Soccer

Video shows fans' racist abuse in Manchester City-Manchester United

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AP

Video shows fans' racist abuse in Manchester City-Manchester United

Cameras caught Manchester City supporters throwing objects toward and directing racist abuse at Manchester United players during Saturday's Manchester Derby.  

Manchester United midfielder Fred delayed taking a corner kick late in Saturday's 2-1 win over Manchester City while City supporters threw lighters and bottles, among other items, at the Brazilian. Video of the incident showed a fan appearing to make a monkey gesture in the direction of Fred and United teammate Jesse Lingard, both of whom are black. 

Fred told ESPN Brazil after the match that the same fan "even threw a lighter and it hit me."

"Unfortunately, we are still in a backward society," Fred told ESPN Brazil. "[It is a shame] we still have to live with that in 2019. On the field, I didn't see anything. I saw it only in the locker room afterwards."

Manchester City issued a statement after the match, promising lifetime bans for any fans found guilty of racial abuse. 

"Manchester City FC are aware of a video circulating on social media which appears to show a supporter making racial gestures during the second half of the match against Manchester United this evening," the club said in a statement. "Officials from the Club are working with Greater Manchester Police in order to help them identify any individuals concerned and assist with their [inquiries].

"The Club are also working with GMP regarding an instance of objects being thrown onto the field of play. The Club operates a zero tolerance policy regarding discrimination of any kind, and anyone found guilty of racial abuse will be banned from the club for life."

Kick It Out, an organization focused on fighting "discrimination, inequality and exclusion" in English soccer, issued a statement offering support to United and City. 

Racism has long been in a problem in soccer, and Kick It Out found last year that reports of racial discrimination at professional and grassroots levels rose 43 percent. Elsewhere in the country Saturday, a League Two match was temporarily stopped after a Forest Green Rovers supporter racially abused a player for Scunthorpe United.

Premier League set to restart play from coronavirus pause on June 17

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AP

Premier League set to restart play from coronavirus pause on June 17

The Premier League is set to restart.

On Thursday, shareholders gave "Project Restart" the green light for play to start back up June 17. According to ESPN's James Olley, there will be two games on June 17, with Manchester City facing Arsenal and Sheffield United hosting Aston Villa. That will bring all clubs to 29 matches played, with the remaining 90 games left on the slate to start up the following weekend.

The Premier League's goal is to have all league games finished by Aug. 1 with the FA Cup to be complete with the final to be played on Aug. 8. As for the remaining Champions League and Europa League games, those also are slated to be completed if the pandemic calms down to allow international travel.

According to Olley, a number of clubs asked for more time to ramp up training before the restart given contact training was just given the OK on Wednesday. But the desire for a sooner restart and pressure from UEFA to complete all domestic matches by August had the league settle on June 17.

[RELATED: What PL's positive coronavirus tests mean for league restart]

The Premier League has had 12 positive coronavirus tests through the first three rounds. When the league restarts, testing capacity will be increased to 50 to 60 tests per club. Anyone testing positive must self-isolate for seven days.

The league suspended play March 13. One hundred days will have passed by the time the league starts back up June 17.

Premier League approves contact training as Project Restart hits Phase 2

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Premier League approves contact training as Project Restart hits Phase 2

The Premier League took another step toward its restart Wednesday, as all 20 clubs voted unanimously to allow contact training as the league enters Phase 2 of Project Restart.

"Premier League shareholders today voted unanimously to resume contact training -- marking another step towards restarting the Premier League season, when safe to do so," the league said in a statement. "Squads are now able to train as a group and engage in tackling while minimising any unnecessary close contact."

"The Premier League's priority is the health and wellbeing of all participants. Strict medical protocols are in place to ensure the training ground is the safest environment possible and players and staff will continue to be tested for COVID-19 twice a week.

"Stage Two of the Return to Training protocol has been agreed following consultation with clubs, players, managers, the PFA (Professional Footballers' Association), the LMA (League Managers' Association) and the Government. Discussions are ongoing as work continues towards resuming the season when conditions allow."

The shareholders will meet again Thursday to discuss issues related to the restart, including a start date, television schedules and more, according to ESPN"s James Olley. Sources told ESPN that the June 12 return date now is viewed as too soon for players to build up their conditioning and that June 19 or June 26 is more likely.

The Premier League now has had 12 positive coronavirus (COVID-19) tests after the third round of testing, the league announced Wednesday.

All players and staff will be tested twice a week as the training continues, and the league will have discussions on contingency plans on what to do should issues arise.

[RELATED: What PL's positive coronavirus tests mean for season restart]

Some players have decided not to return to their clubs due to the risk of contracting the virus, including Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante.

The UK government is supportive of the effort for the Premier League to restart its season in a safe way following the guidance of public health officials. Play has been suspended since March 13.