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N.J. school district again delays start of in-person classes, suspends sports, over COVID-19 concerns



Find all of the most important pandemic education news on Educating N.J., a special resource guide created for parents, students and educators. As schools reopen across N.J., we want to know what is and isn’t working. Tell us about it here.

A Gloucester County high school will again delay the start of in-person classes because of multiple cases of the coronavirus and concerns over a large gathering that students recently attended, officials said Sunday.

In-person hybrid education for high school students at Washington Township Public Schools was slated to begin Monday, but has been postponed until Sept. 24, according to Superintendent Joseph N. Bollendorf. Remote learning will continue and the change only applies to the high school.

Also, all sports programs and other in-person activities at the high school will be suspended until further notice. the letter said.

“District staff have worked exceedingly hard to prepare our schools and to create programs that would permit our students, electing to avail themselves to in-person instruction, to return to our schools on Monday, September 21st; however, there are many variables out of the District’s control that impact our ability to provide in-person instruction,” Bollendorf said in a letter to school community.

Bollendorf said he learned this weekend of a large gathering of high school seniors. The event came to light after the district already reported cases of the coronavirus involving the high school, including sports teams. More information on the gathering was not immediately available.

“Unfortunately, there is much evidence to show that neither social distancing nor face coverings were in place. We have multiple students that have been determined to be close contacts of the COVID-19 cases we are currently tracing, and now have a significant concern as to whether or not students were placed at risk during this function,” Bollendorf said in the letter.

“My number one responsibility is to ensure the health and safety of our students and our staff. We are currently working closely with our health department to begin the arduous process of adding this event to our responsibilities related to the contact tracing of known COVID-19 cases and potential additional positive cases. This will take some time,” he added.

Last week, school officials reported three staff members – two employees at Hurffville Elementary who work in separate parts of the building and a staffer at Washington Township High School tested positive for COVID-19 – prompting officials to temporarily switch to all-remote learning.

Washington Township was among at least six districts that have announced schedule changes just days into the academic year in response to cases of the contagious pathogen among staff and students.

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Sports news feed: Bundesliga records another positive COVID-19 test | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW




Latest headlines

  • Bremen player tests positive for coronavirus
  • Haas announce driver shake-up
  • Özil speaks out after being dropped by Arsenal

October 22

Werder Bremen reveal positive COVID-19 test

Yet another Bundesliga player has tested positive for the coronavirus, with Werder Bremen saying one of their professionals has been in quarantine. The affected player is reportedly “fine and has no symptoms”, while all other staff tested negative.

Another player and a staff member were also required to go into a 14-day quarantine despite testing negative.

Bremen canceled their Thursday training session and have asked all staff to self-quarantine at home until Friday.

“In order to ensure more safety for the rest of the team and the entire staff … will be in a voluntary quarantine at home until the next test on Friday (October 23),” the statement read

Bremen play Hoffenheim at home on Sunday. Germany recorded reported almost 12,000 new cases on Thursday morning.

Haas F1 team announces driver departures

Haas will have an all-new lineup for the 2021 season after Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen both revealed they would leave the American team at the end of the season.

Grosjean, who joined in 2016, teamed up with Magnussen in 2017 to lead Haas to an impressive fifth place in the constructors’ championship in 2018.

But points tallies have plummeted, with the two drivers only winning one point apiece so far in 2020.

It remains unclear who will jump on board for Haas, though young Ferrari academy driver Mick Schumacher has been linked with a move. Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg have been linked.

“The last chapter is closed and the book is finished,” Grosjean wrote on his Facebook page. “I’ve been with Haas F1 Team since day 1. Five years during which we went through highs and lows, scored 110 points in 92 races, but the journey was worth it.”

October  21

Özil expresses disappointment at being axed by Arsenal

Former Germany midfielder Mesut Özil said Wednesday he was deeply disappointed” to be left out of Arsenal’s Premier League squad amid speculation he has played his last game for the North London club. The 32-year-old has also been omitted from the club’s Europa League squad and has not played a single minute for Mikel Arteta’s side since March 7. 

“This is a difficult message to write to the Arsenal fans that I’ve played for over the past few years,” Özil said in a statement posted on Twitter.


 “I’m really deeply disappointed by the fact that I have not been registered for the Premier League season for the time being.” 

The midfielder went on to question Arsenal’s loyalty. 

“Upon signing my new contract in 2018, I pledged my loyalty and allegiance to the club that I love, Arsenal, and it saddens me that this has not been reciprocated,” Özil said. 

Özil, who moved to Arsenal in from Real Madrid in 2013, retired from the German national team after the 2018 World Cup amid controversy over a photo taken with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan prior to the tournament. 

Stroll recovers from COVID-19 infection

Racing Point Formula One driver Lance Stroll revealed on Wednesday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus after the Eifel Grand Prix in Germany on October 11. The Canadian broke the news on Twitter. He missed the race at Nuerburgring and was replaced by Nico Huelkenberg from qualifying onwards.

“I just want to let everyone know that I recently tested positive for
Covid-19 after the Eifel GP weekend,” he wrote on Twitter. “I am
feeling 100 per cent and have since tested negative.”

The Formula One season continues with the Portuguese Grand Prix in
Portimao on October 25.

October 20

Gnabry tests positive for COVID-19

Bayern Munich and Germany forward Serge Gnabry will enter into a period of quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19, Bayern Munich announced on Tuesday evening.

The 25-year-old will remain at home and will therefore miss Bayern’s Champions League games against Atletico Madrid and Lokomotiv Moscow this week and next, respectively, as well as at least one Bundesliga game, starting this Saturday against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Gnabry is “otherwise in good health,” a Bayern Munich statement read.


Report: Manchester United, Liverpool in talks on super league

English Premier League rivals Manchester United and Liverpool are in talks with Europe’s elite clubs to join a new FIFA-backed tournament, according to a report published by the UK’s Sky News on Tuesday. 

Citing unnamed “football industry” sources, Sky reports that more than 12 teams from Europe’s top five leagues – in England, Germany, France, Italy and Spain – are involved in negotiations to become the founding members of the new tournament, dubbed the European Premier League. It says play in the new leagues could start as early as 2022.  

It also reports that Wall Street bank JP Morgan is in talks to provide $6 billion of debt financing to help launch the new league, with the funds repayable from potential broadcast income generated by the tournament. The idea of a European super league has been repeatedly floated by big clubs over the last 20 years, with UEFA coming out strongly against it.  

There has been no independent confirmation of the plan from FIFA or any of the clubs allegedly in the talks.  

Further cuts to football income

Europe’s top football clubs are set to lose further revenue after the continent’s governing body UEFA announced it would reduce prize money for the Champions and Europa Leagues.

UEFA said it has lost £514 million (€563 million,$664 million) following a reduction in both television and sponsorship income due to disruptions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, cuts have been made to prize money for the next five seasons.

The two competitions were suspended in March but resumed in August, with Bayern Munich and Sevilla being crowned champions.

Eight matches in the Europa League and six in the Champions League were lost after two-legged playoffs were rescheduled as one-off fixtures. All matches following the restart were played behind closed doors at neutral venues.

About €1.95 billion in prize money was expected to be distributed across the 32 teams in the Champions League last season.

October 18

Moukoko can’t stop scoring

He’s only 15 years old, but Youssoufa Moukoko has continued his scoring streak for Dortmund’s U19 team.

The young star netted his third hat trick in as many games against fierce rivals Schalke as Dortmund ran out 3-2 winners.

Moukoko turns 16 on November 20, when he will become eligible to play for Dortmund’s first team in the Bundesliga.

His recent exploits were sullied, however, with Moukoko suffering verbal abuse from Schalke supporters.

The club itself released a short statement on Twitter apologizing for their fans’ behavior.

Egyptian grandfather breaks record for oldest footballer

Ezzeldin Bahader has played his second professional football match in Egypt, qualifying him for the world record as the world’s oldest pro footballer at the age of 75.

The Guinness Book of Records only recognizes footballers who have played 180 minutes professionally. Bahader completed his first 90 minutes for the team called October 6 in Egypt’s third tier back in March, even scoring a penalty, and has now completed his second full match.

The father of four and grandfather of six overtakes Israeli Isaak Hayik’s record, who played in goal for Ironi Or Yehuda at the age of 73 last year.

October 16

Two Hoffenheim players test positive

Ahead of the Bundesliga match against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, two Hoffenheim players have tested positive for COVID-19, the club confirmed on Friday. 

According to the club, the two players returned positive tests after returning to Germany from international duty. They are said to be asymptomatic and in quarantine, having had no contact with other teammates or staff members.

Giro d’Italia limps on amid coronavirus fears

After a number of riders tested positive for COVID-19 and two teams withdrew, doubts are growing as to whether this year’s Giro d’Italia can be safely completed. Team EF Pro Cycling have already demanded the race be abandoned, saying that the protective bubble around the teams has been “clearly damaged” and that “further infections” are to be expected. 

Belgian rider Thomas De Gendt from team Lotto-Soudal said there had already been heated discussions within his team over whether or not to start Friday’s 12th stage, adding that he had heard fellow riders coughing in the peloton. “Things aren’t going well, we don’t feel safe,” he said. “In the end, you can’t concentrate. I am one of the riders who would prefer not to start.”

Organizers claim that the eight positive tests registered across five teams earlier this week, including British favorite Simon Yates, are proof that the hygiene concept works, with race director Mauro Vegni accusing individual teams of “carelessness in the bubble.”

“I think the organizers are hiding things,” said De Gendt. “There’s a lot of money on the line and it’s important for the sponsors that we make it to Milan.”

October 15

Ronaldo’s flight home to Italy questioned

Italy’s sports minister, Vincenzo Spadafora, says Cristiano Ronaldo may have breached COVID-19 protocol by returning home to Turin despite testing positive for the virus while on international duty.

The Juventus forward was ruled out of Portugal’s friendly against Sweden in Lisbon and forced into a period of self-isolation. Ronaldo traveled back to Italy on Wednesday evening by private jet.

Spadafora told Italian radio he may have broken health rules.

“Without authorisation from the health authorities, I think he has violated the protocol,” he said.

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli said no rules had been broken.

“You must call the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Interior and have them explain what has been violated,” Agnelli said during a news conference.

Juventus said on Wednesday that Ronaldo had returned on a medical flight “authorised by the competent health authorities”.

Hertha’s Matteo Guendouzi tests positive for COVID-19

Hertha Berlin midfielder Matteo Guendouzi has tested positive for coronavirus after returning from international duty with the French under-21 team. The 21-year-old remains asymptomatic and will spend ten days in quarantine, meaning he will miss his team’s Bundesliga home game against Stuttgart on Saturday and the trip to RB Leipzig a week later.

Guendouzi, who has joined Hertha on a season-long loan from Arsenal, will be eligible to finally make his debut against Wolfsburg on November 1.

October 14

German FA hits back over tax evasion accusations

A bizarre twist in the German Football Association’s current problems with the tax authorities, with reports suggesting the outstanding fees have already been paid.

The DFB has endured a rocky few days after tax authorities raided its headquarters and private apartments as part of a tax fraud investigation last week.

The public prosecutor’s office has accused six former or current DFB executives of deliberately submitting incorrect tax declarations relating to advertising revenues in 2014 and 2015, avoiding about €4.7 million ($5.52 million) in taxes.

Yet the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reports that the association actually cleared up those tax irregularities in March 2019.

The DFB has so far failed to declare whether or not they settled the dispute previously. 

October 13

Ronaldo tests positive for COVID-19

Juventus and Portugal soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement by the Portuguese soccer federation (FPF).

The statement said that Ronaldo was showing no COVID-19 symptoms and was in isolation, thus missing Wednesday’s Nations League match against Sweden. Due to isolation rules, he will also miss Juventus’ upcoming games in Serie A and the Champions League.

The FPF said that all other Portugal players underwent new coronavirus tests on Tuesday and all returned negative.

Golf star Johnson also tests positive

World number one golfer Dustin Johnson has withdrawn from this week’s CJ Cup after testing positive for COVID-19.

The 36-year-old American reported symptoms to the PGA Tour on the weekend and following a test will now begin to self-isolate.

“Obviously, I am very disappointed,” Johnson said. “I was really looking forward to competing this week, but will do everything I can to return as quickly as possible.

October 11

Rafael Nadal produced a vintage performance on Sunday to remain the king of the clay in Paris. The Spaniard’s flawless 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 win over Novak Djokovic brought him his 13th French Open title.

Perhaps more significantly though, Nadal’s win equalled Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam titles, the last of which the Swiss won at the 2018 Australian Open.

“Winning here means everything to me,” Nadal said on court straight after his win. “I don’t think today about equalling Roger’s record of 20 Grand Slams. For me, today is a Roland Garros victory. Roland Garros means everything to me… many of the important moments of my career have been here. The love story I have with this city and this court is unforgettable.”

The French Open usually starts in late May but was postponed until late September due to the coronavirus pandemic. And Nadal had some words of encouragement for the world’s fight against the virus.

“I want to send a message to all the people in the world,” Nadal said. “We are going through a tough moment with this virus, but everyone stay positive and we will beat it together.”

October 10

Poland’s Iga Swiatek has made history. The 19-year-old, who did not drop a set throughout the tournament, beat fourth seed Sofia Kenin 6-4 6-1 to win the 2020 French Open.

In doing so, the world number 54, became the first ever Grand Slam singles champion from Poland, the youngest French Open winner since 1992 and the ninth first-time champion in the past 14 Grand Slams.

October 9

The 2021 Tokyo Marathon has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The race was to be held next March, but organizers said Friday that the race would now take place on October 17 instead, two months after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, another event which was pushed to July 2021 due to the pandemic. 

The organizers said they were “carefully reviewing plans that will adhere to the situation surrounding COVID-19,” and that they’ll do everything in their powers to “deliver a safe and secure event.”

Around 38,000 participants from around the world were to take part.

The Tokyo marathon has been postponed

The Tokyo marathon has been postponed

October 8

Özil not named in Arsenal’s Europa League squad

Mesut Ozil’s ostracization at Arsenal went to a new level Thursday when he was left off the team’s Europa League squad
list for this season.   

The 31-year-old Ozil hasn’t played for Arsenal since football started in June amid the coronavirus pandemic, leaving his future
at the club in question. 

 Asked recently why Ozil _ one of the club’s highest-paid players, reportedly at more than $20 million a year, was out of favor, Arteta
said: “The team is evolving, you can see the level they are achieving.” 

Mercedes team member tests positive for COVID-19

Formula One champions Mercedes reported on Thursday that a member of their team had tested positive for COVID-19 but a spokesman said drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were clear.

“We can confirm that a team member has tested positive,” said a spokesman. “This has been handled and is being handled in line with FIA protocols, working closely with the FIA,” he added, without giving further details.

Six times world champion Hamilton leads Bottas in the championship by 44 points after 10 races.

Lack of fans factor in ‘crazy’ football results

Wolverhampton Wanderers captain Conor Coady believes the absence of crowds at stadiums is a major factor behind the surprising scorelines seen in the Premier League this season.

“Honestly, they are mad, the scorelines,” said Coady. “It’s a tough one to put your finger on, it really is. You look at it at the start of the season, some teams are ahead of others in terms of fitness, in terms of having a pre-season.

“The teams that have been in European competition obviously haven’t had that … so that might play a bit of a factor. I think fans play a big factor… I think we all want them back as soon as possible.”

Long-distance world records broken

Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei and Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey shattered the long-standing world records in the men’s 10,000 metres and women’s 5,000m in Valencia on Wednesday at an event dubbed ‘World Record Day’.

The 24-year-old Cheptegei ran a provisional 26 minutes 11.02 seconds in metronomic fashion to better the 26:17.53 minutes by Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele from 2005. Gidey claimed the women’s 5,000m world record of her compatriot
Tirunesh Dibaba by running 14:06.62 minutes.

October 7

Kvitova clinches semifinal berth at French Open

Petra Kvitova returned to the French Open semifinals for the first time in eight years on Wednesday after defeating Germany’s Laura Siegemund 6-3, 6-3, describing Roland Garros as her “lucky place.”

“It means a lot to be back in the semi-finals,” said 30-year-old Kvitova who was beaten by eventual champion Maria Sharapova when she made the same stage in 2012.

“After my last match, I was very emotional to be in the quarter-finals. Now I am in the semis. I never imagined this would happen after everything that has happened. This is my lucky place.”

Global Rapid Rugby cancels 2021 season 

The 2021 season for the franchise-based Global Rapid Rugby (GRR) competition has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said on Wednesday.

The competition, backed by Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest, had suspended its inaugural season after one round due to the pandemic before cancelling it entirely in April.

German FA in tax evasion probe

The German Football Association (DFB) headquarters and the homes of DFB officials have been searched on suspicion
of tax evasion, Frankfurt prosecutors say.

It said six former and current officials of the DFB were suspected of having intentionally falsely declared income from advertising inside soccer stadiums during certain matches in 2014 and 2015 as income from asset management, leading to an evasion of 4.7 million euros ($5.52 million) worth of taxes. 

To read more on the story click here. 

October 6

Sancho apologises for party

Still in hot water with club and country over his flouting of coronavirus protocols, Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho took to social media to issue an apology.

“I would like to apologise for breaking the government guidelines and although I was unaware upon arriving of the numbers attending, I take full responsibility for my actions. I will make sure that I learn from this,” the 20-year-old said in a statement on Instagram.

England have delayed the call-ups of Sancho, Ben Chilwell and Tammy Abraham, whose birthday they were celebrating.

World #131 into semis at French Open

Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska became the first qualifier in the Open era on Tuesday to make the women’s semi-finals at Roland Garros after stunning third seed Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-4.

World number 131 Podoroska had never won a Grand Slam main draw match before the tournament and is the first Argentine woman to reach the last four of a major since Paola Suarez in Paris in 2004. The 23-year-old Podoroska will play Polish teenager Iga Swiatek or Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan for a place in Saturday’s final.

Match-fixing probe at French Open

French police are investigating possible offences of organized fraud and sporting corruption linked to the French open, the Paris prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.

The confirmation came a day after German newspaper Die Welt and French sports newspaper L’Equipe reported that police were looking into a first-round match in the women’s doubles competition. The reports said that one particular game in the match in question
had aroused suspicions.

To read more on the story click here.

October 5

Jadon Sancho in hot water with Dortmund and England

Borussia Dortmund have announced that they are “in close contact with the English FA and the representatives of the national team,” following the publication of pictures showing Jadon Sancho at a party in London.

The winger was celebrating the birthday of Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham at an event that flouted the recent coronavirus restrictions put in place in England. Sancho missed BVB’s last two games due to “throat infection” and the club are reportedly decidedly unimpressed with the 20-year-old’s decision to attend. 

Meanwhile, there have also been calls for Sancho, Abraham and other England national team members in attendance to be dropped for the upcoming internationals.

Germany’s Siegemund reaches French Open quarterfinals

Germany’s world number 66 Laura Siegemund reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final on Monday, but garnered attention for more than just the result after ordering a plate of food to be delivered to her on court.

“I was trying to get some carbs in. I tried the bar. Couldn’t get it down really. I tried,” said Siegemund after her 7-5, 6-2 win over Badosa on Court Simonne-Mathieu. “I asked my physio to bring me something else. I just wanted to get some carb, some potato or rice.”

Energised by her food intake, she won 10 of the last 12 games to set up a quarter-final clash against seventh seed and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

Turkish Grand Prix will be without fans

Next month’s Turkish Grand Prix will be held without spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Istanbul government said on Monday. Turkey has registered nearly 325,000 coronavirus infections and more than 8,400 deaths.

The race, the 14th of 17 in Formula One this season, will return to Istanbul after a nine year absence on November 15.    

Crazy scenes in Karting World Championships

A video that has to be seen to be believed. At the FIA Karting World Championship final at the Lonato circuit, Luca Corberi – whose family operate the venue – ended up throwing his bumper at a rival before ignoring marshals as he stormed off across the track after an incident knocked him out of the race.

October 4

Zverev out of French Open

Alexander Zverev was knocked out by 19-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner, playing his first Roland Garros, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Sinner’s reward is a quarterfinal against the king of clay, Rafa Nadal. Zverev meanwhile, says he wasn’t feeling well.

October 3

German qualifier serves up career best

Daniel Altmaier, ranked 186th in the world, beat seventh seed Matteo Berrettini in the French Open 6-2, 7-6, 6-4.

The 22-year-old was not even sure he would make his debut at Roland Garros as he was struggling with an injury and needed a go-ahead from a doctor at the last minute to take part in the qualifiers.

October 2

Bundesliga player tests positive for COVID-19

Wolfsburg’s Renato Steffen has tested positive for COVID-19, the club announced early on Friday evening. The Swiss, who is asymptomatic, has gone into quarantine at home and will miss Sunday’s game against Augsburg as well as the international fixtures next week. 

German sides handed Europa groups

After Wolfsburg fell in the qualifiers, Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen were handed their Europa League draws on Friday.

In a tougher draw than they would have hoped for, Leverkusen, seeded in pot 1, will play Czech outfit Slavia Prague, Hapoel beer Sheva, of Israel, and French outfit Nice. 

Hoffenheim, seeded third,perhaps got away a little lighter. They will play Gent (Belgium), Crvena Zvezda (Serbia) and Slovan Liberec (Czech Republic). The full fixtures will be announced later on Friday. 

Löw names squad for triple header

After their Champions League exertions caused them to miss Germany’s previous matches, Bayern Munich quartet Joshua Kimmich, Manuel Neuer, Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry return to the fold.

But they, along with RB Leipzig pair Marcel Halstenberg and Lukas Klostermann, will only be available for the Nations League games with Ukraine (October 10) and Switzerland (October 13) and not the friendly with Turkey next Wednesday.

Three games in such a short space of time given the current packed schedule has led Löw to name 29 players in his squad. Fringe players like Nadiem Amiri, Robin Koch, Luca Waldschmidt, Florian Neuhaus and Niklas Stark will hope for opportunities while there are maiden callups for Borussia Dortmund’s Mahmoud Dahoud and Jonas Hofman, of Borussia Mönchengladbach.

October 1

US soccer team forfeits match over alleged homophobia 

San Diego Loyal players walked off the pitch in a second division game against Phoenix Rising after a homophobic comment was allegedly aimed at midfielder Collin Martin, who is openly gay.

San Diego, who are managed and owned by former US international Landon Donovan, had already forfeited a match against LA Galaxy’s reserves the previous week after midfielder Elijah Martin was the victim of alleged racist abuse.

“We went through a really hard incident last week in the LA match,” said Donovan, who also made a handful of Bundesliga appearances for Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich. “We made a vow to ourselves, to our community, to our players, to the club, to USL, that we would not stand for bigotry, homophobic slurs, things that don’t belong in our game.”

Despite leading 3-1 at half-time, San Diego thus forfeited a chance of reaching the playoffs. Opponents Phoenix Rising said the alleged perpetrator “vehemently denied” the allegations.

Bundesliga clubs criticize international matches

Ahead of next week’s international break, several Bundesliga club bosses have issued scathing criticism of FIFA and the German Football League (DFL) over the issue of sending their players on international duty in regions considered coronavirus risk areas, resulting in quarantine upon their return.

In September, for instance, Hertha Berlin striker Krzysztof Piatek had to quarantine for five days after playing for Poland in Bosnia, and missed Hertha’s German Cup defeat to Eintracht Braunschweig. At the time, FIFA had relaxed regulations obliging clubs to release players for internationals in regions considered COVID-19 hot-spots, but no such steps have been taken this time.

“We learned in September that we, the clubs, are left high and dry,” said Hertha boss Michael Preetz. “We release our players, we pay our players and, in the case of Krzysztof, we were left footing the bill. Ultimately, nobody was prepared to fight our corner. We realized that we can’t count on any help from the DFL or FIFA.”

“For me, it’s absurd to send players to risk areas,” added Augsburg’s Stefan Reuter. “It is FIFA’s responsibility either to postpone these matches or guarantee that players don’t need to quarantine when they return.”

Germany face Ukraine in the Nations League in Kiev on October 10, but local authorities in Germany have already stated that players will be exempt from quarantine regulations given the security and isolation measures in place in the Ukrainian capital.

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Pandemic tests Canada’s ability to stay a winter-sport powerhouse in Beijing in 2022




What bobsled pilot Justin Kripps wants out of the upcoming sliding season is momentum. What that looks like will be dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I feel like there’s there’s a couple different ways we can get it, but we have get it from somewhere,” said the Olympian champion from Summerland, B.C.

“The theme I’m trying to take, and I think a lot of people are, is being flexible and ready for anything at a moment’s notice.”

The pandemic is testing Canada’s ability to remain a winter-sport powerhouse at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

Canada has been a top-five country in every Winter Olympics medal table since 1998, and top three in Paralympic Games gold medals since 2010.

The third season in a Winter Games quadrennial is a big one.

It’s a year in which athletes can qualify to compete in the Games via World Cup and world championship results.

The last world championship and final full World Cup season before a Games indicates which athletes are tracking for Olympic and Paralympic podiums, and what needs to be done to be among them.

“This is a very critical year,” Freestyle Canada chief executive officer Peter Judge said.

Access to quality training and competition in the midst of travel and gathering restrictions, mandatory quarantines, delays and cancellations of international events is uncertain and complicated.

“Every single situation right now is quite complex,” Canadian Olympic Committee chief sport officer Eric Myles said.

International federations in snow and ice sport are based in Europe, which is where the majority of competition has retreated to during the pandemic.

Most North American stops came off international calendars. Canada lost home-country advantage across sports such as speedskating, luge, alpine skiing, ski cross and figure skating.

Freestyle skiing, snowboarding, figure skating, speed skating and sliding sports accounted for 26 of Canada’s 29 medals in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.

The majority of Canada’s figure skating team hasn’t competed since early February.

The world championships in Montreal were cancelled in March as was this month’s Skate Canada Grand Prix in Ottawa.

“It’s incredibly challenging for athletes to train and to remain motivated with so many question marks,” said pairs skater Kirsten Moore-Towers from St. Catharines, Ont.

“In the grand scheme of things, it’s such a small part of what the world is dealing with, but for us it’s been our whole lives for a long time.”

Kripps, women’s pilot Christine de Bruin and their crews were informed just recently they’ll depart in November for the first World Cup in Latvia, following next week’s training camp in Whistler, B.C.

“I’d rather have a last-minute decision made when we have more information than to shut down the whole first half of the season without having the information,” Kripps said.

“I’d rather just make it work and try to get some races going.”

The skeleton and luge teams are skipping the first part of the season, however and will remain in Canada until December.

All World Cup speedskating for the rest of 2020 was cancelled, so the Canadians are home until 2021.

The International Skating Union is considering European hubs or “bubbles” to complete the season in 2021.

For those travelling to compete, the questions are endless: when to go, how to retain fitness during a mandatory 14-day quarantine if they return to Canada mid-season, should they stay in Europe until the spring of 2021, what happens if they or someone on their team gets sick and will a surge in infections wipe out their seasons entirely?

“We have a race schedule. Whether those races are actually going to run or not is I guess the number one question,” said Olympic cross-country skier Dahria Beatty of Whitehorse.

Athletes planning to travel to Europe must weigh how Canada’s required 14-day quarantine upon return impacts fitness and competitiveness.

“My goal right now just based on the climate is to go over, race well the start of the season, allow myself to stay until March and then come home and do a 14-day quarantine,” Beatty explained.

“If I had to come back mid-season to do some races in Canada to re-qualify, that 14-day quarantine really, especially in an endurance sport, is terrible.

“For the fitness, it’s really hard if your only option is to be on a spin bike or something inside.”

While she trains in Canmore, Alta., in hopes of a season, other Canadians are already in Europe.

The national alpine ski team raced in the season-opening World Cup in Soelden, Austria, this past weekend.

Snowboarders and freestyle skiers got to their pre-season training camps in Saas Fee and Zermatt, Switzerland, before the Swiss declared Oct. 12 that Canadians entering that country must quarantine for 10 days.

When it comes to places for athletes to train at home, Canada has the advantage of legacy venues from the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Whistler and Vancouver and the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

They are Plan B if athletes are grounded for part or all of the upcoming season.

The bobsled and skeleton teams are practising starts at Canada Olympic Park’s ice house in Calgary this week before heading to Whistler.

The slopestyle course and halfpipe at COP were built post-1988 and have hosted multiple World Cup events.

Snowboard Canada and Freestyle Canada are working with WinSport to make COP a full-time training base for the national teams if needed.

“If all hell breaks loose this winter, even if we can’t go anywhere and even if we can’t get to events, we’ve got world-class training facilities,” Judge said.

The federations are also pitching for COP to be an international competition “bubble” for World Cup snowboard and freestyle in March.

Paralympic biathlon champion Mark Arendz of Charlottetown says the Canmore Nordic Centre, which is another 1988 venue, offers the training he needs to stay competitive if racing is curtailed by the virus.

“If everything goes really sideways, we’d have the ability to train and focus on our training and get stronger here,” Arendz said.

Calgary’s ’88 legacy is fraying, however.

The “fastest ice in the world” is no longer in the Olympic Oval because of a mechanical issue. The national long-track speedskating team isn’t expected back on the ice there before January.

“What was happening was affecting our ability to make ice,” Oval director Peter McCrory said.

“The reason why it’s taking so long is we are wholly dependent on an external organization to fix the issue for us.”

Also, the national short-track team’s training facility in Montreal shut down because of rising COVID-19 infections in Quebec.

“It’s very scary that both of our teams are off ice right now,” Speed Skating Canada chief executive officer Susan Auch said. “That’s a problem for sure.

“It’s another disruption in an already difficult six to eight months.”

The search is on for a site to house both teams, which is roughly 80 people, with the covered oval in Fort St. John, B.C., a possible option.

Calgary’s sliding track at COP closed over a year ago, awaiting money for a $25-million renovation.

Sliders no longer walk across the parking lot from the ice house to the track, but must travel to Whistler’s track.

Having both tracks operational in a pandemic would put Canada ahead of the game for Beijing, according to Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton’s high-performance director.

“We would have been so far ahead of the rest of the world in sliding,” Chris Le Bihan said. “We would have such a big competitive advantage with the two tracks.”

Pandemic restrictions vary around the world, so niggling away at the back of Canadian athletes’ and coaches’ minds is what training and competition access their competition has.

“It’s seeing a different approach or a different culture across the world where we know some places are full-steam training and even competing either among themselves or with some other countries,” Myles acknowledged.

“It’s time right now to focus on short-term, immediate goals and making sure (of) not getting lost too much in the long-term right now.”

Kripps’s mantra in a potentially chaotic season comes from his teammate Ben Coakwell.

“He was saying we have to stay ready, so we don’t have to get ready,” Kripps said. “You can’t let yourself fall behind.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct 22, 2022.

_ With files from Lori Ewing in Toronto

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ISL 2020-21: Mumbai City sign midfielder Ahmed Jahouh, Sports News




Mumbai City on Thursday confirmed the signing of midfielder Ahmed Jahouh. The 32-year-old Moroccan joins the club after putting pen to paper on a two-year contract with the Islanders. 

A native of Al Araoui in Morocco, Jahouh started his career with Ittihad Khemisset before moving to Moghreb Tétouan in 2010. Jahouh plied his trade at Moghreb for five seasons winning two league titles in the process, and featured in his last season at the club under then-coach Sergio Lobera and with teammate Mourtada Fall. Jahouh would go on to feature for Raja Casablanca and FUS Rabat, both in Morocco. 

In 2017, Jahouh reunited with Lobera in India at FC Goa. The Moroccan was pivotal to Sergio Lobera’s set up and became a key fixture for the Goan side over the next three seasons, making 56 league appearances and winning the 2019/20 ISL League Shield and the 2019 Super Cup. 

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Ahmed Jahouh said: “It is an honour to be here at Mumbai City among some of the best players in the country. I have spent three years in India and I believe that I have a lot left to achieve. When I spoke to the management here at Mumbai City about the targets and the vision they have, I was convinced that this Club is where I wanted to be. And of course, a chance to reunite once again with coach Sergio Lobera was too good to pass up.” 

“We have set high expectations for ourselves and so have our fans. They may not be with us here in Goa but we will be thinking of them and hopefully, we’ll have something to celebrate together at the end of the season.” 

Head coach Sergio Lobera said: “Ahmed is, and I’ve said this before, someone who can control the game. He is an exceptional player and having worked with Ahmed before, I know he can make a difference. He has the experience to help us in the games and he can help bring the best out of those around him as well. Ahmed will fit in perfectly with the extremely talented squad we are building here and I am happy to have him at Mumbai City.” 

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