Category Archives: Sport

Coronavirus vs Football transfer market

The summer transfer window usually opens on July 1st, and the deadline recently got returned from August 8th to August 31st. This was implemented a long time before the lockdown was enforced by nations across Europe and before football seasons across the globe were put on hold alongside other sports.

With most leagues expected to return to action between late May and mid-June, many have questioned what the summer transfer window would look like.

This time last year, football clubs were already working on deals that would come to fruition once the transfer window opened, although this year this has been different due to Coronavirus.

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Image from Pexels.com

The main example of this is the Dortmund- Jadon Sancho- Manchester United saga. The Manchester United hierarchy have made their interest in the 20-year-old England international very clear and seem to be in pole position as they have already begun fruitful negotiations with the player and his agent.

The obstacle here however according to sources from Germany, was that due to the Coronavirus situation there was a gap in communication between the clubs, therefore, they will have to wait till when the lockdown in both countries is lifted.

That was until midnight on May 7th when reports from Germany stated United are willing to wait till summer 2021 for the deal to be sealed due to the financial impact of Coronavirus.

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Image from Wikimedia Commons

Dortmund have made it clear however that they are not willing to go below their €100 million asking price which equates to £87.4 million which has left United fans who have seen the Glazers unwilling to pay such high prices in recent times leading to deals stalling over a long period such as the £47.5 million Bruno Fernandes signing in the January window which took the whole of January, sceptical of the possibility of this deal happening especially now that clubs have lost a lot of money during this period of suspension football has gone through.

Here’s a tweet from a United fan reiterating the recent reports that came out.

This is just one example of how Coronavirus is affecting transfers. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has been told by the Arsenal hierarchy to focus on loan and swap deals when the window opens on the basis of the fact the club wouldn’t be able to finance a spending spree type summer transfer window.

There were mixed feelings from football fans on this news. Arsenal brought in Nicholas Pepe on finance last summer and are still paying off his transfer fee in instalments.

Paul Pogba, who has highly anticipated a move away from Manchester United can see himself stuck at old Trafford if the Coronavirus snowball effect affects the pockets of the big boys in Europe who could afford his £120 million-plus asking price.

Fans believe this deal going through has a major part to play in providing funds to finance the Jadon Sancho deal.

This shows how Coronavirus has affected pockets and efficiency of transfers in this period. According to Fifa, the transfer window could open for longer up till January to financially help clubs get back on their feet but they have not been clear about when it would be open for all, though many sources cite an opening by mid-June for teams to bolster their squads in preparation for the last lap of their season.

Featured image from Wikipedia.com

Looking for a new health & fitness coach? Here are 5 things to keep in mind

MORE ABOUT WORKING OUT AT HOME:

Self-isolation gave us some extra time to work on our summer bodies. However, with all “Abs In Two Weeks” or “Toned Legs In A Month” we are left with false hopes and a major risk of failing.

Not every online fitness ‘expert’ is trustworthy, which leads us to searching for someone, who will truly support us on a getting in your best shape journey.

We gathered five most important aspects to consider while looking for you one and only online coach.

Certifications

Fitness professionals must be certified to a Level 2 (Fitness/Gym Instructors) or Level 3 (Personal Trainers) qualification. Feel free to ask to see a copy of any certification.

Industry Memberships

It is not a legal requirement for fitness professionals to be members of industry memberships, such as REPs (Register of Exercise Professionals, an independent public register which recognises qualifications and expertise of health and fitness professionals in the UK) but it’s worth asking as it signifies that the coach has met nationally agreed standards and holds recognised and approved qualifications.

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Unsplash/Robert Anasch

Measurement & Goals

You should have a discussion upfront and then continue about your goals and how to measure you are staying on track. This holds both the coach and you accountable.

Ask your coach how success will be measured. What are some key performance metrics that will be evaluated and how often those will be reviewed?

Care of Health & Safety

The number one goal for a health and fitness coach, should be to keep you safe and reduce risk to injury or harm. A health assessment or conversation should be done before you start to train together.

They should ask you some basic questions up front, then more if you decide to work together. Any injuries, medical conditions, pregnancies, disabilities etc. True health and fitness professional will conduct detailed health, fitness or lifestyle assessment before taking on a new client. This will help them create a personalised program, which is completely tailored to and mindful of your current health, fitness and lifestyle.

If these questions aren’t being asked, that should be an immediate red flag.

Referrals & Testimonials

Ask for previous success stories or client testimonials. Examples of how they have met goals for others and over what periods of time. Perhaps asking for before and after pictures, if the goals have been centred around transformations.

New coaches may not have client success stories to share, so it’s worth asking for 1 or 2 free sessions. This allows you to get a feel for the teaching style, so you can decide if you’d like to continue.

Don’t be afraid to ask what you can expect. A certified and quality fitness coach will share realistic expectations and also discuss with you what is required, both sides, to make that happen.

Relationship is the key…

Another very important thing to consider, which is not necessarily an upfront ‘checklist’ requirement, is the relationship between the coach and client. I use the ‘push/pull’ fitness term as an analogy. It should not feel that the coach is just pushing, and you are doing all the pulling.

The relationship needs to be balanced. Often, the above 5 check’s may have been done, but you just don’t have a healthy or natural chemistry with the trainer. Don’t be afraid to tell the coach that you are looking for something you feel you could just naturally work better with.

Your coach is there to inspire, motivate and support you. It should feel they are challenging you and holding you accountable. But the ‘push/pull’ factor should be 50/50 for it to be successful and potentially long-lasting.

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Unsplash/Luis Quintero

by Sam Tabahriti

(Image source: Sam Tabahriti)

Coronavirus: Free video games for NHS workers

Thousands of NHS staff are being given free access to video games as a way of saying thank you for their hard work during the pandemic.

Some of the biggest game companies like Konami, EA, Sega and Xbox are involved in the Games for Carers initiative.

The studios say the games can be used by NHS workers when they want to relax and get some down time or wish to provide relief for their families.

The Games for Carers initiative is supported by UK industry body Ukie, marketing firm Keymeiler and dozens of other video game publishers and developers.

The UK games industry has helped to share the government’s Stay Home, Save Lives messages in some of the most popular games like Fortnite and FIFA during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Digital and Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said:

“We have worked closely with games companies to help keep people safe and I am delighted the sector is continuing to support the NHS in such an innovative way.”

If NHS workers wish to get access to their free games, all they have to do is visit the Games for Carer website and enter their NHS email address – even though the site went down for a few hours because of the high level of interest.

The Games for Carers initiative was the idea of Scottish video game journalist Chris Scullion, who was inspired after being sent a free gaming code himself and then contacted Ukie in order to involve major game companies on a mass scale.

She also said she hopes this initiative goes some way to help NHS workers understand how respected and valued they are.

(Image source: courtesy of Canva)

What happens next to European football across top five leagues?

Football authorities across the world are struggling with how to resolve the season after virtually all play was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here we examine what European countries are doing to bring the 2019-20 season to a close.

France

France has led Europe as the first out of the top 5 leagues to void the 2019/2020 Football season.

French President Emmanuel Macron went on to encourage other European countries to follow suit.

This move means that BEIN sports, which covers a wide percentage of football in France would get a huge payday out of this as their TV contract could not be completed and also, sponsors may also have to collect back the money paid to clubs they have deals with.

This has left many disappointed with the decision as countries like the United Kingdom are still considering how the season can be finished behind closed doors.

On a lighter note, a Twitter user had some humour to share with someone quite against the proceedings with football in France.

Fans from the UK seemed to handle this news well with many hoping Liverpool would enjoy the same privileges as PSG who went on to be crowned champions of Ligue 1, much to the distaste of rival fans such as fans of 5thplaced Manchester United.

United Kingdom

The Premier League has shown no signs of slowing down as they have passed updated fixture schedules to clubs so as to reinstate normal training in the near future.

They predict football could be back as soon as June 8 and training would begin on May 18 to work towards the aforementioned date.

This schedule could hinge on whether or not Prime Minister Boris Johnson extends the lockdown or not.

Germany

In Germany, the Bundesliga’s return has been delayed by the government. They had previously hoped to make a return on May 9, although this can no longer be achievable but will be reconsidered as soon as next week.

Spain

In Spain, the Spanish La Liga are taking baby steps towards a potential return to action.

The focus all around Europe at the moment is on how clubs can at least complete their domestic seasons so as to prevent losing out on several streams of revenue which have been cut short due to the current global pandemic and it’s resulting lockdown measures.

In essence, the Spanish La Liga are aiming to be back in action mid-June with 11 games still to go.

Players are due to start testing for Covid-19 between May 5 and May 7.

Italy

Italy was the first country in Europe to really feel the effect of this pandemic with a colossal amount of people from all age groups dying and they were also one of the first in Europe to stop football and go into a full and strict lockdown with their streets near empty at all periods.

Serie A is expected to return at the earliest on June 10 but the players will begin individual training as soon as May 4.

Training centres at football clubs will reopen on May 18 and the main reason they are ensuring their season goes on is because of a quote from Italian Football Federation (IFF) President Gabriele Gravina who told Goal.com that a continued lockdown would be disastrous for the finances of football in the country.

Therefore, as it is clear that these top European footballing countries have no plans to void their seasons, football may be back by the start of June.

(image source: courtesy of Pexels)

Who will win the Premier League?

After 37 matches, 39 weeks, and a total of 1,042 points won between 20 teams, the 2018/19 season of the Premier League is about to come to an end.

But who will lift the trophy?

Luckily there isn’t a long wait, with the final matches taking place in two days time. But football fans will be paying attention to two teams in particular.

Manchester City are currently at the top of the table, but Liverpool are just one point behind them. All City needs to do is draw or win their game against Brighton & Hove Albion to stay on top, but Liverpool have to win against the Wolverhampton Wanderers to keep their hopes of lifting the trophy for the first time alive.

Neither team have lost any of their last five matches, both being on top form in the final stages of the season. But with Liverpool fresh from their win against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final on Wednesday, they might have the momentum needed to win their final match.

WNOL asked football fans in London who they thought would finish at the top, and everyone backed Manchester City.

“I think City will win, I want Liverpool but city are in form”, says North Londoner Alexander.

Charlotte agrees. “City because they’re not going to lose their last game”.

“They have effectively a one-win advantage over Liverpool, and even if Liverpool win at Wolves this weekend I really can’t see City losing or drawing at Brighton” says Birmingham-born Laura.

Jody, from Essex, also thinks the Manchester team have it in the bag “because they are better”.

Meanwhile, Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United are all fighting for a place in the top 4 to compete in the Champions League next season.

Both Chelsea and Arsenal are on form after winning their semi-finals on Thursday to form an all-England Europa League final.

Chelsea and Tottenham currently hold third and fourth spot respectively with 71 and 70 points, but with only one point between the two teams, and three points between Tottenham and Arsenal, anything could change by the time the whistle blows on Sunday.

Featured image courtesy of Nathan Rogers from Unsplash

All English final: fans face difficult travel options

English football is experiencing a monumental moment in their history. Liverpool will face Tottenham in Madrid for the champions league final, whilst Arsenal will face Chelsea in the Europa league final.

The all-English final sheds light on the question: Is it necessary for fans to travel to Madrid, Spain and Baku, Azerbaijan when the finals could be played at home? This question is brought up as fans face difficult travel options to watch the all-English finals.

However, there are a lot of factors involved such as both league competitions being designated for potential finalists to play at a particular destination. The destination for the finalists are decided by UEFA Stadium Infrastructure Regulations, prior to the start of the competition. And stadiums are selected by categories depending on the maximum capacity.

With fans of all four English clubs trying to get the cheapest possible tickets, flights and hotel costs are increasing due to high demand. The 67,000 capacity at Wanda Metropolitano means Liverpool and Tottenham fans will have to spend a lot of money to get the best seats in the house – tickets would set fans back over £500.

The 68,700 capacity at Baku, Azerbaijan means that Chelsea and Arsenal fans will have to spend just as much money to witness which club qualifies for the champions league next season. As fans will have to travel more than 2,468 miles to watch the game, there are no flights scheduled between London and Baku on the week of the final. 

There are alternative ways of getting to Azerbaijan. This includes public transport such as trains. But that would take more than four days as you will pass through seven countries. Another way of getting there is driving, but that would take more than 58 hours. Fans face a dilemma of not being able to see the Londoners live due to chaotic travel.

Arsenal posted on their website that UEFA will give both clubs an allocation of just 6,000 tickets each for the match. However, the limited tickets and travel puts fans in a difficult position. Arsenal are currently working with Thomas Cook to offer fans seats on an aircraft, but there is limited availability due the final being during half term week and after bank holiday.

Nevertheless, we are approaching the Europa League final on the 29th this month, and the Champions League final on the 1st of June. Fans of all clubs are quickly buying tickets, hotel rooms, and are saving up for what will be one of the most glorious weeks in English football. The premier league race is also on, who will take the trophy: Liverpool or Manchester City?

Featured image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/aerial-photography-of-stadium-2039938/

 

Women in football: there’s still a long way to go

With the women’s FA Cup Final taking place tomorrow aftertoon, and being broadcast by BBC One from Wembley Stadium for the fourth year in a row, it’s clear that female football has come a long way. But with many people still unaware of the match, and not invested in women’s competitions, it seems they’re not quite as equal as their male’s counterparts.

WNOL spoke to the University of Westminster male football captain, Bryan Ijeh, about what needs to be done to improve coverage of women’s football matches.

“I think that footballing authorities have not been giving enough support to the women’s game. The lack of media coverage has made the women’s game less attractive to invest in as a sponsor, which is unlike the men’s game who have huge T.V and media deals in place.”

The BBC cover most of the women’s game, including the FA Cup and the World Cup, which is taking place in France this June.

 

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The women’s FA Cup Final will be held at Wembley Stadium for the fifth year in a row

“If there is a proper effort made to put forth women’s football just as much as it is done with the men’s game it will certainly increase its following. If they are portrayed in the same manner with endorsement deals and publicity, people should automatically take more of an interest” Ijeh says.

More and more female players are becoming household names, such as Lucy Bronze and Steph Houghton MBE, who captains Manchester City and is playing in tomorrow afternoon’s final. But they are far from the likes of Kane, Sterling, and Alli, who everyone knows by their surname.

The 2015 women’s World Cup was a big success in putting women’s football on the map, with many Brits watching England’s matches in Canada four years ago. And with a record number of spectators expected to watch the FA Cup Final on Saturday, the interest seems to be on the rise.

“The seeds are being planted and now it is crucial that the footballing authorities and all those involved keep pushing for more equality in the sport”, Ijeh explains.

Women’s FA Cup Final 2019: everything you need to know

With the big match only a day away, here’s everything you need to know so you’re ready for one of the biggest matches of the year.

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Infographic created by Alysia Georgiades

When is it?

The Final kick-off is at 5:30pm on Saturday 4th May.

Where can I watch it?

BBC One are broadcasting the match live from 17:10, but you can also buy tickets for the event here or visit a London pub to catch the game.

What teams are playing?

Manchester City Women are playing against West Ham United Women.

Manchester City Women beat Chelsea Women 1-0 in the semi final in April, whilst West Ham United Women tied 1-1 with Reading Women, but beat the opposition on penalites 4-3.

Manchester City won their first title back in 2017, and are looking to gain their second tomorrow, whilst West Ham United are the underdogs having never appeared in the final. Will they be able to hold their nerve for their maiden trophy?

Where are they playing?

At Wembley Stadium, which has hosted the women’s final since 2015. A record number of spectators are expecting to show their support, after more than 45,000 attend last year’s match.

Who are the captains?

Steph Houghton MBE captains Manchester City, and Gilly Flaherty is heading West Ham United.

Houghton joined Manchester City on January 1st 2014, and was a key player for England’s World Cup qualification, where she also has the role of captain.

Gilly Flaherty has previously played for Arsenal and Chelsea in her career, with her having an important role on the latter’s team, helping them lift the FA Cup trophy in 2015. She was also Chelsea’s vice-captain, and has played for England nine times in four years.

Who are the teams’ managers?

Matt Beard is the manager of West Ham United Women, appointed back in June 2018. The 41 year old has previously managed Liverpool to back-to-back Women’s Super League One titles in 2013 and 2014, and has recently extended his contract with the Hammers for the 2019-20 season.

The manager of Manchester City Women has been Nick Cushing since November 2013. He led them to their FA Cup title in 2017, and has picked up four other titles in two other competitions. He has also helped them reach the Champions League semi-finals two years in a row, whilst his team is also sitting in second place in the Women’s Super League table after losing no matches this season.

Featured image courtesy of maxopt from Pixabay

Are you running towards an early grave?

In an age where we have a thorough understanding of our bodies and knowing that exercise is a crucial part to leading a healthy lifestyle, there are those who take it to the extreme. Running for pleasure has risen in popularity, and is now one of the most practiced and most popular sports in the world, with over 60 million people engaging themselves in the sport regularly across the world. 

I’m sure you will have already heard a lot of the amazing things that running can do for your body and mind, such as strengthening the heart, boosting energy levels, better sleep and the benefit of burning serious calories. 

When you run, your heart beat faster and harder, pumping blood around your body faster; running consistently means your body can do this naturally more efficient. Another thing your body would learn to do better is burning calories, as running boosts your metabolism, which means you burn calories at a higher rate when you consistently exercise. 

Another benefit to running is the endorphin high many people call a ‘runners high’ which is a boost in serotonin levels which is an instant mood booster. This healthier brain improves your memory, which leads to protection against dementia. 

All in all it sounds like a super-drug, but with all these benefits, surely there has to be things that go wrong?

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Those who enjoy running might aim higher than your average 5km, and try to tackle the beast of the running world. Marathons. 

The first marathon race was created in 1896 to honour the legendary run of the Greek messenger Pheidippides from Marathon to Athens. There is no way of knowing if this was myth or fact, but Marathons have become more and more popular, with only around 500,000 completing one in the US in 2014. 

Marathons are 26.2 miles long (42km), with the average time being around four and a half hours. What sort of pressure does it have on your body? And does extreme running actually cause any harm to your system? 

Marathon runners have spoken before on feeling sore, achey and run down for days after they’ve completed it. Your body would be experiencing inflammation and swelling around your knees, as they take most of the impact, and a lower immune system means you have a higher chance of getting a cold afterwards. 

This doesn’t stop people from going out and completing these marathons every year. “Before I took up running I had real problems with my knees. Not any more, a couple years of running and i am leaner, stronger, my resting heart rate is massively reduced and my knees don’t hurt anymore” says Steven James from Manchester. 

There has been a new trend forming within the running community of ‘ultra-marathons’ which is considered as anything over the 42 kilometres of a marathon, with the average being around 50km. For an average person, these miles could seem crazy, as this is around the distance between London and Bedford. 

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“I have run an ultra and felt it at mile 25, however the cross training (swimming and biking) really made a difference, I felt good!” Says Linda Ross from Stevenage. 

This increase in milage can take months to train for, however if not done safely or consistently, could lead to fatal injuries. Across last decade, 42 people died whilst running due to cardiac events, with your chance of a heart attack heightened 24 hours after intense exercise.

Marathons can literally destroy your body, with many runners experiencing acute kidney injuries, a compromised immune system, temporary loss of fluid in the spine and a huge break down in muscles. 

However, overall, there are no long term effects of harm to the body when running long distance, with many people preferring it to shorter distances. However, with regular training, extensive build ups and cross training, your body will benefit more from your mission to beat 26.2 miles than cause injury. 

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