Despite the ICC’s attempts to muddy the waters every team will have a decent following for the 12th iteration starting next week
Jack Bannister, who died in 2016, was an influential figure in cricket: fine seam bowler for Warwickshire, pioneer of the players’ union, journalist, broadcaster, behind-the-scenes fixer. Shrewd? He could have had a Regius professorship in shrewdness. He also owned a chain of betting shops.
In 1983, halfway through the third World Cup final, Bannister had a brainstorm. An acquaintance shouted at him through the open windows of the old Lord’s press box: “What price India?” “100 to 1.” With Jack, such questions were never theoretical. He took the bet, and he paid.Continue reading...
World Rugby meets on Wednesday with the game at a crossroads as the Rugby Football Union considers a 13-team Premiership
The moment of truth is approaching – not so much on the field in various looming finals but off it. For better or worse the next two or three weeks could shape rugby union for the next decade and beyond, not just domestically but across the world. Not since the sport turned professional have so many executives leaned back in their office chairs, gazed up at the ceiling and silently prayed for deliverance.
And the really interesting part? No one is entirely certain yet how things will pan out. World Rugby, the sport’s governing body, will gather for its council meeting in Dublin on Wednesday, for example, still unsure whether its proposed Nations Championship is a runner. Those who want it to happen are encouraged that all the key stakeholders have at least agreed to re-examine the small print of a potential deal they have been advised could generate a collective £5bn over the next 12 years. No firm announcement is expected this week but some kind of resolution is anticipated early next month.Continue reading...
Star racing driver who survived a near-fatal crash to win the Formula One world championship three times
Niki Lauda was attempting to win his second Formula One world title when he was almost killed in one of the most famous accidents in the history of motor sport. As his Ferrari caught fire after hitting a bank at high speed during the 1976 German Grand Prix, Lauda lay unconscious in the cockpit. Other drivers stopped and tried to help. One, Arturo Merzario, plunged into the flames to unbuckle the Austrian’s safety harness. Eventually he was extricated and taken to hospital, where he was treated for burns so severe that he was given the last rites.Continue reading...
• Javier Tebas says the two clubs are ‘playthings of a state’
• City deny breaking Financial Fair Play rules
Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are “playthings of a state” who should be kicked out of European competition for violating Financial Fair Play rules, the La Liga president has said.
Javier Tebas, who has run Spanish football’s top league for the past six years, also warned English clubs they would be making a huge mistake if they backed a proposed new European Super League as it would “ruin” domestic football.Continue reading...
Somerset all out 164. Warwickshire need 239 to win. I’d say their chances are zero. Don’t hate me.
Durham have recovered from 0/0 to 75-4, Josh Shaw 3-18. And Glamorgan all out 346 - trailing Derbyshire by 32. Rampauls 5-94.Continue reading...
• Armenian will not travel to Baku for match against Chelsea
• Decision taken by club after talks with player’s family
Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be involved in the Europa League final after Arsenal confirmed he would not travel with the squad.
The Armenia international’s safety was a concern due to the dispute between his country and host nation Azerbaijan.Continue reading...
• Ballydoyle operation leaning towards Epsom over French Derby
• Too Darn Hot may make surprise switch to Irish Guineas
Epsom racecourse was bathed in sunshine for the annual Breakfast With The Stars event here on Tuesday to preview the Derby meeting next week, but the fog at the top of the ante-post betting for the Classic on 1 June scarcely lifted as both Aidan O’Brien and Hughie Morrison declined to firmly commit leading contendersSir Dragonet and Telecaster to the race.
Sir Dragonet, perhaps, seems more likely to put his unbeaten record on the line in the Classic after O’Brien told the audience that he expects to run “a good crew” of colts from his Ballydoyle stable on Saturday week. The trainer named Sir Dragonet on a long list of possible Derby runners, including Mohawk, Anthony Van Dyck, Broome, Circus Maximus, Cape Of Good Hope, Japan and Norway, in the Classic, with only Mohawk mentioned as possibly switching to the French equivalent at Chantilly.Continue reading...
Golden State have reached their fifth NBA finals in a row but KD has missed time through injury. His absence has brought joy back to the team
The first thing you need to know is a cold hard fact: the Warriors are a better team with Kevin Durant on the floor. The discourse surrounding Golden State’s fifth-straight trip the NBA finals might have you think otherwise. The Warriors wrapped up the series sweep on Monday with a 119-117 overtime win in Portland. They did so without Durant, currently the best player in the world.
This series wasn’t always easy. The Blazers held leads of 17 points or more during three games of the series. It didn’t matter. It rarely does against these Warriors. Once they get rolling, really rolling, and the threes are falling, Curry is scoring, and (pardon the rhyme) Draymond starts soaring, there’s nothing anyone can do. Leads disintegrate in the blink of an eye.Continue reading...
The Ballydoyle trainer has four of the top six in the betting for the Epsom Derby but has even spoken of running likely favourite Sir Dragonet at Chantilly
This year, more than any other year, it has become important to anticipate Aidan O’Brien’s running plans for the Derby. The master of Ballydoyle has four of the top six in the betting plus other potential runners, only he’s considering sending a couple of them to the French Derby instead. He has even spoken of the possibility of Sir Dragonet, who would start favourite for Epsom if he ran there, turning up at Chantilly. A significant edge awaits any punter who can work out the plans in advance although he has been speaking this morning at the ‘Breakfast With The Stars’ press conference.
So, in an effort to climb inside Aidan’s head and work out his motivation, I had a look through his record in the French Derby. My tentative thesis was that the horses he’s run there over the years have not proved to be of any great consequence in the long run, reflecting the reality that it’s not a priority for him, and therefore he’d be unlikely to send such a promising young animal as Sir Dragonet.Continue reading...
Bangladesh are still recovering from events in Christchurch but upset the West Indies three times in the past month to win their first one-day series final
Big bats, high pace and leg-spin: that is how teams like England, India, Australia and South Africa will operate in this World Cup. Bangladesh will bring a different flavour to the tournament, with their ability to hold teams down to scores less than 300 with a skilled bowling attack, and a batting line-up that relies mostly on their ability to finding gaps along the carpet.Continue reading...
The 100mph fastball used to be a rarity: now it’s an everyday occurrence in Major League Baseball. But the human body may not be built for such speeds
Sidd Finch was almost too good to be true. The rookie pitcher, while in spring training with the New York Mets, was reported to have shattered pitching records by throwing a 168mph fastball with pinpoint accuracy. Proclaimed as a yogi and virtuoso on the French horn, Finch was in fact, too good to be true, the subject of an elaborate April Fools’ Day hoax by sports writer George Plimpton and Sports Illustrated.But the Finch story serves as a reminder that speed captivates our attention like few other sporting attributes.
Once upon a time, throwing a pitch faster than 100mph was rare, the four-minute mile of baseball. That is, until Cuban émigré Aroldis Chapman, pitching for the Reds, Cubs and Yankees, made 100mph fastballs commonplace. Others have yo-yoed above and below triple digits, but Chapman has beaten the 100mph barrier pitch after pitch, game after game, and season after season. Just as Roger Bannister’s mile opened the floodgates for other four-minute milers, Chapman seemingly paved the way for a new generation of flamethrowers.Continue reading...
• Father Paddy just missed out at Epsom in 1960
• Madhmoon was fourth in 2,000 Guineas
If Madhmoon wins the Derby a week on Saturday, it will be a victory more than half a century in the making. The sturdy colt is trained in Ireland by Kevin Prendergast, whose father, Paddy, prepared winners of all the other English Classics but never quite managed to land the blue riband itself.Continue reading...
• Pace bowler has made rapid rise since qualifying for selection
• Dawson makes squad as back-up spinner in preference to Denly
Jofra Archer’s rapid rise was cemented on Tuesday morning when England’s selectors named the Barbados-born fast bowler in the 15-man squad for the Cricket World Cup.
Archer’s impressive displays in his three ODI matches against Ireland and Pakistan have earned his call-up while David Willey is the unlucky player to miss out having been named in the provisional squad despite the experience garnered in collecting 46 caps in four years.Continue reading...
• Scot confident he can return to competitive tennis
• ‘I don’t have pain, I just need to see how good the hip can get’
Andy Murray is confident he can return to competitive tennis and has hinted at a doubles spot at Wimbledon. In January the two-times Wimbledon champion announced plans to retire after this year’s championship due to injury, expressing doubt as to whether he would even make it to the All England Club.
Murray has all but ruled out an appearance in the singles draw nearly four months after surgery on a career-threatening hip problem but he could return to SW19 by playing in the men’s doubles.Continue reading...
Organisers were ‘cruel’ and ‘thoughtless’ at Diving World Series, says Dustin Lance Black
The husband of Tom Daley accused British Swimming of telling lies as a row relating to the couple’s baby son’s access to poolside events escalated on social media.
Dustin Lance Black accused the governing body of creating a “toxic environment” for the family at its events when he and the child could not be present to watch the Olympic diver win gold with Grace Reid in the mixed synchro competition at the Diving World Series in London on Sunday.Continue reading...
England’s netball captain, Ama Agbeze, has spoken of her frustration and disappointment after being left out of Tracey Neville’s 12-strong squad for the upcoming World Cup.
Agbeze, 36, who led her country to an historic gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in Australia only 13 months ago is now facing the end of her international career although she has been included in a group of players on standby for the squad.Continue reading...
Lauda was not an emotionless automaton but a driven competitor who cared little for others’ opinions
A common view of Niki Lauda is that he was an emotion-free calculating machine, the antithesis of his great rival James Hunt. The misconception gained traction during their dramatic battle for the 1976 title, when the British crowd at Brands Hatch practically rioted after a first-lap collision with Lauda’s teammate threatened to eliminate Hunt from the race, and was revived by Daniel Brühl’s portrayal of the three-times world champion in the 2013 feature film Rush.Continue reading...
The heckling of Brooks Koepka by the crowd at the US PGA was unacceptable but is likely to be even worse for Europe’s players when the Ryder Cup comes to the course in 2024
“The fans here have been tremendous.” Suzy Whaley did not intend to raise eyebrows with a speech, typically filled with platitudes, at the conclusion of the US PGA Championship. Instead, given events of Sunday afternoon, the PGA of America president’s lauding of New York galleries was horribly misplaced. It was laughable, in fact.Continue reading...
A look back at the life of the three-times Formula One world champion, who survived horrific burns following a crash in Germany in 1976 and is considered one of the finest F1 drivers everContinue reading...
All-rounder is wary of social media but proud of his Birmingham roots, ahead of a World Cup and Ashes summer where he will write regularly for the Guardian
It’s a woefully wet Wednesday in south Birmingham but, in the shelter of Edgbaston’s cavernous indoor school, Moeen Ali is working on his spin bowling with his older brother Kadeer.
As Moeen twirls away, the two lifelong Liverpool fans are gleefully discussing their team’s journey to this season’s Champions League final. Among the analysis comes a lighthearted quip that their Manchester United-supporting friends were curiously absent from mosque in the hours after Jürgen Klopp’s men wrapped up their astonishing semi-final comeback against Barcelona.Continue reading...
The star shooter’s timing could not be better with the Diamonds’ squad for Liverpool to be announced next week
Did you hear that sound over the weekend? A deep, cleansing sigh of relief? It was Lisa Alexander. The Diamonds coach – who will meet with fellow selectors Anne Sargeant and Michelle Wilkins this week to pick Australia’s World Cup team – would have been delighted to see her captain, Caitlin Bassett, finally hit her straps as she helped the Giants beat the Queensland Firebirds on Sunday.
With her 193cm star shooter returning to form, the national coach has, it appears, one less thing to worry about as she heads into the single most difficult selection of her career, described by Sargeant as a “beautiful headache”. Early next week, the selectors will reveal their 12-player squad, plus four training partners.Continue reading...
• Striker gives Chelsea boost by signing a new one-year contract
• Club faces a transfer ban for the next two windows
Olivier Giroud has given Chelsea a boost by signing a new one-year contract for next season ahead of next week’s Europa League final. Giroud was due to be out of contract this summer, 18 months after his arrival from Arsenal, and had been linked with a return to France as he struggled for regular playing time at Stamford Bridge.
But with the club facing a transfer ban for the next two windows, subject to an appeal before the court of arbitration for sport, they were keen to keep a reliable performer in an area of the pitch where they lack depth.Continue reading...
Organiser’s reaction when it emerged some tickets booked together are not next to one another left a lot to be desired
Following the still simmering fury over Uefa’s choice of Baku for the Europa League final and its corporate-heavy ticket policy for both its showpiece men’s competitions, Fifa has given us an outstanding proverbial ‘hold my beer’ moment.
Just 18 days before hosts France open the Women’s World Cup against South Korea at Parc des Princes a number of fans have found that tickets purchased at the same time are not next to one another. Families and friends heading to the tournament face being split up.Continue reading...
With no European football for the first time in 56 years and unrest off the pitch, the Belgian club’s appointment of their former defender as player-manager is a remarkable stunt
On Sunday, on as dark a day as imaginable in Anderlecht’s history, Belgium’s record champions stunned the world with the appointment of their biggest international icon of the last 25 years. Enter Vincent Kompany, stronger than any PR machine the club could possibly have built.
The name Anderlecht suddenly hummed around the football world again. Missing out on European football for the first time in 56 years and the last game of a disastrous season against Gent, another painful defeat, suddenly did not matter any more to the long-suffering fans.Continue reading...
• Forward signs for the European champions
• Parris is part of England’s World Cup squad
The England forward Nikita Parris has joined the European champions Lyon after leaving Manchester City.
Parris, the all-time leading scorer in Women’s Super League, spent more than four years at City before confirming this month that she would leave at the end of her contract.Continue reading...
Relationship between the two men is broken but, with three years left on his contract and no other club likely to match his wages, the Welshman is in no mood to go quietly
Gareth Bale did not even get to say goodbye. If, that is, he is even going – and there is no guarantee that the Welshman will leave the Santiago Bernabéu. The message from Real Madrid could hardly have been clearer, right up to the final day of the season when the manager, Zinedine Zidane, left the Welshman on the bench, but that does not necessarily mean he will depart. Nor will he accept any offer and so far there have been none. Instead there is an increasingly bitter stalemate with no easy solution.Continue reading...
• Players have more than 1,200 senior caps between them
• This is what our Canadian legacy is all about, says McLeod
Fifteen players and one member of the coaching staff from the Canada women’s national team have joined Juan Mata’s Common Goal campaign, where footballers pledge 1% of their salaries to charity.Continue reading...
Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, John Brewin and Mark Langdon discuss Manchester City 6-0 Watford, the price of supremacy, the Women’s Champions League, a rare crestfallen goalscoring keeper and botched Panenkas
We look back at the FA Cup final, which Manchester City won 6-0, casting Watford aside like a team which wasn’t assembled by one of the greatest football managers in history at great expense. We discuss the line of questioning pursued by the Associated Press’s Rob Harris, which angered Pep Guardiola, and the implications of living with a team this much better than the rest.Continue reading...
• Tony Bloom: ‘Graham became the outstanding candidate’
• Potter: job is culmination of ‘14 years’ hard work and sacrifice’
The Brighton & Hove Albion owner, Tony Bloom, has insisted Graham Potter’s appointment as manager does not constitute a risk as the club seeks to establish itself more securely in the Premier League after this season’s relegation scare.Continue reading...
• Fifa hope fans ‘will be able to enjoy matches as they envisaged’
• Buyers call for rethink in response to Twitter announcement
Fifa has told fans that ticketing arrangements for the forthcoming Women’s World Cup cannot be changed. The governing body said after receiving complaints it had made clear at the time of purchase that “not all seats would be located next to each other”.Continue reading...
The three-times Formula One world champion Niki Lauda, regarded as one of the finest racers of all time, has died at 70 after battling declining health.
In 1976, Lauda was almost killed at the German Grand Prix in one of the most famous accidents in the history of motorsport, but went on to make a remarkable recovery.
Chase Carey, the chairman and chief executive of the Formula One group, said: 'His love of racing and the courage he demonstrated were simply extraordinary and he inspired so many fans.'
The Austrian also became a successful airline entrepreneur and went on to have senior roles in F1 management, most recently as non-executive chairman at Mercedes since 2012, where he helped bring Lewis Hamilton to the team.Continue reading...
Manchester City celebrated their historic domestic treble with an open top bus tour through the heart of their home city. Celebrations culminated with an emotional speech from outgoing captain Vincent Kompany, who hailed City as 'the best club in the world' before leaving to become player-manager at Belgian team AnderlechtContinue reading...
Deontay Wilder needed all of 137 seconds to knockout mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale in the ninth successful defence of his WBC heavyweight title. His victory at the Barclays Center comes less than six months after a split draw with Tyson Fury.
Speaking after the fight, the American addressed the potential super-fights in the pipeline for the newly revitalised heavyweight division, including a rematch with Fury and a four-belt unification bout with Anthony Joshua, assuring fans they were imminent.Continue reading...
Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany is leaving the club after 11 years to become player-manager at Anderlecht, where he played between the ages of six and 20.
The announcement of his departure came just one day after he captained City in their 6-0 FA Cup final victory over Watford, which secured a historic domestic treble for the club.
Kevin De Bruyne, Kompany’s team-mate and compatriot, said: 'The legacy he left behind is great, not only for City but the Premier League, and I think everyone should appreciate what he’s done for English football'.Continue reading...
The FA has rebooted its Respect Campaign this season to protect grassroots referees in England but many continue to suffer both mental and physical abuse. There are some horrifying stories but hope remains: as of 2019-20 season a new sin-bin system will be rolled out across all grassroots leagues for anybody caught abusing a referee, with other initiatives also in the pipeline.
Michael Butler meets four referees, as well as the FA, to find out just how bad the abuse has got, what is being done about it and if that is enough for the men and women in the middle.Continue reading...
The Russian president burnished his action man status by scoring at least eight goals in an exhibition ice hockey game in Sochi. The 66-year-old leader was helped by some rather static defending as he helped his side to a 14-7 victory. The occasion was spoiled for Putin as he tripped on a red carpet and fell over during his victory lap around the rinkContinue reading...
Rather than celebrate their success as you might expect normal football folk to do, many Manchester City fans appear to have marked the conclusion of the most successful season in their club’s history by raging and frothing at the mouth over perceived media bias against their club. They are not alone, as at the end of another season of domestic dominance fans of a propaganda wing owned by other powerful people in the Middle East have also been left with a sour taste in their mouths. Leading the Ligue 1 table by 16 points with just one round of fixtures to go, Paris Saint-Germain are unlikely to be caught and had cause for further celebration at a glitzy awards do on Sunday night when their striker and local lad done good, Kylian Mbappé, was crowned Ligue 1 player of the year.Continue reading...
Today’s tell-all is twisting my melon, man
The imminent departure of Vincent Kompany from Manchester City will leave some big boots vacant and the Daily Mail reckons Harry Maguire is the man Pep Guardiola would like to fill them. A longtime Manchester United target, the man some call “Slabhead” was singled out for praise by Guardiola at the end of Leicester’s defeat at the hands of City earlier this month. In a climate where Liverpool saw fit to pay what turned out to be a bargain £75m for Virgil van Dijk, Maguire’s current employers will demand the same or more for a proven 26-year-old England international who has four years left on his current deal.
What now for Gareth Bale, who has been told in no certain terms that he does not have a future at Real Madrid. Despite rumours that he rarely talks to any of his teammates, the Wales international is reported to have told them he is happy to spend the remaining three years of his contract going through the motions on the training ground while working on his short game out on the golf course. Such comments are almost certainly designed to force Real Madrid into offering him a whacking great pay-off so he can do one to Chelsea, Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur.Continue reading...
This week’s roundup also features FA Cup finals, falling phones and a celebrating referee
1) There were some incredible scenes in India as Chennai Super Kings required two off the final ball to win the IPL. Enter Lasith Malinga and a cunning yorker. Jos Buttler would probably have just smashed it for six, mind. Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone was the victim of a stunning catch from Middlesex’s George Scott in the deep in their One-Day Cup quarter-final.
2) Safety cars – it’s in the name. Unless the driver is not paying attention – then he might cause a high-speed crash. Speaking of crashes, Cal Crutchlow had a busy weekend but it had a positive ending.Continue reading...
Newport on the Isle of Wight will host first-class cricket for the first time while Lancashire are set to play at ‘home’ in Sedbergh
Glamorgan took the field against Gloucestershire on Tuesday morning on a well-tended ground in the suburbs of Newport with the rather unfortunate name of Spytty Park. They thus added a small footnote to their 98-year Championship history, making Spytty their 14th first-class ground.
In recent years such events have been rarities in county cricket. For decades the counties (and, with more regret, their followers) have been saying goodbye to the outgrounds and festival venues that once added hugely to the charm and variety of the cricket circuit.Continue reading...
“What is the earliest goal scored in a league season that went on to win goal of the season?” wonders Tom Kingsbury. “Similarly for individual club goal of the season winners, has there been a winner from the first goal/match?”
“A quick Wikipedia reveals that Gerry Francis (possibly) used the powers bestowed on him by his glorious mullet to win goal of the season in 1975-76 with an opening-day strike for eventual league runners-up QPR against eventual league winners Liverpool in a 2-0 victory,” writes Mike Coxon.Continue reading...
Purveyor of no-look yellow cards, hider of souvenir hat-trick footballs up the back of his shirt, Premier League centurion of “off you pop” dismissals, pedantic pacer of 10-yard distances and … er, occasional carrier of golf bags on the Ladies European Tour, Mike Dean has been a fixture on the Premier League refereeing circuit for 19 years and in that time has developed something of a reputation for making big games all about … well, him. Much like David Brent, we will never have another referee like him, somebody who’s basically a chilled-out entertainer. An occasionally pompous showman who has endeavoured to keep his personal football allegiances carefully hidden through the cunning ruse of convincing fans the length and breadth of the country he is biased against every team, on Monday night there was a suggestion he let the mask slip.Continue reading...
Liverpool lost just one match in the Premier League this season but still finished second. They are not alone in their bad luck
Liverpool just lost one game in the Premier League this season but finished second. Which Italian club went a full season unbeaten but did not win the Serie A title?
Liverpool finished with 97 points in the Premier League – just one behind Manchester City. What was the record for a second-placed team before this season?
French cyclist Raymond Poulidor had three second-place finishes and five third-place finishes in the Tour de France, yet he never won the race and he never even wore the yellow jersey. What nickname was Poulidor given by cycling fans?
The Podium Poser
The Water Carrier
The Eternal Second
The Perfect Number Two
West Germany pulled off one of the great upsets in football history when they beat Hungary in the World Cup final in 1954. Hungary had gone unbeaten for 31 games across five years – including a victory over West Germany earlier in the competition. What was the score in that group match?
Hungary 2-0 West Germany
Hungary 4-1 West Germany
Hungary 7-1 West Germany
Hungary 8-3 West Germany
Jimmy White reached six World Snooker Championship finals but lost them all. Which of these players did not beat him in a final?
Jack Nicklaus won 18 majors in his golf career. How many times did he finish as the runner-up?
Which footballer has runners-up medals for the World Cup, the European Championship and the Champions League?
Franziska van Almsick won 10 Olympic medals but no golds. In which sport did she compete?
Neither Rafa Nadal nor Roger Federer deserved to lose the men’s final at Wimbledon in 2008. At what time did Nadal win that epic contest?
In 2007, the New England Patriots won all 16 of their regular season games in the NFL, breaking the record for victories in a single regular season. Which team beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl?
New York Giants
New York Jets
1 and above.
That is not an exceptional score
2 and above.
That is not an exceptional score
3 and above.
That is not an exceptional score
4 and above.
That is not an exceptional score
5 and above.
That's not an exceptional score. That's bang-average
6 and above.
That's not an exceptional score. That's bang-average
7 and above.
You are an exceptional loser
8 and above.
You are an exceptional loser
9 and above.
You are an exceptional loser
0 and above.
That is not an exceptional score
10 and above.
You're no loserContinue reading...
South African and Australian talent is to the fore alongside the best of British in Tom Curry, Joe Marler and Henry Slade
The fast-footed Argentinian will be missed when he swaps Devon for Bordeaux this summer: no other player in the league has beaten more defenders or skipped his way out of more potential trouble. Honourable mentions for the classy (and impressive full-kit celebrant) Alex Goode, perhaps the best No 10 England never had, and Newcastle’s Simon Hammersley.Continue reading...
The Manchester City captain talks frankly about the wrong path he nearly took as a teenager, ‘lunatic’ politicians and life after football
It is 10am on an early spring day when I pull up at the electric gates of Vincent Kompany’s home. In the drizzle, the Manchester sprawl has given way to the leafy streets of Cheshire, where long driveways announce the grand houses of the affluent. Kompany answers the door in a black T-shirt and jeans, having just finished a workout. It’s March, and Manchester City’s battle-hardened captain and central defender is only now returning to fitness after a six-week layoff for a calf injury. “I wasn’t feeling great today, so an extra session in the gym is the way to get through it,” he says, a towel draped around his neck, his gentle Belgian accent blending with Manc vowels.
At 6ft 4in, Kompany’s stature is reassuring rather than intimidating. He makes green juice in a whizzy little machine that the players are testing. “Sometimes I have a berry one as a treat,” he says, tidying up. We take them into his home office, where we talk for the next two hours. A whiteboard marked out with a football pitch stands against one wall. On the top row of his bookshelves, trophies line up like toy soldiers; below them are biographies of Mandela, Gandhi, Obama; histories of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country that Kompany’s father, Pierre, left as a political refugee in 1975; biographies of Sir Alex Ferguson and Kompany’s teammate Sergio Agüero.Continue reading...
The Ferrari driver talks about the sometimes traumatic personal history behind his development into one of the fastest-rising young stars in Formula One
Charles Leclerc’s tousled hair and boyish looks are disarming, his youth and softly spoken manner belying a motivated and talented driver who is surely a future Formula One world champion in waiting. Only 21 years old and in his second season in F1, Leclerc occupies the most sought‑after seat in motor racing.
Driving for Ferrari carries intense pressure and expectation. Yet Leclerc wears it like a veteran. For Ferrari and for F1, Leclerc is the future. It was tragedy, however, that brought perspective and maturity to this naturally attacking driver.Continue reading...
Change is afoot but statistics make bleak reading as women struggle to break down barriers to coach top-level cricket
“I get given uniform that is down to my knees – they say it’s unisex but it doesn’t fit me. I’m humiliated trying to work in this environment that’s already intimidating.” This is the recent experience of one female coach working in men’s cricket in England.
Cricket, we are led to believe, is a sport transformed. The sellout Women’s World Cup final in 2017 was a breakthrough moment: girls are growing up believing they can achieve the same things in cricket as their brothers. Since 2014, when the England and Wales Cricket Board made history by announcing the first professional contracts in the world, it has been possible, as a woman, to play the game for a living.Continue reading...