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JUST IN: Man United Extend Ighalo’s Loan To January 2021

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Manchester United have extended striker Odion Ighalo’s loan from Shanghai Shenhua until the end of January 2021, the Premier League club said on Monday.

The 30-year-old made an impressive start to life at United, scoring four times in eight games after signing an initial loan deal until May 31 from the Chinese Super League club.

Ighalo’s current deal with Shanghai runs out in December 2022 and he is expected to sign a new contract until the end of 2024, Sky reported.

The Nigerian, who has scored two goals apiece for Man United in the Europa League and FA Cup, will hope to open his account in the Premier League when the season, suspended since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resumes on June 17.

(Reuters/NAN)

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No Masks, No Spit! New Rules For Matches As EPL Resumes On Wednesday

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Players and coaching staff will not be required to wear masks at stadiums when the Premier League restarts.

Players will be encouraged not to spit or clear their noses and not to break social distancing during goal celebrations.

There will be no ball boys or girls – a system of sterilized replacement balls will be used.

Aston Villa v Sheffield United will be the first game when the league returns on 17 June.

In Germany’s Bundesliga players and staff have been required to wear masks at all times, except for during play.

In the Premier League, they will not have to wear masks at all, even in the changing room or on the bench, although the fourth official as well as doctors and physios will have to.

On Thursday the Premier League announced there will be a minute’s silence to remember those who have died with coronavirus before the first matches.

Heart-shaped badges in tribute to frontline NHS staff will also be worn on kits.

Clubs agreed to a range of medical and operational protocols for the restart of the season at a meeting on Thursday.

There will be strict limits on those allowed into stadiums on matchdays and grounds will be split into zones, including the tunnel and pitchside.

In total only 300 people will be in each stadium, with no more than 110 in the ‘red zone’ including players, club staff, and officials.

There will be the deep cleaning of corner flags, goalposts, substitution boards, and match balls before and after each fixture.

Some extra disinfection, such as of the substitution board after it is used, is likely to take place during matches and at half-time, while other work will be carried out during drinks breaks if they are permitted by the league.

The medical protocols stipulate how squads and coaching staff must travel to and from games, observing social distancing.

Clubs will be encouraged to fly on long away trips to limit the use of hotels, and every player and coach will be temperature checked before they arrive at the stadium.

Players will have to hand sanitize when they enter and leave the field of play.

Meanwhile, players are working with the Premier League on a Black Lives Matter tribute but details are yet to be finalized.

Options discussed by players this week included taking a knee, a Black Lives Matter logo on shirts, and players’ names being replaced by the phrase Black Lives Matter.

The Premier League has been suspended since 13 March because of the pandemic.

The fixture schedule for the first three rounds was confirmed on Friday, with 33 of the remaining 92 matches to be shown on free-to-air platforms.

The league will resume on Wednesday when Aston Villa host Sheffield United at 18:00 BST, with Manchester City v Arsenal at 20:15.

Teams returned to contact training at the end of May. In the latest round of testing at Premier League clubs, one person tested positive for COVID-19.

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BREAKING: English Premier League Resumes June 17 With Man City vs Arsenal

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The Premier League season will resume on June 17, it has been confirmed.

Manchester City versus Arsenal will be one of the first matches to be played.

Aston Villa’s home clash with Sheffield United will also be played the same day to mark the return of the English top flight.

A full fixture list will then be played on the weekend of June 19 to 21, with the agreement coming after Premier League clubs met on Thursday to continue discussions over ‘Project Restart.

Details shortly…

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Ighalo May Leave Manchester United This Week

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Odion Ighalo looks set to leave Manchester United at the end of his loan spell this week, with parent club Shanghai Shenhua keen to have the striker back ahead of the start of the Chinese Super League season.

Ighalo has been a hit at Old Trafford since signing a loan deal on the final day of the January transfer window, scoring four times for his boyhood club.

But his loan spell looks set to end after eight appearances, with his initial deal only penned until May 31. United’s season will now extend well beyond that as a result of the coronavirus pandemic that has caused a suspension to the campaign, with United not playing since their 5-0 demolition of LASK Linz on March 12.

United still has nine Premier League games to play and remain in the Europa League and the FA Cup. They are keen to keep Ighalo until the end of this season and have held discussions with Shanghai Shenhua about extending the loan deal.

However, the Chinese authorities are now hopeful of beginning the Chinese Super League season in late June or early July, and as a result his club is keen to have the 30-year-old striker back in the fold.

The initial loan came at a time when the CSL season was yet to begin and China was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the country is now reporting far fewer cases and there is confidence the 2020 campaign could get underway within the next six weeks.

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