Tag: European Business & Sports News

Two more great online Zoom events today…

Today consisted of another fab outstanding network event from 11am till 12.30pm. Today we had a dab presentation from Patrick Dillon.

Following on from the Outstanding Network Event I joined some fellow Introbiz’ers and Outstanding Networkers, The Wild Spirit Guys, in an online virtual sledging event from 1.30pm to 2.30pm.

Clare Rees / Introbiz Sweden & Wild Spirits

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Coronavirus: Gary Neville outlines 5 things that must happen while the epidemic threatens the season

Gary Neville has outlined five things he believes must happen to patch things up in the Premier League amid the coronavirus epidemic. The spread of …

Coronavirus: Gary Neville outlines 5 things that must happen while the epidemic threatens the season

Business News Coronavirus News and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See https://mikearmstrong.me/news

For Business Advice follow the link or visit one of our Blogs: Entrepreneur Zone | King of Marketing | The Voice of Social Media | Networking Grapevine | British Business News |

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

European Business News / EuropeanBiz – Will European Banks be able to cope with this Global Pandemic – Interesting FT Article…

More than a decade on from the financial crisis, Europe’s banks are facing the first major test of their resilience.

This week growing fears about the coronavirus pandemic and an oil price war prompted a widespread market sell-off. Companies have spent a decade gorging on cheap debt in an ultra-low interest rate environment. A wave of defaults is now likely, and rising loan impairments will hit banks’ already anaemic earnings.

Since their recent peak almost a month ago, European banks indices have plunged 40 per cent in an indiscriminate sell off of financial stocks. This outpaces the 25 per cent fall over the whole of 2018  during the peak of the financial crisis. European bank shares now trade at the lowest level since the 1990s.

To read the FT Article for yourself please follow the link.

For more European Business News / EuropeanBiz or Coronavirus News’s please follow the relevant links.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

European Business News / EuropeanBiz – Latest European Economic News After Coronavirus Impact…

Europe’s economy was meant to have a decent year in 2020. Factory production in the 19-country eurozone rose strongly in January, after a tentative truce in the US-China trade war. Consumer confidence was strong. Housebuilders’ order books were full.

The stage was set for a solid, albeit unspectacular year. The European economy would see “steady and moderate growth”, predicted the European commission’s economic forecast on 13 February. It also warned of clouds on the horizon, including a new virus. Noting mounting concern about coronavirus, as well as “downside” risks, the Brussels forecast concluded the outbreak would peak in the first three months of the year, with “relatively limited global spillovers”.

That was then. One month later the global economy is heading for recession, markets have taken a hammering, investors are panicking. Across the continent, shops, restaurants and bars are shuttered, supply chains frozen, football matches cancelled, theatres, cinemas and hairdressers closed. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index had its worst-ever day on Thursday, plunging 11.5%, after a blunt message from the European Central Bank president, Christine Lagarde, that it was the job of governments – not the ECB – to protect indebted countries.

The head of the European commission, Ursula von der Leyen, described the pandemic as “a major shock” to Europe’s economies, as she promised a €37bn (£33bn) fund to handle the fallout.

Attention is turning to eurozone finance ministers, who will meet on Monday, after the ECB disappointed markets by declining to cut interest rates as part of a stimulus package announced last week.

Having fumbled the eurozone debt crisis, can EU leaders now protect their economies from the worst pandemic in more than 100 years?

Italy, the hardest-hit country in Europe, is heading for rocky times. “Italy has gone through many crises, unfortunately,” said Lorenzo Codogno, a visiting professor at the London School of Economics. “The problem is that, coming from all these crises in the past, the Italian government is weak right now and the public finances situation is even more fragile, so it’s particularly dangerous.”

He is forecasting a 3.1% slump in economic output in 2020, or even 6.5% in a worst-case scenario – “given how the situation is unfolding, [the latter] might become the baseline scenario pretty soon”. The Italian government, which has said it is ready to spend €25bn to protect its economy from the fallout, has chided other Europeans for “beggar-thy-neighbour” policies, such as Germany’s export ban on surgical masks.

Italy’s banks are in a healthier position than 2011, when they were creaking under bad loans, but things could still turn nasty. To avoid a return to the “doom loop” – where potential bank failure risks the bankruptcy of the state – Codogno is advocating support for Italy in the form of an EU precautionary credit line.

Disinfection in process outside the Centrale railway station in Milan.

Disinfection in process outside the Centrale train station in Milan. Photograph: Claudio Furlan/AP

In France, the next-worst-affected European country, the government is warning of “severe” consequences for the economy. The outbreak is another blow, after a wave of strikes in 2019 chipped away at economic growth. France’s central bank has cut its growth forecast for the first quarter to 0.1%, down from a previous estimate of 0.3%, warning of a “severe but temporary” slowdown.

Germany is not as badly affected by the virus as Italy or France, but its export-led economy was the first to feel the chill of China’s slowdown. A survey for the ifo Institut last week revealed that 56% of German companies had reported “negative effects”, with a 44% slump in demand and 52% of manufacturers saying they were experiencing difficulties with supply. In response to the pressure on the economy, the chancellor, Angela Merkel, even suggested that she was ready to reverse the rule of maintaining a balanced budget – the black zero or schwarze Null – that has proved an unbreakable political orthodoxy for the government in recent years.

Speaking before the German government announced “unlimited” credit to keep companies afloat, the influential president of the ifo, Clemens Fuest, said that Berlin was “moving in the right direction”. He supports a temporary relaxation of the schwarze Null, noting that the black zero was a very good policy in good times, but it shouldn’t stand in the way of taking decisive measures”.

The German economist thinks EU measures need to be similarly targeted and “we have not reached that point” of needing precautionary credit lines for indebted countries.

The coronavirus fallout is likely to be uneven. “The producers of toilet paper don’t have a recession at all, and the restaurants and hotels have a very deep one,” said Christian Odendahl, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform, based in Berlin. Manufacturers, he said, have more hope of a “V-shaped” recovery – that is, an economic bounce-back as rapid as the descent – because they will benefit from pent-up demand.

Odendahl observed: “If you want to buy glasses now but you can’t because of supply chain disruptions, you will do so later, whereas a restaurant or a trip you just have to cancel.” For that reason, he thinks Germany could see a more rapid rebound compared with countries more reliant on tourism, such as Spain.

An opera is performed to an empty auditorium in Berlin, where all theatres are closed.

An opera is performed to an empty auditorium in Berlin, where all theatres are closed. Photograph: Peter Adamik/AP

But that should not stop European policymakers from taking “bold” action, Odendahl said. All companies “need liquidity help to make sure they survive this long pause of economic activity intact”. He also wants to see a European approach to help indebted countries: “If there was a time for risk-sharing, then this would be it. This is a situation where there is no moral hazard.” Here he is referring to the debate that raged during the eurozone debt crisis, when creditor countries declined to pool risk for fear of “rewarding” debtors.

Mário Centeno, the head of the Eurogroup – made up of the finance ministers of the eurozone – said that his members would come up with “a very large policy response” to address the crisis – greater than the €27bn Lagarde suggested was needed. Centeno expects ministers to agree fiscal measures that will ensure liquidity for companies, support unemployment benefits and help reduce hours for workers.

But it is not clear whether these measures add up to the “massive” economic stimulus plan that France is looking for – a measure EU leaders failed to agree to on a telephone conference summit last week.

Pascal Canfin, a French MEP and ally of President Emmanuel Macron, has called for a “European stimulus package” to be announced by the EU leaders’ summit at the end of this month (26-27 March). Canfin, who chairs the European parliament’s environment and public health committee, argues that this package must be aligned with the European Green Deal, a plan to transform the economy to meet the demands of the climate emergency.

In addition to using flexibilities in EU budget rules, the MEP said that a European stimulus package agreed on 27 March “would be a real answer to the problem right on the scale and right on the time”. It would “make sure the green deal is alive”, with spending to promote electric vehicles and energy-efficient housing.

But some EU countries think it’s premature to discuss this kind of stimulus. The European commission’s vice-president in charge of the economy, Valdis Dombrovskis, has sounded a cautious note: “In current circumstances, I wouldn’t be talking so much about fiscal stimulus, rather about crisis response.”

For more on this Guardian Article please click the link.

For more European Business News / European Biz or Coronavirus News please follow the relevant links.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

WRU Chairman Gareth Davies defends Six Nations decision to pull Wales v Scotland…

Welsh Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies has defended the decision to postpone Wales’ Six Nations match against Scotland in Cardiff just 24 hours before kick-off.

The WRU had said earlier on Friday that the game at the Principality Stadium would go ahead but then called it off because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“It has been a tough week,” said Davies. 

“But we believe it was the proper and responsible thing to do.”

Davies added: “I don’t think we could’ve dealt with it any better. We made a decision last night that this match would go ahead. In a very quickly moving world things had changed by late morning today.”

Several sports have been severely disrupted, with all Premier League and EFL football matches suspended until 3 April.

The Cardiff game was the last major sporting event to be postponed this weekend despite government medical advice saying the match could still potentially be played.

“We initially followed the advice of government in terms of the scientific and medical evidence and that was the case up until last night,” said Davies.

“We had an emergency board meeting last night to consider everything and we still thought, bearing in mind the advice we had, that keeping the game on was the way to go.

“Last night the Premier League were carrying on but by this morning that had changed and the EFL went on a similar course as did the Celtic v Rangers game in all being called off and other major global events were also being pulled

“We spoke to the Government this morning, who understood our position.

“For us to be the only sporting event to be on, we were mindful of the seriousness of the situation. We took into account supporters, players and staff and asked whether it was essential to subject to that risk.”

“We’ve made a judgement as to whether there was a danger. By the time we arrived at lunchtime today we thought there could be exposure so we decided to pull the game.”

Image copyrightGARETH EVERETT

Gareth Davies is a former Wales captain

Image captionGareth Davies is a former Wales captain

Davies denied they were forced into the decision by public opinion.

“I wouldn’t say it was public backlash; we took everything into account,” said Davies.

“We know despite the government and advice saying there’s no evidence there would be a spike at a major event. 

“When you take everything into account with what’s happened in Italy, there will be spikes. 

“The medical advice says 60% of the population are going to catch this disease and I don’t think we wanted to be the mid-point of that.

“We reassessed the position, other sporting bodies decided to change their stance, and we made the decision that was the most sensible decision to take.”

Davies admitted he sympathised with fans who had travelled to Cardiff already and had spent money on accommodation and tickets.

“I understand and sympathise with that scenario,” said Davies.

Image copyrightHUW EVANS PICTURE AGENCY

Wales players in training just hours before the Six Nations match against Scotland was postponed

Image captionWales players in training hours before the Six Nations match against Scotland was postponed

“There’s not a lot we can do in that respect because we took the responsible decision for 75,000 in this stadium possibly being subjected and open to this killer disease.

“When the match is finalised, we’d advise people to keep their tickets safe.

“Hopefully they’ll be able to come to the match if they’re unable for whatever reason we can look to refund them.”

There are four Six Nations matches to be rescheduled – the three final-round games, plus the Ireland v Italy game in Dublin, which was postponed from 7 March. 

Saturday, 31 October is a possible date for the final weekend of matches.

“It’s an understatement to say it’s unsatisfactory the four matches won’t be completed,” said Davies.

“There will inevitably be an anti-climax when the games are played but we want to finish the tournament. 

“We’re not sure when that’s going to be. The Six Nations will have to take soundings and make a decision in the next few weeks.

“It’s difficult to plan at the moment because who knows how long this episode will last? The likelihood from what I’ve picked up is that it’ll happen in the autumn sometime.”

An article from the BBC.

For more Welsh Sports News, Coronavirus News or General News, please follow the links.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Pro 14 Suspended Indefinitely due to Coronavirus…

The current Guinness PRO14 season has been suspended in response to the evolving Coronavirus / COVID-19 outbreak.

The PRO14 is an international league. Cross border travel is inevitable and that brings with it unique challenges. With governments in Italy and Ireland already putting in place clear directives and restrictions around public activities and travel, the decision to suspend the competition is appropriate.

It is in the best interests of everyone that games are not played at this time. The suspension has been directed by the board of Celtic Rugby DAC and the decision will remain under constant review.

David Jordan, Tournament Director PRO14 Rugby, said: “We have made this decision with everyone’s welfare foremost in our minds. With an evolving situation in the five countries that take part in Guinness PRO14 it is important to make a clear decision that is in keeping with the advice of the various governments involved.”

Resumption of the 2019/20 season will now become a matter of constant review. To this point PRO14 Rugby has ensured that it has the latest information and guidance made available by the local and national authorities via our participating unions in the UK, Ireland, Italy and South Africa.

This will remain the case for the duration of the suspension. This is an unprecedented action for the tournament and as such no end date to the suspension can be provided at this time.

In keeping with our practice during the outbreak, PRO14 Rugby will provide updates on the suspension when more information is available.

ITALIANO

La stagione corrente di Guinness Pro14 è stata sospesa in risposta all’evoluzione del diffondersi di COVID-19.

PRO14 è una manifestazione internazionale, i viaggi oltre confine sono inevitabili e questo comporta delle situazioni uniche e sfidanti. I Governi di federazioni coinvolte nel torneo hanno già posto in essere chiare direttive e restrizioni circa attività pubbliche e, di conseguenza, la decisione di sospendere la competizione risulta appropriato. E’ nel migliore interesse di tutti che in questo momento le partite non vengano disputate.

La salute e la sicurezza di tutti i nostri giocatori, squadre, staff e tifosi è cruciale ed è nel miglior interesse di tutti che non si disputino partite in questo momento. La sospensione è stata determinata dal board di Celtic Rugby DAC e rimarrà oggetto di costante revisione.

Il Direttore del Torneo PRO14 David Jordan ha dichiarato: “Abbiamo preso questa decisione con il welfare dei giocatori e la sicurezza dei nostri tifosi quali imprescindibili priorità. Con una situazione in evoluzione in cinque nazioni che prendono parte al Guinness Pro14 è importante prendere una decisione chiara, coerente con le indicazioni dei vari Governi coinvolti”.

La ripresa della stagione 2019/20 sarà oggetto di costante revisione. Ad oggi PRO14 Rugby si è assicurato un flusso di informazioni e indicazioni costantemente aggiornato da parte delle autorità locali e nazionali attraverso le federazioni membre del Regno Unito, Irlanda, Italia e Sudafrica.

Questo costante monitoraggio si protrarrà per l’intera durata della sospensione. Questa è un’azione senza precedenti per il torneo e ad oggi non è possibile fornire una data certa per la conclusione della manifestazione.

In linea con le nostre disposizioni durante l’epidemia, PRO14 Rugby fornirà ulteriori aggiornamenti sulla sospensione quando nuove informazioni saranno disponibili.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me/news/

Six Nations News – Wales v Scotland off due to Coronavirus

Wales’ Six Nations match at home to Scotland on Saturday has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The two other scheduled games in round five had already been postponed and no dates have been confirmed for completing the 2020 Championship.

The Welsh Rugby Union, which had insisted earlier on Friday the game would go ahead, said it was “in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries”.

Several sports have been severely disrupted, with all Premier League and EFL football matches suspended until 3 April.

A WRU statement read: “The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the Welsh government and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue. 

“Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option.”

It added that there would be an announcement on rescheduling the fixture “in the coming days”. 

Friday’s Under-20 Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland in Colwyn Bay will go ahead but will be played behind closed doors.

Meanwhile, Scottish Rugby has suspended all rugby in Scotland for the remainder of March.

A Scottish Rugby spokesperson said: “We have taken on board all expert medical advice before now and we are taking a precautionary approach to give time to assess what the impact of coronavirus will be on Scottish society in the coming weeks before deciding on next steps.

“This decision has been taken with the best interest of everyone involved in the game and in support of the country’s work to address the impact of Coronavirus.”

News of the Wales-Scotland postponement comes on a day of widespread sporting postponements worldwide.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

The Premier League has decided to postpone all matches until the 3rd of April due to Coronavirus

Premier League News from the Guardian:

Following a Friday morning meeting between all 20 clubs. “It was unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time,” reads a statement.

The Premier League’s chief executive, Richard Masters, describes this is an “unprecedented sitaution” and adds: “Above all, we wish Mikel Arteta and Callum Hudson-Odoi speedy recoveries, and everyone else affected by Covid-19. In this unprecedented situation, we are working closely with our clubs, Government, The FA and EFL and can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority.

Despite the challenges, it is the Premier League’s aim to reschedule the displaced fixtures, including those played by academy sides, when it is safe to do so. In this fast-moving environment, further updates will be provided when appropriate.”

Find out more and keep an eye on any updates here.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

UEFA is ‘seriously considering’ suspending the Champions League & Europa League due to coronavirus

UEFA is ‘seriously considering’ suspending the Champions League and Europa League due to the threat of coronavirus, according to reports in Spain.

Several sporting events across the world have been postponed due to the outbreak, while on Monday, the Italian government announced that all sport in the country has been suspended until at least April 3.

Champions League and Europa League fixtures have already been impacted as Wednesday’s tie between Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund in France will be played behind closed doors.

Barcelona’s last-16 tie against Napoli next Wednesday will also be played behind closed doors.

Wolves’ Europa League fixture against Olympiacos in Greece on Thursday evening has also been placed under the same restrictions.

Liverpool’s defence of their Champions League crown could be delayed (Getty Images)

According to CAT Radio, UEFA is now considering the option of suspending both the Champions League and Europa League once the latest round of fixtures have been completed.

As it stands, the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals are due to be played on April 7 and April 8, with the return legs being played the following week.

The first leg of the Champions League semi-finals are scheduled to be played on April 28 and April 29.

For more on this and other news follow the link.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

This week’s Champions League Fixtures…

Please find details of this week’s Champions League Fixtures featuring Tottenham & Liverpool. These are the second leg fixtures of the last 16 round (first knockout round).

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Nations League Fixtures 2020-2021…

England will play world number one team Belgium, Denmark and Iceland in League A of the 2020-21 Nations League.

Wales will face the Republic of Ireland, Finland and Bulgaria in League B, while Northern Ireland are grouped with Austria, Norway and Romania.

Scotland, also in League B, will play the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Euro 2020 play-off opponents Israel.

The first group games take place in September this year, with the finals scheduled for the summer.

Groups in full:

League A
Group one Group two Group three Group four
Netherlands England Portugal Switzerland
Italy Belgium France Spain
Bosnia and Herzegovina Denmark Sweden Ukraine
Poland Iceland Croatia Germany
League B
Group one Group two Group three Group four
Romania Israel Hungary Bulgaria
Northern Ireland Slovakia Turkey Republic of Ireland
Norway Scotland Serbia Finland
Austria Czech Republic Russia Wales
League C
Group one Group two Group three Group four
Azerbaijan Armenia Moldova Kazakhstan
Luxembourg Estonia Slovenia Lithuania
Cyprus North Macedonia Kosovo Belarus
Montenegro Georgia Greece Albania
League D
Group one Group two
Malta San Marino
Andorra Liechtenstein
Latvia Gibraltar
Faroe Islands

England lost twice to Belgium at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, going down 1-0 in the group stage before losing 2-0 in the third-place play-off.

Iceland famously beat the Three Lions in the last 16 of Euro 2016, while Daniel Sturridge earned Roy Hodgson’s side a 1-0 win in their last meeting with Denmark.

“All of the groups are quite tough and it’s a really good fixture with Belgium as well – a team we haven’t played as much in the last couple of years,” England manager Gareth Southgate told Sky Sports.

“The best way to improve is to play the best teams. We got very proficient in the European qualifiers at beating teams who defended deep, and managed to score a lot of goals. But you are only developing one part of your game in those tests.

“These matches will be a greater test of our all-round game.”

Elsewhere, Wales are grouped with the Republic of Ireland in the Nations League for the second time in a row. Ryan Giggs’ side won 4-1 at the Cardiff City Stadium in September 2018 before securing a 1-0 victory in Dublin the following month.

Scotland, who are due to play Israel in a one-off Euro 2020 play-off semi-final at Hampden Park later this month, also face the Israelis in the Nations League once again.

Alex McLeish’s team lost 2-1 away in the inaugural edition of the tournament, before winning 3-2 at home to top League C Group One last season.

Northern Ireland lost twice to Austria, being beaten 1-0 away before a 2-1 defeat at Windsor Park.

What has changed in 2020-21?

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Nations League 2020-21

Image captionTuesday’s 2020-21 Nations League draw was held in Amsterdam

Uefa has increased the size of the top three tiers to 16 countries – meaning each group will have four teams – and decreased the size of the bottom tier to seven.

The teams who win each group in the top division – as England did last time – will go into the finals tournament in June 2021. The teams who finish bottom will be relegated to League B.

Unlike the previous campaign, when everybody was qualifying for the Euro 2020 play-offs, only two World Cup play-off spots are on offer to the 55 countries.

The best two Nations League group winners who do not qualify for the World Cup or play-offs through normal qualifying, will go into the 12-team World Cup play-offs in March 2022.

When are the games?

Matchday 1: 3-5 September 2020

Matchday 2: 6-8 September 2020

Matchday 3: 8-10 October 2020

Matchday 4: 11-13 October 2020

Matchday 5: 12-14 November 2020

Matchday 6: 15-17 November 2020

For more on this or other news please follow the link.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

France blow best Grand Slam chance in a decade…

There will be no Grand Slam. France’s best chance in a decade to pull that off was ruined at Murrayfield by a stellar Scottish performance, featuring a brace from Sean Maitland and a back-breaking red card for the France tighthead prop Mohamed Haouas for a punch at the end of the first half, from which the visitors never recovered. 

The outcome also capped off a good weekend for England, who have now gone top of the Six Nationstable on points difference ahead of France with one round to go.

As Haouas departed here, rightly sent off for a punch to the head of Scotland’s Jamie Ritchie after the two came together in a ruck, you sensed that France were once again destroying another golden opportunity. Haouas’ mindless act brought back memories of Sebastian Vahaamahina’s own implosion in Oita at the Rugby World Cup, red carded for an elbow on Aaron Wainwright that killed off France’s hopes of progressing to the semi-finals.

Haouas’ exit, a third penalty by Scotland fly-half Adam Hastings and then a well-worked try to put Maitland over in the corner all came in the space of less than five minutes. Collectively it felt like a knockout punch, not only in the context of the match but for France’s Grand Slam hopes as well, even with the second half still to come. Maitland’s second try shortly after the interval – made by a fine break from Chris Harris, slipping past Paul Willemse then combining with Ali Price – hammered that point home.

For more on this and other news please follow the link.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Wales Fall Short At Twickenham…

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

This weekends Six Nations fixtures…

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Entire Six Nations could be called off as UK Government considers banning sporting events as tournament bosses meet to make decision – Wales Online

The UK Government is considering following in France’s footsteps with a ban on public events in a bid to stop the coronavirus spreading further, which could spell the end of this year’s Six Nations for now.

Ireland v Italy – which had been due to take place this weekend in Dublin – has already been cancelled.

Another match hangs in the balance after the French government imposed a ban on public gatherings of more than 5,000 people in confined spaces on Saturday, throwing the French team’s Super Saturday Six Nations clash against Ireland in Paris under further doubt.

UK health secretary Matt Hancock admitted on Sunday that it was an option, telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “We are looking at all those sorts of things – we do not rule them out.”

— Read more on www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/entire-six-nations-could-called-17844242.amp

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Credit Industry News from Credit Today…

Let’s riff a little bit this week on one of our favorite ratios – the current ratio. First, for any beginners out there, the current ratio is current assets (anything that can be converted to cash within a year) divided by current liabilities (anything due within a year). 

In the “old days,” a 2 to 1 current ratio was something credit execs liked to see. That 2 to 1 seemingly gives you a nice “margin of safety,” knowing that the company you’re looking at has 2 times the current assets as current liabilities. Not bad. 

And it’s still kind of a good benchmark.

But (and I’ve got to say this real soon, before the more experienced analysts out there want to throw tomatoes at the screen) it’s WAY too simplistic. And if you stop there, you’ll really be in trouble. 

First, we’ll note the group of financial types that – over the last decade, roughly – has been in the camp of wanting to lower all the components of current assets to reduce “the investment in” receivables or inventory. That’s a really sound analytical framework and what it does is emphasize the quality of a current asset much more than the quantity. Another way to look at it is that quality is a function of efficiency or how fast everything is moving.

start quote

start quote

On the contrary, of course, a rise actually means you’ve got a higher risk. As receivables slow, they’re less collectible.

end quote

And if you think about it, that’s really true. Let’s say you’ve got a customer with $100 million in sales, selling on 30 days terms. They normally have about $10 million in receivables, representing a DSO of 36 days. 

Now, if you are analyzing things solely from a current ratio standpoint, a rise in receivables might make you feel good – more assets means they can more easily cover their payables, and you’re thus safer, right?

On the contrary, of course, a rise actually means you’ve got a higher risk. As receivables slow, they’re less collectible. And as inventory rises, it’s a sign it’s not selling. Both are serious problems.

So if suddenly – absent a rise in sales – this $10 million in receivables went to $20 million, you might have a much higher current ratio, but a much riskier customer.

So how do you reconcile this issue? 

Well, you can still start with a current ratio benchmark of some sort (it will depend on your industry), but then you should always compare that to the company’s turnover ratios – how fast everything is turning over. The two most important are typically receivables and inventory. 

I remember as a beginning analyst seeing a company with a sub 1 current ratio and being somewhat alarmed. But my boss pointed out that the customer I was looking at typically sold on 7 day terms, so they were turning their receivables very quickly, with plenty of leeway to pay suppliers. They could afford to have a sub-1 current ratio (though I can attest that, while they always paid, they were sometimes a challenge to deal with, and we would have preferred they had a greater “margin of safety”). 

It’s also critically important to look at the trend of the current ratio over time. 

If it’s rising, you always want to know why. 

Is it because of inventory that’s not moving or receivables getting stretched out? If so, then you’ve got a real problem. But if it’s rising simply because of great cash flow and inventory and receivables are still turning nicely, then this might be the type of customer you can pay much less attention to as it’s not likely to be a credit issue.

Revised and updated March 2020.

Let’s riff a little bit this week on one of our favorite ratios – the current ratio. First, for any beginners out there, the current ratio is current assets (anything that can be converted to cash within a year) divided by current liabilities (anything due within a year). 

In the “old days,” a 2 to 1 current ratio was something credit execs liked to see. That 2 to 1 seemingly gives you a nice “margin of safety,” knowing that the company you’re looking at has 2 times the current assets as current liabilities. Not bad. 

And it’s still kind of a good benchmark.

But (and I’ve got to say this real soon, before the more experienced analysts out there want to throw tomatoes at the screen) it’s WAY too simplistic. And if you stop there, you’ll really be in trouble. 

First, we’ll note the group of financial types that – over the last decade, roughly – has been in the camp of wanting to lower all the components of current assets to reduce “the investment in” receivables or inventory. That’s a really sound analytical framework and what it does is emphasize the quality of a current asset much more than the quantity. Another way to look at it is that quality is a function of efficiency or how fast everything is moving.

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On the contrary, of course, a rise actually means you’ve got a higher risk. As receivables slow, they’re less collectible.

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And if you think about it, that’s really true. Let’s say you’ve got a customer with $100 million in sales, selling on 30 days terms. They normally have about $10 million in receivables, representing a DSO of 36 days. 

Now, if you are analyzing things solely from a current ratio standpoint, a rise in receivables might make you feel good – more assets means they can more easily cover their payables, and you’re thus safer, right?

On the contrary, of course, a rise actually means you’ve got a higher risk. As receivables slow, they’re less collectible. And as inventory rises, it’s a sign it’s not selling. Both are serious problems.

So if suddenly – absent a rise in sales – this $10 million in receivables went to $20 million, you might have a much higher current ratio, but a much riskier customer.

So how do you reconcile this issue? 

Well, you can still start with a current ratio benchmark of some sort (it will depend on your industry), but then you should always compare that to the company’s turnover ratios – how fast everything is turning over. The two most important are typically receivables and inventory. 

I remember as a beginning analyst seeing a company with a sub 1 current ratio and being somewhat alarmed. But my boss pointed out that the customer I was looking at typically sold on 7 day terms, so they were turning their receivables very quickly, with plenty of leeway to pay suppliers. They could afford to have a sub-1 current ratio (though I can attest that, while they always paid, they were sometimes a challenge to deal with, and we would have preferred they had a greater “margin of safety”). 

It’s also critically important to look at the trend of the current ratio over time. 

If it’s rising, you always want to know why. 

Is it because of inventory that’s not moving or receivables getting stretched out? If so, then you’ve got a real problem. But if it’s rising simply because of great cash flow and inventory and receivables are still turning nicely, then this might be the type of customer you can pay much less attention to as it’s not likely to be a credit issue.

Revised and updated March 2020 by Credit Today. For more on this article and more Credit Industry News see the Credit Today Website via the link.

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Citroen presents the first fully electric Made in Morocco car in Paris

Citroen presents the first fully electric Made in Morocco car in Paris

Rabat – French automaker Citroen unveiled its Made in Morocco mini electric car called AMI yesterday at the Paris Defense Arena, marking Citroen’s entry into the electric car arena.

Built in the PSA factory in Kenitra, the mini-car without a license will be available for sale at €6,900.

Rechargeable in 3 hours, the two-seater car can travel 70 kilometers at a maximum speed of 45 kilometers per hour.

The car is the perfect choice for daily activities and aims to make city driving less stressful. Its small size makes finding a parking lot much easier

In France, Citroen offers encouraging offers to customers who want to have a small eco-friendly car.

Read also: The PSA group moves some research and development activities to Morocco

“The vehicle is accessible to everyone: without a license, with convenient” à la carte “offers adapted to everyone’s needs, in car-sharing via Free2Move or in long-term rental starting from € 19.99 / month”, he said the company in a statement.

With a length of 2m41 and a height of 1m52, the AMI will compete with the Renault Twizy, which has been marketed for eight years. Twizy has a range of 90 kilometers compared to the 70 kilometers AMI range.

The company has not announced when it will begin marketing its new electric car in Morocco.

— Read on www.newsarchyuk.com/citroen-presents-the-first-fully-electric-made-in-morocco-car-in-paris/

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

How a serious accident led to business success – BBC News

How a serious accident led to business success – BBC News

It was in the wake of a terrible skiing accident that Susanne Najafi embarked on her path as a serial entrepreneur.

While racing down the slopes of a Swedish ski resort in 2009, she fell and broke her neck.

“I was trying to get up, but I’m like, ‘Oh, I can’t move my arms.’ And that’s when I realised it was a bit more serious.

“The doctor said that I was one millimetre from the nerve getting cut off,” she recalls. “They were like, ‘This was really, really lucky.’”

Despite facing months of recovery wearing a neck brace, the then 28-year-old’s outlook was positive. “I was like, ‘Wow, I got another shot.’ For me, this was a turning point. I realised that life is too short not to follow your path, to do the things that you’re passionate about.”

So the Swede decided to leave a promising marketing career with consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble.

— Read more on www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/business-51614067

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Six Nations 2020: George Kruis in line for final Twickenham appearance and England star eyes mega-money Japan deal

Six Nations 2020: George Kruis in line for final Twickenham appearance and England star eyes mega-money Japan deal

GEORGE KRUIS could make his final Twickenham appearance next week — ahead of a likely move to Japan.

The England second-row has a mega-money deal on the table.

George Kruis could make his final Twickenham appearance next week ahead of a likely move to Japan

And he is set to make a call on joining the Top League, boasting World Cup legends Dan Carter and Kieran Read, when the Six Nations ends.

Quitting relegated Saracens for Asia would end Kruis’ Test career, with Eddie Jones only allowed to pick home-based players.

And Kruis, 30, said: “It’s tough but extremely exciting on all fronts.

“It’s always emotional playing for England. It is clearly an absolute privilege, so if I stay, it’s an unbelievable opportunity. If I go, it is also a great opportunity.

“This is something I need to have a proper think about once we have finished up the Six Nations.”

Sarries and England team-mate Jamie George has no doubt his pal will be big in Japan.

The hooker said: “George is incredibly impressive. He’s squeezed the most out of his career he possibly could because of the amount of work he’s put in.

“I remember him joining Saracens as an 18-year-old. He was awful, a bad rugby player, and everyone was like, ‘Is he a competition winner?’.

— Read on www.thesun.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/11066216/six-nations-george-kruis-england-japan/

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Wilder vs Fury 2 PPV buys estimated between 800-850k in North America, eclipsing Lewis vs Tyson in 2002 but falling short of Bob Arum’s hopes

Wilder vs Fury 2 PPV buys estimated between 800-850k in North America, eclipsing Lewis vs Tyson in 2002 but falling short of Bob Arum’s hopes

Tyson Fury’s victory over Deontay Wilder on Saturday night was watched by an audience of between 800,000-850,000 paying customers in North America, according to reports.

If these figures prove to be accurate, the main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena would have generated between $64m-$68million just through American PPV alone.

Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder will get handsomely paid for their efforts on Saturday night

The ‘Gypsy King’ officially reclaimed his throne in Las Vegas by toppling long-standing WBC champion Wilder via seventh-round stoppage.

Despite hopes from Top Rank supremo Bob Arum, who said he would be ‘disappointed’ if PPV buys in the US was less than two million, it appears as though the official number will fall just short of one million.

According to The Athletic (as verified by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix) the official figures will land in the region of 800,000-850,000 buys.

Privately, the senior figures of ESPN and Fox Sports hoped to achieve around 1 to 1.1 million PPV buys to just break even.

The Gypsy King dropped Wilder

However, they can take some solace in the fact the ESPN+ and Fox Sports apps over performed, while traditional cable did not.

The PPV figure was $79.99 in America, meaning 800k buys would equal roughly $64m. And if it is closer to the 850k mark, this equals around $68m.

Both fighters were reportedly set to pocket $25m each from the fight, regardless of PPV figures and would then get a percentage of the total accrued later on.

— Read on talksport.com/sport/boxing/675344/wilder-vs-fury-2-ppv-buys-north-america-bob-arum-lewis-vs-tyson-2002/

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

‘I never thought Harry Kane would be this good’, says former teammate Andros Townsend, as Tottenham striker aims for EARLY injury return

‘I never thought Harry Kane would be this good’, says former teammate Andros Townsend, as Tottenham striker aims for EARLY injury return

Andros Townsend has admitted he never expected former Tottenham teammate Harry Kane to become the world-class striker he is now, amid reports he could be back sooner than expected from injury.

Spurs have been without their talisman since New Year’s Day when he suffered a hamstring injury in a 1-0 defeat to Southampton.

Kane had an operation earlier this year on his injured hamstring

The 26-year-old needed an operation and Jose Mourinho feared he would be without his key frontman for the rest of the season.

However, according to The Sun, Kane could be back playing in just SIX WEEKS as he eyes a return in early April, which would be a huge boost for Tottenham and England.

Kane has been a huge miss for Spurs, who have won just three league games since losing the vice-captain, who before his injury scored had 17 goals in 25 games.

And Townsend, who came through Tottenham’s academy with the England skipper, conceded to talkSPORT he ‘didn’t see it coming’ that his old friend would become one of the world’s best players.

Harry Kane is one of the world’s most lethal finishers

Harry Kane and Andros Townsend go way back to their days in Spurs’ youth ranks

“Harry is one of the best strikers in the world and I didn’t see it coming, but he always had the foundations to do it,” the Crystal Palace winger said on the White and Sawyer show.

“From the first time I saw him he’s always had an incredible ability to score goals.

“Maybe he didn’t have the mobility he does now, or maybe he was half a yard slower, but he always possessed that ability to score left foot, right foot, from any position on the pitch.

“And in the last three or four years he’s been in the gym, he’s bulked up, he’s got quicker, he’s got stronger, he can head the ball, he can run.

“He’s pretty much an all-round player now and one of the best in the world, and rightly so.”

— Read on talksport.com/football/675364/harry-kane-andros-townsend-tottenham-injury/

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Man Utd ‘to rebuild’ as Champions League absence proves costly…

Man Utd ‘rebuild’ as Champions League absence proves costly | Nasdaq

Feb 25 (Reuters)  Manchester United MANU.N are in “rebuild” mode as the English soccer club chases a return to the European Champions League, Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward said after financial results were dented by the team’s absence from this season’s tournament.

Woodward has been backing United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to forge a team that mixes top talent from around the world with young players from its academy.

“We are pushing for a strong finish in the Premier League, the Europa League and the FA Cup as we enter the final third of the season,” Woodward said in a statement.

“The foundation for delivering the long-term success that we are all working towards is in place as we implement our plan and our footballing vision with Ole.”

— Read on www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.nasdaq.com/articles/man-utd-rebuild-as-champions-league-absence-proves-costly-2020-02-25?amp

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Liverpool announce £533m turnover and £42m profit last year – despite spending a record £223m on players

Liverpool announce £533m turnover and £42m profit last year – despite spending a record £223m on players

Liverpool have announced a pre-tax profit of £42million last year, despite a record £223m investment on players.

The Reds also achieved a turnover of £533m for the financial year of 2018/19, which did not take into account their Champions League win over Tottenham Hotspur in June.

Liverpool are about to become a financial powerhouse in world football once again

While the figure of £42m is well below the record £125m profit for the year ending May 2018, the rewards are being felt on the pitch with the club four victories away from winning their first league title in 30 years.

Figures released on Thursday for the financial year to May 31, 2019 incorporate the purchases of Alisson Becker (£65m), Naby Keita (£52.75m), Fabinho (£43.7m) and Xherdan Shaqiri (£13m).

It also includes the increased costs of new contracts for 11 players, including captain Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold – who have all played a key role in helping Jurgen Klopp’s champions-elect establish a 22-point lead at the top of the table.

Some of that cost was offset by sales including Danny Ward (£12.5m), Danny Ings (£20m) and Dominic Solanke (£19m).

Dominic Solanke joined Bournemouth in January 2019 for £19m.

Income was also boosted by Champions League success, although as victory in the final in Madrid came in June the prize money from winning a sixth European Cup will be counted in the current financial year.

“This continued strengthening of the underlying financial sustainability of the club is enabling us to make significant investments both in player recruitment and infrastructure,” said chief operating officer Andy Hughes.

“Being able to reinvest over £220m on players during this financial period is a result of a successful business strategy, particularly the significant uplift in commercial revenues.

“The cost of football, however, does continue to rise in transfers and associated fees but what’s critical for us is the consistency of our financial position, enabling us to live within our means and continue to run a sustainable football club.”

The Reds lifted the European Cup for a sixth time last June

Turnover increased during the period by £78m to £533m with media revenue increasing by £41m to £261m, commercial revenue increasing by £34m to £188m and match revenue increasing by £3.5m to £84m.

The rise is a result of a new Champions League broadcasting deal which began during this period, finishing a close second to Manchester City in the Premier League and higher partnership and merchandising value, with Liverpool signing their first training kit sponsorship deal with AXA.

“What we’re seeing is sustained growth across all areas of the club which is aligned to the recent performance on the pitch,” added Hughes.

“Since this reporting period we have continued to reinvest in the club’s infrastructure, and we look forward to the opening of our new (£50m) training base at Kirkby ahead of the new season which will provide first-class facilities for our players and staff.

“We have also just completed a second-phase consultation on a proposed expansion of the Anfield Road stand which could see an increase in the stadium’s capacity.

“These financial results and this sustained period of solid growth is testament to our ownership, Fenway Sport Group, who continue to support the club’s ambitions and continue to reinvest revenues both in strengthening the playing squad and the club’s infrastructure to build for the future.”

— Read on talksport.com/football/675375/liverpool-turnover-profit-transfers-spending-record-players/

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Barcelona would have to pay more than £200m to sign Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane from Liverpool due to ‘Coutinho clause’

Barcelona would have to pay more than £200m to sign Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane from Liverpool due to ‘Coutinho clause’

Barcelona would have to pay Liverpool more than £200m to sign Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane due to a ‘Coutinho clause’.

The last time Liverpool did business with Barcelona was in January 2017 when Philippe Coutinho swapped Anfield for the Camp Nou in a £142m deal.

It looks unlikely that Salah or Mane will join Barcelona

Liverpool spent that money on Virgil van Dijk and Alisson who shored up their defence as Jurgen Klopp’s side won the Champions League and are now just four wins away from their first Premier League title.

After losing players such as Javier Mascherano and Luis Suarez to Barcelona, the Reds negotiated a deal during the sale of Coutinho that would force the Catalan giants to pay a premium over any other club hopeful of signing their star players, according to the Mirror.

Reports in Spain suggest the premium stands at £89m, meaning Barcelona would have to pay this on top of the agreed transfer fee.

Salah and Mane are in fine form so far this season, with the pair netting 28 goals between them and Transfermarkt estimates the value of them at £135m each, making them Liverpool’s two most expensive players.

So Barcelona would have to pay £225m with the premium applied to sign either one of Liverpool’s most prolific goal scorers who were part of a three-way tie for the Premier League golden boot last season with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Mane has been linked with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid but speaking to Norwegian broadcaster TV2 he revealed he loves life at Anfield.

He said: “I am very happy to be part of this great club and I enjoy it.m

“Hopefully I stay here forever. I’ve been to some clubs around the world, but Liverpool is unique. It’s like a family.

The clause is in play until the end of 2021, after which normal rules will apply and Barcelona will be looking to tempt Liverpool’s players to the Camp Nou again.

— Read on talksport.com/football/675212/barcelona-mohamed-salah-sadio-mane-liverpool/

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me

Premier League launch Hall of Fame to recognise legends of the league who have shown ‘exceptional skill and talent’

Premier League launch Hall of Fame to recognise legends of the league who have shown ‘exceptional skill and talent’

The Premier League has revealed plans to launch an official Hall of Fame, with the first two players to be inducted next month.

The Hall of Fame aims to recognise and celebrate the ‘exceptional’ skill and talent of those who have graced the Premier League since its inception in 1992.

The Premier League began in 1992, becoming a global phenomenon

A shortlist of further nominees will be announced the same time the two initial players are inducted, with fans invited to help select the next group of former stars to join the 2020 class.

The only stipulations for inclusion are candidates must have retired and only a player’s Premier League career is considered.

“Since 1992, the Premier League has been home to world-class players who have defined generations and provided us with compelling football season after season,” said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters.

“A place in the Premier League Hall of Fame is reserved for the very best. It will be an occasion for our fans around the world to look back over the years and help us celebrate some truly exceptional playing careers.”

There are no hints regarding who the first two inductees will be, though Alan Shearer, the Newcastle legend, is one of the favourites to enter the Hall of Fame next month.

Alan Shearer is surely a candidate to be the first ever Premier League Hall of Fame inductee

Shearer retired in 2006 and remains the Premier League’s all-time leading scorer, having netted 260 goals for Southampton, Blackburn and the Magpies

Other contenders to be initially inducted are considered to include the likes of Thierry Henry, the ex-Arsenal forward, as well as former Manchester United duo Roy Keane and Eric Cantona.

Each inductee will receive a personalised medallion, engraved with the year of their induction.

— Read on talksport.com/football/675394/premier-league-hall-of-fame-legends-league-skill-talent/

Business and Sports News from Mike Armstrong – See http://mikearmstrong.me