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
East Carolina’s Nov. 6 matchup against Delaware State wasn’t the first time Jayden Gardner played in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum, where the Pirates play their home games. But it was the first time he’d ever received cheers there.The ECU freshman forward’s first played there in March 2018 — eight months prior to his collegiate debut — as the senior star for Heritage High School (Wake Forest, N.C.). There, his 21-point, eight-rebound effort helped the Huskies to a 61-55 overtime win over South Central (Winterville, N.C.) that sent his team to the North Carolina High School 4A State Championship. At the time, most fans in attendance weren’t too happy with Gardner’s performance.SCHLARP: Mike Daum’s homegrown loyalty producing big numbers for SDSU“It was a good feeling,” Gardner told Sporting News. “It was really surreal to play on the court, but I think at that time I was getting booed because South Central is only 10 minutes from there.”These days, you’ll have a difficult time finding anyone at Minges booing Gardner’s performances. The 6-6, 245-pound freshman has quickly become a leading attraction for the 12-11 Pirates, leading the team with 17.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.He posted his first double-double in just his third career game at ECU, leading the Pirates with 30 points (on 9-of-10 shooting) and 10 rebounds in an 84-78 overtime win against visiting Lamar. Later, in a 76-65 loss to UCF, Gardner made American Athletic Conference history, putting up 35 points and 20 rebounds for the conference’s first 30-20 double-double. That effort also made him the first freshman to post multiple 30-point games in AAC history. That feat is all the more impressive considering it came against 7-6 center Tacko Fall.“UCF was starting to pull away, because Tacko’s so big. He was really deflecting a lot of our shots,” Gardner said of his performance. “I seemed to be the only one that could get the ball in the basket, so I eventually got hot and just kept it going the whole game.”Gardner has made an early name for himself doing just that, whether it’s dashing his way into the lane or out-muscling opponents on his way to the basket for a quick score. That said, even some on his own team are surprised by the big numbers he has put up so far. That includes ECU associate head coach Raphael Chillious.“We figured that he would be a high-level rebounder in college, no matter what league he played in,” Chillious said during the American teleconference on Monday. “His ability to score multiple different ways and make plays for other people, and really compete against much taller players at his position — that’s been a big-time X-factor for us.”Gardner’s versatility and strength in the post make it easier for his teammates to set him up for success — “They know I have a knack for scoring,” he said — but also make him one of the most fouled players in Division I. His 191 free-throw attempts this season ranks sixth nationally and most among freshman.That reveals yet another interesting facet to Gardner’s game: his specialty free throw.His pre-shot routine is normal enough, featuring some mix of dribbling and bending of knees. Then comes the interesting part: He jumps, barely lifting his feet off the floor as the ball leaves his fingertips and arcs toward the goal in what is, more often than not, a successful attempt.I’ve been working this week on the backstory and why #ECU standout Jayden Gardner hops at the line when he shoots free throws. Here’s some video I snagged, and look out for the feature Sunday in @reflectornews pic.twitter.com/FenzCUvZpS— Ronnie Woodward (@RonnieW11) January 11, 2019It’s out of the ordinary, but it works. Gardner shoots 75.9 percent from the line and ranks 13th nationally in free throws made.”So,” Gardner said, “I just keep the routine going.”SCONZO: Chris Clemons forging unforgettable legacy at CampbellHis early season success has turned some heads, but it has also caused opponents to key in heavily on the freshman phenom.“Teams in our conference are loading up and they’re either doubling post-to-post, or they’re choking from the guard closest to him, and when he gets (the ball) on the perimeter sometimes they’re running two and three men at him, and making him make basketball plays,” Chillious said. “There’s been spots where he’s struggled, but there’s been spots where he’s been really good at figuring it out.” That said, Chillious said the last few weeks of the regular season could be an opportunity for Gardner to use what he’s learned to improve his game. It’s an opportunity the freshman — who prides himself on his work ethic — is ready to take on. The attention that has come with his breakout season has required Gardner to learn from his own teammates: not only in learning the minutiae of the game, but also in conducting himself like a leader. In that endeavor, he said, senior Isaac Fleming and sophomore Shawn Williams have been indispensable.“Everyone’s bigger, the competition is better,” Gardner said. “You just got to be able to go out there and even though you’re young you just got to go out there and compete with these kinds of guys every night and give it your all, and you’ll come out successful.”As the 2018-19 regular season gives way to the American Tournament, Gardner has been able to enjoy his in his debut year while still looking ahead ahead to his long-term goal. He hopes to make the NCAA Tournament during his time at ECU — the Pirates haven’t been since 1993 — and believes he can accomplish that alongside his teammates. But that’s not all. He also wants to be recognized not just for his on-court talent, but the character with which he plays.“Be known as not only an athlete,” Gardner said, “but a good person here at East Carolina University.”Early indications suggest Gardner will achieve that. It’s true he played his first game at Minges Coliseum amid boos. But, at the rate he’s going, that’s something he’ll never experience there again.