Barcelona officially opened the new Johan Cruyff Stadium, which will host games for Barca B and their women’s teams, with a fitting Under-19 friendly clash between the Spanish giants and Dutch power Ajax. The new 6,000-seater stadium – located at the club’s training ground in the suburbs of the city – pays tribute to the legendary Cruyff, who played for the Blaugrana between 1973 and 1978 before coaching them between 1988 and 1996. Cruyff died in 2016 and is widely credited with laying the foundations for the unprecedented success the club has enjoyed over the past 15 years. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets were among the Barca stars in attendance at the opening, which saw the two clubs Cruyff is widely associated with facing off at the youth level. Club captain Messi, along with Busquets, Pique and Sergi Roberto, stood in the centre circle prior to Tuesday’s match as Cruyff’s son, Jordi, took a ceremonial kickoff to officially open the stadium. Cruyff’s wife Danny and his daughter Susila were also in attendance as the club paid tribute to one of their legendary figures and his family. The match saw 16-year-old Naci Unuvar of Ajax bag a clinical brace as the visitors claimed a 2-0 win. The opening followed on from Monday’s unveiling of a Cruyff statue outside Camp Nou, with the event also seeing members of Cruyff’s family in attendance. Messi, Busquets and Pique watch on from the centre circle as Jordi Cruyff takes a ‘ceremonial’ kick off to open the stadium named after his father pic.twitter.com/kU5iXHBpTL — Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) August 27, 2019 The stadium represents the first finished piece of the Espai Barca, a project aimed at transforming and integrating FC Barcelona facilities. The project will also see a redesign of Camp Nou, and the creation of a club campus, which will see the Spanish outfit remove architectural barriers and introduce measures to improve urban mobility around the stadium. The new stadium makes the former home ground of Barcelona B and the women’s team obsolete, with the ground the Miniestadi now sits on to be used as the home of the club’s new home for its indoor sports teams, which include basketball, handball, roller hockey and futsal.
Romelu Lukaku has fired back at pundit Gary Neville for questioning his professionalism, citing the praise of his former coaches as proof of his commitment to the game.Lukaku completed a £74 million ($90m) move to Inter this summer, bringing to a close a two-year spell at Manchester United that was filled with ups and downs.The Belgian was subject to criticism on the way out, with former United player Neville tweeting Lukaku, having admitted to being overweight “will score goals and do well at Inter Milan but unprofessionalism is contagious!” Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? And Lukaku, who opened his Serie A account in his debut with Inter last week, took exception to the tweet, saying one only has to look to the long list of managers who have praised his work ethic to see how wrong Neville is.”Don’t question my professionalism,” Lukaku told BBC Sport. “I live for this game. I am at home all the time. I try to do everything to improve.””He (Neville) can talk about my fitness but he should never say anything about my professionalism, that I don’t work hard enough. That is something he cannot say. All the coaches I have had say the same thing about me.”What did Ole Gunnar Solskjaer say when I was on the training ground? What did he say? That I always work hard and always do my best to try and improve myself. Same with Jose Mourinho and Roberto Martinez. Now Antonio Conte will say it.”Last year was just a bad year. It happens in football. You just have to move on. I am not going to sit here and react in a negative way.”We are grown men. He is a pundit. He gets paid to say this kind of stuff. I am paid to play football. I just want to do my best for Inter Milan. That is it.”Lukaku also moved to deny any fitness issues during this past pre-season with United – which had been used as justification as to why he did not see the field.The striker started for Inter in their 4-0 win over Lecce in the Serie A opener, going 90 minutes, and discussed the high levels of fitness required to play in head coach Antonio Conte’s system.”I was training by myself for the last couple of weeks in Manchester with one of the physical coaches,” Lukaku added.”From Singapore until I moved here, I was basically only doing running and not training on the pitch. When I got here they asked me what I had been doing.”I had not done any group training, only running, so we kept the running part going. They introduced me to the group exercises and then they organised some friendlies and that was it.”When I arrived, the first four days were about building up the physical aspect, getting as fit as possible for the first game – do a lot of physical work and adapt tactically to what he (Conte) wants on the pitch.”How we play involves a lot of pressing, being in the right positions. You have to be alert and sharp in training.”When asked if he knew why United thought he had a fitness issue, Lukaku told BBC Sport: “No.”
Count Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith among them though.Like most college athletic department employees at this point, Smith is holding the NCAA company line, and raising some questionably salient points and concerns. From ESPN:“My concern with the California bill — which is all the way wide open with monetizing your name and your likeness — is it moves slightly towards pay-for-play,” Smith said, “and it’s very difficult for us — the practitioners in this space — to figure out how do you regulate it. How do you ensure that the unscrupulous bad actors do not enter that space and ultimately create an unlevel playing field?“One of our principles is try to create rules and regulations to try and achieve fair play.[…]Smith acknowledged that Ohio State, which has an enormous alumni base and abundant resources, would have an “unbelievable competitive advantage” over a lot of other schools from a system like this, but he is still against it.A few things:No one believes that we’re going to move towards some new model with no regulations.“Unscrupulous bad actors” are already incredibly prevalent in college sports. Go look at the scandals in college basketball. Anyone who believes college football is immune to similar forces is extremely naive. Go read Steven Godfrey’s excellent 2014 SB Nation feature “Meet the bag man” for how that works in major college football.College football already has a tremendously unlevel playing field. In a given year, there are maybe a half-dozen true title contenders, and that list is pretty static from year to year. There’s also an argument to be made that elite players could find more value in being a “big fish in a small pond” with a model that allows them to profit off of their likeness.Ohio State already has a huge competitive advantage. That isn’t going to change drastically, no matter what happens in the sport.The NCAA has floated ridiculous ideas, like the notion that it will cast out California schools if the Fair Pay to Play Act is implemented by 2023. People like Dabo Swinney swear that they’ll enter a new profession and give up their multi-million dollar contracts if players are able to get paid.In reality, that is all noise.Right now, elite programs collect tens of millions of dollars, and the players get scholarship money towards a degree that they may be able to use to study something that they’re actually interested in. That is often not even the case. It is very hard to argue that it is a fair system, and change feels more inevitable than ever.[ESPN] COLUMBUS, OH – DECEMBER 04: Ohio State University athletics director Gene Smith listens during a press conference at Ohio State University on December 4, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. At the press conference head coach Urban Meyer announced his retirement and offensive coordinator Ryan Day was announced as the next head coach. Meyer will continue to coach until after the Ohio State Buckeyes play in the Rose Bowl. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)California is looking to change college athletics as we know them. The state has signed into law the Fair Pay to Play Act, which would bar the NCAA and its schools from preventing college athletes from profiting off of their likeness.The law is set to go into effect in 2023. Between now and then, you can expect the NCAA to try its best to fight it hard.California is not alone though. States as politically diverse as Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas have all floated similar laws.It is rare to see an issue with this kind of bipartisan support, and while not everyone is on board with athletes getting paid salaries by schools, the number of people against athletes being able to pick up outside endorsements is dwindling.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedDHB reopening to light traffic by evening still possible September 3, 2019In “latest news”Funding cleared for construction of new Bagotsville main access road bridgeAugust 4, 2017In “latest news”Woman reportedly gives birth in ECD traffic jamDecember 1, 2018In “Business” …water taxis remain operational until 10:00hThe Demerara Harbour Bridge will remain close to vehicular traffic as an emergency team is working around the clock to repair the damaged sections.This was according to Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson who stated that the bridge might be able to facilitate light traffic until Tuesday evening.As such, provisions were made for the water taxis to work until 22:00h to facilitate commuters travelling from Georgetown to Vreed-en-Hoop and vice versa.One section that was damaged as a result of the incidentHowever, Minister Patterson has disclosed that from preliminary investigations, the barge was manned by Cubans and Panamanians. After they started to drift from the anchorage point, a mayday call was sent out since no one spoke English. They are presently in custody.Due to the impact, two spans were damaged while the structure has completely shifted. Preliminary works had to be halted for a few hours due to the change of tides.It was explained that there is no mechanism in place to realign the bridge and as such, the only alternative is to await favorable tides.