Portugal ready for Champions League after subduing virus

A bus carrying the Atalanta soccer team arrives at the Pina Manique stadium in Lisbon for a training session, Tuesday Aug. 11, 2020. Atalanta will face PSG in a Champions League quarterfinals match on Wednesday in Lisbon. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

LISBON, Portugal-— Seen as an example for the rest of Europe, Portugal successfully controlled the coronavirus pandemic — and earned the right to host the world’s most important club soccer tournament.

Portugal will take the center stage from Wednesday when eight of Europe’s best teams start fighting for the coveted Champions League title amid strict health protocols.

Thanks in part to its handling of the pandemic, Portugal was chosen by UEFA to stage the mini-tournament in two Lisbon stadiums over the next two weeks. Despite the country’s success, there will be no fans for this week’s quarterfinals, next week’s semifinals and the Aug. 23 final.

Portugal avoided the problems that hit other southern European countries such as Italy and neighboring Spain, where the known combined COVID-19 death toll surpassed 63,000.

There have been fewer than 2,000 registered deaths in Portugal, which took quick action when the pandemic started to hit nearby countries and even though only a few cases had been reported locally.

“We are only able to host these Champions League matches because of the good behavior of the Portuguese people in the fight against the pandemic,” Portuguese Football Federation president Fernando Gomes said.

“The matches will be seen by hundreds of millions of people, helping to underline and reinforce the positive image that Portugal has given the world during a period that has been particularly difficult and demanding for everyone.”

The final was originally scheduled to take place at Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul. Madrid was among cities which also wanted to host the reshaped mini-tournament.

Portugal, a

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IPL 2020 news: IPL 2020 in the UAE is officially a go after Emirates Cricket Board receives official clearance

The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the UAE has been given the green light after the Emirates Cricket Board received the official clearance to host the tournament.

The UAE was provisionally declared as the host country a few days earlier, pending a final clearance from the Indian Government. On Monday, IPL chairman Brijesh Patel confirmed that the BCCI had been provided a formal approval from India’s central government to shift the 13th edition to the UAE.

With the ECB’s confirmation of receipt of the official clearance from the BCCI on Tuesday, the final hurdle has been removed for the tournament taking place in the UAE.

His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Cabinet Member and Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, Chairman of the Emirates Cricket Board said; “We feel extremely privileged to host what could be considered the pinnacle-event of our favourite sport. The magnitude of being in a position to bring the IPL to the vast cricket-loving global community, during current events which have greatly impacted our daily lives, is one we take with extreme importance.”

“This is undoubtedly the highest-profile cricketing-event to be held in the UAE and our team will continue to support all facets (of the tournament) and work toward delivering a successful event for the enjoyment of all sports-fans; here in the UAE, in India and across the world.”

“The UAE is well-versed in delivering successful events – sporting and lifestyle – and we remain in very close contact with the BCCI, IPL committees, the UAE Government and Ministries, our Health Authority, as well as many other entities, who are all experts in their respective fields and it is our collective intent that the tournament be played in a safe, enjoyable environment. We extend our sincere thanks to everyone who has

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Interim WBA champ Jamal James also wants shot at Pacquiao

Boxer Jamal James. Photo from PBC Instagram

MANILA, Philippines — Add Jamal James into the mix of fighters who want a piece of Manny Pacquiao.

James just won the interim WBA welterweight title after beating Thomas Dulorme by unanimous decision on Sunday in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night in Los Angeles.

And he wants the big guns in the division next starting with the Filipino legend.

“Obviously, I would like to get a shot at Manny Pacquiao, he’s got the WBA super title,” said James in a story on boxingscene.com.

“But I know he’s such a big name, so it really doesn’t matter. I want any of the big name welterweights, we can really put on a good show.”

The 32-year-old James (27-1, 12 KOs) has won his last seven bouts since losing to Olympic bronze medalist and title contender Yordenis Ugas four years ago.

James isn’t the only one who wants a crack at Pacquiao, who hasn’t fought since beating Keith Thurman for the WBA (Super) belt in July of last year.

Undefeated welterweight champions Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr., as well as former champions Danny Garcia and Mikey Garcia and even ex-UFC star Conor McGregor also want in on the Pacquiao sweepstakes.


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