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‘I’m saying goodbye’: Maria Sharapova announces tennis retirement

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, who announced her retirement from tennis on Wednesday, will be remembered in many corners of her sport with respect more than affection – and it will not worry her much at all.

The 32-year-old Russian who arrived in America from Sochi with her father in 1994 as refugees from the poison of Chernobyl – with $700 and not a word of English between them – won five grand slam titles and was ranked the highest earner in women’s sport for 11 years in a row. But it is her icy demeanour and failure to build on an early victory over Serena Williams that grab the imagination as much as those fine achievements.

Sharapova, who beat Williams to when just 17, then lost 20 of their following 21 matches, was never universally popular in the locker room. She cared little about courting popularity, but she had the professional respect of her rivals for her single-mindedness and fighting spirit. Petra Kvitova, who beat Sharapova to win Wimbledon in 2011, was one of her few rivals to give her warm praise on Wednesday, describing her as a, “big champion”.

The Czech, who was sidelined from tennis after a knife attack in her apartment in 2016 but has returned to the upper reaches of the game, : “I know how tough it is to come back and play. She has been injured a lot. Of course she wanted probably bigger success than … her body allowed her to have.” She added: “It was a pleasure to be with her on the tour, sharing the court with her. It was always great battles when we play together. So it’s been always nice to share the court with her and I do always have respect to her.”

More than most players on the tennis circuit, Sharapova divided opinion. There were many players who objected to her early return from a drugs ban in 2017, after she had . Sharapova, who protested her innocence, had her two-year ban cut to 15 months, but was never the same player in a comeback that stuttered from one disappointing setback to the next, on the court and off. Her last tournament win was in a low-ranked event in China three years ago.

Long-time problems with her serving shoulder recurred and, towards the end, she was losing to lesser players on a regular basis. There was a suspicion among some of her rivals and critics that she was playing merely for publicity to drive her many commr Kostas Manolas recognises they’re underdogs facing Lazio this weekend.Manolas admits Lazio are having an “extraordinary season”.“We’ll give everything we’ve got to pick up points. It’s a very complicated time for Napoli, but the only way out is tercial interests, although she claimed she played for the love of the game and the competition. That was certainly evident in her trademark screeching and her relentless pursuit of lost causes on court, mainly from the baseline and with a two-handed backhand that was among the best in tennis. She made the most of the weapons she had – including a powerful serve early in her career until injury struck on a regular basis – and was rarely found close to the net. Hers was a game of calculation rather than inspira the battle for exciting Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare.The youngster is rated among the best prospects emerging in French football.LOSC president Gerard Lopez is ready to sell land La Provence says a move to England is likely with United and Spution.

In her last match, a at the Australian Open in January, Sharapova was ranked 373 in the world, a long way from her five separate reigns as world No 1, the first of them in 2005. It was her third first-round exit from a major in a row.

However, five grand slam titles – encompassing all the four venues, on clay, grass and hardcourt – and career earnings of $38.7m tell a story of longevity and persistence, which Sharapova regarded as her greatest asset.

Her rivalry with the younger of the two Williams sister was fierce but doomed – and it defined Sharapova’s struggle. Their last encounter – in the first round of the 2019 US Open, when Sharapova needed pain killers to get on court and could win only two games – summed up the physical decline of the Russian.

“Behind closed doors, 30 minutes before taking the court, I had a procedure to numb my shoulder to get through the match,” , her chosen platform to confirm her retirement. “I’ve had multiple surgeries – once in 2008; another procedure last year – and s missing Champions League qualification is a frustrating blow.The Gunners missed their chance after being beaten by Chelsea in the Europa League final.Asked if it was painful to be in the Europa League again, Arsenal midfielder Xhaka said: “Yeah, of pent countless months in physical therapy. Just stepping on to the court that day felt like a final victory, when of course it should have been merely the first step toward victory. I share this not to garner pity, but to paint my new reality: My body had become a distraction.”

It always was. Sharapova regularly turned back questions about her looks as irrelevant, and protested that her many fashion shoots did not form the centrepiece of her career.

“Behind the photo shoots and the pretty tennis dresses, [the courts] exposed my imperfections – every wrinkle, every drop of sweat,” she wrote. “They tested my character, my will, my ability to channel my raw emotions into a place where they worked for me instead of against me. Between their lines, my vulnerabilities felt safe.”

My favourite game: Miami 10-13 NY Giants, Wembley’s first taste of NFL

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It was a night for raincoats and thermals at Wembley on 28 October 2007, not T-shirt and shorts; hot drinks not cold brewskis at the tailgate party for the sensible in the crowd of 81,176; and the sodden pitch, designed for football, cut up in seconds leaving huge divots and bad first impressions.

The only play worth highlighting was Eli Manning’s super slow-motion 10-yard run for New York’s only touchdown and the final score was barely relevant to most either. It was an event, with a capital E, V, E, N and T because this was the first regular-season game played outside North America, the culmination of decades of endeavour in the UK.

Channel 4 showed highlights – extraordinary to think these days but on a week delay – in 1982 and the late-night Super Bowl ritual was formed. A weekly American football newspaper, First Down, was produced, a domestic competition sprung up and there were pre-season American Bowl games at Wembley from 1986-1993. There were the heady days of the World League and the London Monarchs winning the first World Bowl in 1991, provoking semi-serious discussion of a game between them and the worst team of the 1990 NFL season, which, rather remarkably given the past 20-odd years, was New England.

It was all that and more. The late Sunday nights listening to the Armed Forces Network as its medium-wave signal faded in and out, whistling and crackling live commentaries. Then came weekly live games on TV every Sunday and Monday and the emergence of a market big enough to satisfy the NFL’s rapacious desire for yet more millions of dollars.

It was scarcely believable that here were two NFL teams, right in front of us with all the rigamarole and pageantry; at kick-off thousands of cameras lit up the dark sky. There were tears in the packed press boxes.

Those closer to the action were also in awe. David Tossell, of the NFL London office, told me: “Even when we first knew we were going to be staging the game it was pretty daunting, so the moment that always sticks with me was when The Feeling were performing the pre-game show and my boss and I looked around at the packed stands and turned to each other and said: international is on the radar of Fenerbahce, says Sky Italia.Khedira faces a battle for a place in Juve’s midfield under new coach Maurizio Sarri and has been told he can leave should he find the right club.A move to MLS has been mooted for the vete ‘Wow, we did it.’”

Things moved so quickly it was noticeable to the players. Osi Umenyiora, the former Giant, born in England and now an award-winning analyst for the BBC, said: “The crowd was amazing but I wasn’t sure how much they understood about what they were seeing. I really noticed a difference when I returned to play for the Atlanta Falcons.”

and the International Series, as it is now marketed, featured four games in London last year, two at Wembley and two at Tottenham’s new stadium with a pitch and dressing rooms installed especially for thn de Beek.Marca says United are trying to pry the Dutchman away from Los Blancos’ grasp with a last-ditch offer.Van de Beek expected to make the move to the Spanish capital last summer but, given that Real Madrid were unable to sell James Rodriguez ae sport. Every year talk of a franchise in London builds while the provoked the theory of every team playing once outside the US. That appears unlikely for now, as is fanciful talk of a Super Bowl being played in London.

On a micro level, in September the NFL AcadThe Molineux outfit recorded a brave 2-1 away win over Slovan Bratislava on Thursday, with Jimenez scoring the decisive penalty.He told BT Sport: “For me it’s always in my mind that I’m going to score. It’s my style of shooting penalty kicks, I’m nevemy opened in north London, giving young athletes the opportunity to combine full-time education with training from professional coaches. The aim is for the best to go to colleges in the US and, though a huge long shot, the NFL.

There is another lasting effect of this game that benefits all those who visit Wembley now. The stadium’s creaky infrastructure was overwhelmed that night and the NFL demanded major improvement. Thus, anyone who uses the wifi at Wembley can thank the NFL for the massive, free upgrade.

Charles Rogers, second overall pick in 2003 NFL draft, dies aged 38

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Charles Rogers, the wide receiver chosen second in the 2003 NFL draft after a prolific career at Michigan State University, has died aged 38.

The Detroit Free Press after a number of his former teammates on social media.

No cause of death has been reported, but several of his former coaches said .

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Charles Rogers,” the Lions said rsenal manager Unai Emery has admitted that losing the Europa League final is a blow for his team.The Gunners were routed 4-1 by Chelsea in a game where they never looked competitive.It means they will be unable to qualify for the UEFA Champions Leagin a statement Monday. “From Saginaw, to East Lansing, to Detroit, Charles’ connection to the state of Michigan and its football community was felt by many during the course of his life. We extend our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to his friends and family during this difficult time.”

Rogers set a school record with 27 career touchdowns that still stands at Michigan State despite playing only two seasons at the Lansing school, winning the Fred Biletnikoff award as the best college wide receiver in the nation during his junior season.

The 6ft 3in, 220lb star was chosen with the No 2 pick in the 2003 draft behind only Carson Palmer and almost immediately made good on his $9.1m signing bonus with the Lions, catching 22 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns in his first five professional games, but his rookie year was abruptly cut short when he broke his collarbone during a speed drill.

Rogers broke his collarbone again on the third play of the 2004 campaign, ending his second season. By the end of year three, he was out of football entirely, finishing with 36 receptions for 440 yards and three touchdowns in 15 appearances.

The Saginaw native was arrested at least six times from 2008-12 on charges ranging from assault and battery and probation violations to DUI, open container violations and marijuana possession.

In 2017, Rogers that he became addicted to Vicodin during his time with the Lions. He also said he smoked marijuana throughout his time in college and the pros.

“I am getting my life together. … A fresh start,” he said in that interview. “Do I need a little love? Yeah. Am I still trying to find Charles Rogers? Yeah. I stay optimistic and positive. I’ve been to hell and back, but I stay strong. I still have faith. I’m still a young man. It ain’t over. I’m going to be all right, you know? I’m going to be all right.”

Donham boss Harry Redknapp believes Paul Pogba could yet stay with Manchester United.Pogba continues to be linked with Real Madrid and Juventus.But Redknapp told Sky Sports, “I wouldn’t think they’ll take a loss – I think he is a great footballer.”Maybn Durrett, who coached Rodgers at Saginaw High School, told the Free Press he was the best athlete he’d any seen across spo confirmed the club is under an English Football League transfer embargo due to an unpaid tax bill, reports BBC Sport.The Shrimpers will owe £668,000 to HM Revenue and Customs by 11 March, with a further month “stacked up behind”.Sol Campbell’s siderts.

“I’ll tell you, he was – and I’m including Flint, too, since I coached at Flint Northern all those years – he’s the best athlete I ever seen. I mean, honestly,” Durett told the newspaper. “We’re talking about basketball, football and track together. He could have had a scholarship in all three sports. That’s how good. … I haven’t seen nobody that fast that could do it all. He was just a blessed athlete that could do it all.”

Jets raise eyebrows by appointing Gase after 23-26 record with rivals Miami

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The New York Jets stayed in the AFC East to find their new head coach. The former coach Adam Gase agreed on Wednesday night to take the Jets job, according to multiple reports.

The hiring ends a 10-day, wide-open search for New York, which met with seven other coaches about their vacancy, including Mike McCarthy, Kris Richard, Jim Caldwell, Eric Bieniemy, Todd Monken, Matt Rhule and Kliff Kingsbury, who took the Arizona Cardinals job.

Gase was 23-26 in three years with Miami, including a playoff game in the 2016 season, before being fired last week. He’ll remain in the AFC East, and face the Dolphins twice every regular season as a rival head coach. Gase replaces Todd Bowles, who was fired after he went 24-40 in four seasons and no playoff appearances. Gase is the Jets’ first hire with previous full-time hs sports director Fabio Paratici is convinced he can bring Paul Pogba to Turin – and for an affordable price.The Manchester United midfielder continues to be linked with Real Madrid, with agent Mino Raiola confirming they attempted to engineer a moveead coaching experience since Bill Parcells’ three-year tenure from 1997-99. The 40-year-old is also the first offensive-focused coach since Rich Kotite in 1996.

Gase will be tasked with furthering the development of quarterback Sam Darnold and helping New York snap an eight-year postseason drought. While he had control over personnel in Miami, Gase will work cloPortuguese duo Pedro Gonclaves and Joao Dias have left Wolves.Both players have joined newly-promoted Portuguese top flight club Famalicao on permanent deals.Gonclaves made his first-team debut last season and impressed mightily for the club’s U23 side.Dias struggled to make a similar impact after joining the club last summer.sely in New York with general manager Mike Maccagnan, who was retained by team chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson, to put together a competitive roster around Darnold. The Jets are expected to have around $100m in salary cap space this offseason, and will be very active in free agency.

Those factors combined, Johnson insisted leading into the team’s search, made the Jets an attractive spot for a head coach to land. “If you can make it here, you’re a freakin’ legend,” Johnson said. “That counts for something.”

Gase was fired after this season as part of an organizational shake-up after the Dolphins finished 7-9 anr United need to sign a midfielder leader like Bryan Robson.The 46-year-old has struggled to make a huge impact in the transfer market, although Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have been welcome additions.And Solskjaer admits he needs to find anotd missed the playoffs for the 15th time in 17 years. There were also questions about whether Gase had lost the support of some players. Miami ranked 31st in the NFL in offense, a franchise worst, and 29th in defense, allowing a franchise-record 6,257 yards this season.

Gase’s Dolphins were particularly good in one-score games, going 7-1 in those situations this season and 20-6 in three years. Their record in games decided by more than one score was 3-20, including 0-8 this season. Miami also lost their last seven games on the road.

The hiring was met with some trepidation from frustrated Jets fans, many of whom were pulling for McCarthy, Monken or Rhule to be hired to turn the franchise around and end a Super Bowl drought that’s 50 years and counting.

Saracens front an American gold rush still seeking the nugget of success

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The American gold rush is showing no signs of slowing down. Last week the Champions Cup organisers were the latest to announce plans to plant a flag on American soil, the Pro14 is casting a covetous eye Stateside, the Six Nations and the British & Irish Lions too. Ireland return to Chicago this autumn, having largely based their bid to host the 2023 World Cup on a promise to break America.

The list goes on: in June, the Sevens World Cup took place in San Francisco in July and in the immediate aftermath, World Rugby encouraged the USA to bid for the 2027 World Cup. Premiership Rugby solidified its relationship at the start of this season when Gallagherce James says he grew up a Blues supporter.The 20-year-old has excelled since returning to west London after a spell on loan with Wigan Athletic.Discussing growing up with siblings Josh and Lauren, he told Chelsea magazine: “We all used to play every took over as its title sponsor. The American market, it seems, is considered an endless source of riches.

Look a little closer and the pitfalls of rugby’s search for Sutter’s Mill are all too evident. Wales’s victory over the Springboks was a washout. The Sevens World Cup generated huge revenues but considerable losses for USA Rugby, which has undergone an overhaul amid the financial plight of its commercial arm, Rugby International Marketing, in which the Rugby Football Union and were investors. There is always a danger of killing the golden goose.

All of which Sport says an offer worth £8.9million has been lodged to commence the bidding on Benrahma.Brentford are braced for a number of clubs showing an interest in the 23-year-old Algerian.In his first year at Griffin Park, Benrahma smashed 11 goals and 17 brings us to the Stoop. Harlequins play Saracens at 7.30 on Saturday night as the first Premiership match to be screened live on NBC’s main channel. There will no matcA coach. The club announced the decision midday Monday. Franc Artiga, from Juvenil B, takes over the role.Valdes’s dismissal was a widely known ‘secret’ since Friday. The coach had an argument with Patrick Kluivert, the head of youth football and thah staged in the US this season, despite a four-year deal agreed last May – the next is likely to be in 2020 – so this is Rugby’s day in the sun. A chance to cement its place in the American landscape.

Ordinarily Premiership Rugby is shown on NBC Sports or Gold service but Saturday’s match is the first club fixture on free-to-air TV in the US. It will be shown at 2.30pm ET and the hope is that – with NBC demonstrating a commitment to broadcasting rugby, having acquired Six Nations and World Cup rights – viewing figures back up the optimism that abounds. “It’s a massive opportunity for us to cast a wider net,” says the New York-born former England international since 2016. “We’ve had a good two-year base, growing our ex-pat, traditional audience but now we have the opportunity to showcase the Premiership brand to a wide audience and pull in new fans – that’s our big emphasis here.”

This is a big deal for Premiership Rugby because of the huge reach NBC possesses – 116 million homes according to the former Bath, Leicester and USA No 8 Dan Lyle, who broadcasts alongside Corbisiero. On both a domestic and international level, administrators have talked plenty recently about unlocking commercial opportunities and unquestionably, this is a shop window for Premiership Rugby. “It’s about organic growth but we’re hoping it will accelerate our curve a little bit and the proof will be in the coming weeks,” says Lyle, the director of the promoter AEG Rugby. “Hopefully, if we get good numbers we can have more windows in the future.”

Rugby may have been identified as the fast-growing team sport in the US but it must be said that short-termism, and with it attempts to make a quick buck, have hindered progress. As Corbisiero says: “If you look in the past, there are some examples where people have been guilty of that but when you’re starting in a market from scratch, there is no best practice or the right way to do it. Sometimes we’ve had to make some mistakes and experience growing pains to get where we are now.”

Premiership Rugby says it is in for the long haul. If its success is to measured by attendances at matches hosted in New York (2016) and Philadelphia (2017) it has been a failure but Dom Hayes, the Premiership Rugby commercial director, argues otherwise. “We’ve tried to be the opposite of the flash in the pan scenario,” he says. “In Philly, everyone focuses on the crowd size but in the week leading up to that we had coaching programmes up and down the eastern seaboard and referee groups coming in to share expertise and best practice. We’re at the very beginning of the journey.”

The quality of the product will determine how well it sells and another try-fest on Saturday, in keeping with the start to the season, should help. “People recognise who are as the defending champions,” Corbisiero says. “There’s almost a Patriots-esque vibe to them. It’s a great story to tell.” There are few better placed to tell it, provided the audience is listening.

Canelo Álvarez edges Gennady Golovkin by majority decision in epic sequel

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The Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez scored the signature win of his career in Saturday night’s long-awaited rematch with , capturing the WBC and WBA middleweight titles by a majority decision in a classic encounter that all but guarantees a third installment in May.

Two of the finest pure fighters of their generation treated a sellout crowd of 21,965 at the T-Mobile Arena to a contest of extreme physical and psychological intensity that managed even to surpass their , which ended in a widely derided split draw. This one was just as close and not entirely beyond dispute, merely flecked by controversy rather than defined by it. Ringside judges Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld scored it 115-113 to Álvarez, while Glenn Feldman had it 114-114. (The Guardian 116-112 to Golovkin.)

Álvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs), the popular red-haired puncher from Guadalajara, now adds Golovkin’s belts at 160lbs to the lineal middleweight title he earned .

“I showed my victory with facts,” the 29-year-old Álvarez said afterward through an interpreter. “He was the one who was backing up. I feel satisfied because I gave a great fight. It was a clear victory.”

For Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), the razor-thin verdict marked his first defeat in 40 professional fights, the first at any level since the 2005 amateur world championships, and ended his division-record streak of 20 consecutive middleweight title defenses on level terms with Bernard Hopkins, who incidentally is a minor stakeholder in Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Álvarez. Afterward the 36-year-old from Kazakhstan, the sport’s longest tenured active champion no more, walked solemnly to the dressing room without remaining in the ring for the customary in-ring interview.

Their first clash, 364 days ago in the same building, had seen Golovkin spend the night methodically cutting off the ring with deft footwork while Álvarez fought off the ropes with varying results. But from Saturday night’s first bell the action took on a radically different geometry, playing out almost exclusively in the center of the ring with neith Javier Zanetti says the board are excited by their prospects under new coach Antonio Conte.The Argentine says it’s the beginning of a new era.Zanetti said, “He is a coach who knows Italian football well and has a lot of experience. “He is a winning er fighter’s back touching the edge even once until the middle rounds. Golovkin didn’t wait long to establish the jab as his weapon of choice, doubling and tripling it up early while refraining from the heavy-handed combinations that have been his calling card in a career which, until Saturday, saw him finish 34 of 39 fights inside the distance.

A highly tactical opening, with neither man backing down and so little to separate them, began to heat up in the second and third as the fighters started to open up and trade harder shots. Golovkin continued to score at will with the jab, but Álvarez’s varied attack appeared to move the Kazakh backward and keep him off balance while the Mexican’s educated combination punching laid bare the difference in hand speed.

Álvarez’s dedicated body work, which would come to yield dividends in the later rounds, was effective in stemming Golovkin’s offensive, yet the longtime middleweight champion absorbed his opponent’s bestJuventus coach Maurizio Sarri says Andrea Barzagli is proving crucial in the progress of Matthijs de Ligt.Having retired last season, Barzagli was added to Sarri’s coaching staff this term.He revealed: “Clearly, Barzagli is a precious resource for shots with little apparent effect. Both men were countering exquisitely in a series of skirmishes that took on the feel of bullet chess: this was expert-level work from two top operators.

A thudding uppercut by Golovkin rocked Álvarez early in the fourth, prompting a roar from the crowd. He followed it with three straight jabs, then made his opponent pay with a compact left followed by a right square in the stomach. Yet right when it seemed Golovkin was taking over, his work rate began to slow and Álvarez was right there to take advantage.

By the sixth and seventh Canelo was commanding the pace and geography of the two-way action even as Golovkin’s jab continued to score, negotiating inside with hooks to the body and combinations upstairs. They traded hellfire in the eighth, showing incredible punch resistance. But it was Golovkin who betrayed signs of fatigue near the end of the frame, breathing with his mouth open and stepping away from the exchanges with atypical consent. Álvarez moving backward landed a left hook flush on Golovkin’s jaw, followed by three more shots that whipped the partisan Mexican Independence Day audience into a frenzy. When the bell rang to signal the end of the eighth, Canelo appeared in command.

By then a cut opened had above Álvarez’s eye and he appeared to flag early in the ninth, but Golovkin soldiered through his exhaustion. Back and forth it went into the 10th, when Golovkin moved Canelo backward with a four-punch combination then briefly stunned his opponent with a right hand. Golovkin was landing the cleaner punches and by the 11th was on the clear attack, evoking the seek-and-destroy modus operundi that had become his signature, but Álvarez held his ground and refused to back down, never allowing the older champion to land without proper recompense.

Both fighters entered the final round with the belief the outcome was in doubt – correctly, as Canelo led by a slight 105-104 margin on all three cards – but it was Golovkin who demonstrated the stronger finishing kick, striking with a left hook and an uppercut to open the frame and pouring on the punishment as the crowd roared chants of “Tri-ple G! Tri-ple G!”, for the first time on the niea’s transfer ban was overturned on appeal on Friday.And the Chelsea-transfer-news-Man-Utd-Liverpool-Jadon-Sancho-January-Borussia-Dortmund”>Daily Express says Chelsea have put Sancho at the top of their January shopping list after their transfer banght not shouted down by the Canelo faithful. When the bell sounded the fighters embraced, then returned to their corners to await the official scores.

(If there was a controversy, it’s that Moretti and Weisfeld found a way to award the outcome-swinging 12th, as clear as Golovkin round as there was, to Álvarez.)

“I’m not going to say who won tonight, because the victory belongs to Canelo according to the judges,” Golovkin said after receiving eight stitches for a 5cm cut along his right eye. “I thought it was a very good fight for the fans, and very exciting. I thought I fought better than he did.”

Golovkin threw and landed with greater frequency on the night, connecting with 234 of 879 punches (26.6%), compared to 202 of 622 for Álvarez (32.5%). But the resolve and adaptability of the younger, primer Álvarez was enough to carry the day, if only by the slimmest of margins.

“I can’t complain, that’s what we have the judges for,” Abel Sanchez, Golovkin’s trainer, said. “We had a great fight, the one we expected the first time around. I had it close going into the 12th round. We had good judges who saw it from different angles. I can’t complain about the decision, but it’s close enough to warrant a third fight. Canelo fought a great fight.”

When asked if he would consider a third meeting, Golovkin, now twice denied what could or should have been the defining moment of a prolific career spent largely outside of the mainstream spotlight, was to the point.

“Under the right conditions, yes,” he said.

Álvarez didn’t back down from a third fight, where he would almost surely enter the favorite after playing the underdog role in the first two.

“That was a great fight, but in the end, it was a victory for Mexico,” Alvarez said. “And again, it was an opportunity, and I want to shout out to my opponent, the best in the sport of boxing. I am a great fighter, and I showed it tonight.

“If the people want another round, I’ll do it again.”

Celtics crush Cavaliers in Game 1 of NBA Eastern Conference finals

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Jaylen Brown had 23 points and eight rebounds, Marcus Morris added 21 points and 10 boards, and the Boston Celtics scorched the 108-83 on Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The Celtics ran off 17 consecutive points in the first quarter and never allowed the Cavaliers within single digits again. Boston led by 28 when Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue pulled LeBron James for good with 7:09 left. Kevin Love had 17 points and eight rebounds, and James finished with 15 points, nine assists and seven boards. The Cavaliers missed their first 14 three-point attempts of the game and shot just 32 percent in the first half.

By that time, Boston led 61-35 the biggest half-time playoff deficit in James’ career. With injured stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving on the bench in street clothes, the Celtics continued their stunning run this season with what may have been the most surprising turn of events yet. A year after dropping the first two games at home against Cleveland in a five-game East final, the Celtics pounced on James, and the favored Cavaliers were never really in it.

The Celtics took the floor to a hype video that began with the broadcast of Hayward’s injury in the first quarter of the first game, at Cleveland. A variety of commentators predicted the team’s demise, including Hall of Famer Charles Barkley saying: “Their season’s over.”

As more players went down to injury, the prophesies grew even gloomier. But there the Celtics were, back in the Eastern Conference finals against the Cavaliers for the second year in a row with Hayward, Irving, Daniel Theis and Shane Larkin all injured and coach Brad Stevens down to an eight-man rotation.

It was more than they needed.

Morris, starting in place ofncelotti has agreed a four-and-a-half-year deal that runs until the end of the 2023/24 season.He is attending today’s Premier League match against Arsenal at Goodison as a spectator prior to meeting the plgend Alan Shearer believes Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood is ready to be a regular starter.The 18 year-old struck in last night’s 4-1 win over the Toon last night.“The early signs that we’ve seen of Mason Greenwood have been exceptional.ayers and taking up his new role from Sunday. Aron Baynes, backed up his boast that he could cover James better than anyone except Kawhi Leonard and helped pester James into seven of Cleveland’s nine turnovers. (James had eight in the entire four-game, second-round sweep of the Raptors.)

Cleveland scored seven straight points early in the third and finished the quarter with six in a row to make it 78-64. But Boston made the first three baskets in the fourth and, after running off nine in a row to make it 96-68 with 7:0t to make an opening offer for Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff.The Mirror says United are ready to test Newcastle’s resolve to keep Longstaff by making a £30million bid for the midfielder.United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made Longstaf9 left, the Cavs conceded.

Game 2 is on Tuesday night in Boston.

Jon Jones stripped of UFC title after one-year doping ban upheld

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Jon Jones has been stripped of the interim light heavyweightenis Suarez.The playmaker grew up near Vigo and played for Celta’s academy until he joined Manchester City at the age of 16.Denis has signed a four-year deal at Balaidos, with Celta paying 12.9 million euros to Barcelona as well as 3.1 million euros championship after an arbitration panel denied his appeal of a positive test and upheld a doping ban that will run through July.

Widely considered the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter, Jones was pulled from a July bout against Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 shortly after news about the positive drug test.

Jones claimed to have taken a sexual-enhancement pill but ended up testing tner for the remainder of the 2019/20 season, reports, /.The agreement sees the Premier League club’s match highlights and content placed on the airline’s in-flight entertainment systems and its in-house magazine.The deal is worth around UK£250,000 positive for two banned anti-estrogen agents.

“Jon Jones has blown it in every way shape and form a guy with that much talent can blow it,” UFC president Dana White told ESPN. “Greatest talent ever and the biggest screw-up ever.”

The 29-year-old won the newly created interim title in April when he defeated Ovince St Preux at UFC 197.

The US Anti-Doping Agency, which handles UFC testing, declared Jones ineligible. He took the case to arbitration and that panel delivered the maximum one-year suspension, saying Jones’ “degree of fault verged on the reckless”.

Jones is eligible again on 7 July 2017.

UFC issued a statement saying it was aware of the one-year ban, which began on 6 July.

“While the decision indicates no evidence of Jones’ intentional use ootball are making sure you know all about how your loan players performed throughout the campaign. For this edition, we run our eye over Chelsea’s loanees.This group of loanees is especially important as Chelsea’s transfer ban should mean that they of banned substances, it does highlight the care and diligence that is required by athletes competing in the UFC to ensure that no prohibited substances enter their system,” the UFC statement says.

Ben Ryan on life after Rio: ‘Base Fiji team in Cornwall – they would love it there’

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There are still some flat earthers out there who think rugby at the Olympics is no big deal. That sevens players are just failed XVs merchants, that there is nothing for the abbreviated game to teach its big brother. They should spend a lunchtime hearing about the assorted offers Ben Ryan has received since his fabulous Fiji squad won their nation’s in Rio.

This week Ryan is in the United States offering consultancy advice to one of their highest-profile basketball sides. If there is a mutual attraction there is the potential of a permanent arrangement. Every self-respecting sevens team in the world has enquired about his availability. Rumour has it that Japan were ready to shower him with yen, with even New Zealanders speculating as to whether he should take over from Sir Gordon Tietjens.

En route back home to Brentford he stopped briefly in the US and encountered complete strangers in Austin and New York who insisted on buying him drinks. They had watched the Olympics on TV and wanted to say thank you to the ginger guru with the glasses. In addition to being honour and three acres of land, the island nation is also introducing a special seven dollar bill with his face on it. There is continuing interest being shown in the US and China in turning the extraordinary Fijian rags-to-riches story into a film. A Bob Marley-inspired remix – – is already out there.

Not bad for a 45-year-old former Newbury director of rugby who was let go from the Rugby Football Union in 2013 after a difference of opinion with the then elite rugby director Rob Andrew. So, as we sit in the hotel bar directly adjoining the RFU offices at Twickenham, how many offers has he had from Premiership clubs to sprinkle a little bit of South Sea stardust on their northern hemisphere skillsets? The answer is one tentative approach from a lower-ranked side seeking an attack coach, subsequently withdrawn because of budgetary constraints. Amid the debate about developing home-grown English coaches, the risk-averse instincts of their employers remains a major hurdle.

There has in fairness been interest from Pro12 teams and the possibility of assistant coach roles with a couple of Super Rugby franchises but Ryan, who has long wanted to return to XVs coaching in some capacity, is clearly wavering. Helping basketball to instil a rugby-style culture would be lucrative and professionally stimulating. “I might know nothing about basketball but I’m looking at relationships; whether they’re overcomplicating things. To be successful you have to play the long game, have good standards and stick with them.”

If the British and Irish Lions need an innovative skills coach next summer with a track record of beating New Zealand, they should look no further. Assuming, that is, the multifaceted Ryan is still available. What a waste it would be if one of England’s brighter coaches were to be lost to another sport at the peak of his powers.

The oenitez has opened the door to future return to Newcastle United.The Spaniard still sees a future for himself in English football.He said: “I expect to do well with Dalian Yifang and after that to come back to the UK.”I don’t know when. But you are alnly consolation is he would love to coach at another Olympics: “I’d like to give XVs a crack and I think I’m a better XVs coach but going to an was amazing. To know you can go to future Olympics is definitely a pull because it’s just another level. Having had success there shows you how global the Olympics is and how small rugby is by comparison.”

Whatever he does next, Ryan can sense the entire sport changing. Sevens may not transform the world but, as with Twenty20 cricket and Test matches, it has the potential to reshape the rugby landscape. “In 2023, if the guardians of the game are doing the right thing, the ball will be in play longer. The sport will be more athletic and it’ll mean you need multipositional players.” It is Ryan’s firm belief, for example, that Tom Mitchell and Dan Bibby, the playmaking energisers of GB’s sevens side, could play in any Super Rugby midfield; most Premiership XVs coaches would declare them too small. “The clubs look at sevens here and think: ‘We’ll send someone if they’re not very good or struggling to make it.’ That’s not the case in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa or Fiji. If it’s for inferior players why do people like Sonny Bill Williams struggle in sevens?”

There is much, much more. Ryan fears for the future of Fiji 15-a-side rugby if urgent measures are not taken by World Rugby to stem the exodus of players to foreign leagues and international squads. He believes there should be a Pacific Islands franchise in Super Rugby, as there now is for Argentina, to develop players, coaches and administrators alike. “Ask the players and the coaches if they would like a Pacific Islands franchise and they would say: ‘Yeah.’ But Super Rugby have been paying lip service to that idea for 20 years and it’s never happened. It needs World Rugby to say: ‘You’ve got to do this’ because that would be a game-changer. For the good of the game you don’t want Fiji getting worse at 15s and better at sevens. If Eddie Jones had 95% of his team not playing in England and he only had them once in a blue moon they wouldn’t be top of the tree. There’s no way.”

Alternatively, Ryan has an even more radical plan, albeit with some logistical hurdles. “If a Super Rugby franchise can’t happen, then transplanting a side into a domestic league in Europe – the Pro12 or the Premiership – would be the second option. Take a team of Fijian players, base them in Kent or Cornwall, and they would go. Look at somewhere like Cornwall. There isn’t a Premiership team and the islanders would love it there.”

So, reckons Ryan, would neutrals worldwide if rugby’s answer to the Harlem Globetrotters played together week in week out. “That’s how I explain it to Americans. It’s like the Harlem Globetors.PSG star Edinson Cavani has recently revealed that one of his dreams is to score a goal for Boca at La Bombonera like former Uruguayan striker Sergio Martinez.”Between River and Boca, I’m going for Boca,” Modric said on Un Metro Adelantado.”I prerotters but they’re in the NBA, winning games. It would be so exciting for the world game.”

Ryan has come a long way in every sense since his first meeting . If he is lured to basketball for a year or two and earns a truckload of dollars it could not happen to a nicer bloke. It would be even nicer to think that, one day, English rugby will wake up to the far-sighted coach right under its own nose.

Time to trust Slade as England No12?

England in Brighton, Eddie Jones’s seaside home from home. Short of relocating everyone back to Coogee Oval in Sydney’s eastern suburbs it is as close as you can get in the UK to the beachfront vibe he used to enjoy in his Randwick days. When it comes to identifying players at openside and inside-centre, however, recreating the grand old days of Wallaby plenty seems to be trickier. For whatever reason, Jones does not seem to be able to find many attack-minded English-reared 7s and 12s who fit his exacting criteria to play Test rugby in those positions. If Owen Farrell remains unavailable along with Manu Tuilagi, for example, will he trust Exeter’s Henry Slade at 12 or plump for the harder-running former league man Ben Te’o, regardless of the fact the latter has barely played this season following a concussion against Gloucester? A midfield of George Ford, Slade and either Jonathan Joseph or Elliot Daly would certainly cover plenty of creative bases, particularly with a powerful winger like Semesa Rokoduguni in the mix. Either way this is the autumn to take a closer look at England’s attacking options as opposed to playing safe.

All Blacks break the mould

People are talking about the All Blacks’ reserve XV being the second best te Napoli right back Elseid Hysaj.Spurs are reeling from the news that Juan Foyth will be out with an injury for several weeks.It leaves them short of defensive numbers, given the sale of Kieran Trippier earlier in the summer.Sky Sportssays a deal for am in the world. They may be right. What is beyond dispute is New Zealand, as the best sides do, are challenging the game’s supposed orthodoxies. When Argentina kicked off deep with 15 seconds left in the first half of Saturday’s 36-17 Test defeat in Buenos Aries, most teams would have caught the restart, taken the ball into contact and then booted it into Row Z to bring the first 40 minutes to a routine close.

Instead the All Blacks launched a thrilling attack from their own 22 that ended with a wonderful try for TJ Perenara. The sequence should be compulsory viewing for every age-group coach and player, not to mention a few Premiership ones.

Trailblazing NFL coach Dennis Green was far more than just a soundbite

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For many football fans, Dennis Green will be remembered for one thing. His when his Arizona Cardinals lost to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football is probably one of the 10 best coach blow-ups of all time. Most mentions of his name are quickly followed by the refrain: “The Bears are what we thought they were.”

riticising the players during their El Clasico defeat at Real Madrid.Quique Setien’s No2 is well known for his passionate style of management.Sarabia’s reactions on the bench throughout the match were caught by Movistar’s cameras.”He is doing nothing

But to recall Green, who , as a caricature from a video clip is unfair. He was far more than a guy who got mad after a nationally televised loss in a football game. He was an essential coach at an important time for the NFL. He made o has opened the door to a future move to Real Madrid.He was at the FIFA’s Best ceremony on Monday evening in Milan after being nominated for the Best FIFA Men’s coach award.It has been a poorly kept secret that Pochettino would be interested in a reone of the most cherished and lucrative destination jobs in professional sports – NFL head coach – a possibility for many African-American men who never thought such a chance was real.

Only two black men had ever coached an NFL team when the hired Green in 1992. One of those men, Fritz Pollard, was a player-coach in the 1920s. The other was Art Shell, who was hired by the Raiders in 1989. Unlike Shell, who lasted six seasons, Green became an institution in Minnesota, coaching there for a decade. He turned the Vikings into consistent winners, going to the playoffs in eight of those 10 seasons.

In January 1999, he narrowly missed becoming the first African-American coach to take a team to the Super Bowl when Vikings kicker Gary Anderson, who hadn’t missed a kick in two years, that would have sealed the NFC championship game. Two years later, his Vikings lost another conference title game, this time in New York.

He won’t be remembered as the most successful black coach. Both Tony Dungy and Mike Tomlin hargen Klopp admits winning the Club World Cup will mean much more to opponents Flamengo and Brazilian football fans than those in England.The German believes that Flamengo will be “treated as heroes” and enjoy ‘a proper party’ if they lift the trophy,ve won Super Bowls. But Green went 113-94 in his career, his record undercut by three years as coach of the then-moribund Cardinals. He won four NFC Central titles at a time when many owners and general managers were hesitant to hire black coaches. He may not have gone to that elusive Super Bowl as a head coach but he made it easier for men like Dungy, Tomlin, Jim Caldwell and Hue Jackson to be hired.

The NFL is a better place because of Dennis Green.

Part of his success was that he embraced 49ers coach Bill Walsh’s West Coast Offense, working with Walsh as an assistant after a failed run as head coach at Northwestern. For three years he was Jerry Rice’s position coach, taking the lessons of his work with Rice to Stanford where he was head coach for three seasons and then the Vikings where he managed Cris Carter and Randy Moss, helping turn both into NFL stars.

Instead, most people will think of Green and remember him shouting about the Bears. That was in the last season at Arizona, when the Cardinals’ dysfunction was in bloom. Hopefully he will be remembered for more than a video clip. He was a very good head coach at a time when football needed him to be one.

Thunder play ugly brilliantly as they shock Warriors in conference finals

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This year’s NBA playoffs have found their villain now, thumping into the title holders with frosty glares. The Oklahoma City Thunder became the bad guys of the postseason when what was probably Tim Duncan’s last championship run. And now they ao deciding where to go next.A Arsenal-wanted-Jose-Mourinho-Unai-Emery.html”>reported boardroom split regarding the club’s long-term direction is to blame for the paralysis as their shortlist gets longer, not shorter. It is an apt symbol of the chaos re trying to ruin the Golden State Warriors’ joy.

OKC swaggered onto the Warriors floor Monday night no longer the young, happy team of a few years back but gruff outsiders scarred by disappointments and looking to stomp on sunshine. There’s nothing fun about this Oklahoma City team. Almost an afterthought in Steph Curry’s Western Conference, the Thunder have remade themselves as a rugged spoiler of pretty basketball, ready to shove, elbow or wrestle their way to a victory. This is what makes them the most serious threat to the Warriors’ dance to a second straight title. They lug with them a world of resentment with nothing to lose ­­– a lethal combination in playoff basketball.

“I mean we hear it all the time, defense wins games,” Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant said in a leaden, passionless voice after the Thunder’s 108-102 victory over the Warriors in the first conference final game.

The team that was supposed to be the Warriors’ latest victim on their march to the next title will not go quietly. All those beautiful passes, skipping shots and delicate player movements that dazzled the this season do not impress a core of Oklahoma City players all these years on. The Thunder use words like “resilient” and “focus,” which usually fill the dreary, heavy talk of a team that looks at the playoffs as a long, tedious slog of games to be endured rather than won.

In Game 1 they forced Golden State to rush perfection. Their aggressive lunges at the ball forced the Warriors out of the precise and delicate pace. Passes were thrown a foot too far, shots were an inch too far to the left or right. The Warriors didn’t miss by much. But all the Thunder needed to turn a Golden State party into a seven-game war was nudge Curry (26 points on the night) and Klay Thompson (25) to shoot a couple of seconds too soon and from just the wrong angle. The Golden State machine broke down after that.

They are the antidote to the effortless brilliance that has been Golden State for nearly these last two seasons. If they are going to win they will win ugly and this is something they are more than fine with. That determination was never more obvious than in the fourth quarter as they fought their way to victory – at one point in the game they had been 14 points down to the Warriors. Durant picked up 26 points, including a crucial jumper with 30 seconds left, and Russell Westbrook scored 24 of his 27 in the second half.

“I mean what’s to celebrate?” Durant said of his team’s dour look after what should have been a momentous victory. “We didn’t win the championship.”

He did not smile.

concerned about losing Jurgen Klopp.The Reds manager is being tipped to replace Max Allegri at Juventus this summer.”We don’t really want to discuss his situation publicly, especially so close to the final,” Werner told the Liverpool Echo.”But I thinOnce the Thunder were the Warriors. Once Durant was Curry, a player who played as if he loved every minute he was on the court. to his postgame press conferences and . They were everybody’s darlings, the team the world wanted badly to win back.

Late on Monday night, long after Curry had dressed and left the arena, Durant lingered in the hall outside the Thunder locker room. He had on ripped jeans and a denim jacket. He didn’t wear a backpack. He didn’t look young and happy. He waited impatiently for Westbrooall Lane.The Daily Mail says McCabe has been told he will not be welcome at Bramall Lane if he fights the High Court ruling which awards full control of the club to his co-owner Prince Abdullah.McCabe, who has been on the board for more than 25 yearsk who was several steps behind and looked less like a fashion icon and more like someone out to walk the dog in an oversized orange sweatshirt. The Thunder have grown up into something far less fun but far more dangerous. They are forgotten and experienced and they know just how to make the Splash Brothers struggle to make everything look easy.

Defense wins games.

Who knew years ago this would become the mantra of Westbrook and Durant? But if they are to ever win a title together that is the stand they have to take. They never could win everything by being pretty but they might just take it all by playing ugly.

The new Thunder will never be as loveable as the boundless Warriors who skip passes through games with a splendid ease that can resemble a world-class soccer team.

“They didn’t make many mistakes on the defensive end which forced us into bad shots,” Curry said.

“Offensively we sucked,” Golden State’s Draymond Green said.

This was, of course, but just one game of a long series and the shots Curry took that looked dumb on Monday would have been brilliant had they fallen. He has a way of turning shots that no one should take into works of art. If two of those attempts that clunked of the rim and instead swished through the net we would be talking about another chapter in the never-ending Curry story.

But he didn’t make them and with seven turnovers, many on sloppy pass attempts over the Thunder’s formidable front court he fell into the trap set by the new Thunder, the one that will try to grind their way to a championship. In two weeks they have beaten the Spurs and the Warriors three times on their home courts which is as many times as San Antonio and Golden State lost at home all season.

After years of despair they have learned to deliver despair to others. Suddenly there is a threat to the Warriors. Few saw the Thunder coming.

St Louis confronts blight with proposal for $1bn investment in football stadium

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Inside the sprawling Peabody opera house, a stream of St Louis Rams fans made their impassioned cases on Tuesday that it was worth a $1bn-plus investment to build a new publicly subsidized stadium and keep their team in town.

“The thought of not having our Rams in St Louis anymore goes beyond sadness,” said Dan Palen, an emotional father of three who drove 225 miles to the meeting from his hometown of Springfield, .

In January, Rams owner E Stanley Kroenke announced plans to build a nearly $2bn stadium close to downtown Los Angeles, and abandon St Louis, where he maintains a year-to-year-lease. For nearly two hours, fans in a room of 1,500 who support an open-air stadium proposal they hoped would convince Kroenke to stay in town came to the podium one by one.

But the fan enthusiasm was punctured by a counter movement, who argue that a new stadium is the last thing St Louis can afford to spend public funds on, in what has now become the murder capital of the US.

“The stadium deal has already cost taxpayers over $6m,” Basmin Nadra said.

Nadra said the north side of St Louis has continued to struggle with deteriorating conditions – a beleaguered school district, violent crime and what she perceives as a lack of racial justice in the community.

The proposal – backed by Missouri’s governor and the city’s mayor – comes at a precarious time for St Louis. The city has been struck by a recent believed to be arsons; the region continues to reel from the community upheaval after 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in nearby Ferguson; and St Louis recently overtook Detroit as the highest homicide total per capita in the nation.

While Rams fans clamor to keep St Louis a football town, critics of stadium subsidies will be watching, as another US city attempts to use sports as an economic tool for revitalization.

Nationally, proposals to infuse public cash into new stadiums have come under fire for delivering questionable benefits in return for a mammoth public expenditure.

As the big-ticket deals became more commonplace over the last quarter-century, municipalities have persistently appropriated more funds in the name of sports – drawing the ire of activists, economists and even Barack Obama. The Obama administration’s budget this year called for reining in the use of tax-exempt bonds issued for stadiums, : the “current structuring of government bonds to finance sports facilities has shifted more of the costs and risks from the private owners to local residents and taxpayers in general.”

That general risk is what concerns St Louis comptroller Darlene Green, who’s tasked as a watchdog over city taxes. Following the release of the new finance plan for the project in St Louis, Green said the city would be forced to spend more than it currently does on the Edward Jones Dome, where the Rams have playeility of being a national team manager.Wenger is still searching for his next role after leaving the Gunners more than a year ago.He has admitted that international football is an option and that he may be present as a coach at the 2022 World Cup in d since 1995.

‘Fund schools, not football’

Inside Tuesday night’s fan meeting, the room turned tense as Nadra, a critic of the stadium proposal, questioned why officials were committing public money to the project withd in Holland that a deal is closed for the end of the season, with Van de Beek having agreed personal terms with Real Madrid, which will pay €55m for his transfer.However, after victory over Sparta Rotterdam, Van de Beek denied the claims.He statedout funding “40 years of neglect on the north side”.

“This isn’t the stage for that,” one fan shouted. “What made you so important?” went another, as jeers rained down from across the room.

Nadra continued. “Is the NFL interested in doing anything to promote the racial justice that has been misaligned here?”

Whatever the answer from NFL senior vice-president of public policy Cynthia Hogan may have been, few likely heard it. A group in the back had begun to chant: “If we don’t get it, shut it down,” while unveiling a banner that read “Fund Schools, Not Football.”

In response, the team’s fans repeatedly roared back: “Let’s go Rams.”

Nadra and her cohorts were escorted out of the room and almost arrested. As the group was whisked away, Deborah Castillo, a member of the group Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, said a man in the audience told her of the brief protest: “If I had known you were going to do that, I would have fucked you up.”

“As long as we’re speaking the truth,” Castillo said, “they’ll try to shut us down.”

Following a tense exchange with officers in Peabody’s lobby, an officer released the group out the front door and onto Market Street in downtown.

Nay’Chelle Harris, a St Louis resident who was briefly held by an officer in the lobby before walking free, said too many voices have been left out of the debate on the stadium.

“It was important for us to be here because there are a lot of experiences and opinions that aren’t being represented in this deal and its negotiation,” Harris said.

“Specifically, people who are developing the stadium keep using [the line]: ‘We are helping the people of color of the minority community in St Louis or helping the people on the north side.’ And yet I have not heard anything about a meaningful engagement with people on the north side.”

Time may be running out for St Louis to make a final decision on the stadium, but with an imminent vote by the city’s aldermanic board on whether to approve the public financing for the project, many questions remain unanswered – the least of which, perhaps surprisingly, is if Kroenke even wants the subsidized facility.

“A lot of other cities have found that having an NFL stadium does not help local economies,” said Harris. “It drains the city’s resources. And St Louis, as the world has seen, has a lot better things to do with its money than, as mayor Slay said, have a football team.”

‘The sweetest deal in the league’

From the outset, there were protests over the stadium deal, continuing through the summer after a judge voided a 2002 city ordinance calling for a public vote over the use of taxes for sports facilities.

“If you want your public money spent that way, OK, that’s the reason we had set up a public vote, so those people who felt that way could have a chance to go to the polls and vote,” said Fred Lindecke, a member of the coalition against public funding for stadiums, which supported the effort behind the ordinance.

A new bill to require a public vote was recently , after several said they received outraged calls from constituents about spending tax dollars on sports without their approval.

“If anything like that ever goes to a vote in the city or county it’s going to go down,” Lindecke said.

The debate over contributing public funds to a wealthy team owner isn’t foreign to Missouri.

Two decades ago, state and local officials cobbled together a plan to construct an NFL stadium – even before the city secured a home team.

Officials gave the Rams what some have called the “sweetest deal in the league”, charging low rent and agreeing to renovate the facility on an as-needed basis to ensure it remains in the “first tier” of the NFL. It seemed like a fair deal; whatever St Louis contributed – $6m annually– would be recouped by event-day taxes, officials said.

After a new contract dispute was settled by an arbitrator, the agreement became a year-to-year lease, freeing the Rams’ owner to consider other options.

“In fairness, our folks didn’t think they’d leave,” said Ray Hartmann, co-owner of St Louis Magazine and founder of the local alt-weekly Riverfront Times. The problem? The definition of “first-tier” vastly expanded as the number of new NFL stadiums proliferated in the intervening years.

So, last November, concerned by the prospect of losing the team, Missouri governor Jay Nixon appointed a taskforce to produce a plan for a new NFL stadium. The taskforce and some local officials are convinced the long-term deal would be fruitful for the city.

“I think St Louis is [deserving] of an NFL team, one of the cities most deserving of an NFL team,” said Lewis Reed, aldermanic president.

Though Reed is intent on his commitment to keep the Rams in the city, the 53-year-old also has concerns about the structure of the finances behind the deal.

“I think that’s where we’re at that point where we’re trying to strike that balance between public/private,” Reed said. “What’s reasonable to ask of the taxpayers, right? And, what basis are we building that on?”

The yearlong process has been fraught with legal challenges, amid concerns from local aldermen who believe St Louis is simply in no position to help finance another sports stadium.

According to the current financing proposal, the city would commit to pay increasing annual amounts from $4.5m to $9m – a virtual extension of its current obligation to the debt for the Edward Jones dome, totalling roughly $234m. The city would receive an average of 34% of game-day revenues, but the NFL team would keep the rest.

Without a deal, the city’s obligation would otherwise expire in the coming years, allowing those funds to be used elsewhere.

Supporters and opponents have battled over whether projections of game-day revenue at the new stadium versus other costs yield a net benefit to the city.

“Even with their high projections, it would put the city in a hole,” said Tom Shepard, chief of staff for Reed. When the final bill was unveiled late Wednesday, mayoral staffers told the St Louis Post-Dispatch that city revenues wouldn’t cover expenses – officials said St Louis would pay $6m in the first year, but receive only about $2m in tax revenue on game days – but they believe the initial revenue generated by the construction of the stadium would offset any shortfall.

Compounding concerns is the well of evidence that sports stadiums fail to yield positive results for a local economy.

Roger Noll, an economics professor at Stanford University who has written about tax breaks for stadiums, said a $200m subsidy – currently about what the city is expected to pay – is better than “the norm” of $400m.

“On the other hand, that is a fairly large amount for a city of just over 300,000,” Noll said. “A city resident should ask whether having an NFL team is worth $2,000 per household.”

Rather than using money to fund a stadium that is traditionally perceived to boost a city’s economy, some economists have said it would be better used on public infrastructure or education, despite the civic pride that comes with a professional sports franchise. And studies have suggested cities wouldn’t be financially devastated by the loss of a professional sports team, as fans simply tend to spend their money elsewhere on entertainment in town.

In St Louis, alderman Antonio French took aim at the plan with other city needs in mind.

“The city currently pays $6m a year for the dome stadium,” French, who didn’t respond to requests for comment, tweeted last week. “That ends in 2021, freeing up that money. $6m would pay for 120 new cops.”

A promise of ‘revitalization’

Stadium backers see the financial obligation as a risk worth taking. The proposed site for the new stadium is situated along the Mississippi River, an area some officials view as blighted and wholly underused.

The location touches three wards, and “two of them are heavily African American”, said Maurice Green, the alderman board’s director of community affairs.

“With the unemployment rate of African American males in those areas, we have the opportunity to [create an] impact … where the people in that area have to have a job; you have to hire those people to develop the stadium,” Green said.

“There’s nothing in that area right now – and it would be a total revitalization.”

The premise that the Riverfront would be revitalized almost instantaneously thanks to a $1bn investment is “specious” at best, said Michael Allen, director of the St Louis-based Preservation Research Office.

“There is no other state-driven proposal to spend [$1bn] on an alternative plan for the riverfront,” Allen said. “So it’s not as if the city has even had the opportunity to weigh the merits of two or three different approaches to the site.”

He added: “The condition of the Riverfront as underpean is far down the pecking order at the Cherries, which is why he wants a move done before September 2.The European transfer window is still open, meaning Begovic could move to a club outside England for regular first team football. He has only playerforming, as undesirable, is rhetorical justification for the expenditure. And this happens with major development projects.”

One of the businesses in the project’s footprint is Shady Jack’s, an internationally known biker bar. Owner Jack Larrison said he supports the plan, as “St Louis needs something.”

“If Lewis and Clark came down the river, they’d know exactly where they landed last time because nothing’s changed,” Larrison said. Despite the praise, the grizzled, lanky native of St Louis believes a public investment should produce benefits for the entire city.

“Maybe it might be good for all of us,” he said, “but it’s definitely going to be good for a handful of people.”

On Friday, the board of aldermen will vote on whether to support the stadium proposal. If 15 of 28 members vote in support, the decision will move to the NFL, where Kroenke will need the support of 24 team owners to move the Rams elsewhere.

The NFL has several alternatives. A proposal to house the Rams at Kroenke’s stadium in Inglewood, California, may be considered by NFL owners, along with another privately funded stadium in Carson, California, where the owners of the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders want to share a location.

“You’ve got to remember, we’re probably not going to get a team anyway,” said Hartmann. “We’ve spent a tremendous amount of emotional energy on this, and it’s still a long shot.”

NCAA Tournament 2015: Wichita State roll past Kansas as No7 beats No2

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No wonder Kansas never wants anything to do with Wichita State.

Behind another steady performance from Fred VanVleet and the hot shooting of Evan Wessel, the No7 seed Shockers rolled past the second-seeded Jayhawks 78-65 on Sunday, earning a trip to the Sweet 16 at the expense of the school that has caused them so much chagrin.

Tekele Cocht.Former City skipper Vincent Kompany became player-manager at the Belgian club in May and Sandler will be able to continue learning from one of Europe’s best defenders on a daily basis.He passed a medical yesterday ahead of the two clubs confirmintton led the way with 19 points for the Shockers (30-4). VanVleet finished with 17 aken aim at the Premier League’s foreign managers.Allardyce, 65, has been out of management since 2018, when he left Everton as the Toffees turned to Marco Silva.It was a similarWilliam Saliba’s agent has been spotted in the UK.The Saint-Etienne defender is being targeted by Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City.The Mirror says his agent Djibril Niang posted a photo on Instagram at the Ivy Asia in Manchester.The Ligue 1 outfit rate 18-year-old Saliba at £26M. tale at Crystal Palace in his previous job, having kept the Eagles in thnd Wessel hit four three-pointers to score 12, sending the Missouri Valley champions to Cleveland for the Midwest Regional semi-final against third-seeded Notre Dame.

Devonte’ Graham and Perry Ellis had 17 points each, and Frank Mason added 16 for the Jayhawks (27-9), who blew an early eight-point lead and never really threatened in the second half.

Pittsburgh Pirates: picture of militant in team’s hat ‘absolutely sickening’

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The released a strongly worded statement distancing themselves from the Islamic State after a photo surfaced of Mohammed Emwazi – the knife-wielding militant known as ‘Jihadi John’ – wearing a cap with the team’s inswoe-is-me stuff. If Romelu Lukaku maintains this approach at Inter Milan, he’s not going to last long.In context, there is a rationale to his complaints. In his two seasons with Manchester United, Lukaku was barracked by a section of the support. He ignia.

Sky News published a photo on Friday of Emwazi obtained from University of Westminster student recordsanchester City hero Micah Richards has questioned the importance of the Manchester derby after Sunday’s defeat at Manchester United.Richards, who played for City between 2005 and 2015, expressed his concerns for City who showed a lack of hunger for m in which the 26-year-old is wearing a Pirates hat.

“It is absolutely sickening to everyone within the Pirates organization, and to our great fans, to see this murderer wearing a Pirates cap in this old photo,” the team said in a statement issued from their spring training camp in Bradenton, Florida.

“The classic gold P stands for Pittsburgh and is worn by our players, coaches and fans with a great sense of pride.”

The Guardian that Emwazi was Jihadi Jing Juventus and Barcelona.Both have made an offer of a professional contract to the young defender, says Sport.Lacroix is an U17 international with France and is training with the Metz first team, even though he hasn’t signed an official contract yeohn, the masked man who has beheaded several Western hostages in a series of gruesome videos widely disseminated online.

The name was first published Thursday morning .

-time World Cup winner Cafu, who lifted ­domestic

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starter suffered a during his first rehab start June 4, .com reports. Treatment for Hudson will be determined after an evaluation with Dr. James Andrews, but the tear likely indicates the end of his 2013 season. Hudson was workWatford will face Ajax and Bayer Leverkusen over preseason, according to reports.Sports broadcasting network ESPN have published the fixtures on their television schedule.However, the Hornets have yet to confirm the matches.The first match will be played against Ajax on July 18 and the Leverkusen match is scheduled for July 20.ing his way back from Tommy John surgery to repair the same UCL.

More News ee Charnley has been impressed with Steve Bruce this season.Bruce stepped in for Rafa Benitez in the summer and has guided Toon to 10th place on the Premier League table after 16 games.When asked about Bruce’s progress Charnley said – via the Chronic 03/01/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 02/24/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 01/06/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 10/16/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 10/12/2019 • by RotoWire Staff Arsenal are out of the EFL Trophy after their penalty shootout win against Cambridge United.The Gunners went into the game knowing they could not reach the knockout stages regardless of the result after a draw (and penalty shootout defeat) to Northam 10/11/2019 • by RotoWire Staff