20 Aug 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

1:33 pm on 20 August 2020

Latest - Two New Zealand tennis players have been included in the entry list for the US Open next month.

John Peers and Michael Venus

Peers and Venus Photo: Photosport

Former French Open champion Michael Venus and his Australian partner John Peers have been included along with Marcus Daniell and his Austrian partner Phillipp Oswald.

Each doubles draw this year will consist of 32 teams, comprised of 28 direct entries and four wild-card teams.

A third New Zealander Artem Sitak and his Slovakian partner Igor Zalenay are currently the sixth alternates.

Meanwhile American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, the most successful doubles pair in the history of tennis, were not on the entry list, raising the prospect that the 42-year-old twins may have chosen to end their professional careers.

Playing almost exclusively with each other throughout their 25-year careers, the Bryans captured a professional era record 119 titles, including 16 Grand Slam wins, 39 ATP Masters 1000s and the ATP Finals title four times.


Bayern into another final

Bayern Munich winger Serge Gnabry scored twice in 15 minutes as the German champions beat Olympique Lyonnais 3-0 to reach the Champions League final and remain on course for a treble-winning season.

01 October 2019, Great Britain, London: Soccer: Champions League, Tottenham Hotspur - FC Bayern Munich, Group stage, Group B, 2nd matchday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Serge Gnabry of FC Bayern Munich rejoices over his goal to 1:3. Photo: Matthias Balk/dpa

Serge Gnabry Photo: AFP

The Bavarians, who won the domestic league and Cup double and are unbeaten in all competitions in 2020, will now face Paris St Germain at Lisbon's Estadio da Luz on Sunday after the French champions booked their spot on Tuesday with a 3-0 victory over RB Leipzig.

Lyon, who had stunned heavyweights Juventus and Manchester City in the previous rounds, had the better chances in a lively start and also hit the post with Karl Toko Ekambi in the 17th minute.

But it was Bayern who scored first a minute later with their first real chance and Gnabry's sensational solo run and left-footed finish.

The Germany winger then bagged his ninth goal in nine Champions League games, firing in on the rebound from close range after a goalmouth scramble in the 33rd.

Bayern were far less dominant than in their 8-2 demolition of Barcelona in the quarter-finals last week, and Lyon wasted spurned more chances to get back in the game, but the Germans scored again with Robert Lewandowski's 88th minute header.

- Reuters

Phoenix's finals opponent confirmed

The Wellington Phoenix will play the Perth Glory in their A-League elimination final in Sydney on Saturday.

Jaushua Sotirio of the Phoenix in possession  with Kristian Popovic of the Glory looking to contest during the A-League match,  Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix at Bankwest Stadium, Wednesday 22nd July 2020 Copyright Photo: David Neilson / www.photosport.nz

Phoenix forward Jaushua Sotirio in action against the Glory in July Photo: Photosport Ltd 2020

The Glory have been confirmed as Wellington's opposition following the completion of the regular season.

Melbourne City's beaten Western United 3-1 in the final match of the restarted campaign to leave Western United fifth on the ladder and an elimination final date with the Brisbane Roar on Sunday.

The Phoenix have finished third on the table, six points behind Melbourne City.

It's Wellington's highest league finish in its 13 seasons.

The Phoenix beat Perth 2-1 in their last meeting last month.

It's Wellington's only win since the A-League restarted.

FIFA president cleared of wrongdoing

FIFA's independent ethics committee has cleared the organisation's president Gianni Infantino of any alleged breach of its code.

Fifa boss Gianni Infantino.


Swiss authorities last month decided to open criminal proceedings against Infantino to look into meetings between the head of world football's governing body and Swiss Attorney General Michael Lauber.

Lauber and Infantino have denied any wrongdoing.

"Based on the information available to date, no aspect of the conduct analysed constitutes a violation of the FIFA regulations," FIFA said in a statement, which noted it had received a complaint on June 21.

"...some aspects do not even fall within the provisions of the FIFA code of ethics, or justify the adoption of any kind of measure, including that of a provisional suspension."

FIFA has previously said that Swiss special prosecutor Stefan Keller, who opened the proceedings, has "presented no serious elements or legal basis for the opening of any investigation and lacks any detail as to the substance of the case".

- Reuters

Barcelona name new coach

Barcelona have appointed Ronald Koeman as their next coach, as the Catalans look to rebuild after their 8-2 thrashing by Bayern Munich in the Champions League last week.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 19: Barcelona's new Dutch coach Ronald Koeman poses during his official presentation at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on August 19, 2020. Adria Puig / Anadolu Agency

Photo: AFP

Koeman, who has left his role as manager of the Netherlands, has signed a two-year-deal with Barcelona, who sacked Quique Setien on Monday after he presided over the club's worst defeat ever in European competition and a first trophy-less season for the club since the 2007-08 campaign.

Koeman is dearly loved at Barca for his role in Johan Cruyff's hugely successful side known as the 'Dream Team' and for scoring the goal that delivered the club's first ever European Cup in 1992.

The defender later became the club's assistant coach before embarking on a career as a head coach, managing Dutch sides Ajax Amsterdam, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord plus Premier League sides Southampton and Everton and La Liga's Valencia.

Koeman has frequently been linked with the Barcelona job in the past, in spite of a somewhat patchy club record which included disappointing stints at Valencia and Everton.

But he worked wonders with the Dutch national team, leading them to 2019 UEFA Nations League final as well as earning qualification to the postponed European Championships after they had failed to reach Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

- Reuters

Chiefs duo leaving NZ

The Chiefs have bid sayonara to a couple of their 2020 squad members.

Michael Allardice. Waratahs vs Chiefs. Super Rugby round 6 match played at WIN Stadium, Wollongong NSW on Friday 6 March 2020. Photo Clay Cross / photosport.nz

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2020

Lock Michael Allardice and first-five Tiaan Falcon are both heading to Japan to play for Toyota Verblitz.

Allardice played 46 matches for the Chiefs and led the team in the absence of Sam Cane and Brodie Retallick during the 2019 Super Rugby season.

"It has been an absolute privilege for my family and I to be a part of the Chiefs organisation for the past six years," Allardice said.

"Having had the honour to pull on the jersey and share the field with some of the greats and play in front of such passionate Chiefs fans are memories I will cherish for years to come."

Falcon was limited to just four appearances for the Chiefs after making his debut in 2018.

Springboks hooker returning to Japan

South Africa hooker Malcolm Marx has signed for Japanese Top League side the Kubota Spears, returning to the country where he helped the Springboks lift the World Cup trophy last year.

2019 Rugby World Cup Final, International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan 2/11/2019
England vs South Africa
South Africa's RG Snyman and Malcolm Marx celebrate as England's Maro Itoje looks on dejected

Photo: INPHO/James Crombie

Marx opted out of his contract with the South African Super Rugby side the Lions in May, taking advantage of a 21-day window to cancel the deal and become a free agent after pay-cuts in the domestic game were introduced because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marx had a brief stint in Japan last season with NTT Communications Shining Arcs, the bulldozing hooker scoring five tries in six matches before the campaign was brought to a premature end.

The 26-year-old has 33 caps for the Boks, but lost his place in the starting line-up to Bongi Mbonambi at the World Cup. Marx has, however, expressed his desire to be part of the squad that is scheduled to take on the British & Irish Lions on home soil in July and August next year.

- Reuters

F1 teams sign up for new era

Formula One's 10 teams have committed to the sport's new era by signing up for the next five years with the promise of a more level playing field and fairer share of the revenues.

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes driver.


The confidential 'Concorde Agreement' with rights holders Liberty Media and governing FIA sets out the terms under which the teams race, and the old one had been due to expire at the end of the year.

Prize money is a major part of teams' revenues and has been a regular source of argument over the years with the leading contenders getting far more than smaller privately-owned outfits. "The (new) agreement will secure the long-term sustainable future for Formula One," the FIA said in a statement confirming all had signed.

The announcement ended lingering uncertainty about whether all would continue, with U.S.-owned Haas in particular considering their future after a tough 2019 season.

The sport had been due to introduce major rule changes next year to enable closer racing and cut the financial disparities but that was postponed to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit the sport hard.

A $145 million budget cap will be introduced in 2021, however, dropping to $140 million in 2022 and then $135 million for 2023-25.

- Reuters

New event to replace Rally Japan

Rally Japan has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic with Belgium replacing it as the final round of this year's world championship.

It will be the first time Belgium features on the championship calendar, with the Ypres-based event scheduled for Nov. 19-22 as the eighth round of a reduced and rescheduled season.

Japan had been due to make its return after a 10-year absence but organisers said the event had been called off due to border entry restriction policies imposed by the government in response to the pandemic.

Belgium will be the 34th country to hold a round of the championship and the rally's final leg will focus on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, with the final Power Stage featuring the Eau Rouge/Raidillon section of the Formula One track.

The next round of the championship is in Estonia, which makes its first appearance on the calendar on Sept. 4-6.

- Reuters

Ineos omit two of their Tour de France champions

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome and 2018 winner Geraint Thomas have been omitted from the Ineos Grenadiers squad for the 2020 edition in a major team shake-up on Wednesday.

Chris Froome.

Chris Froome. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Britons Froome and Thomas were below par in the Criterium du Dauphine, which serves as a form indicator ahead of the Tour.

The Tour starts on Aug. 29 from Nice.

Team manager Dave Brailsford brought in 2019 Giro d'Italia champion Richard Carapaz of Ecuador to help Colombian Egan Bernal retain his title.

"Egan will once again target the yellow jersey in France and we are very excited to give last year's Giro winner, Richard Carapaz, his debut in this year's Tour also," Brailsford said in a team statement.

Brailsford's decision completes the changes at the top of Ineos, placing the team's last two grand tour winners ahead of Froome and Thomas.

- Reuters

Four-time major champion withdraws from PGA Tour playoffs

World number seven Brooks Koepka's 2019-20 season has come to a close as he withdrew from this week's FedExCup playoff opener in Norton, Massachusetts.

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


Koepka, who has been battling hip and knee issues, was 97th on the season-long FedExCup points list and would have needed a good finish at this week's Northern Trust to finish inside the top 70 and advance to next week's BMW Championship.

The former world number one, who has two top-25 finishes in 13 starts this season, missed the cut at last week's Wyndham Championship where he said he was having difficulty getting over to his left side.

"This is physical," said Koepka. "I know how to do it, I can do it, I just physically can't do it."

Four-times major champion could still play in the Sept. 17-19 U.S. Open, which is part of the 2020-21 PGA Tour schedule after having been postponed from its original June date due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

- Reuters