Many fans believe the league’s most powerful executive cares about making teams money but not so much about the game itself
There are plenty of duties a sports commissioner is responsible for. Perhaps most important is absorbing nonstop criticism while protecting the various team owners whose interests you actually serve. In that case, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has been working overtime as pressure mounts over the decision to push through with a 60-game season in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. While Manfred may just be following the will of the owners, who are eager to squeeze value out of their franchises after sports were shut down for months, it’s hard not to look at his actions and wonder if his seeming indifference to the game and its players goes beyond just cold-hearted corporatism. To put it bluntly: it doesn’t seem as if Manfred likes baseball at all.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when “Rob Manfred Hates Baseball” went from an internet meme meant to mock the commissioner into a working theory to explain his behavior. The criticism began shortly after he took over from Bud Selig who – despite his many, many failures on the job – always came across as someone with a genuine love for the game. Manfred, on the other hand, came in and immediately began pinpointing all the ways that the league needed to improve: the games were too long, the pace too slow, the rules too stuck in the past.
Zé Maria has some stories to tell. So many, in fact, that it takes three video calls over two days (and a lot of patience on his part) to even scratch the surface. Over the last 30 years, he has been from the bottom of world football to the top and back again, stopping on every step in between and at quite a few places around the edges.
There are tales from his playing days: memories of Carlo Ancelotti, Fabio Cannavaro and Lilian Thuram at Parma; recollections of Roberto Mancini, Adriano and Luís Figo at Inter; stories of Mário Zagallo, Ronaldo and Romário Romario with Brazil. Then there are the times spent as a manager in Kenya, in a remote Romanian ski resort and the Albanian second tier. There are thoughts on the current state of football and on the barriers he faces as a black coach trying to take his career to the next level.
A former Michigan State University gymnastics coach was sentenced on Tuesday to 90 days in jail for lying to police during an investigation into former Olympic and university doctor Larry Nassar.
Kathie Klages, 65, was found guilty in February of a felony and a misdemeanor for denying she knew of Nassar’s abuse prior to 2016 when survivors started to come forward publicly. She also was sentenced to 18 months of probation.
Scott Parker hared down the touchline, his tie flinging every which way, as Fulham’s substitutes conga-ed down the stands to join the celebrations after Joe Bryan’s second goal sealed an immediate return to the Premier League. But in truth Bryan’s first strike, approaching half-time in extra time, was the match-winner. In some ways it was audacious, in others incredible, it was the goal that set them on their way.
It came towards the end of a marathon, and sometimes excruciating, contest but after almost 105 minutes Bryan’s invention pulled apart west London neighbours separated by four miles. It is a moment Bryan and Fulham will want to re-live in the coming weeks but a goal David Raya, the Brentford goalkeeper, would rather never see again. Raya was caught cold by Bryan’s craft, fooled from more than 35 yards, with Bryan raising his right hand as if to indicate to his swarm of teammates to attack the 18-yard box. But Bryan had other ideas and his quick-thinking saw him deliciously bend the ball into the corner of the net.
Reigning champion pulls out of tournament due to pandemic
Madrid Open had already been moved from May
Defending champion Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the US Open citing concerns over coronavirus. The four-time winner at Flushing Meadows does not want to travel to the United States while Covid-19 cases are on the rise.
He joins women’s world number one Ashleigh Barty in pulling out of the tournament due to the treat of coronavirus.
Scott Parker speaks: “We’re looking forward to it,” says the Fulham manager. “The players have been bright and bubbly and now we need to perform,. We need to go out and stamp our mark on this game tonight.”
Thomas Frank speaks: “I love the energy they brought into the room when we had our pre-match meal,” says Brentford’s first team coach of his players in an interview with Sky Sports. “The smiles on their faces ahead of this big game – I sensed a calmness. We have achieved the possibility to win something today. The final message before we came to the stadium was to tell them to be cool, be brave ... let’s be Brentford, let’s attack.”
The Manchester United manager needs funds to buy defenders for his team to compete domestically and in Europe
Jadon Sancho has 11 England caps. He was in the Bundesliga team of the season at 19. He makes in-game decisions as prescient as a teenage Wayne Rooney. He is a two-footed, goalscoring assist maker with a Harry Houdini array of tricks.
Yet if Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s pursuit of the Borussia Dortmund forward is not backed by further transfers then Manchester United have only a distant hope of being contenders next season.
Veteran college football coach says word is ‘unacceptable’
Coach repeated word while telling player not to use slur
TCU football coach Gary Patterson apologized on Tuesday for repeating a racial slur when telling a player to stop using the word in team meetings.
Patterson’s tweet came a day after the school’s chancellor, Victor Boschini, said the coach, who is white, had apologized for using the slur during a confrontation with linebacker Dylan Jordan, who is black, at practice.
Player won two Euro titles and 2010 World Cup as Spain captain
The 39-year-old won Champions League three times with Real
The former Spain and Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has announced his retirement from football at the age of 39.
Casillas, who finished his playing days at Porto, won the World Cup and two European Championships during an illustrious international career. He lifted five La Liga titles and the Champions League three times with Real, making 725 appearances for the Spanish giants over 16 seasons between 1999 and 2015.
Sancho to earn about £250,000 a week on five-year deal
Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund are close to agreeing a fee for Jadon Sancho, with the England forward having agreed personal terms on a five-year contract at Old Trafford.
Both clubs are understood to be confident a deal to make Sancho the most expensive English player in history is nearing completion, with United expected to pay an initial €100m fee (£90m) over three annual instalments and a further €20m in performance-related add-ons. Dortmund would prefer to have the transfer completed by next week to help them bring in a replacement.
American surfer Eli Olson claimed the prize for 'Biggest Paddle' of the year at the World Surf League on Monday after riding a 50-foot wave in Hawaii. Olson, a native of Hawaii, was surfing Maui's Jaws, an infamous wave in the Pacific Ocean off Maui's north shore.
In order to qualify for the award, surfers must paddle into the wave as opposed to being towed in by jet ski. The event was apart of the World Surf League
Bolt had a gift for making the impossible seem easy but his success was based on mental resolve as well as electric pace
Something you may not know about me: there is almost no set of circumstances – personal, professional, medical – in which I will not drop everything to watch Usain Bolt. Naturally, my personalised YouTube algorithm has already known this for some time, and will now instantly recommend me a selection of his greatest hits whenever I log in. “Usain Bolt | IAAF Daegu 2011 (200m s/f)”: yes please! “Bolt beats Gatlin | 2015 World Championships [HD]”: click! “Men’s 200m final | London 2017”: er, I think you’ll find Bolt didn’t run the 200 metres in London that year. Nice try, algorithm. Now get this grubby irrelevance out of my sight.
Perhaps you have your own favourite Bolt race. Perhaps it’s the first time he truly astonished us: the 100m at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, where he smashed the world record despite basically doing jazz hands from about 70 metres, like a Victorian street magician. Perhaps it’s the 9.58sec in Berlin the following summer, a truly ridiculous effort, one best remembered for the collective and involuntary noise the crowd makes when it sees the clock: a sort of aaaawwweuuurrrrgh. This was sport as testimony: after all, you didn’t simply watch Bolt breaking a world record. You witnessed it. You shared it. You shook people by the shoulders and asked – a little superfluously – did you see that?
The defender is one of a host of young players to have moved from the US to Germany. With comparisons to Jerome Boateng, he may be among the best
The rules kept changing, and they had hardly made sense to begin with. It didn’t matter to Chris Richards, though; he kept finding ways to win.
It was an FC Dallas youth-squad practice session in 2018, and the coaches had designed a small-sided team game which used a tennis ball and had bizarre restrictions around how and when it could be passed and scored – You have to bounce it once with your left hand, then pass with your right, that kind of thing. While most of his teammates were bemused, Richards, who would soon sign for European giant Bayern Munich, came alive.
Actor pays $15m for league billed as spring rival to NFL
Johnson was a college football star at University of Miami
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s is set to add the title of professional sports league owner to his entertainment résumé.
The former WWE star turned actor has agreed to purchase the XFL for approximately $15m, alongside his ex-wife Dany Garcia and private investment firm RedBird Capital Partners. The professional American football league, which was conceived as a spring competitor to the NFL, filed for bankruptcy in April as the Covid-19 pandemic hit its finances. The league, the brainchild of WWE chairman Vince McMahon, was in its second iteration and teams had only played a few games before the competition was shut down, leaving players and coaches out of work.
Talks ongoing over record fee for an English player
Sancho expected to sign five-year deal at Old Trafford
Manchester United are in advanced negotiations with Borussia Dortmund to sign Jadon Sancho for an initial €100m (£90m) – a fee that would set a transfer record for an English player.
United have been tracking Sancho for some time, with talks over a move for the former Manchester City player having intensified in recent weeks. While there is no agreement yet with Dortmund as it stands, it is understood the German club could accept a deal that would involve United paying the fee in instalments over the next two or three seasons for the England forward, with a further €20m potentially due in performance-related add-ons.
The NCAA is moving forward with plans for a college football season despite a nationwide surge in coronavirus cases, putting thousands of unpaid student-athletes in harm’s way
“We’re just out here getting gaslit en masse by our university.”
That’s how a college football player who reached out to the Guardian summarized the experience he and his teammates are enduring at a Power Five school as it prepares to kick off the 2020 season in a few weeks’ time.
Great Britain’s 12-year-old world skateboarding bronze medallist is recuperating after an horrific accident but already thinking of next year’s Olympic Games
“I thought it was kind of cool,” Sky Brown says as she remembers the first time she watched footage of her horrific skateboarding accident eight weeks ago. In the video, she flies up a 14-foot ramp, flips around in the air and comes swooping down on her board. Her skateboard makes a clattering whoosh as she zooms up the opposite vertical ramp and it’s only near the top that Brown loses control. The board veers to the right and she hurtles off the ramp.
Brown’s arms and legs flail helplessly as if seeking some kind of invisible traction while she plummets 15 feet. The camera drops to the ground as her father runs towards his little girl. She was still only 11 years old and Brown suffered multiple fractures in her skull, lacerations to her lungs and stomach, a broken left arm and busted fingers on her right hand. The skateboarder, who will represent Great Britain at next year’s Olympic Games, where she hopes to win a medal, recovered in intensive care.
Northern Irishman tees up in California on Thursday for the first of 2020’s three majors – six years since he won the last of his four
A three-month hiatus may prove to be more significant to Rory McIlroy than one which has now stretched to six years. The latter relates to his wait for a fifth major championship win, which will return as a key theme when the US PGA Championship begins at Harding Park on Thursday. During the far more brief and enforced 2020 break, McIlroy spent time identifying specific targets.
Iron Mike has chosen to eschew a taste of normality in returning to fight Roy Jones and with that continues his path alongside Sonny Liston
No one knows boxing history like Mike Tyson. He made plenty of it himself during 20 years as the most feared heavyweight in the world. But there are a lot of things he doesn’t know, and the consequence of his ill‑advised comeback is one of them.
Tyson, 54, has not fought since Kevin McBride, a modest Irish heavyweight with much to be modest about, made him quit on his stool after six rounds on the undercard of a show in Washington DC, in June 2005. Like most champions, he quit too late, but what a ride it was.
Navy assures investigation into video that went viral on Sunday
Spox says video is ‘completely inconsistent’ with values of Navy
The US Naval Special Warfare Command said Sunday it is investigating a video that showed military working dogs attacking a stand-in wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey during a demonstration at the Navy Seal Museum last year.
The video, first posted to Instagram in January 2019, resurfaced on social media on Sunday morning. The caption read: “Colin Kaepernick stand in Josh gets attacked by 5 Navy SEAL dogs for not standing during the National Anthem at a Navy SEAL Museum fundraiser.”
Donald Trump is back at the White House after another Sunday morning at Trump National in Potomac Falls, marking the 13th day he’s spent at one of his golf courses in the past 37 days.
Once again the presidential motorcade passed by several dozen supporters and protestors lining both sides of the street in front of the club as it departed.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday reported 4,601,526 coronavirus cases, an increase of 58,947 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of Covid-19 deaths in the country had risen by 1,132 to 154,002.
The CDC reported its tally of cases of Covid-19 as of 4 pm ET on 1 August, versus its previous report a day earlier.
Mets star did not report to ballpark for Sunday’s game in Atlanta
Céspedes, 34, has been New York’s designated hitter this season
New York Mets slugger Yoenis Céspedes was not with the team for Sunday’s game at Atlanta and the club said it hadn’t been able to locate him.
“As of game time, Yoenis Céspedes has not reported to the ballpark today. He did not reach out to management with any explanation for his absence,” general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said in a statement.
Manager has the heart and cutting edge of an evolving team. Things can progress if Aubameyang and Ceballos are secured
Five minutes before half-time at Wembley Stadium, Mikel Arteta could be seen leaping out of his chalk rectangle and haring off down the touchline, feet battering the turf like an angry marionette, hands carving strange, jagged shapes in the air. Here was a man gripped suddenly with visions of collapse and disaster: planes falling from the skies, locusts across the sun, a tidal wave over the main stand.
In fact the cause of Arteta’s panic was a slight drop in intensity from Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who was wandering a little vaguely on the left wing and failing to pursue, at just the wrong moment, the manager’s plan of attacking the space behind Chelsea’s full-backs. Maitland-Niles sprinted off into the space Arteta had seen, curving his run to meet a lovely floated pass from Kieran Tierney. And this was the pattern at times in the FA Cup final on Saturday, most notably in the half-hour after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had levelled the score at 1-1, as Arsenal boxed Chelsea in, overloaded the flanks and allowed their own highly mobile front three to exploit the tender spots in a slow-turning defence.
Max Verstappen nearly catches world champion on last lap
Hamilton 30 points clear in bid for seventh F1 drivers’s title
Lewis Hamilton won the British Grand Prix for the seventh time, coming home after last minute drama almost ended his race with a puncture on the final lap. He crawled round on three wheels, dragging his car over the line just seconds in front of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in second. The Dutchman had pitted just beforehand to take new tyres to go for the fastest lap, had be not done so the win would surely been his.
The British driver’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas had been with him for most of the race until the Finn had too a front left puncture with two laps to go and finished in eleventh. The two Mercedes had been nonetheless comfortably clear of the rest of the field, their superiority this season plain to see through Silverstone fast corners. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was in third, with Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo in fourth and McLaren’s Lando Norris in fifth.
A small fishing hamlet in Portugal has become a magnet for the world’s most fearless big-wave surfers. Tim Lewis reveals how Nazaré became the ocean’s Everest
Everyone you meet in Nazaré tells you the waves here are different: heavier, more powerful, less predictable, somehow menacing. So, on my last afternoon in the Portuguese town in February, I went out on the back of a jet ski piloted by Andrew Cotton, a big-wave surfer from Devon, to see for myself. Cotton is easygoing, with cropped, gold-tipped hair and pale eyes, but he turns serious as we leave the harbour. He explains that jet skis are set up differently in Nazaré: the kill switch, which cuts the engine if the rider is thrown off, is not attached to the driver’s wrist as usual because… I miss the exact reason as Cotton guns the engine and sea spray covers us and I’m distracted, wondering if they really had to call it a “kill” switch. I’m already freaked out enough that I’ve promised to check in with my family as soon as I’m back on dry land.
Nazaré, specifically Praia do Norte or North Beach, is home to the biggest surfable waves on the planet. Ten years ago, it was unknown even in big-wave circles, but that changed when Garrett McNamara, a 52-year-old Hawaiian who is one of the pioneers of the sport, was given a tip-off by local bodyboarders. He came to Portugal for the first time in 2010; the following year, he rode a monstrous wave measured at 23.77m (78ft) and entered the Guinness World Records. In 2017, also in Nazaré, Brazilian Rodrigo Koxa nudged up the mark to 24.38m (80ft). If one day someone conquers a 100ft wave – a holy grail of surfing – almost certainly it will take place in Nazaré.
From the archive: David Coulthard on driving Silverstone.
There is no faster sequence anywhere in the world than the run through Copse, Maggotts and Becketts. You have to have the bit between your teeth in order to get hooked up and drive quickly. It all starts at the very first corner of the lap and it pays to watch the cars going through Copse and appreciate their speed. Even for me as a driver, when I take a moment to watch, I think, ‘Fuck, that’s impressive.’ There aren’t many corners like Copse in the world. And Silverstone has four.
You approach Copse at 180mph in seventh gear. The only reason you come off the power is to get the deceleration necessary to accept sixth. The corner itself would be seventh gear, but the reduction of speed through the actual cornering forces means you would be too low on revs on exit if you stayed in seventh. That’s one of the difficulties for the driver.
Sky Sports talking of having the fans back at Silverstone next year. Does that seem hopeful? A little at this stage but let’s hope they are right. Some nice footage of Nigel Mansell with the fans in any case. Those who couldn’t make it this year can at least rest their eardrums.
The Scot admits lure of a return to venue of maiden grand slam title is too much to resist after so much time out injured
Andy Murray pauses when asked why he is gambling with his health to play at the US Open later this month while Covid-19 is still raging in American like an unpredictable beast. “I’ve missed it,” the 33-year-old Scot says, “missed it a lot. The situation I’ve been in the last few years, I’ve not had opportunity to play in many slams. I don’t know how many I’ll have left.
“So, while I’m feeling relatively decent... obviously there is a risk there, but I want to try and play in them [the Cincinnati Open, transferred to Flushing Meadows and starting on 20 August, followed by the US Open on 31 August] and enjoy the biggest events again.”
Despite our lowest finish in decades, the faithful seem remarkably optimistic about “project Arteta”. When we overcame our Man City hoodoo in the Cup semi it felt like a real watershed – so it was maybe fitting that we fell flat on our faces at Villa only a few days later. A timely reminder that we lack the resources to mount a sustained title challenge. Leaving Özil and Guendouzi out in the cold was controversial, but as a contrast to the vagaries of Emery’s tenure, the uncompromising intent to impose his vision was refreshing. Seems he’s striving to build the sort of spirit and mentality which might ultimately result in an outfit we can be proud of.
Grigory Rodchenkov was head of Russia’s ‘anti-doping’ centre but, in 2015, he fled to the US. He talks to the Observer’s former Moscow correspondent about the lies, the truth and life on the run
The man in front of me is wearing a disguise. We are talking on Skype. I’m at my home near London and Dr Grigory Rodchenkov is at an undisclosed location somewhere in America, guarded 24/7 by armed FBI agents. How is he? “My life is good. My mood is very good,” he says. He’s grinning, I think. Since he’s wearing a black scarf over his face and dark glasses, it’s hard to tell.
The cloak-and-dagger atmospherics surrounding our interview might seem a little overblown. Until, that is, you remember, Vladimir Putin’s roving assassins are trying to establish Rodchenkov’s secret location so they can snuff him out, a traitor to the state. Russia’s president has a long list of enemies. But Rodchenkov – the most significant sports whistleblower of the 21st century – is probably at the top.
It was a snapshot of the finishing ability that makes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a world-class performer and, for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta, the upshot was glorious.
Héctor Bellerín had driven the move and, when Nicolas Pépé worked a pass left to Aubameyang, the Arsenal captain knew in a heartbeat what he had to do. Using his right foot, he took the ball around Kurt Zouma as though the Chelsea defender was not there and then, with his left, almost in the same fluid movement, he produced a trademark clipped shot over Willy Caballero, the Chelsea goalkeeper.
Donald Trump has again publicly contradicted Dr Anthony Fauci, claiming the US’s top infectious disease expert is “wrong” to attribute the surge in US coronavirus cases to the country’s failure to sufficiently shut down its economy.
The US president came in hot on Saturday after a lengthy-for-him 15-hour hiatus from Twitter, responding to a clip of Fauci’s testimony before Congress on Friday with the largely debunked claim that Covid-19 cases in the US are surging due to increased testing.
Wrong! We have more cases because we have tested far more than any other country, 60,000,000. If we tested less, there would be less cases. How did Italy, France & Spain do? Now Europe sadly has flare ups. Most of our governors worked hard & smart. We will come back STRONG!
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is removing its top intelligence official from his post after it was revealed the office has been surveilling the work of American journalists reporting on the unrest in Portland, circulating “intelligence reports” on them to other federal agencies in a move that has been decried as a clear violation of the constitutional right to a free press.
Brian Murphy, who has been the acting chief of a unit known as the “office of intelligence and analysis”, is being removed from that role at the behest of acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf, Politco reported on Saturday.
Saints QB says his US flag comment was a ‘missed opportunity’
Brees says he will stand for flag but respects all forms of protest
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees says he will continue to stand for the American flag but respects and supports any form of peaceful demonstration – including kneeling during the national anthem – by those protesting social injustice and systemic racism.
“I’ll always stand for the flag because of what it means to me and to honor all those who have sacrificed, who have served and died for our country, and all those who have struggled to move this country forward,” Brees said Saturday in a conference call with media to discuss the onset of training camp.
Having no fans at Harding Park for the season’s first major may ease the pressure on the next generation of potential stars
There will be no asterisk adjacent to 2020 on the Wanamaker Trophy. That the US PGA Championship will take place from Thursday minus spectators ultimately will not matter to the player who claims the first major of a year like no other.
With strange circumstances comes opportunity. If Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods are naturally at the forefront of people’s minds at majors, the new breed could benefit from the absence of spectators at Harding Park. The US PGA backdrop will not and cannot be the same.
MLB nixes Saturday’s Cards-Brewers game amid more cases
Marlins reported no new cases after 19 positive tests this week
Infected Marlins are taking bus from Philadelphia to Miami
Major League Baseball has postponed Saturday’s game between the St Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers after more members of the visiting Cardinals tested positive for Covid-19, according to multiple reports.
At least four more members of the St Louis organization were discovered to have returned positive tests on Saturday morning, one day after Friday’s series opener was canceled due to two Cardinals players testing positive.
Entrant at Palermo Ladies Open has pulled out of event
Qualifying goes ahead with close contacts tested
A player set to participate in the Palermo Ladies Open, which starts on Monday, has tested positive for Covid-19 but the event marking the return of the professional tennis season will continue as planned, the WTA said on Saturday.
The WTA did not name the player but said she had pulled out and all those who may have been in close contact with her were being tested. Qualifying for the tournament went ahead as planned on Saturday afternoon.
Lewis Hamilton took pole for the British Grand Prix with a dominant performance at Silverstone. He beat his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas into second place but the pair were in a battle of their own for the front row of the grid. Max Verstappen was in third for Red Bull a full second back, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in fourth and McLaren’s Lando Norris an impressive fifth.
Hamilton saved his best for last, he had not finished fastest in a session all weekend until the final runs in Q3 and indeed had shown a rare moment of weakness in spinning off in Q2. When it mattered however the British driver had Silverstone at his fingertips once more.
Rangers have no reason to care that the return of Scottish football after 144 days was barely worth the wait. Perhaps the intensity – including from the stands – associated with a visit of the Ibrox club to Aberdeen made this Premiership opener appear even more low-key.
Other matches between Arsenal and Chelsea have been staged. Here are six of the finest, not counting anything that’s happened in the last ten years, for reasons that will become all too apparent when you click.
A trip to Silverstone when he was six sparked the Red Bull driver’s passion for F1 and he can’t wait to race in the British Grand Prix
Smiling in the sunshine, Alex Albon simply cannot suppress a playful grin. It is, he concedes, the product of irrepressible glee, of the child with the dreams, now the man who still cannot quite believe on Sunday he will be racing in the British Grand Prix.
“Silverstone is so special to me,” he says. “I still think of myself as a young boy coming to the track, seeing F1 cars and I think: ‘This is crazy’. To be in a race-winning team, a championship-winning team at Silverstone. Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps.”
Alfredo Morelos starts for Rangers today. The striker has been linked with a move away from Ibrox, with Lille supposedly leading the chase, but Steven Gerrard says he is a long way from departing.
“I think this will work itself out if there is a bid that’s big enough, that the board want to accept, we’ll make that decision when it comes,” Gerrard said. “At the moment we’re nowhere near that so Alfredo is still a Rangers player. He needs to focus on that and continue contributing goals like he always has done for the last two years.”
Get in the mood for the new season with Ewan Murray ...
Manager was part of Arsène Wenger’s squad that lifted trophy at Wembley in 2014 and 2015 but failed to build on it afterwards
It was May 2015 and Arsenal’s prospects looked shinier than at any point in the previous five years. They had qualified directly for the Champions League group stage, a feat that had evaded them for two seasons, and now they had a chance to retain the FA Cup against Aston Villa. There was a sense the punishing tides that battered Arsène Wenger’s later years were turning and, speaking three days before the final, one of the senior players nudged those above him to make the final push.
“It’s up to the manager and the board to decide what is the missing ingredient,” he said. “Were we missing that final bit of quality to win [the league] or deepness in the squad? It’s up to them to analyse that.”
American golfer says he wants to live ‘to 130 or 140’ to GQ
World No 7 insists it’s ‘possible now with today’s technology’
We have but one life to live on this earth, but Bryson DeChambeau is dead-set on making the most of it.
The muscle-bound 26-year-old American golfer, a fitness freak who has made headlines for bulking up considerably while locked down amid the coronavirus pandemic, revealed a master plan to carry on into the 22nd century in a magazine interview published on Friday.
Winning silverware will generate trust in Arteta’s grand plan and secure a financial boost through European football
The way Mikel Arteta remembers it, Arsenal had wanted it too much. Before the 2014 FA Cup final against Hull, when he was the captain, everybody connected to the club could feel the weight of a nine-year trophy drought. But, perhaps more than that, they could feel the future of Arsène Wenger, the architect of the modern Arsenal, was on the line. Lose and the manager would not get a new contract. That was the sentiment of the time.
Arsenal were 2-0 down after eight minutes and it would have been three had Kieran Gibbs not cleared off the line from Alex Bruce. The atmosphere at Wembley was frenzied and Arsenal’s players, temples pounding, looked punch drunk.
Arsenal striker motivated by last season’s defeat against Chelsea
‘Hopefully the ones who played will not forget,’ he says
Alexandre Lacazette has said memories of the anguish he felt on the long flight home from last season’s Europa League final will spur him on for a rematch against Chelsea that could, he believes, salvage the toughest campaign of his career.
Wednesday found guilty of breaching financial rules
Deduction this season would have seen club relegated
Sheffield Wednesday will be deducted 12 points for the 2020-21 Championship season after being found guilty of breaching financial rules.
An independent disciplinary commission, appointed under English Football League regulations, deemed Wednesday should not have included profits from the sale of Hillsborough stadium in statements for the period ending July 2018.
Move for former Middlesbrough manager had been in doubt
Karanka appointed as head coach on three-year contract
Aitor Karanka has been appointed as Birmingham’s head coach on a three-year deal. The Spaniard, previously in charge of Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest, is the club’s sixth permanent manager in three and a half years.
The move was close to collapse this week, with Birmingham reluctant to give Karanka greater control over transfers and allow him to bring in several coaches. But they have struck a deal for the former Real Madrid assistant to replace Pep Clotet, who left this month.
Mexican driver is the first in F1 to contract Covid-19
Pérez flew to Mexico to visit his mother after Hungarian GP
Formula One may consider further tightening its Covid-19 code of conduct to impose a season-long restrictive bubble on personnel after Sergio Pérez became the sport’s first driver to contract the virus.
The Racing Point driver has entered isolation and been pulled from this weekend’s British Grand Prix. He has been replaced by his former teammate Nico Hülkenberg, who was cleared to take part just before practice began on Friday, where his teammate Lance Stroll was quickest in the afternoon.
Murray planning to compete for first time since November
‘It would be silly to expect nobody would break the rules’
As the debate over competing at the US Open continues after world No 1 Ashleigh Barty’s withdrawal, Andy Murray said he believes that rule-breaking incidents are inevitable and punishments should be severe for players who break the US Open bubble.
“I think the majority of players will [respect the bubble] but it would be silly to expect nobody would break the rules and the protocols,” he said. “In the NBA for example, which I think will be a similarish set-up for us, players have broken it so we should be preparing for that and that is where it is really important. I think the repercussions should be quite serious because you end up putting the whole tour and event at risk.”
This has particularly been a topic of interest since the tennis governing bodies appear hesitant to enforce severe punishments. The ATP’s recently updated rulebook for its tour events stresses that “any repetitive or blatant break of [Covid-19] measures may be considered a violation of the code of conduct”, which would trigger a fine of up to $20,000. However, the US Open CEO, Stacey Allaster, previously avoided discussing punishments altogether by stressing the personal responsibility of players: “I have a lot of confidence in these professional athletes,” she said.
Murray is planning to book his flights to New York over the next few days, where he will compete at the relocated Western & Southern Open before the US Open. He rejected the notion that the decisions of his colleagues could have some bearing on his own choices. “Everyone will have different feelings on it, we’re all individuals,” he said.
Everyone’s a cynic these days, but don’t let the miserable swines grind you down. It’s the FA Cup final on Saturday and it’s OK to get excited. It’s not a particularly fashionable viewpoint, granted, but to hell with the pinch-faced cognoscenti! The Fiver is already lost in a reverie of all those famous finals from the competition’s heyday, like when Sunderland beat Nasty Leeds 1-0, or Southampton beat Manchester United 1-0, or Ipswich beat Arsenal 1-0, or Spurs beat QPR 1-0, or Wimbledon beat Liverpool 1-0. Ah misty water-coloured memories of a time when the sun always shone, the whole nation watched on, and Rizla had a surprisingly strong brand presence on the pitchside hoardings.
The 21-year-old midfielder, who has an ability to turn up on the big occasion, is focused on delivering Chelsea’s first trophy under Frank Lampard in the FA Cup final against Arsenal
There is more to Mason Mount’s game than goals from midfield. The Chelsea midfielder brings assists, moves intelligently and is a relentless presser off the ball. Frank Lampard loves his attitude and always tries to find room for him in the team. Yet when Mount is asked to rate his first Premier League season out of 10, his mind is drawn to one area.
The question has put Mount on the spot. It is an awkward one to answer for someone uncomfortable bigging himself up, but there is no way out. “It’s difficult,” he says, speaking on Zoom from his home. “But because I have got seven goals I will give myself seven out of 10. I’m a big self-critic and I know there is room for improvement.”
MLB postpones Cards-Brewers game amid more positive tests
Six of 30 MLB teams will be sidelined on Friday due to Covid-19
Major League Baseball has postponed Friday afternoon’s game between the St Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers after multiple members of the visiting Cardinals tested positive for Covid-19, according to an ESPN report.
The game, which was scheduled to begin at 2.10pm Eastern time, is the latest impacted by Covid-19 and follows an outbreak of the virus with the Miami Marlins that resulted in an entire week’s worth of their games postponed as a result.
China’s state broadcaster CCTV maintained its blackout of NBA games as the American basketball league resumed on Friday, extending a freedom-of-speech stand-off that stretches back more than nine months.
Frank Lampard does not want to lose the Brazilian despite having no shortage of attacking options, with more to come
At first glance it might seem odd Frank Lampard is so keen for Willian to stay at Chelsea. Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech are already training with their new teammates, Kai Havertz is close to joining from Bayer Leverkusen and there is a danger that the manager is going to become Brentwood’s answer to Ossie Ardiles when he starts working out how to deploy his attacking options next season.
Something surely has to give. Werner is going to be competing with Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud up front and can also operate from the left. Ziyech can play on the right or in the hole. Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi are exciting options on either flank, Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount all play advanced roles in midfield and although Chelsea are right to focus on improving their goal threat after losing Eden Hazard to Real Madrid last summer that attack is starting to look crowded.
Players, coaches and refs kneel during national anthem
Jazz squeak past Pelicans in first game of doubleheader
Pels’ Zion Williamson scores 13 on 6-for-8 from the floor
Black players were next to white players. Coaches from one team were next to their compatriots from the opposing side. Many locked arms with the man next to them, some shut their eyes tightly, a few raised their fists into the air.
College football’s top conference confirms scaled-down plan
SEC title game to be pushed back two weeks to 19 December
Season to start on 26 September; schedule to be announced
The powerhouse Southeastern Conference announced Thursday that it will play only league games in 2020, a pandemic-forced decision that pushes major college football closer to a siloed regular season in which none of the power conferences cross paths.
The SEC’s university presidents agreed on a 10-game schedule that eliminates all nonconference opponents and is set to begin on 26 September. The SEC championship game, originally scheduled for 5 December, will be pushed back to 19 December.
Until the last half-decade a west-London derby between Fulham and Brentford would have been more familiar as a third-tier skirmish. But they will play for a Premier League place on Tuesday and Scott Parker’s side will be thanking their lucky stars to have squeaked through.
This tie looked dead on arrival given the 2-0 lead they had amassed in the first leg but Cardiff roared back, scoring through Curtis Nelson and Lee Tomlin after throw-ins had caused havoc, before coming desperately close to completing the turnaround late-on. Neeskens Kebano’s goal made the difference but the celebrations at full-time took second place to sheer relief at making it through in one piece.
Racing Point driver Pérez enters quarantine and will be replaced
Lewis Hamilton is optimistic Formula One will present a united front against racism, although there remains disagreement behind the scenes on how the sport approaches it as Sergio Pérez became the first F1 driver to test postive for Covid-19 before this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
The Racing Point driver has entered quarantine and was not at Silverstone on Thursday but racing will continue this weekend as planned, with his team using a reserve driver.
Luxembourg has been added to the list of countries requiring travellers to quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in the UK because of a surge in coronavirus cases in the country, six days after the same demand was imposed on arrivals from Spain.
It comes three weeks after self-isolation restrictions were removed from Spain, Luxembourg and several other destinations.
Still no Aleksandar Mitrovic for Fulham, not even on the bench. The Championship leading scorer remains too much of an injury risk for Scott Parker, who names an unchanged Fulham side from Monday night.
Cardiff boss Neil Harris makes three changes. Will Vaulks, Josh Murphy and Danny Ward come in for Lee Tomlin, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Robert Glatzel.
Elis and the pod discuss the end of Swansea’s dreams, as Brentford make it through to the Championship play-off final at Wembley. We also say goodbye to Griffin Park, before looking ahead to Saturday’s FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea, and also casting an eye forward towards the players who might be worth picking for your fantasy league team next season.
Aurelio De Laurentiis says Spain ‘acting like nothing is wrong’
Catalonia president has warned region may face new lockdown
The president of Napoli has cast doubt over his team’s Champions League fixture in Barcelona, claiming Spanish authorities are “acting like nothing is wrong” as the country endures a new spike in coronavirus cases.
Premier League has been considering bid for months
Fans still waiting for new owner to buy out Mike Ashley
A Saudi Arabia-led consortium has withdrawn its bid to buy Newcastle United. The consortium, led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and also involving Amanda Staveley and the Reuben Brothers, has been waiting for months for the Premier League to decide whether to give the takeover the go-ahead.
The decision will come as a huge blow to many Newcastle fans, who had hoped the consortium would buy out the unpopular owner, Mike Ashley. But it will be welcomed by other fans, and campaigners, who have pointed to human rights abuses by the Saudi regime.
USA defender on her new Just Women’s Sport podcast and the squad’s resolve to carry on fighting for what they believe in
After the USA won the Women’s World Cup in France last year, Kelley O’Hara wrote on Instagram, “Maybe one day I’ll be able to put this journey into words”. One rollercoaster year on and she still can’t. “I don’t know if I ever will be able to because there was just so much emotion and it’s difficult to express through words,” she says with a laugh.
The 31-year-old defender has just finished playing in the NWSL Challenge Cup, hosted by her club, Utah Royals. “It wasn’t the ideal ending,” she says of their one win, one draw and three defeats in the first return of professional sport in the US.
Britain’s George Bates seriously considering measure
Bates has been told he does not meet new Games criteria
Great Britain wheelchair basketball player George Bates is giving serious consideration to having his leg amputated so he can compete with the team at the 2021 Paralympics in Tokyo.
The 26-year-old, who has been unable to walk without assistance since being injured playing football when he was 11, has been told the complex regional pain syndrome he suffers with does not meet the new criterion for eligibility at the Games.
The Lazio striker stands one shy of Gonzalo Higuaín’s record and, 14 penalties or not, he has enjoyed a stellar campaign
To listen to Ciro Immobile on Wednesday night was to wonder whether he might be in the wrong line of work. “I hate it when I absolutely have to score,” he said at the end of Lazio’s 2-0 win over Brescia. “It just doesn’t sit right.”
A surprising sentiment, for a man who has made his living scoring goals – and who happens to be very good at it. Immobile netted his 35th of this Serie A campaign just a few minutes earlier, running on to Joaquín Correa’s through-ball and sweeping one of his calling-card sidefoot finishes beyond the goalkeeper Lorenzo Andrenacci.
Planning a normal grand prix takes 18 months but Silverstone has had only eight weeks to arrange two. It has been a task like no other but one vital to the survival of the circuit
History and heritage have long been important to Silverstone, the scene of drama and spectacle, triumph and despair. The former airfield hosted the first Formula One world championship grand prix 70 years ago, and F1 was coming home as 2020 promised a celebratory meeting before the pandemic cast its shadow across the globe.
Planning a party has became a process of adaptation, compromise and contingency just to go racing again. With the British Grand Prix and the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix presenting a double-header of races at Silverstone beginning this weekend, the circuit and Formula One have succeeded, but it has been far from straightforward.
Without supporters, Saturday’s FA Cup final will likely be the worst of all time. Never before have fans held such influence
As implausible and preposterous as it may be, let’s imagine a post Covid-19 world where football fans are finally allowed back into Premier League grounds but elect en masse not to go. Not because home drinking, tedious family Zoom quizzes and banana bread baking have eclipsed the sport in popularity, but because after months spent locked out of stadiums match-going supporters have realised the importance of their role cannot be overstated and unilaterally opt to stay away until certain conditions are met.
Even before a ball has been kicked it is reasonably safe to assume that Saturday’s FA Cup final will be the worst of all time. A traditionally grand occasion that will be memorable for all the wrong and weirdest of reasons, the Football Association’s showpiece event has been reduced to little more than a surreal meander through the motions this season, in order to fulfil contractual obligations and keep the financial and football record books up to date.
The Juventus forward on joining Common Goal, winning another Serie A title and the Champions League challenge ahead
It is only a few days since Juventus beat Sampdoria to seal their ninth consecutive Scudetto, and Paulo Dybala already has his mind on other challenges. Football still has plenty of those in store for him, of course, particularly with his team taking a one-goal deficit into next Friday’s Champions League game at home to Lyon, but recently he has been considering other matters entirely.
The most significant outcome is his decision to join Common Goal, pledging at least 1% of his salary to a collective fund which uses football as a tool to educate and empower children and young people and joining Juan Mata, Jürgen Klopp, Megan Rapinoe and his clubmate Giorgio Chiellini on its list of donors, now 159 strong. It is a movement that is slowly increasing in size and momentum, a process that Dybala’s intervention – as the first major South American footballer to sign up – could accelerate. But the 26-year-old’s decision is also a step on a personal journey.
The Lakers, Bucks and Clippers are among the hot favorites as the NBA resumes its season following a four-month hiatus
The NBA resumes play after a four-and-a-half-month hiatus on Thursday night as 22 teams pick up their pursuit of a championship inside the bubble at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Here’s an idea of what to expect from 2020 2.0.
Court of arbitration for sport judgment also finds no Uefa bias and shows why an alleged FFP breach was unsubstantiated
Manchester City themselves acknowledged that the club’s owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, did arrange payments, understood to be a total £30m, for sponsorship in 2012 and 2013, on behalf of the Abu Dhabi telecoms giant Etisalat.
Premiership club’s board issue response to online petition
Club defend logo but Big Chief mascot will be retired
Exeter Chiefs were accused of being “tone deaf” and “sticking up two fingers” to all minority groups after resisting calls to drop the Premiership leaders’ name and logo out of respect to the Native American community.
The club’s board met on Wednesday afternoon following a petition from the fans’ pressure group Exeter Chiefs 4 Change which demanded an end to the club’s use of “harmful imagery and branding”, which included Native American headdress, saying there was no place for it in a predominantly white British environment.
Sport ‘misses trick’ with lack of mixed team events, says Murray
Djokovic and Nadal enter US Open warmup tournament
As professional tennis gears up for its return next week at the Palermo Ladies Open, Andy Murray believes that after nearly five months of inaction, players should prepare for a considerably different tour with ample upsets and opportunities for anyone bold enough to take them.
“You just can’t replicate matches in practice, it just isn’t the same,” said Murray. “It is different on the body, on the mind. The pressure is just different and no matter how hard you try to make your practices as challenging and difficult as matches, they just aren’t.
The Denver Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr has come out with an outlandish conspiracy theory, saying he believes Covid-19 is being used to control the population. He also said he has never had a vaccination.
Porter Jr made his comments as the NBA prepares to resume its season following a break enforced by the pandemic.
The benches cleared on Tuesday night during the Dodgers’ 5-2 victory over the Astros in the first game between the teams since it was revealed that Houston stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series championship that came at Los Angeles’ expense.
Madrid’s title, Barça’s slump, Iago Aspas being Iago Aspas. Looking back, one feeling recurs most: that was this season?
In the 101st minute of the 35th week, still playing way after midnight and well into summer in Europe’s hottest city, the two best things that can happen in football happened at the same time: a forward who had gone in goal saved a shot from a goalkeeper who had gone up front, stopping the man he had beaten from beating him back.
The world’s most popular basketball league resumes action this week. It will be a season like no other with players locked down in Disney World
In order to keep players and staff insulated from the Covid-19 pandemic, the league will resume operations at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Disney World, Florida when the season restarts on Thursday. The NBA sees the venue as ideal as it has a number of courts to host games and practices as well as hotels and restaurants to keep the players housed and fed, and leisure facilities to keep them entertained. Keeping the players in one place means they can avoid the cross-country travel that is usually a part of the season, and has already caused problems for baseball when MLB started last week.
The former Muay Thai world champion on arranged marriage, chronic fatigue syndrome, gym bullies and early wobbles in boxing
The tears of Ruqsana Begum, which splash down on the blue canvas of the ring, are not a sign of weakness. They are, instead, markers of the battles she has won over the years. As a young Bangladeshi woman from east London on her way to becoming a Muay Thai world champion, Begum endured an arranged marriage, panic attacks, depression, bullying in the gym and ravaging bouts of ME [chronic fatigue syndrome].
She cries during our long interview on a hazy summer afternoon in Bethnal Green but never loses her composure. Each time the former kickboxing dynamo wipes away her tears, laughs a little while saying sorry, and continues. “Those moments have led me to this moment,” she says after one poignant pause, “where I now manage to not look for approval from outside. Rather, I go inwards and find strength from within.”
Judgment rules that much of Uefa’s case was ‘time-barred’
Cas panel chairman Rui Botica Santos recommended by City
The findings that led to Uefa’s club financial control body (CFCB) deciding that Manchester City were guilty of a “serious breach” of financial fair play regulations and imposing a two year Champions League ban have finally been revealed in the judgment of the court of arbitration for sport, which overturned the CFCB’s decisions.
The CFCB found after its investigations and hearings that the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG), the company through which Sheikh Mansour of the Abu Dhabi ruling family owns City, had funded payments in 2012 and 2013, understood to be £15m each year, that were reported to the Football Association and to Uefa as independent sponsorships from the telecoms company Etisalat.
Evans furious with Edmund’s reaction to Battle of Brits defeat
Johanna Konta bounces back to beat Katie Boulter
The Battle of the Brits came alive on Tuesday evening as Dan Evans outclassed Kyle Edmund 6-4, 6-4 to win a spicy duel at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton. Earlier in the day, Johanna Konta took an important step forward by recovering to defeat Katie Boulter 2-6, 7-6 (5), 10-6.
A month after Evans ousted Edmund to little fanfare in the first Battle of the Brits, the second edition was a testament to the power of crowds. Surrounded only by their teammates, the pride of the top two male British players came to the fore. From the opening game, both punctuated their victorious points with loud cheers, seemingly determined to silence the other.
49-year-old offered victim promise of a babysitting job
Former player faces 15 years to life in prison
Former San Francisco 49er Dana Stubblefield was convicted on Monday of the rape of a developmentally disabled woman, after prosecutors said he lured the victim to his home with the promise of a babysitting job.
A jury found Stubblefield, 49, guilty of rape by force, oral copulation by force and false imprisonment, and acquitted him of raping a person incapable of giving consent, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Commissioner Manfred confident season is still on track
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has denied the season is in trouble even though more than a dozen Marlins players and staff have tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the club to lock down in Philadelphia. Three games have now been postponed due to the outbreak in the Marlins’ locker room.
“I don’t see it as a nightmare,” Manfred told MLB Network on Monday night. “We built the protocols to allow us to continue to play. That’s why we have the expanded rosters, that’s why we have the pool of additional players. And we think we can keep people safe and continue to play.”
“David Hopkins disappointingly wants to bring a nationalistic Neitzcheian critique to the party,” types Steve Hudson furiously. “ I’d like to redress the balance with my recent polemic: Lord Beefy - Betrayal Of The English Working Class: A Vic Marksist Dialectic.
And for what it’s worth, the correct conclusion is Almond Slices.”
24.3 overs: West Indies 84-5 ( Blackwood 1, Chase 4) Target 399. “Raining in Timperley now so should be with you in 10 minutes or so,” warns Marcus Adams. It’s quicker than that! The players run off the pitch and the hover cover floats to the middle in the flick of a wrist.
The best players, greatest games and notable signings – plus those that didn’t work out, and what needs to change
Ed Aarons: The performances of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Sadio Mané and Jordan Henderson were crucial for a brilliant Liverpool team that left Manchester City floundering in their wake but Virgil van Dijk held it all together. An inspirational leader in a team inspired by their manager’s vision.
The Atlanta United player helped lead Tigres to the Copa Libertadores final but was portrayed as disloyal before moving north to the US
In was February 2020, and Jürgen Damm sat behind a microphone twiddling his thumbs and picking at his ear. He looked down, avoiding eye contact with the press and his manager at Tigres UANL, Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti. There was tension at the press conference. No one was surprised when Damm said he was leaving the club. Still, he sat there, visibly nervous and made his announcement.
The winger, who had clocked in as the second-fastest player in the world when he signed for Tigres, was a mainstay in his first years there. Through three consecutive domestic cup winning seasons, he spent plenty of time sprinting down the line and delivering crosses to the prolific André-Pierre Gignac.
Scott Parker asked his players to rise to the occasion in the absence of Aleksandar Mitrovic and how they delivered as superb solo strikes by Josh Onomah and Neeskens Kebano earned Fulham a two-goal advantage in their quest to reach the Championship play-off final.
The Championship play-offs have a distinctly Cymraeg flavour this season. Swansea are already halfway to the final, having beaten Brentford 1-0 in the first leg of their semi last night. Now it’s their old pals Cardiff’s turn, as the Bluebirds attempt to get a result against Fulham that makes the prospect of an historic South Walian stramash on Sunday that little more likely.
The only problem for Cardiff is that Fulham are one of the form sides in the country right now. Scott Parker’s team have won five and drawn two of their last seven games. The Cottagers ended the season in fourth, one win shy of automatic promotion - and that end-of-season streak included a 2-0 victory over the Bluebirds. They also earned a draw at the Cardiff City Stadium back in August when down to ten men.
Nine members of Marlins said to have the coronavirus
Concern over viability of season after positive tests
The Miami Marlins’ home opener on Monday night against Baltimore has been postponed as the team deal with a coronavirus outbreak that stranded them in Philadelphia.
The Marlins postponed their flight home on Sunday night after their series finale against the Phillies. ESPN reports that the Phillies have cancelled their game against the New York Yankees too, and that seven Marlins players and two of their coaches have tested positive for Covid-19.