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Timbers visit Atlanta with ‘victory log’ in tow, out to upset the odds once more

first_img The Mercedes Benz stadium cost $1.5bn to build and hosts more than 70,000 people and is also home to NFL team Atlanta Falcons It was an unimaginable run then of nine games unbeaten. Following each of these results, a passer-by outside of the Timbers’ locker room would hear a passionate and impressively in-tune Scotsman, the club’s assistant coach Sean McAuley, leading the way in a rendition of Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’.’The magic is real’ were the words used to describe the feeling back then. That feeling has returned. There’s a new coaching staff, a few new playing faces, but the core of the team that helped place the first ever star above the Timbers’ crest remains.To now claim a second star, Timbers must overcome arguably one of the best and most exciting teams in MLS history, Atlanta United.What to expect?The biggest MLS Cup final in the league’s 23-year history. Hosts Atlanta will welcome a capacity crowd to the state-of-the-art Mercedes Benz stadium, with 73,208 fans in attendance.Not only will the match feature two of the most exciting teams that play a counter-attacking style of play but the build-up and parties will be such that fans from Portland are scrambling to travel some 2,500 miles to get there.To be fair, the famous ‘Timbers Army’ would travel halfway around the world to watch their team play in a back garden. After the Timbers score a goal, a slice of the log is cut off and presented to the scorer by ‘Timber Joey’ Nobody else in America expected them to make this trip at this time of the year. But they have been here before. Everyone else said the same thing in 2015, that they wouldn’t be able to make the cross country journey at this time of the year, but these Portlanders just wouldn’t listen. They simply turned up the music in their headphones to drown out the noise, as they hummed the words “just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world…”Three years ago, the trip was to Columbus, Ohio, as Portland fans followed their beloved Timbers players to the MLS Cup. Against all odds, they lifted the trophy. 9 So who brings home the MLS Cup?For a one-off game, it is difficult to predict. Atlanta have progressed to this stage with relative ease, which is a result of them being at the top of their game. For the Timbers, the unheralded fifth seeds in the play-offs, it’s been the story of perseverance under extreme pressure. Atlanta will have home advantage, but the unnerved Timbers players are used to upsetting the odds.Who are the key men for Atlanta United?Miguel Almiron – #10A reported target for several Premier League clubs – with Newcastle said to be his biggest admirers – the Paraguayan playmaker is lightning-quick with the ball and has a beautiful left foot. On the counter attack, he’s deadly. A little bit of home is here in Atlanta. 🌲 #MLSCup #OnwardRoseCity #RCTID pic.twitter.com/x3enero3Nc— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) December 6, 2018 9 Many people in Portland today will be packing a suitcase. While filling the case with all kinds of green and gold items, the most notable feature will be the inerasable smile on their faces as they prepare for a 5,000-mile round trip to Atlanta and back in just a few days. 9 It’s a long old journey for Timbers fans Tata Martino has been a big success in the States 9 Michael Parkhurst – #3He’s the captain and calm leader of a youthful, energetic side. He has contested five MLS Cup finals, but he has yet to get his hands on the trophy. A versatile defender, he is set to be at the heart of a three-man central defence.Who are the key men for Portland Timbers?Diego Valeri – #8The 2017 season’s MVP, the man they call ‘El Maestro’ has been irresistible in this play-off run. He possesses wonderful passing ability, is willing to take risks, and offers a cool head in front of goal. He was part of the Timbers team which won the MLS Cup in 2015.Sebastian Blanco – #10A fizzy pop that never loses its bubbles, Blanco is diminutive in size but his personality on the pitch more than makes up for it. He has endeared himself to the Portland faithful with his fierceness and fiery temper. It also helps that he can score a screamer when the chips are down. Left foot, right foot, it doesn’t matter to Blanco as he can wiggle in and out of space and present a wide range of passes in the final third. Darlington Nagbe (right) makes a crucial block Portland Timbers won the MLS Cup in 2015 Who are Atlanta United?An expansion team in only their second season in MLS, this isn’t your typical new club needing time to build.Backed by the billionaire Arthur Blank, also owner of NFL side Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United have immediately raised the MLS bar on standards for facilities, fans and first-team players. But, most importantly, they got the front office and coaching staff right.The appointment of Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, former boss of Barcelona and the Argentina national team, as their manager in 2016 raised many eyebrows in regards to the standard of staff this league could now attract.This will be ‘Tata’s’ final match with the club – with reports claiming he has agreed a four-year deal to become the Mexico national team’s head coach. But for one more match, Atlanta fans can enjoy what has, in a short time, become one of the most exciting MLS teams and deadly youthful attacks the league has ever seen. The log has arrived in Atlanta 9 9 Miguel Almiron has been linked with a move to English football SPEECHLESS. #SKCvPOR // @Audi #MLSCupPlayoffs https://t.co/7FHPXRawdk— Major League Soccer🏆 (@MLS) November 30, 2018Liam Ridgewell – #24The veteran English defender carries the most experience in arguably the toughest league in the world, with more than 300 Premier League appearances to his name. That’s more than any other player in this match (Brad Guzan, Atlanta’s goalkeeper, is a close second). Perhaps the best ball-playing centre-half in the league, he has a lovely left foot and a masterful way of managing the back-line and is playing some of his best football since moving to MLS. He lifted the 2015 MLS Cup as captain of the Timbers. Liam Ridgewell has been with the Timbers since 2014 9 9 Josef Martinez – #7This season’s Golden Boot winner and winner of MLS’s Most Valuable Player prize. With 34 goals to his name – an MLS record – the striker can find the net in so many different ways. He is unforgiving to defenders and ruthless with any sort of space should the ball find his feet in the box.Darlington Nagbe – #6Formerly on the Timbers’ books, the midfielder is known as ‘the fixer’ for how he solves problems when on the ball. He boasts impressive breakaway pace and wonderful balance, darting away from opponents with ease. 9 What about Portland Timbers?The exact same praise can be applied to the Timbers. Just replace ‘youthful’ with ‘experienced’. Although their ‘main men’ are the other side of 30, they are looking as youthful as ever while playing some of the best soccer of their careers.Big credit must go to Giovanni Savarese – in his debut year in MLS – and his staff for how quickly they have figured out this league.What about the victory log?One of the most popular members of the Timbers team is not a player. It is their lumberjack mascot, Timber Joey, who celebrates each goal (and clean sheet) at home games by sawing off a slab of wood from what is called ‘the victory log’, which sits behind the goal at one end of the ground and in front of the Timbers Army.These sacred emblems denoting success are then presented to the players following a match. Players who carry a log slice back into the locker room following a match have been recognised with great honour.So important is the victory log that it has been put on the back of a pick-up truck and hand delivered the 2,500 miles from Portland to Atlanta for this one match. The hope? A return to Portland much smaller than when it arrived. Diego Chara – #21The N’Golo Kante of MLS. Inexcusably, he won’t show up in any year-end league awards, but ask any player or manager who they would want to build their team around and Chara would be a recurring pick. Breaks up everything from the opposition, protects his back four, and has the ability to drive the ball forward. Truly a treat to watch, he was also part of the 2015 Timbers side.The MLS Cup between Atlanta United and Portland Timbers takes place in Atlanta on Saturday, December 8, kick-off 8pm local time (It will kick off in the UK at 1am on Sunday, December 9)last_img read more

Man and woman arrested on suspicion of murdering male in Derry

first_imgDetectives from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team investigating have arrested two people over the murder of a man whose body was discovered in Creggan Street in Derry during the early hours of this morning, Sunday, November 25.The body of the man was discovered in an alleyway off Creggan Street.He was found to have significant injuries to his head and body, say police. Detective Chief Inspector Eamonn Corrigan of Derry, Maydown MIT said: “The 35-year-old woman and 51-year-old man were arrested in the city earlier today on suspicion of murder and are currently in police custody.“I am continuing to appeal for anyone who was in the Creggan Street or Little Diamond area of the city late last night or early this morning and who witnessed anything or anyone who has any information that can assist with my investigation to contact detectives on 101 quoting reference 244 of 25/11/18.“Alternatively information can be passed to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”Man and woman arrested on suspicion of murdering male in Derry was last modified: November 25th, 2018 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:CregganDerryPSNIlast_img read more

Jerome “Jerry” Greer Chandler Tribute

first_imgIt is with profound sadness that AirlineRatings.com announces the passing of its Technical and Safety Editor Jerome (Jerry) Greer Chandler on Thursday, August 15th.Jerry (71) succumbed to Parkinson’s disease and passed away quietly with his family around him.Recently retired after 30 years of teaching writing at Jacksonville State University, Jerry has been a professional aviation journalist for over a quarter of a century.In 1986 his best-selling book Fire & Rain chronicled the crash of Delta Flight 191 at DFW and its was subsequently made into a TV film on USA Network.He appeared over the years on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, ABC, Nova and the National Geographic Channel in his capacity as an aviation safety “observer” as he hated the term “expert.”He authored over 1,500 articles, consulted on three made-for-television films, wrote two books and managed to support a family of seven.jerryHe also helped write two other books Green Wings and Greener Wings which chronicle Aviation’s true impact on the environment.In early 2013 he joined AirlineRatings.com.In 2011 he had the privilege of beginning work as a regular contributor on medical matters to VFW magazine, which sprang from his “stint” as an Army combat medic in Vietnam, where he was wounded in July 1970.Jerry was awarded the Purple Heart in Vietnam.Jerry in Vietnam.In 2017 Jerry was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 Aerospace Media Awards banquet in Paris, France.Jerry said of the recognition at the time, “It’s a real honor, one that I will treasure always. Thanks to all who helped along the way — my family, editors, and colleagues. I’m humbled.”Jerry’s passion for aviation started when his Dad took him to Dallas Love Field to watch DC-6s, DC-7s take off and land.But that passion took a tragic turn when two relatives died in separate air crashes.Jerry wanted to know more about why those accidents happened.Jerry has worked for some of the world’s leading publications: Aircraft Maintenance Technology, AirlineRatings.com, Air Transport World, Time, Overhaul & Maintenance, The Financial Times of London, Consumer Reports Travel Letter, Travel & Leisure, Popular Science, and Wirtschaftswoche.Jerry leaves his wife Kathleen, five children and 11 grandchildren.AirlineRatings.com Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas said: “The aviation industry has lost a dear friend, insightful commentator and passionate advocate.”“No assignment was too much trouble; Jerry’s depth of aviation knowledge was amazing as was his list of contacts. He knew everyone and what is more, they knew him and respected Jerry and would always help on or off the record.”“We at AirlineRatings.com will miss his friendship, dedication and humour dearly.”last_img read more

The Truth About Why Yahoo’s CEO Got Fired

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… dan frommer What’s the takeaway from Yahoo’s recent CEO fiasco? Don’t lie on your corporate bio, for one, and make sure no one else has lied on your behalf. But the real lesson has nothing to do with falsified credentials.Sure, the world will remember Scott Thompson as the Yahoo CEO who got fired over a fake computer science degree, but the context is crucial: A battle with Yahoo shareholder Dan Loeb for control of the company. If not for Loeb, we may never have found out about Thompson’s juiced resume, and he might still be CEO. The real lesson is: Beware the activist investor.Four months had passed since Thompson’s appointment as Yahoo CEO, and no one had questioned his education. His relevant experience at PayPal? Sure, at first. But not his computer science degree. In fact, many of us actually thought that especially qualified him for the Yahoo job.In hindsight, Yahoo obviously should have investigated Thompson’s background more thoroughly. (And shame on us in the press for missing this one!) But even if Yahoo had found the discrepancy after Thompson was named CEO, it might have quietly corrected the mistake and hoped no one noticed.It is possible to survive a scandal over a college degree you wish you’d earned but didn’t. When RadioShack CEO David Edmondson resigned in 2006 after a newspaper reported that his two supposed degrees were invented and that he was facing a trial for DUI charges, the company said its board had known about “some, but definitely not all” of the issues. (I suppose it makes a difference which ones.) But former Bausch & Lomb CEO Ronald Zarrella stayed around for years after he was busted for falsely claiming an MBA from New York University.In this case, there was no pushing anything under the rug. it was Loeb himself who outed Thompson, in a letter to Yahoo’s board that he made public in a press release.“According to the Yahoo! Form 10-K/A, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 27, 2012, newly-hired Chief Executive Officer, Scott Thompson, ‘holds a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and computer science’ from Stonehill College,” it read. “A rudimentary Google search reveals a Stonehill College alumni announcement stating that Mr. Thompson’s degree is in accounting only.” Whoops.Did Loeb actually care about Thompson’s level of educational attainment? Probably not. This was a power play, pure and simple. And it worked. (Note that Loeb’s activist website, ValueYahoo, is already taken down.) If Loeb hadn’t hit the jackpot with the degree accusation – or if Thompson and Yahoo successfully brushed it off – he would have come back, again and again, until either he or his adversary crumbled.But with the mess Yahoo is in – even after Thompson’s four months on the job – Loeb finally had the mob on his side. And now he’s on top. Tags:#web#Yahoo center_img 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts last_img read more

Building an Algorithmic Business

first_imgIntel Corporation explores how, for an enterprise to become an algorithmic business, the challenge is as much about the organization as the technology.What is an algorithmic business? Is this yet another marketing term, or does it have relevance to today’s enterprises? After all, algorithms have been around for decades, so why do we even need such a term?The answer is that having algorithms in your software does not make you algorithmic, in much the same way that having gym equipment in the garage does not make you an athlete. Algorithms apply mathematical rules to data sets and deliver a useful result, but it is what you do with this result that matters.Consider the following examples.In online retail—recommendation engines use algorithms to suggest products based on past purchases, browsing behavior and the actions of ‘similar’ customers. While the recommendations may not always fit the need, they nonetheless help a customer think about what they are looking to buy.In healthcare—diagnostic algorithms are being used to support medical professionals, creating a second opinion and ensuring that they have covered all the bases, for example checking interactions between drugs based on patient history.In transport and logistics—algorithms are analyzing diagnostic data and then feeding it into spare parts management and re-ordering so that parts are available in advance of an engineering fault being detected.In each case, algorithms are doing more than simply number crunching: they are acting in direct support of certain roles (in the above, customers, medical staff and inventory managers). The people involved are empowered to make better decisions, faster and with reduced risk.So, why aren’t more businesses algorithmic? All too often the answer, as we discuss in our paper, Five Steps to Delivering the Data-Driven Business, is that organizations simply use data analytics to aid reporting, which feeds a hindsight view of business activity: last month’s sales or customer service data may be interesting, but may already be out of date.For insights to empower the business, they need to be delivered at the point of need and in a timely fashion, that much is certain. Equally important, however, is that they need to be provided into organizational structures and processes that are capable and mature enough to do something with them. For example, there is little point offering the day’s retail sales data, if pricing changes can only take place once a week.So, the algorithmic business involves a direct relationship between algorithms on one side and an empowered business on the other. This isn’t something you can buy from any vendor but needs to be developed from within. Which is why, as a company with a broad portfolio of analytics technologies, we spend much of our time helping our customers understand where they are on the analytics journey, then increasing engagement between business and technology teams so they can achieve their analytics goals.Building an algorithmic business cannot happen overnight, but requires mindset change from top to bottom. Strangely, this does not have to be hard, given how as consumers we are all used to, and even expect, algorithms to assist us in our online lives. At Intel, we are driving tech innovation – from the edge to the data center and the cloud – to prepare businesses to thrive in the age of data. Given that analytical technologies are now mature enough to tackle most data challenges a business might have, the epiphany all organizations need to go through is that the algorithmic business is about people engaging with their data.Information can already be at your fingertips, to empower you and your organization. However, becoming algorithmic – and as a result data-driven – cannot happen by accident. It requires all layers of the business to make an active choice.Learn more about how advanced analytics can help you transform your business, and what you can do to make it happen, by reading this new white paper from Intel.Find more information on data-driven insights and advanced analytics by visiting our Turn Data Into Insight website, where you can find it all in one convenient location.last_img read more

How the virus behind ‘kissing disease’ may increase your risk for autoimmune diseases like lupus

first_imgThe Epstein-Barr virus causes mononucleosis and increases risk for developing autoimmune disorders like lupus. James Cavallini/Science Source How the virus behind ‘kissing disease’ may increase your risk for autoimmune diseases like lupus By Roni DenglerApr. 16, 2018 , 2:15 PM When John Harley lost a friend to lupus while in medical school, he vowed to get to the bottom of the disease, a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, and sometimes death. Now, some 40 years later, Harley says he’s found a “smoking gun.” The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which infects some 90% of Americans, may cause changes in gene expression that dramatically increase a person’s chance of getting lupus and six other autoimmune disorders, a new study by Harley and colleagues shows.“The work is paradigm-shifting in the way we think about genetic susceptibility and the interaction between genetic risk and the environment,” says Amr Sawalha, a geneticist and rheumatologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor who was not involved in the study.Scientists have known for decades that EBV, which causes an infectious disease named mononucleosis or “kissing disease,” is also linked to several autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. And children infected with EBV are up to 50 times more likely to eventually develop lupus, which currently has no cure. But an explanation for the links remained elusive.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Scientists also know dozens of gene variants that increase people’s risk of lupus. Harley, now a rheumatologist at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, suspected that after infection with EBV, the proteins that the virus uses to switch on its own genes might also preferentially interact with these risk-increasing variants in the patient’s DNA. So Harley’s team compared three sequencing datasets that show where EBV proteins land on the genome in B lymphocytes, the immune cells that run interference against the virus when someone becomes infected.The team assessed five EBV proteins. One of those, called Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 2 (EBNA2), interacts with nearly half of the genetic risk loci associated with lupus in people with European ancestry, they found. (The other four EBV proteins had no interaction with the variant genes.) The team then extended its analysis to include genetic risk variants associated with hundreds of illnesses beyond lupus. EBNA2 increases the risk of developing six other autoimmune diseases, the team reports today in Nature Genetics, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes.The work is the first to show a possible mechanism for how environmental factors such as infections alter genetic risk to make some individuals more susceptible to inflammatory disease than others, Sawalha says. But some researchers want more tangible proof because the study relies on associations found in massive data sets. “Show me the biology,” says George Tsokos, a rheumatologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Tsokos nevertheless calls the work a “paradigm shift.” It implies that an EBV vaccine, if it were ever developed, could prevent not just kissing disease, but many other disorders, similar to the way the human papillomavirus vaccine reduces cervical cancer risk.The findings also point to the potential for new therapies for lupus and other autoimmune disease based on inhibiting the action of EBNA2 or other human proteins that bind to DNA at the same loci along with the viral protein, the researchers say.*Correction, 17 April, 12:05 p.m.: An earlier version of this story misidentified John Harley as a pediatrician. He is a rheumatologist.last_img read more

Russian football chief asks: where are the stadium roofs?

first_img\R Moscow, May 28 (AFP) The head of Russia’s Premier League is not particularly happy with all the new stadiums the hosts have built for the World Cup.Russia spared little expense in either completely revamping or building from scratch 12 football-specific arenas for the June 14-July 15 showpiece.Yet only the one in Saint Petersburg has a retractable roof.All the others are open to the elements and Premier League chief Sergei Pryadkin is not pleased.”When we were holding test matches in the new stadiums, I kept asking myself: why didn’t they put roofs on them? This is a question for those who were designing them,” Pryadkin told a press conference.Pryadkin’s comments marked the most explicit public criticism of Russia’s preparations for its first World Cup to date.Russian football has suffered for generations from horrible pitches that are either covered in snow during winter or resemble sandpits in the spring and fall.The northern climate prompted the Soviet Union and then Russia to build indoor arenas with synthetic grass in many of the cities where football is professionally played.But these are now used solely for training because the Premier League — looking to adopt international standards — only allows games on real grass.Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko last week suggested lifting the indoor arena ban.”Why did we build them then?” Mutko asked.The authorities have tried to get around the problem by shutting down the season for nearly three months in the winter to let all the snow melt.advertisementYet players complain that this fails to address the issue of pitches not having suitable grass in other times of the year.- Beer ban -============Russia is believed to have spent at least USD4 billion (3.4 billion euros) on stadium construction and refurbishment for the World Cup.The gleaming arenas will then be handed over to the cities’ local football teams in the hopes of reviving attendance and the quality of domestic league play.Pryadkin said the plan was already starting to pay off.”Fan attendance is up 22.4 percent this season,” he said.Nearly 14,000 spectators showed up to an average Russian Premier League match.But the financial figures still do not add up.The government admitted in April that it will have to spend around USD200 million on keeping stadiums open in seven of the smaller host cities for the first three to five years.Pryadkin sounded generally disgruntled with the way the World Cup’s football legacy was shaping up.”It is good that we now have good arenas, even though they have no roofs,” he said.”When they were building the stadiums, no one asked for our advice.” He added that the sport’s federation was unlikely to accept the money-spinning idea of resuming beer sales at matches that were banned in 1995.”I am all in favour of fighting alcoholism, but I don’t see anything wrong with a glass of beer and a hotdog at a game,” he said. (AFP) APAAPAlast_img read more