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Barcelona’s Club Debt Is Now £1.15Billion

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Joan Laporta, Barcelona president has revealed that the cause of Lionel Messi leaving the club was a debt of £1.15billion which he blamed on his predecessor Josep Bartomeu.

Laporta gave a two-hour press conference, where he explained the gravity of the financial situation at the Nou Camp and accused Bartomeu of telling lies.

‘As of March 21, 2021, the debt was €1.35bn,’ revealed Laporta. ‘Bartomeu was plugging holes in the short term and mortgaging the club in the long term. That leaves us a dramatic inheritance.’

Messi left on a free transfer for Paris Saint-Germain last week after the club, player and La Liga were unable to come to an agreement with the club explaining that “financial and structural obstacles” meant the deal could not be completed, meaning Messi left as a free agent.

Laporta said: ‘Bartomeu’s letter is an effort to justify management that is unjustifiable. It is an exercise in desperation. I have read the letter carefully and it is full of lies.

‘They are responsible for everything until March 7. They will not escape their doing.’

The club’s captain and defender, Gerard Pique accepted a pay cut to allow new signings Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia to play in Barca’s 4-2 win over Real Sociedad on Sunday, with Laporta saying that wages represent 103 per cent of the club’s income.

But the club president does believe the situation is reversible after securing a loan of £470m at an interest rate of 1.1 per cent.

‘The situation is dramatic, but we have good news,’ he said. ‘The strategic plan based on our credibility and experience, on the assets that Barca have, makes this situation temporary.

I think that in a couple of years, the club’s economy will be healthy.

‘We are not scared at all. We are highly motivated and positive and morale is high. It’s a big challenge but we are capable of overcoming it.’

Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba, and Sergio Busquets are expected to follow suit with Pique and accept a pay-cut to help the club.

Laporta said Pique’s move was ‘admirable’ and that Sergio Aguero’s registration issue is not yet resolved, while admitting that the squad will have to take another pay cut having already done so at the height of Covid.

‘We are happy to have resolved with Pique the issue (of registering new signings),’ he said via Dermot Corrigan. ‘To reduce salary is very admirable.

‘In Kun’s case it is not yet resolved, but we expect other captains to act like Pique.

‘The squad already reduced salaries due to COVID. Now we ask for a second effort, first response is surprise as nobody likes to lower their salary.

‘But given the situation they are starting to understand and we trust we can resolve it as soon as possible with captains, then other players.’

Laporta also took aim at Bartomeu once again, after the former president claimed in a letter that Barcelona’s economic crisis is the fault of the current chief.

The 59-year-old said of Bartomeu’s claims, as reported by The Spanish Football Podcast: ‘Full of lies. An effort to justify unjustifiable management. An exercise in desperation.’

Despite the concerning financial update, Laporta remains positive that the club will ‘come through this’ with a viable strategy in place to survive the crisis.

‘The situation is dramatic, but we have good news,’ he said. ‘Our strategic plan, and the experience we all have, gives us credibility. I am convinced that we will come through this.’

Reports in Spain last week also revealed that Barcelona still owe Messi £33m in loyalty bonuses, despite the Argentine joining PSG.

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Husband Of World Record Holder Agnes Tirop Arrested After Athlete’s Death

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Police in Kenya have arrested the husband of record-breaking long-distance runner Agnes Tirop who was stabbed to death at her home.

Emmanuel Rotich, who was detained in the coastal city of Mombasa, will face charges once investigations are completed, an official said.

Ms Tirop, 25, was found dead on Wednesday in the western town of Iten, a training centre for top athletes.

She had finished fourth in this year’s Tokyo Olympic 5,000m final.

In 2019, she had won the 10,000m bronze at the 2019 World Athletics Championships.

Tributes have been pouring in for Ms Tirop from fellow athletes.

“She was an amazing young girl who was really working hard to be one of the top athletes in the world,” Julius Yego, Kenya’s former athletics captain, told the BBC World Service’s Newsday programme.

“She wanted to be the best and it was only a few weeks ago that she broke the world record for the 10km. Her successful career was still being crafted but unfortunately, someone decided the whole story cannot be written.”

During her career, Ms Tirop had success as both a junior – winning 5,000m bronze at world championships in 2012 and 2014 – and as a senior, winning the World Cross Country championships in 2015.

At the World Athletics Championships in 2017 and 2019, she won bronze in the 10,000m before finishing 0.75 seconds outside the medal places at the Tokyo Games two months ago.

Last month, she set a new world record of 30 minutes and one second, in Germany, for the 10km road race.

On Thursday, Athletics Kenya – the country’s governing body – suspended all athletics competition for two weeks as a mark of respect for Ms Tirop.

“We just lost a great talent. She was such a strong woman and committed to what she was doing,” said Mr Yego.

Asked how he would remember her, the Olympic javelin silver medallist replied: “A young lady who was so peaceful, so humble, always smiling.”

“You would never know when she was sad or angry,” he said, adding she had been incredibly “focussed on her training and her career”.

“We had a difficult day yesterday – it is still shocking. When you check on social media or TV, it is the sad news of Agnes. We are still collecting ourselves.”

On Wednesday, both the president of World Athletics, Sebastian Coe, and his counterpart at the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, spoke about the loss of Ms Tirop.

Former double Olympic champion Coe described her as “one of the world’s best female distance runners over the past six years”.

“Athletics has lost one of its brightest young stars in the most tragic circumstances,” he added. “This is a terrible blow to the entire athletics community, but especially to her family, her friends and Athletics Kenya.

“I send them all our most heartfelt condolences.”

Mr Bach hailed Ms Tirop as an inspiration in a post on Twitter.

Last month, Tirop set the 10km road race world record at the headquarters of her sponsors Adidas in Germany, with the sportswear giants also posting their condolences on social media.

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Raheem Sterling Open To Move Abroad If He Does Not Get More Game Time

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Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling says he would be open to playing abroad if he does not get more game time at Etihad Stadium.

The England international, whose contract runs out in 2023, said he had dreamed “from a young age” of playing abroad.

“If there was the opportunity to go somewhere else, I would be open to it,” Sterling, 26, said.

“At this moment in time, football is the most important thing to me.”

“I have always had something that maybe one day I would love to play abroad and see how I meet that challenge.”

Sterling has started one Premier League game since the opening weekend of the season, although he was in Pep Guardiola’s side for the Champions League group stage defeat by Paris St-Germain on 28 September.

The arrival of England team-mate Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for £100m has increased competition for forward places at City, although the absence of Ferran Torres for at least a month with a fractured foot does reduce Guardiola’s options.

Sterling joined City from Liverpool in 2015 and has won the Premier League three times, the FA Cup once and the EFL Cup four times.

“I am not someone who complains,” he said, speaking at the FT Business of Sport US summit. “I have not tried to make it a bigger deal than it is. I am just raring to go, play football and score regularly.”

However, it is understood Sterling will not think about signing a new deal until he is playing regularly again, which does raise the possibility of fulfilling a lifelong ambition to play overseas.

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Former US President, Bill Clinton Hospitalized

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Former US President Bill Clinton has been admitted at the University of California Irvine Medical Center’s intensive care unit for a urinary tract infection that spread to his bloodstream.

His doctors told CNN on Thursday October 14, that Clinton was in the ICU for privacy and safety, not because he needs intensive care. He is said to be in good spirits, talking to family and staff, and has been up and walking, according to both his doctors and his staff.

A joint statement released on Thursday evening by Dr. Alpesh Amin, chair of medicine at UC Irvine Medical Center, and Dr. Lisa Bardack, Clinton’s personal primary physician read;

“He was admitted to the ICU for close monitoring and administered IV antibiotics and fluids. He remains at the hospital for continuous monitoring.

“After two days of treatment, his white blood cell count is trending down and he is responding to antibiotics well. We hope to have him go home soon.”

The former President’s doctors said urologic infections are very common in older people, and they are easily treated, although they can quickly spread to the bloodstream. Clinton will be given intravenous antibiotics until Friday October 15, when he will likely be switched to oral antibiotics. His vital measurements are all stable, the doctors said.

In the years since Clinton left the White House in 2001, the former president has faced health scares. In 2004, he underwent quadruple bypass surgery after experiencing prolonged chest pains and shortness of breath. He returned to the hospital for surgery for a partially collapsed lung in 2005, and in 2010 had a pair of stents implanted in a coronary artery.

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