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But Nahles warned the industry to be careful.“It is very easy to talk down a proposal no one else dared to make,” she said. “But you have to be careful when you then don’t have anything to show for it.”The minister said the “constructive” criticism offered up by unions and industry associations was very welcome, and sought to show BMAS was listening by highlighting three areas where changes to the initial proposals were possible.She said BMAS understood that insisting only Pensionskassen or Pensionsfonds should be allowed to act as industry-wide vehicles could be too restrictive.Instead, either type of pension fund or an insurer could be sub-contracted to offer retirement benefits, with the standalone organisation awarding the contract.Nahles said such an approach would have the benefit of keeping costs low and noted that MetallRente operated on a similar basis.The idea that workers not covered by collective labour agreements, or Tarifverträge, could see themselves benefit from the reform may also be dropped, after it met with resistance from a number of sources, including unions.The final point where BMAS could envisage change, Nahles said, is in the area of benefit protection.The initial proposal suggested that, as the new industry-wide schemes would no longer be directly backed by employers, at least a measure of protection could be offered through the German lifeboat fund, the Pensions-Sicherungs-Verein (PSV).Instead of insisting on protection of benefits by PSV, Nahles said benefits could be insured by Protektor, the country’s scheme of last resort for life insurers set up by the industry in 2002.As her comments drew laughter, the minister added that if social partners baulked at the idea of using Protekor, it was up to them to propose alternative arrangements.“Why should there not also be competition between the lifeboat systems?” she asked, once again stressing that BMAS was open to what role PSV would play.“If other mechanisms that offer a comparable level of protection are possible, then we are happy to evaluate these.”For more on the §17b proposals, click here Critics of Germany’s proposed new industry-wide pension funds should offer constructive feedback rather than talk down the government’s work, the country’s minister for Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) has insisted.Speaking at the annual conference for German pension fund association aba, Andrea Nahles defended BMAS proposals to increase occupational pensions coverage by tweaking tariff agreements and allowing social partners to establish industry-wide, defined contribution (DC) funds.She said she had received a lot of feedback after the draft proposal – dubbed §17b – was released and joked that some of it had even been supportive of the reforms.The reform proposals were initially greeted by heavy criticism from the industry, with one legal expert warning that the idea only Pensionskassen or Pensionsfonds would be eligible vehicles was anti-competitive.
McClean has previously been abused on the social networking site after opting to play for the Republic of Ireland rather than Northern Ireland, and for his decision not to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt. He also landed himself in hot water with international manager Giovanni Trapattoni after expressing his disgust at being left out of the team for the Republic’s World Cup qualifier in Kazakhstan in September, and later issued an apology to the 73-year-old Italian. Club boss Martin O’Neill has also been less than happy with the player’s use of Twitter and will hope his latest withdrawal from the site is permanent. Meanwhile, the agent of Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has warned his client may have to move to realise his international ambitions. The 24-year-old is currently back-up to Atletico Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois in the Belgian national team, and his representative Guy Vandermissen hinted he could seek a higher-profile employer as he bids to establish himself as number one. Vandermissen told Belgian broadcaster ATV: “Our ambition is for Simon to play somewhere that he can engage in competition with Thibaut Courtois for the place in goal for Belgium. Courtois is fortunate that he is playing for a team that has been doing well lately.” O’Neill will be desperate to retain the services of the former Sint-Truiden player, who has made the position at the Stadium of Light his own and has two years of his contract still to run. Keiren Westwood is an able deputy, but Mignolet’s form has marked him out as one of the most accomplished goalkeeper in the Barclays Premier League this season. Press Association Sunderland midfielder James McClean has closed down his Twitter account after finding himself embroiled in further controversy. Press Association Sport understands the Derry-born player made the move after sparking an angry response when he tweeted about a Wolfe Tones song, the Broad Black Brimmer, at the weekend. The song tells the story of a boy whose father is killed fighting for the IRA. McClean’s post attracted criticism from Gregory Campbell, DUP MP for East Londonderry, who advised the 23-year-old to “stick to football”.
BRYAN FAUST/Herald photoFlash back to the 2004 football season. The Badgers were at one point 9-0, on top of the Big Ten and ranked among the top-five teams in the country.The team fielded the No. 1 defense in the nation, powered by the consensus best defensive line in football. The starting front four, Antajj Hawthorne, Jason Jefferson, Jonathan Welsh and Erasmus James, found themselves the subject of a Sports Illustrated feature story and all four would go on to be selected in the 2005 NFL Draft.Jump back to present day Madison and another such storyline could be in the making. While few believe the young Badgers are destined for another Big Ten title run in 2006, at least one person believes that the ’06 edition of the defensive line can equal the successes of the ’04 unit.”I think this is going to be one of the best years for the D-line in Wisconsin,” said junior lineman Kurt Ware. “I think we are going to be just as good as that D-line with [James, Hawthorne and Welsh].”Just as good, if not better.”Those are strong words for a group that contributed to UW surrendering over 160 yards a game on the ground, the fourth-worst mark in the conference.However, there is much reason to believe that Ware’s words could ring true. At the very least, there are definitely grounds for optimism.While the UW defense was porous for much of the season and the defensive line was as much to blame as any group for the lack of productivity, no area was as badly hampered by injuries as the D-line. During the course of last season, at least seven regular contributors along the defensive front were sidelined with injuries, including season-ending knee injuries to ends Jamal Cooper and Matthew Shaughnessy. Tackle Justin Ostrowski also suffered a severe knee injury before the season started and was only available minimally for UW during the season.”People get hurt and other people have to step up and play,” Ware said. “We found that out last year.”However, after having a month to heal up and lick their wounds, the defensive line dominated Auburn, picking up four tackles for loss and three sacks, wreaking havoc at the line of scrimmage, despite still being without Cooper and Shaughnessy.All told, the injuries could be a blessing in disguise, as the unit is now more experienced than they would have been had they gone through the season injury-free.”Having guys hurt like that is never a blessing, but it’s good to have so many other guys get work, if that makes sense,” said fiery new defensive line coach Randall McCray.As the Badgers go through spring practice, the defensive line group has been one of the most impressive positions on the field, often owning the line of scrimmage and outplaying the offensive line in drills.”The part I really like about the defensive line is they’ve always carried themselves with confidence,” UW head coach Bret Bielema said. “I feel good about that position in particular.”Since the unit was so short-handed throughout the course of last season, it is only fitting that several players would be missing during spring practice. Shaughnessy is out, Cooper is limited, sophomore Travis Beckum changed positions to tight end and sophomore Gino Cruse is also absent to focus on academics.While Shaughnessy will not practice this spring and Cooper is limited to non-contact drills only, the pair are both expected to make full recoveries not only for the upcoming season, but for Wisconsin’s summer workout program.”They are both powerful, even though they are both lean young men, they’re powerful,” McCray said. ” Speed and power, that’s the name of the game these days, and that’s what they’ll bring us.”Meanwhile, as Shaughnessy and Cooper recuperate, the rest of the defensive line is already taking shape. Ware and senior Joe Monty have taken snaps as the first-team ends, but both could find themselves reassigned when Cooper and Shaughnessy return. Either way, both should see extensive playing time.”Joe Monty, he’s our head guy, leading us all the way through,” Ware said. “All we need now is just Shaughnessy and Cooper to get better, and we’ll be alright.”The first-string tackles during spring have been sophomore Jason Chapman and junior Nick Hayden, but Ostrowski could realistically crack a spot in the starting lineup.”I think he still has something left over from his injury in the fall,” Bielema said of Ostrowski.One thing is for sure, the unit will be highly energetic, if only because their new coach would not allow anything different.”It’s hard to keep an eye on Randall, he runs around a lot,” Bielema said of McCray, who made maybe the hardest hitter of Wednesday’s full-contact practice, laying out Joe Monty in exuberance following a solid tackle.”That guy is just … I don’t even know, just a crazy guy,” Ware said.”He comes out with an energy on the field that really gets us going. I’m glad he’s our coach.”
“For the Love of the Game” runs Wednesdays. If you would like to comment on this story, email Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below. | Follow Dave on Twitter. Between stuffing my face with beignets, listening to jazz music in Jackson Square and making my way through the chaos that is Bourbon Street this past weekend at the Final Four in New Orleans, I thought hard about USC basketball.For those who have never been, the Final Four is unequivocally the greatest spectacle in sports, professional or college. It’s the biggest party you’ll ever see, mixed with pomp and circumstance, a wild array of school spirit and an atmosphere that sucks you in the moment you arrive at the host city.Missing the fun · The USC men’s basketball team has never won a national championship and has been to the Final Four twice. Junior guard Greg Allen and the 2012-2013 Trojans hope to bring the program to prominence. – Mannat Saini | Daily TrojanBut even as I crossed another sports adventure off my bucket list, something didn’t feel completely right. It’s hard to argue with an NCAA final pitting two of the nation’s premier basketball factories, Kentucky and Kansas, against each other, but I have to admit, after about the 50th chant of “Let’s Go C-A-T-S” or “Rock Chalk Jayhawks,” I longed for just one rendition of the SoCal spellout or a stadium crowd of 75,000 singing “Fight On” in unison.I hope you get to experience a Final Four, except with the Cardinal and Gold playing on the court.As the passion of the four fan bases enveloped me during my stay in the Big Easy, I worried whether my school, my program and my rabid fan base would ever get to electrify a venue like the Superdome or the Georgia Dome or the Alamodome.As of today, I’ve almost made as many Final Four appearances as the USC men’s program.The Trojans’ only two Final Four appearances came in 1940 and 1954, when the tournament wasn’t the big dance it is today. There weren’t 64 teams or the level of national coverage today’s elite programs receive on a daily basis. If you lived during the time period, the Final Four was only a little more than a blurb and a box score in the newspaper the next day. Let’s just say teams like La Salle and Duquesne were not huge draws.Fifty-eight years have come and gone, and USC has nothing to show for it. The party has gotten bigger over the years, yet the Trojans seem less and less invested in trying to get an invitation back to a Final Four.It might seem like I’m trying to have my cake and eat it too. I understand how privileged I am to go to a university like USC where athletics aren’t just another program on campus, but rather an integral part of the fabric.Who can argue with the history and prestige of the football or baseball programs, the world-renowned recognition our Olympic sports such as track and field, swimming and water polo have received through the years, and the school’s willingness to expand with new sports like women’s sand volleyball and lacrosse.But until you drink the Kool-Aid that is the Final Four, it’s hard to imagine what it would be like to witness the backdrop of a CBS broadcast in late March filled with the sounds of the Trojan Marching Band and a sea of cardinal and gold.USC is not a basketball school — that much is for sure. Though the men’s program is the second-biggest revenue sport on campus, you’d hardly notice it given the lack of attention it’s received over the years by fans, the local media and, at times, even the athletic program.The team has had its share of well-known leaders through the years, whether it be George Raveling, Henry Bibby or Kevin O’Neill. But those names don’t have the same pedigree as a Rick Pitino, a Roy Williams, a John Calipari or a Bill Self.Despite a tremendous location, a beautiful new arena and a bevy of athletic talent in Southern California, there is a growing sentiment that if the men’s program has a good year here and there, it’s just the cherry on top of the other achievements the athletic department accumulates in a given 365-day period.Over the years we’ve sort of collectively pigeonholed ourselves as the football school of the city, while leaving the hardcourt duties to our neighbors 15 miles away.It’s a bad mindset, and whether you believe it exists or not, the proof is in our Final Four-less pudding. More than half a century and not a whole lot to show for it, outside of a few retired numbers and some noteworthy draft selections.But if you asked Paul Westphal, Harold Miner or DeMar DeRozan, they’d probably tell you the same thing — for a school like USC, with as rich an athletic tradition as any school in the country, it’s disheartening not to see a Trojan team even come close to the first Monday in April.There is no simple fix, because national championship-winning coaches are not a dime a dozen, injuries cannot be prevented, the one-and-done rule poses challenges in the recruiting process, and, above all else, changing the culture is not as easy as flipping a proverbial switch.But it has to start from top to bottom. The athletic program needs to slowly but surely — whether it takes three years or 30 — build a program that feels like it has a chance to compete for more than just the occasional NCAA tournament appearance. It’s time to treat the big-revenue sport like it belongs on our campus and not as the awkward, less successful step-brother to the football program.After all, isn’t it about time we had our own one shining moment?
On a course that gives pause to some of the best golfers in the nation, the men’s golf team was not intimidated as they took home the team championship on Wednesday at the Southern Highlands Collegiate, hosted at the Southern Highlands Country Club in Nevada.The Southern Highlands C.C., nestled in the Las Vegas Valley, is renowned as being one of the nation’s toughest courses. It has played host to two PGA Tour events since it was established in 1999 and served as one of the toughest hurdles of the year for each of the schools that competed in the tournament.“I am so proud of our team,” head coach Chris Zambri said. “This golf course is the most challenging course we’ll play all year. Winning here says that we are a very good team.”Led by junior Rico Hoey and Sean Crocker, the No. 4 Trojans fought back after finishing one stroke out of the lead at the end of the first day of the competition. They took the lead on Day 2 and never looked back, finishing with a final score of +5, 4 strokes better than the No. 12 Florida Gators. USC was one of four top-10 teams to compete in the tournament, along with No. 6 Arizona State (who finished tied for fourth), No. 1 Illinois (T-8th), and No. 8 Alabama (T-13th).Crocker turned in the second-best individual score of the tournament by finishing at -3; his score was his fourth top-eight score this year and his second consecutive top-eight finish — he finished tied for fifth at last week’s Southwestern Jones Invitational. Crocker tied his personal best finish this season, as he also came in second at the season-opening Husky Invitational.Hoey finished in the top-10 for the sixth consecutive tournament, and his final round score of 72 was the Trojans’ best. He birdied two holes on the front nine in the final round, and his final tally is his seventh top-10 of the season. Freshman Justin Suh tied for 14th in the tournament with a score of +3; his finish was his second top-20 finish on the year. Senior Andrew Levitt, who won the individual championship at the Southwestern Jones Invitational, tied for 27th at the Southern Highlands Collegiate with a score of +7. Sophomore Jonah Texeira was USC’s final golfer of record, finishing tied for 47th with a final score of +10.The Trojans, who were already trending upward in the national rankings, expect to see a further boost after their second consecutive team victory, and their third overall in the spring season. The team now looks ahead to The Goodwin, which will take place in Palo Alto between March 24-26 at the Stanford Golf Course.
COMMENT WATCH US LIVE Slovan Bratislava lost its appeal Friday against exclusion from the Champions League by UEFA after players tested positive for COVID-19 in pre-game checks.The Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld UEFA’s ruling last week that ordered the Slovakian champion to forfeit a first qualifying round game in the Faeroe Islands without playing.Public authorities in the Faeroe Islands put two different squads of Slovan’s players into quarantine when a virus infection in each group was reported in tests required by UEFA.The game was postponed twice, then UEFA’s appeal panel awarded Faeroes champion KI Klaksvik a 3-0 win to advance to the next round. Slovan later said all 35 players tested negative on returning to Slovakia.Friday’s urgent ruling from a CAS judge — without yet specifying reasons — was the second verdict Slovan lost there within 10 days.Last week, sport’s highest court dismissed Slovan’s request to postpone KI’s second qualifying round game hours before kickoff in Switzerland. KI lost 3-1 to Young Boys.Slovan is among three clubs to forfeit games in August in qualifying rounds for the Champions League or Europa League.UEFA’s updated club competition rules during the pandemic recognize local public authorities’ decision-making power over suspected COVID-19 cases involving players or club officials.Slovan and Drita, the champion of Kosovo, have transferred across to qualifying rounds in the second-tier Europa League where prize money is hundreds of thousands of euros (dollars) less. Slovan was drawn to play away to KuPS of Finland on Sept. 17.(Image Credit: AP) Associated Press Television News Last Updated: 4th September, 2020 22:47 IST Virus-hit Club Loses Appeal Against Champions League Ouster Slovan Bratislava lost its appeal Friday against exclusion from the Champions League by UEFA after players tested positive for COVID-19 in pre-game checks. LIVE TV First Published: 4th September, 2020 22:46 IST Written By SUBSCRIBE TO US FOLLOW US
“Sliding into DMs” on social media is often an unsuccessful endeavour.However, making a move when you are a famous footballer doesn’t hurt.Ajax winger David Neres took his chance when he sent German model, Kira Winona a direct message on Instagram after he saw her pictures on the site.In hindsight, Neres was probably fortunate to get a date with Winona as his opening line was frankly unbelievable.He told Het Parool in an interview: “I didn’t have to do much to get my current girlfriend.” “I saw her on Instagram and I send her a DM with: ‘I am David Neres. Come to me.’ That was enough for a date.” “German women apparently love Brazilian men,” Neres added.Neres and Winona appear to be in a stable relationship, given their Instagram posts, and seem to be expecting a child.The Brazilian player made 20 appearances for Ajax this season and scored 6 goals before the season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ghana midfielder Opoku Agyemang cannot make it for this weekend’s qualifier against Congo after ”mysteriously” losing his passport.The Al Ahli player was scheduled to leave Qatar on Thursday morning to join his team mates in Nairobi, Kenya but was shocked to learn that he has misplaced his travelling document.Agyemang was barred from travelling early this week and was asked to play in a crucial game for his club on Wednesday’s before leaving but his dream has fizzled into thin air.“I have asked the Police and Immigration officials who prevented me from travelling on Tuesday but there’s still no response,” Agyemang told GHANAsoccernet.com“Initially I thought I left it in my money bag but I have searched everywhere and can’t find it. I have also contacted the taxi drivers; maybe I left it in one of the them on my way back home after I was frustrated at the airport.”He added: “I have spoken to Fred Pappoe (Ghana FA Vice president) and we are looking at other options.” Agyemang was expected to join Goran Stevanovic’s troops on Thursday morning.The team will leave Kenya on Saturday morning for Brazzaville.The 21-year-old has not played for Ghana since February last year after an eight-month spell on the sidelines due to a knee injury.Source: Ghanasoccernet
2011 Ghana premier league top scorer Emmanuel Baffour has told JOY Sports that he is hoping to rediscover his form under new manger Pitso Mosimane, who was appointed as manager of the Mamelodi Sundowns after the exit of Johan Neeskens last Sunday.The 25-year-old striker has lacked playing time since leaving Ghana Premier League’s New Edubiase in June and he has been losing his sharpness on the bench.Baffour, who was tipped to be an instant hit after his impressive last season performance in the Ghana Premier League, has made only three appearances for the Sundowns.However, he refuses to give up and hopes that the appointment of a new coach will improve his fortunes.“The new coach I’m sure has a different philosophy to overturn things for the club, so I’m praying that I will fit into his style of play to revive my career,” he told JOY Sports“It has not been easy since coming here but I hope this is going to be the turning point of my career.” Baffour is likely to start playing for the Sundowns now that current leading Sundowns striker Nyasha Mushekwi is on his way to the German team Bundesliga.