UEFA chief hopes Champions League will finish by ‘end of August’

Aleksander Ceferin
Short Url
Updated 21 May 2020

UEFA chief hopes Champions League will finish by ‘end of August’

  • Football with fans will be back soon, says Aleksander Ceferin

LISBON: UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is aiming to finish this year’s Champions League by the end of August as football in Europe slowly starts to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our plan is to finish it between now and the end of August,” Ceferin said in an interview with Portuguese sports daily Record, published on Wednesday.

“I think that will work. You never know what’s going to happen but things seem to be calming down.

“Eighty percent of European leagues are going to restart, I don’t see why the Champions League and Europa League shouldn’t take place.”

The end date for UEFA’s European tournaments was widely reported but never officially confirmed by the continent’s football governing body.

Ceferin’s desired deadline gives clubs a chance to finish their domestic competitions — halted across Europe in mid-March — before the Champions League restarts in early August.

In an interview with British daily The Guardian, Ceferin added that he would be prepared to bet a million dollars on Euro 2020 being played next year following its postponement to 2021.

“Yes, I would,” he told the newspaper “I don’t know why it (the tournament) wouldn’t be (played).

“I don’t think that this virus will last forever. I think it will (change) sooner than many think.

“I don’t like this apocalyptic view that we have to wait for the second and third waves or even a fifth wave.”

Ceferin said football would follow the recommendations of the authorities but he was optimistic that fans would return to the stands quicker than many observers think.

“I’m absolutely sure, personally, that good old football with fans will come back very soon,” he said.

And Ceferin said he did not expect the game to be profoundly changed by the coronavirus.

“Football didn’t change after the Second World War, or First World War, and it will not change because of a virus either,” he said.


Rays rally with walkoff stunner to level World Series against Dodgers

Updated 26 October 2020

Rays rally with walkoff stunner to level World Series against Dodgers

ARLINGTON, United States: Brett Phillips’s single scored two runs and the Tampa Bay Rays walked off with a stunning 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday that knotted the World Series at two games apiece.
The Rays became the first team in post-season history to homer in four straight innings, but they trailed 7-6 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
With two out and two on, Phillips — who entered the game in the eighth as a pinch runner — was down to his last strike in the ninth when he singled to right center field off Dodgers closing pitcher Kenley Jansen and Kevin Kiermaier scored from second base.
Randy Arozarena racing from first, rounded third after the ball bounced off the glove of Dodgers outfielder Chris Taylor.
Arozarena tripped between third and home and looked done for, but Dodgers catcher Will Smith bobbled the throw to the plate and Arozarena was able to scramble forward and throw himself headfirst across the plate in time.
“Golly, what a special moment,” said Phillips, who last got a hit in the Rays’ 58th game of the regular season on September 25.
“I am having a hard time putting my emotions into words,” Phillips said. “Baseball is fun.”
Kiermaier called the ending — which sent the Rays into a frenzy of celebration on Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, “truly incredible.”
Arozarena notched a record-breaking ninth home run of the post-season. Kiermaier, Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Lowe also homered for the Rays, who are seeking the first World Series title in franchise history.
The Dodgers, back in the World Series for a third time in four years after disappointments in 2017 and 2018, are seeking their seventh title — but a first since 1988.
“This is certainly a tough one,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “They were the best team all year in the American League.
“They are not going to give anything away. We’ve got to regroup and get ready for tomorrow.”
The spectacular ending, capped a tense back-and-forth battle with a World Series record eight straight half-innings with a run scored.
Justin Turner and Corey Seager homered for the Dodgers. Seager’s was his eighth of the playoffs, temporarily tying the single post-season record until Arozarena notched his ninth in the fourth frame.
For the second game in a row Turner got things rolling with a solo homer in the first inning.
Seager added a solo shot in the top of the third that put the Dodgers up 2-0, but Arozarena pulled back a run in the bottom of the fourth with a lead-off blast to right centerfield off a 95 mph fastball from Julio Urias.
Los Angeles stretched the lead to 3-1 in the fifth when Seager singled off Rays relief pitcher Pete Fairbanks and reached second on a wild pitch. With two outs in the inning Max Muncy reached first on a sharp line drive to right field that scored Seager.
The Rays responded with a home run from Renfroe to cut the margin to one run in the bottom of the fifth.
The Dodgers pushed the lead back to two in the top of the sixth when Enrique Hernandez fired a double down the left field line that scored two.
But Lowe — the two-homer hero of the Rays’ game-two victory — put the Rays in front for the first time with a three-run blast off Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez in the bottom of the sixth.
In the seventh, Dodgers pinch-hitter Joc Pederson came up with the bases loaded and two out and delivered a two-run single that put Los Angeles back in front.
All seven Dodgers runs came with two outs — continuing a trend for them this series.
The Rays however, wouldn’t be denied, Kiermaier’s homer off Baez knotting the score at 6-6.
“We have no quit,” Kiermaier said. “We have been doing that all year. We’ve been the comeback kids. To do it on the big stage makes it that much sweeter.”