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Updated: 40 min 56 sec ago

Bribes for TV soccer rights allegedly paid with 'agreement and support' of Murdoch's Fox executives

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 06:30
  • Documents form part of sprawling investigation into football corruption
  • Testimony in Fifa trial places Fox executives in meetings with corrupt officials

Senior executives at Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox corporation are alleged to have agreed for millions of dollars in bribes to be paid to South American soccer officials to secure major broadcast deals, according to US prosecution documents.

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Want to understand politics in the last 25 years? Look at football

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 06:21

In the early 1990s a few ambitious politicians rejected redistribution for a ‘new capitalism’ based on equal opportunities and the free market. Some people became filthy rich and others turned to grassroots politics. Sound familiar?

By Shirsho Dasgupta for In Bed With Maradona, of the Guardian Sport Network

Philosopher, semiotician and lifelong football fan Jacques Derrida once declared: “Beyond the touchline, there is nothing.” Derrida did not mean that football is superior to the goings-on of life beyond the pitch but perhaps that everything that happens outside the stadium – politics, economics, or even art and culture – is automatically reflected inside it. The football pitch is a microcosm of life itself.

Since the last decade of the 20th century, consumption of football has been growing almost exponentially throughout the world. At its forefront is the Premier League empire, which, with the help of cable and later satellite TV, spread its tentacles throughout Africa and Asia a couple of years into the new millennium. The Spanish, German and Italian leagues soon followed.

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Talking Horses: Thursday’s best bets at Taunton and Chelmsford

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 06:19
Top Notch (2.45) should take the Peterborough Chase at Taunton for trainer Nicky Henderson with a minimum of fuss

There seemed to be some glimmers of optimism overnight that one or both of the meetings under threat from the weather would survive, but both Warwick and Newcastle succumbed to the elements to leave Taunton as just the second jumps card in Britain since Saturday.

Related: Melon looks tasty for Cheltenham return as thaw enables resumption

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Liverpool’s Dominic Solanke admits disallowed goal did strike his arm

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 06:02
• Striker had late goal ruled out against West Brom at Anfield on Wednesday
• ‘It has clipped my arm. The referee disallowed it but it’s very unlucky’

Dominic Solanke has claimed he was “very unlucky” not to register his first Liverpool goal against West Bromwich Albion despite admitting the disallowed effort did strike his arm.

The young Liverpool striker had his 82nd-minute celebrations cut short against Alan Pardew’s team when the referee Paul Tierney and assistant Constantine Hatzidakis penalised a handball offence. Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, said he was unsure Solanke had used both his chest and arm to convert Joe Gomez’s cross after watching several replays. “It was another moment where we had no luck,” said Klopp, who maintains Everton were wrongly awarded a late penalty in Sunday’s Merseyside derby.

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The Anti-Sports Personality of the Year awards 2017

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 06:00
Before the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards on Sunday celebrate the best of 2017, here are our anti-heroes from the sporting world this year

The retiring Taylor’s last year on the PDC circuit has not been without incident. There has of course been sporting success, including a 16th World Matchplay title, but also controversy, much of it centred on the Grand Slam of Darts, where he lost in the semi-finals to Michael van Gerwen. During that match the players were seen in heated discussion as they left the stage for a break. Later the victor was asked what had happened, and recounted a frankly not enormously interesting conversation. “He came to me: ‘You shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t do that.’ I just said: ‘You’re a knob.’ That’s exactly what I said,” Van Gerwen explained.

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Dawid Malan maiden century hands England strong start in third Ashes Test

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 05:43
• Stoneman and Bairstow played important innings in total of 305-4
• Malan delivered the first hundred of England’s Ashes campaign

On a ground that has often been a graveyard for English cricket Dawid Malan kept alive hopes of heading for Melbourne with the destination of the Ashes still undecided. Malan hit his maiden Test century, an innings of great character, a bit of luck and some silky strokeplay. His unbroken partnership of 176 with Jonny Bairstow, belatedly promoted to No6, was easily the highest England have managed in the series. Thus the tourists managed to finish the first day on 305-4 after Joe Root had won his third toss of the series.

Related: Ashes 2017-18: Australia v England third Test, day one – as it happened

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Chris Froome's failed drug test – your questions answered in our live webchat

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 05:43

Sean Ingle and Martha Kelner, the journalists who broke the story about Chris Froome failing a drugs test, will be online to field questions from 12.30pm GMT

10.43am GMT

Chris Froome was hoping to win his fifth Tour de France title next year but, depending on how cycling’s governing body react after his failed drugs test, he may well be banned from the sport when the race begins on the tiny island of Noirmoutier in July. In a week when Froome may have had designs on winning the Sports Personality of the Year award, he is now fighting to save his reputation. Froome says he has “done nothing wrong” and “fundamentally followed the protocol”. But, unless he can provide a sufficient explanation for his failed test, he is likely to lose his Vuelta title and be banned from his sport.

Sean and Martha broke the story on the Guardian and they will be here from 12.30pm GMT to answer all of your questions. In the meantime, here are some pieces you might have missed:

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Wolves’ Romain Saïss: ‘Busquets is an inspiration – his positioning, his simplicity’

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 05:20
Morocco midfielder who bases his game on the Barça player is relishing facing his idol at the World Cup after reviving his career under Nuno Espírito Santo at Wolves

The year in which Wolverhampton Wanderers last appeared in the Premier League – 2012 – was also the year in which the player who is now the linchpin of their midfield, Romain Saïss, played his first professional match. He was nearly 22.

Now his career is on course to reach new heights. Victory at Sheffield Wednesday on Friday would give Wolves a seven-point lead at the top of the Championship and boost their chances of returning to the Premier League. Promotion would be the perfect ending to Saïss’s club campaign before he goes with Morocco to the World Cup, where he could face the player on whom he has modelled his game, Spain’s Sergio Busquets.

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Chris Froome: 'I haven't done anything wrong' – video

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 05:08

Chris Froome claims he has 'not done anything wrong' after excessive levels of the asthma drug Salbutamol were found in his urine at this year's Vuelta a España. The Team Sky rider says he has never take 'more than the permissible dose' and that he hopes to be cleared of any wrongdoing

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A Phil Taylor v Wayne Mardle classic, football in the snow and an agile jockey

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 05:00

This week’s roundup also includes a bit of Kevin Pressman penalty thwacking and some terrible rugby

1) The raucous PDC World Darts Championship is back again. In the competition’s first year at Alexandra Palace in 2008 the big favourite Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor was expected to ease through the rounds to a 12th title but came up against Wayne ‘Hawaii 501’ Mardle in the quarter-final. What ensued was an all-time classic that ended with a victorious Mardle on his haunches in tears of joy. On that night Taylor was magnanimous in defeat, with Mardle in the Sky studio last year he did not take so kindly to his former rival’s line of questioning. Still Taylor learned the art of darts needle from the master, Eric Bristow.

2) Those of you with phone apps, friends on social media or windows will have noticed there was a flurry of snow over the weekend. This means it’s time to revisit some football being played in the trademarked good ol’ days when nothing would stop those hearty men kicking leather around. There’s Aberdeen versus Rangers in 1955, when seeing the ball was not a straightforward task. More recently, the Welsh non-league side Risca FC faced Aberdare Town in snowy conditions on Friday. Alternatively, if you like to be knee-deep in the white stuff, then the snow World Cup is the one for you.

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Chris Froome says failed drugs test ‘damaging’ but he followed protocol

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 04:49

• ‘ I know that I have fundamentally followed the protocol,’ says Froome
• Tony Martin ‘angry’ Froome competed in world championships

Chris Froome has admitted that failing a drugs test at this year’s Vuelta a España has been “damaging” to his reputation – but has again insisted that he did not overstep any boundaries.

The four-time Tour de France winner also nodded in agreement when it was put to him that the world only knew about his adverse analytical finding on 7 September because of investigative work carried about by two newspapers, the Guardian and Le Monde – suggesting that both Team Sky, British Cycling and cycling’s governing body, the UCI, were planning to keep the news secret.

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Football transfer rumours: Barcelona to swoop for Arsenal's Mesut Özil?

Thu, 12/14/2017 - 04:14

Today’s gossip is well worth it

There is a school of thought that your view of Mesut Özil – whether you see him as glorious, waifish creative genius or unnecessary, indolent garnish – offers a window into your very soul. Perhaps what Mesut does next will provide a glimpse into his. Will he scamper into the arms of his former manager, friend and mentor, José Mourinho, at Manchester United? Or will he opt for another kind of football altogether at Barcelona, where the tunnel decorum is at least on point?

He may well have that choice: the Catalans are keeping their weather eye on the contract rebel’s situation in case their move for Philippe Coutinho comes adrift, and if the Arsenal man bides his time he might just end up with an unlikely move to Camp Nou. United remain the favourites to snare him, though. Arsenal could replace him with Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos, although AC Milan would rival them.

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Ashes 2017-18: Australia v England third Test, day one – live!

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 20:28

1.28am GMT

To set the scene: we hear a lot about the fast and bouncy WACA, but this is a bit like Uncle Rico telling you when he used to be a star quarterback. “Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we woulda been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind.” After they relaid the square around the turn of the millenium, it’s mostly been a pudding. Flat track, millions of runs in it. The groundsman is leaving for the MCG after this Test, and it’ll be the last Ashes Test at the WACA, so he may have been tempted to leave a lot of grass on it and make it more a bowler’s wicket. But even then, the glimpses we had seemed pretty dry, and Steve Smith reckoned it was a bit soft as well yesterday. So, win the toss and bat. And bat. And bat. Joe Root had better hope his mob can find those hundreds they’ve been searching for.

It’s a warm and bright day in Perth, but no more than warm - a gentle 23 degrees at pleasant, as opposed to the 40+ it was through the last Ashes Test here in 2013. Hoo boy, that was fun. The sun is brighter here than anywhere else on earth, for reasons unknown to me or to science, but it’s a scientific opinion fact. But you may be interested to know that there is rain forecast for days four and five, so perhaps the draw is on the cards if neither team does anything silly.

1.13am GMT

Greetings and salutations from all Perthlings to those travellers from distant stars. From the western coast of this continent island, from Albany to Fitzroy Crossing, Margaret River to Broome, we say: welcome. And I would like to purge the earth of people... sorry, urge the people of Perth, to open their arms wide to all as the Ashes Mach III looms on the near horizon like a menacing new stadium about to render obsolete a clunky old concrete dinosaur.

Mixed enough metaphors in there? I have no idea what’s happening anymore.

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'I could tell he was hurting': boxer Jeff Horn describes tough title defence – video

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 20:08

Jeff Horn talks about the moves that helped him retain his WBO welterweight championship with a gritty late stoppage win over Gary Corcoran in Brisbane on Wednesday night. Fighting for the first time since his famous upset over Manny Pacquiao in July, it was a lot closer than the 29-year-old would have liked his first world title defence to be. ‘I’d like to have an easy fight every once in a while,’ he joked. ‘I could see he was starting to really go down and I just knew I had to get a couple of good combinations out on him.’

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ICC admits allegations of Ashes spot-fixing plot are ‘of grave concern’

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 18:47
• Newspaper report claims fixers offered to rig periods of play at third Test
• Cricket Australia promises to co-operate fully with any investigation

The International Cricket Council has admitted allegations that the third Ashes Test between Australia and England in Perth has been targeted by spot-fixers is “of grave concern” after a newspaper’s undercover investigation claimed to have been offered details of rigged periods of play.

According to a report in The Sun, two men from India asked for £140,000 to fix certain markets, including the amount of runs scored in an over. No individual players from either Australia or England were mentioned.

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Manchester City’s 15-win record illustrates team’s desire, says Guardiola

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 18:27
• David Silva’s double secures 15th straight Premier League victory
• Guardiola challenges players to maintain push for title

Pep Guardiola expressed his pride at Manchester City’s record-breaking 15th successive top-flight victory but insisted it will count for little if they do not go on to clinch their third Premier League title. His team comfortably dismantled Swansea City in a 4-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday but Guardiola is adamant his side can still improve, and praised their mental resolve after being the subject of continued high praise.

“In history there were amazing things like Liverpool in the 80s and [Manchester] United with Sir Alex Ferguson or Chelsea with José Mourinho, there were some amazing teams,” said Guardiola. “But we are the first ones to win 15 in a row. If we win the title it will just be a record and this record will be broken but, of course, it will not be easy.

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Jeff Horn keen to prove point to US doubters after win over Gary Corcoran

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 17:40
  • Australian successfully defends WBO welterweight title in Brisbane
  • Turns focus to next defence against Terence Crawford in Las Vegas

Jeff Horn admits he will head to Las Vegas with a point to prove to US audiences next year after a tough maiden defence of his WBO welterweight championship.

Horn produced an 11th-round stoppage on Wednesday night to defeat Gary Corcoran and retain the belt he controversially won off Manny Pacquiao earlier this year.

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Andrew Strauss will not return to Ashes tour after his wife is diagnosed with cancer

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 17:16
• Director of England cricket to remain at home after third Test
• Strauss flew home following second Test in Adelaide

Andrew Strauss will not be returning to the Ashes tour of Australia after his wife was diagnosed with cancer, the England and Wales Cricket Board said on Wednesday night.

The director of England cricket had been scheduled to miss the third Test in Perth and return for the fourth in Melbourne.

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Serge Aurier’s slice of luck helps Spurs to victory over Brighton and into top four

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 17:05

Tottenham Hotspur clawed their way back into the top four with a determined win over a dogged Brighton, the match ultimately determined by a wonderful fluke from Serge Aurier.

Brighton made five changes going into the match as they attempted to arrest a run of five matches without a win. Tomer Hemed made his first start since September and Pascal Gross dropped to the bench. Spurs, meanwhile, made four changes to the side that trounced Stoke on Saturday, freshening up at full back and giving Erik Lamela his first start since October 2016.

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West Ham’s revival continues apace with a point against Arsenal

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 17:05

It was not pretty – far from it – and it is difficult to see the West Ham United support grinning and bearing this sort of fare on a regular basis. But it was a night when the result mattered more than the performance and, for the second time in five days, David Moyes departed the London Stadium with something tangible; something to cherish. After the victory against Chelsea, this hard-fought point hinted at a little momentum.

West Ham almost snatched it at the very end, which would have thoroughly vindicated Moyes’s game-plan and sent Arsène Wenger to the depths of despair. After a crazy sideways pass from Laurent Koscielny had sparked panic in the Arsenal defence, Mark Noble played in the substitute, Javier Hernández, and his shot came down off the underside of the bar and bounced to safety.

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