Sportswashing and the tangled web of Europe's biggest clubs

Governments wield power over many Champions League clubs and the ties that bind owners, sponsors and Uefa are strikingThe game is about glory, a wise man once said. For many years it has been about money, too. Right now an updated version of Danny Blanchflower’s famous quote would point out something else: that the game is also about politics and placement, about soft power, about presenting a face to the world.As the Champions League knockout stage kicks in, this element of Big Football is primed once again to take the main stage, the executive arm of a sport that has never looked so tangled. Continue reading...

16-02-2019

Mighty mare Winx canters to 30th straight victory in Apollo Stakes

Chris Waller-trained Winx grabs race record at RandwickMighty mare marks 30th consecutive win Mighty mare Winx has won her 30th consecutive race, blasting past a field of eight in the Apollo Stakes at Randwick Racecourse on Saturday. Related: Winx world’s best at last but has to share top billing with Cracksman Continue reading...

16-02-2019

Étienne Capoue’s strike for Watford leaves QPR to rue missed chances

Queens Park Rangers had to wait for this moment. Their previous appearance in the FA Cup fifth round had come at Wimbledon in 1997 and it is doubtful whether any club has since endured a more dismal record in the competition. The London club had won only four ties – each of them in the third round – before this season.Rangers promised to fight and they made light of a run of five consecutive Championship defeats that has sucked them down to 18th in the table to give their Premier League opponents a scare. Continue reading...

16-02-2019

'Humble and generous, but a private enigma' - who was Leicester City's owner?

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha is revered in Leicester as the man who presided over one of sport's great triumphs - but who was the billionaire Thai businessman?

16-02-2019

Gordon Banks on ‘the greatest save ever made’ – video obituary

England’s World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died at the age of 81. Banks played 73 times for England and was a key figure in Sir Alf Ramsey’s legendary 1966 side. However it’s Banks’s twisting save from Brazilian superstar Pelé that he is often best remembered for, a save deemed ‘one of the greatest feats of goalkeeping’Gordon Banks, World Cup winner with England in 1966, dies aged 81 Continue reading...

16-02-2019

Reece Prescod tones down social life in quest for world championship gold

Sprinter has stopped going out at nights and replaced house music with reading to prepare for the worlds in SeptemberReece Prescod is as disarmingly honest as he is dizzingly fast. So when the 22-year-old is asked whether he ever feels a devil on his shoulder trying to distract him from becoming the world’s best sprinter, he smiles, says “Yeah, yeah, 100%” and then adds bluntly: “To me there is no point in going on a night out if you are going to be half-hearted. If I am going out, I go full sesh.”Full sesh, it turns out, is a few drinks at a meal, followed by a few more afterwards and staying out until the small hours – which is hardly ideal when one’s intention is to win Olympic 100m gold in Tokyo. But Prescod says in recent months he has changed; these days he is scanning the bigger picture, not chasing short-term pleasures. Continue reading...

16-02-2019

The Spin | Sheer pace is sheer bliss though fast bowlers often blow hot and cold

Mark Wood’s Sunday spell in St Lucia was a refreshing reminder of how pace bowling turns a slow game into a fast oneThere are certain words that are crying out to have “sheer” in front of them. Sheer bliss. Sheer lunacy. Sheer pace.In cricket, sheer pace is sheer bliss, as long as it’s on your side. In St Lucia on Sunday evening England, who had been blown away in the first two Tests by a resurgent West Indies attack, finally produced a riposte. Mark Wood came on after 20 overs, when the game is inclined to nod off, and suddenly every delivery carried an electric charge. Bowling to Shai Hope, Wood beat the bat outside off stump with his first ball, and his second, and his third. The fourth was a bouncer, which Hope wisely ducked. The little box on the screen that clocks the bowler’s speed showed 145kph, or 90mph. A stiff breeze was helping, but then Wood, so often kept off the field by a dodgy ankle, deserved a fair wind. Continue reading...

16-02-2019

Colin Kaepernick reaches settlement with NFL over kneeling protest fallout

Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid settle collusion grievance with NFLParties have resolved grievances subject to confidentiality pactThe NFL and attorneys for Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid jointly announced on Friday afternoon they have settled a complaint of collusion by the players, who claimed the league’s owners blackballed them because they had protested by kneeling during the pre-game playing of the national anthem. Related: Did the NFL manage to silence Colin Kaepernick's protest at the Super Bowl? Continue reading...

16-02-2019

Hakeem al-Araibi arrives home in Melbourne – video

Former Socceroo Craig Foster welcomes home refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi at Melbourne airport, where he is greeted by an enthusiastic throng. Al-Araibi was released from prison in Bangkok after a Thai court dropped Bahrain's deportation case that would have sent him back to his native country, where he says he was tortured Continue reading...

16-02-2019

Brighton v Derby County: FA Cup fifth round – live!

FA Cup fifth-round updates from the 12.30pm GMT kick-offHarry Wilson: ‘Rush phoned. I thought what do I call him?’And feel free to email Gregg or tweet him @GreggBakowski 2.10pm GMT 76 min: The corner is swung in deep, where Duffy knocks it down towards Locadia, who arcs his back and wallops a volley over his shoulder and straight at Roos, whose palms must be stinging violently after staying strong and keeping that out. A great stop. 2.08pm GMT 75 min: Cole hooks the ball away from Bruno, who was on the overlap behind him. It’s a corner for Brighton. What a matchup that was. There are 76 years shared by the Brighton captain and Cole. Continue reading...

16-02-2019

Who is the greatest F1 driver ever?

After Lewis Hamilton won his fifth world title on Sunday, BBC Sport is asking you just who is the greatest F1 driver ever?

16-02-2019

The best of Gordon Banks, Tony Romo's gold and Juve's Welshmen | Classic YouTube

This week’s round-up also features a Nascar crash, the World Club Challenge and parkour1) Farewell, then, Gordon Banks. Where else to start than The Save? Or, A Version Of The Save. Here he is keeping Denis Law out at Wembley in 1967, beating the looping deflection in style. The Pathe news report on 1966 is always worth a look, not least for some jaffas of saves by our man. No patriotic conviviality a few years later when he saved a penalty from Geoff Hurst in a broiling League Cup semi-final between Stoke and West Ham. Enjoy a compilation of his top stops, soundtracked by some delicious 1960s lounge jazz. Certainly more appropriate than Sabrina Vaz (us neither) to go with this clip of the last game Banks played before the car crash that effectively ended his career as a top-class goalkeeper, although as you can see in this Channel 4 interview, he declared the loss of his right eye “not too bad.” Finally … go on then, here it is.2) It’s the rugby league World Club Challenge this weekend, as Wigan take on the Sydney Roosters. Here’s the first official edition of the game, when Widnes turned over Canberra in 1989. And regard the time Wigan won it for the third time, a belter against Brisbane in 1994, featuring the British national anthem as played on a toy Stratocaster. The 2010 edition was a bit weird: Melbourne Storm won the game, beating Leeds Rhinos 18-10 (first half, and second here), only for them to be stripped of the title due to financial irregularities, but rather than give the crown to Leeds it was just…left in the ether. Continue reading...

16-02-2019

Matti Nykänen, the Flying Finn who fell so far, so fast | Andy Bull

The ski-jumper, who won five Olympic medals, had an otherworldly talent but not the sense, or support, he needed to cope with the fame it won himMatti Nykänen used to fly so far, so fast that it felt as if he would never come down. When the Finn broke the world ski jump record for the fifth, and final, time at Planica in 1985 he was moving so quickly that the cameraman struggled to track him through the air.Watching the footage you wonder if he might disappear into the yonder off the far side of the screen. In those days, the mid-1980s, Nykänen was the best ski jumper in the world and almost unbeatable. The records were the least of it. He won five world titles, five Olympic medals, including three golds in one Games, and four World Cups. Continue reading...

16-02-2019