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Thomas Cook’s £1.4bn (€1.6bn) UK defined benefit (DB) pension scheme has entered the assessment period for the country’s pension lifeboat fund after the travel company collapsed this morning.Thomas Cook entered compulsory liquidation this morning after talks over the weekend with banks and stakeholders fell through. Consultancy firm AlixPartners was expected to be appointed to oversee the bankruptcy process, according to a statement on the travel company’s website.A spokesperson for the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), which takes on the DB schemes of bankrupt UK companies, said the Thomas Cook scheme’s four sections were all believed to be “marginally overfunded” on the main basis used by the lifeboat fund.In addition, a spokesperson for the Thomas Cook Pension Plan trustee board said the scheme had an estimated £100m surplus, with the trustees “hopeful” that a solution outside of the PPF could be found (see full statement below). This could mean the schemes are able to secure full benefits through an insurance deal. The PPF will assess the scheme’s data and investments over the next 18-24 months, as well as engaging with the administrators of Thomas Cook to secure more money through recoveries, before a decision is made on the final destination of the scheme.Should the pension fund not be able to secure an insurance deal, it would enter the PPF, limiting some benefit payments for people who have not yet retired to 90% of what was initially promised. Annual increases are also limited by the PPF.According to Thomas Cook’s most recent annual report, its UK scheme had assets of £1,406m and liabilities of £1,122m as of 30 September 2018. In an interim results statement from 31 March 2019, this surplus had fallen slightly.Thomas Cook Pension Plan trustees – statement A Thomas Cook aeroplane takes off from Manchester Airport“Over recent weeks the trustees of the Thomas Cook Pension Plan have been engaged in discussions with the management and other stakeholders of Thomas Cook Group to try to support the recapitalisation of the company. Sadly, events beyond the control of the trustees have led to the company going into liquidation.“The trustees remain focused on protecting the accrued benefits of the members of the Thomas Cook Pension Plan and are in continual dialogue with a number of parties including the Pension Protection Fund and the Pensions Regulator to agree next steps.“It is estimated that the aggregate assets of the various UK DB schemes are approximately £100m more than are currently expected to be required to secure PPF benefits within the PPF (Section 179 basis). The trustees therefore are hopeful that the PPF lifeboat will, once the assessment period has ended, not be called on and benefits in excess of PPF levels will be provided from outside the PPF.“The trustees will continue to be in regular contact with the members of the scheme to keep them appraised of the situation and to provide further information as it becomes available.”Thomas Cook also sponsors a pension plan in Germany, which had liabilities of roughly £365m as of 30 September 2018. Most of this amount is linked to Thomas Cook subsidiary Condor, which is in talks with the German government regarding a loan to keep operating, according to Reuters.The company also has smaller plans in the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium and France, according to its annual report.Rosalind Connor, partner at ARC Pensions Law, said the trustees of the Thomas Cook UK schemes had been seeking to extend contributions from the employer despite the funding surplus.“This is because there is a growing tendency for schemes (encouraged by the Pensions Regulator) to have a long term funding target,” she said, “ie, even if the scheme is in surplus now, to look to the future where the scheme can be bought out or at least not be dependent on the strength of the employer. In the light of events this morning, that would seem to have been wise.“The pension scheme would be a creditor and now the companies have filed for administration, all the powers of the trustees to negotiate with the administrator are in the hands of the PPF – even though, if the scheme is well funded, it may not go into the PPF in the end anyway.”The PPF was 118.6% funded as of 31 March 2019, with assets of £32bn.This article was updated on 23 September 2019 to add the trustee board’s statement. read more
Press Association The 19-year-old, whose existing Anfield contract runs to 2017, has reportedly attracted the interest of European champions Real Madrid, but believes he can realise all his dreams on Merseyside. Quoted in several national newspapers, he said: “I am happy to be here for as long as possible. Hopefully I can achieve the goals I want to achieve here at Liverpool in years to come. England forward Raheem Sterling is ready to commit his long-term future to Liverpool. “I am just happy to play football at this club for many years to come. The club has spoken to my representatives and hopefully something can be done soon.” Sterling found himself in the spotlight off the pitch recently after England boss Roy Hodgson revealed the player had told him he was tired ahead of the final training session in the build-up to last month’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Estonia in Tallinn. That led to accusations the teenager had said he did not want to play, but Sterling insists nothing could be further from the truth – and says he has learned from the experience. “It was pretty difficult,” he said. “I tried to not really watch TV much or listen to things. “If I saw a conversation about me on TV, I would just turn over. It was the first time I’d had to deal with anything like that. It was different but I felt I dealt with it really well. I didn’t read too much into it. “The main thing I’ve learned is to just shut off. I was always on my phone and Instagram – things would pop up and you could not go past it without having a look. But now I’ve learned to block it all out and not read what is said. “I just love playing football for club or country. If anything I said got taken the wrong way, I’m sorry about that, but I am always happy to play football.” read more
LOS ANGELES — They won’t retire his laptop and hang it from the stadium facade. But the Dodgers do not plan to hire a new general manager to replace Farhan Zaidi any time soon.“This offseason has been too chaotic on a number of fronts to be able to slow the game down enough to focus on that,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said, acknowledging he has not interviewed any replacement candidates. “It’s something we’ll think about over the course of the season and think about again next offseason.”Zaidi left after four years as the Dodgers GM under Friedman in early November to become president of baseball operations for the rival San Francisco Giants. He was just one of multiple departures from the Dodgers coaching and front-office staff this winter.Friedman said the team received approximately 30 requests from other teams to interview members of the Dodgers’ organization this winter. When that request was granted, the staff member involved almost inevitably received a job offer and left for a new team. Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco “We’ve got a really talented group of people in the office,” Friedman said. “Everyone’s kind of stepped up and done a little bit more.”Nonetheless, Friedman has called Zaidi’s departure “a big loss” for both the Dodgers and himself personally. Among the departures along with Zaidi this fall were coaches Chris Woodward (Rangers), Luis Ortiz (Rangers) and Turner Ward (Reds), baseball operations analyst Ehsan Bokhari (Astros) and minor-league hitting coordinator Paco Figueroa (Phillies).Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.A year earlier, the Dodgers lost Alex Anthopoulos (Braves) from the front office along with Gabe Kapler (Phillies) and Jeremy Zoll (Twins) from player development, among others.Friedman indicated there would be some restructuring of front-office roles with a number of people assuming expanded duties to make up for the absence of a GM. He has mentioned senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes, director of baseball development and scouting Alex Slater and director of player development Brandon Gomes, in particular, as stepping up to fill the needs.Related Articles “There was a real rhythm Farhan and I had gotten into,” Friedman said.“Farhan and I didn’t delineate things in perfectly clear ways. We just worked together, divided and conquered. If as we were working together one of us was kind of diving into something to focus on, the other would go focus on something else. It wasn’t necessarily perfectly laid out like, ‘These are your responsibilities and this is what I’m focusing on.’ So now, it’s just been involving more people in things and going at it that way.” read more
IOWA CITY — — The University of Iowa announced this morning that a separation agreement has been tendered with head strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle effective today. The statement from the athletic department says the university’s Office of General Counsel has engaged the Kansas City law firm of Husch Blackwell to conduct an independent review of issues and allegations relating to racial disparities within the football program. Doyle in a written statement says he’s grateful for the opportunity to work with incredible players, coaches and support staff. He also says he’s confident that his record and character will be confirmed in the course of the independent review. Doyle says with the separation agreement it’s time to move on from Iowa football, and he and his family are looking forward to the next chapter. Doyle was placed on administrative leave a week ago after several former Hawkeye players made accusations against him on social media. read more
Arteta. PHOTO ARSENAL FC Bournemouth 1 Arsenal 1Bournemouth, United Kingdom | AFP | Mikel Arteta wants Arsenal to match his high standards after the Spaniard’s first game in charge ended in a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on Thursday.After a bright start from the visitors, the ills of Arsenal’s season that have seen Arteta handed his first senior managerial role were obvious when Dan Gosling put Bournemouth in front on the half hour mark.Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang once again rode to his side’s rescue to level, but the Gunners could not make the most of their dominance of the ball after the break against a Bournemouth side that had lost six of their last seven games.A point leaves Arsenal still down in 11th and with one win in their last 14 games in all competitions under three different managers.“There are no negotiables at this club, there are standards that have to be done at this club and they held them today,” said Arteta.“In terms of attitude, desire and commitment it was better than I expected.“I am still learning about the players, about the priorities to make them more secure when they jump on to the pitch.“My only aim now is to find solutions; to attack better, defend better.”Arteta recalled the experienced trio of Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Sokratis Papastathopoulos from the side that drew 0-0 at Everton as he watched on from the stands on Saturday.Ozil has faced a barrage of criticism this season due to his limited impact on the field, whilst Arsenal distanced themselves from his comments support for the Muslim minority Uighurs in Xinjiang amid a backlash from China.The German looked more like his old self in the opening quarter as the visitors dominated possession with Ozil pulling the strings. Twice he freed Lacazette inside the area, but the French international striker could not get a clean strike on goal.“I think he played really well,” added Arteta of Ozil’s impact. “He worked and could have been the difference, we could have scored three or four goals from his balls through.”Arsenal’s clean sheet at Goodison Park at the weekend was their first on the road in the Premier League since the opening day of the season and their defensive deficiencies soon reappeared.Gosling robbed the ball midway inside the Arsenal half and continued his run forward into the box to meet Jack Stacey’s low cross.Bernd Leno then prevented his side falling 2-0 behind before half-time with a smart save at his near post from Josh King.Arteta made an impact with his half-time team talk as Arsenal dominated in the second half but once again needed Aubameyang to dig them out of the trouble.The Arsenal captain scored his 14th goal of the season as he swept home a loose ball inside the Bournemouth box.Lacazette then had a glorious chance to give Arteta the perfect start when he raced clear on goal, but Bournemouth captain Steve Cook recovered just in time with a sliding challenge to divert the striker’s shot behind for a corner.At the other end, Callum Wilson thought he had given Bournemouth just their second ever victory over Arsenal when he tapped into an unguarded net after Leno parried Harry Wilson’s shot.However, the offside flag came to Arsenal’s rescue and a VAR review confirmed the England striker had strayed marginally beyond the last line of defence. Share on: WhatsApp read more
Girls’ team: Sammy Fuller (Roehampton, Surrey), Lily May Humphreys (Stoke-by-Nayland, Essex), Hollie Muse (West Lancashire), Emily Price (Cleobury Mortimer, Worcestershire), Hannah Screen, (Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire), Bel Wardle (Prestbury, Cheshire). Amelia Williamson (Royal Cromer, Norfolk) was unwell and had to withdraw. Team captain Janet Melville said: “The plan this week was to try to win every session. We knew that wouldn’t be easy but we’ve managed it so we’re very pleased. We got off to a really good start this afternoon and they were all up early on so that took the pressure off a bit.” Tags: Girls’ Home International Clodagh Hopkins, the Ireland women’s captain, said: “This is just amazing. I can’t believe it has happened. The English are a very strong team but I had an inkling we could get something out of the match. The girls have played so well and been so positive all week that I knew they had a chance. Every time we went out we did just enough and that’s exactly what we did today.” Image courtesy The R&A This is England’s ninth win in 10 years and during the decade the team has been beaten only by Ireland in 2016. 11 Aug 2017 England’s girls reclaim their crown “The plan this week was to try to win every session. We knew that wouldn’t be easy but we’ve managed it so we’re very pleased. We got off to a really good start this afternoon and they were all up early on so that took the pressure off a bit. However, the England women’s team – who had won the last three championships – lost their title to Ireland, suffering a narrow 4-5 beating. Women’s team: Emma Allen (Meon Valley, Hampshire), Lianna Bailey (Kirby Muxloe, Leicestershire), Gemma Clews (Delamere Forest, Cheshire), India Clyburn (Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire), Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe, Lancashire), Rochelle Morris (Woodsome Hall, Yorkshire), Olivia Winning (Rotherham, Yorkshire). Click here for full scores England captain Elaine Ratcliffe commented: “The Irish played some great golf on that back nine. It was still close after nine, we were up in two games, but the others were really close. You’ve got to hand it to the Irish.” England today reclaimed their crown as Girls’ Home Internationals champions, beating Ireland 6.5-2.5 to clinch the title on the final day at Little Aston, Staffordshire. The strong English team were in dominant form throughout the match despite losing Amelia Williamson to gastroenteritis on the eve of the championship. The English claimed the morning foursomes 2½-½ and then went further ahead in the singles when Hollie Muse and Sammy Fuller both won their sixth matches out of six by recording 6&5 victories over Lauren Walsh and Sara Byrne. The England team looked set to claim the title for the sixth time in seven years after sharing the morning foursomes and then taking an early lead in the singles, but that was before the Irish mounted a late comeback which resulted in them claiming their victory. Although the team was down to six players for the three-day tournament, England defeated Wales 8-1 and Scotland 7-2 before battling hard to defeat a tough young Irish squad on the last afternoon. read more