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Mads Bech Sorensen: AFC Wimbledon sign Brentford centre-back on loan

Mads Bech Sorensen: AFC Wimbledon sign Brentford centre-back on loan

Mads Bech Sorensen has made two senior appearances for Brentford so far this season

AFC Wimbledon have signed centre-back Mads Bech Sorensen on loan from Championship side Brentford until the end of the season.

The 21-year-old has also signed a new long-term deal with the Bees until the summer of 2023.

“He’s a Danish Under-21 international, so hopefully he comes in and adds something,” said Dons boss Glyn Hodges.

“Mads is a good footballer and he’s been in the Brentford first-team squad, so we are quite fortunate to get him.”

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Nigel Wray: Saracens owner retires as club chairman

Nigel Wray: Saracens owner retires as club chairman

Nigel Wray plans to remain “actively involved in the work of the Saracens Sports Foundation”

Saracens owner Nigel Wray has retired as club chairman with immediate effect.

Wray first invested in the club in 1995 and reclaimed full control in April 2018 by buying back a 50% stake sold to South African firm Remgro.

Saracens were deducted 35 points and fined £5.36m in November after an inquiry into business dealings between Wray and some Sarries players.

“As we enter a new year, a new decade, it is time for the club to make a fresh start,” he said in a statement.

“I am not getting any younger and feel this is the right moment for me to stand down as chairman and just enjoy being a fan of this incredible rugby club.”

He added that the Wray family “will continue to provide the required financial support to the club”.

Edward Griffiths is returning to the club as interim chief executive for the next 12 months.

Saracens established themselves as the dominant force in English club rugby over the past decade, winning the Premiership title on five occasions and being crowned European champions three times, most recently when they beat Leinster 20-10 in last season’s final.

But their reputation was severely tarnished by the financial scandal which emerged last year.

They were sanctioned by a disciplinary panel for breaching salary cap regulations in the past three seasons.

Saracens apologised for “administrative errors relating to the non-disclosure of some transactions” to Premiership Rugby Limited.

In a statement, Wray said the sanctions were “absolutely devastating” for everyone connected with the club.

He added: “It has been acknowledged by the panel that we never deliberately sought to mislead anyone or breach the cap and that’s why it feels like the rug is being completely pulled out from under our feet.”

The club initially indicated they would appeal, but later decided not to take the matter any further and Wray said they accepted the penalties “with humility”.

They have won five of their seven Premiership games so far this season, but are bottom of the table on -12 points and are 18 points from safety.

Analysis

Chris Jones, BBC rugby union correspondent

Wray’s legacy has been tarnished by the salary cap scandal, and it is surely no coincidence he is standing down just months after the breaking of the storm which battered his and the club’s reputation.

However, Wray has had a seismic impact on English and European rugby over the past 25 years, both as the beating heart of Saracens and as a prominent and influential voice in the sport.

Wray has done as much as anyone to drag rugby union into the professional era. Without benefactors like him, the professional club game would not exist.

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London’s City Hall provides Christmas meals for homeless

London's City Hall provides Christmas meals for homeless

Sadiq Khan hands out food

Image caption

Sadiq Khan helped serve 100 Christmas Dinners to guests at City Hall

Christmas dinners have been served to Londoners who are reliant on the city’s homelessness services.

Hairdressers and opticians were also made available at City Hall before guests were given a three-course meal.

Last year, 8,855 people were seen rough sleeping in London, an 18% increase since last year, and more than double the number in 2010.

“Events like this help bring a sense of community back in to London,” Claire, a former rough sleeper, told the BBC.

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Claire said she had been “looking forward” to the Christmas Dinner

Claire, who spent 30 years either living on the streets or in prison, said: “It’s the type of event that does matter. It forms partnerships and builds bonds.

“If it wasn’t for the support of St Mungo’s, I’d either be dead or doing what I was before.”

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Guests were treated to rendition of carols by the London International Gospel Choir

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Around 100 people who use London’s homeless services were invited to City Hall

Guests were chosen from the thousands of Londoners that currently receive assistance from services funded by City Hall and delivered by charities St Mungo’s and Thames Reach.

But Claire said services were still “hit and miss”.

“Where I live I’m still waiting for support with my mental health,” she added.

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Sadiq Khan said “it is shameful that in one of the richest cities in the world we still have the levels rough sleeping that we do”

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Guests were given a three-course Christmas Dinner

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “St Mungo’s and Thames Reach are struggling with finances.

“Since I became mayor we’ve more than doubled the amount of money we’ve spent on rough sleeping and the size of our outreach team.

“But we’re just scratching the surface. We’ve not got the money or the resources to do much more – as it is I’m criticised for going outside my remit and my power.

“It is both heartbreaking and shameful that in one of the richest cities in the world we still have the levels rough sleeping that we do.”

Image caption

Free opticians services were put on by charity Humanity First

Last year 15,470 people were accepted as being homeless by London councils.

There were 55,000 families living in temporary accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts and hostels.

Hundreds more people are estimated to be sleeping on London’s night buses.

Petra Salva, Director of Rough Sleeper Services at St Mungo’s, said: “It’s wonderful that the Mayor has opened the doors of City Hall for this festive event.

“Christmas can be a time of mixed emotions for clients in our services and our staff work hard to support those who stay with us over the holiday period.”

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‘My first Christmas as a Samaritans volunteer’

'My first Christmas as a Samaritans volunteer'

Sue Peart is preparing to be on the phone for Samaritans on Christmas Day.

It comes after her life quickly changed in 2017, when she left her job as a national magazine editor to look after her sick mother, who died only months later.

As a result, Sue’s mental health suffered – but two years later she is lending an ear to those in need.

Video Journalist: Paul Murphy-Kasp

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General Election 2019: Polls open across London

General Election 2019: Polls open across London

Ballot box

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PA

Voting is under way to decide who will represent London’s 73 parliamentary seats.

Londoners will decide the fate of hundreds of parliamentary candidates including the prime minister and leader of the Labour Party.

Registered voters will be able to cast their ballots from 07:00 to 22:00 GMT.

Labour represented 46 seats in the city going into the 2019 General Election. The Conservative had 20 London MPs while Liberal Democrats had four.

The BBC, like other broadcasters, is not allowed to report details of campaigning while the polls are open. More details around electoral law and our BBC code of practice is explained here.

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London minicab qualifications from private schools banned

London minicab qualifications from private schools banned

Minicab

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Minicab drivers must sit mandatory exams to get a licence from Transport for London

Minicab drivers in London will only be able to gain required qualifications at official centres after a cheating scandal was exposed by the BBC.

Drivers could previously sit mandatory exams at Transport for London (TfL) centres or authorised private schools and colleges to get a licence.

However the investigation found some colleges cheated the required tests.

TfL said all licences gained from colleges where cheating occurred had been revoked.

‘Urgent review’

As part of the cab application process, drivers must sit a topographical exam and an English test at one of eight official TfL testing centres.

Evidence of these exams can also be accepted via other qualifications including BTecs, which are usually taken at numerous private colleges and centres around the UK.

Some employees at one of these colleges – Vista Training Solutions in Newham, east London – offered to take the tests for several BBC researchers for £500 per BTec.

After the cheating was exposed, TfL carried out an “urgent review” of every licence gained through qualifications passed at private colleges.

It has now revoked those of 143 drivers who had gained them through Vista Training Solutions while another 209 licence applications made by people who passed their qualifications through the college have also been rejected.

The transport authority added that no evidence of “fraudulent activity” had been found at any other private colleges but from February, qualifications will only be allowed to be gained from one of TfL’s eight testing centres.

“The most robust and relevant topographical tests are our own assessments,” said Helen Chapman, TfL’s director of licensing, regulation and charging.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionGerti Qamili, a manager at Vista, was challenged after the secret filming

In a statement Ofqual, which regulates tests taken at private colleges, said it took “all allegations of qualifications fraud extremely seriously”.

Vista Training Solutions previously said it was “devastated to learn that such malpractice took place” and apologised “unreservedly”.

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Nuno Espirito Santo is a potential replacement if Arsenal sack Unai Emery

Nuno Espirito Santo is a potential replacement if Arsenal sack Unai Emery

Unai Emery’s Arsenal are eight points adrift of the top four in the Premier League

Arsenal have identified Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo as a potential replacement for Unai Emery if the Gunners decide to sack the Spaniard.

Head coach Emery is under pressure after a winless run of six matches across all competitions.

Arsenal have only won four of 13 Premier League games this season.

BBC Sport understands that if Emery is sacked and Nuno is allowed to speak to Arsenal, then the Portuguese would be a strong contender to take over.

Nuno said it would be “disrespectful” to talk about being linked with Arsenal when asked in a news conference before his side’s Europa League tie against Braga on Thursday.

“I wouldn’t ever mention an issue which is not a reality,” he said. “Speaking about a job which has a manager would be disrespectful and I will not do so.”

My focus is on today and tomorrow – Emery

Emery said he still has the full support of the club, having been warned results must improve while being offered public backing by the Arsenal hierarchy earlier this month.

“Really the club is supporting me,” he said. “I feel the club, everyone responsible in that area, is backing me. Really I appreciate it a lot.

“I feel strong with that support and know my responsibility to come back and change that situation.”

The former Sevilla and Paris St-Germain boss added he is only focused on “today and tomorrow” as he prepares for his side’s Europa League match at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.

“My job is to prepare for the match, to show the best performance in front of our supporters,” he said.

Arsenal go into Thursday’s game top of Group F, four points clear of both their German opponents and Standard Liege.

On Sunday, a number of Arsenal fan groups called for “urgent action” over the “state of things” at the club.

“My focus is only today and tomorrow, to do all the things that we have worked on here at the training ground,” Emery added.

“We know our supporters were disappointed by the draw against Southampton, but we have the perfect chance to reconnect with our supporters.

“Our wish is that every supporter tomorrow helps the team, we need them.”

Arsenal are also eight points adrift of the top four and 19 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.

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General election 2019: ‘We’re just represented by white people’

General election 2019: 'We're just represented by white people'

Young people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds (BAME) have described how they feel the 2019 general election has failed so far to take on their views or represent them.

Students at London’s Westminster Kingsway College talked about the issues they care about and the changes they would like to see in politics.

Video by Jamie Moreland

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London Underground: Victoria Line staff to strike

London Underground: Victoria Line staff to strike

Victoria station

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Getty Images

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Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union will walk out for 24 hours from 22:00 on 27 November

Train drivers on the Victoria Line are to go on strike following a falling out with London Underground (LU) for “breaking promises”.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out for 24 hours from 22:00 on 27 November.

The line is one of the busiest on the Tube network, carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers a day.

The union warned it would consider further strikes in December if the dispute was not resolved.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash accused LU management of reneging on agreements reached during talks.

‘Childish behaviour’

Abuses of procedures, pay arrangements and constant harassment of staff were also were at the heart of the dispute, he added.

“It is extraordinary that LU seriously believed that they could get away with mugging off drivers on the Victoria Line by making promises and then pulling them away the moment that they step out into the daylight.

“LU’s actions are deliberately provocative and the announcement of action later this month is solely down to their childish behaviour.

“I have informed LU that the union remains available for talks to resolve this matter, but such talks have to be genuine, honest and based on mutual respect and trust.”

Transport for London has been approached for comment.

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City traders: We want to work 9 to 4

City traders: We want to work 9 to 4

City trader

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Getty Images

City traders have urged UK and European exchanges to cut trading hours to improve work-life balance.

They say the long hours are bad for mental health and are not exactly female-friendly.

“It’s hard to find childcare at five o’clock in the morning,” said April Day, head of equities at the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME).

The idea is for exchanges to open 09:00 to 16:00, instead of 08:00 to 16:30.

The AFME is pushing for the change alongside fellow trader body the Investment Association.

Shorter trading hours would cut pressure on traders and attract a more diverse range of workers, it said.

Stock market trading has traditionally been seen as male-dominated, lagging behind other areas of financial services in terms of attracting women into roles,

The AFME’s Ms Day said her organisation had been lobbying stock exchanges in London, Paris, Germany and the Nordic region.

“A shorter working day would improve flexibility for employees and attract a more diverse range of individuals on to trading floors,” she added.

The London Stock Exchange said it would launch a consultation on the request.

Less efficient

Traders in the UK and elsewhere in Europe normally work for a few hours either side of the current 8.5 trading hours, Ms Day said.

By contrast, US exchanges are open for 6.5 hours and Asian exchanges for 6.

Chris Cumming, chief executive of the Investment Association, says that under the current hours, City traders are beginning work when there is not much action on the market anyway.

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Getty Images

“We have been doing a review about how we can make sure that trading on the market is as efficient as possible,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.

“What it means is that investors, pension funds, you and I as savers, we are able to eventually trade at the most efficient time when liquidity is at its best.

“It is cheaper to do and that actually means we get high levels of savings and better pensions, so this has got a real world impact.”

Childcare challenge

A knock-on effect of having a smaller intake of women in junior positions means that there are relatively few women in senior management positions in investment and banking trading, Ms Day said.

Juggling work and childcare responsibilities can be a challenge for both men and women, she added.

Long hours in a high-pressure job can also exacerbate any mental health difficulties traders may be suffering, Ms Day added.

Galina Dimitrova, director of capital markets at the Investment Association, concurred: “We have heard many deeply moving stories of traders’ mental health and personal life being impacted by their working hours.

“Whilst it is no silver bullet, we hope this European-wide review could start to lead to a step change in more efficient markets to the benefit of savers and those who operate them.”

The London Stock Exchange said it strongly supported improving diversity and workplace culture in the City.

It said the call from the trader associations was “an important suggestion for a European-wide adjustment to trading hours”.

“We intend to consider the request in a formal consultation with London Stock Exchange’s global members and customers,” it added.


Are you a City trader? What do you think about a cut in working ours? Tell us by emailing .

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:



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