Football transfer rumours: Liverpool to snap up Thorgan Hazard?

11-12-2018 Today’s tittle-tattle is delaying the inevitableCiggie-loving Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is blowing heart-shaped smoke rings in the direction of Napoli full-back Elseid Hysaj, according to the Daily Star. Despite an initial reluctance to allow the 24-year-old Albanian to move to Stamford Bridge during the summer, reports in Italy say Napoli’s president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, has now sanctioned a deal that could see Hysaj make the switch in a transaction worth £50m to the Serie A club. In more worrying news for Sarri, Eden Hazard remains typically noncommittal about his future at Chelsea, but has said talks about a new contract with his current employers have broken down. Meanwhile in Germany, Hazard’s brother Thorgan, a midfielder with Borussia Möchengladbach, is being linked with a January move to Liverpool. Related: Jürgen Klopp urges Liverpool ‘to put right our mistake’ against Napoli Continue reading...

Indecision over Michael Cheika prompts yet more questions | Bret Harris

11-12-2018 Rugby Australia cannot afford the Wallabies issue to remain unresolved any longer. Fans are already frustrated enoughMichael Cheika and his Wallabies assistant coaches have their stay of execution, but suffering Australian rugby fans have been left hanging in the breeze with the future direction of the flagship national team still uncertain. After the Wallabies produced an abysmal 4-9 win-loss record this year – their worst performance since 1958 – it was widely accepted that Rugby Australia had to be seen to be doing something to turn the team around in time for the World Cup in Japan next year.The fate of Cheika and his assistants was meant to be decided at a RA board meeting in Sydney on Monday, but no action was taken in what amounted to a public relations disaster. Instead, RA chairman Cameron Clyne held a doorstop press conference to announce the “process” would be “wrapped up” by Christmas. Continue reading...

Why calls for athletes to compete as a homogenised group should be resisted | Sean Ingle

11-12-2018 In response to the impact of transgender athletes some advocate the sexes competing together, a move others argue would banish women from top-level sportCan you imagine sport without separate men’s and women’s categories? A world where Serena Williams never got a sniff of 23 majors – not with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in her path – and the golden British women’s hockey team of Rio 2016 never even took to the field. It sounds like a dystopian nightmare. In fact it was an idea mooted on Radio 4 last week in a Woman’s Hour discussion about whether transgender women should play women’s sports.When it was put to the psychologist Dr Beth Jones that it could lead to no woman playing for a British team again, her response was startling. “They may, they may not. That is all in the future to be determined,” she said. Told that the idea would seem a “horrifying prospect” for those who believe in the importance of female sport, Jones replied that women might also push themselves more. “There is a bit of an argument, academically, that perhaps women cap their capability psychologically because they are competing against other women,” she added. “If they feel they’re then competing against men – perhaps they would up their performance and be competing on more of that level.” Continue reading...

Jürgen Klopp urges Liverpool ‘to put right our mistake’ against Napoli

11-12-2018 • Klopp says Champions League predicament is ‘our fault’• ‘We didn’t win often enough to be through already‘Our responsibility. Our mistake. The words peppered Jürgen Klopp’s Napoli press conference, leaving no doubt that blame for Liverpool’s Champions League predicament rests on their doorstep. Opportunity for salvation resides there too. Anfield knows the script so well. “I know it will be difficult,” their manager said, “but I can not help think about it without a smile on my face.”Liverpool have backed themselves into a corner in Europe once again as a consequence of losing three away games in a group for the first time. Carlo Ancelotti, the Napoli and former Milan manager, needs no schooling on his opponents’ powers of recovery. A 1-0 win or victory by two goals at Anfield will guarantee Liverpool qualification for the knockout phase. Defeat to an Italian club that has never won in England, combined with a loss for Paris Saint-Germain at Red Star Belgrade, and the new Premier League leaders will be out of European competition completely nine months after reaching the Champions League final. Their manager sees only an opportunity to rectify a campaign of contrasts. Continue reading...

Rugby league should never forget the power of free-to-air TV

11-12-2018 If the sport wants a mainstream audience, it has to prioritise its relationship with the BBC and coverage of the England teamBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredDoes rugby league take the BBC for granted? And are the RFL flogging a dead horse with the Challenge Cup? I left Parliament mulling over those questions after seeing a fascinating presentation by three of BBC Sport’s leading figures last week.The Beeb showed 57 hours of league this year and broadcast 50 live commentaries on national radio. They account for 78% of all rugby league viewing on TV, with over seven million people watching more than 15 minutes of rugby league on BBC this year compared to two million on Sky. They are essential to the game retaining its status in the mainstream media. Continue reading...

Brook v Khan may be latest fight that gets away in boxing’s numbers game | Kevin Mitchell

11-12-2018 The two 32-year-olds are past their box-office peaks and Khan is being lined up to take on WBO title-holder Terence CrawfordThe immediate, logical reaction to Kell Brook grinding out a flat-footed points win over the Australian Michael Zerafa in Sheffield was that it would make his long-awaited showdown with Amir Khan much easier to put together.“If I was Amir Khan, I’d be straight on the phone,” Eddie Hearn said after an unimpressive 118-110, 119-109, 117-111 win that ensured Brook is the mandated challenger for Jarrett Hurd’s WBA light-middleweight title. “Kell knows that was below par. But, every time they fight, one becomes the favourite and one becomes the underdog. [Kell] knows he’s got to be a lot better than that, and he will be.” Continue reading...

Jimmy Gressier retains Euro U-23 Cross Country title but faceplants on finish line – video

11-12-2018 Jimmy Gressier successfully defended his men’s under-23 European Cross Country title in the Netherlands on Sunday, but the runner’s failed celebration are likely what will be remembered best. Continue reading...

Ban on TV betting ads during other live sports can be boost to racing | Greg Wood

11-12-2018 The new whistle-to-whistle blackout on gambling adverts excludes horse racing and should work in the sport’s favourIt is not often that bookmakers give in to pressure from anti-gambling groups without being forced to, so Thursday’s news that the biggest names in online betting will soon introduce a whistle-to-whistle ban on television advertising around sporting events is a collector’s item. Ray Winstone’s loss, many will feel, is the armchair fan’s gain.The market leaders in online gambling, including Bet365, SkyBet and Paddy Power Betfair, are all signed up to the voluntary ban, from which TV coverage of horse racing will be exempt. So, too, are the firms with big retail estates, such as Ladbrokes, Coral and William Hill, who may – perhaps – have learned a lesson from their long, bitter and ultimately futile campaign to resist pressure for a cut in stakes on fixed‑odds betting terminals. Continue reading...

Soccer and soju: The football match that kicked off Korean peace

11-12-2018 How a friendly chat on the sidelines opened the door for North and South Korea to start talking.

Stuart Lancaster insists England return has never crossed his mind

11-12-2018 • ‘I’ve never spoken to Nigel Melville,’ says Leinster coach• Lancaster’s contract in Ireland ends next yearStuart Lancaster has revealed he has not given any thought to the prospect of replacing Eddie Jones for a second spell as the England coach.Lancaster’s contract with Leinster runs out at the end of the season and, while he confirmed the province has opened talks over an extension, a place on Andy Farrell’s coaching ticket with Ireland has also been mooted. Continue reading...

NFL: Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson gets play very wrong against Minnesota Vikings

11-12-2018 Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson endures a nightmare play against the Minnesota Vikings, but did eventually recover to lead his team to a 21-7 win on Monday night.

Talking Horses: the 'quiet' horse who became a fiery Grand National hope

11-12-2018 Walk In The Mill looks a live contender for the big Aintree race after winning over the famous green fences on SaturdaySacrifices are sometimes necessary in the buildup to a really important moment in your professional life and so it is that Walk In The Mill has been put on a strict diet of hurdle races for the next two months, part of his preparation for the Grand National in early April. The eight-year-old put his name in lights by winning Saturday’s Becher Chase and looks a serious contender for the real thing, if he can be delivered there in one piece by his trainer, Robert Walford. Continue reading...

Miracle in Miami: Kenyan Drake, Amari Cooper & Patrick Mahomes in NFL plays of the week

11-12-2018 Watch the Miami Dolphins beat the New England Patriots with a last-second 'miracle' play, plus the rest of the NFL plays of the week.

Paul Sherwen obituary

11-12-2018 Cyclist, television commentator and broadcaster who became one of the defining voices of his sportPaul Sherwen, who has died of a heart attack aged 62, was a pioneering member of the group of English-speaking cyclists nicknamed the Foreign Legion, a doughty five-times Tour de France finisher and, together with Phil Liggett, half of the Channel 4 commentary pairing that brought the race into British sitting rooms daily for the first time during the late 1980s.“Phil and Paul” became the voices of the Tour de France across the English-speaking world: the voluble Liggett described the action and the more measured Sherwen detailed moves and personalities. For a generation of fans – initially in the UK, later across most of the English-speaking world – they were the defining voices of the sport. By this year, Sherwen had attended 40 tours. Continue reading...