Football

Messi not the only one to have felt discomfort after training: Setien

Lionel Messi trained again with his teammates yesterday to give Barcelona a massive boost ahead of their La Liga return against Mallorca on Sunday morning (Singapore time).

Messi has been suffering from tightness in his right thigh and had not trained fully since last Tuesday. He sat out sessions on Wednesday and Friday before working alone at Nou Camp last Saturday.

But Barcelona said in a statement their captain has rejoined "the rest of the team in the week of the return to competition in the Spanish league".

Asked if Messi would be able to face Mallorca, Barca coach Quique Setien told Movistar on Sunday night: "Messi is not the only one that has not trained and felt some discomfort.

"It's what has happened to everyone or practically everyone since they have been back.

"It is some minor tightness and we have it under control. He is doing perfectly and will not have any problem."

Luis Suarez has also been given the green light to train after undergoing surgery on his right knee in January. - AFP

Serie A to use algorithm if season can't be completed

Italy's football federation (FIGC) decided yesterday to use an algorithm to calculate final rankings in the top-flight Serie A championship, if a new surge in Covid-19 cases made it impossible to complete the season.

Serie A, which was suspended on March 9 as part of a government lockdown to curb the virus outbreak, is due to resume on June 20 and finish on Aug 2.

Only one point separates leaders Juventus and second-placed Lazio, with Inter Milan not far behind.

Italy has gradually eased restrictions since early last month, with new cases and deaths falling. But there is still a fear infections may pick up, stopping football again.

In the case of a new suspension, the FIGC would aim to set final league positions through a play-off system, without rescheduling the 12 rounds of matches remaining, although the exact details have not yet been decided.

If this proved impossible because the government banned all matches, the FIGC general council agreed to use a highly contentious algorithm based on teams' home and away results.

This would determine which teams qualify for Europe and which are relegated, but it would not be used to decide who wins Serie A.

Instead, the title would not be awarded this year. - REUTERS

Everton-Liverpool game should stay at Goodison Park: Mayor

English Premier League leaders Liverpool should play Everton at Goodison Park in the Merseyside Derby instead of switching the game to a neutral venue, as local authorities can now provide a safe environment, Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said on Sunday.

Liverpool meet Everton on June 22 (2am, Singapore time), but the venue for the behind-closed-doors fixture was not confirmed when the league released its revised fixtures for the season's restart.

Last month, police chiefs said the match should be held at a neutral venue to prevent fans from gathering outside the stadium and flouting safe distancing rules amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Anderson told The Athletic that they are in a better position now, saying: "We've had the opportunity since then to speak to fans and the clubs have done their part and got the message across that the supporters need to stay away."

Liverpool can seal their title if they beat Everton, should second-placed Manchester City lose to Arsenal on June 18 (Singapore time). - REUTERS

Football