9 Dec 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

11:43 am on 9 December 2020

Latest - A European Champions League football game has been abandoned after one of the match officials was accused of using a racial term towards one of the teams staff.

Official Premier League No Room For Racism plinth on display

Photo: PHOTO

The match between Paris St-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir was suspended 14 minutes into the game with the score 0-0.

Istanbul allege the fourth official from Romania used a racist term towards their assistant coach Pierre Webo.

The Istanbul players walked from field and were followed by the PSG players.

The game will be completed tomorrow and no matter what the result, PSG will qualify from the group along with Leipzig, who eliminated Manchester United with a 3-2 win in Germany.

Elsewhere Cristiano Ronaldo scored two penalties as Juventus out-classed Barcelona 3-0 at the Camp Nou to claim top spot in their group.

Already qualified Chelsea drew 1-1 with Russians Krasnodar at Stamford Bridge.


Rugby players claim brain damage caused by their sport

The former England rugby player Steve Thompson and seven other former players claim the sport has left them with permanent brain damage - and are in the process of starting a claim against the game's authorities for negligence.

England front row, L-R, Graham Rowntree, Steve Thompson, Phil Vickery. 2003.


Every member of the group has recently been diagnosed with the early signs of dementia, and they say repeated blows to the head are to blame.

Thompson, 42, played in every England match when they won the 2003 World Cup, but says: "I can't remember any of those games. It's frightening."

It is understood a letter of claim, amounting to millions of dollars in damages, will be sent next week to the governing bodies for English and Welsh rugby and World Rugby - and a group class action could follow.

It is the first legal move of its kind in world rugby and, if successful, could force change to the way the game is played.

Lawyers for the group suggest another 80 former players between the ages of 25 and 55 are showing symptoms and have serious concerns.


Barbarians banned

Thirteen Barbarians players, including New Zealander Sean Maitland have received bans for breaching Covid-19 protocols which led to the cancellation of the game against England in October.

New Zealand-born Scotland rugby player Sean Maitland.

Sean Maitland Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The breach arose when players left their hotel rooms and had dinner in a restaurant without the permission of organisers.

Alex Lewington, Fergus McFadden, Juan Pablo Socino, Chris Robshaw, Richard Wigglesworth and Jackson Wray were given five-week suspensions for leaving the team's biosecure bubble twice and giving a false account of events during the RFU investigation.

The three players who left the bubble only once, Maitland, Calum Clark and Tim Swinson, were given four-week suspensions, reduced from eight weeks as they accepted culpability along with other mitigating factors.

Joel Kpoku, Manu Vunipola and Tom de Glanville were given three-week suspensions, while Simon Kerrod received a two-week ban.


Australia avoid sweep

India captain Virat Kohli's breezy 85 went in vain as Australia prevailed by 12 runs in the final Twenty20 International to avoid a series whitewash at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Chasing 187 to sweep the three-match series, Kohli kept India in the hunt before falling in the penultimate over in the first full-capacity cricket match in Australia since the Covid-19 outbreak.

Both sides were guilty of sloppy fielding and poor catching and Kohli was one of the beneficiaries.

Earlier, Matthew Wade smashed a career-best 80 as he and Glenn Maxwell powered Australia to 186-5.

Australia had won the preceding ODI series 2-1.

The teams will now lock horns in a four-test series starting on 17 December at Adelaide.


Gerard Stokes dies

The former New Zealand rugby league player Gerard Stokes has died, he was 65.

Stokes, the father of England cricket international Ben Stokes, revealed in August he had been diagnosed with brain cancer.

Gerard Stokes played a game for New Zealand in 1982 before heading to Britain to play.

He took up coaching in Canterbury in the early ninties.

He later headed back to Britain to coach at Whitehaven and Workington.

Canterbury suffer first loss

Ford Trophy one day cricket leaders Canterbury have suffered their first loss of the campaign after Northern Districts won a last-over thriller, with one ball to spare, at Hagley Oval.

Northern chased down their target of 267 with three wickets to spare with Jeet Raval scoring a century.

The tight victory ensured that ND retained second spot on the table, one point behind Canterbury and one point ahead of Otago who beat Auckland by six wickets.

Rain prevented any play between central Districts and Wellington in Palmerston North.

Kenin named WTA player of the year

American Sofia Kenin has been named the WTA women's tennis Player of the Year after winning her maiden Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open.

American tennis player Sofia Kenin.


Kenin defeated World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in the semi-finals and twice Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza in the final to claim the title at Melbourne Park. Kenin also reached the French Open final and finished the season ranked a career-high No. 4.

The 22-year-old is the eighth American to win the WTA Player of the Year accolade, joining Serena Williams, Martina Navratilova, Lindsay Davenport, Tracy Austin, Chris Evert, Venus Williams and Jennifer Capriati.

Iga Swiatek, who became the first Polish player to win a Grand Slam singles title when she beat Kenin in the French Open final, was named the WTA's Most Improved Player of the Year.

Former world number one Victoria Azarenka was named WTA Comeback Player of the Year after she claimed her first title in over four years at the Western & Southern Open and advanced to her fifth career Grand Slam final at the U.S. Open. The Belarusian also regained her spot in the WTA Top 20.


Spithill to sail for USA in GP

America's Cup veteran Jimmy Spithill will lead the United States SailGP Team when the high-speed "foiling" catamaran championship resumes in April after a pandemic pause.

Spithill skippered Oracle Team USA for more than a decade, during which time he twice won the coveted America's Cup, before losing out to Team New Zealand in Bermuda in 2017.

"Having raced under the American flag for a significant part of my professional career, this opportunity is ... all about creating a pathway that allows us to identify, develop and train the best US talent," the Australian-born sailor, who lives in San Diego, California, said.

Spithill is currently part of the Luna Rossa team which is seeking to become the challenger for the 36th America's Cup which will be sailed in revolutionary foiling monohulls in Auckland in 2021.