23 Jun 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

10:11 am on 23 June 2020

Latest - A plane carrying a banner declaring 'White Lives Matter Burnley' flew over Manchester City's Etihad Stadium at the start of today's English Premier League football game against Burnley.

Phil Foden of Manchester City.

Phil Foden Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The plane appeared shortly after players from both teams took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. There was no indication who had organised the plane and banner.

Burnley issued a statement at halftime saying the Lancashire club "strongly condemns" the actions and adding that they will work with authorities to identify those behind the move and issue lifetime bans.

All of the players in the 12 Premier League games since the restart of the season after the Covid-19 stoppage have worn 'Black Lives Matter' on their shirts in place of their names.

Manchester City won the game 5-0 with Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez scoring two goals each.

The result leaves second-placed City 20 points behind runaway league leaders Liverpool with eight games remaining and Juergen Klopp's side cannot now clinch the title with a victory against Crystal Palace at Anfield on Thursday.

New Zealander Chris Wood wasn't in the Burnley lineup because of injury.


Stars impress against Tactix

The Northern Stars have bounced back from a big loss to the Pulse, to beat the Tactix 49-43 in their ANZ netball Premiership game in Auckland.

Grace Kara of the Northern Tactix.

Grace Kara Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Led by captain Grace Kara in her milestone match, the Stars played like a completely different side, dominating in all thirds of the court to score their first win from three games this season.

The team put their turnaround down to a "boot up the bottom" and a tough captain's run in the morning from former Silver Fern legend Temepara Bailey.

Kara, playing in her 150th national league game, led the attack with some fine precision passing - especially to Maia Wilson, who proved to be in stellar form under the hoop in her 50th game.

Maia Wilson shot 93 percent for the Stars.

PGA Championship will be played behind closed doors

The USPGA Championship will be held in August without spectators, the tour said, citing health and safety concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brooks Koepka of the United States poses with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 2019 PGA Golf Championship.

Brooks Koepka Photo: PHOTOSPORT

One of golf's four majors, the event was previously postponed from its originally scheduled May date at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco because of the scale of the outbreak.

Ticket-holders who purchased directly from PGA of America will be contacted in the coming days regarding refunds for the event, which is expected to run from Aug. 3-9, with two-time champion Brooks Koepka seeking a third consecutive win.


Pakistan cricketers test positive

Pakistan cricketers Haider Ali, Haris Rauf and Shadab Khan have tested positive for Covid-19 after being screened in Rawalpindi ahead of their tour of England next month.

"The players had shown no symptoms until they were tested in Rawalpindi on Sunday," the PCB said in a statement. "The PCB medical panel is in contact with the three who have been advised to immediately go into self-isolation."

The PCB said Imad Wasim and Usman Shinwari, who were also screened in Rawalpindi, tested negative for the virus.

The PCB added that other players and staff apart from Shoaib Malik, bowling coach Waqar Younis and physio Cliffe Deacon were tested in Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi on Monday, with the test results expected on Tuesday.

Pakistan's test and limited overs squads are set to tour England for three tests and three Twenty20 internationals. They were due to fly out later this month to quarantine themselves ahead of the first test on July 30.

Earlier this month, former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi said he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus.


Kyrgios says decision to go ahead with tournament dumb

Nick Kyrgios has condemned the "boneheaded" decision to hold Novak Djokovic's charity event in Croatia after Borna Coric revealed he was the second high- profile player to test positive to coronavirus.

Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios


Coric, who contested Djokovic's Adria Tour exhibition tournament last week, joins Grigor Dimitrov in being infected by the virus.

Kyrgios took to Twitter to remind fellow professionals, in his own blunt way, that the COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down tennis is not to be taken lightly.

"Boneheaded decision to go ahead with the 'exhibition'," the Australian posted.

"Speedy recovery fellas, but that's what happens when you disregard all protocols. This IS NOT A JOKE."

The final of the event, which would have featured world No.1 Djokovic and Russian Andrey Rublev, was cancelled as a result.


Nascar investigates noose in garage.

NASCAR is investigating who placed a noose in Bubba Wallace's garage as drivers prepared to return to the Talladega Superspeedway for the rain delayed Geico 500 with the dark clouds of racism again hanging over the sport.

The only African American driver in NASCAR's top series and a vocal supporter of Black Lives Matters, Wallace was the target of a racial attack yesterday when a noose, a symbol connected to lynching and America's slave history, was left in his team stall.

Labelling the act, "a despicable act of racism and hatred" NASCAR said it would immediately launch an investigation and "eliminate" whoever is responsible from the sport.

Wallace was also one of the loudest voices in the push to have NASCAR remove the Confederate flag from tracks where it staged races.


SA Rugby takes back control of Kings

South African Rugby has stepped in to take over managing control of ailing PRO-14 team Southern Kings, after their majority shareholders ran into cash flow problems.

Southern Kings emblem

Southern Kings emblem Photo: PHOTOSPORT

SA Rugby said it had taken back a 74% shareholding in the franchise, which had been sold to a consortium of local businessmen last year.

All staff and players have been retained and a finance team appointed to work with franchise administrators on ensuring salary payments are made and business needs addressed, SA Rugby added.

Players were paid late in April in the first signs that the previous shareholders were struggling to meet financial obligations.

For the moment, there is little clarity on a re-start for rugby in South Africa in the wake of the novel coronavirus lockdown.


Raptors start training

The defending champion Toronto Raptors have begun preparations to resume the 2019-20 season.

Select players and staff members are headed to Fort Myers, Fla., where they will remain until the NBA campus in Orlando opens in early July.

Group workouts will not begin until the Raptors report to the Disney World facility for the league's 22-team restart.

Toronto compiled a 46-18 record and ranked second in the Eastern Conference, 6.5 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks, when the season was suspended in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.