The worrying ‘friendship’ between swimming chiefs and Sun Yang | Andy Bull

In the Sun Yang case the only thing clear about the way Fina runs swimming is the water in the poolIn August 2016, two years after Sun Yang was banned for three months because he’d been caught using an illegal stimulant, he won the Olympic 200m freestyle. It was his third gold medal, after his victories in the 400m and 1500m at London 2012. Sun explained the drug was medication for a heart problem. Still, it’s fair to say that some people there weren’t too happy about it. Australian freestyler Mack Horton called him a “drugs cheat”, French backstroker Camille Lacourt said he “pisses purple”. Others, though, seemed to be genuinely pleased for him. Particularly Cornel Marculescu, the executive director of Fina, the international swimming federation, who gave Sun a long hug after he stepped off the podium.Afterwards, Sun explained that Marculescu had been “like a grandfather” to him. “He is a very good friend of the Chinese swim team,” he said. “So I was very happy to see him see me win the gold. I hope this friendship will last.” It did. A year later, Fina made a special point of celebrating “this friendship” at its World Aquatics Gala in the Chinese city of Sanya, when it presented Sun with a bespoke award for “Outstanding Contribution to Swimming Popularity in China”. Asked about it afterwards, a Fina spokesman told Inside the Games the award had been made at “the request of the China Swimming Association”. Continue reading…

Norwich City v Leicester City: Premier League – live!

Premier League updates from the 8pm GMT kick-offLive scores: all the goals from around the UK and EuropeAnd feel free to email Ed here or tweet @ed_aarons 9.01pm GMTThe teams are back out and it doesn’t look like there have been any changes. Let’s go! 8.57pm GMTSome half-time reading if you will forgive the shameless self-promotion….”It’s important for him not to lose his mind because all of hard drive passwords are in his head”. Rui Pinto’s evidence has already contributed to Man City’s Champions League ban and numerous other high-profile investigations. But what else does he know? https://t.co/mC7wxN2pLp Continue reading…

Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla gets eight-game ban for racist language

Player found to have used racist language against CharltonLeeds hit out at FA ruling while keeper denies the chargeThe Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla has been given an eight-match ban after he was found to have used racist language towards a Charlton player during a Sky Bet Championship match in September.Casilla had denied the charge but an independent regulatory commission found the breach proven. The Spaniard has also been fined £60,000 and ordered to attend face-to-face education.Casilla was alleged to have made the discriminatory comments towards Jonathan Leko during the fixture on 28 September. Continue reading…

Rugby needs to wake up to the slow strangling of the grassroots game

The RFU is midway through its latest review to better cater for the needs of the 1,500 rugby clubs in its membership and they urgently need nurturingLiverpool St Helens: a case study in community rugby It has been a bad month for the RFU. The furore sparked by the recent decision to cut funding for the Championship has revealed a fault line running throughout rugby union in England. It might best be termed as the tension between recreation and ambition, community and elitism, the amateur ethos and the professional.The question has never quite been resolved since professionalism. What is the purpose of the clubs beneath the elite? What is the purpose of the sprawling, seamless pyramid of leagues in which they play? There are those at the heart of it now proclaiming the future death of grassroots rugby, a slow strangling of the community game. Continue reading…

‘We were in coronavirus lockdown’: my life in quarantine at the UAE Tour

Cycling journalist Sophie Smith describes the experience of being held in quarantine in an Abu Dhabi hotelWhen we arrived in Dubai a week ago to cover the UAE Tour there was a heightened awareness of coronavirus; the airports looked a little emptier and there seemed to be more people than usual wearing masks to cover their nose and mouth. The masks varied from surgical to the type tradesmen utilise. One man even walked through baggage claim with an old oxygen ventilator mask dangling around his neck like an accessory.Some of my journalist colleagues voiced their concern during the tour, referencing websites that documented the spread of the virus. I admittedly made light of it and told them not to worry. We travel globally, covering bike races every year in a multinational bubble. Someone has always got a cold. Continue reading…

People crave the redemptive violence of Tyson Fury: it’s worth asking why | Barney Ronay

Fury has come back from a place people don’t come back from yet we as a society don’t usually forgive like this, let alone cherish and adoreIt is hugely disappointing that Tyson Fury isn’t fighting again this weekend. Or indeed, that he isn’t fighting every Saturday and midweek too, part of a 68-game Tyson Fury fixture pileup, bookended in summer with four weeks of Tyson Fury tournament competition.It is still worth saying. How good was that fight? How good was the buildup? How good was it watching Fury sit behind a table saying stuff, looking like some ancient mulch-stinking ogre, driven out of his cave, hosed down, crammed into a tracksuit and asked to offer his thoughts on belts and rematches, on maypoles, solstice and the vengeful ways of the earth goddess. Continue reading…

Will the Olympics be cancelled? The sports events coronavirus threatens

Multiple sporting events have been postponed, moved or cancelled, with others now cast into doubtTokyo 2020 officials are sounding defiant but options are being discussed. The events start on 24 July and 25 August respectively; IOC member Dick Pound says a final decision could be made as late as the end of May, with cancellation, rather than postponement or relocation, the most likely outcome. The athletics world indoor championships, scheduled to take place in China next month, are already off. Continue reading…

Europa League last-16 draw, Premier League team news and more – live!

Europa League last-16 draw at 12pm (GMT)Ten things to look out for this weekendEmail Barry or tweet @bglendenning 11.51am GMTWe’re less than 10 minutes away from the draw for the Europa League’s Round of 16 in Nyon. 11.38am GMTBrighton news: Speaking ahead of his team’s lunchtime game against Crystal Palace tomorrow, Brighton manager Graham Potter insists Neal Maupay and Glenn Murray provide ample options in the club’s fight for Premier League survival. Potter has been alternating the two strikers in recent weeks, with summer signing Maupay getting the nod last week and scoring in the draw at Sheffield United.“Both can play together or on their own, we’re lucky to have both of them and they’re different types of players in their own right,” Potter told the club’s official website. Continue reading…

England have much to ponder after victory over Pakistan at T20 World Cup

England 158-7; Pakistan 116 all out. Win by 42 runsSciver and Knight impress for the victors Before the start of the calendar year, Heather Knight had just one T20 half-century to her name. Now, she has four; not forgetting her first ever three-figure score in the format, hit here in Canberra two days ago. Her purple patch has arrived at just the right time for her country, it seems: this effort – a 47-ball 62 – was the batting cornerstone of England’s 42-run win against Pakistan.Knight aside, it was the England bowlers who once again got the job done, eventually bowling Pakistan out for 116 with two balls of their innings going unused. The best figures of the day went to Sarah Glenn (3-15), who continued to deceive opponents with her stump-to-stump leg-spin, putting a big dent in the Pakistan chase by having both Javeria Khan and Iram Javed bowled in successive overs following the power play. Continue reading…

Newcastle ban handshakes at training ground over coronavirus fears

Players and staff usually shake hands in morning ritual‘We’ve stopped that on the advice of the doctor,’ says Steve BruceThe threat of catching coronavirus has persuaded Newcastle United to abandon a cherished morning ritual. Steve Bruce’s players have become accustomed to shaking hands with every teammate and member of the backroom staff each day as they assemble for training but the practice has been temporarily halted on medical advice.“There’s a ritual here that everybody shakes hands with everybody as soon as we see each other every morning,” said Bruce as he prepared for Saturday’s game against Burnley at St James’ Park. “But we’ve stopped that on the advice of our club doctor. Thankfully, we’ve got a superb doctor here and he will keep us informed of what we have to do. We’re like everybody else, we’re glued to the TV for where it’s going to go next and let’s hope it doesn’t get any worse in this country.” Continue reading…

Olympic swimming champion Sun Yang banned for eight years after Cas ruling

Cas accepted appeal from Wada against Fina’s decisionSun missed out-of-competition doping test in September 2018The Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, a multiple world and Olympic champion, has been banned for eight years following a court of arbitration for sport (Cas) ruling released on Friday. Cas upheld an appeal lodged by the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) after Fina, the international swimming federation, cleared Sun of wrongdoing over an incident with drug-testers in 2018.Sun was accused of ordering a member of his entourage to smash vials containing his blood with a hammer, following a row with testers at his home in September 2018. The swimmer told the Cas hearing that he had concerns over whether the testers were properly accredited, and that they failed to provide identification. Continue reading…

England v Pakistan: Women’s Twenty20 World Cup – live!

Updates from the Group B match in CanberraAustralia hit their stride to hammer BangladeshGet in touch with John by email or on Twitter 8.55am GMT12th over: England 87-3 (Wilson 1, Knight 26) That was a huge wicket, with Sciver looking perfectly set and primed to accelerate. The onus falls on Knight now, and she’s grateful for a short wide one that is rightfully slapped away to the point boundary. And from the last Wilson gets a life, with Nawaz putting down an outside edge. 8.51am GMTAliya returns with her medium pace. The first is wide down the leg side but brilliantly pouched by the keeper Sidra Nawaz, who whips the bails off in a blink with Sciver unable to get her foot down in time. Continue reading…

England’s Rory Burns quits football until cricket playing days are over

Opening batsman battling to return to fitness after injury‘When you get something that’s avoidable you re-evaluate’Rory Burns has decided to hang up the football boots until his cricket days are done after the ankle injury that scuppered his tour of South Africa and left him battling to return for the start of the English summer.Burns will be missing from the England squad who depart for Sri Lanka next week and is yet to pick up a bat since the Cape Town training ground kickabout on 2 January that led to his foot rolling outwards, multiple ligaments ruptured and surgery. Continue reading…

Former FA chief executive Ian Watmore to become ECB chairman

Watmore will succeed Colin Graves in NovemberSays aim is to maintain ‘tremendous momentum’ in cricketIan Watmore, a former FA chief executive and senior civil servant, will succeed Colin Graves as the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board.Graves has held the post since May 2015, extending an initial five-year term by six months in order to oversee the inaugural season of The Hundred. He is understood to be in the running to become the next chairman of the International Cricket Council. Continue reading…

Arsenal sent crashing out of Europa League by late Olympiakos winner

This was a desolate night for Arsenal and the consequences may be far-reaching. They had been taken to extra-time by Olympiakos’s Pape Abou Cissé but, true to form, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came up with a breathtaking finish that sparked wild celebrations and seemed to bail out a listless display. Mikel Arteta’s players then learned that you cannot always get away with it: Youssef El Arabi’s 119th minute winner dumped them out of the Europa League and ensured an outstanding domestic run will be required in order to offer any hope of a return to the top table in May.The temptation, before a ball had been kicked, was to suggest a large element of the doubt surrounding this tie’s outcome had already been eliminated. Olympiakos are awkward opponents on their own turf but Alexandre Lacazette’s late goal in Piraeus had negotiated that hurdle and the Greek Super League leaders have questionable form for upsetting the odds when visiting clubs from Europe’s traditional strongholds. Continue reading…

Chris Froome facing coronavirus test after UAE Tour is cancelled

Two Italian participants in race contracted Covid-19Froome and other riders confined to rooms in Abu DhabiChris Froome and Mark Cavendish are among riders who will be tested for the coronavirus after the UAE Tour was cancelled on Thursday when two participants contracted Covid-19.The final two stages of the race were due to take place on Friday and Saturday but the race was abandoned when the Italian duo were taken ill. All riders and staff were confined to their rooms at the Crowne Royal Plaza Abu Dhabi Yas Island, with concerns that the potential outbreak could now extend to the UCI world track championships in Berlin after some riders who took part in the early stage of the UAE Tour already in Germany. Continue reading…

Bruno Fernandes inspires Manchester United romp against 10-man Brugge

Another scintillating Bruno Fernandes display swept Manchester United into the last 16 and on this showing they are serious contenders for a second Europa League crown in three years.Fernandes’s vision gives United a new dimension and elevates his teammates. The playmaker scored a second penalty in two games and though naysayers may claim this was “only” Club Brugge, United have struggled against similar opponents under Ole Gunnar Solskjær. This was a performance that crushed the visitors and took United to seven matches unbeaten, a run that includes six clean sheets. Continue reading…

Manchester United v Club Brugge: Europa League last 32, second leg – live!

Europa League updates from the 8pm GMT kick-offLive scores | Clockwatch! Follow Arsenal and CelticAnd get in touch with Tumaini by email or on Twitter 8.49pm GMTOle Gunnar Solskjaer departs with a smile on his face, and for good reason. A very good half of football from Manchester United. 8.48pm GMT45+2 mins: Fernandes very nearly sent Ighalo through on goal again. The ball just got caught under Ighalo’s heels and the visitors breathed a sigh of relief. The whistle couldn’t come sooner for the Belgians. Continue reading…

Espanyol v Wolves, Porto v Leverkusen and more: Europa League – live!

Live scores! Follow all of the night’s goals and gamesAnd feel free to email [email protected] 5.47pm GMT“Evening Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “After Rangers and Man City STORMED it on the continent last night, it’d be good to see more British teams making a STATEMENT tonight. It’s all part of the Brexit dividend, innit? If we ignore what happened to Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea, of course.”I love that Britain (well, England) is even being shown up by Europe when it comes to VAR. 5.28pm GMTSome pre-match reading (and listening) Related: David Squires on … when football meets cryptocurrency and tokenised ecosystems Related: Alexandre Lacazette settled at Arsenal and confident for his future Related: City slickers and Gnabry’s love of London – Football Weekly Extra Continue reading…

The running club giving asylum seekers friendship and sense of home

The Sanctuary Runners club was set up two years ago to welcome asylum seekers to Ireland. It now has 1,500 runnersBy Jonathan Drennan for the Guardian Sport NetworkFor many years the Irish journalist Graham Clifford travelled the world, reporting from refugee camps and charting the often perilous journeys of asylum seekers to Europe. For all the time and energy he put into his newspaper and radio reports, he ultimately felt unable to make a lasting difference. That changed in the unlikely setting of Dungarvan, a coastal town in County Waterford, where Clifford struck upon an idea that would have a positive, long-lasting impact on the asylum seekers in his own community.“I would never say that I am a natural runner, but I found myself in this 10-mile race in Dungarvan,” explains Clifford. “I say race, but I was just trying to keep going. When you’re going through these runs, you find yourself with time to think and, as I was doing the race, I looked around at the other runners and the community, and just thought: ‘I wonder, could I do something with running to make new arrivals to our country feel that bit more welcome?’ It was a very rough idea but I couldn’t stop thinking about it.” Continue reading…

Australian Grand Prix to go ahead despite coronavirus concern, minister says

Victoria’s sports minister confirms Formula One race at Melbourne’s Albert Park on 15 MarchThe Australian Grand Prix will go ahead next month despite concerns that the spread of coronavirus may impact the start of the Formula One season, the Victorian government has said.Concerns about the viability of the season are growing with the spread of the outbreak in northern Italy, where Ferrari and the Alpha Tauri team are headquartered. On Wednesday local time, Italian authorities said the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases had surged to 400, with 12 deaths. Continue reading…

Top sporting events at risk as coronavirus continues to spread

Ireland Six Nations matches the first events to fallGiro d’Italia, Cheltenham festival and Olympics under threat A large number of the year’s prestigious sporting events are at risk as the coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, with the organisers of the Six Nations, the Cheltenham Festival, the Giro d’Italia, Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics all closely monitoring the situation after a significant increase in the number of cases worldwide.Ireland’s men’s and women’s Six Nations matches against Italy in Dublin on 7 and 8 March were postponed on Wednesday on the recommendation of Ireland’s health minister and the National Public Health Emergency, with the possibility growing that the northern hemisphere’s rugby’s showpiece competition may not be completed for the first time since 1972. Continue reading…

Australia beat Bangladesh by 86 runs: Women’s Twenty20 World Cup – as it happened

Updates from the game at Manuka Oval in CanberraAny thoughts? Email or tweet @collinsadam 11.11am GMTAll rounds lead to the Junction Oval. For Australia, it could not be more clear: they now have to beat New Zealand in their last group game on Monday to guarantee safe passage into the semi-final. The Kiwis play Bangladesh between times (at Melbourne on Saturday), but on the evidence of today, I can’t imagine a world where they lose that. It will set up a blockbuster – a quasi-quarter final – to finish Group A, which will decide who moves to the elimination round with India. I can’t wait to be back with you for that. Thanks for your company today. Bye for now! 11.10am GMTShe was brilliant today, smashing 83 from 56 balls and is now talking to Alan Wilkins at the presentation ceremony. Healy says that they hadn’t been nailing their power play overs well enough so they were determined to really take it on today. They practiced hard in the preparation for this game attacking spin early in an innings, which paid off. “Hopefully we can now maintain the rage.” Continue reading…

The Breakdown | Shane Williams: ‘Unlike in my day, player welfare is a clear priority’

The former Wales wing’s documentary is broadcast on Thursday and he says the game is changing for the betterShane Williams is one of thousands of former rugby players who can only wonder at the impact their playing days will have in later life. The former Wales and Lions wing does not know how many concussions he suffered during his playing career because there were no head injury assessments then, just a macho culture that demanded you get back on your feet and play on.His determination to find an answer led him to spend two weeks making a documentary. Shane Williams: Rugby, Concussion and Me is broadcast on BBC Wales and BBC iPlayer on Thursday at 8pm. In it he interviews players from both the men’s and women’s games who have suffered head injuries, as well as doctors and scientists, including Dr Bennet Omalu, who first discovered chronic brain damage among American footballers. Continue reading…

There is something shifting at Real Madrid, some sense of vulnerability | Sid Lowe

Pep Guardiola was right to say if there is any team that can turn the deficit around it is Madrid, but that old belief is starting to look like it may need revisingSergio Ramos walked off the pitch and, many imagined, straight out of Europe. “If there is any team, anywhere in the world that can turn this around it is Real Madrid,” Pep Guardiola said. But as the Real fans departed the Bernabéu, leaving their stadium to the Manchester City supporters singing Blue Moon high in the north-east corner, it did not feel like it.Without their captain, shown the 26th red card of his career at the end of those final 15 minutes that Zinedine Zidane said had been fatal, turning around this 2-1 home defeat will be harder yet. Continue reading…

Guardiola’s tactics for Real Madrid win surprised City players, says De Bruyne

• Kevin De Bruyne scores crucial penalty in stunning 2-1 away win• Pep Guardiola warns Champions League tie is not overKevin De Bruyne said Pep Guardiola had surprised even his Manchester City players with his tactical approach to the stunning 2-1 Champions League last-16 first-leg win at Real Madrid.The City manager omitted Fernandinho, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Agüero from his starting lineup and used De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva as central attackers in a 4-4-2 formation, with Gabriel Jesus working on the left wing. Continue reading…

Manchester City secure famous win at Real thanks to De Bruyne and Jesus

Manchester City’s players have missed a clutch of penalties this season. At times they have seemed cursed from the spot. And so when Kevin De Bruyne stood over a late penalty to put his team in charge of this slow-burning Champions League tie, it is safe to say that the nerves of the travelling support were jangling.De Bruyne was a snapshot of composure and when he sent Thibaut Courtois the wrong way, it was the prompt for City to feel their hopes surge. The club have won only four knockout ties in nine seasons in this competition. A fifth is now within their grasp and this result was nothing more than they deserved. Continue reading…

Lyon v Juventus: Champions League last 16, first leg – live!

Champions League updates from the 8pm GMT kick-offReal Madrid v Manchester City – live! Join Simon BurntonAnd email Barry or tweet him with your thoughts 9.08pm GMT50 min: Lyon take the corner short and Marcel arrows the ball towards the far post from a good angle. Jeve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny screams for the ball and claims it confidently. 9.07pm GMT49 min: Lyon win a corner, Cornet’s cross from the left going out off Danilo after good work down the flank from the lively Ekambi. Continue reading…

Real Madrid v Manchester City: Champions League last 16, first leg – live!

Champions League updates from the 8pm GMT kick-offLyon v Juventus – live! Join Barry Glendenning nowAnd email Simon or tweet him with your thoughts 9.08pm GMT50 mins: Real pass the ball around City’s penalty area for a while without getting into it, and then Casemiro gives the ball away and City counter. De Bruyne carries it about 60 yards before finding Mahrez, who cuts onto his left foot and then curls a shot wide of the far post from just outside the area. 9.06pm GMT48 mins: Valverde pulls Gundogan’s shoulder, and gets a booking. Continue reading…

England await news on Italy trip as coronavirus threatens Six Nations

Ireland v Italy is first game to be called offEngland due to travel to Rome on 14 MarchThe Six Nations has been plunged into chaos after Ireland’s match against Italy was called off by the Irish government because of fears over the spread of the coronavirus. There are also escalating doubts over England’s trip to Italy amid concerns the tournament may not be completed for the first time in almost 50 years.The Rugby Football Union is in talks with the government over England’s match in Rome on 14 March – as well as the Six Nations organisers and the authorities in Italy, where the death toll from the coronavirus has reached double figures. With five Serie A football matches taking place behind closed doors this weekend there remains the possibility England’s match in Rome will be played in an empty stadium. Continue reading…

Chasm between Chelsea and Bayern lays bare the scale of Lampard’s task

As his first summer transfer window as manager at Stamford Bridge looms, Chelsea’s former captain has a great deal of work to do to revive the weakest side of the Roman Abramovich eraOne team moved on; the other regressed. Whereas Bayern Munich have spent the past eight years ruthlessly honing their squad, Chelsea have fallen a long way since beating the German club in the Champions League final of 2012.Past glories count for little at the highest level and the manner of Chelsea’s humbling by Bayern at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday demonstrates the size of the task facing Frank Lampard, who will require major backing in the summer if he is to revive the weakest side of the Roman Abramovich era. Continue reading…

Farewell Maria Sharapova: the ice queen who was more respected than loved

Five grand slam titles was a decent haul for a player renowned for fighting spirit on the court and Hollywood glamour off itFittingly, Maria Sharapova said goodbye to tennis on Wednesday in the pages of not one but two fashion magazines, a self-penned “essay” that allowed no scrutiny but invited a mixture of awe and sympathy.The 32-year-old Russian, who won five grand slams and could freeze a room with her aloof grandeur, will be remembered as the ice queen of the sport, respected more than loved inside the game. She nonetheless was a media darling from the moment she beat Serena Williams to win Wimbledon when only 17 until the fading days of her career when meaningful victories for the world No 373 were distant memories. Continue reading…

Braga v Rangers: Europa League last 32, second leg – live!

Europa League updates from the 5pm GMT kick-offLook back at the first-leg report: Rangers 3-2 BragaAnd email Nick or tweet him with your thoughts 5.49pm GMTI’d have said “so far, so good” for Rangers, given Braga have only troubled them with a couple of headers for all their ball possession and set-pieces. But Rangers missed two great early opportunities and then, on half-time, could have plonked one foot in the last 16 with that penalty. They didn’t, though – and will Braga now come back out as a different beast? 5.47pm GMTWhat a stop that is! Hagi goes for Matheus’s right and the keeper guesses, saving superbly with his left arm. The biggest chance of all, squandered! Continue reading…

Ireland v Italy in Six Nations postponed and may be cancelled due to coronavirus

IRFU announces decision after meeting Irish health minister Covid-19 virus has spread from China to ItalyIreland’s Six Nations rugby matches against Italy in Dublin on the weekend of 6-8 March have been postponed – and possibly cancelled – because of the coronavirus outbreak.Philip Browne, the chief executive of the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), announced the decision on Wednesday afternoon after meeting a delegation of health officials led by the health minister, Simon Harris. Continue reading…

‘I’m saying goodbye’: Maria Sharapova announces tennis retirement

Five-times grand slam winner calls time on career‘How do you leave the only life you’ve ever known?’ Maria Sharapova has announced her retirement from tennis. The five-times grand slam champion and former world No 1 has struggled with chronic shoulder problems and has slumped to 373 in the rankings. Related: Maria Sharapova on failing that drug test: ‘I felt trapped, tricked’ Continue reading…

The forgotten story of … Manchester City flouting finance rules in 1906

A punch thrown in 1905 culminated in 17 City players and four directors being banned over the club’s illegal overspendingIn May 2019, with Manchester City facing several investigations including one by Uefa regarding the alleged breaching of financial fair play regulations, the Guardian reported remarks made by the club’s chairman, Khaldoon Mubarak. “With success there is a certain level of jealousy, envy, whatever you call it,” he said. Almost two weeks ago, when Uefa announced that its investigation had found City guilty, the club released a statement describing the process as “flawed”. “With the prejudicial process now over,” they said, “the club will pursue an impartial judgment as quickly as possible.”In August 1905, after City’s Billy Meredith had been found guilty of bribery following a Football Association investigation, the Guardian reported remarks made by the forward. “League officials, he asserts, are jealous of the [club’s] growing success,” we wrote, “but he thought the whole country would demand such an unjust decision being reversed by the whole question being reopened at once.” Continue reading…

Deontay Wilder’s attempt to blame defeat on 40lb costume carries little weight | Marina Hyde

The heavyweight’s comments after his loss to Tyson Fury are best euphemised as misjudged – but he is not the first boxer to be pilloried for offering up a bizarre excuseCan anyone confirm whether there’s a possibility Deontay Wilder may have suffered a bump to the head of late? However outlandish that theory might initially seem, it is one we have to work on after the heavyweight addressed the circumstances of his loss to Tyson Fury in Las Vegas on Saturday night in an interview best euphemised as misjudged.According to Wilder, whose team threw in the towel in the seventh round, he has an entirely understandable excuse. “He didn’t hurt me at all,” this ran. “But the simple fact is that my uniform was too heavy for me.” The reference is to Wilder’s ring-walk costume, which was a typically ornate affair, this time worn for Black History Month – and which, according to Wilder, weighed well over 40 pounds what with “the helmet and all the batteries”. He’d only tried it on for the first time the night before. “I didn’t have no legs from the beginning of the fight,” he reflected. “In the third round, my legs were just shot all the way through … I knew I didn’t have the legs because of my uniform.” Continue reading…

Tokyo Olympic Games could be cancelled if coronavirus not controlled, IOC member says

Dick Pound says decision on Olympics must be madeJ-League football matches cancelled until 15 MarchConcern is growing over the impact of the coronavirus on the Olympic Games after new cases in Japan were confirmed and the domestic top-flight football competition was called off until next month.A senior member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said outright cancellation of the Games, rather than postponement or relocation, would be likely if the disease proved too dangerous for the event – which is scheduled to start on 24 July – to go ahead. Continue reading…

Impatient Bayern find keys to unlock Chelsea as Hansi Flick restores old fire

The caretaker manager has restored the famous Bayern press, and they relentlessly hunted down Frank Lampard’s sideBayern Munich may not have all the answers, but they know all the right questions. They can finish you in more ways than almost any other team on the planet. You play through the press and they smother you with possession. You lock the front gate and they find a way around the side. You sit deep and they weave their dainty triangles around you. You commit high and they make you turn and run. Thwart their slick passing game for one half, and they simply take you to pieces in the next.This, essentially, is what happened to Chelsea here: after maintaining a stony silence for 50 minutes in the face of a relentless interrogation, they eventually squealed like piglets. If Serge Gnabry’s two goals in three minutes did not quite settle matters, Robert Lewandowski’s third goal probably did, even if Marcos Alonso’s late red card and consequent suspension offered Chelsea a glimmer of hope going into the second leg. Continue reading…

Heather Knight’s brilliant century propels England to win over Thailand

England 176-2; Thailand 78-7 – England win by 98 runsCaptain makes 108 not out, Nat Sciver unbeaten on 59England got their Women’s T20 World Cup campaign back on track in convincing fashion against Thailand in Canberra on Wednesday, after captain Heather Knight struck her maiden Twenty20 hundred to lead her side to a record 98-run win.“I’ve holed out in the 90s in domestic T20 cricket a few times so it’s really pleasing to finally get three figures,” Knight said. “We were gutted after the performance the other day so it’s nice to bounce back.” Continue reading…