Connect with us

Action

As football restarts around Europe, France questions decision end to season early

Published

on

It is the land of the world champions, but is it really a football country? That is the question some in France have been asking this week while its European neighbours work to bring the sport back after the coronavirus shutdown.

Debate has raged ever since the French league decided to bring a premature end to the season in late April with 10 rounds of matches unplayed.

In contrast, a fortnight has already passed since the German Bundesliga restarted.

On Thursday Italy’s sports minister confirmed that Serie A will return on June 20, while La Liga and the Premier League both look set to be back underway by then.

“Like idiots” was the headline on the front of L’Equipe on Friday, as the sports daily questioned why such a hasty decision was made by the league (LFP) to end the season.

The LFP’s announcement at the time was based on French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s statement that the season “cannot restart” as the pandemic raged in late April.

However, France has been steadily easing its lockdown in recent weeks and Philippe stated on Thursday that team sports could restart after June 21.

“We will be the only major footballing country in Europe to stick to this decision and to have not conditioned it to the evolution of the pandemic and the easing of the lockdown,” wrote L’Equipe’s Vincent Duluc.

France has officially recorded nearly 29,000 deaths from Covid-19, far more than Germany but fewer than Italy or the UK and fewer than Spain per head of population.

Paris Saint-Germain stars Mauro Icardi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. PSG were crowned Ligue 1 champions in late April after the season was ended early. PHOTO: AFP/File / FRANCK FIFE

France is not the only European football nation to have ended its season, with the Netherlands notably voiding the campaign altogether.

Paris Saint-Germain were crowned champions for the third year running. Amiens and Toulouse were relegated and those clubs have since launched legal action.

However, the leading voice against the early ending has been Jean-Michel Aulas, president of Lyon. They were seventh when the season stopped in mid-March and so were denied European qualification.

Neither they nor PSG will now have any competitive action before the Champions League — in which both are still involved — is expected to restart in August.

“I am fully convinced that what has happened was not for the good of the clubs or French football as a whole,” Aulas told Le Parisien.

Economic damage

His chief argument has been economic. Earlier in May the league said it would have to take out a government-guaranteed loan of some 225 million euros ($250 million) to tide over clubs impacted by the loss in income from broadcasters because so many games were left unplayed.

While France’s national team won the World Cup for the second time in 2018, most of its leading players aspire to play abroad and the ongoing debate raises the uncomfortable question about whether its domestic league actually belongs in the same category as its rivals.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas (R) with French league president Nathalie Boy de la Tour. Aulas has been the leading critic of the decision to end the season early. PHOTO: AFP/File / FRANCK FIFE

When it comes to talk of Europe’s ‘Big Five’ leagues, Ligue 1 is firmly in fifth place in terms of revenue.

The need to protect a more lucrative new TV deal set to kick in next season — by not allowing this season to drag on potentially into late August — has been cited as one argument in favour of the decision to stop.

PSG and Lyon are the only French clubs in the top 30 of Deloitte’s latest Football Money League.

There has only been one French winner — Marseille in 1993 — in the 65-year history of the European Cup. That is as many as Romania, Scotland and the former Yugoslavia, and Aston Villa.

While other countries that have been hit harder by the pandemic find ways to restart the football season by promoting arguments about the game’s economic and cultural significance, in France there is a feeling that it just doesn’t matter enough.

“Other countries have had interministerial meetings with important representatives from professional clubs, and they are restarting,” one Ligue 1 executive said.

“In France there have been none of those meetings. From afar, you could conclude that the state is not really interested in football.”

Reporting and photos: AFP

Action

Once-in-a-lifetime baby Humpback Whale encounter at Komandoo Maldives

Published

on

In the tranquil waters surrounding the Maldives’ Komandoo Island Resort & Spa, a remarkable event unfolded recently, captivating the hearts of guests and locals alike. A baby humpback whale, measuring between 8 to 10 metres in length, graced the reefs with its majestic presence, creating a stir of excitement and awe among those fortunate enough to witness this extraordinary spectacle.

The enchanting encounter began on April 10th at 9:00 am, when the young whale was first spotted near Komandoo Water Villas. Dive Instructor Anna, from Prodivers on Komandoo, was one of the first responders to this unexpected visitation. “I saw the big baby humpback whale sleeping at a depth of 7-8m and took some video footage as proof before heading back to shore as quickly as I could to alert others about this incredible sight,” Anna shared, reflecting on the initial moments of this once-in-a-lifetime event.

The news spread like wildfire across the island, with guests at the pool deck and from neighboring properties such as Kuredu, Hurawalhi, and Kudadoo joining in on the excitement. “It was a very joyful event for everyone. People were star-struck and some, myself included, even cried,” Anna recounted, underscoring the emotional impact of witnessing such a rare phenomenon up close. Tina, Kuredu Prodivers Dive Centre Manager, recounted the thrill of unexpectedly encountering the whale during her dive expeditions, “When I ascended from my dive in Aquarium, the Captain screamed at me that there is a humpback whale on Komandoo house reef – I couldn’t believe it!”

Efforts were quickly mobilised to ensure the well-being of the young whale. Komandoo’s General Manager at the time, Navaz, coordinated logistics to provide a speedboat for monitoring the whale’s movements, ensuring that guests and staff could observe from a respectful distance. “Everyone behaved very respectfully. In the water, it was not just guests; even the captain from Aisha Boat, Captain Ahmed, jumped in and snorkelled with the whale too,” Anna added, emphasising the community spirit that surrounded this natural marvel.

The whale’s journey continued to captivate throughout the following days, with sightings near Komandoo’s front jetty, and subsequently outside Hinnavaru’s and Kudadoo’s house reefs. Marlene, from Prodivers Office Team, shared her unforgettable experience, “When I think about my time with the whale, I still get goosebumps. Seeing the humpback was pure joy.”

Marine biologists were consulted to assess the whale’s condition and behavior. They confirmed that the whale appeared healthy and uninjured. “The information we got was that baby whales can get lost from time to time, and if they do, they seek shelter in shallower areas and wait for their family to pick them up again,” Anna explained, offering insights into the whale’s behavior and reassuring observers of its well-being.

For those who cherish wildlife encounters and the magic of the ocean, Komandoo’s recent visitor has left an indelible mark. As the young humpback continues its journey, the memory of this special encounter remains a testament to the wonders that await in the pristine waters of the Maldives. Whether from the shores of Komandoo or neighbouring islands, guests and locals alike were united in marvelling at nature’s beauty, reminding us all of the importance of preserving and cherishing our marine ecosystems.

For travellers seeking unforgettable experiences amidst breathtaking natural beauty, Komandoo and its surrounding islands continue to offer glimpses into the wonders of the ocean that are truly beyond compare.

Continue Reading

Action

Earth, space camp adventures at COMO Maalifushi, COMO Cocoa Island this Summer

Published

on

This summer, COMO Hotels and Resorts’ two Maldives properties are offering a unique and exciting line-up of activities designed to inspire and educate all ages. From an exhilarating Space Camp with astronaut-led adventures, to an immersive Earth Camp exploring the natural wonders at COMO Maalifushi, and the exploring the captivating universe under the ocean at COMO Cocoa Island.

Island Astronauts Return To Maldives: Space Camp at COMO Maalifushi

Join us for an unforgettable galactic quest from August 5th to 14th, 2024, at COMO Maalifushi, led by American astronaut Nicole Stott and space advisor Christina Korp. Inspiring for both children and adults, this Space Camp offers a unique blend of adventure and education through art, food, and movement.

Our immersive Space Camp features a fun-filled itinerary of complimentary space-themed island activities for ages up to, ensuring every moment is packed with excitement and learning. All camp activities are complimentary for children aged four to 16.

  • Postcards to Space: Participate in Nicole Stott’s “Postcards to Space” project by creating postcards with artwork and messages about your hopes and dreams. These postcards will be sent to space and returned to you with a “flown in space” stamp.
  • Spacesuit Art: Contribute to “Quilted,” a collaborative art project with children from around the world by adding your unique touch to a spacesuit.
  • Blast Off: Build your own rocket from recycled materials and launch it high into the sky for a thrilling blast off!
  • Protect Our Planet: Discover the impact of human activity on our planet from a space perspective, followed by a beach clean-up on a neighbouring island.
  • Galactic Gastronomy: Enjoy a stellar dinner under the stars, hosted by Nicole Stott. Hear about her adventures aboard the International Space Station while savouring a specially crafted menu.

Island Warriors: Earth Camp at COMO Maalifushi

From July to August 2024, younger guests can join us for a journey through the wonders of the natural world, on land and under the sea. Enjoy educational activities exploring everything from marine biology to traditional crafts, fun-filled fitness workshops, treasure hunts on our castaway island, and more.

Take advantage of our exclusive Family Getaway Offer when you book a stay of five nights or more for Space and Earth Camp. Adults will receive daily half board and complimentary full-board and seaplane transfers for two children (under the age of 12).

Universe Under The Ocean: COMO Cocoa Island

From August 16th to 17th, 2024, dive into the depths of the ocean with NASA astronaut and aquanaut Nicole Stott at COMO Cocoa Island. Experience the ocean through a guided reef dive, learn about the rigorous training astronauts undergo, and enjoy a specially curated menu shared beneath the stars.

Join us for these extraordinary experiences and let your imagination soar beyond the stars!

Continue Reading

Action

Patina Maldives invites guests to embark on journey of artistry with Clay Studio partnership

Published

on

Patina Maldives, renowned for its seamless blend of luxury, nature and artistic expression, has announced an exclusive collaboration with Clay Studio, the premier ceramics hub in the Maldives. The unique partnership brings a series of engaging and creative pottery experiences to guests of all ages, offering an enriching addition to their island stay.

Starting on 1 June, Patina Maldives invites guests to embark on a creative with Clay Studio, where they can explore the therapeutic and artistic world of ceramics. This collaboration offers a variety of immersive pottery classes that cater to both novice and experienced artisans.

Wheel Throwing Experience Taster Class

Guests can discover the soothing rhythm of shaping and molding clay in this engaging session. Perfect for unwinding and tapping into their artistic side, this class offers a hands-on introduction to the art of wheel throwing.

Hand Building Experience Taster Class

Participants will enjoy the intimate and expressive art of hand-building pottery. This class provides greater creative freedom, allowing them to craft intricate, personal designs that reflect their unique artistic vision.

Paint A Pot

Guests can unleash their creativity by transforming pre-made clay items into unique masterpieces. This session invites participants to paint their imagination onto cups, trinket dishes, and more.

Kids Clay Studio

Designed for young artists, this class nurtures creativity and imagination through fun, hands-on activities. Children develop fine motor skills and sensory awareness as they create their own unique pieces.

Couple Wheel Throwing Date

Couples can experience a romantic and unique activity in a private setting. This special session offers personalised instruction, making it memorable and intimate experience.

Guests can also enjoy personalised attention and exclusive guidance through private sessions. Ideal for families or couples seeking a bespoke experience, private classes are tailored to meet individual interest and skill levels.

Patina Maldives honours itself on offering extraordinary experiences that blend art, nature, community and connection. This collaboration with Clay Studio is a testament to the resort’s commitment to providing guests with sophisticated and fresh experiences that reveal new layers of possibility and inspiration.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright all rights reserved by Maldives Promotion House 2023.