7 Dec 2021

Today's sports news: What you need to know

11:32 am on 7 December 2021

Latest - Everton eased some of the pressure on manager Rafa Benitez as they ground out a comeback 2-1 home win over Arsenal in the Premier League.

Richarlison of Everton


Brazilian forward Richarlison, who had two goals scrapped for marginal offsides after VAR checks, levelled in the 79th minute after Demarai Gray hit the crossbar, cancelling out Martin Odegaard's first-half opener for the visitors.

Gray then hit a stunning strike in stoppage-time for the winner.

The outcome left Arsenal seventh on 23 points from 15 games while Everton, who announced yesterday that director of football Marcel Brands had left his position, rose to 12th on 18 points.


Another resignation at Cycling NZ

Another high profile staff member has left Cycling New Zealand.

René Wolff. Cycling NZ Sprint Coach

Rene Wolff Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Sprint coach Rene Wolff has resigned.

He is the third departure following the resignation of chief executive Jacques Landry and High Performance Director Martin Barras.

"Following discussions over recent weeks, Mr Wolff has told us that he wishes to finish up in his current position and leave New Zealand," said Cycling New Zealand Chief Executive Jacques Landry.

"We have started a search for his replacement, and hope to be able to fill the position by the start of the second quarter next year."

Fionn Cullinane, the current Assistant Sprint Coach, has been appointed Interim Head Sprint Coach.

Last month Cycling New Zealand revealed it breached rules over athlete selection while at the Tokyo Olympics.

The organistion is going through a review of their high performance programme following the death of rider Olivia Podmore.

Olesen in court for assualt

Danish golfer Thorbjorn Olesen grabbed a woman's breast and urinated on a first class seat after taking alcohol and sleeping pills on a British Airways flight from the United States to London in 2019, a court heard.

Danish golfer Thorbjorn Olesen.


The Ryder Cup winner denies charges of sexual assault, assault by beating and being drunk on an aircraft.

British media reporting the start of his trial said the court heard how the Dane, now 31, allegedly pushed a cabin crew member during the July 29 flight from Nashville to London's Heathrow airport.

Olesen, a five times European Tour winner, said he had no recollection of his behaviour on the flight he boarded after competing in the World Golf Championships-FedEx St Jude invitational in Memphis.

A woman, who cannnot be identified because she is an alleged victim of a sex offence, said in a statement Olesen grabbed her hand and began kissing it.

"He had his right hand around my back. He then grabbed my breast and moved his hand over my right breast. I felt shocked," the BBC quoted her as saying.

Back in his seat, Olesen woke up and urinated on another passenger's seat and aisle.

He was arrested on arrival and told police he had taken sleeping pills and five or six drinks to "knock himself out".


Shakib won't tour NZ

The Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan won't tour New Zealand in the New Year.

Shakib had said he wasn't keen to tour, but yesterday was named in the 18-member squad.

BCB president Nazmul Hassan claimed that Shakib only informed them "unofficially" of his reluctance to be on the tour, and hours later, Shakib reportedly had requested the board by handing over a letter officially.

This is the third time in 2021 that Shakib has skipped a tour for Bangladesh. He opted out of the white-ball tour of New Zealand in March due to paternity leave before missing the two Tests against Sri Lanka in April to play in the IPL.

Bangladesh is scheduled to leave later this week for the two-Test tour, part of the World Test Championship, beginning on New Year's Day.

The touring squad will undergo two-weeks quarintine on arrival in New Zealand before a couple of practice matches.

French players take top try awards

French players have scopped the best tries of the year at the World Rugby awards.

France's Damian Penaud scores a try.

Damian Penaud Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Damian Penaud's try against Scotland in the Six Nations and Emile Boulard's try against Wales have won their respective categories.

Luke Jacobson's try for the All Blacks against Argentina in the Rugby Championship was a nominee for the men's award.

Meanwhile Andrew Cole of Australia won the referee award.

Tomorrow the coach of the year will be announced with All Blacks mentor Ian Foster nominated, while Will Jordan is up for Breakthrough player of the year.

Gough to help out at Yorkshire

Yorkshire have appointed former England bowler Darren Gough as managing director on an interim basis to ensure stability, the club said after their coaching staff quit last week amid allegations of institutional racism.

Darren Gough during his playing days.

Darren Gough during his playing days Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Yorkshire said last week that director of cricket Martyn Moxon and coach Andrew Gale were among the members of the club who had left.

The departures followed allegations of racist abuse made by former player Azeem Rafiq, who is of Pakistani descent, with the 30-year-old saying he had contemplated suicide after he was made to feel like an outsider at Yorkshire.

Yorkshire said in a statement that Gough has been appointed initially until the end of the 2022 season, with overseeing the recruitment of a new coaching team being his first priority.

"Like many, I have followed how the club handled the recent racism allegations with sadness and anger," said Gough, who spent 15 years at Yorkshire across two spells and also captained the side.

The scandal had shaken English sport, cost Yorkshire sponsors and the right to host England internationals, and embroiled some of the biggest names in English cricket.


Ibrahimovic wants to stay in Milan

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic said he wants to stay at the Serie A club for the rest of his career, admitting he is "scared to stop" playing due to uncertainty as to what comes next after retirement.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic at AC Milan.


The 40-year-old Swede's current contract expires at the end of the season, but Ibrahimovic has no plans to hang up his boots just yet.

"I want to play as long as possible. As long as I have that adrenaline, I will continue," Ibrahimovic said.

"I don't know what will happen after football, so I am a little scared to stop. We'll see, but I want to continue playing so that I don't have any regrets."

Ibrahimovic was on the bench as Milan beat bottom side Salernitana 2-0 at the weekend to move one point clear at the top of the Serie A standings.

Stefano Pioli's side host Liverpool in the Champions League tomorrow, where only victory will do if they are to have any chance of reaching the last-16.


Perth won't host fifth test

The fifth test in the upcoming Ashes series between Australia and England will be moved from Perth to another venue because of the border controls in place in Western Australia.

Cricket Australia said attempts to negotiate conditions for the Jan. 14-18 match at Perth Stadium that would suit all parties had proved impossible and that discussions had begun over a replacement venue.

Western Australia has largely managed to keep COVID-19 out of the state with strict controls and it currently bans travellers from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia from crossing its border without undergoing 14 days quarantine.

The fourth test is scheduled to finish in the New South Wales capital of Sydney on Jan. 9, leaving insufficient time for the players to complete their period of isolation.

Hobart, which was scheduled to host a test against Afghanistan in November before it was postponed in the wake of the Taliban takeover of the country, is favourite to take over hosting rights for the fifth test.


49ers set for complete control of Leeds United

The San Francisco 49ers have an option to own 100% of Leeds United and Elland Road by January 2024.

Elland Road, Leeds.

Elland Road Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The investment arm of the NFL franchise, 49ers Enterprises, increased their stake in Leeds to 44% in November.

The deal to take total ownership could be worth almost a billion dollars.

Chairman Andrea Radrizzani remains the majority shareholder and his company Aser has the option to void the deal.

However, it is expected the 49ers will take control before January 2024 - though if the option was not activated both parties could continue working together as they have done since the 49ers initially bought a 10% share of the club in 2018.

Leeds are currently 14th in the Premier League after 15 games, having finished ninth last season in their first season back in the top flight since 2003-04.