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Football: Real Madrid's Kroos isolating after COVID-19 contact

May 14, 2021 23:53 IST
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Toni Kroos will miss Real Madrid's away match at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday

IMAGE: Toni Kroos will miss Real Madrid's away match at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has gone into self-isolation following contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, the La Liga club said on Friday.

Real added that the Germany international's tests have come back negative. Fellow midfielder Federico Valverde went into isolation last month before then testing positive.

"Real Madrid C.F. reports that our player Toni Kroos is currently in isolation after being in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, although all tests carried out on the player have come back negative," a club statement said.

 

Given isolation protocols, Kroos will miss Sunday's trip to Athletic Bilbao and is a doubt for the visit of Villarreal on the final day of the season as Real battle to retain the title.

They are two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane is already without Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Lucas Vazquez and Ferland Mendy for the trip to the Basque Country, while Rafael Varane faces a late fitness test.

Manchester Utd's Fred receives racist abuse after defeat by Liverpool

Manchester United midfielder Fred was subjected to racist abuse on Instagram after Thursday's 4-2 Premier League loss at home to Liverpool and the social media firm has deleted several of the messages on his profile and taken action against individuals.

The 28-year-old Brazilian had a disappointing game against Liverpool and received a number of abusive messages after the match in the comments section of a picture he had posted on Sunday following United's 3-1 win over Aston Villa.

"The racist abuse on Fred's post is unacceptable and we don't want it on Instagram," a Facebook company spokesperson said in a statement.

"We've removed a number of comments and taken action against the accounts that posted them. We urge people to use our safety features, including comment filters and message controls, which can meaningfully decrease the abuse people experience.

"No single thing will fix this challenge overnight but we're committed to doing what we can to keep our community safe from abuse."

A host of players at several Premier League clubs have been targeted online in recent months.

United previously said they had conducted a review to analyse the level of abuse players face on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and found that since September 2019 there had been a 350% increase in abuse directed towards their players.

Britain said on Wednesday a planned new law would see social media firms fined up to 10% of turnover or 18 million pounds ($25.35 million) if they failed to stamp out online abuse, while senior managers could also face criminal action.

English football boycotted social media earlier this month in protest against the online abuse of players.

Brazil recall Alves for World Cup qualifiers

Brazil have recalled Dani Alves for their World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Paraguay, giving the Sao Paulo fullback the chance of an international comeback almost two years after his last appearance.

Coach Tite said the 38-year old Alves “is playing well and has a great history with the national team. He is physically and psychologically at his best. He is a leader and he can make us stronger.”

Tite also recalled Flamengo striker Gabriel Barbosa for the games at home to Ecuador on June 4 and away to Paraguay four days later.

Defender Lucas Verissimo of Benfica was called up for the first time.

The 24 players called up for the qualifiers will form the base of the squad for the Copa America scheduled to be played in Colombia and Argentina between June 13 and July 10.

Brazil currently top the 10-team South America qualifying group for Qatar 2022 after four games with a maximum 12 points ahead of Argentina on 10, Ecuador with 9 and Paraguay on six.

The top four automatically qualify for the World Cup.

Chelsea's Kirby named FWA Women's Footballer of the Year

Chelsea forward Fran Kirby was on Friday named the Football Writers' Association's Women's Footballer of the Year, making her the first player to win the award twice.

The 27-year-old Kirby, who was the inaugural winner of the honour in 2018, scored 25 goals and provided 18 assists in all competitions to help Chelsea win the FA Women's Super League title and reach the Champions League final.

Chelsea revealed last year that the England international had been out of action since November 2019 because she had been diagnosed with a heart condition called pericarditis.

She returned after six months on the sidelines.

Kirby's personality and attitude had unified fans and media professionals, said Jen O'Neill, the chair of the FWA's women's sub-committee.

"To have overcome a serious health condition and return in such sparkling form is admirable and inspiring," O'Neill said in a statement http://footballwriters.co.uk/editorial/fran-kirby-is-womens-footballer-of-the-year

"Several players, including many of her Chelsea team mates, have been outstanding in a superb WSL season but there are fewer more joyful sights in football than a smiling, fit and firing Kirby."

The winner is chosen by a panel of more than 30 experts who specialise in the women's game.

Kirby can help Chelsea add to their trophy haul, which also includes the League Cup, when the club face Barcelona in Sunday's Champions League final in Gothenburg, Sweden.

AIFF's league committee recommends doing away with relegation due to pandemic

Acting on the recommendation of its technical director Isac Doru, the All India Football Federation's league committee on Friday proposed doing away with relegation for last season's I-League considering the extraordinary circumstances arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Citing examples of other footballing nations from across the world, Doru had earlier recommended that no team should be demoted this season.

"The Committee agreed, and recommended to the Executive Committee that no team should be relegated from the Hero I-League, and that Neroca FC be granted permission to compete in the 2021-22 edition of the Hero I-League subject to getting the requisite license as per the decision of the Club Licensing Committee," the AIFF said in a statement.

Manipur-based club Neroca FC had finished at the bottom of the table in the last I-League.

The federation's all-powerful executive committee will be taking a final decision on the matter soon.

Doru drew examples from 23 countries, including the Netherlands (Eredivisie), Argentina (Liga Profesional de Futbol), Mexico (Liga MX), Romania (Liga 1), Japan (J-League and J2-League), on how they have "frozen relegation" and help the teams in difficult times.

"I have been in conversation with all club coaches during the pandemic and everyone mentioned about the challenges faced -- which included short duration for preparation, reduced training hours, difficulties in organising friendly matches, transfer problems among others," Doru said in the meeting.

Leagues CEO Sunando Dhar said that the AIFF had "approached all the participating clubs and all of them have unanimously mentioned to us in writing that under current circumstances relegation should be frozen."

The committee also discussed about hosting the other events -- Indian Women's League, Futsal Club Championship and I-League Qualifiers -- and decided to meet in a month's time to "assess the health parameters" and zero down on feasible dates for all stakeholders.

AIFF's senior vice-president and chairman of the league committee, Subrata Dutta urged everyone to take necessary precautions and stay safe amid the pandemic.

"Football, at the moment, has come to a halt and we only hope that this pandemic will subside soon which will enable us to plan our calendar likewise," Dutta said.

Also present in meeting were AIFF general secretary Kushal Das and Dhar, among others.

Sahil Panwar to transfer to Odisha FC

Indian Super League sides Hyderabad FC and Odisha FC have agreed to the transfer of defender Sahil Panwar, for an undisclosed fee, Hyderabad FC said on Friday.

The full-back will join the Juggernauts with effect from June 1.

The 21-year-old Panwar, who joined the club in 2019, was a regular in the first team at left-back in the 2019-20 season, but saw limited game time in the last Indian Super League campaign.

An India youth international, he has 15 appearances for Hyderabad and will ply his trade for Odisha FC in the coming season.

"The club wishes Sahil Panwar the very best for his future," Hyderabad FC said in a release.

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