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Category: Sport politics

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David Lappartient reaps wind of change blowing through cycling | William Fotheringham

French campaigner called a political machine benefits from anti-British backlash after scandals to easily defeat Brian Cookson in UCI presidential election

“A political machine,” wrote the respected French journalist Jean-François Quénet of his fellow countryman David Lappartient, a man who, it seems, has never lost an election, rising seamlessly through French local and two-wheeled politics to simultaneously hold positions of power in the Morbihan region of Brittany and world cycling. His victory over the incumbent Brian Cookson in the UCI presidential election on Thursday is, in that context, just the latest in a long list of political triumphs.

However, the scale by which he drubbed the Lancastrian – 37 votes to eight – points to a massive backlash against the former British Cycling head, who was elected in 2013 on a wave of disgust against the previous administration amid hopes of renewal. Back then Cookson came across as the technocrat who was needed to restore calm, order and integrity, but he has come under pressure from many sides over issues as diverse as the World Tour calendar, the UCI’s campaign against technological fraud and women’s racing. All of these were buttons Lappartient could press.

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IAAF’s Sergey Bubka faces investigation on payment to disgraced Balakhnichev

• $45,000 paid to Monaco firm a day after same amount paid to Diack company
• Newly formed Athletics Integrity Unit investigating 2009 payment

A payment made by Sergey Bubka, the senior vice-president of athletics’ world governing body, to a now disgraced senior figure is to be investigated by the independent Athletics Integrity Unit, the Guardian can reveal.

Bubka, who is also an executive board member of the International Olympic Committee and an Olympic gold medallist, was reported by the French newspaper Le Monde to have paid $45,000 into the Monaco account of the Nevis-registered firm of Valentin Balakhnichev, the former IAAF treasurer and head of Russian athletics, on 18 June 2009.

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British women’s bobsleigh team loses funding ahead of 2018 Winter Olympics

• Top female driver forced to plead for money on crowdfunding website
• Three men’s teams escape cuts imposed by British Bobsleigh

The crisis at British Bobsleigh has worsened with news that the women’s team is to be stripped of all funding five months before the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Already beset by allegations of bullying, racism and harassment, the sport’s governing body now faces being accused of sexism in the way it allocates its funding.

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Fresh claims that Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid teams bought votes

• Central figure in scandal ‘bought expensive jewellery’ days after each vote
• Revelations come on day 2024 Games awarded to Paris and 2028 to LA

On the day that the International Olympic Committee had hoped all eyes would be on Lima and the awarding of the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Games, it risked further embarrassment as fresh claims emerged surrounding the alleged buying of votes by bid teams for the Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Related: ‘The biggest lie in the history of world sport’: Diack dismisses corruption allegations

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Familiar whiff of corruption continues to taint Olympic Games

Investigations in France and Brazil offer hope that IOC members may be targeted and Tokyo’s bid for 2020 is likely to be scrutinised

For years the International Olympic Committee has insisted the wild west era of the late 1990s, when members’ votes were bought for vast sums during feverish races to host the Games, were a distant memory. But who would believe that now?

How could they when Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the head of Rio’s 2016 Olympic bid, stands accused of orchestrating a scheme where members of the IOC were paid bungs days before the vote?

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Sport doping study revealing wider usage published after ‘scandalous’ delay

Almost six-year wrangle delays release of anonymous surveys done after elite athletics events in 2011, in which 57% of competitors doing admitted doping compared to under 4% in Wada resultsA controversial study suggesting that doping in sport is far mo…

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‘We are treated like sporting slaves’: Ethiopian lifts lid on trade in athletes

Lily Abdullayeva, who says she had prize money stolen and was tricked into taking drugs after moving to Azerbaijan, reveals the dark side of athletics where African runners are bought by richer nations and exploited

The smell of fish stew pervades Lily Abdullayeva’s house, a 40-minute drive from central Addis Ababa, past a throng of roadside villages of colourful ramshackle huts where legs of beef hang from corrugated iron roofs and children in Manchester United shirts play barefoot.

A modest but smart brick building, it is shielded by rusty gates, beyond which several cows graze on a thirsty patch of grass. In the back room her mother-in-law lays on a mattress on the floor with Beheyaw, Lily’s 13-month-old son, snoozing beside her.

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Caster Semenya could be forced to undertake hormone therapy for future Olympics

Study shows performance-boosting effects of testosterone in female athletes, reopening controversial debate about intersex and hyperandrogenous competitors

Caster Semenya, the Olympic 800m champion, may be banned from competing at future Games unless she undergoes hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or even surgery in the wake of a landmark study into athletes with raised testosterone levels which has just been published.

The International Association of Athletics Federations, the world governing body, commissioned research which has produced the most conclusive evidence yet that female athletes with very high levels of naturally occurring testosterone receive significant performance-enhancing benefits in competition.

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UK Sport faces revolt from 11 sports governing bodies over funding cuts

• ‘Disenfranchised’ sports criticise obsession with medal targets
• Governing bodies of badminton, basketball and fencing among critics

A mass rebellion is set to put UK Sport under further pressure to reform, with 11 national governing bodies of sports calling for a major overhaul in how the funding agency allocates lottery and exchequer money.

The Guardian understands the governing bodies will claim the spirit of sport has been obscured by what is seen as UK Sport’sgrowing obsession with medal targets over the past decade.

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McDonald’s pulls out of Olympics contract to end 41-year sponsorship

• US fast-food giant, an IOC partner since 1976, had deal to Tokyo 2020
• McDonald’s quits three years early ‘to focus on different priorities’

The US fast-food giant McDonald’s has ended its 41-year-long sponsorship with the International Olympic Committee, pulling out of its contract three years early.

Related: Olympics 2020: three-on-three basketball among five extra sports in Tokyo

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McDonald’s pulls out of Olympics contract to end 41-year sponsorship

• US fast-food giant, an IOC partner since 1976, had deal to Tokyo 2020
• McDonald’s quits three years early ‘to focus on different priorities’

The US fast-food giant McDonald’s has ended its 41-year-long sponsorship with the International Olympic Committee, pulling out of its contract three years early.

Related: Olympics 2020: three-on-three basketball among five extra sports in Tokyo

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McDonald’s pulls out of Olympics contract to end 41-year sponsorship

• US fast-food giant, an IOC partner since 1976, had deal to Tokyo 2020
• McDonald’s quits three years early ‘to focus on different priorities’

The US fast-food giant McDonald’s has ended its 41-year-long sponsorship with the International Olympic Committee, pulling out of its contract three years early.

Related: Olympics 2020: three-on-three basketball among five extra sports in Tokyo

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Vote Paris and keep the Olympics out of Donald Trump’s sticky little fingers | Richard Williams

The IOC has the choice of Paris or Los Angeles to host the 2024 Olympic Games and both have relatively sensible proposals

With the contest for the right to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games down to the last two contestants and nearing a final verdict, there may be several good reasons for giving Paris the right to stage the 2024 Olympics while postponing the return of the Games to Los Angeles until four years later. The most compelling of them must surely be that such a decision would put the Olympics out of the reach of Donald Trump’s sticky little fingers.

The two-term limit of the recently inaugurated US president will end in 2025 – unless, that is, Trump decides to follow the example of Julius Caesar and declare himself dictator perpetuo. He might even emulate Caligula by pronouncing himself divine before presiding over the Games on a golden throne. And then why not go all the way? In the Olympics of 67AD, Nero awarded himself an entry in the 10-horse chariot race. Having persuaded the organisers to insert the event into the schedule, Trump could then invent a local rule forcing all competitors who are not heads of state of the host nation to blindfold their horses.

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Millwall fans’ group continue protest by fielding candidate in general election

• Millwall AMS supporters group to run for parliament in Lewisham
• CPO has left legacy of distrust between club, fans and local politicians

Millwall’s battle against the seizure of its land by the local Labour council has taken an unexpected twist, with a supporters’ group candidate set to stand in the general election.

The plan to compulsorily purchase land occupied by Millwall’s community trust and sell it on to an offshore-owned developer was abandoned in January. An independent inquiry into the affair is being carried out by Lord Dyson, a former Master of the Rolls but the beached scheme continues to cause uncomfortable vibrations, not least as part of a profound sense of distrust between club, supporters and local politicians.

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Russia’s Kuchina and Shubenkov cleared to compete as neutral athletes

• Two world champions get chance to return to sport
• Pair will be in contention for medals at London world championships

The world champions Maria Kuchina and Sergey Shubenkov have been cleared to compete as neutral athletes by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Kuchina, a high‑jumper, and Shubenkov, a hurdler, won gold medals at the 2015 world championships in Beijing and would have been among the favourites at Rio 2016 if Russia had been allowed to send an athletics team.

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Independent inquiry into Millwall CPO deal gets green light to begin

• Inquiry into developer Renewal’s plans expected to last for rest of 2017
• Role of Lewisham council and Surrey Canal Sports Foundation under scrutiny

The independent inquiry into Lewisham council’s plans to seize Millwall’s land at The Den is set to begin in the next few days. The inquiry, which was announced last month, will be led by Lord Dyson, a hugely distinguished retired judge and former Master of the Rolls. It is expected to be completed by the end of the year and to cost up to half a million pounds of public money.

The inquiry was called after a series of questions emerged over the process and due diligence behind the council’s plans to compulsorily purchase land in Bermondsey and sell it on to an offshore-registered developer called Renewal. The scheme has been the subject of fan protests, a mass petition and in the last few months a campaign of public and media pressure.

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Shashank Manohar defers resignation as ICC pleads for him to continue reforms

• Manohar stood down as chairman after pledging to break-up ‘Big Three’
• ICC wants him to continue to curtail India, England and Australia influence

Shashank Manohar has deferred his resignation as chairman of the International Cricket Council and will continue in the post until administrative reforms of the governing body is complete, the ICC said on Friday.

Manohar had resigned earlier this month, citing personal reasons, having been elected unopposed on a two-year term as the ICC’s first independent chairman in May last year.

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British Cycling to miss out on £17m of funding until culture fears are addressed

• Sport England says body must meet ‘highest standards of governance’
• British Cycling has been accused of allowing a ‘culture of fear’

Sport England is to withhold £17m of funding from British Cycling until the sport’s governing body can ease fears over how it is being run.

The Sport England chairman Nick Bitel insists British Cycling must “meet the highest standards of governance” before receiving the funding after a draft report of an investigation into alleged failings in the culture at cycling’s governing body was leaked. The report accused the cycling body of allowing a “culture of fear”, with riders and staff bullied and a “dysfunctional leadership”, before concluding that “more work on their action plan was required”.

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British Cycling to miss out on £17m of funding until culture fears are addressed

• Sport England says body must meet ‘highest standards of governance’
• British Cycling has been accused of allowing a ‘culture of fear’

Sport England is to withhold £17m of funding from British Cycling until the sport’s governing body can ease fears over how it is being run.

The Sport England chairman Nick Bitel insists British Cycling must “meet the highest standards of governance” before receiving the funding after a draft report of an investigation into alleged failings in the culture at cycling’s governing body was leaked. The report accused the cycling body of allowing a “culture of fear”, with riders and staff bullied and a “dysfunctional leadership”, before concluding that “more work on their action plan was required”.

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UK Sport ‘went easy’ on British Cycling to keep medal factory intact

• UK Sport told governance unit to ‘go easy’ on British Cycling, says source
• Sport funding body denies claims

Senior figures at the funding body UK Sport told its in-house governance unit to “go easy” on British Cycling because “that’s where the medals come from”, more than two years before Jess Varnish made public allegations of bullying and sexism, the Guardian has been told.

Other UK Sport insiders have also come forward to tell of their deepening unease about a culture where the zeal to beat the London 2012 medal haul in the Rio Olympics dominated everything and led to less strict governance checks than they felt were required.

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