Champs Debate: Hdyel coach calls Champs cancellation 'stupid fix' - ISSA boss insists move carefully considered

By George Davis, Mariah Ramharrack& Lance Whittaker March 12, 2020

President of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Keith Wellington has insisted the decision to cancel this year's Boys' and Girls championship was taken carefully and with several considerations.  Several disgruntled coaches, however, have vehemently disagreed.

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  • Coronavirus: ICC denies T20 World Cup postponement reports Coronavirus: ICC denies T20 World Cup postponement reports

    The International Cricket Council (ICC) has denied reports that the Men's T20 World Cup in Australia has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    It has been reported that the tournament, due to begin on October 18, will be put back to next year.

    The ICC responded on Wednesday by insisting that is not the case and it is planning for the competition to go ahead as scheduled, but continuing to explore alternative options. 

    A statement from the governing body said: "Reports of a postponement of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2020 are inaccurate and planning for the event continues whilst a number of contingency plans are being explored in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the COVID-19 virus."

    The ICC also revealed no decision has been made over the process for naming a successor to chairman Shashank Manohar, who steps down this month. 

    "The ICC Board met yesterday to discuss the process for electing the next chair of the ICC," the statement continued.

    "No final decision was taken regarding the election process and the subject will be discussed further at the next ICC Board meeting on Thursday.

    "The existing chair confirmed he was not seeking any extension to his term but would support the Board to ensure a smooth transition."

  • Coronavirus: Aulas predicts financial difficulties for 'many French clubs' Coronavirus: Aulas predicts financial difficulties for 'many French clubs'

    Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has warned of "a real problem" looming for many French clubs if the decision to cancel the 2019-20 season is not overturned.

    Aulas has been vocal in his opposition to voiding the remainder of the Ligue 1 campaign, which left Lyon in seventh place in the table and without a spot in next season's Champions League.

    Having seen the Bundesliga resume the 2019-20 season and with the Premier League, LaLiga, and Serie A potentially following suit, Aulas said French football could find itself being left behind.

    Defending his decision to appeal against the cancellation of the season by writing to the French prime minister and sports minister, Aulas told Franceinfo: "We see an abnormal difference in competitiveness between European countries.

    "[There will be] between 800 and 900 million euro losses as of June 30 for French football.

    "As we were unable to show our good faith as we would have wanted, or show that it made economic sense and the best thing for Europe to finish all our games, so unfortunately we've had to seek an alternative in the interest of those immediately concerned and in the general interest."

    Lyon finished third in 2018-19 and were still in the Champions League and the Coupe de la Ligue when football in France was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Aulas indicated the financial impact of the season's termination would not cause Lyon serious problems, but he said French clubs would lose out in the transfer market.

    "Obviously, transfers will be put on hold. It's looking like we will have to stop the championship so players will not be seen," he said.

    "Clubs which can eventually invest, well clubs abroad have had their season put back and they will finish it later. This is all going to cause a real problem for French clubs – a loss of several hundred million euros.

    "Transfers agreed a few years ago also may not be honoured, so it's going to cause problems. Many French clubs will be in financial difficulties."

  • Coronavirus: Messi says resuming season will be 'like starting from scratch' Coronavirus: Messi says resuming season will be 'like starting from scratch'

    Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi said resuming the 2019-20 LaLiga season will feel like "starting from scratch".

    Barca were two points clear of Real Madrid at the top of the table when play was suspended in March, though the Spanish government has given the green light for the competition to return in the week commencing June 8.

    The six-time Ballon d'Or winner thinks it will feel like a different season, though he pointed out the benefit of the break offering a chance for players like Ousmane Dembele, who had been sidelined with a hamstring injury, to recover.

    In an interview with adidas, Messi said: "We all wonder when we'll get back to work, when we'll start training and competing again.

    "When we start playing again, it will be like starting from scratch.

    "We'll have some time to get ready before the league starts up, and we'll also get back key players on our team who were injured.

    "Technically it will still be the same season, but I think every team and player will feel it's different."

    Messi said his team-mates would need to prepare mentally for the prospect of playing in an empty stadium, an experience he faced when Barca played Las Palmas behind closed doors at Camp Nou in October 2017.

    The Argentina international scored twice in a 3-0 victory that day, and Messi recalled the atmosphere that day as he warned of the challenges it can present.

    "There is talk of finishing out the Spanish league's season without spectators, which brings a whole set of challenges," said the 32-year-old.

    "The group preparation is the same as for any other game. But individually each person needs to prepare and visualise playing without fans, because it's very strange.

    "I had to do it for a home game, and it was downright spooky. But it's normal that the league would resume this way after everything we've been going through. With all that's happening in the world, it's perfectly understandable."

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