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UEFA and Premier League hit out at European Super League plans amid reports clubs set to announce breakaway

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UEFA and Premier League hit out at European Super League plans amid reports clubs set to announce breakaway

The Premier League has hit out at plans to create a European Super League, branding them anti-competitive and suggesting they undermine the integrity of the sport.

It has been joined by UEFA in slamming the proposal, which they say threatens the very structure of the game.

Previously, UEFA’s Swiss model for the Champions League had been expected to be ratified at a meeting on Monday, before reports of a rival competition emerged on Sunday.

What has been said?

In a statement, the English top-flight said: “The Premier League condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are at the heart of the domestic and European football pyramid.

“Fans of any club in England and across Europe can currently dream that their team may climb to the top and play against the best. We believe that the concept of a European Super League would destroy this dream.

“The Premier League is proud to run a competitive and compelling football competition that has made it the most widely watched league in the world. Our success has enabled us to make an unrivalled financial contribution to the domestic football pyramid.

“A European Super League will undermine the appeal of the whole game, and have a deeply damaging impact on the immediate and future prospects of the Premier League and its member clubs, and all those in football who rely on our funding and solidarity to prosper.   

“We will work with fans, The FA, EFL, PFA and LMA, as well as other stakeholders, at home and abroad, to defend the integrity and future prospects of English football in the best interests of the game.”

What has UEFA’s response been?

UEFA has also condemned the plans.

In a statement, it said: “UEFA, the English Football Association and the Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and La Liga, and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Serie A have learned that a few English, Spanish and Italian clubs may be planning to announce their creation of a closed, so-called Super League.
 
“If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we – UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations – will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.
 
“We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.
 
“As previously announced by FIFA and the six Federations, the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams. 
 
“We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this. We call on all lovers of football, supporters and politicians, to join us in fighting against such a project if it were to be announced. This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough.”

What have been the other responses?

The FA have also released a statement condeming the plans.

They said: “It is clear that this would be damaging to English and European football at all levels and will attack the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are fundamental to competitive sport.

“For new competitions to be formed involving clubs from different assocations, approval would be required. We would not provide permission to any competition that would be damaging to English football, and will take any legal and/or regulatory action necessary.”

There have been no official comments from any clubs so far. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta refused to be drawn on the subject in his pos-match press conference after their 1-1 draw with Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday.

Arteta said: “I don’t know. Once I know every detail and I have all the information, then I can evaluate and give you an opinion.”

What’s happening?

According to a report from the Sunday Times, a breakaway group of clubs wish to create a standalone European Super League that would act in competition to the Champions League.

Reports from France added that these clubs came from England, Italy and Spain, with French and German outfits refusing to agree to the deal. These appear to have been verified by UEFA’s statement.

Nevertheless, UEFA plans to put forward its proposal for a ‘Swiss Model’ Champions League to the ECA (European Club Association) on Monday, at which point the face of European football could be forever altered if not approved.

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Connor McDavid hits ‘impressive’ 100-point mark in Oilers’ 53rd game

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Connor McDavid hits 'impressive' 100-point mark in Oilers' 53rd game

Entering Saturday night’s “Hockey Night in Canada” showdown with the Canucks, Connor McDavid had been downplaying how important scoring 100 points this season was to him.

“It’s a number,” McDavid said when he was sitting on 93 points; he had 96 Saturday morning. “If I get there, great. If not, it’s not the end of the world, either. The most important thing is our team is gearing up for the playoffs and making sure we’re firing on all cylinders in Game 1.”

Well, while he may not have been thinking about it, the smile on his face when he notched point 100 in the second period — his fourth point (goal, three assists) of the night — told a different story. The historic moment came in the Oilers’ 53rd game of the season as he assisted on Leon Draisaitl’s game-winning power-play goal.

“Honestly, it’s just impressive,” said Draisaitl, who hit his own career milestone of 500 (and 501) NHL points in the game. “I don’t think my English is good enough to find another word for it right now, but it’s incredible. I mean, I don’t know, we’ve played 50-some games, he’s at 100 points. It’s just very impressive and just, you know, fun to be a part of.”

“I think what it does, it just solidifies he’s one of the top players to ever play the game,” said head coach Dave Tippett. “The level that he’s played at this year, and just what he’s accomplished, it’s one of those years that you look at Wayne [Gretzky] or you look at Mario [Lemiuex], it’s one of those years where he’s taken his talents to another level that is just elite for the league.”

McDavid, who has 32 goals and 68 assists, became just the ninth player in NHL history to hit the century mark in 53 games, joining the likes of Gretzky and Phil Esposito. The last players to do it were Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr with the Penguins in 1995-96. 

“It’s special to be part of a group like that, obviously. Those are the game’s best players of all time so it’s special to be mentioned in the same breath as those guys,” McDavid said postgame.

“Four-point nights aren’t something that come regularly, I think. I was just trying to come in and play a good game, play like I can,” he said later, adding that he spoke to his parents and was surprised his mom was awake to see it. “My legs felt pretty good. I was able to get on the board on the first shift, that always helps. I think after the first one, it kind of crosses your mind, and I was fortunate to feel pretty good throughout the night and a couple of great shots from my teammates.”

After the Edmonton captain hit the mark, Twitter not only praised him but was also in awe of the moment.

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Blue Jackets, John Tortorella reportedly parting ways; five landing spots for the veteran coach

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Blue Jackets, John Tortorella reportedly parting ways; five landing spots for the veteran coach

John Tortorella’s contract with the Blue Jackets expires this summer and The Athletic’s Adam Portzline is reporting that the veteran coach will not be re-signing with the team. The Blue Jackets’ season ended Saturday with a 5-4 overtime win over the Red Wings.

“People talk about a shelf life. I don’t think there’s a shelf life for a coach, but what I believe in is, is it the right fit?” Tortorella said postgame on Zoom when asked if he’d like to return next season. “I think the fit of the coach and the players and personnel, I think that’s the most important thing and that’s something (Jackets GM) Jarmo (Kekalainen) and I have discussed very honestly. Very honestly. I get it. Am I the right fit? These are the things Jarmo and I have talked about.

“I think this will come to a solution very quickly here.”

Tortorella joined the club after it started the 2016-17 season 0-7-0 under Todd Richards.

“John Tortorella is an experienced National Hockey League coach with a proven track record of success,” Kekalainen said at the time of the hire. “He is a Stanley Cup winner, and we believe the right person to lead our team at this time.”

While he didn’t lead the Blue Jackets to a Stanley Cup, he did steer the team to four straight Stanley Cup playoff appearances beginning in 2016-17. The team also had one of the greatest postseason performances in NHL history when it swept the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Lightning in the first round of the 2019 playoffs.

This season, the club finished last in the Central Division with an 18-26-12 record. It marked the first full season in which the club finished under .500 with him at the helm. It didn’t help that the year started shakily with disgruntled forward Pierre-Luc Dubois wanting out of Columbus. He was soon sent packing, but the player for whom he was swapped, Patrik Laine, also seemed to struggle under Tortorella.

Tortorella will leave with a 227-166-54 record for Columbus. Across four teams (Lightning, Blue Jackets, Rangers and Canucks) he has posted an overall record of 672-541-37-132 record and holds the record for most wins among U.S.-born coaches.

While he noted that he joined the Blue Jackets as an older coach, it doesn’t sound as if the 62-year-old wants to hang up his whistle just yet. With that, here’s a quick rundown of five possible landing spots for the colorful coach:

New York Rangers

If David Quinn is shown the door, then could there be a return to Broadway for Tortorella? He did post an impressive 171-118-1-29 record and led the team to four postseason appearances — including a conference final in 2012. Oh, and guess who was captain for him during some of his tenure . . . the guy who was just named the team’s GM and president, Chris Drury.

Vancouver Canucks

Like Tortorella, Travis Green is not signed beyond this season and there could be a vacancy in the Pacific Northwest. The Canucks and Tortorella also have some history — one 82-game season that was, well, interesting, to say the least. Maybe the duo are due for a re-do?

Arizona Coyotes

Bench boss Rick Tocchet is also unsigned beyond this season and he could be shown the door after four seasons in the desert. Tortorella could fit here with the team’s mix of young and veteran players.

Seattle Kraken

All signs are pointing to Gerard Gallant heading to the NHL’s newest club but Tortorella could land here if GM Ron Francis wants to veer off course.

Dallas Stars

Could the Stars part ways with Rick Bowness after the team followed up their trip to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final by missing the postseason? Maybe. Tortorella does have some history with players like Joe Pavelski (Team USA).

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Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders live fight updates, results, highlights from 2021 boxing card

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Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders live fight updates, results, highlights from 2021 boxing card

One fighter will get closer to the first undisputed super middleweight championship in boxing history when WBC, WBA (Super) and The Ring champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez faces off against WBO titleholder Billy Joe Saunders at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday.

The massive 168-pound showdown will take place in front of a live crowd of more than 70,000, breaking the attendance record for an indoor boxing event in the United States. And who better than Alvarez, boxing’s current pound-for-pound king, to be in the main event?

Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs) has pursued the undisputed championship since beating Callum Smith for the WBA (Super) and vacant WBC crown in December. He followed that performance with a third-round stoppage of mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim in February before turning right back around in hopes of collecting another title against Saunders on Saturday night.

Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) is a two-division world champion who claimed the WBO title in May 2019 by defeating Shefat Isufi via unanimous decision. He has made two consecutive title defenses, but his opponent in Texas will be his toughest test by far.

There has been some bad blood between the two heading into the fight; Canelo promised a knockout, while Saunders aims to befuddle the Mexican superstar with his technical prowess.

Who will come out on top? Stay tuned as Sporting News will have live coverage of tonight’s fight card.

MORE: Watch Canelo vs. Saunders live on DAZN

Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders live updates, highlights

Sporting News’ live coverage of Canelo-Saunders will begin at 9 p.m. ET.

Canelo vs. Saunders start time

  • Main card: 8 p.m. ET
  • Canelo-Saunders main event: 11 p.m. ET (approximate)

The Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders main card launches at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday night, with the champions expected to make their ring walks at approximately 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. ET, depending on the length of the earlier fights.

How to watch Canelo vs. Saunders

  • Subscription: $19.99/month or $99.99/year

The Canelo vs. Saunders fight will stream live globally on DAZN, to more than 200 countries and territories, including the U.S. and Canada.

Those interested in watching the fight can find DAZN on a number of different systems, including, but not limited to, Amazon Fire TV/stick, Android, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, iPhone and iPad, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Roku. The DAZN app is also available on LG, Samsung and Vizio smart TVs, as well as Xfinity X1 and Flex.

Viewers can also find it on DAZN.com using browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari.

Click here to learn more about DAZN.

Canelo vs. Saunders fight card

  • Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders for the Canelo’s WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine super-middleweight titles, and Saunders’ WBO title
  • Marc Castro vs. Irving Castillo
  • Frank Sanchez vs. Nagy Aguilera
  • Edwin Soto vs. Katsunari Takayama for Soto’s WBO light-flyweight title
  • Kieron Conway vs. Souleymane Cissokho for Conway’s WBA Intercontinental super-welterweight title
  • Keyshawn Davis vs. Jose Antonia Meza
  • Kelvin Davis vs. Jan Maslaek

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