Was Infantino just too busy to get involved in freeing Hakeem al-Araibi? | Marina Hyde

Fifa has a new human rights policy, yet its president appears to have been too caught up with other things to help out a footballer jailed under false pretencesTo the Middle East, where Fifa’s brilliant plan to bring peace via the medium of football continues apace. Last month, Qatar’s extraordinary win in the Asian Cup was noisily welcomed by Fifa, presumably as retrospective justification for its decision to award the tiny Gulf state the 2022 World Cup. And in some of the regional countries currently blockading Qatar, the headlines on news coverage of the final show just how close the whole peace-dream is to becoming a reality. Which is to say, not very close, if they still can’t mention the match winner in a match report. As the UAE’s Gulf News had it: “Japan come up short in Asian Cup final.” That said, it did have two articles about the final. The headline on the other was: “The Samurai’s extra confidence caused their loss.” Related: Privileged sport officials willing to sacrifice Hakeem al-Araibi's life should be expunged | Craig Foster Continue reading...

17-02-2019

European roundup: Barcelona edge to win; Pizarro is oldest Bundesliga scorer

• Lionel Messi penalty enough for leaders against Valladolid• Pizarro breaks record with last-gasp goal for Werder BremenA first-half penalty from Lionel Messi was enough to give Barcelona a 1-0 victory over Real Valladolid to preserve their comfortable lead at the top of La Liga. Valladolid goalkeeper Jordi Masip had an excellent game against his former club and saved another penalty from Messi on 85 minutes. Related: Sportswashing and the tangled web of Europe's biggest clubs Continue reading...

17-02-2019

Rachel Morris: Paralympic cycling and rowing champion targets skiing

Paralympic cycling and rowing champion Rachel Morris starts her quest for a third sporting success on the snow.

17-02-2019

Matti Nykänen, the Flying Finn who fell so far, so fast | Andy Bull

The ski-jumper, who won five Olympic medals, had an otherworldly talent but not the sense, or support, he needed to cope with the fame it won himMatti Nykänen used to fly so far, so fast that it felt as if he would never come down. When the Finn broke the world ski jump record for the fifth, and final, time at Planica in 1985 he was moving so quickly that the cameraman struggled to track him through the air.Watching the footage you wonder if he might disappear into the yonder off the far side of the screen. In those days, the mid-1980s, Nykänen was the best ski jumper in the world and almost unbeatable. The records were the least of it. He won five world titles, five Olympic medals, including three golds in one Games, and four World Cups. Continue reading...

17-02-2019

Matt Kuchar apologises to temporary caddie and agrees to pay $50,000

• David Ortiz helped Kuchar win £1.3m at Mayakoba Golf Classic• World No 22 previously defended decision to pay Ortiz $5,000Matt Kuchar has issued an apology and said he will pay a temporary caddie in full following his victory in the Mayakoba Golf Classic last November.Kuchar, 40, this week defended his decision to pay $5,000 (£3,900) to a local caddie, David Ortiz, who had stepped in for his regular one, John Wood. Continue reading...

17-02-2019

Root joins Murray and Southgate in standing up for social tolerance | Tim de Lisle

England captain has done cricket a great service – his reaction to a perceived homophobic remark was cool, calm, collected … and rightCricketers call it sledging, or chirping: the business of trying to undermine your opponent with verbal abuse. It’s a dismal habit that shows us sport at its most small-minded and should have been banned long ago. But this week it has done the world a favour.In the Test in St Lucia, the West Indies bowler Shannon Gabriel was bad-mouthing the England captain, Joe Root. What Gabriel said the stump microphone did not catch but it did bring us Root’s reply: “Don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay.” Continue reading...

17-02-2019

Sports quiz of the week: a birthday present, a record and a whiskey cup

Who wants a miracle? Who needs a drink? Who ran the world?What did Susannah Gill achieve in 24 hours, 19 minutes and nine seconds?She rowed from Botany Bay to Belfast She cycled from Asia to AfricaShe ran seven marathons across seven continents in seven daysShe swam from England to FranceNeymar celebrated his 27th birthday this week. In his speech at his party, what did the PSG forward say he wanted as a present?For his teammates “to stop losing without me” To move back to Spain A new metatarsal To become “the Tom Brady of soccer”Where is the Centenary Quaich being contested this weekend?DublinEdinburghLondon Chicago53% of households in New Orleans watched the Super Bowl last year. Why did that figure fall to 26% this year?People listened to the radio instead as Barack Obama was doing guest commentary Fans boycotted because a dubious refereeing decision ruled out their team Donald Trump was in the city so people were out protesting The main broadcast company mistakenly sold rights to New Zealand rather than New OrleansIn which of these leagues has one of the teams not lost yet this season?Bundesliga La Liga Ligue 1 Premier League Serie AAnd which league has a team who have not drawn a game yet this season?BundesligaLa Liga Ligue 1Premier League Serie A What world record did golfer James Nitties equal this week at the Vic Open in Australia?He went 18 straight tournaments without dropping a shot He hit nine birdies in a row He missed the cut at a tournament for the 21st time in a row He lost 10 balls on one roundWhy did Newport County goalkeeper Joe Day sprint off the pitch at the final whistle after his team had beaten Middlesbrough in the FA Cup?To brush his hair and "look smart" for the post-match interviewsHe was “absolutely busting for a number two”He is a Middlesbrough fan and “felt a bit teary”To see his partner, who was in labourDulwich Hamlet signed Simon Bloch Jørgensen this week. What makes Jørgensen stand out?He plays as a goalkeeper but refuses to wear gloves He is the tallest professional footballer playing in EnglandHe wears glasses while playing He insists on wearing a shirt with no branding or sponsorship PSG play Manchester United in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Which of these footballers has not played for both teams?Gabriel Heinze Ángel Di María Zlatan Ibrahimovic Ray Wilkins Laurent Blanc David Beckham It’s the Madrid derby this weekend, which pits Diego Simeone against Santiago Solari, the sixth different Real Madrid manager he has faced while in charge of Atlético. Who did Simeone face in his first Madrid derby as a manager?Rafa BenítezFabio Capello José MourinhoCarlo AncelottiWhich of the last-16 ties features two clubs that have won the competition three times in a row?Manchester United v PSGAtlético Madrid v JuventusLiverpool v Bayern MunichAjax v Real Madrid 11 and above.You've done very well there. Good work. Have a super weekend12 and above.You've done very, very well there. Good work. Have a super weekend1 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun2 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun3 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun4 and above.You've done OK there. Not great but certainly OK5 and above.You've done OK there. Not great but certainly OK6 and above.You've done OK there. Not great but certainly OK7 and above.You've done well there. Good work. Have a super weekend8 and above.You've done well there. Good work. Have a super weekend9 and above.You've done well there. Good work. Have a super weekend0 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun10 and above.You've done very well there. Good work. Have a super weekend Continue reading...

17-02-2019

FA Cup: Brighton 2-1 Derby highlights

Watch highlights as Brighton & Hove Albion hold on to beat Derby County in the FA Cup fifth round, despite Ashley Cole's first FA Cup goal.

17-02-2019

Talking Horses: rhythm for Al Dancer at Ascot plus Saturday’s best bets

The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained unbeaten hurdler looked to have plenty more to offer when he won at CheltenhamA slightly reduced version of the Betfair Handicap Hurdle will be the main betting race on Ascot’s excellent card and it is hard to escape the claims of Al Dancer (3.20). From the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard that had a winner with its first runner back after racing restarted this week, he is unbeaten over hurdles and looked highly progressive when scoring at Cheltenham in December.That was his handicap debut and even a 12lb hike in the ratings may not stop him. Getaway Trump is a talented opponent but may find this too much of a test of speed. Continue reading...

17-02-2019

Phil Foden ‘brilliant’ for Manchester City against Newport, says Pep Guardiola

• Manager praises 18-year-old’s influence in hard-fought win• ‘He’s a player who is ready – ready to play’Pep Guardiola praised Phil Foden for producing a “brilliant” performance against Newport County after the 18-year-old scored twice to help Manchester City reach the quarter-finals. Leroy Sané and Riyad Mahrez scored the other goals as the Premier League champions won 4-1 to break Newport’s brave resistance. Related: Sané and Foden send City through as dogged Newport are finally downed Continue reading...

17-02-2019

The Breakdown | Bold England are contenders for World Cup but don’t write off Ireland

Eddie Jones’s positive selection and tactics in Dublin showed his side have hunger and desire, while Joe Schmidt’s team have overcome adversity beforeEddie Jones has been around long enough to appreciate that destiny lies at the end of a road blighted with potholes and misleading signposts. After his greatest triumph on Saturday he was gracious in victory, 11 months after he had been booed by some home supporters at Twickenham after Ireland had secured the Grand Slam there.“They are a top team,” he said of Ireland, the world’s form country in 2018 who had been systematically taken apart by England. And they are. Just as England found last year after two years of barely uninterrupted success under Jones, nothing feeds the appetite of an ambitious team like a setback. Continue reading...

17-02-2019

Mauricio Pochettino: Spurs can win 'every single game' in the Champions League – video

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes his side's league form since December shows they can beat "any team" in the Champions League, as Spurs prepare for the first leg of their last 16 clash with Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.Spurs ready for Champions League and Dortmund – then a much-needed break Continue reading...

17-02-2019

The Fiver | Unfit to face inferior players who have hardly run a lap since Christmas

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!Buoyed, cheered and generally heartened by the sight of Tottenham Hotspur piling some Big Cup hurt on German league leaders Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night, Arsenal fans can look forward to some fun of their own when their team goes toe to toe with the works team of a tractor factory in Belarus tonight in Euro Vase. Bate Borisov are the opposition in the first knockout round and while most of their players are unknown outside their native country, there will at least be one recognisable face among the ranks. Continue reading...

17-02-2019

Sri Lanka beat South Africa: Kusal Perera hits 153 not out in one-wicket win

Kusal Perera hits an unbeaten 153 as Sri Lanka chase 304 to claim a stunning one-wicket win over South Africa in the first Test in Durban.

17-02-2019

The NFL's Kaepernick settlement should just be the start of making amends | Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Hopefully the league can now support the values of the US constitution rather than pandering to those who mistake parochialism for patriotismIn one of my favorite sports movies, Vision Quest, the varsity wrestling coach tells his students they can challenge the best wrestler in any weight class if they want to take his place.“Fairest thing in the world,” he smugly tells them. As soon as one kid raises his hand to make that challenge, the coach quickly dismisses the team, pulls him aside, and says: “You’re out of your mind!” Continue reading...

17-02-2019

Sports quiz of the week: managers, money, metal medals and monikers

Who defied his age? Who scored quickly? Who made a packet? Matt Kuchar earned $1.3m in prize money for his victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. How much did the golfer pay his caddie?$5,000$130,000 $300,000 $1.3m Why does Anthony Joshua’s next opponent, Jarrell Miller, go by the nickname “Big Baby”? He takes a cuddly toy with him wherever he goesHe weighed 10 pounds at birthHis first opponent called him that before the opening bell – and was quickly knocked outHe lost a betJoshua is fighting Miller on 1 June. Which other sporting event is taking place that night?The last game of the Six Nations The Cricket World Cup final The men’s singles final at WimbledonThe Champions League finalWho scored a hat-trick in 30 minutes this week?Sergio Agüero Eden Hazard Roberto Firmino Jonny MayPaul Scholes made his managerial debut this week. Which footballer announced his retirement on the day Scholes made his playing debut way back in 1994?Bryan Robson Gary LinekerDiego Maradona Glenn Hoddle Gordon Banks, who died this week aged 81, is most famous for winning the World Cup with England in 1966. In which country did he play his last game as a professional footballer in 1977?Republic of IrelandEgyptCanada UruguayDeclan Rice says he wants to play for the England football team. Why has his decision gone down badly with some Irish supporters?He grew up in Northern Ireland and played for their Under-21 team He was born in the Republic of Ireland He has already played three matches for the Republic of IrelandHe was in the Republic of Ireland squad for Euro 2016 but didn't playThe organisers of next year’s Olympics in Tokyo say the medals will be made from…Metals mined from below the stadium in Tokyo Old phones and computersShipwrecks found off the Japanese coastMetal found in the Acropolis in Athens Where is the best team in the southern hemisphere meeting the best team in the northern hemisphere this weekend?Wellington WichitaWiganWinnipegMatthijs de Ligt captained Ajax against Real Madrid this week in the Champions League. What is remarkable about that?He only made his debut in August He has already signed to play for Real Madrid next season He is still a teenagerHis brother captained the team in their previous match 1 and above.Nine wrong answers in a multiple-choice format. Impressive2 and above.Eight wrong answers in a multiple-choice format. Impressive3 and above.Chin up. There's always next week4 and above.Chin up. There's always next week5 and above.That's a fine score. Well played6 and above.That's a fine score. Well played7 and above.That's a fine score. Well played. 8 and above.That's a super score. Well played9 and above.You star. Have a great weekend0 and above.Ten wrong answers in a multiple-choice format. Impressive10 and above.You legend. Have a great weekend Continue reading...

17-02-2019

'Rugby's like a chessboard with 120kg pieces' - how virtual reality could transform training

Painstaking research, virtual reality and holding the tackle bags in training... an insight into how a top rugby analyst operates.

17-02-2019