While such a long break is unheard of in the modern era, this is also confirmation of how crammed the calendar will be in the year ahead, with almost all nations playing back-to-back fixtures this month just before Europe’s major leagues start the 2020/21 season.“I think across the board there’s got to be a look at the football calendar, and that’s everyone’s responsibility,” warned England manager Gareth Southgate last week.“Everybody is trying to put their competitions in and the calendar is growing and the spaces are getting smaller.”The demands on the players will be enormous. Six rounds of Nations League matches will take place in total between September and November, with the top four nations coming together for the finals.Initially planned for June 2021, these are now set to go ahead later in the year, once the European Championship has finally been completed.In the meantime, this Nations League will start with all games behind closed doors, a sad new reality for football in a pandemic and which already applied to the latter stages of the Champions League and Europa League last month.Another reality of the health crisis is that coaches must be prepared for the possibility of losing players to positive Covid-19 tests, and so France have lost midfield duo Paul Pogba and Houssem Aouar for their matches against Sweden and Croatia.Similarly, Spain have seen Real Sociedad striker Mikel Oyarzabal withdraw from their squad to face Germany and Ukraine.With no fans allowed in, that latter fixture will be played at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Real Madrid’s training complex.Aside from the complications caused by the pandemic, there is another major difference to the last, inaugural Nations League.Whereas it offered four qualifying berths for Euro 2020 – in delayed play-offs which are now due to go ahead in October and November – there is no such incentive this time.Nevertheless, ahead of 2022 World Cup qualifying starting early next year, the two best Nations League group winners who do not qualify for the finals in Qatar via that route will be parachuted into the 12-team play-offs for a second chance at securing a place.It all sounds complicated, but in simpler times the tournament was a breath of fresh air, replacing as it did the monotony of truly meaningless international friendlies.Portugal beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the inaugural final in Porto, with England and Switzerland also having reached the finals.And there are plenty of enticing fixtures to look forward to among the first batch of games this time, including Germany hosting a new-look Spain, featuring 17-year-old Ansu Fati, in Stuttgart this evening.That will be Luis Enrique’s first game of his second spell as Spain coach, despite him being re-appointed more than nine months ago.Gareth Southgate’s England play away in Iceland and Denmark, while there will be a repeat of the 2018 World Cup final when France host Croatia at an empty Stade de France.It will be strange, but at least it is further confirmation that football is very much back in Europe, while FIFA cancelled all internationals on other continents that were previously planned for this month.LEAGUE AGroup A1: Netherlands, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, PolandGroup A2: England, Belgium, Denmark, IcelandGroup A3: Portugal, France, Sweden, CroatiaGroup A4: Switzerland, Spain, Ukraine, GermanyLEAGUE BGroup B1: Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland, RomaniaGroup B2: Czech Republic, Scotland, Slovakia, IsraelGroup B3: Russia, Serbia, Turkey, HungaryGroup B4: Wales, Finland, Republic of Ireland, BulgariaLEAGUE CGroup C1: Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Cyprus, MontenegroGroup C2: Armenia, Estonia, North Macedonia, GeorgiaGroup C3: Moldova, Slovenia, Kosovo, GreeceGroup C4: Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Belarus, AlbaniaLEAGUE DGroup D1: Faroe Islands, Latvia, Andorra, MaltaGroup D2: Gibraltar, Liechtenstein, San MarinoShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram After the postponement of Euro 2020 by a year, international football comes out of a long hibernation this week in Europe with the start of the latest UEFA Nations League, which is being crammed into the autumn despite the ongoing coronavirus concerns and will see Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal defend their title.In normal times, the continent’s leading international teams would have been returning to action less than eight weeks after the final of the European Championship, but instead they will be playing for the first time since completing Euro qualifying last November, a hiatus of 10 months.“We are delighted to have our team back out on the pitch, and to be able to play international matches again,” said Germany coach Joachim Loew. “The past few months have been difficult for everybody.”
In an epic five-set thriller with 2,000 fans on hand at the Galen Center, the No. 8 men’s volleyball team advanced to the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament with a victory over No. 6 BYU Saturday.The win served as sweet revenge for the Trojans, who were eliminated by BYU in Provo last season during the MPSF tournament.“I think it’s the biggest one,” sophomore middle blocker Andy Benesh said when asked where the win ranks in his career at USC. “We lost last year at BYU in Provo in three, and it’s playoff time. To win in five, it’s huge.”The Trojans went back and forth each of the five sets. The Trojans won the first set 25-17, BYU evened it up with a 25-20 win in the second set, USC took the third set 25-22 and BYU stayed alive with a 25-23 win in the fourth set.But the Trojans got the final, decisive answer in the seesaw battle. In the fifth set, the Trojans built up a 14-11 lead and had three match points to close out the victory. BYU climbed back to 14-13, and it looked like the fifth set might need to go past the 15-point mark for a team to win by two.But junior outside hitter Alex Slaught killed the final point, his 21st kill of the match, closing out a 25-17, 20-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-13 win.Slaught’s 21 kills led the match for the Trojans. Freshman outside hitter Larry Tuileta had 18 and senior opposite Cristian Rivera added 14. Middle blockers Benesh and senior Robert Feathers contributed seven and six respectively. Senior setter Micah Christenson, who assisted on 59 kills on the night, also killed five of his own points.Benesh said the key for the Trojans this time around was on serving and passing. Though BYU had one more ace and six fewer service errors, he said they were still able to put on a lot of pressure from the service line and handle BYU’s pressure.“I thought on serving and passing, we won that battle,” he said. “We really controlled the match.”Benesh added that while the team struggled to some degree hitting, different guys were still able to push through all match. The Trojans hit for only .231, below their season average of .269, but they were able to hold the Cougars to only .196.“People [were] persevering through some hard times in that match,” he said. “I know Alex Slaught was getting really mad at himself but he came up huge, especially in that fifth set.”The Trojans outblocked the Cougars, recording 13.5 team blocks to only 11 from BYU. Defensively, junior libero Brooks Varni led the way with 16 digs, with Tuileta recording 15 and Christenson adding 13.Earlier in the season, the Trojans had a similarly dramatic win over BYU, though on a much smaller stage. When BYU came to the Galen Center on Feb. 12 for a two-game trip, USC took the first match in five sets. The Trojans dropped both of the first two sets, but staged a comeback and won the next three, which included a nail-biter of a fifth set (20-25, 21-25, 25-16, 25-23, 16-14).That win propelled USC back into sole possession of first place in the MPSF standings, but the roughest stretch of the season for the Trojans immediately followed. USC dropped the second match against BYU in four sets (25-20, 25-19, 23-25, 25-19), then lost their next three conference matches, as well as four of their next five.But now, the Trojans have won eight of their last nine matches, with seven of those wins coming against conference opponents.The match was also the 10th time the Trojans have gone the distance in a match. USC is now 8-2 in those five-set matches.“Going into [the fifth set], I knew this is our time,” coach Bill Ferguson said. “The first thing I told them was nobody’s been in more five-set matches this year than us and nobody’s won more five-set matches than us.”The Trojans will take on No. 2 UC Irvine, the top seed in the MPSF tournament, in the semifinals this Thursday. Irvine took down the Trojans in five sets after dropping the first two sets (20-25, 18-25, 25-19, 25-17, 15-13) at the Galen Center the last time these two teams played on March 3. However, when USC visited Irvine, which will play host to the semifinal, on Jan. 23, the Trojans were victorious in five sets (28-30, 25-17, 21-25, 25-23,15-13).“Irvine’s an unbelievable team, we’re going to have our hands full,” Ferguson said. “But we are going to be in Irvine, and that’s in the heart of Trojan nation, so it’s a place that we’re comfortable playing.”The Trojans and the Anteaters are set to start at 7:30 p.m. on April 30. The winner will earn the chance to play for the MPSF’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament on May 2.
The interactive //hapo museum at Freedom Park outside Pretoria is a place for South Africans to consolidate and preserve their freedom heritage in an all-encompassing and inclusive manner, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said at the museum’s opening in April 2013.“//hapo”, Khoi for “a dream”, derives from the Khoi proverb “//hapo ge //hapo tama /haohasib dis tamas ka i bo”, which means “a dream is not a dream until it is shared by the entire community”.Motlanthe said the concept of //hapo was instrumental for inculcating a culture of unity and democracy among South Africans.He said a common consciousness had to be developed among all South Africans, such that the country’s national symbols, including its flags and national anthem, reflected the socio-economic development of the country.“Understanding this complexity, it is important to develop spaces for people to tune into their consciousness, providing them with the space to freely fulfil themselves and to cultivate an identity through guaranteeing their freedoms of expression, religion, thought, conscience, belief, opinion and association.”The //hapo museum tells the story of the southern African region dating back 3.6- billion years in an interactive manner. “//hapo is a centre of interactive learning, in particular of learning about the journey to peace in our land,” Motlanthe said.Along the way, this journey progressing through the early wars of dispossession, such as Khoikhoi-Dutch war in the 1500s; the arrival of Jan van Riebeeck in the Cape in 1652; the Third War of Dispossession between the Khoisan and colonial authorities in the 1800s; the South African War, previously known as Anglo Boer War, and the anti-apartheid struggle – all of which help define the freedoms South Africans enjoy today.“Generations to come will use this centre to learn about their origins and therefore understand the uniqueness of being a South African citizen and [of a] people who come from diverse quarters of the world but are despite this united in diversity,” Motlanthe said.“Certainly this centre will allow us to deal with all that is good and bad about our past, conscious not to dwell on it or repeat its mistakes while at the same time being steadfast in drawing important lessons to unite us as we foster a new and common national heritage.”The narration of the country’s history in this way would help South Africans to appreciate “that the freedom we enjoy today is no exclusive preserve of any one social grouping but a proud heritage of all South Africans,” Motlanthe said.It would also help to “free our minds from the bounds of mental imprisonment, allowing us the necessary singular focus to tackling the socio-economic conditions of poverty, unemployment and inequality that constrain the realisation of a better life for all South Africans”.SAinfo reporter
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TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Agent: Man Utd have advantage in Koulibaly battleby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveThe agent of Kalidou Koulibaly admits the Napoli defender has been a long-term target for Manchester United.United have been linked with a €100m bid for the Senegal international.Agent Bruno Satin said, “When I took Kalidou to Napoli, Manchester United had already contacted me to inquire about the boy. “He’s one of the best defenders in the world and he has the perfect profile for English football. “United has never stopped following him and maybe they have an advantage over others … we’ll see what happens.”
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man City made check on Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruizby Paul Vegas21 hours agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester City are checking on Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz.The 23-year-old, who has attracted interest from both Barcelona and Real Madrid, has also been closely monitored by City in recent weeks.The Guardian says City sent scouts to watch Ruiz in action when Napoli played Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday night.Ruiz was named as the best player of the Under-21 European Championship last summer as he helped Spain lift their fifth title and has recently broke into the senior side.The Spain international can play centrally or on the left side of midfield and has been likened to City star David Silva, who is considered to be at the backend of his career at 33.
BURNABY, B.C. – The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday to get an injunction that would put the upcoming provincial proportional representation referendum on hold.The ICBA said in a release today that its petition lays out arguments that the referendum process is legally flawed and violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In the filing, the organization argues that the referendum that was announced by the NDP government last year is not consistent with the Referendum Act, which calls for “a clear statement of the majority of voters on whether to implement a well-defined and comprehensible new voting system, or to keep the existing electoral system.”The ICBA also argues that the referendum violates foundational constitutional principles, which require a binding referendum on matters of fundamental importance to be “endorsed by a clear majority on a clear question,” and that the referendum does not meet sections 2(b) and 3 of the Charter. “Whether people support proportional representation or not, the process set out by the Horgan Government was rushed, the questions are confusing and the rules restrict voters from getting the information they need to make an informed decision,” said ICBA president Chris Gardner. “On fundamental democratic issues like this, British Columbians have a constitutional right to a clear question, open debate, and as much information as possible.”One month ago, Attorney General David Eby announced the recommendations made in a report on the proposed referendum. Then last week, the government announced the full list of regulations that the government said would govern the referendum.The list of regulations on the upcoming referendum, and the full 49-page Supreme Court petition by the ICBA can be found below.
New Delhi: Delhi BJP on Friday lashed out at AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal over his controversial tweet that depicted his party symbol, a broom chasing a “Hindu swastika”, saying it is a violation of the model code of conduct and aims at disrupting communal harmony. “The Aam Aadmi Party should be invalidated and strict action should be taken against it for attempts to incite communal tension,” BJP leader Vijender Gupta said.The tweet, posted late night on March 20, triggered an uproar on the social media, with the Twitterati slamming the Delhi chief minister for his post, prompting the ruling party to come out with a clarification saying it was not ‘Swastik’ but the Nazi symbol that the AAP leader had tweeted. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”It is not only an objectionable tweet aimed at disrupting the communal harmony but also a violation of the model code of conduct. What is the kind of message he (Kejriwal) wants to send out? We demand that their party is invalidated and strict action taken against them for attempts to incite communal tension,” Gupta told reporters. The Delhi BJP on Tuesday alleged that the AAP was trying to incite communal tensions by “politicising the cow” and said it would lodge a complaint with the Election Commission. The BJP’s reaction had come on a tweet by AAP Lok Sabha poll candidate Raghav Chadha in which he wrote “door to door campaigning by BJP” and posted a photo of a cow and a calf standing at the doorstep of a house.