31 Jul 2019

Today's sports news: What you need to know

6:49 am on 31 July 2019

Latest - New Zealand rally driver Hayden Paddon is optimistic of getting more drives on the world stage after he was cruelly ruled out of a return to the WRC this week.

Hayden Paddon crash at rally Finland 2019.

The crashed car Hayden Paddon was driving. Photo: WRC

After losing his spot in the Hyundai team last year, Paddon was making a one-off return to the WRC for Ford.

But with his car wrecked in what the team called a freak accident, and no spare available, he's having to sit out this week's Rally of Finland.

Paddon says both he and the Ford team are keen to continue.

"We're still in dialogue with M-Sport, they're still interested to have us in the car and of course we want to try and make it happen as well."

"Probably over the next couple of weeks we'll try and have some discussions and we can't let it end like this so we definitely want to make sure we're back in the car this year."

Neymar rape case dropped

Police investigating rape allegations against Brazilian football player Neymar say they have closed the case.

Neymar of PSG


The São Paulo attorney general's office said the case was suspended due to a lack of evidence, but will be sent to prosecutors for a final decision.

The investigation was opened after Brazilian model Najila Trindade alleged the footballer attacked her in a hotel in Paris, France, in May.

Neymar has denied the accusations, saying he is being extorted.

The case has gripped Brazil, where it has dominated newspaper headlines.

It first came to light in June, when the Paris St-Germain star released a seven minute video on Instagram revealing that he had been accused of rape. He also published Whatsapp messages and images that he claimed to be of the woman.


Murray set to return to singles

Former world men's tennis number one Andy Murray is considering returning to singles action at Cincinnati next month, saying he is "closer than he thought" to being ready.

Andy Muray in pain

Andy Murray. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 32-year-old has not played singles since losing in the first round of the Australian Open in January to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut, after which he underwent hip resurfacing surgery in a bid to salvage his career.

He returned to doubles action at Queen's Club this year, winning the title with Spain's Feliciano Lopez, and also played men's doubles with Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert and mixed with Serena Williams at Wimbledon.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray had previously said it was extremely unlikely he would be ready to play singles at the US Open but now believes a return on the Cincinnati hardcourts in two weeks' time is possible.

Murray said he is practising singles in Washington and is also lined up to play doubles at the Rogers Cup next week in Toronto with Lopez.


Ronaldo fans want their money back

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Football fans in South Korea are taking legal action to seek compensation after Cristiano Ronaldo failed to play in a friendly during Juventus' pre-season tour in Seoul last week.

Ronaldo had been contracted to play at least 45 minutes against K League All Stars, according to event organisers, but ultimately sat out the entire game at a packed Seoul World Cup Stadium.

An online community was formed to protest Ronaldo's lack of participation, and two members reached out to lawyer Kim Min-ki to file a lawsuit against the match organisers.

The lawsuit is seeking compensation of $120 per ticket and $1600 each for compensation for "mental anguish".


Shields in doubt for World Cup

Brad Shields and Eddie Jones

Brad Shields and Eddie Jones Photo: PHOTOSPORT

England flanker Brad Shields will be sidelined for four to six weeks after damaging a ligament in his foot at a training camp in Italy last week.

New Zealand born Shields was replaced by Harlequins' Alex Dombrandt at the training camp and the Wasps back-row forward's recovery period casts doubts over participation in England's warm-up matches before the World Cup in Japan in September.

Head coach Eddie Jones is set to name his final 31-man squad on 12 August - a day after a warm-up game against Wales at Twickenham.

England play three more warm-up matches after the squad is announced - away to Wales and at home against Ireland and Italy - before heading to Japan, where they kick off their campaign against Pool C opponents Tonga on 22 September.


Chelsea ban fans

Chelsea have banned a supporter for life for hurling racial abuse at players during last season's Premier League home match against Manchester City.

City's Raheem Sterling was a target of abuse from fans near the touch line during the game, in an incident widely covered in the news for highlighting lingering racism among football fans despite years of efforts to stamp it out.

Chelsea had banned four supporters from matches last year pending an investigation into alleged racial abuse.

Five others were handed suspensions of one to two years for "abusive language and threatening and aggressive behaviour" in City's 2-0 defeat in December last year.


Indian cricketer banned

India batsman Prithvi Shaw has been handed a back-dated eight-month suspension for a doping violation after ingesting a prohibited substance Terbutaline.

The BCCI said Shaw, who made his test debut last year, admitted to the Anti-Doping Rule Violation but the 19-year-old asserted that it was 'inadvertent', ingesting the substance when he had used an over-the-counter cough syrup.

The suspension has been backdated because Shaw admitted to taking the banned substance with the ban deemed to have started on 16 March and ending on 15 November.

Shaw last played for India in a test match against West Indies in October last year and has not been picked in the squad for their tour of the Caribbean next month.

However, Shaw will be allowed to resume training with his state team after midnight on 15 September.