said they were delighted that the club was given the go-ahead, after campaigning for several years to make it a reality.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Salif Atojoko (NAN) 

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Aguero is Manchester City’s biggest idol, Jesus says

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Gabriel Jesus has described his battle with Sergio Aguero for a place in Manchester City’s starting line-up as “thankless”.

He went on to describe the Argentinian as the best player in the English Premier League club’s history.

In spite of having scored 63 goals in 138 matches for Manchester City, the 23-year-old Brazilian has struggled to secure a regular berth in Pep Guardiola’s preferred 11.

The starting line-up has mostly featured Aguero in the No. 9 role.

“He is the biggest idol that has ever played for the club,” Jesus said in an Instagram Live session on Thursday.

“I know I’m not going to be a guaranteed starter. But I believe I’m improving and I’ll continue to improve. I think my greatest quality is my mindset.”

Aguero has scored 254 times in 368 matches for Manchester City, including the stoppage-time goal against Queens Park Rangers in 2012 that clinched their first top flight title in 44 years.

In a wide-ranging conversation with fans, Jesus denied feeling burdened by pressure to perform for Brazil’s national team.

The five-time world champions have not had a prolific central striker since dual World Cup winner Ronaldo ended his international career more than a decade ago.

Jesus, who has scored 18 goals in 39 matches for the Selecao, says the former FC Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Milan forward was on a different level.

“We’ve had a lot of good strikers but there is no way to compare anyone with Ronaldo,” he said.

“He was the best player I’ve ever seen and I really believe that there won’t be anyone like him again,” the former Palmeiras player added.
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Manchester United, Wolves announce support packages to aid fight against coronavirus

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Manchester United have donated medical equipment and provided vehicles for courier operations to support the fight against Coronavirus.

English Premier League (EPL) rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers also made a six-figure donation to support the National Health Service (NHS) in their battle against the pandemic.

Manchester United, in a statement on Thursday, said it would also accommodate further requests from the NHS for use of the facilities at their Old Trafford Stadium.

The stadium has been placed on a reserve list as a temporary blood donation centre.

“A fleet of 16 vehicles has been put on standby with volunteer drivers available to support NHS courier operations in the area.

“Manchester United has also donated medical equipment and consumables to the Salford Royal, including protective equipment, dressings and other club medical supplies.

“The club is encouraging its staff to volunteer for the NHS or in their local communities during the pandemic. Staff will continue to be paid in full if volunteer work takes place during working hours,” the club said.

Manchester United players had previously agreed to donate 30 percent of their wages to local hospitals and health services.

The players are to also collaborate with players from other teams to set up a fund to raise money for NHS charities.

Meanwhile, Wolves’ donation to the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust will go towards buying essential equipment for new wards that are being built.

“This investment will make a huge difference to us and our patients.

“We are so grateful for all the support we have received from the community during this extremely difficult time,” its chairman, Professor Steve Field, said.

Wolves players have also separately donated to the collective fund started by players of England’s top-flight league.

“We know the club has been doing a lot of fantastic work to support the city since the outbreak.

“We felt we wanted to add to that as a team and show how grateful we are to the NHS for everything they do locally and nationally,” Wolves captain Conor Coady said.

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Edited By: Debo Oshundun and Olawale Alabi)
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