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Updated: 20 min 53 sec ago

FA chiefs face parliamentary inquiry over Mark Sampson investigations – live!

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 09:00

11.59am BST

So here we are, in front of the digital, culture, media and sport select committee, waiting to find out more about the Mark Sampson affair and the Football Association’s handling of a case that has cast a shadow over the women’s game in England. It has been almost a month since Sampson lost his job as the manager of the England women’s team amid reports that the FA was guilty of a cover-up over racism allegations made by players in his squad. Top FA executives are set to be grilled about the apparent failure to deal satisfactorily with the seriousness of the issues relating to Eni Aluko and Drew Spence. Aluko has been invited to speak, along with Lianne Sanderson, another player involved in the story.

The players will be going first.This is a story that snowballed after Aluko, who holds 102 England caps, gave an interview on 21 August to the Guardian in which she alleged that Sampson had told her not to let her Nigerian relatives to bring the ebola virus to a game at Wembley. Much has happened since then, but to fast-forward to the latest developments, this week the Guardian exclusively reported that Greg Clarke, the FA chairman, responded with a 14-word email - “I’ve no idea why you’re sending me this. Perhaps you could enlighten me?” - after a six-page letter from the Professional Footballers’ Association detailing complaints against Sampson and another member of staff. As Daniel Taylor, our chief football writer, says, Clarke is likely to face some difficult questions this afternoon:

Clarke was one of four FA executives to be sent a letter from the PFA alleging that the governing body’s technical director, Dan Ashworth, and the director of human resources, Rachel Brace, had overseen a ‘sham’ internal review that was ‘not a genuine search for the truth’ and ‘designed to close down the complaint and absolve Mark Sampson’

Big fixture for DCMS committee, kick off 2.30. https://t.co/mWhjcQ1r2M

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Oxlade-Chamberlain: ‘I must be patient for first team chances at Liverpool’

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 07:57
• Player scored his first goal on Tuesday since his move from Arsenal
• England international has made only one start under Jürgen Klopp

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has said he must be patient for first-team opportunities at Liverpool as he is still developing and adapting to Jürgen Klopp’s methods.

The England international scored his first goal for Liverpool since a £40m deadline day move from Arsenal in Tuesday’s 7-0 Champions League rout of Maribor. The strike, which Klopp claimed would lift the midfielder’s confidence and “open his chest”, followed an impressive substitute’s display against Manchester United on Saturday.

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Manchester City: Guardiola on 'incredible performance' to beat Napoli – video

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 07:24

Speaking after watching his Manchester City side beat Serie A leaders Napoli, Pep Guardiola spoke of his pride at his players beat 'one of the best teams in Europe'. City won 2-1 thanks to early goals from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus, before Amadou Diawara pulled one back from the penalty spot in the second half. Napoli's top scorer this season, Dries Mertens, missed a penalty in the first half

Manchester City rely on early goals to overcome Napoli in Champions League

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Kevin De Bruyne is in no rush to sign a new contract with Manchester City

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 07:18
• Agent will begin discussions with City over improved terms in coming months
• Belgian midfielder been in brilliant form in the opening period of the season

Kevin De Bruyne insists there is no rush to sign a new contract with Manchester City. The Belgian midfielder has been in brilliant form in the first two months of the season and delivered another masterful performance as City beat Napoli 2-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday.

De Bruyne’s agent Patrick De Koster has said he intends to begin discussions with City over improved terms in the coming months. The outcome for De Bruyne, who is currently paid a reported £115,000 per week on a contract that runs until 2021, could be a huge increase in wages. De Koster referenced Paris St Germain’s latest big-money signings when he discussed the potential deal that he could seek.

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ESPN kneels before advertisers by silencing Jemele Hill for doing her job | Marina Hyde

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 06:51
ESPN asked Jemele Hill to ‘discuss sports topics, news, culture, and social issues’ and to tweet on ‘a current issue impacting sports’ – then suspended her for doing exactly that

More than a week into her suspension for some highly anodyne tweets related to the Take the Knee protest, it feels long overdue to devote space to the ESPN anchor Jemele Hill. Still, I vaguely heard we were listening to women for a minute, and wondered if a black woman could catch a little of that entitlement to be heard. The traditional answer to that has been “No, I’m afraid she can’t” – which accounts for the nagging sense among many women of colour that sisterliness only stretches so far. Its borders are currently feared to mirror precisely those of Hollywood, California.

Even so, let us journey into the great wilderness beyond. Let us go where the vice-president of the United States can spend up to $250,000 of taxpayer money attending a game just so he could walk out of it when players knelt; where two owners in an 80% or so black NFL can decree that any athlete who silently kneels during the national anthem will be benched; but where a woman whose job is in part to talk about sports and social issues is suspended for doing that.

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Talking Horses: why a jockey's words can't always be taken at face value

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 06:50

If a jockey knows he’ll have to compete for the best strip of ground, it’s not in his interests to point out where it is

One of the tricky things about betting on horse racing is that we constantly need information but can’t put blind faith in those who offer it. This thought occurred to me at Newmarket on Saturday, when events on the track (taken together with recent racedays there) suggested there was a faster strip of ground up the stands’ rail.

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It’s tough on Rhys Webb but strict rules are needed to save future of Test rugby | Paul Rees

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 06:16
Wales have to keep making a stand in an attempt to galvanise the regional game which, the Scarlets aside, remains in a depressed state

Rhys Webb wants to have his Welsh cake and eat it. The Ospreys and Lions scrum-half signed for Toulon earlier this month, days before the Welsh Rugby Union announced a change to its policy governing players outside the country, entrapping the 28-year-old.

The new rules outline that players moving to England or France from next season would only be considered by the Wales head coach if they had reached the 60-cap threshold. As Webb is on 28, he has no chance of reaching that by next September, even with all the extra internationals Wales are fond of arranging.

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Pochettino 'so proud' after Tottenham draw with Real Madrid – video

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 05:56

Following his Tottenham side's 1-1 draw away at champions Real Madrid, manager Mauricio Pochettino congratulated his team on the result, saying: 'I'm so proud of the effort.' Harry Kane, whose deflected effort provided the first goal, said that he thought the draw represented a good result for Spurs, while Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos assessed that a draw was probably a fair result

Pochettino full of praise after Lloris saves Spurs at Real

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Tory MP missing universal credit debate for Barcelona game is ‘doing good job’

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 05:53
• Douglas Ross misses Commons vote to officiate at Champions League game
• Previously criticised as MSP for missing meeting for Real Madrid match

A Conservative who will miss a Commons vote on welfare policy on Wednesday night to officiate at a Champions League match is “doing a good job” in his role as both an MP and a referee, one of his colleagues has insisted.

Tory MP Douglas Ross will not take part in a debate and vote on universal credit because he will be running the line at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona as the home side take on the Greek team Olympiacos.

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Edin Dzeko: ‘I don’t run? I don’t give my best? Come on! That is a joke’

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 05:00
In an exclusive interview, the Roma striker discusses the criticism he has endured throughout his career, growing up in Bosnia during the war and facing Chelsea in the Champions League

Edin Dzeko looks as if he wants to jump up from the chair. He is animated. His cheeks are red and he gesticulates wildly. “I don’t run? I don’t give my best? Come on! That is a joke,” he says. “I can guarantee that no one in the stands or in front of the TV wants us to win games more than I do! Any match, I don’t care who we play against or what we play for, I just want to score a goal or my team to score a goal so that we win the match. Every match I give my very best. Every single match.”

It is a moment that encapsulates what the Bosnia-Herzegovina striker is all about. He has been described as being indifferent and cold but when we meet in an empty hotel restaurant on the outskirts of Sarajevo he is neither. Instead he is extremely passionate about the game, more perhaps than any other player I have interviewed, and a man who realises how lucky he is to play football for a living.

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Football teams fielding three or more players with the same first name | The Knowledge

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 05:00

Plus: players who have mysteriously disappeared, European Copa Libertadores winners and brothers sent off for the same club, in the same season in the same position. Send your questions and answers to knowledge@theguardian.com or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU

“Sitting down to watch Lithuania v England (with little else to do) I noticed that Gareth Southgate has handed starts to three Harrys – Winks, Maguire and Kane,” wrote Alex Chance. “When was the last time three players with the same forename lined up for England?”

It turns out this isn’t as rare as you might think. “Daniels Rose, Drinkwater and Sturridge all started against Holland in a friendly on 29 March 2016,” writes Steven Hyde. “There would probably have been a more recent example if more than one of Rose, Welbeck and Sturridge could stay fit for more than a couple of months at a time. And if you’re looking for competitive fixtures, you have to go all the way back to the last century – Davids Seaman, Batty and Beckham played alongside each other on a number of occasions, most recently in 1999 under Kevin Keegan. Also worth noting is the first match of Terry Venables’ reign, against Denmark in 1994. England played the first 67 minutes with three Pauls on the pitch (Parker, Ince and Gascoigne), and the remainder with three Davids, as Batty replaced Gazza from the substitutes bench to join Platt and Seaman.”

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Unfriendly confines: the unsung history of America's low-key hooliganism

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 04:30

Don’t let all of the mascots, cheerleaders, Kiss Cams and marriage proposals give you the wrong idea: US sports stadiums are often as dangerous as European ones

Loud, violent, armed. If you polled the world on what Americans are like, all three of those descriptors would surely merit frequent mentions. But when it comes to rabid support of sports teams, it’s Europeans who have long had the reputation for mayhem and violence.

Football hooliganism dates back all the way to the Middle Ages in England, when King Edward III banned football in 1349 because he felt the disorder and violence that accompanied matches led to social unrest and distracted his subjects from practicing archery. Another decree 14 years later doubled down on football as undesirable: “We ordain that you prohibit under penalty of imprisonment all and sundry from such stone, wood and iron throwing; handball, football, or hockey; coursing and cockfighting, or other such idle games.”

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Football transfer rumours: Barcelona's Paco Alcácer to Southampton?

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 04:20

After all last night’s Champions League action, today’s tell-all is thin, thin gruel

Despite sacking Craig Shakespeare, speculation abounds that Leicester City do not have anyone in particular lined up to replace him. In the wake of a parting that is understood to have caused Leicester’s players much sweet sorrow and launched no end of other dreadful bard-related puns, anyone who’s anyone is currently touted as a possible replacement for the man they call “Shakey”. The club hierarchy have put Michael Appleton in charge as caretaker while they “begin the process of identifying and appointing its next first team manager” and local paper the Mercury have identified Sam Allardyce, Chris Coleman, Carlo Ancelotti, Alan Pardew, Sean Dyche and Roberto Mancini as potential candidates on a shortlist that seems to have been drawn up from the list of bookies’ favourites.

Related: Leicester opt to twist rather than stick for a second time in eight months | Stuart James

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NYC FC's Jack Harrison making mark from St George’s Park to the Bronx

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 04:00

The New York City FC winger is making headlines on both sides of the pond after debuting for England’s Under-21s amid his club’s play-off push

The moment Jack Harrison realized that he had finally made it in his home country was not when he stepped onto the Riverside pitch for his England Under-21 debut, but when he walked past a TV screen.

“Growing up in England I watched Sky Sports all the time and one afternoon at St George’s Park I walked past a TV and saw myself on it and I thought, ‘That’s so weird’,” Harrison laughs.

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England Women cover all bases for their Ashes revenge mission Down Under | Vithushan Ehantharajah

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 04:00

Fresh from winning the World Cup in thrilling fashion, Mark Robinson’s side have prepared meticulously to regain the Ashes in Australia

While one England cricket team worry about a continuing police investigation before making their way to Australia, another side have been preparing for theirs in situ and at ease. Next Sunday, England Women will begin their Ashes campaign, looking to reclaim a trophy ripped from them in 2015, fuelled as much by revenge as building on World Cup success.

The team arrived in Brisbane more than a week ago, earlier than planned and at the behest of the head coach, Mark Robinson, who wanted to ensure the controllables – jet-lag, the weather, match-sharpness – were kept in check. For all England’s free expression that means they enter the 2017 Ashes a more battle-ready entity than two years ago, thanks to his meticulous planning.

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2018 AFLW draft: Isabel Huntington selected by Bulldogs with No1 pick – as it happened

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 23:10
  • Huntington emulates inaugural first pick Nicola Barr
  • Stephanie Cain goes second and Chloe Molloy third

4.10am BST

Thanks everyone who followed along with the live blog, and happy researching/watching youtube videos of all your new favourite players.

Just to reiterate, there’s a rookie draft on Friday at 12pm AEDT. Clubs can have three rookies, one cross-code, one aged under 21 and one of either. There’s also potentially a free agency period depending on how many list spots were filled.

4.04am BST

Hannah Mouncey

Still really feeling for Hannah Mouncey, who was ruled ineligible for today’s draft (erroneously, in my opinion). She was all class on Twitter after the announcement.

Good luck to all the girls who nominated for the AFLW draft tomorrow, especially my mates from Canberra. I can’t wait to see you all at the highest level and to play with and against you back in Canberra next year!

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Celtics' Gordon Hayward suffers horrific injury as Cavaliers win NBA opener

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 23:03
  • Boston star breaks ankle just five minutes into debut for new team
  • LeBron James scores 29 points as Cleveland win 102-99

Boston’s Gordon Hayward broke his left ankle just five minutes into the season, a grisly injury that overshadowed Kyrie Irving’s return to Cleveland and the Cavaliers’ 102-99 win over the shocked Celtics on Tuesday night.

For @gordonhayward. Come back stronger!

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Mauricio Pochettino full of praise after Hugo Lloris saves Spurs at Real

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 19:28
• ‘Hugo was fantastic. He showed his real level,’ says manager
• Draw keeps Tottenham level at top of group with Madrid

Mauricio Pochettino paid tribute to Hugo Lloris after the goalkeeper helped Tottenham Hotspur to a 1-1 Champions League draw at Real Madrid but the manager was more pleased that his team had held their own and showed they could compete at the highest level.

Tottenham led at the Bernabéu through a Raphaël Varane own goal before Cristiano Ronaldo equalised before half-time from the penalty spot. Lloris was busy and he made two outstanding saves to deny Karim Benzema and Ronaldo in the second half. Tottenham had chances of their own and Harry Kane could not find a way past Keylor Navas when he was one-on-one with him on 71 minutes.

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Champions League roundup: Borussia Dortmund held to draw by Apoel

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 18:07
• Bundesliga leaders Dortmund face missing out on last 16 after draw in Cyprus
• Spartak Moscow thrash Sevilla 5-1 in Russia to move level with Liverpool

Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund face an uphill struggle to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League after they were unexpectedly held to a 1-1 draw by Apoel Nicosia on Tuesday which left them third in Group H.

Peter Bosz’s men had been expected to outclass the Cypriot minnows but they are now in danger of suffering a group-stage exit as they have yet to secure victory in the group where Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur lead the standings with seven points apiece.

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Brendan Rodgers urges Celtic to show attacking nerve against Bayern Munich

Tue, 10/17/2017 - 18:00
• Manager says team should adopt aggressive approach at Allianz Arena
• Jupp Heynckes relishes return to ‘thrilling, exciting competition’

Brendan Rodgers clearly hopes Celtic’s players can produce as bullish a performance against Bayern Munich as the manager himself delivered on the eve of this Champions League fixture. Still bruised by 7-0 and 5-0 defeats by Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain respectively in recent times, Rodgers has called on Celtic not to bow to illustrious reputation.

“We have a duty to play our game,” said the Celtic manager. “That is what we have already spoken of [to the team]. Our disappointment against Barcelona and PSG was that we didn’t quite impose our way of working. So our message is we have a duty to play how we play and that is to attack and be aggressive.

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