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Sport | The Guardian



Sports news, scores, blogs and opinion on US and world sports from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice



Published: Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:40:16 GMT2016-12-08T14:40:16Z

Copyright: Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2016
 



The Golden State Warriors have improved, but so has the rest of the NBA

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:00:02 GMT2016-12-08T11:00:02Z

The Warriors have added Kevin Durant to an already stellar team, but the Spurs, Clippers and Thunder have shown that this year’s NBA is seriously competitive

You’ll read it on the internet after every time the Golden State Warriors win and sometimes after they lose: “74-8 is still in play.” It’s a joke, of course: no one seriously expects the Warriors to surpass last year’s all-time NBA regular-season record of 73-9, but it’s a joke that looks like it will have a much longer shelf life than it did after the San Antonio Spurs blew out the Warriors on opening night.

Related: NBA tanking may be traumatic but it works

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MLS Cup, Toronto FC and soccer's fight for relevance in Canada

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:00:02 GMT2016-12-08T11:00:02Z

Toronto is a soccer city, and yet Toronto FC have historically under-performed. On the eve of their first MLS final, however, they’re seeing signs of progress

After scoring five goals, eliminating their rivals Montreal Impact from the MLS playoffs, and advancing to the first MLS Cup in team history, Toronto FC got down to the important business of discussing Drake. “You’re going to join Drake and company on the town,” a member of the club’s staff – probably Jeff Bradley, the communications chief – yelled to players across a crowded locker room.

Drake, the 6 God, was not, in fact, waiting for the players. His last meaningful involvement with the club came in 2014, when he reportedly called Jermain Defoe as part of TFC’s efforts to sign the striker – an episode the club and its fans have tried to forget. But his specter pointed to the awkwardness of the occasion. Toronto, like much of Canada, has both a vibrant culture and a vibrant soccer culture; the question the MLS Cup final raises is whether those qualities can ever become one and the same.

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Giants' Nikita Whitlock says home hit with 'KKK' and 'Go back to Africa' graffiti

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:23:23 GMT2016-12-08T13:23:23Z

  • Full-back says he was victim of burglary for second time in a month
  • ‘It’s very disgusting, actually. It’s very disheartening’

New York Giants full-back Nikita Whitlock said that burglars left disturbing, racist graffiti during a break-in at his New Jersey apartment on Tuesday night.

Whitlock said the burglars took jewelry and also scrawled a swastika, “KKK” and “Go back to Africa” during the incident. “It’s about to be 2017,” Whitlock, who is from Texas, told New York’s WCBS-TV. “Oppression, violence, racism, hatred, violence, there’s no need for that.” Pictures from the apartment shown by WCBS-TV also appeared to show “Trump” written among the graffiti.

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How to build an MLS Cup champion: a Jekyll-and-Hyde blueprint

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:25:05 GMT2016-12-08T13:25:05Z

The Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC are proof that MLS title contenders must be built for both a season-long haul and the sprint to the finish

The 20th season of Major League Soccer arrives at a dramatic climax on Saturday when the Seattle Sounders face the attacking juggernaut that is Toronto FC at BMO Field. For the neutral, this should be an absorbing encounter as it features two talented, physical squads who love to go forward and exploit defensive frailties. The fact that both will take part in an MLS Cup final for the very first time suggests that the atmosphere inside the stadium will be nothing short of electric.

With all due respect to both clubs, it would be fair to say that this was not exactly the final we were all expecting. In the Eastern Conference, despite the fact that Toronto finished third in the regular season, it took a 3-2 victory against Chicago on Decision Day to snap a five-match winless run. Add to the fact that they were entering the postseason for only the second time in their history, not many believed that they could overcome their lack of experience in the play-offs.

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Metropolitan police to investigate sex abuse claims at London clubs

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:32:32 GMT2016-12-08T12:32:32Z

• Team of specialist officers to look into ‘non-recent’ crimes
• Met become 22nd force to investigate claims of sexual abuse in football

Britain’s largest police force has launched an investigation into sex abuse claims involving London football clubs.

The Metropolitan police said a team of specialist officers from its sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command would probe allegations of “non-recent” crimes – but refused to say which clubs it was investigating.

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Michael Jordan wins rights to his Chinese name in trademark battle

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:24:41 GMT2016-12-08T14:24:41Z

Qiaodan Sports Co ordered to stop using basketball star’s name in Chinese script but court rules it can still use phonetic version in English

Michael Jordan has won part of his trademark case against a China-based sportswear company, following the retired basketball star’s years-long struggle for control over the rights to his Chinese name.

In a ruling by the Chinese supreme court, Qiaodan Sports Co, based in south-eastern Fujian province, must stop using the Chinese characters for Qiaodan on its merchandise, according to a transcript of court records posted on an official website.

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IOC extends doping sanctions on Russia as Richard McLaren’s report looms

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 23:38:23 GMT2016-12-07T23:38:23Z

• Damning verdict expected after ‘fundamental attack’ on sport’s integrity
• Yelena Isinbayeva is shock choice to take over Russia’s anti-doping unit

The International Olympic Committee has extended the sanctions it imposed on Russia in the summer until further notice as the sporting world waits for the publication of a landmark report into the country’s recent doping history on Friday.

The IOC announcement was made on the same day it emerged that Yelena Isinbayeva, the Russian double Olympic pole vault champion, will take charge of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency supervisory board in a move that will cause some alarm within the global anti-doping community.

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Dele Alli breathes life into Tottenham to give them a Wembley win against CSKA

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:57:16 GMT2016-12-07T21:57:16Z

There was more at stake for Tottenham Hotspur than securing their place in the last 32 of the Europa League next February – the merits of which continue to feel dubious – and Mauricio Pochettino knew it. How else could his team selection have been explained?

The starting XI that he sent out was stronger than that which he had named in the previous Champions League tie away to Monaco, when the club’s hopes had been on the line. This time, Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen played, rather than Kieran Trippier and Kevin Wimmer – although Mousa Dembélé was rested. Christian Eriksen started and produced a man-of-the-match turn.

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Marco Reus’ goal sends Dortmund top as Real Madrid finish second

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:34:05 GMT2016-12-07T22:34:05Z

A late equaliser by the substitute Marco Reus allowed Borussia Dortmund to peg back the holders, Real Madrid, and win Group F after setting a scoring record of 21 goals in the group stage of the Champions League.

Karim Benzema scored in each half at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium to give Madrid a 2-0 lead, but the forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulled one back for the German side before Reus struck in the 88th minute. “In the end it was a happy outcome for us,” the Dortmund coach, Thomas Tuchel, said. “It was very important to stand up to Real Madrid twice. We played full of courage.”

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Jets coach Todd Bowles forgot to tell Ryan Fitzpatrick he was benched

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:16:54 GMT2016-12-07T17:16:54Z

  • Bryce Petty to take over from Fitzpatrick for remainder of the season
  • Bowles failed to inform QB and said ‘I got tied up with a few things’

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles decided to drop Ryan Fitzpatrick from his starting role after Monday night’s defeat by the Colts. Unfortunately, Bowles forget to tell his now-benched quarterback before he announced it to the media.

After the Jets’ embarrassing 41-10 loss, Bowles told reporters that Bryce Petty, who the team took in the fourth round of the 2015 draft, would take over from Fitzpatrick for the remainder of the season.

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Champions League roundup: Gonzalo Higuaín shoots Juventus to summit

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:59:58 GMT2016-12-07T22:59:58Z

• Striker ends drought to down Dinamo Zagreb and land Group H top spot
• Sevilla qualify for round of 16 after goalless draw in Lyon

Gonzalo Higuaín ended his scoring drought as Juventus defeated Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 to win their Champions League group.

Juventus had already qualified for the knock-out stage, but the victory secured top spot in Group H ahead of Sevilla, who also advanced following a 0-0 draw with Lyon.

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Porto’s André Silva brings Leicester down to earth in final group game

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:45:15 GMT2016-12-07T21:45:15Z

As chapters in a Champions League adventure go, this could hardly have been less romantic. Better sides than Leicester will fall at Estádio do Dragão, and it spoke warmly of their achievements that Claudio Ranieri could afford to field a skeleton lineup for what could have been their toughest Group G assignment, but the aftertaste was not meant to be this bitter.

The shame in this hammering, confirmed by two goals from André Silva either side of slick finishes from Jesús Corona and Yacine Brahimi before Diogo Jota completed the rout, is superficially slight but Porto could not have dreamed of more supine opposition against which to ensure their own progress to the round of 16. Any thoughts of a pick-me-up before the meeting with Manchester City on Saturday were exposed as fantasy and Ranieri was tellingly downbeat when reflecting on a night that only added to the impression of a malaise within his squad.

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The Jeff Fisher NFL All-Stars represent a level of mediocrity we can all aspire to

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:00:29 GMT2016-12-07T11:00:29Z

Andy Dalton, Matt Ryan, Ryan Tannehill are hardly great, but, like the Rams coach, they show up every day and are just competent enough to stay employed

My first job out of college, before I became an international man of sports takes, was for a public relations firm. I instantly hated the industry, and because my heart was not in it, I was not all that good at the job. But I did the job. I showed up to work and for meetings on time. I didn’t leave early. I dressed professionally. I met deadlines and didn’t make egregious typos or mistakes. I didn’t cause conflicts with my coworkers or microwave leftover fish in the break room.

But there was absolutely nothing I did to stand out or suggest I was some sort of PR phenom. I needed money to pay my rent and, at the time, this job provided it so I went to work every day.

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Jordan Morris is not the savior of US soccer – but he can decide the MLS Cup

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 11:00:28 GMT2016-12-07T11:00:28Z

His maiden MLS season has seen him finish as Seattle’s top scorer with 14 goals, and on Saturday he will play his in his first MLS Cup. Not bad for a rookie

It’s tough to find a job after college – but most graduates aren’t Jordan Morris. The young soccer star was already a full US international by the time he graduated from Stanford University last year, and found himself in the rare position of having countless job offers upon graduation. He chose, in the end, to sign with his hometown Seattle Sounders over Werder Bremen – one more thing that helped him become one of the most hyped young players in the history of the American game.

Less than 12 months later, and Morris has handled such a burden better than anyone could have reasonably predicted. His maiden MLS season has seen him finish as Seattle’s top scorer with 14 goals, and on Saturday he will play his in his first MLS Cup. He, more than anyone else, deserves credit for leading the Sounders there.

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Mood swing helps Tony Pulis’s West Brom discover their inner buccaneer | Paul Doyle

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:28:05 GMT2016-12-08T12:28:05Z

Encouraging signs in their past four games indicate there is sustainable change afoot at The Hawthorns with a trip to Premier League leaders Chelsea next up

When Tony Pulis signed a one-year contract extension at West Bromwich Albion in October, he spoke of how he intended to move the club forward but warned against the scourge he has devoted his career to trying to eradicate: wishful thinking. “There’s a star in the sky and everyone is pointing at that star,” he tut-tutted. “They’re not looking at other things left, right and centre.”

Pulis is not a manager who spends time gazing at stars but that is not to say he eschews high aims. And look, West Brom are suddenly seventh in the Premier League, having been one place above the relegation zone a month ago. As things stand, Pulis is on course to achieve his target of a top-half finish, which, admirable as his record is, would be a first for him in a career spanning nearly three decades. The West Brom winger James McClean even suggested this week that, with a bit of luck, European qualification could be within reach.

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Uefa hopeful that Manchester United’s Europa League match can go ahead

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 08:59:00 GMT2016-12-08T08:59:00Z

• Concerns over frozen pitch for group visit to Zorya Luhansk
• Uefa and Zorya officials positive after morning pitch inspection

Uefa are hopeful that Manchester United’s Europa League game against Zorya Luhansk can go ahead as scheduled on Thursday following concerns regarding the frozen pitch at the Chornomorets Stadium in Odessa.

A pitch inspection took place at 10am local time, with one Uefa official confident the closing Group A match will be played. “The pitch is at its coldest now, it’s only going to become warmer as the day goes on,” he said.

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Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez will not be sold early, insists Arsène Wenger

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:36:57 GMT2016-12-08T11:36:57Z

• ‘These players will stay for 18 months’ insists Arsenal manager
• Özil and Sánchez rumoured to be seeking hefty pay rises

Arsène Wenger has warned Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez they will not leave Arsenal before their contracts expire in 18 months time, even if they fail to agree new deals at the club.

Reports this week suggested both players want to be handed pay rises to take them onto parity with the best-paid players in the Premier League. Asked on Thursday if he would consider selling Özil and Sánchez if they get down to having a year remaining on their contract, the Frenchman said: “I’m not the only one who can decide that. A contract is negotiations in this case between two parties.

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Boxing brawls, junior Joe Cole, plus Bob Paisley – This is Your Life

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:30:01 GMT2016-12-08T10:30:01Z

This week’s roundup also features a penalty flag dance, a goal-line clearance and when team-mates attack

1) Only recently unearthed on VHS and uploaded, here’s former Liverpool manager Bob Paisley being This-Is-Your-Lifed by Eamonn Andrews in 1977 – featuring guest appearances from Matt Busby, Bill Shankly and Kevin Keegan via satellite. Among other sport stars to get the red book treatment: Bobby Charlton is set up by Busby and Jimmy Hill, and Muhammad Ali’s mum leaves the Greatest speechless. George Best is surprised by his entire extended family, Barry McGuigan gets emotional and the Matchroom mob join Ronnie Wood and Bobby Davro to pay homage to Jimmy White. Then there’s Damon Hill, Ian Wright and, er, Kriss Akabusi, while John Motson’s big final guest is … Ronnie Radford.

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Gary Johnson demands compensation from Chelsea over sexual abuse claims

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:39:52 GMT2016-12-08T13:39:52Z

• Johnson paid £50,000 by Chelsea not to make allegations public
• ‘It’s not enough for the pain and suffering I’ve had’ says 57-year-old

Gary Johnson, the former player who was paid £50,000 by Chelsea not to go public with allegations that he was sexually abused by their former chief scout Eddie Heath, has demanded further financial compensation from the club.

Johnson was a member of Chelsea’s first team from 1978 to 1981 after joining the club as an 11-year-old in 1970. The 57-year-old spoke out recently to say he was groomed from the age of 13 by Heath, who was the Chelsea’s chief scout from 1968 to 1979 and has subsequently died.

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Football quiz: which competitions are these managers and players discussing?

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:30:45 GMT2016-12-08T14:30:45Z

Can you work out which tournament is ‘rubbish’ and which ‘kills you’?Which competition was Bobby Robson talking about when he said: 'The ***** final is the greatest single match outside the World Cup final' …Champions LeagueEuropean ChampionshipFA CupLeague CupWhich competition was Rafa Benítez talking about when he said: 'We need to realise we're now the head of the mouse and not the tail of the lion' …Europa LeagueSerie A Fifa Club World CupThe ChampionshipWhich competition was Arsène Wenger talking about when he said: 'Personally I love the ***** because it’s competitive without having too much pressure' …Champions LeagueLeague CupCommunity ShieldEmirates CupWhich competition was Mauricio Pochettino talking about when he said: 'It is a competition that kills you' …EFL CupPremier LeagueChampions LeagueEuropa LeagueWhich competition was Neil Warnock talking about when he said: 'Matches don't come any bigger than ***** quarter-finals' … World Cup FA Cup League Cup Europa LeagueWhich competition was Andrea Pirlo speaking about when he said: 'I don't feel pressure. I don't give a toss about it. I spent the afternoon sleeping and playing the Playstation and, in the evening, I went out and won the *****' …MLS CupChampions LeagueEuropean ChampionshipWorld CupWhich competition was José Mourinho talking about when he said: 'It’s not the Premiership, it’s not the FA Cup, it’s not the Champions League but it's still a cup and we must respect it' …Europa LeagueInternational Champions CupCommunity ShieldLeague CupWhich competition was Karl Robinson talking about when he sad: 'The rules need to change drastically, or don’t have the competition. I don’t think it is conducive to development any more. I think it’s rubbish' …The EFL CupLeague OneThe Checkatrade TrophyScottish PremiershipWhich competition was Zlatan Ibrahimovic talking about when he said: 'That is the first trophy game and that is the first trophy we will bring home. For me, every trophy is very serious. I’m not satisfied until I collect everything' …EFL CupEuropa LeagueInternational Champions CupCommunity ShieldWhich competition was Ian Rush talking about when he said: 'This is why cup finals are so special, because anyone can beat anyone. That's what it's all about and that's why, for me, the FA Cup and the ***** are the best cups in the world. That's the beauty of the cup' …World CupEuropean CupCarling CupCup Winners' Cup Continue reading...[...]


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Legal action filed against Fifa over treatment of Qatar migrant workers

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:07:48 GMT2016-12-08T11:07:48Z

• Action on behalf of migrant worker Nadim Sharaful Alam
• Two Bangladesh workers group join case against governing body

A legal action against Fifa over its alleged complicity in the mistreatment of migrant workers in Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup has been filed with a Swiss court.

The Netherlands Trade Union Confederation confirmed on Thursday that Fifa has been “summoned to appear in the commercial court in Zürich” in a case it has brought against the world governing body on behalf of the Bangladeshi migrant worker, Nadim Sharaful Alam. The Confederation also confirmed that the Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress (BFTUC) and the Bangladesh Building and Wood Workers Federation (BBWWF) are also supporting the action.

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Football sex abuse scandal: how the story unfolded – video

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 14:11:39 GMT2016-12-08T14:11:39Z

Historical allegations of sexual abuse in football have engulfed the sport since the Guardian published details on 16 November of Andy Woodward’s experiences as a youth player. After other former players spoke publicly about having suffered abuse, more than 20 UK police forces launched investigations and the FA was prompted to conduct its own internal inquiry into the allegations. Here we look at how the story unfolded

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Barcelona invite Chapecoense to take part in pre-season match at Camp Nou

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:19:37 GMT2016-12-08T12:19:37Z

• Club invited to take part in pre-season Joan Gamper Trophy next August
• Barcelona also offer to ‘collaborate with the restructuring of the club’

Barcelona have invited Chapecoense to play in a friendly at the Camp Nou in August 2017, as a tribute to the victims of the plane crash in Colombia that killed several Chapecoense players and staff, the Spanish champions announced on Thursday.

“FC Barcelona want to pay homage to the 71 people that died in the accident and to their families so it is working on making the 2017 edition of the Joan Gamper Trophy a homage on behalf of the world of football to all of them,” said a statement on the club’s official website.

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Graham Gibbons faces suspension over Kempton urine sample swap accusation

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:30:01 GMT2016-12-08T10:30:01Z

• All-weather championship leader had one ride at Wednesday fixture
• Stewards held inquiry following a report from the clerk of the scales

Graham Gibbons has been accused by the Kempton stewards of swapping a urine sample he was required to provide with that of another jockey at a meeting on Wednesday evening.

The jockey, who is leading the all-weather jockeys’ championship this winter, had one ride on the card and was asked to provide the sample after finishing sixth on Button Up in the second division of a one-mile maiden event.

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Injury could rob Robbie Farah of opening round Wests Tigers showdown

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 06:28:14 GMT2016-12-08T06:28:14Z

  • A torn bicep could prevent one-club man Farah from facing his old side
  • The South Sydney Rabbitohs hooker has opted not to have surgery

Robbie Farah has torn his biceps at South Sydney training, but hopes to be fit to take on former club Wests Tigers in the opening round of the NRL season.

The Rabbitohs confirmed on Thursday that Farah sustained a setback at pre-season training on Monday.

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TV networks given say over preferred A-League expansion locations

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:39:57 GMT2016-12-08T03:39:57Z

  • FFA asks broadcasters to identify their preferred expansion locations
  • Two new teams are expected to join the competition in 2018-19

Football Federation Australia has asked TV networks to state their preferred A-League expansion club locations as part of negotiations for what they hope is a bumper new broadcast deal.

The long-anticipated agreement moved a step closer on Thursday, the deadline for network executives to submit their tender documents.

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MLS has more high-earning players than Italy's Serie A, report finds

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:39:11 GMT2016-12-07T21:39:11Z

  • Kaká and Sebastian Giovinco are the top earners in Major League Soccer
  • Premier League has most big contract in world football

MLS had more players in 2016 earning a six-figure weekly salary than Italy’s Serie A, according to research released this week.

The study, conducted by Verve Search, a marketing agency in London, and Axo Finans, a Norwegian financial consultant, found that 5% of players who earn a gross salary of €100,000 ($107,000) or more per week ply their trade in North America, as opposed to 3% in Italy.

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Ex-Saints player Pierre Thomas testifies Cardell Hayes murdered Will Smith

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:29:21 GMT2016-12-07T21:29:21Z

  • Ex-Saints running back details moments leading to Smith’s death
  • Hayes, 29, faces second-degree murder charge in April slaying

Former New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas told a jury Wednesday that he thought a heated argument between retired Saints star Will Smith and an irate driver had cooled – but then he heard gunshots and turned to see his friend being gunned down.

“After the shooting stopped I stood there in shock. Telling myself that didn’t happen,” Thomas said, his voice shaking. “Telling myself he didn’t just kill one of my friends, my former teammate.”

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Thomas Bjorn announces review of selection policy for Ryder Cup team

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 17:37:18 GMT2016-12-07T17:37:18Z

• Europe captain wants to ensure all players will be available for 2018
• Full-scale review being undertaken into selection procedure and planning

Thomas Bjorn had been appointed as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain for less than a day when he announced the selection procedure for the 2018 match in the outskirts of Paris is already being assessed to ensure all the players he will require at the time will be available.

Related: Thomas Bjorn named captain of Europe for 2018 Ryder Cup in France

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The gifs that keep on giving: David Luiz, a perfect touch and the try of the autumn

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 10:00:19 GMT2016-12-03T10:00:19Z

Featuring a manager who is the boss, a distracted basketball player, perfect pitching, high-calibre fencing and two men playing table tennis with five balls

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The forgotten story of … Sam Weller Widdowson: footballer, cricketer, innovator

Wed, 09 Nov 2016 16:52:00 GMT2016-11-09T16:52:00Z

Playing for Nottingham Forest and England was only one chapter of a remarkable sporting life that also included playing cricket for Nottinghamshire, becoming a referee, founding the Amateur Cup and even helping to invent shin pads

The Scotsman called the 1880 match between Scotland and England at Hampden Park “one of the fastest and best contested which has yet taken place between the two countries”, which given that it was just the ninth was perhaps faint praise. Still, the bar had been set pretty high: it was the third successive meeting to feature nine goals, and the second in a row to end 5-4 to the home team, the Scots avenging their defeat at Kennington Oval the previous year though the win, the paper declared, was “mainly due to some very hard luck which befell the visitors”. “The spectators were afforded a rare treat from first to last,” it enthused, “and the many bits of brilliant play were impartially applauded, while hissing greeted other bits.”

Perhaps one of the latter occasions came towards the end of the match, and is only vaguely alluded to by the Scotsman, which mentions that “[John] Campbell got badly hurt during the last 15 minutes, and the Scotch played one short”. In the Athletic News a few years later Tityrus – pseudonym of the groundbreaking football writer James Catton – detailed the moment when Campbell and England’s Sam Weller Widdowson “rose to head the ball and Sam’s cranium struck his opponent’s face”. The Scot’s jaw was shattered, though Catton insistsays Widdowson “did not know what he had accidentally done”.

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The Fiver | Fined for throwing a hamburger at a horse

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:19:59 GMT2016-12-07T16:19:59Z

In today’s Fiver: Big Cup, gin, and Basingstoke Town’s eBay denials

Nothing much happens on Big Cup matchday six. That’s hardly a surprise, given you could have guessed the identity of at least 15 of the 16 teams to qualify for the knockout stage before the draw for the groups was even made. And that last guess was only held back because, since they managed to get themselves relegated to the Second Division from a position of mid-table safety with five games to go back in 1909, nobody has ever made any assumption about Manchester City. It’s just not done.

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The Joy of Six: flawed sporting competitions

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 10:05:18 GMT2016-12-02T10:05:18Z

Inspired by the abject failure of the revamped EFL Trophy, we take a look at half a dozen other competitions with obvious shortcomings

In 2000, WWE supremo Vince McMahon announced the launch of a new league to rival the NFL: the XFL. It would take place in the off-season and do away with the traditional American football rulebook for a more extreme interpretation inspired by wrestling’s emphasis on outrageous entertainment, all of which boiled down to pre-game fireballs, on-field violence and a disturbing focus on cheerleaders.

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It's time to introduce a two-legged MLS Cup - with a twist

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:00:10 GMT2016-10-24T09:00:10Z

The single final is insufficient, and the two-leg final doesn’t reward the higher-seeded team for their regular-season performance. So why not combine the two?

Do US soccer leagues need their own Super Bowl, a week-long festival of the sport at a neutral site? Or should they reward the best regular-season team with home-field advantage for the final game?

Related: Didier Drogba fined but not suspended for Montreal Impact tantrum

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Liverpool blow it against Bournemouth – Football Weekly

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 16:21:27 GMT2016-12-05T16:21:27Z

The podders reflect on the Cherries’ remarkable comeback. Plus, Chelsea power on; Arsenal and Tottenham put on five-star showings; and Leicester continue to plummet

Subscribe and review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast & Stitcher.

James Richardson returns to front this edition of Football Weekly. He’s a little hoarse, so it’s a good job he’s got Barry Glendenning, Iain Macintosh and Sasha Goryunov to do most of the talking for him.

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Dereck Chisora throws table at Dillian Whyte before title fight in Manchester – video

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:45:33 GMT2016-12-07T15:45:33Z

Dereck Chisora picks up a table before throwing it at Dillian Whyte at a press conference which ended in chaos on Wednesday. Tension had been growing throughout the 20-minute media session at a Manchester hotel as both fighters traded insults and swore repeatedly. Chisora eventually loses his temper and throws the top table off the ground sparking scuffles

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Striker thwarted by defender on goal line in Greek football match – video

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 10:28:47 GMT2016-12-07T10:28:47Z

A striker for Greek side National Vatera misses a fantastic opportunity to score against Macedonian Kozani in a lower league fixture last weekend. The forward dispossesses the opposing goalkeeper to leave himself with clear run at goal and an open net. But the striker delays his effort and allows a defender to get back and make an amazing last-ditch tackle to prevent a goal from being scored

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Arsène Wenger on 'a good night' for Arsenal in the Champions League – video

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 08:39:34 GMT2016-12-07T08:39:34Z

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger is delighted following his side’s 4-1 win over FC Basel in the Champions League on Tuesday night. The result means Arsenal finish top of Group A after rivals Paris Saint-Germain could only muster a 2-2 draw at home to Ludogorets Razgrad. It is the first time the club have topped their Champions League group since 2011-12

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Louisiana man charged with ex-NFL player's death – video report

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 20:14:26 GMT2016-12-06T20:14:26Z

A man suspected of fatally shooting former NFL player Joe McKnight in a road rage incident near New Orleans has been arrested and charged with manslaughter. Ronald Gasser was charged nearly a week after an alleged road rage incident near New Orleans in which the 28-year-old McKnight was shot to death. Gasser, 54, was initially taken into custody after the shooting but then later released without charge, angering some in the community

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Harry Kewell: a career in pictures

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 19:00:31 GMT2016-12-05T19:00:31Z

With more than 200 Premier League appearances, a Champions League winners medal and 17 international goals to his name, Harry Kewell, who retired as a footballer in 2014, is the recipient of the Alex Tobin Medal for 2016. Here’s a look back at his career, including his spells with Leeds and Liverpool, as well as his time with the Australian national team

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Pep Guardiola to work with other players after Sergio Agüero ban – video

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 16:58:32 GMT2016-12-05T16:58:32Z

Pep Guardiola says he is happy to give other players a start in Manchester City’s Champions League match against Celtic in the wake of the FA bans imposed on Fernandinho and Sergio Agüero. Agüero has been suspended for four matches following his sending off against Chelsea, which prompted a fractious finale to Manchester City’s defeat

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Midfielder scores with volley from own half in Chilean league — video

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 16:17:54 GMT2016-12-05T16:17:54Z

Argentinian midfielder Alejandro Camargo scores a volley from his own half, sealing a 3-1 victory for Universidad de Concepción over O’Higgins in the Chilean Primera División on Sunday. The footage, posted on CDF’s website, shows goalkeeper Pinto trying to play route one with his team chasing an equaliser when Camargo hits his clearance straight back at goal

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Sepp Blatter ban upheld by court of arbitration for sport – video

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 15:51:37 GMT2016-12-05T15:51:37Z

Sepp Blatter’s six-year ban from football is upheld by the court of arbitration for sport in Switzerland on Monday. General secretary for the court Matthieu Reeb announces that the court doubted Blatter’s explanation of a cash gift to Michel Platini, who was a Fifa vice-president in 2011, saying it represented an ‘undue gift’. Blatter must also pay a fine of 50,000 Swiss Francs

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Manchester United's José Mourinho rants over 'direct' Everton after draw – video

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 20:06:23 GMT2016-12-04T20:06:23Z

The Manchester United manager José Mourinho explained his decision to bring on substitute Marouane Fellaini late on against Everton before the former Everton midfielder conceded a penalty to help the home side rescue a point. Mourinho was openly frustrated with the hosts’ style of play and explained his disappointment at not winning games that he feels his side deserve three points from

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Sport picture of the day: Daiya Seto driving through the droplets

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 13:10:24 GMT2016-12-07T13:10:24Z

Capturing every drop of water around Japan’s Daiya Seto during the men’s 200m individual medley final, as he wins bronze in the World Swimming Championships in Windsor, Ontario, Canada

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England’s Keaton Jennings stuns India with century on his Test debut

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:54:43 GMT2016-12-08T11:54:43Z

• Fourth Test, day one: England 288-5
• Check out the full scorecard from Mumbai

Alastair Cook has spent four years waiting for a decent opening partner and then all of a sudden two of them come along in the space of three weeks. Keaton Jennings is the latest, welcome arrival. Under a cloudless sky he became the first England player since Billy Griffith in 1948 in Trinidad to score a century on his first day as a Test cricketer – and we can be fairly confident that Griffith did not reach those coveted three figures with a reverse sweep.

Related: Who is Keaton Jennings? England’s latest batsman to score a century on debut

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India v England: fourth Test, day one - as it happened

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:06:30 GMT2016-12-08T11:06:30Z

Keaton Jennings crafted a beautiful century on debut, guiding England to a strong but far from dominant position on a track behaving increasingly erraticly

Anyhow, thanks all for your company and comments - sorry I couldn’t use them all - and we’ll be back tomorrow. Good-day.

So, England are in the ascendancy. Runs on the board, plenty of batting in the middle and to come, and a pitch that is going to become increasingly vicious. Of course, they might still get rolled in the morning and then be flayed by Kohli, but in the meantime, they’re looking good.

Oh, and the boy Keaton Jennings, scored a century on debut. But how many Nice and Spicy Nik Naks can he eat in one sitting?

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Jess Varnish ‘shocked’ by British Cycling’s verdict on Shane Sutton

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:59:42 GMT2016-12-07T22:59:42Z

• Only one of nine charges upheld against former technical director
• ‘To learn majority of complaints not upheld is heartbreaking’ – Varnish

Jess Varnish admitted she was “shocked and upset” and would appeal against the findings of an internal investigation carried out by British Cycling after it emerged only one of the nine charges she made against the former technical director Shane Sutton was upheld.

In October British Cycling upheld the claims made by Varnish that Sutton had used “inappropriate and discriminatory language” towards her, without going into the finer details of their investigation. However, the full report, which was leaked on Wednesday night, shows that only one allegation – that Sutton used the word “bitches” – was upheld.

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Has Australia fallen out of love with rugby union?

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:10:05 GMT2016-12-08T12:10:05Z

Australia were well beaten by England on Saturday but the sport is facing bigger troubles at home, where participation, investment and interest are falling

By Jonathan Drennan for Behind the Lines, part of the Guardian Sport Network

The Wallabies have returned home after a heavy defeat to England in front of a capacity crowd at Twickenham. Taking a beaten from England is never easy for any Australian sports fan, but the result was softened by the fact that the match reports hovered slightly above the weekend’s lawn bowl results. Rugby union is largely out of sight and out of mind here.

If you don’t live in Australia, it is hard to believe that rugby union features so low on the sporting agenda. The Wallaby jersey has been worn by some of the game’s greatest players and the country’s contribution to the sport has been enormous historically, but the game is losing relevance for Australians. The country’s stadiums are barely filled and the crowds are muted.

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Who is Keaton Jennings? England’s latest batsman to score a century on debut

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 09:39:42 GMT2016-12-08T09:39:42Z

The 24-year-old Durham left-hander captained South Africa at Under-19 level and has joined an illustrious list, containing the likes of WG Grace and Andrew Strauss

Keaton Jennings became just the 19th England batsman to score a century on Test debut after reaching three figures in the first innings of the fourth Test against India in Mumbai on Thursday.

The 24-year-old is in illustrious company, joining a list that includes WG Grace, Graham Thorpe, Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Trott.

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Lucky for New Zealand they were on the beach rather than battling England | The Breakdown

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:01:44 GMT2016-12-08T12:01:44Z

All Blacks still top dogs despite looking weary but Eddie Jones’s side, consistent in results if not performances, are closing the gap in run-in to the World Cup

The top two teams in the world rankings will not meet until less than a year before the World Cup. The way Eddie Jones spoke after England completed an unbeaten year with victory over Australia, he is glad of the wait but the way the All Blacks wearily hauled themselves over the line in Paris the previous week it was probably as well for them they were on the beach rather than at Twickenham.

If the autumn series confirmed New Zealand’s place at the top of the world rankings, fighting back after suffering the rare indignity of defeat, of greater interest was the jockeying for position behind them. England, consistent in results if not performances, have established a clear gap over Australia while Ireland are fourth.

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The Cowgirls of Color: the black women's team bucking rodeo trends

Sun, 20 Nov 2016 13:00:37 GMT2016-11-20T13:00:37Z

Rodeo has remained a sport dominated by white men, but the two-year-old team whose members met in Maryland is inspiring girls as they seek victory

The Cowgirls of Color are frustrated. It’s the final stop of Bill Pickett invitational rodeo and the only all-female team has had a difficult first ride, making their chances at a victory very unlikely.

Related: The Cowgirls of Color: black women's team rides the rodeo – in pictures

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20 great Ashes moments No19: Edgbaston 1981 – the forgotten miracle

Mon, 01 Jul 2013 09:00:04 GMT2013-07-01T09:00:04Z

Everyone remembers what happened at Headingley just nine days earlier, but few recall the details of the equally remarkable win in the fourth Test that put England ahead in the series

Edgbaston 1981 will always be the Salieri Test, an overshadowed masterpiece due to its proximity to the greatest of all time, a Magical Mystery Tour too often swamped by the wake of Headingley's Sgt Pepper. Yet in truth it is part of a double-header, two stunning Tests that serve to embellish the other, part of a pair of symbiotic matches central to the almost mythical aura of the 1981 Ashes.

With England having levelled the series at 1-1 in Leeds the nine days between Tests had not been quite as smooth as might be imagined. After arguably the greatest victory in Ashes history it seems almost perverse that England opted to drop a player and rejig the batting lineup but that they did.

Continue reading...'I bowled well, but it shouldn't have been enough to make the Aussies crumble that way' said England's Ian Botham after taking five wickets for one run in five overs. Photograph: Adrian Murrell/Getty Images'I bowled well, but it shouldn't have been enough to make the Aussies crumble that way' said England's Ian Botham after taking five wickets for one run in five overs. Photograph: Adrian Murrell/Getty Images


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Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam found dead in Colorado park

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 21:02:53 GMT2016-12-06T21:02:53Z

  • Former Heisman winner found dead in Colorado park aged 42
  • Boulder County coroner’s office still investigating cause of death

Rashaan Salaam, who won the 1994 Heisman Trophy at the University of Colorado before a four-year NFL career, has been found dead in a Colorado park aged 42.

The Boulder County coroner’s office said on Tuesday that it was still investigating the cause of death of Salaam, who was found at Eben G Fine Park shortly before 9pm on Monday in Boulder.

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Warren Gatland tells George North: ‘forget about rugby, put health first’

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:00:42 GMT2016-12-07T22:00:42Z

• Lions coach says Wales and Northampton wing’s concussion is ‘concerning’
• Gatland says quality goal-kickers give Lions big advantage over All Blacks

The British & Irish Lions head coach, Warren Gatland, has told George North to “forget about rugby” and concentrate on his long-term health as an official investigation continues into how the Wales wing was allowed to return to the field after apparently been knocked out playing for Northampton last weekend.

Related: George North case leaves Saints and Premiership with questions to answer | Andy Bull

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20 great Ashes moments No12: The folklore that is Headingley 1981 | Rob Bagchi

Thu, 06 Jun 2013 21:00:00 GMT2013-06-06T21:00:00Z

Ian Botham's outlandish match-saving performance in the third Test brought victory and fresh hope after the gloom of the preceding defeat, disharmony and widespread rioting

Sir John Gielgud once wryly remarked that in no other role but Hamlet does one hear members of the audience loudly whispering your lines. For cricket lovers, and particularly ones who follow England, the tale of the third Ashes Test at Headingley in 1981 is as intrinsic as the To be, or not to be soliloquy is to a Stratford-upon-Avon pilgrim or Old Vic patron, and similarly treasured. It has become part of our folk history or, in Marcus Berkmann's astute analogy, the bedtime story a child prizes above all others, losing none of its potency or wonder in the habitual retelling. Its details are so intimate to us that it can be coherently paraphrased as a list of figures: 102, 155.2, six for 95, 174, 50, 135 for seven, 500-1, 56, 29, 149, 356, 111, eight for 43 and 18. But what those numbers cannot capture is the drama, the sheer revitalising bliss of it.

If some of the interpretations of Headingley's significance – an allegory for a country in apparently remorseless decline regaining its fight and pride moments before it expired – seem fanciful, the hyperbole should not detract from the value of victory. Rare are the moments in a lifetime when a nation's brow is raised. If not the architects of a new Jerusalem, Ian Botham, Bob Willis, Graham Dilley, Chris Old, Geoffrey Boycott, Mike Brearley, Graham Gooch, David Gower, Mike Gatting, Peter Willey and Bob Taylor still managed to cheer up all but the churlish.

Continue reading...Ian Botham is interviewed after his heroic performance in the third Ashes Test which England won by 18 runs. Photograph: Adrian Murrell/AllsportIan Botham is interviewed after his heroic performance in the third Ashes Test which England won by 18 runs. Photograph: Adrian Murrell/Allsport


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Dereck Chisora throws table at Dillian Whyte in heavyweight title spat

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:02:57 GMT2016-12-07T15:02:57Z

• Scuffling boxers to meet in British title fight on Saturday
• Fight on undercard to Anthony Joshua v Eric Molina at Manchester Arena

Dereck Chisora picked up and threw a desk as his pre-fight press conference with Dillian Whyte ended in chaos and farce.

Bad blood had already been evident throughout a 20-minute media session at a Manchester hotel as both fighters traded insults and swore repeatedly.

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'Ian Botham's Ashes': The myths, the legends and me | Mike Brearley

Sat, 02 Jul 2011 21:55:00 GMT2011-07-02T21:55:00Z

1981 revisited: England's captain gives his unique insight into the most extraordinary Test series in history

Can it really be 30 years? Yet at the same time, it was all so unreal that it may as well have happened a century ago.

The first thing I should say is that the train of events in 1981 was extremely fortuitous. In that third Test at Headingley, for a start, Ian Botham and Graham Dilley, whose second-innings partnership of 117 turned the match, could have been out at any moment. Kim Hughes and the Australians were criticised for bowling too wide to them and it was true, they should have tightened their line. But on any other day they would have edged rather than missed, or edged more thinly, or the ball would have landed differently from one of the thick edges.

Continue reading...England's Ian Botham hooks Geoff Lawson on his way to 149 not out against Australia in the third Test at Headingley in July 1981. Photograph: Adrian Murrell/AllsportEngland's Ian Botham hooks Geoff Lawson on his way to 149 not out against Australia in the third Test at Headingley in July 1981. Photograph: Adrian Murrell/Allsport


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Talking Horses: Thursday’s best bets for Warwick and Taunton

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:25:40 GMT2016-12-08T13:25:40Z

Briery Belle has the pedigree over fences to prevail in a competitive field at the Lady Godiva Mares’ Novice Chase at Warwick while Chester Street looks the value bet for a Class 2 handicap at Chelmsford

Paul Nicholls’s Tagrita is a non-runner in the Listed Lady Godiva Mares’ Novice Chase at Warwick this afternoon – much to the frustration of each-way backers with the bookies now paying out on just two places – but there will still be a very useful and competitive field going to post, with only one of the seven remaining runners priced at double-figure odds. The six with a realistic chance are priced at between 11-4 and 13-2, which suggests that the race is significantly more competitive than many handicaps.

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