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Bayern Munich are considering a joint protest over the death of George Floyd, with Joshua Kimmich keen for players to use their platform to help.

Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis last week after an officer knelt on his neck while he lay handcuffed on the ground, sparking demonstrations and riots over racism and police brutality across the United States and beyond.

Jadon Sancho, Achraf Hakimi, Weston McKennie and Marcus Thuram all made gestures of support at the weekend, which were examined by the German Football Association (DFB).

FIFA urged leagues to use common sense on the issue given the context and on Wednesday the DFB said no players will be sanctioned for showing solidarity with anti-racism messages.

Kimmich revealed Bundesliga leaders Bayern have discussed the possibility of protesting together when they face Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend.

"As a football player you have a big power in this world. My opinion is we should feel this responsibility and say something like Sancho did," said Kimmich.

"It's good that it's not just one player. Maybe it is also an option to say something as a team. "We are one world, one club, one football team. It doesn't matter if you are black or white.

"We as footballers, like with Sancho, have a lot of power to reach other people, to be role models and to say something.

"What we say to people outside gives us a big chance to make a statement.

"We discussed it and maybe we can do something. We maybe have to do something because we cannot give something like this a place."

Borussia Dortmund will remind their players of their responsibilities after Jadon Sancho and some of his team-mates broke the German Football League's (DFL) coronavirus protocol to get a haircut.

In photographs published by BILD, Sancho, Axel Witsel, Thorgan Hazard, Raphael Guerreiro, Dan-Axel Zagadou and Manuel Akanji were seen getting a trim from barber Winnie Nana Karkari at their homes without wearing masks.

According to DFL regulations, players should have no contact with the public, stay at home and receive no visitors.

In a statement released to BILD, Dortmund said: "It is pretty usual that our guys must get their hair cut after all these months. But it is surely a no-go, from both sides, not to wear a mask.

"We will remind our players about that very, very clearly. Also, the barber should ask himself about his behaviour too."

Karkari claimed he followed strict hygiene procedures and was wearing his mask at all times other than when pictured.

He said: "I only took off the mask for the photo, otherwise I followed all hygiene measures very precisely.

"I disinfected every machine before every customer, always cut with gloves even independently of coronavirus – and I am very, very fussy."

Dortmund fell seven points behind Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich after a 1-0 loss to Hansi Flick's side at Signal Iduna Park last week.

They are next in action at home to Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

Kai Havertz will join a "world-class club" in the future but Rudi Voller hopes to keep him at Bayer Leverkusen for another year.

Leverkusen forward Havertz has been heavily linked with Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Liverpool and Real Madrid but head coach Peter Bosz said in March he will cost at least €100million.

The 20-year-old scored 17 Bundesliga goals in 2018-19 and this season has notched 11 times and supplied five assists in 26 appearances.

Leverkusen's managing director of sport Voller acknowledges it is only a matter of time until Havertz departs the BayArena for bigger things.

However, he hopes to be able to convince the in-demand Germany international to hang around for at least another season.

"He feels comfortable, he still has a contract until 2022, but we know that Kai will eventually move to a world-class club," Voller told Sky Sports.

"But he is still here, and I still have the hope of being able to keep him for a year and to be able to do it."

Leverkusen sit fifth in the Bundesliga with five games remaining and are only outside the Champions League places on goal difference, while they have a 3-1 lead over Rangers after one leg in their Europa League last-16 tie.

Bosz's side face Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich on Saturday, before a DFB-Pokal semi-final against fourth-tier Saarbrucken, whose league campaign has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Diego Maradona has set aside speculation surrounding his future and signed a new one-year contract at Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata.

The Argentina great was appointed as Gimnasia's head coach in September, although he briefly departed in November and returned two days later.

Maradona was out of contract at the end of the season and the prospect of his return to the Primera Division club appeared remote, as the two parties reportedly failed to come to an agreement on a deal at the start of the week.

However, Gimnasia, celebrating their 133rd birthday on Wednesday, confirmed news of his renewal until 2021.

The club posted on Twitter: "You are known as Pelusa, Barrilete Cosmico, God, Diego, Diegote, capitan...

"But for us, you are one more Tripero and your heart is already as blue and white as ours."

Maradona had earlier hinted at an agreement as he congratulated Gimnasia on their anniversary on his Instagram page.

"Today is El Lobo's birthday," he wrote. "Congratulations to @Gimnasia_Oficial and a hug to your WONDERFUL fans!!!

"My heart is blue and white. Let's go for more!!!"

The Primera Division season was ended prematurely in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, with relegation suspended for two years.

Gimnasia were 19th in the 24-team division when the campaign was brought to a close.

MLS players have finalised a plan to return to playing this season amid reports the 2020 campaign will become a tournament in Orlando.

The latest MLS season, which began in February, was halted after just two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The regular season had been scheduled to run until October, but much of the calendar has been wiped out by the suspension amid the global crisis.

However, the Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA) announced on Wednesday its members had come to an agreement on the remainder of the campaign.

In a statement announcing a new collective bargaining agreement, to run through 2025, the MLSPA said: "Today's vote also finalises a plan to resume the 2020 season and provides players with certainty for the months ahead.

"It allows our members to move forward and continue to compete in the game they love."

It has been reported MLS teams will compete in a televised tournament at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando in early July, replacing the standard season.

Clubs will reportedly first play a group stage and then knockout rounds, although MLS is yet to confirm the details of the league's resumption.

Asked last month about a return to the pitch, New England Revolution captain Carles Gil told Stats Perform News: "I don't mind where and when it is, but sooner is better. And especially in the safest way possible.

"If it has to be in Orlando, let it be in Orlando. And if we can restart the league as it has always been, it is even better. My opinion is to go on, safety granted, the best way possible."

Meanwhile, apparently referring to the nationwide protests against racism and police brutality following the death of George Floyd, the MLSPA's statement on Wednesday added: "There are problems we face collectively that are both more urgent and more important than competing on the field.

"We are grieving, we are fed up, we expect change, and we expect action."

Jadon Sancho and the other Bundesliga stars who displayed anti-racism gestures and messages in support of the late George Floyd will not face punishment, the German Football Association (DFB) has announced.

Floyd, a black American, died in police custody in Minneapolis last week, prompting demonstrations and riots across the United States and beyond.

Sancho and Borussia Dortmund team-mate Achraf Hakimi each revealed T-shirts bearing the message "Justice for George Floyd" in their victory over Paderborn on Sunday.

Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram had earlier taken a knee after scoring in the win over Union Berlin, while Schalke's USA international Weston McKennie sported an armband referencing Floyd.

Such on-field statements or protests are prohibited and the DFB confirmed following the weekend's games it would be looking into the incidents.

However, FIFA subsequently asked leagues to "use common sense" regarding the matter, before president Gianni Infantino said the players deserved "applause, not punishment".

The DFB confirmed on Wednesday it would take no action for the "messages of anti-racism", while further demonstrations relating to racism and Floyd's death will also go unpunished.

Anton Nachreiner, chairman of the DFB's control body, said: "It goes without saying that the DFB's control body always has FIFA and DFB regulations in mind.

"In this specific case, however, these are deliberate actions of anti-racism by the players, who are thus campaigning for the very values which the DFB seeks to uphold.

"So no action will be taken now, nor in the case of further anti-racism demonstrations over coming weeks."

DFB president Fritz Keller added: "I welcome the far-sighted decision from the DFB's control body and am very pleased with it.

"The DFB is opposed to all forms of racism, discrimination and violence, and stands for tolerance, openness and diversity - all values that are also deeply engrained with the DFB statutes.

"That's why the players' actions have our respect and understanding."

Thomas Muller has been impressed with how effortlessly Hansi Flick has handled the pressure that comes with being Bayern Munich's head coach.

Flick signed a contract to be Bayern's boss until 2023 in April, having taken over from Niko Kovac on an interim basis in November.

He has overseen a run of eight straight league wins either side of the enforced break caused by the coronavirus pandemic, helping the Bavarian giants open up a seven-point lead at the Bundesliga summit.

The role is Flick's first as a head coach since 2005 and Muller, who has been in fine form since he took over, praised the way the 55-year-old has dealt with the scrutiny.

"I knew him from the German national team, but he also developed," he told a virtual media conference.  

"I didn't know him as a head coach, but I am very impressed by how well he has handled this situation. It's a difference to be assistant coach in the national team, where the media is a little bit more on your side as we are all playing for Germany and they are reporting for Germany and everyone wants Germany to win.

"But here in Munich, it's a little bit different. When you work for a club as big as Bayern is, you are always under pressure. The media is not always on your side and you have to be very successful to have a nice time here. I think he is handling it very, very well, so I am very satisfied about it."

Bayern have scored 13 goals in their four games since returning to action last month, with Muller in no doubt Flick's desire to play aggressive football has been key to their success.

"The most important thing for me was that he wants us to play very aggressively without the ball," he added. "Now, we play very aggressively, pressing in the opponents' half. We try to attack the opponent very early and with high intensity.

"With these early wins of the ball, the distance to the opponents' goal to create chances is less, so we score a lot of goals. When we get the ball with our pressing in spaces where the opponent is not organised, we can do what you have seen in the last month."

Bayern will be looking to make it nine consecutive Bundesliga wins when they travel to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. 

Atalanta owner Antonio Percassi has given his backing to head coach Gian Piero Gasperini, who was criticised by Valencia for being at a Champions League game despite suffering from coronavirus symptoms.

Gasperini revealed last week he was scared as he appeared to suffer from COVID-19 as Atalanta defeated Valencia 4-3 behind closed doors in the Champions League on March 10.

The Bergamo outfit advanced to the quarter-finals 8-4 on aggregate at Mestalla, although the competition has since been suspended due to the virus.

Valencia expressed "surprise" at Gasperini's comments, suggesting his actions "put at risk numerous people" in the city.

However, Percassi does not wish to drag the saga out, insisting he and Gasperini followed the rules and are moving forward.

"I am with Gasperini and the players. I am looking ahead," he told L'Eco di Bergamo.

"The controls say that, like Atalanta with our members, we did everything in compliance with the rules and with the utmost prudence.

"This is fundamental for us. We are in Bergamo."

With the Champions League reportedly set to resume in August, Atalanta will first return to Serie A action on June 21 as they look to secure qualification for Europe's elite club competition for next season.

La Dea are fourth, three points clear of fifth-placed Roma with a game in hand.

Diego Simeone's long-time Atletico Madrid assistant German Burgos is to leave at the end of the season to pursue his ambition of becoming a head coach.

Burgos was a team-mate of Simeone's at Atletico and the Argentina national team before linking up with El Cholo again as an assistant at Catania and then Racing Club.

Simeone brought Burgos with him to the Spanish capital in 2011 and he helped secure LaLiga glory for Atletico in the 2013-14 campaign.

The duo have also won a Copa del Rey trophy and two Europa Leagues with Atletico, while on two occasions they were runners-up in the Champions League.

Over recent weeks, it had been speculated Burgos would seek pastures new and he confirmed the news on Wednesday.

"At the end of the current 2019-20 season I will take my first steps as a head coach," he told Atletico's official website. 

"I think that with over 10 years' experience in the first division, I'm fully qualified to manage a team. 

"It will be influenced by those people who have made me who I am as a coach and a person. I carry them in my soul. Luis Aragones, Carlos Griguol, Marcelo Bielsa… people who have influenced me.

"It's a normal step for a second coach who wants to become a head coach."

On his relationship with Simeone, Burgos added: "He's a friend, we've known each other for such a long time. 

"We understand each other with gestures, without gestures, with a glance, with a headbutt. I've said this before but I've had lunch and dinner more times with El Cholo than with my own family. 

"We've been together eight years in the Argentina national team, several years at Atletico Madrid as players and eight years here as coaches. It's a lot of time."

Burgos spoke about his favourite moments at Atletico but says he still has ambitions he wants to achieve.

He said: "The celebrations at the Fountain of Neptune, those red and white rivers and there are two specific moments - the first one was when El Cholo and I hugged when we won the league. That first hug, then there's that last hug we had in the changing rooms at Anfield [when Atleti defeated Liverpool in the last 16 of this season's Champions League]. 

"And – listen to this –  we owe ourselves the third one when we win the Champions League, because we have goals to be achieved."

Thomas Muller says Bayern Munich are "afraid of nobody" in the Champions League even if the scheduling looks set to work against the Bundesliga giants.

Germany's top flight was the first of Europe's elite leagues to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic and Bayern have returned in scintillating form as they march towards an eighth straight title.

Their performances under Hansi Flick have prompted talk of a treble bid, with the Bavarian club also going strong in both the DFB-Pokal and Champions League.

Bayern won 3-0 at Chelsea in their Champions League last-16 first-leg tie before the competition was suspended and Muller sees no reason to fear any potential opponents in the latter stages.

"At Bayern Munich, we have our 'Mia San Mia' slogan. The slogan means we are afraid of nobody," he told a remote news conference on Wednesday.

"We always trust in our strength and I think right now, in this moment, we are in a very good shape. In my opinion, everyone who wants to come to the Allianz Arena and play against us is invited.

"But of course, in the Champions League, there are always tough teams to beat. I think Barcelona...

"But we have to watch out for how the international teams come out of the coronavirus break. You don't know how they can handle it. Maybe there are some injuries.

"For the moment right now, here in Bayern Munich, everything works great and the players are in good shape, so we are looking forward to playing against anyone."

Bayern's Bundesliga campaign will conclude before the end of June, yet the Champions League is reportedly not set to restart until August.

Muller acknowledges this break is "not positive" for Bayern, as rival clubs will be concluding their domestic seasons, but he remains confident.

"When I think about the future, the next two months, I think the break for us is not that positive," he said.

"Now we are in the rhythm. We did the 'mini-prep' in May, so now the engines are fully loaded and we play three games a week and are used to doing the work.

"I'm a little bit sceptical because when we have the break, we will have 10 days or one week off in the middle of July. Then we have to start again.

"Maybe that's not the best preparation, but in this situation, right now, there is no space to complain. We have to handle the situation, and when we want to win, we have to handle it the best.

"For me, there is no problem but I think it's not positive that there is a break."

Saul Niguez has made the big reveal about his "new club", which is the creation of a youth team in his home region of Alicante.

The Atletico Madrid midfielder had the rumour mill turning earlier this week when he posted a cryptic message on social media that read "New club: I'll announce [it] in three days".

Manchester United have long been linked with a move for the Spain midfielder, while Chelsea, Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich have also been among his reported suitors.

However, with six years to run on his Atletico contract and a reported €150million release clause, it always seemed a little unlikely Saul's news would be transfer-related.

And so it has proven to be, with the 25-year-old announcing the creation of Costa City Club along with his brother Aaron.

The structure of the Costa City project, which is being sponsored by Nike, will see teams comprised of boys and girls aged between four and 18.

Saul said: "We have been developing this exciting and beautiful project for several years and I am very happy to be able to present it and make it official today."

Atletico are due to return to LaLiga action following the suspension of top-flight football in Spain as a result of the coronavirus pandemic with an away fixture at Athletic Bilbao on June 14.

The second half of the abandoned match between Rayo Vallecano and Albacete will mark the Segunda Division's return to action on June 10.

The original fixture at Vallecas, which took place in December, was brought to a halt after the opening 45 minutes when Albacete player Roman Zozulya was abused by Rayo fans.

Zozulya, a former Ukraine international, joined Rayo on loan from Real Betis in 2017 but the move was cut short when supporters protested against the transfer due to reported far-right links, which the player has strenuously denied.

Following widespread derogatory chanting aimed at Zozulya, both sides asked referee Jose Antonio Lopez Toca to abandon the game.

It was determined that the second period would be played at a later date but, after being pencilled in for February, it was again pushed back, with the coronavirus-enforced shutdown then ensuring a much lengthier delay. 

However, the remaining 45 minutes will now be played next Wednesday, with the scores goalless, signalling the resumption of professional football in Spain amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Bayern Munich's approach to conducting transfer business will not change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the club's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic. 

Clubs across the globe face financial uncertainty amid the COVID-19 outbreak and it remains to be seen what sort of impact the health crisis will have on teams' dealings in the market.

Salihamidzic recognises the challenges that await in terms of recruitment but says Bayern have always acted with prudence when it comes to signing players.

In an interview with Bayern magazine '51', he said: "Nobody needs a crystal ball to predict that our society and therefore all clubs will face major tests in the short and medium term. 

"Squad planning is always challenging, regardless of corona. We have to think even more creatively. 

"Before corona, the market had taken absurd moves. However, I can only speak for Bayern and say that we have always managed reasonably in this heated phase. 

"We will continue to handle this in the future. How we see football, which economic principles we follow and how we want to act in the transfer market does not change. And there are always opportunities in crises.

"In success, not losing sight of those who are not doing so well, [we have] always had a culture at FC Bayern. Compassion, solidarity, support - we will also try to live on for the European idea in this difficult time. Corona will challenge us all like nothing before. But we at FC Bayern are up to the task."

Bayern are top of the Bundesliga by seven points with five matches remaining.

Real Madrid have made a habit of European success down the years, winning the ultimate prize more times than any other club, and in 2017 they did what no one else could.

But June 3, 2016 will be remembered by many for contrasting reasons, as Muhammad Ali – one of the greatest athletes ever – died, leaving the sporting world in despair.

This day is also notable for South African cricket, and specifically an historic captaincy announcement.

We take a look at the major sporting events to have happened on this day through the years.

2017 – Los Blancos continue their European reign

When Real Madrid and Juventus went head-to-head in Cardiff for the 2017 Champions League final, the omens appeared to be in favour of the Old Lady – no team had ever defended their title in the competition.

But Madrid are no ordinary club and history was theirs in Wales, as they became the first club to retain the Champions League.

Although Mario Mandzukic cancelled out Cristiano Ronaldo's well-taken 20th-minute opener with an outrageous over-the-shoulder volley, Madrid romped to a 4-1 victory in the second half.

Casemiro's deflected long-range effort put them back in front, Ronaldo turned in from close range to increase the deficit and Marco Asensio finished Juve off after brilliant work from Marcelo – they would go on to win the competition for a third successive season the following year.

2016 – Sport loses an icon

Arguably the most iconic boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali, died exactly four years ago.

His achievements in the ring were plentiful, Ali's most famous victories came in the Thrilla in Manila (1975) against Joe Frazier, and the Rumble in the Jungle (1974), in which he stunningly defeated George Foreman. The latter attracted an estimated one billion TV viewers.

Ali was renowned for his charisma, showmanship and quick wit, while he also wrote poetry and enjoyed success as a musician.

However, his impact as an activist is what he is best remembered for by many. Ali was stripped of his heavyweight titles after refusing to be drafted to the Vietnam War in 1966 and spent over three years away from the ring as he fought his conviction for draft evasion, which was overturned in 1971. His stance saw him grow into an inspirational figure in the civil rights movement.

He succumbed to Parkinson's syndrome in 2016, 32 years after making his diagnosis public. He continues to be regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated athletes in history.

2014 – An historic appointment for South African cricket

With Graeme Smith recently retiring from international cricket, in June 2014 South Africa made an historic appointment for his replacement as Test captain.

Batsman Hashim Amla got the nod despite many suspecting AB de Villiers – Smith's deputy – to have been the leading candidate for the role.

Durban-born Amla, who is of Indian descent, became South Africa's first non-white permanent Test captain in the process.

Amla retired from all forms of international cricket in August last year following the Cricket World Cup.

1999 – Malone named NBA MVP again

After a stellar 1998-99 season, Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz claimed the Maurice Podoloff trophy as he was named NBA MVP.

It was the second time he claimed the prize, making him – at that point – only the ninth player in NBA history to win it more than once, having also been a standout star two years earlier.

In 1998-99, which had a shortened calendar due to a lockout, Malone averaged 23.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists as the Jazz went 37-13, but the San Antonio Spurs ended the season victorious.

Lautaro Martinez's move to Barcelona is seemingly getting closer.

The star Inter forward has been linked to the LaLiga giants, although questions have been raised over whether Barca can find a deal to land the 22-year-old.

But the Argentina international could be nearing a switch to Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – LAUTARO, BARCELONA AGREE TO FIVE-YEAR DEAL

Martinez and Barcelona have reached an agreement on a five-year deal at about €12million per season plus bonuses, according to Sport.

The report says Inter have given up on the star forward, but are yet to reach an agreement with Barcelona.

Martinez has scored 16 goals in 31 games this season.

ROUND-UP

- Bayern Munich have already decided not to purchase Philippe Coutinho, who has been linked with an extended stay on loan. However, Sport Bild reports there is no chance the playmaker stays in Munich.

- Timo Werner is reportedly a target for Liverpool, but another Premier League club could be making their move. The Telegraph claims Chelsea are plotting a move for the RB Leipzig forward.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's Arsenal future remains uncertain. The Telegraph reports head coach Mikel Arteta is trying to persuade the striker to stay at the Premier League club, while The Sun says Arsenal will keep Aubameyang until the end of his contract in 2021 if they cannot get more than £20m for him this close season.

- Could Eric Garcia return to Barcelona? Sport reports the LaLiga giants are tracking the defender, who came through their youth system before joining Manchester City in 2018.

- Having impressed at Lyon, Houssem Aouar may be ready for a move. According to CalcioMercato, the attacker would prefer a switch to Juventus over Manchester City.

- After contract talks with Newcastle United broke down, Matty Longstaff could be heading abroad. The Times says the midfielder is set for a move to Serie A, with Udinese frontrunners to sign the 20-year-old.

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