Tag: European Business & Sports News

Introbiz online networking event with Welsh Rugby Legend, Jonathan “Jiffy” Davies • #Introbiz #WelshBiz #WelshEvents

July 1 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Free

Join us for an Introbiz Online Networking Webinar Event, on Wednesday, 1st of July, from 4:00-6:00PM

Jonathan Davies is a former Welsh rugby player who played in the 1980s and 1990s and represented Wales in both rugby union and rugby league. He was named player of the 1993–94 season, winning the RFL’s Man of Steel Award.

Since retiring from rugby, Davies has worked in the media as a commentator and pundit in both codes, mainly for the BBC in both the English and Welsh languages. Since 2004 Davies has hosted his own rugby themed chatshow, Jonathan, on S4C. Davies was also the President of Super League side Crusaders until 2009. In 2015 Davies was awarded the OBE for his charitable services to people with cancer through his role as president of Cardiff’s Velindre Cancer Centre, where he has raised over £10 million!

Schedule for the event:

Welcome by Introbiz
Introbiz Masterclass Q&A with keynote speaker Jonathan Davies
Questions from the audience
Networking starts, referring to our highly successful power group format:
Who are you?
What are your products and services?
Who are your clients?
What’s your target audience for your business?
What new introductions can we make for you?
How can you follow up effectively?
Event closes
Introduction to upcoming events
Tickets for this exclusive webinar are completely free – you can book your place below!

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Date:
July 1
Time:
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Cost:
Free
Event Category:
Online
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— Read more & book online on introbiz.co.uk/networking-event/introbiz-online-networking-event-with-welsh-rugby-legend-jonathan-jiffy-davies/

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

#PremierLeague News – Liverpool Crowned Premier League Champions #EPL #Football

After 30 years of hurt, Liverpool finally crowned champions

Liverpool finally ended three decades of hurt last night as Jürgen Klopp’s side were crowned Premier League champions.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/after-30-years-of-hurt-liverpool-finally-crowned-champions-bm56ght7c

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

Liverpool win Premier League: Reds’ 30-year wait for top-flight title ends – BBC Sport

Liverpool win Premier League: Reds’ 30-year wait for top-flight title ends!

— Read more on www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.bbc.co.uk/sport/amp/football/53183857

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

#UKSport – BBC to show live Premier League Match on a Saturday night plus other #PremierLeague News

BBC to show live Premier League on a Saturday night

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bbc-to-show-live-premier-league-on-a-saturday-night-3j5f8zp6n

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

Boost for Sport, as UK Government relaxes quarantine rules for elite sport…

Boost for Silverstone and Champions League teams with government to relax quarantine rules for elite sport

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/boost-for-silverstone-and-champions-league-teams-with-government-to-relax-quarantine-rules-for-elite-sport-w3l9kxpc2

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

The morning headlines as powerbrokers deliver verdict on World Cup-style tournament and Welsh rugby favourite makes kind gesture – Wales Online

The morning headlines as powerbrokers deliver verdict on World Cup-style tournament and Welsh rugby favourite makes kind gesture – Wales Online
— Read on www.walesonline.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-news/morning-headlines-powerbrokers-deliver-verdict-18321330.amp

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

Greece hopes to welcome Brits back by June 1 — providing airlines run flights #PositiveCoronavirusNews

GREECE hopes to welcome Brit tourists from June 1 — providing airlines run flights. More than four million Brits holidayed on the mainland or …

Greece hopes to welcome Brits back by June 1 — providing airlines run flights

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

Mike Armstrong on the Fire in the Belly Podcast – #MikeArmstrong #MikeArmstrongNews #MikeArmstrongPodcasts

youtu.be/TRxhy2Ra_8g

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

Tour de France to start Aug. 29

The Tour de France will take place Aug. 29 to Sept. 20, the International Cycling Union announced Wednesday. Read More

Tour de France to start Aug. 29

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

Jamie Carragher meddles in the debate between Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane choosing the favorite

Liverpool icon Jamie Carragher has expressed his verdict on his favorite player between Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. Mane and Salah are part of …

Jamie Carragher meddles in the debate between Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane choosing the favorite

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

Coronavirus: Parc des Princes shows support for those on the front line

Five giant signs were installed this Friday on the Parc des Princes, the PSG wishing to pay tribute to the thousands of professionals, “deliverymen, …

Coronavirus: Parc des Princes shows support for those on the front line

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

Gary Lineker has a message for Aston Villa and Liverpool

Gary Lineker urged Aston Villa and his Premier League rivals not to put personnel on the run. Match of the Day host said top clubs should avoid …

Gary Lineker has a message for Aston Villa and Liverpool

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

Cristiano Ronaldo says Lionel Messi makes him better, Wenger wanted him at Arsenal and Pep Guardiola thinks he’s the best around

Pep Guardiola once said about Lionel Messi’s supreme ability: “Don’t write about him, don’t try to describe him, just watch him.” There are simply …

Cristiano Ronaldo says Lionel Messi makes him better, Wenger wanted him at Arsenal and Pep Guardiola thinks he’s the best around

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

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.

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