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Category: Sport politics

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Bravo, France, but at what cost to rugby’s transparency and integrity? | Robert Kitson

Gallic nation will put on a good show but the vote to award it rather than South Africa a second World Cup has all the hallmarks of naked self interestIt is worth keeping in mind on these occasions that rugby union usually strikes gold with its World C…

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Blackpool’s demise makes a mockery of football’s fit and proper persons test | David Conn

The Oystons’ stewardship of the club has left so much to be desired and the idea the Football League is powerless because of an outdated rule must be addressedAfter the devastating, 163-page ruling of a high court judge that Owen Oyston and his son Kar…

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Blackpool’s demise makes a mockery of football’s fit and proper persons test | David Conn

The Oystons’ stewardship of the club has left so much to be desired and the idea the Football League is powerless because of an outdated rule must be addressedAfter the devastating, 163-page ruling of a high court judge that Owen Oyston and his son Kar…

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Pyeongchang 2018 can be our best ever Winter Olympics, say Team GB

• Britain identifies ‘10 or 12 realistic medal chances’ at Games• ‘It is the strongest team we have ever had for a Winter Olympics’Team GB officials say they are “bullish” that next year’s Winter Olympics will be the most successful in their history – …

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Rob Andrew: ‘I’m not being alarmist … the game is getting worse, not better’

After 30 years in rugby union the former England fly-half has written a book about his decade at the RFU and why the game needs major changes to the way it is runRob Andrew’s parting shot to rugby after spending 30 years in the game as a player, direct…

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Papa Massata Diack ‘tried to lock African votes’ to take 2020 Olympics to Tokyo

• Son of Lamine Diack accused of trying to fix bidding for 2020 games• Massata Diack said to be on the run from Interpol in SenegalPapa Massata Diack, the man accused of being at the heart of the corruption racket to fix the bidding for Tokyo to win th…

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British Bobsleigh’s head coach said ‘black drivers do not make good bobsleigh drivers’

• New head coach Lee Johnston was disciplined over remarks made in 2013
• BBSA’s financial management also questioned after £500,000 spent on sled

The new head coach of British Bobsleigh, Lee Johnston, who was promoted to the position just over a fortnight ago, was formally disciplined and warned as to his future conduct after making derogatory remarks about black drivers in 2013, the Guardian can reveal.

Johnston, a 12-times British champion who went to the Winter Olympics in 1998, 2002 and 2006 before becoming a coach, was accused of saying to a member of the squad, Toby Olubi, “I knew you would be late because you are black”, and later in the same training session, on 4 July 2013, “Black drivers do not make good bobsleigh drivers.”

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Brazilian police arrest Olympics chief in bribery investigation

Investigators say head of national Olympics committee, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, arranged $2m bribe to win games for RioBrazilian police have arrested the head of the national Olympics committee, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, who is accused of conspiring to bribe …

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Premiership players’ strike an option over plans to lengthen season

• RPA’s Damian Hopley airs concerns over plan to lengthen season
• ‘We’re crying out for less rather than more, we’re keen to find a solution’

Damian Hopley believes “less is more” and the Rugby Players’ Association chief executive says strike action is an option in the debate over a 10-month long season.

The umbrella organisation for the 12 Premiership clubs is seeking to establish a structure running from September to June as part of negotiations for the global calendar, which would take effect from August 2020. With summer tours moved to July it means international players will face an 11-month season, prompting England’s Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs and Joe Marler to declare they regard strike action as a viable option if their voices are not heard. The England captain, Dylan Hartley, has described the prospect of the extended campaign as “not welcome”.

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Premier League TV rights: Simon Green backs BT to fend off Silicon Valley threat

BT Sport’s main man doubts digital giants such as Facebook, Amazon and Netflix are ready to try and muscle into the broadcasting-rights market

If Simon Green is concerned about the prediction that Premier League TV rights are about to get billions of pounds more expensive then he is not showing it. The head of BT Sport is noticeably anxious but only because it is the broadcaster’s busiest live night in history.

At its cavernous studios on an industrial park in east London, runners and producers buzz around as Gary Lineker records the opening sequence, pausing briefly to pose for a photograph for his Instagram feed. It is the first round of the Champions League with Chelsea, Manchester United and Celtic all at home and a crack team of pundits assembled. Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand are already in makeup with Steven Gerrard hurrying down from Liverpool slightly later because he has been coaching the club’s under-18 team.

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Usada chief Travis Tygart urges IOC to ban Russia from Winter Olympics

• Allowing Russia to compete would offer ‘get out of jail free card’
• Whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov backs call for total ban

The civil war in anti-doping over whether Russia should be allowed to compete in next year’s Winter Olympics intensified on Saturday night as the head of the powerful US Anti-Doping Agency said that anything less than a total ban would be a “get out of jail free card” that would have terrible consequences for sport.

The warning came from Travis Tygart, Usada’s chief executive, who told the Observer that he was disturbed that the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency appeared to be paving the way for Russia’s inclusion, even though its government was found to have corrupted the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

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Six Nations sets tight deadline after struggling to find new sponsor for 2018

• Executives given until end of September to find replacement for RBS
• Brexit uncertainty is a factor in failure to match £11m-a-year deal

Six Nations executives have been given until the end of the month to find new sponsors for the biggest annual tournament in world rugby after struggling to find a replacement for RBS, which ended its backing last season after 14 years.

The Six Nations had been looking for a six-year, £100m deal, but having spent the past 12 months talking to a number of potential backers, there is only one firm offer on the table. That is understood to be less than the £11m a year paid by RBS at the end of its contract as the economic uncertainty blown up by Brexit deters sponsors.

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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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