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Author Archive for Martin Belam

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Norse code: what’s the secret of the Norwegians’ Winter Olympics success?

Hailing from a nation of only 5.2 million people, Norway’s squad is outperforming teams from much bigger countries – and, no, it’s not just because they have so much snowEleven days into the competition, Norway sit top of the medal table, out-performin…

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Norway’s curlers and their incredible Winter Olympic trousers – ranked

The Norwegian men’s curling team have become notorious for appearing in outlandish trouser designs. We look at some of the highlightsSince the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010, the Norwegian men’s curling team have made a name for themselves by wearin…

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Seasonal jobs: athletes competing at Summer and Winter Olympics

By competing at Rio 2016 and Pyeongchang 2018, Tonga’s bare-chested flag-bearer joins a select few in Olympic historyWith his shirtless appearances at the opening ceremonies in Rio and Pyeongchang, Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua has become the very public fac…

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Spot the sport – take our Winter Olympics picture quiz

Can you identify the Olympic discipline from these zoomed-in pictures of the equipment in Pyeongchang?One of the joys of the Winter Olympics is discovering – or re-discovering – sports that you aren’t that familiar with. But how keenly have you been wa…

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The LGBT athletes making history at the 2018 Winter Olympics

LGBT Olympians have been more prominent than at any other Games, with a first gold and rows with the US vice-presidentPyeongchang’s Olympics have seen athletes more open and public about their sexuality than ever before, with Canada’s Eric Radford beco…

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Highlights – and awkward moments – from Winter Olympics opening ceremony

Pyeongchang’s Games officially opened with fireworks, a Trump imposter, unfamiliar flags and a familiar topless TonganThe 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang have officially begun with the traditional spectacle of an elaborate and, at times, confusing …

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Highlights – and awkward moments – from Winter Olympics opening ceremony

Pyeongchang’s Games officially opened with fireworks, a Trump imposter, unfamiliar flags and a familiar topless TonganThe 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang have officially begun with the traditional spectacle of an elaborate and, at times, confusing …

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Manchester City, Bristol City and a match made in goal gifs

The Premier League club paid tribute to Bristol City’s social media celebrations during their Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg winIt might have been trolling, but imitation was also the sincerest form of flattery from Manchester City’s social media te…

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‘ITV can have that’: the internet reacts to the World Cup 2018 draw

Football fans and media around the globe used social media to laugh along as the World Cup draw for Russia 2018 took place in MoscowFootball fans around the world might have stopped what they were doing to watch the World Cup draw in the Kremlin, but t…

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Ebbsfleet United to auction Mambo No5 shirt after social media campaign

Popular demand to allocate 26-year-old defender Yado Mambo the team’s specific shirt number leads to charity auction by National League clubWhat happened to MyFootballClub – the club where fans decided everything?Ebbsfleet United are auctioning a speci…

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Ebbsfleet United to auction Mambo No5 shirt after social media campaign

Popular demand to allocate 26-year-old defender Yado Mambo the team’s specific shirt number leads to charity auction by National League clubWhat happened to MyFootballClub – the club where fans decided everything?Ebbsfleet United are auctioning a speci…

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Neville Southall attacks Tories with series of surreal skeleton tweets

• Former Everton goalkeeper uses strange imagery to criticise Theresa May
• Wales’ most-capped player takes anti-austerity stance on social media

In an era when professional athletes are expected to be present on social media, but also under pressure not to say or do anything of significance in case it offends politicians, some sporting heroes of yesterday aren’t afraid to speak their minds.

The Match of the Day presenter and former England striker Gary Lineker has come under criticism for commenting on politics on Twitter, but it is another former Everton player who has caught the eye on social media in the last few days: Neville Southall.

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Chile pay again for homophobic chants as Fifa fines for 2016 top £1.4m

More than half the South American teams competing to reach the World Cup in 2018 have been fined this year for the behaviour of their supporters

Fifa has levied more than £1.4m of fines on national football associations during 2016, including those issued to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for displaying poppies during November’s World Cup qualifying matches. The FA has announced it is appealing against the fine.

The country fined the most for repeated misbehaviour in 2016 was Chile, punished by Fifa on four occasions for homophobic chanting by their fans during qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup. The chanting has cost them 195,000 Swiss francs (£153,180).

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Checkatrade Trophy sees attendances fall as the #BTeamBoycott bites

The first matches in the newly revamped Football League Trophy gave a glimpse at what the introduction of U23 teams has done to attendances

Bolton and Millwall reduced ticket prices to £5. Oldham let in under-16s for free. Charlton gave away complimentary programmes, and Mansfield were even handing out free beer tokens. All to little avail.

The introduction of U23 academy sides from Premier League and Championship clubs in a re-formatted Football League Trophy sparked pre-season fan anger and calls for a boycott of the games. And on Tuesday many fans stood by that threat, as attendances plummeted across the country.

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Euro 2020: get ready for games from Bilbao to Baku and more minnows

Hosting Euro 2020 in 13 cities across the continent and using the Uefa Nations League as part of the qualifying process mean it will feel very different from the tournament in France – and not necessarily for the better

Like all tournaments, it feels suddenly over far too soon. Euro 2016 isn’t going to go down as a classic overall, but it had the incredible stories of Wales and Iceland, some brilliant goals, and the most ridiculous penalty shootout you are ever likely to see between two of the heavyweights of the international game.

And there won’t be another tournament like it for eight years. Next time we get together to crown the champions of Europe, it will be in an experimental multi-city format, stretching across the continent, with London’s Wembley hosting the semi-finals and final.

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New EFL Trophy sparks withdrawals, anger and apathy before a ball is kicked

The English Football League has made radical changes to what used to be the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, but some of the Premier League clubs invited to enter academy sides are pulling out and not all fans are impressed either

It was promoted by a Premier League spokesman as a way to “help young, talented players progress physically and mentally on top of the technical aspect of their game”, but the English Football League’s attempt to revamp the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy looks set to have angered the fans of lower-league clubs, and alienated some of the Premier League clubs it was hoping would join it. All before a ball is kicked.

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Euro 2016: who qualifies from third place?

The 24-team format means it is harder than usual to work out who has progressed through the group stages, and who they might play next

Competitions with 16 or 32 teams are quite straightforward – the top two teams in each group progress to the knockout stages. However the expanded Euro 2016 format means that only eight teams are jettisoned after the group stages. Four teams that have finished third in their group will progress to the knockout rounds. Two will not.

How are the teams who finish third ranked?

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