16 Jul 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

10:27 am on 16 July 2020

Latest - Champion Liverpool's chances of a record points tally in the English Premier football League this season are over after they were beaten 2-1 by Arsenal in London.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.


Liverpool's third loss of the season means they stay on 93 points and can now only stretch that tally to 99, one short of Manchester City's record.

Arsenal's first win against Liverpool since April 2015 lifts them one place to ninth in the table on 53 points.

Liverpool will be presented with the Premier League trophy by Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish after the game with Chelsea at Anfield next week.

Second placed Manchester City beat relegation-threatened Bournemouth 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

All Whites striker Chris Wood scored from the penalty spot with the last kick of the game as Burnley drew 1-1 with Wolves, while Tottenham beat Newcastle 3-1.


Phoenix set to lose defender

There appears to be an air of inevitability that the Wellington Phoenix will lose defender Liberato Cacace to Europe.

Phoenix's Liberato Cacace.


The Phoenix resume the A-League against Sydney FC tomorrow night with the season scheduled to finish on August 30th.

A number of European leagues will be back into pre-season training by then.

19-year-old Cacace has attracted interest from a number of European clubs and coach Ufuk Talay has implied that his departure is a matter of when rather than if.

"There are discussions with the club at this stage so it will come down to what Wellington Phoenix decide for him, but for us at the moment he's an integral part of the team and for me as a coach I'd love for him to stay until the end of the season, but things change quickly in football."

The Phoenix are in Sydney preparing for tomorrow night's A-League game against Sydney FC.

Wolfpack season may be over

Toronto Wolfpack could be forced to pull out of this season's English Super League campaign when it resumes in August, because visa issues could rob them of up to seven players, including multi-million dollar signing Sonny Bill Williams.

Toronto Wolfpack Sonny Bill-Williams.


BBC Sport understands Wolfpack representatives took part in a meeting of clubs earlier this week, and were unable to guarantee they would be able to complete fixtures in 2020.

The club say visas for seven overseas players, from Australia and New Zealand, only allow them to stay in England for a maximum of six months.

That time limit has been exceeded because they have been forced to remain here during lockdown and they will now have to return home.

A Super League spokesman said competition organisers were "concerned by the news", and described the timing, when a revised fixture list is being finalised, as "unhelpful".

Toronto's playing roster was stretched even before the season was suspended becaue of the coronavirus pandemic - and they have had visa issues in the past, with Australian prop Darcy Lussick unable to re-enter the country last year.

But it is also understood that the club is facing financial stresses as well with rumours persisting of players being regularly paid late.


IOC committed to Olympics

The International Olympic Committee remains "fully committed" to staging the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021 and is considering multiple scenarios for them to take place safely, according to IOC president Thomas Bach.

The Olympic Symbol is pictured at the New National Stadium, a venue for the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo on March 24, 2020.

Photo: AFP / Yomiuri

Japan and the IOC postponed the Tokyo Games until 2021 in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, organisers have spoken of trying to simplify the event - which had been due to start on July 24 - to reduce costs and ensure athletes' safety.

"We remain fully committed to celebrating Tokyo 2020 next year in July and August," Bach said.

"The entire IOC is following the principle we established before the postponement (in March) that the first priority is about the safety of all participants."

Bach also said that the IOC had agreed with host nation Senegal to postpone the 2022 Youth Olympic Games until 2026.


Cassidy joins Formula E

The Auckland driver Nick Cassidy will join the Envision Virgin Audi team for the next season of Formula E which starts next January.

New Zealand driver Nick Cassidy


The 25-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand, is widely regarded as one of the most promising talents in motorsport having already completed the 'triple crown' of titles in Japanese motorsport (Formula 3, Super GT and Super Formula), as well as becoming one of the most successful drivers in the history of the Toyota Racing Series.

Cassidy even set a new lap record at the Marrakesh E-Prix on his maiden Formula E outing during a rookie test with the team back in March, in which he comfortably topped the timesheets.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for me to be joining Formula E and Envision Virgin Racing from next season," said Cassidy.

"The team is one of the most successful on the grid, have a great set-up and facilities, and have continually impressed me since I joined them for the rookie test back in March.

Cassidy replaces Briton Sam Bird who is heading to Jaguar to partner another New Zealander Mitch Evans.

Big Bash to have longest season ever

Cricket Australia has confirmed it will stage the longest ever Big Bash League this summer, despite some players calling for a reduced version of the domestic Twenty20 tournament.

Michael Nesser appeals for a wicket in the Big Bash League.

Michael Nesser appeals for a wicket in the Big Bash League. Photo: All Rights Reserved

The BBL's 60 match season has been unpopular with players and pundits, some of whom blamed its length for disappointing crowds in the last edition.

However, CA have confirmed the BBL will have its earliest ever start from Dec. 3 and finish with the championship-deciding final on Feb. 6.

The early start offers CA some leeway in dealing with problems that may arise due to COVID-19, which prompted authorities to send Melbourne back into lockdown last week following a spike in infections.

The early matches will also clash with Australia's series-opening test against India at the Gabba from Dec. 3.

CA also announced the Women's Big Bash League would have a full 59-match schedule running from Oct. 17 to Nov. 29, with 26 matches carried live by broadcasters, three more than the 2019 tournament.


Canterbury lose another game

Canterbury remain bottom of the National Basketball League after losing 101-98 to Manawatu.

It was the Rams fifth straight loss.

The big three of Taane Samuel (2opts & 9rbs), Tom Vodanovich (23pts & 13rbs) and Jayden Bezzant (27pts) all cracked the 20-point mark for Manawatu, while Nelson Kirksey (19pts) fell one point shy in what was another efficient outing for the American.

Meanwhile the Franklin Bulls responded positively after their defeat to the Auckland Huskies the previous day with an 82-70 victory over the Nelson Giants.

The injury-ravaged Giants, without the services of their Tall Black trio Mike Karena (ankle), Josh Bloxham (concussion) and Mika Vukona (appendix), fought gamely but lacked the manpower to seriously trouble the Bulls.

Franklin forward Dom Kelman-Poto enjoyed a field day, finishing with 26 points on 78% shooting (11/14FG) and eight rebounds.

Four matches a day at World Cup

Football World Cup fans will be able to watch an unprecedented four games a day on television, spread out over 11 hours, during the group stage of the Qatar 2022 tournament after the schedule was confirmed.

The Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.


With the relatively short travel distances for the venues in and around Doha, it could be possible for fans who travel to the 32-team tournament to attend multiple games each day.

The early games will kickoff at 1300 local time with the fourth match starting at 2200 local time and finishing just before midnight.

The tournament's opening game on November 21, will be at the 60,000 capacity Al Bayt Stadium, with its distinctive 'tent' style covering.

The final on December 18 will be held at the 80,000 Lusail Stadium, which, like Al Bayt, will also host a semi-final.

The tournament was switched from it's usual June-July slot due to the heat in the Gulf state and is the first that will be held in the middle of the European season.


Denly dropped for Root

England have dropped Joe Denly for the second cricket test against West Indies which starts at Old Trafford tonight, with captain Joe Root returning to the side.

Root missed the first test at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton to attend the birth of his child, with Ben Stokes taking the reins in his absence.

Denly, who averages under 30 in tests, was dismissed for 18 and 29 in England's four-wicket defeat by West Indies in the opening test.

Root will slot into his usual number four role, while Zak Crawley, who struck an impressive 76 in the second innings at Southampton, will move up to three.


Liverpool set to receive trophy

Liverpool will be presented with the English Premier League trophy on a special podium built on the Kop stand at Anfield following their clash with Chelsea next week.

Scarves in support of Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish


Jurgen Klopp's side secured their first top-flight title in 30 years last month and will receive the trophy after their final home game of the 2019-20 season on July 22.

Liverpool great Kenny Dalglish will present the players and staff with their winner's medals alongside Premier League chief executive Richard Masters.

Scot Dalglish, a club great as both a manager and a player, was in charge the last time Liverpool won the title in 1990 and the league has granted approval for him to hand out the medals and the trophy.

No fans will be in attendance to mark the occasion, with matches behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Lions schedule stays the same

The British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa next year will stick to its July/August, ensuring it will overlap with the Tokyo Olympic Games.

South African Rugby had previously spoken about the possibility of moving the tour to later in the year if a new global rugby calendar was agreed.

South Africa is battling to contain the Covid-19 pandemic with less than 300,000 cases as of yesterday and yet to reach its peak.

The tour will open with a meeting between the Lions and Super Rugby side The Stormers in Cape Town on July 3, and ends with three tests on consecutive Saturday's between July 24 and Aug. 7.

The first and the third will be in Johannesburg at Soccer City and Ellis Park, either side of a meeting at the Cape Town Stadium.

The Olympic Games in Tokyo run from July 23 to Aug. 8, but SA Rugby have previously played down the significance of the clash.


Rashford to get doctorate

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford is set to become the youngest recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester for his campaign to help needy children.

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford  celebrates.


Rashford earned widespread praise after the England forward successfully campaigned for school food vouchers to be provided over the summer holidays in Britain, revealing that he had relied on such support as a boy.

The 22-year-old will join club greats Alex Ferguson and Bobby Charlton in receiving the honorary doctorate, the highest honour the university bestows.

Rashford had also helped to raise around $40 million with charity Fareshare UK to supply meals to struggling families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told reporters later that he was proud of Rashford and described him as a "great person and human being".