29 Nov 2019

Today's sports news: what you need to know

7:02 pm on 29 November 2019

Latest - The young Christchurch driver Marcus Armstrong has been promoted to Formula Two for next season.

Young New Zealand driver Marcus Armstrong.


The 19-year-old is one of three Ferrari juniors to have been promoted to the second level of open wheel racing.

He finished second in this season's Formula Three competition driving for Prema and winning three times.

Armstrong will drive for ART Grand Prix next season, the team that has won two of the last three F2 championships.

McGregor returns to MMA

Former two-weight UFC champion Conor McGregor is set to return to the octagon in January and will fight veteran American Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone in a welterweight bout at UFC 246.

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor Photo: Photosport

McGregor, who has 21 professional wins and four losses in MMA and a single defeat to Floyd Mayweather on his professional boxing record, has not fought since losing his lightweight title to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October 2018.

Since losing to Nurmagomedov, McGregor has had several brushes with the law, and, in a court hearing early this month he pleaded guilty to assaulting a man in a pub in Dublin earlier in the year.


West Indies wrap up Test win

The West Indies have beaten Afghanistan by nine wickets in the one-off Test at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.

Shamarh Brooks' maiden Test century and Rahkeem Cornwall's match haul of 10 wickets set up the win inside three days.

Afghanistan resumed at 109-7 in their second innings but lasted just 7.1 more overs as Jason Holder picked up the remaining three wickets for 11 more runs.

West Indies had little difficulty racking up the 31 needed to win, although Kraigg Brathwaite edged Amir Hamza to wicketkeeper Afsar Zazai and was dismissed for eight.

Hillsborough match commander cleared

Hillsborough match commander David Duckenfield has been found not guilty of the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans in the 1989 disaster.

Former South Yorkshire Police Ch Supt Duckenfield, 75, was cleared after a seven-week retrial at Preston Crown Court.

The jury at his original trial earlier this year failed to agree a verdict.

Duckenfield, of Ferndown, Dorset, was in charge of the FA Cup semi-final at which 96 Liverpool fans died.

Due to the law at the time, there can be no prosecution over the death of the 96th victim, Tony Bland.

This is because he died more than a year and a day after his injuries were caused.


Last F1 spot goes to Canadian

Canadian Nicholas Latifi said his dream had come true after Williams announced he would be making his Formula One debut in 2020 as Robert Kubica's replacement.

The 24-year-old, who is second in the Formula Two feeder series with two races remaining this weekend, is already the British team's reserve and has driven for them in six practice sessions this season.

"For me, it's a dream come true and something I've been working towards for almost half my life," Latifi said in a statement ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Latifi's appointment alongside Mercedes-backed Briton George Russell, who made his debut this year, fills the last vacant spot on the 2020 grid.

Former world champions Williams are currently last in the overall standings.

Kubica, who made his Formula One comeback this season after a near-fatal rally crash in 2011, has scored the team's only point.


Russia continues to prepare for Olympics

The head of Russia's Olympic Committee says it is carrying on with preparations for the Tokyo Olympics next year and criticised World Anti-Doping Agency recommendations to punish some Russian Olympic officials as excessive and wrong.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

A WADA committee recommended this week that Russia be banned from the Olympics and world championships in a wide range of sports for four years after Moscow was found to have provided the agency with doctored laboratory data.

WADA's executive committee will rule on the recommendations in Paris on 9 December.

Under the recommendations, some Russians without a history of doping could be cleared to compete in major international events as neutrals, as was the case at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

"All our clean athletes, those who were not involved or are not suspected of doping, will take part in the Games as part of our Olympic team," Stanislav Pozdnyakov, president of Russia's Olympic Committee, told senior sports officials at the committee's annual assembly in Moscow.

"And we will do everything in our power for our team to compete in Tokyo under the Russian flag."

Russia was banned by the IOC from last year's Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for state-sponsored doping at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.


Manchester City buy into Mumbai City FC

The owners of English Premier League champions Manchester City have agreed to buy 65 percent of Indian football team Mumbai City FC, expanding their global stable of clubs to eight in countries from China to Japan to the United States.

The City Football Group (CFG) announced the deal just a day after it agreed to sell a stake to U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake for $778 million, making it the most valuable football group in the world with a $7.5 billion price tag.

While rivals such as Manchester United have focused on building their brand and global following based on one team, CFG has acquired clubs around the world and modelled them on the Manchester City style of play and off-field organisation.

The strategy has helped boost the exposure and popularity of the Premier League champions, whose fortunes have been transformed after decades in the doldrums thanks to an infusion of cash from Abu Dhabi since 2008.


Measles epidemic delays football tournament

The Ocenia under-16 women's football championship scheduled to take place in Tahiti next month has been postponed till next year due to the measles epidemic in the region.

no caption.

Photo: 123rf

A statement from the Oceania Football Committee said the organisation was determined to put health and safety first.

"Despite the considerable financial and logistical impacts associated with the postponement, the executive committee's decision was made in the best interest of our Pacific population."

The decision was made following new advice provided by health authorities in Tahiti regarding the risks associated with the spreading of the measles virus across the Pacific.