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‘The last resort’: jailed former Qatar World Cup official on his hunger strike

Sport | The Guardian

The detained former Qatar World Cup official Abdullah Ibhais has repeated his claims of innocence as he enters the 17th day of a hunger strike in prison.

Ibhais was seized by Qatari authorities last month and returned to jail while he awaits the outcome of an appeal against charges of bribery and a prison sentence of five years.

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December 2nd 2021, 7:22 am

Ben Stokes finds some bowling form as rain abates to let England play

Sport | The Guardian

The importance of Ben Stokes to England’s Ashes campaign can scarcely be overstated and so the all-rounder’s first outing in the middle for four months was a significant moment for Joe Root’s men as they prepare for next week’s first Test at the Gabba.

Stokes makes England’s strongest XI as a batter alone but when fit to send down his brawny fast-medium he offers a balance that is the envy of most opponents. On their first full day of cricket on tour – technically day three of their final warm-up match against the Lions – figures of two for 31 from 10 overs were therefore encouraging.

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December 2nd 2021, 7:22 am

China hits back at WTA boycott as IOC talks again to Peng Shuai

Sport | The Guardian

Foreign ministry says it is against politicising sport, as officials hold second video call with tennis star

China has attacked the Women’s Tennis Association’s boycott in response to the treatment of Peng Shuai, as the International Olympic Committee claimed to have had a second video chat with the player.

Wang Wenbin, a foreign ministry spokesperson, said at a daily briefing that his government was “always firmly opposed to acts that politicise sports”.

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December 2nd 2021, 7:22 am

Benítez and Rondón are symptoms, not cause, of Everton’s deep malaise | Jonathan Wilson

Sport | The Guardian

Derby defeat was chastening in almost every aspect and Everton must hope Dominic Calvert-Lewin regains fitness soon

Derbies, if received wisdom is to be believed, can be very handy for arresting a slump. They can jolt players out of a rut, or the heightened passions can occlude differences in class. Not at Goodison on Wednesday night, though: not only did the form book not go out of the window, not only did it stay resolutely in the room, but it made itself a feature and across its pages in enormous letters was written the simple message: Everton are in trouble.

Perhaps that’s unfair on Liverpool. They tore into faltering opponents from the off. They racked up a greater xG in the first 10 minutes than Everton have managed in total in four of their matches this season. They played with great zest and verve and all four goals were the result of excellent finishes. They ruthlessly capitalised on Everton’s flaws. But still, it helped that there were so many flaws and that they run so deep.

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December 2nd 2021, 5:48 am

Steve Simon: the WTA boss placing principle ahead of profit in standing up to China | Courtney Walsh

Sport | The Guardian

The American’s intervention over Peng Shuai is typical of a skilled, innovative administrator capable of deft leadership

Shortly before Steve Simon was appointed chair of the WTA Tour in 2015, he orchestrated the end of one of the great boycotts in tennis. In brokering the return of Serena Williams to Indian Wells, a tournament he served as chief executive for more than a decade from 2004, Simon did tennis a significant service.

The incident demonstrates the character of a leader who has stunned the world by placing principle ahead of profit in suspending tournaments in China in 2022 due to the extreme concern the WTA holds for Peng Shuai.

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December 2nd 2021, 5:34 am

In a down year for QBs, will Tom Brady’s humdrum excellence win him MVP?

Sport | The Guardian

Heading into the final stretch of the regular season, no one has an unassailable case for the league’s best player. Voters could turn to an old friend

What was set up to be a rollicking MVP race has descended into a mess.

Heading into Week 13, no one has an unassailable case. Toss the league’s top quarterbacks up and they could fall down in any order over the next month: Tom Brady, Josh Allen, Dak Prescott, Aaron Rodgers or Kyler Murray. If you want to tack on a running back as a candidate, then feel free to add in Jonathan Taylor. But the MVP is almost exclusively a quarterback award at this point – the last non-QB to win it was Adrian Peterson in 2012. The four criteria are: Who had the best season; which team won the most games; who was the most fun to watch; who has the best story. This season, it’s hard to find anyone who ticks all the boxes.

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December 2nd 2021, 5:34 am

Fallon Sherrock genius, Libertadores fun and Man Utd v Arsenal ruckus | Classic YouTube

Sport | The Guardian

This week’s roundup also features Miedema magic, the 1991 Rugby World Cup and AB De Villiers’s music

1) The final of the Copa Libertadores was exactly the quiet night in at the library that we thought it would be. First in the fifth minute of extra-time, poor old Andreas Pereira – on loan to Flamengo from Manchester United – dropped a rick for the ages, fed by David Luiz and dallying on the ball, allowing Deyverson to rob him and score what turned out to be the winner for Palmeiras. To restore the cosmic balance of things, here’s a brilliant goal Pereira scored last month. Anyway, as the clock ran down, Deyverson felt a hand on his back…

2)Arsenal visit Manchester United on Thursday in a fixture that used to be the most important in English football. Here are the key moments from the game in September 2003, a gentle little 0-0 draw, and here are its key flashpoints: Patrick Vieira’s red card, Ruud van Nistelrooy’s missed penalty and Martin Keown’s subsequent joy. And here are highlights of the next Old Trafford game between the sides, in October 2004 – featuring some tasty little challenges – in which Arsenal hoped to make it 50 league games unbeaten and did not; here’s Sky’s Fanzone commentary of the game (how did that not end in violence?); here’s the full-time rejoicing; here’s Cesc Fábregas finally admitting he threw the pizza, here he is giving a more detailed account, here’s Gary Neville talking about Pizzagate and the general animosity between the teams, and finally Rio Ferdinand’s post-match interview.

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December 2nd 2021, 5:34 am

The remarkable rise of Lee Elder: from teenage hustler to golfing pioneer

Sport | The Guardian

Late golfer overcame the racism of 1950s America and forged an unlikely duo with notorious gambler Titanic Thompson

Now, let’s be clear about this right here at the beginning. Not all the stories they tell about Alvin “Titanic Thompson” Thomas are strictly accurate. He wasn’t given his nickname because he escaped from the ship by disguising himself as a woman and sneaking into a lifeboat. He didn’t beat Ben Hogan playing golf right-handed, he didn’t beat Byron Nelson playing left-handed, and he certainly didn’t do both back-to-back. And he never did con Al Capone out of $500 by throwing an orange over a five-storey building. According to one of his biographers it was actually a lemon. And according to the other, he swapped it with one he’d stuffed with buckshot the previous evening.

But some of them are true. Or something like it. And this is one of them.

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December 2nd 2021, 3:36 am

Rafael Benítez not worried for his job after Everton trounced by Liverpool

Sport | The Guardian

Rafael Benítez insisted he did not fear for his job as Everton manager after fans turned on the club’s board in the wake of a comprehensive defeat by Liverpool in the Merseyside derby.

Everton endured their heaviest home defeat in a derby for 39 years and have now gone eight matches without a win after Liverpool delivered what Jürgen Klopp described as their finest performance at Goodison Park during his tenure.

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December 2nd 2021, 3:36 am

Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva hands first defeat to Gerrard at Aston Villa

Sport | The Guardian

Manchester City’s sixth consecutive victory derived from a scintillating Bernardo Silva goal that oozed quality from start to finish. It was also Pep Guardiola’s 150th Premier League victory, achieved in a record 204 games, 26 fewer than José Mourinho – and a first defeat in charge of Villa for Steven Gerrard.

Given the six major players who were ruled out, Guardiola was overjoyed at how his side refused to be intimidated by a raucous opposition support. They repelled the speed of Villa on the counter while displaying their familiar silky attacks. Of his matchwinner Silva he said: “He is the best [in the league] – like two or three seasons ago, when we won the title with 98 points.”

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December 1st 2021, 9:22 pm

Rory McIlroy defends players’ rights to compete in Saudi International

Sport | The Guardian

Rory McIlroy has delivered a potentially crucial intervention on behalf of golfers wishing to compete in the Saudi International in February by insisting the PGA and European tours should not block them from playing.

The Saudi International, once of the European Tour but now an Asian Tour event, has confirmed a number of the world’s most prominent golfers – including Tommy Fleetwood, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Sergio García – have agreed to feature in 2022.

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December 1st 2021, 9:22 pm

Michael Carrick dismisses ‘myth’ that Cristiano Ronaldo can’t press

Sport | The Guardian

Michael Carrick believes it is a “myth” that Cristiano Ronaldo is unable to press, with Manchester United’s caretaker manager stating that the 36-year-old and the rest of the squad will be able to adapt to the methods of Ralf Rangnick.

Rangnick, who continues to wait for a work visa to start his spell as interim manager at Old Trafford, adheres to a high-pressing style and there is a view that Ronaldo is unable, at his age, to execute this. Carrick was asked whether this is true or not.

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December 1st 2021, 9:22 pm

‘Humbled’ Alex Carey added to Australia squad for Ashes opener in Brisbane

Sport | The Guardian

Alex Carey has been added to Australia’s Ashes squad and will make his Test debut when the series begins next week at the Gabba in Brisbane.

The wicketkeeper had been expected to replace Tim Paine behind the stumps after the former captain stood down from all cricket in the wake of the texting scandal that has overshadowed Australia’s preparations for the series.

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December 1st 2021, 9:22 pm

WTA suspends tournaments in China amid concern for Peng Shuai

Sport | The Guardian

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has announced the suspension of all tournaments in China amid concerns about the safety of the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, following weeks of a high-profile row with Beijing over the player’s wellbeing.

“With the full support of the WTA Board of Directors, I am announcing the immediate suspension of all WTA tournaments in China, including Hong Kong,” said the WTA chairman, Steve Simon, announcing the decision in a statement on Wednesday.

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December 1st 2021, 9:22 pm

Bryony Frost tells BHA panel that Robbie Dunne exposed himself to her

Sport | The Guardian

Bryony Frost, Britain’s most successful female jump jockey, told a disciplinary panel on Wednesday that her fellow rider Robbie Dunne subjected her to deliberate verbal and physical abuse which included an incident in which he “opened his towel and shook himself” in front of her, and eventually came to a head after a race at Southwell in September 2020. “At Southwell, when he said he was going to hurt me,” Frost said, “that was when I believed him.”

Frost was giving evidence on the second day of a disciplinary hearing in which Dunne is charged with bullying and harassing her between February and September 2020. While the incident in which she said Dunne exposed himself predates the period of the charges, Frost spoke about it for the first time under cross-examination by Roderick Moore, Dunne’s solicitor.

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December 1st 2021, 9:22 pm

Johanna Konta can leave professional tennis knowing she gave everything | Tumaini Carayol

Sport | The Guardian

The former world No 4 made the most of her talents and helped to pave the way for Emma Raducanu and hopefully others

As the 2015 tennis season began six years ago, Johanna Konta’s name was nowhere to be seen on any main-draw sheet. Six months earlier she had briefly reached the top 100 for the first time in her career but, as had been the case throughout her career in those days, she always ended up dropping back down the rankings and having to grind through the ITF Pro Circuit and qualifying events once more. Konta quietly lost in the first qualifying round of the Australian Open.

Even as she struggled mentally and failed to achieve her lofty goals, Konta always worked with the belief that she could be more. That year she decided to base herself in Gijon, Spain, with her coaches, Esteban Carril and José Manuel García, and she worked diligently with the mental coach Juan Coto, who left a strong mark on her career before his tragic death in 2016.

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December 1st 2021, 9:22 pm

Brilliance of Mohamed Salah sweeps Liverpool past Everton in derby

Sport | The Guardian

It was everything Everton had feared and Liverpool desired on their return to the stadium where the fault-lines first appeared in the title defence last season. Jürgen Klopp instructed his players to be “really aggressive in a football way”, not obsessed with revenge, and their vast superiority shone through an emphatic defeat of Rafael Benítez’s sorry side.

Liverpool outclassed their local rivals in every department. The outstanding quality of the goals from Jordan Henderson, Mohamed Salah, twice, and Diogo Jota were in keeping with the overall performance, and extended Liverpool’s record of scoring twice or more to an 18th game in succession.

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December 1st 2021, 9:22 pm

Neal Maupay stunner gives Brighton just rewards and frustrates West Ham

Sport | The Guardian

The supporters who booed Brighton after their stalemate with Leeds would do well to watch this game back to gain a greater appreciation of Graham Potter, whose talented side stayed true to their beliefs before rescuing themselves in style, Neal Maupay’s spectacular overhead kick denying West Ham victory at the death.

Perhaps it had to be this way. Brighton have not won in nine league games, let in a dreadful goal from a set piece and their finishing was comical at times, but they remain one of the most watchable teams in the division. They will not change their approach for anyone and, for all their maddening tendencies in front of goal, it would have been a travesty if they had left east London with nothing after making West Ham look like anything but Champions League hopefuls.

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December 1st 2021, 9:22 pm

F1 under pressure to speak out against Saudi human right abuses

Sport | The Guardian

Human rights organisations have demanded Formula One act to mitigate human rights abuse in Saudi Arabia as the sport prepares to race there for the first time this weekend. F1 is accused of being complicit in sportswashing for the regime and has been presented with a large amount of criticism of the state, much of which appears to be in direct contradiction to F1’s commitment to equality and diversity.

On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch and the Reprieve group both wrote separately to F1 outlining their concerns. Amnesty International were unequivocal in their criticism and the Codepink group has sent a letter to world champion Lewis Hamilton, signed by 41 organisations, requesting he speak to Saudi leaders to highlight human rights issues.

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December 1st 2021, 2:04 pm

Rare Nepomniachtchi error allows Carlsen to escape with another draw

Sport | The Guardian

Norway’s Magnus Carlsen and Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi are no closer to a verdict in their €2m world championship match after playing to a fifth successive draw on Wednesday at the Dubai Exposition Centre.

Supercomputers evaluating the moves from the opening four games had indicated it was the most accurate world title match ever played in the event’s history and this fifth contest maintained that standard as the players remarkably combined for one inaccuracy between them. Regrettably for the 31-year-old challenger, the lapse was the opportunity Carlsen needed to escape from a highly uncomfortable position as black and negotiate a draw after 43 moves.

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December 1st 2021, 2:04 pm

Watford v Chelsea, Aston Villa v Man City: Premier League clockwatch - live!

Sport | The Guardian

Premier League match report: Raphina scored from the penalty spot deep in second half stoppage time to pull Leeds United away from the drop zone.

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December 1st 2021, 1:34 pm

Salary cap scandal still motivates Exeter against Saracens, says Rob Baxter

Sport | The Guardian

Exeter’s Rob Baxter says he wants his players to use any lingering bitterness over the Saracens salary cap saga as extra motivational fuel when the two fierce Premiership rivals meet at Sandy Park for the first time in almost two years this Saturday.

The Chiefs’ director of rugby, who is hoping to welcome back a trio of fit-again international forwards in Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jonny Hill and Scotland’s Jonny Gray, was among those upset by Saracens’s behaviour prior to their demotion to the Championship and suggested that, in certain cases, resentment might still be smouldering.

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December 1st 2021, 1:21 pm

Facundo Pellistri: ‘I wrote to Ole. He gave me the chance to play for United’

Sport | The Guardian

Manchester United winger on loan at Alavés discusses putting the wrong signature on a contract, his debt to Solskjær and future aims

Announce Pellistri. The transfer window was into added time, the clock was ticking and they were getting nervous, watching the seconds slip away and hitting f5 over and over. They were at Facundo Pellistri’s place, anyway. It was after midnight, deadline day October 2020, and Manchester United had said one more signing was coming, keeping supporters – and him – on edge. An extension had been requested but even that was running out. All because he wrote his name wrong.

“I had sent off the paperwork, ‘done’,” Pellistri recalls, sitting in the canteen at Deportivo Alavés, where he is on loan, teammates eating at another table. “But they came back: ‘No, no, the signatures don’t match.’ I had signed the contract with my signature but they said it had to be the same as my national ID card – and I’d had that since I was 10. I had to re-do it: scan everything again, print it off, sign it with a kid’s signature – write my name neatly, basically – and send it back.

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December 1st 2021, 10:51 am

‘I got to live my dreams’: Johanna Konta announces retirement from tennis

Sport | The Guardian

Former British No 1 Johanna Konta has announced her immediate retirement from professional tennis.

Konta, 30, is the most successful British women’s player of the past two decades, having reached a career high ranking of No 4 in 2017, three grand slam semi-finals and she won the prestigious Miami Open in 2017. Earlier this year, she won her fourth career WTA title in Nottingham.

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December 1st 2021, 8:20 am

BBC expects Michael Vaughan to return to cricket coverage after the Ashes

Sport | The Guardian

Michael Vaughan will be welcomed back to the BBC after the Ashes series following positive talks with the former England captain in recent days.

Vaughan’s future with the corporation had appeared in serious doubt after it repeatedly postponed the Five Live show Tuffers and Vaughan show amid an investigation into accusations he made racially-insensitive remarks while playing for Yorkshire 12 years ago.

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December 1st 2021, 8:20 am

How to tackle misogyny in football – Football Weekly Special

Sport | The Guardian

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Ally Simcock, Suzanne Wrack and listener Sarah to discuss the experiences of women at football matches

Rate, review, share on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast and Stitcher, and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Ally Simcock, Suzanne Wrack and listener Sarah to discuss the experiences of women at football matches.

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December 1st 2021, 8:20 am

How Pearl Harbor stopped the birth of the LA Browns and changed baseball history

Sport | The Guardian

It took a long time for the West Coast to host a Major League Baseball team. And the wait was increased by the events of the second world war

Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor 80 years ago not only ensured the United States’ entry into the second world war. It inadvertently but categorically changed baseball history.

One day after the attack, Major League Baseball’s owners were expected to approve the move of the American League’s St Louis Browns to Los Angeles for 1942 – 16 years before Walter O’Malley’s former Brooklyn Dodgers played their first season on the West Coast. The Browns felt so confident that they even scheduled a press conference in Los Angeles to announce the move on the afternoon of Monday 8 December 1941.

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December 1st 2021, 8:20 am

Magnus Carlsen v Ian Nepomniachtchi: World Chess Championship Game 5 – live!

Sport | The Guardian

Carlsen plays 15. ... Bd6 and Nepomniachtchi spends nearly six minutes before responding with 16. Qc2. The Russian challenger’s longest think of the game so far by some distance after blitzing out his opening moves. Carlsen then spends eight minutes before the prophylactic 16. ... h6. Nepomniachtchi, who appears to still be in his prep, immediately answers with 17. Nf1. Carlsen continues to take a lot more time with somewhat uneasy body language.

Carlsen plays 13. ... d5, which appears to be the first new move of the game. Nepomniachtchi responds quickly with 14. Nbd2 followed by an exchange of e-pawns (14. ... dxe4 15. dxe4). The challenger, who’s yet to spend more than a half-minute on any of his moves, is already more than 20 minutes ahead on the clock.

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December 1st 2021, 8:20 am

Ten signings Premier League clubs should target in January

Sport | The Guardian

Aston Villa, Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal may be dipping into the market in the new year

By Ben McAleer for WhoScored

Another game, another goal for Dusan Vlahovic. The Serb scored his 12th of the season in Fiorentina’s 3-1 win over Sampdoria on Tuesday night to open up a two-goal lead between himself and Ciro Immobile in the race for the Capocannoniere. Whether Vlahovic will still be in Italy when the award is given out is another matter. He is a wanted man in England and for good reason. Arsenal and Tottenham are apparently interested in the 21-year-old, with Spurs reportedly making him their top January target as the long-term successor for Harry Kane. Vlahovic will not come cheap but, with just 18 months to run on his contract and a reluctance to put pen to paper on a new deal, Fiorentina’s stance on their prized asset may soften in the new year, particularly if they can sign a replacement early in the window.

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December 1st 2021, 8:20 am

Leeds chief executive likens call for transfer levy and regulator to Maoism

Sport | The Guardian

The Leeds United chief executive, Angus Kinnear, has compared calls for an independent regulator in English football and a transfer levy on Premier League clubs to Maoism and the Great Chinese Famine.

They were two of 47 recommendations made by a fan-led review of football governance announced last week. Kinnear supports much of what was included in the review but took exception with two key issues which he said were “as flawed as they are radical”.

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December 1st 2021, 6:21 am

Ben Stokes ‘fit and hungry’ for England return in Australia Ashes showdown

Sport | The Guardian

Ben Stokes has declared himself “fit and hungry for a big series” ahead of next week’s first Ashes Test.

The all-rounder was not named in the original England squad for the forthcoming series having taken an indefinite break to focus on his mental health and recovery from a fractured finger, but was subsequently added to the group in October.

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December 1st 2021, 6:21 am

Jack Leach says joke may be on Australia after wet buildup to Ashes | Ali Martin

Sport | The Guardian

The torrential rain in Queensland in the runup could result in two ring-rusty teams facing off in first Test at the Gabba

It wouldn’t be an Ashes tour without England players getting chirped by the locals but the latest example left Jack Leach wondering whether the joke might be on Australia.

“I was having some food the other day in Brisbane with Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad and some guy came over afterwards and started saying: ‘Hey guys, I just want to wish you the worst of luck at the Gabba.’ So that was quite funny,” Leach recalls.

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December 1st 2021, 6:21 am

Lethal, humble, wise: the making of England record-breaker Ellen White | Suzanne Wrack

Sport | The Guardian

Striker has become England Women’s all-time leading scorer after adjusting her game and learning to be one step ahead

“I’d have said: ‘You’re having a laugh,’” said Ellen White, when asked whether she could have imagined, as a schoolgirl, becoming England’s record women’s goalscorer.

Speaking after her hat-trick in England’s 20-0 drubbing of Latvia had taken her two clear of the record 46 goals by the legendary former Arsenal striker Kelly Smith, White was relieved. “We move on and don’t mention it again,” she said with a laugh, desperate for the spotlight to be diverted away from her.

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December 1st 2021, 6:21 am

We needed Vaughan to talk about racism years ago, not when he is in the crosshairs | Jonathan Liew

Sport | The Guardian

Every day of silence on Azeem Rafiq’s experience was a missed chance to tackle a problem that has blighted English cricket

On Saturday morning the BBC broadcast an interview with the former England captain Michael Vaughan about accusations of racism, that he has repeatedly denied, made against him by his former teammate Azeem Rafiq. If it was a deeply uncomfortable experience for Vaughan, who has been dropped from the Test Match Special team covering the forthcoming Ashes, then he was at least optimistic. “How we move on from this situation is the key,” Vaughan argued with regards to the Yorkshire scandal exposed by Rafiq. “I firmly believe that it’s education, honest conversations, people admitting that things may have been said and sticking their hands up.”

On the most serious accusation against him – that he told four Asian players including Rafiq in 2009 that there were “too many of you lot” – Vaughan was not sticking his hand up. Rafiq’s version of events has been supported by two of the other players, Adil Rashid and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan; Ajmal Shahzad says he did not hear it and praised the backing he had from senior Yorkshire players at the time. Vaughan reiterated that he had no memory of making the comment. He rejected Rafiq’s suggestion that he may have forgotten he said it because he did not fully grasp its overtones. Still, he told interviewer Dan Walker, he wanted to apologise to Rafiq. “I’m sorry for the hurt that he’s gone through.”

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December 1st 2021, 4:21 am

Raphinha holds nerve and grabs vital win for Leeds against Crystal Palace

Sport | The Guardian

No one inside Elland Road could overstate just how important one swing of Raphinha’s left boot could prove to be in the context of Leeds United’s season. Make no mistake about it, there had been plenty for Marcelo Bielsa to be impressed with prior to the stoppage-time winner from the Brazilian which pulled his side further away from the wrong end of the Premier League table.

But it is goals, not encouraging performances, which are ultimately the difference between success and failure at this level, something Leeds fans can painstakingly attest to having watched their side in recent weeks. Without the goal threat Patrick Bamford provided last campaign, Leeds have laboured in front of goal, and this looked set to be another all-too-familiar chapter in their season in front of a cacophonous home crowd.

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November 30th 2021, 7:05 pm

Norwich’s Teemu Pukki denies 10-man Newcastle first win with powerful strike

Sport | The Guardian

It might all have been so very different had Ciaran Clark not self-destructed but that will be no consolation to Eddie Howe.

Clark’s idiotic ninth minute sending off left Newcastle down to 10 men and in the sort of trouble even Callum Wilson’s second-half penalty could not quite camouflage. Despite a rather wonderful display of defiance from the home side, Teemu Pukki’s stupendous volleyed equaliser for Norwich ensured Howe’s technical area debut at St James’ Park was all about the words “if” and “only.”

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November 30th 2021, 7:05 pm

Britain’s Davis Cup hopes dashed by Germany in doubles defeat

Sport | The Guardian

Great Britain’s Davis Cup team arrived in Innsbruck filled with lofty hopes about their prospects in the competition and during their time there they registered two solid wins, but their tournament ended on Tuesday evening with a bitter 2-1 defeat to Germany as they were unable to take advantage of the countless opportunities they generated.

A turbulent day began with the high of Dan Evans bouncing back after a tough singles loss on Sunday to play a consistent, disciplined match as he defeated Peter Gojowczyk 6-2, 6-1. In the singles rubber between the No 1s, Cameron Norrie was edged out 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-2 by a resolute Jan-Lennard Struff.

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November 30th 2021, 7:05 pm

Ellen White breaks record as merciless England thrash Latvia 20-0

Sport | The Guardian

It was inevitable but Ellen White couldn’t quite believe it, arms outstretched, fists pumping, face etched with joy. It had taken a spell of just three minutes for her to match then surpass the all-time England goalscoring record of 46 set by Lionesses legend Kelly Smith.

So overcome with the emotion of the occasion the Manchester City forward, making her 101st appearance, almost forgot her trademark goggle celebration, as she skidded onto her back to be engulfed by her jubilant teammates just nine minutes into England’s romping 20-0 defeat of Latvia – surpassing their record 13-0 defeat of Hungary in 2005 – in their World Cup qualifying game in Doncaster.

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November 30th 2021, 4:51 pm

Magnus Carlsen plays out 33-move draw with Ian Nepomniachtchi in game four

Sport | The Guardian

Norway’s Magnus Carlsen and Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi played to a fourth draw in as many games on Tuesday in the latest instalment of their €2m world championship showdown in Dubai, which left the best-of-14 match in a 2-2 deadlock with 10 contests remaining.

The peaceful result after 2hr 37min was the shortest of the encounter so far, where no blood has yet been drawn but which supercomputers evaluating the moves have indicated is the most accurate world title match ever played in the event’s history.

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November 30th 2021, 4:51 pm

Robbie Dunne admits to acting in ‘violent manner’ towards Bryony Frost

Sport | The Guardian

The National Hunt jockey Robbie Dunne targeted his fellow rider Bryony Frost in a campaign of bullying and harassment which included “foul, sexually abusive and misogynistic language”, threats to “cause her serious physical harm … by injuring her at the races” and riding with undue aggression during races in 2020, the British Horseracing Authority’s independent disciplinary panel heard on Tuesday.

Dunne admitted a single breach of the Rules of Racing in his conduct towards Frost as a disciplinary hearing into the case opened on Tuesday in London, conceding that he had acted “in a violent or improper manner” towards Frost after a race at Southwell in September 2020, in which his mount, Cillian’s Well, suffered a fatal injury.

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November 30th 2021, 4:51 pm

Newcastle v Norwich: Premier League – live!

Sport | The Guardian

2 min: There’s bedlam a-plenty in St James’ Park. A rare old atmosphere as Eddie Howe takes to the home dugout for the first time. What a noise! “I suppose it’s fitting that Howe is speaking to Amazon, because it’s time for him to deliver,” quips Peter Oh, never one to miss an open goal.

The glorious theme to Local Hero belts out of the PA, then the whistle goes. Norwich kick off, but only after everyone takes the knee. The gesture is met with applause. There’s no room for racism.

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November 30th 2021, 2:35 pm

Qatar’s BeIN Sports accused of stoking homophobia after pundit’s outburst

Sport | The Guardian

Kick It Out has accused beIN Sports of amplifying homophobia and questioned whether members of the LGBTQ+ community should travel to Qatar for the World Cup after a former Egypt footballer said homosexuality was “against human nature” during a punditry appearance for the Qatari broadcaster.

Mohamed Aboutrika, one of the station’s best-known pundits, sparked fury after urging Muslim players to boycott the Premier League’s Rainbow Laces campaign, which is designed to support the LGBTQ+ community, and saying that homosexuality is not “compatible” with Islam. The 43-year-old added that Muslim people “have a role to play” in eliminating homosexuality and described it as a “dangerous ideology that is becoming nasty”.

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November 30th 2021, 2:35 pm

‘More difficult than I thought’: Jack Grealish admits Manchester City toils

Sport | The Guardian

Pep Guardiola has said it will be a problem if Jack Grealish’s best is not shown this season, with the forward having admitted he is struggling to adapt to Manchester City after his £100m move.

Grealish joined in the summer from Aston Villa and has scored twice and made three assists in 15 appearances. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph Grealish said: “I’ve found it a lot more difficult than I thought I would, adapting to a different manager and teammates. At first I thought I’d have more of the ball, get more assists and goals but it doesn’t work like that at all. I’ve had nowhere near as much of the ball as I used to get at Villa.”

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November 30th 2021, 2:35 pm

England v Latvia: Women’s World Cup qualifier – live!

Sport | The Guardian

Lauren Hemp produces a good cutback from the byline on the left. The Latvia defence is disorganised, already, and Mead is unmarked, six yards from goal. She sidefoots in for the opener.

2 min: England begin on the front foot. Ellen White lays the ball off to Alex Greenwood, who fires a sweet first-time shot against the crossbar from just outside the area. Inches away from the opener!

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November 30th 2021, 2:35 pm

‘I’m lucky to be alive’: Tiger Woods grateful after crash and targeting Open

Sport | The Guardian

Tiger Woods understandably values nine lives more highly than 15 major championships. Speaking at a press conference for the first time since the February car crash that left him wheelchair bound and fearing he may have to have a leg amputated, the golfer laid bare the scale of his worst fears.

“I’m lucky to be alive but also still have the limb,” said Woods. “Those are two crucial things. I’m very grateful that someone upstairs was taking care of me, that I’m able to not only be here but also to walk without a prosthesis.”

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November 30th 2021, 2:35 pm

Concerns for Cardiff players in South Africa after reports of panic attacks

Sport | The Guardian

Concerns are growing for the wellbeing of Cardiff players and officials stuck in South Africa amid reports some squad members are experiencing panic attacks as they wait to discover when they can fly home and commence their mandatory 10-day isolation before next week’s scheduled opening European home game against Toulouse.

Two members of the Cardiff party have already tested positive for Covid, with one case suspected to be the Omicron variant, and plans to fly the rest of the squad home are still dependent on the latest round of testing results. Cardiff were due to depart Cape Town on Sunday but are now under strict lockdown and unable to leave their hotel rooms.

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November 30th 2021, 2:35 pm

Adam Peaty leads athletes’ call to MPs for more grassroots funding

Sport | The Guardian

Adam Peaty, the British Olympic gold medal swimmer, has said he believes there is “not enough funding, not at all, and not in any sport” and called on government to do more to support grassroots activity in the UK.

Addressing MPs at a session of the digital, culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday, Peaty joined the Paralympians Lauren Rowles and Ellie Robinson in speaking bluntly about stresses across every level of sport, and the consequences for individuals and society that result.

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November 30th 2021, 12:35 pm

Ralf Rangnick work visa problems delay debut as Manchester United manager

Sport | The Guardian

Michael Carrick will remain in charge of Manchester United for the Premier League match at home against Arsenal on Thursday because the club have not received the requisite paperwork for Ralf Rangnick.

The German has been appointed as interim manager until the end of the season but has not yet been granted a work visa. A United statement said: “While the club follows the regulatory process around a work visa, Carrick will continue at the helm.”

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November 30th 2021, 12:35 pm

Ray Kennedy, former Arsenal, Liverpool and England player, dies aged 70

Sport | The Guardian

The former Arsenal, Liverpool and England player Ray Kennedy has died aged 70. Kennedy won league titles at both clubs, three European Cups with Liverpool and 17 caps in an England career that lasted from 1976-80.

Kennedy played almost 600 club games in a distinguished career during which he won every major domestic honour and which ended with spells at Swansea and Hartlepool, a period as player-manager of the Cypriot club Pezoporikos and a stint with Ashington. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984.

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November 30th 2021, 12:35 pm

‘Unbelievably excited’: Lydia Bedford appointed as Leicester Women manager

Sport | The Guardian

Lydia Bedford has said she is “unbelievably excited” after being announced as the new manager of Leicester City’s women’s team. She will step into the vacancy left by Jonathan Morgan, who was sacked last Thursday after failing to win a single point from the promoted side’s first eight games of the Women’s Super League season.

Bedford, who will take over on Monday after leaving her head coach role with England Women’s youth team, will be joined at the club by Brent Hills, a former head of women’s elite development at the Football Association. Her contract will run to the end of the current season. The former Leicester and England men’s striker, Emile Heskey, had taken temporary charge but will revert to his role as the club’s head of women’s football development following Sunday’s League Cup game at Manchester United.

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November 30th 2021, 10:35 am

Guardian wins FSA newspaper of the year award for eighth time

Sport | The Guardian

The Guardian has been named newspaper of the year at the Football Supporters’ Association awards – winning the award for the eighth time.

The award was one of three big prizes for the Guardian, with the Football Weekly podcast winning podcast of the year and Jonathan Wilson picking up the writer of the year prize for the third time.

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November 30th 2021, 9:21 am

Olympic official rejects Peng Shuai video call criticism as ‘silly’

Sport | The Guardian

Dick Pound defends IOC saying it was able to reach missing Chinese tennis star while others could not

A senior Olympic official has defended his organisation’s efforts to confirm the safety of Peng Shuai, dismissing criticism as “silly” and saying no one else had been able to get in touch with the tennis star who went missing after publishing allegations of sexual assault.

Dick Pound, who has held a variety of posts with the IOC over 45 years and is the chairman of Olympic Broadcasting Services, rejected criticism of the IOC for giving minimal information after its president, Thomas Bach, spoke with Peng via video link last week. Some had accused the IOC of seeking to not anger Beijing and prioritising the commercial relationship over the safety of athletes. China is due to host the Winter Olympics in February.

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November 30th 2021, 9:21 am

Alexia Putellas: majestic midfielder the pick of Barça’s dominant pack

Sport | The Guardian

No one is disputing award of the Ballon d’Or to a player who picks improbable passes and finds space where there is none

It is rare that the women’s football community is united when awards season rocks around but no one could argue there was a more worthy winner of the Ballon d’Or than Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas.

Social media was awash with debate over the order of the players placed second to 10th: should the Arsenal forward Vivienne Miedema be as low as fourth; why was Chelsea’s Fran Kirby down in 10th? But no one remembers who didn’t get their hands on the mounted, golden football. Only 22 points separated third and 10th, with the top 10 amassing 544 points. Putellas collected a staggering, but unsurprising, 186 and her clubmate Jenni Hermoso finished second on 84.

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November 30th 2021, 9:21 am

Have Eddie Jones’s forthright leadership lessons come too soon? | The Breakdown

Sport | The Guardian

England head coach’s latest book will ruffle more feathers, both in terms of its timing and his views on ‘entitled’ young players

Imagine, for a moment, the England football manager, Gareth Southgate, has just published a book about leadership. And within its pages has revealed that players in England are victims of “the disease of entitlement” and that a high-profile squad member has been sent away for acting lessons because he is too “inward looking” and unlikely to become the national captain.

Then imagine him really picking up the pace: how the media “love to hate” England, how he prefers to work with assistant coaches he doesn’t necessarily like, how a named young international lacks discipline and how he himself needs two steam baths on a matchday to enable him to calm down and think clearly. All this, crucially, while still being paid to do the top job and with a career-shaping World Cup around the corner. Let’s just say the feedback might be lively.

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November 30th 2021, 9:21 am

Ashes will be won by team that best ‘deals with the distractions’, says Buttler

Sport | The Guardian

Jos Buttler has said the team which best deals with the distractions around the Ashes will win the series as he arrived in England’s camp in Brisbane before the opening Test. The wicketkeeper joined his teammates on Tuesday following a period of quarantine on the Gold Coast after the T20 World Cup, with no play expected on day one of the side’s second planned warm-up match against England Lions due to consistent rain in Queensland.

Buttler was direct when asked about the difficulties in preparation for both an Australia side recovering from the shock resignation of former captain Tim Paine and his team’s recent lack of time on the field. “Around the Ashes, there’s always certain things go on and the guys that can deal with the distractions an Ashes series throws up … is the team that’s going to play best,” the 31-year-old told reporters in an interview from England’s hotel.

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November 30th 2021, 9:21 am

Three forgotten men and the birth of Iraq’s national football team | Hassanin Mubarak

Sport | The Guardian

Tale of how sons of a former British army officer and Orthodox priest helped to shape the side is told in this book extract

In 2001, exactly 50 years after the Iraqi national team was formed, I made a discovery. I was reading a comment on the old sports forum about a player named Saeed Easho. It was the start to unearthing the story of Iraq’s first national team.

Many years later I contacted the ex-footballer, and through him it seemed as if everything fell into place. He had spent the best part of 60 years living outside Iraq so no one knew what had happened to the centre-half of Iraq’s first national side.

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November 30th 2021, 7:34 am

The Spin | Enticing cricket toss proposal could give each side of the coin equal weight

Sport | The Guardian

A intriguing suggestion would allow the captain who loses the toss to attach a run handicap to the more favourable option

Haris Aziz is not a man to let a problem pass him by. Born in Pakistan, he did a Bsc at Lahore University of management sciences, an MSc in maths at Oxford, a PhD at Warwick and is now an associate professor at the University of New South Wales. There he specialises in computational social choice and algorithmic game theory. So far, so on a higher plane.

He also loves cricket. So when, during the recent men’s T20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman, the toss became increasingly problematic and the advantage of winning it and fielding first, when a very heavy dew fell at dusk, became more and more obvious – especially in Dubai where 12 out of 13 games were won by the chasing team – Aziz applied his considerable brainpower. How to, in his words, “ensure that the toss continues to be meaningful but doesn’t have an unfair effect on the outcome of the match”.

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November 30th 2021, 7:34 am

David Squires on … Ralf Rangnick, Ronaldo and the pressing question

Sport | The Guardian

Our cartoonist on the new interim manager at Manchester United, gegenpressing and Sean Dyche in the snow

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November 30th 2021, 7:03 am

Male survivors unite to expose sexual abuse at college football’s biggest rivals

Sport | The Guardian

Michigan and Ohio State just played before 100,000 fans but a more important battle is being fought off the field

Fans of famed rivals Ohio State University and the University of Michigan often boast of how little they have in common. But two of America’s biggest college sports programs are bonded by one issue: a history of sexual abuse perpetuated by team doctors.

On Saturday OSU and Michigan battled in front of 110,000 fans on the football field – an occasion so momentous it’s known simply as The Game. But elsewhere on the Michigan campus former athletes from both universities gathered in front of Michigan president Mark Schlissel’s house to shine a light on the sexual abuse they endured during their time at the colleges. The protest was spearheaded by Jon Vaughn, a former running back for Michigan, who went on to play four years in the NFL. Now, despite the longstanding rivalry between the universities, the men have formed a survivor solidarity group.

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November 30th 2021, 7:03 am

Magnus Carlsen v Ian Nepomniachtchi: World Chess Championship Game 4 – live!

Sport | The Guardian

Hello and welcome back for the fourth game of the World Chess Championship. We’re back following Monday’s rest day after draws in Game 1, Game 2 and Game 3 that were notable for longtime champion Magnus Carlsen making early pawn sacrifices in exchange for long-term initiative. In each of those contests, Ian Nepomniachtchi’s opening material advantages ultimately didn’t hold up and he was forced to rely on accurate endgame play to emerge with a result.

For those of you just coming aboard, Carlsen, who celebrates his 31st birthday today, has been at No 1 in the Fide rankings for 10 straight years and was considered the world’s best player even before he dethroned Viswanathan Anand for the title in 2013. Nepomniachtchi, 31, is ranked No 5, having earned his place at the table by winning the eight-man candidates tournament in April with a round to spare. It’s the culmination of a rivalry that started nearly two decades ago when they first met across the board as boys at the 2002 European Under-12 Championship in Peniscola, Spain. Notably, Nepomniachtchi enters the title tilt with a winning lifetime record against Carlsen in classical matches (four won, one lost and eight drawn). That makes him unique among today’s top players, even if two of those victories came in youth championships.

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November 30th 2021, 7:03 am

Washington hold off Wilson and Seahawks for third win in a row

Sport | The Guardian

Ron Rivera was left adrift without a kicker and felt like he had to go for it in every situation.

The final roll of the dice by ‘Riverboat Ron’ on fourth and goal opened the door for some heroics by Russell Wilson, but Kendall Fuller’s interception on Seattle’s two-point conversion attempt allowed Washington to hold on and beat the Seahawks 17-15 Monday night for the team’s third consecutive victory.

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November 30th 2021, 6:50 am

Perth Ashes Test remains in balance as quarantine exemptions are ruled out

Sport | The Guardian

Perth’s hopes of hosting the fifth Ashes Test have taken another big hit after WA premier Mark McGowan reiterated his hardline stance on quarantine rules and banned players’ families for the trip west.

The 60,000-seat Optus Stadium is slated to host the Ashes finale from 14 January. Earlier this month, McGowan said he was “very confident” the Test match would go ahead, despite it coming just five days after the conclusion of the SCG Test.

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November 30th 2021, 4:48 am

John Sillett, FA Cup-winning manager with Coventry, dies aged 85

Sport | The Guardian

John Sillett has died at the age of 85, his family have announced. Sillett managed Coventry between 1986 and 1990 and led the club to FA Cup glory in 1987 when Tottenham were beaten 3-2 in a memorable Wembley final.

A statement from the Sillett family read: “Obviously the family are really saddened by Dad’s passing but we are all so proud of him and what he achieved … His ability to spot things tactically, change them during a game and enhance the abilities of players was top class, the respect he had from top people in the game and the kind words we have already received already underline the high regard in which he was held by the football world.

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November 30th 2021, 4:48 am

Lionel Messi is well past his best but this seventh Ballon d’Or feels right | Jonathan Wilson

Sport | The Guardian

Prize was not earned in domestic competition or Champions League but in his spectacular Copa América domination

And so it was Lionel Messi again, for the seventh time and, barring the most extraordinary of all career finales at the World Cup in Qatar, surely the last. Whatever the idiosyncrasies of the Ballon d’Or, Messi’s excellence has been both absurdly consistent and absurdly resilient, and those seven titles since 2009 are some reflection of that.

To achieve that level of sustained success at any time would be spectacular; to do so in the age of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won five Ballons d’Or since 2008, is extraordinary. Nobody else in history has won more than three – although there is a pleasing symmetry in the fact that when France Football reevaluated those years before the award was opened up to non-Europeans, Pelé also won seven in 13 years.

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November 30th 2021, 4:17 am

Australia v USA: international women’s football friendly – live!

Sport | The Guardian

The tireless Hayley Raso starts tonight, as she completes her return from injury in a Matildas shirt.

“I’m only just coming back in so it’s been a little bit of a rusty start finding my feet,” she told my colleague Emma Kemp. “But I’ve done that now.”

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November 30th 2021, 4:06 am

‘The beauty of Test cricket’: New Zealand rearguard snatch thrilling draw in India

Sport | The Guardian

Debutant Rachin Ravindra and No 11 batter Ajaz Patel combined in a stunning rearguard to secure New Zealand’s thrilling draw in the opening Test against India.

Chasing 284 for victory on a final day surface, New Zealand were in tatters at 155-9 with at least eight overs to go and the light steadily fading at Kanpur’s Green Park Stadium.

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November 29th 2021, 7:28 pm

Tiger Woods feared losing leg but aims for part-time return to PGA Tour

Sport | The Guardian

Tiger Woods has admitted he will probably never make a full-time return to professional golf and feared his leg would be amputated following a car crash earlier this year.

The 15-time major champion suffered serious leg injuries in the February crash in California. In an interview with Golf Digest on Monday, he said any return to the sport will be limited.

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November 29th 2021, 5:43 pm

Alexia Putellas and Lionel Messi named 2021 Ballon d’Or winners

Sport | The Guardian

Alexia Putellas and Lionel Messi have been crowned winners of the 2021 Ballon d’Or during a glittering ceremony in Paris.

Putellas, who was an integral part of Barcelona’s treble-winning side with 18 goals and 12 assists in the Primera División, scored in the 4-0 Champions League final victory against the WSL champions Chelsea and was named in the tournament’s squad of the season.

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November 29th 2021, 5:43 pm

Rugby and football scramble to come to terms with threat of Omicron variant

Sport | The Guardian

Postponement is not an option for the European Champions Cup as rugby union finds itself on the frontline in dealing with the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Organisers of club rugby’s elite northern hemisphere tournament are to insist teams do all they can to stage fixtures, when the Champions Cup group stage begins in 10 days’ time. This could include listing academy scholars in matchday squads if positive Covid tests and quarantine measures limit player availability.

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November 29th 2021, 5:43 pm

Ralf Rangnick against the Manchester United machine: is it a masterstroke? | Barney Ronay

Sport | The Guardian

This mouthwatering prospect is arguably the most radical managerial appointment the Premier League has seen

Day one. Ralf has entered the chat. There will be a note of relief about the news, announced on Monday morning via a club release, that Manchester United have formally appointed their latest interim manager, follow-up to the previous interim-to-permanent, who was in turn replaced by the previous interim, who has been replaced now by the current interim.

First things first. Ralf Rangnick is a great “get” for United’s executive tier. The annual Premier League sacking season is not soundtracked by gruff-voiced middlemen pinging the phones of Premier League CEOs saying things like: “Ralf is very, repeat very, interested.” Rangnick is above all an ideologue. He has to like, and believe in, the thing you’re offering.

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November 29th 2021, 5:43 pm

Max Scherzer set for New York Mets in MLB record $43m-a-year contract

Sport | The Guardian

Eight-time All-Star Max Scherzer is nearing a $130m, three-year contract with the New York Mets, according to multiple reports.

The $43.33m average salary would easily set a baseball record, smashing the $36m Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole in averaging in his $324m, nine-year contract.

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November 29th 2021, 2:10 pm

Big names risk wrath of home circuits by committing to play Saudi Invitational

Sport | The Guardian

Twenty-five of the biggest names in golf have committed to play the 2022 Saudi Invitational, potentially placing them on a collision course with their home circuits. The defending champion Dustin Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Bryson DeChambeau are among the players scheduled to compete in the £3.7m event on 3-6 February.

The PGA Tour said in July that it would not grant players the required releases to play in “unsanctioned events”, with the DP World Tour – which signed a strategic alliance with the PGA Tour a year ago – expected to follow suit. That could lead to players being fined or even suspended if they opt to play at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in Jeddah or in other Asian Tour events.

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November 29th 2021, 1:58 pm

Great Britain can rely on their doubles against Germany in Davis Cup

Sport | The Guardian

Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski provide welcome back-up in bid to reach semi-finals

Throughout the history of the Davis Cup, one of its defining features has been the pivotal role of doubles, particularly as modern players prioritise singles on the day-to-day grind of the tour. The shortened format of the Davis Cup has made doubles more pronounced and numerous ties in the past week have been settled by the strength of each team’s duos.

This is a welcome development for Great Britain who have produced numerous capable doubles players in recent years and welcomed one of the best doubles players in the world into their fold this year. With his regular tour partner, Rajeev Ram, Joe Salisbury has thrived. He won his second major at the US Open this year, rising to No 3.

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November 29th 2021, 1:58 pm

Former England captain Ray Illingworth receiving treatment for cancer

Sport | The Guardian

The former England captain Ray Illingworth has revealed he is receiving treatment for cancer. The 89-year-old, who led England to an away Test series victory over Australia in 1970-71, is undergoing radiotherapy for oesophageal cancer.

“They are just hoping to get rid of the last bit [of the tumour] with extra double doses. I will see how these next two doses go, keep my fingers crossed and hope I have a bit of luck,” Illingworth told the Daily Telegraph.

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November 29th 2021, 1:58 pm

Lee Elder, golfer who broke colour barrier at the Masters, dies at age of 87

Sport | The Guardian

Lee Elder, the pioneering golfer who broke several of the sport’s colour barriers, has died at the age of 87.

The PGA Tour confirmed Elder’s death on Monday. The most notable moment of his career occurred in 1975 when he became the first black golfer to play at the Masters, a tournament many saw as an embodiment of the racism and privilege that was a large part of the sport in America at the time. This year his contribution to the Masters was acknowledged when he joined Jack Nicklaus and and Gary Player as an honorary starter at the tournament.

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November 29th 2021, 1:58 pm

Ballon d’Or 2021 – live updates!

Sport | The Guardian

… and that’s not all! The Kopa Trophy for the best young male player will be contested by …

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November 29th 2021, 1:58 pm

Rangnick in, Ronaldo out and a title race to savour – Football Weekly

Sport | The Guardian

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Jonathan Wilson and Jordan Jarrett-Bryan as the Premier League title race hots up in snowy grounds across the country

Rate, review, share on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast and Stitcher, and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Jonathan Wilson and Jordan Jarrett-Bryan as the Premier League title race hots up in snowy grounds across the country.

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November 29th 2021, 11:13 am

Amir Khan and Kell Brook to finally settle rivalry with 19 February fight

Sport | The Guardian

Amir Khan and Kell Brook will finally settle their long-running rivalry. After a decade of calling each other out, Khan, the former WBA and IBF light-welterweight champion, and Brook, the former IBF welterweight champion, will meet in Manchester on 19 February.

“Khan and Brook are icons of the sport in Britain and this will be an iconic encounter,” said Ben Shalom from promoter, BOXXER. “Their rivalry has simmered for years, they are still by far the best welterweights in the country and the eyes of the world will be on them when they square off in February to finally settle the question about which of them is the better man.

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November 29th 2021, 11:13 am

Premier League and EFL in secret talks to remove parachute payments

Sport | The Guardian

Secret talks between the Premier League and the EFL have been held to discuss removing the controversial parachute payments system, with alternatives set to be put to top-flight clubs for consideration.

Discussions have been ongoing throughout the Covid period about how better to organise financial redistribution. Whereas the EFL has targeted parachute payments as a major problem, the Premier League had remained defiant in support of the current system – citing the £1.5bn it transfers down the leagues over a three-year period.

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November 29th 2021, 11:13 am

BHA deny former integrity chief went on an ‘Oliver Reed-style bender’

Sport | The Guardian

The British Horseracing Authority have denied a claim by former trainer Charlie Brooks that Chris Watts, the BHA’s former head of integrity assurance, left his position after an “Oliver Reed-style bender” in Newmarket earlier this year.

In a column in Monday’s Daily Telegraph, Brooks also suggested that Watts, a former senior police officer who was the anti-corruption manager for the England and Wales Cricket Board before moving to the BHA in 2017, was involved in an alcohol-fuelled incident at the British Racing School later the same day.

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November 29th 2021, 11:13 am

Katie Taylor: ‘I definitely come from a strong line of great women’

Sport | The Guardian

Ireland’s world champion boxer on her faith, her family’s hard journey and why the potential mega-fight with Amanda Serrano will be worthy of making women’s boxing history

“I love the fact that God chooses the lowly ones,” Katie Taylor says quietly in a conversation that is very different to the punishing dialogue she produces in the ring. She might be the most loved sporting personality in Ireland, and ranked the best pound-for-pound woman boxer in the world, but Taylor retains her humility.

She is in the midst of describing her maternal grandmother and how she and her family overcame impoverishment in Bray, not far from Dublin. “My granny had a tough life but she is such a fantastic woman. There’s not a bitter bone in her body. She grew up in poverty and we were the same. We wouldn’t have had a lot of money growing up. We were a very, very poor family living in the roughest area but God chose our family and did something with us. I have two brothers and one sister and we all became successful. But nobody would have looked at our family or our house and thought: ‘Success will come to them’.”

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November 29th 2021, 8:12 am

The Rams traded away tomorrow. Unfortunately today doesn’t look too hot either

Sport | The Guardian

Los Angeles bet everything on winning now. But there are issues throughout the team – and time is running out

When the Rams sent what was left of their future assets to the Broncos a month ago to acquire Von Miller, they registered in the grandest of NFL experiments: What would it look like if a team truly went all in? What if they stopped worrying about tomorrow?

The ideal outcome was clear. Miller would redefine the Rams’ defense, allowing them to create all kinds of pressure with a four-man defensive front. Pair that with Sean McVay, Matthew Stafford and an all-singing, all-dancing offense and you have a playoff-ready juggernaut.

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November 29th 2021, 8:12 am

Joe Root in touch with Azeem Rafiq but reiterates he did not witness racism

Sport | The Guardian

Joe Root says he has been in touch with Azeem Rafiq since his former teammate detailed his experiences of discrimination at Yorkshire to MPs earlier this month – but the England captain still maintains he never witnessed any racist behaviour at the club.

Rafiq admitted in front of a parliamentary select committee he was “hurt” by Root’s previous failure to recall the abuse he suffered while at Headingley. He also said he found it “strange” he couldn’t remember anything because he had been present on nights out when Gary Ballance, the former England player who Root once shared a flat with, had called him a “paki”.

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November 29th 2021, 8:12 am

‘It is not biology’: Women’s chess hindered by low numbers and sexism

Sport | The Guardian

The governing body is pushing to make the game more welcoming for women – but is change happening fast enough?

Towards the end of the Queen’s Gambit, the Netflix show that helped supercharge the new chess boom, Beth Harmon crushes a series of top male grandmasters before beating Vasily Borgov, the Russian world champion. Fiction, though, remains sharply separated from fact. As Magnus Carlsen was reminded before starting his world title defence in Dubai last week, there is not a single active woman’s player in the top 100 now that Hou Yifan of China, who is ranked 83rd, is focusing on academia. The lingering question: why?

For Carlsen, the subject was “way too complicated” to answer in a few sentences, but suggested a number of reasons, particularly cultural, were to blame. Some, though, still believe it is down to biology. As recently as 2015 Nigel Short, vice president of the world chess federation Fide, claimed that “men are hardwired to be better chess players than women, adding, “you have to gracefully accept that.”

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November 29th 2021, 7:28 am

Sir Frank Williams obituary

Sport | The Guardian

Motor racing giant and driving force behind a championship-winning Formula One team

Before the road accident that changed his life at the age of 43, Frank Williams typified the breed of fast-living, almost pathologically competitive alpha males who had graduated from the mostly amateur world of postwar British motor racing to dominate the sport at its highest level.

When Williams, who has died aged 79, lost the use of all four limbs after crashing a rental car while speeding from a circuit in southern France to a nearby airport one evening in the spring of 1986, his career as the driving force of a championship-winning Formula One team appeared to be over.

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November 29th 2021, 7:28 am

Manchester United confirm Ralf Rangnick as interim manager

Sport | The Guardian

Ralf Rangnick has been confirmed as Manchester United’s interim manager to the end of the season after a deal was struck with Lokomotiv Moscow to release the German from his contract.

Rangnick has been working since July as Lokomotiv’s head of sports and development on a three-year deal. He has agreed to take the United job on a short-term basis on the condition that he will be retained as a consultant until 2024 and will have the power to influence decisions.

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November 29th 2021, 7:28 am

Novak Djokovic likely to skip Australian Open over vaccine mandate, says father

Sport | The Guardian

Novak Djokovic is unlikely to play at the Australian Open if rules on Covid-19 vaccinations are not relaxed, the world No 1’s father, Srdjan Djokovic, said.

Organisers of the year’s first grand slam have said that all players will have to be vaccinated to take part.

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November 29th 2021, 12:43 am

Mark Selby knocked out of UK Championship by Hossein Vafaei

Sport | The Guardian

• Iranian beats world champion 6-2 after taking a five frames lead

• Judd Trump wins 6-3 against Chris Wakelin

The world No 1 Mark Selby was knocked out of the UK Championship after suffering a 6-2 defeat to Iran’s Hossein Vafaei in York on Sunday evening.

Vafaei raced into a 5-0 lead with breaks of 105, 69, 55 and 56 before an out-of-sorts Selby won the next two frames to threaten a comeback in the second-round clash.

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November 28th 2021, 8:43 pm

Michael Carrick says Ralf Rangnick had no input in dropping Ronaldo

Sport | The Guardian

Michael Carrick said after Manchester United held Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge that Ralf Rangnick had no influence on his decision to name Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench.

Rangnick is set to take over at Old Trafford on an interim basis this week, with a consultancy role to follow from June 2022, but Carrick insisted that the German had no say in his team selection against Chelsea. The caretaker opted for a counterpunching approach against the league leaders and he was quick to play down Gary Neville’s suggestion that the idea to leave Ronaldo out came from United’s incoming manager.

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November 28th 2021, 8:43 pm

Mikaela Shiffrin ties record with 46th World Cup slalom win

Sport | The Guardian

Mikaela Shiffrin marked the return of the women’s World Cup to North America by setting yet another record – and the two-time Olympic champion did it on home snow.

Shiffrin beat Petra Vlhova – her main rival – for her 46th career win in slalom. That matched a 32-year-old record for most World Cup wins in a single discipline, set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark in giant slalom.

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November 28th 2021, 5:59 pm

Cardwell makes a difference as England beat Jamaica in first netball Test

Sport | The Guardian

The challenge of international netball is having the combinations to counter whatever the rest of the world has to throw at you. England’s Roses opened their three-Test series against Jamaica with a 55-45 victory after a storming comeback.

Jess Thirlby’s side trailed 26-25 before the introduction of Eleanor Cardwell tipped the game in their favour after an uncharacteristically slow start.

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November 28th 2021, 5:59 pm

Emma Raducanu thanks ‘cool’ Lewis Hamilton for advice

Sport | The Guardian

Emma Raducanu has spoken in glowing terms about the support and positive advice she has received from Lewis Hamilton since her US Open victory as she looks to move on and continue her growth as an athlete.

“He’s just been really cool in helping me,” Raducanu said. “He said: ‘Be patient, you’ve just got to ride the wave. It’s all good. Don’t worry.’ Good reassurance. He’s a really cool guy.”

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November 28th 2021, 2:58 pm

Jorginho spot on as Chelsea fight back for point against Manchester United

Sport | The Guardian

It was a day when Manchester United defended in numbers, when they sacrificed all attacking ambition in pursuit of something, anything, to stop a rot that had claimed the manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, and sent their Premier League season into meltdown.

It was a long way from being pretty but with Ralf Rangnick looking on from afar – the manager who is set to step in until the end of the season, the interim to the current interim, Michael Carrick – the club got what they wanted.

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November 28th 2021, 2:58 pm

Passionate, single-minded Sir Frank Williams embodied spirit of racing

Sport | The Guardian

Formula One is mourning a unique and irreplaceable figure who earned his place among the all-time greats of the sport

Formula One will endure but it will surely never see the like of Sir Frank Williams again. Williams forged a racing legend, a team like no other, and did so against the odds. Single-minded, determined and on occasion ruthless, Williams bent F1 and life to his will, overcoming the greatest challenges, enjoying huge success and tragic loss, professional and personal. His death is marked by great sadness across the sport because for so many Williams embodied the very spirit of racing.

The tributes paid after Williams’ death, aged 79, on Sunday recognised with fondness and respect one of the most successful figures in F1 and one of most remarkable. The team he built from a warehouse in Didcot went on to win nine constructors’ and seven drivers’ titles. Only Ferrari have won more constructors’ titles and only Ferrari and McLaren have entered more races. Williams’ warehouse garagistas fashioned a place in the pantheon of the sport.

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November 28th 2021, 2:58 pm

Great Britain battle past Czech Republic to win place in Davis Cup quarter-finals

Sport | The Guardian

The depth of Great Britain’s Davis Cup team was tested on Sunday afternoon when they stood a set away from defeat against a fearless, young Czech Republic team punching far above its weight. However, under the burden of Davis Cup finals pressure, they found a way with a 2-1 win to finish top of their group and reach the quarter-finals.

After Dan Evans was brushed aside by the 21-year-old Tomas Machac, who secured a career-best 6-2, 7-5 victory, Cameron Norrie survived three turbulent sets to beat the 20-year-old Jiri Lehecka 6-1, 2-6, 6-1 and push the tie into a doubles rubber to decide the winner of their group.

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November 28th 2021, 1:43 pm

Brentford’s Ivan Toney hits the spot to pile misery on sorry Everton

Sport | The Guardian

Everton head into the Merseyside derby in a terrible state. No change there, but that does not ease the suffering of their supporters or do much for the prospects of Rafael Benítez as he prepares to face his old club. The Spaniard insisted prior to this game that he had the full backing of the club’s majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, but after witnessing his side lose for a fifth time in six games, he can no longer be certain.

A week after delivering an incredibly ineffective display against Manchester City, Everton showed more intent and , on a bitingly cold day in west London but ultimately they were still poor, performing once again with little identity or, frankly, quality. It is now no wins for the Merseysiders since 25 September and it is hard to see that run ending any time soon.

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November 28th 2021, 1:43 pm

Billy Vunipola returns in style as sharp Saracens beat ill-disciplined Sale

Sport | The Guardian

Billy Vunipola celebrated his comeback from injury by creating the try that broke Sale’s resistance in a 25-14 Gallagher Premiership victory for Saracens at StoneX Stadium.

Leading 13-0 against the run of play, the five-time English champions took swift advantage of the dismissal of Byron McGuigan to score through Sean Maitland in the right corner.

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November 28th 2021, 1:43 pm

Jamie Vardy double ensures losing Leicester return for Watford’s Ranieri

Sport | The Guardian

Claudio Ranieri appreciated the heartwarming welcome he received on his first managerial return to Leicester City but Jamie Vardy showed why he has never gone away as his two goals proved the difference between the sides.

The whole home crowd had taken to their feet just before kick-off to chant Ranieri’s name and applaud the manager who led their team to the Premier League title five years ago.

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November 28th 2021, 1:43 pm

Another gruelling draw as Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi battle for world title

Sport | The Guardian

Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi played to a third successive draw in the third game of their world championship showdown in Dubai as the Russian challenger weathered another atypical position before negotiating a bloodless result after 41 moves in 2hr 42min.

Nepomniachtchi, playing as white, opened with 1 e4 and the action quickly followed the same anti-Marshall branch of the Ruy Lopez opening from Friday’s first encounter. Carlsen broke from familiar territory with the rare 10 … Re8, bypassing four more popular choices from the position, marking the third time in as many games that he was first to mix things up with an unusual move.

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November 28th 2021, 1:43 pm

Manchester City beat snow and West Ham with Fernandinho goal

Sport | The Guardian

This was a muted affair in which Manchester City kept West Ham on a long lead and twice pounced expertly via Ilkay Gündogan and Fernandinho to claim the points. The strikes were flashes of high quality from the champions whose control, once they settled, will please Pep Guardiola and though Manuel Lanzini scored in the 95th minute the result was never in doubt.

Gündogan’s finish came just after the half-hour and from this juncture City were hardly troubled by David Moyes’s men until the very end. As the congested winter schedule begins there was also an economy of effort that should be welcomed by a manager whose squad was depleted for a 13th Premier League game of the campaign that ended with his team in second place.

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November 28th 2021, 1:43 pm
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