23 Jul 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

11:50 am on 23 July 2020

Latest - New Zealand Rugby chairman Brent Impey has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

All Blacks Chairman Brent Impey.
Steve Hansen's announcement of his decision to step down as All Blacks Head Coach after the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
All Blacks press conference at Heritage Hotel, Auckland on 14 December 2018.
Copyright photo: William Booth / www.photosport.nz

Brent Impey Photo: Photosport Ltd 2018

Impey is undergoing chemotherapy treatment over the coming months, but is still working.

Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan says the thoughts of the Australian rugby community are with Impey and his family.

"The partnership between Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby is one built on history and friendship which we really value above all else, and is in large part due to the leadership of Brent since he became chairman in 2014," McLennan said.

"We wish Brent all the best and hope for a speedy recovery."

Campbell makes a strong start in Newcastle

Michael Campbell has rolled back the years in his first European Tour golf tournament in nine months.

Michael Campbell at the New Zealand Golf Open at Millbrook Resort.

New Zealand golfer Michael Campbell. Photo: Photosport

The 2005 US Open champion has carded a three-under 68 in the opening round of the British Masters in Newcastle to be tied for 18th place.

At one stage Campbell was at the top of the leaderboard.

Fellow New Zealander Ryan Fox is tied for ninth at four-under par in what is his European Tour event back from a Covid-19-enforced hiatus.

Fox is three shots behind the leader, Scotland's David Law.

West Brom secure Premier League return

West Bromwich Albion are returning to English football's Premier League after a two year absence.

The Baggies have clinched promotion from the Championship by finishing second in the league, behind Leeds United.

West Brom's drawn 2-2 with Queens Park Rangers on the final day of the season to finish two points clear of London clubs Brentford and Fulham.

They will now enter the Championship playoffs with Welsh clubs Cardiff and Swansea.

The winner of the four-team playoffs will clinch the third and final promotion berth.

Liverpool presented with Premier League trophy

Liverpool's beaten Chelsea 5-3 at Anfield before lifting the English Premier League trophy for the first time.

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (C) lifts the Premier League trophy during the presentation following the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on July 22, 2020.

Photo: AFP

The Reds held on after leading three-nil late in the first-half.

The result leaves Chelsea fourth on the table, behind Manchester United on goal difference, with a round to play.

United earlier drew one-all with West Ham.

The point was enough to secure top-flight survival for West Ham who moved up to 15th place on 38 points -- four points above 18th-placed Watford.

United will visit fifth-placed Leicester City on the final day of the Premier League season, while Chelsea will play host to sixth-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Fans forced to wear face masks at NFL games

The NFL will require fans to wear face coverings at all games this season.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy has announced the league-wide policy.

Several teams had already announced plans to make masks mandatory.

The New York Jets and New York Giants said earlier this week that they won't have any fans this season at MetLife Stadium. The Philadelphia Eagles made the same announcement last week about Lincoln Financial Field.

Teams like the Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers are hoping to have a limited number of fans at 2020 games.

- Reuters

Huskies consolidate top four spot

Rams Ben Carlile-Smith is fouled during the NBL match between the Auckland Huskies and the Canterbury Rams, National Basketball League held at Trusts Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. 9 July 2020. Copyright Photo: Shane Wenzlick / www.photosport.nz

Photo: Photosport

The Auckland Huskies have strengthened their hold on fourth place in the NBL Showdown with a 90-81 win over the bottom of the table Canterbury Rams.

Jaylen Gerrand led the Huskies with 26 points, while Tohi Smith-Milner had a double-double with 22 poitns and 12 rebounds.

Auckland's now one win clear of the cross-town Franklin Bulls, who have a game in hand.

Earlier, the Taranaki Mountainairs beat the Nelson Giants 102-95 to join the Otago Nuggets and Manawatu Jets at the top of the ladder.

The Mountainairs have played an extra game than the Nuggets and Jets, who play each other tonight.

Westbrook returns to training

Houston Rockets point guard Russell Westbrook has participated in his first practice since clearing the NBA's coronavirus quarantine protocol.

He said he was "thankful and blessed" to rejoin his teammates to prepare for the upcoming restart at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.

The nine-time All-Star announced his positive COVID-19 test on July 13. He told reporters Wednesday he was largely asymptomatic "other than a stuffy nose."

"I've been at home, trying to be productive," he said. "Obviously, not able to get on the basketball floor, but finding ways to stay active, doing as much conditioning as I can probably do. We'll see (the conditioning level) when I get out there, but that's the last thing that I worry about. I'm in pretty good shape, so I should be all right."

Coach Mike D'Antoni said Westbrook could participate in Friday's scrimmage against the Toronto Raptors.

- Reuters

Ferrari attempting to turnaround its fortunes

Ferrari has announced a restructuring of its Formula One technical department after struggling in the first three races of a season so far dominated by Mercedes.

Ferrari has been involved in Formula One since its inception.

Ferrari has been involved in Formula One since its inception. Photo: Photosport

The sport's oldest, most glamorous and successful team -- last year's runners-up -- are fifth in the championship with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc pushed into more of a midfield battle.

Ferrari said in a statement the team would have a more focused and simplified chain of command, with the heads of each department given "the necessary powers to achieve their objectives."

Ferrari said Enrico Cardile would head up a new Performance Development department.

Other roles stay the same, with Enrico Gualtieri overseeing the power unit, Laurent Mekies remaining as Sporting Director in charge of trackside activities and Simone Resta head of chassis engineering.

- Reuters

Opposition to limit crowds for snooker world champs

Former world number one Ronnie O'Sullivan believes the decision to allow a limited number of spectators during this year's snooker World Championship in Britain is an unnecessary risk amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

English snooker star Ronnie O'Sullivan.

English snooker star Ronnie O'Sullivan. Photo: Actionplus/Photosport

The July 31 to Aug. 16 event at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre from will allow a limited number of spectators after the British government said it would "stress test" new guidelines at select trial events for a return to some kind of sporting normality.

"You aren't really achieving anything. Having people there but not enough people doesn't look good. Either pack it out and say we don't actually care or go 'we aren't having anyone'," five-times world champion O'Sullivan told the BBC.

Professional sport in Britain returned last month after a near three-month shutdown because of the novel coronavirus outbreak but spectators have not been allowed to attend to adhere to social distancing norms.

"Just sport being on television is enough at the moment. I think it (allowing spectators) is an unnecessary risk. I just don't think you want to be putting people's lives at risk'," O'Sullivan added.

"You look at the NHS and you think this is like a war at the moment and it's those people who've been flat out, and you watch what they go through, and anything to take the stress off them is paramount."

- Reuters