Sports Shorts

WSL broadcast deal could mark ‘biggest moment’ in women’s football

News and reactions from the world of sport, including Eddie Jones’s future as England rugby head coach

1

Football 

Sky Sports and BBC to show WSL matches from next season

A new three-year broadcasting deal will see FA Women’s Super League (WSL) fixtures shown live on Sky Sports and the BBC from September.

Described as a “landmark” rights deal by the Football Association (FA), Sky Sports will show the top tier of women’s football for the first time with a minimum of 35 matches being screened across Sky Sports Main Event. The BBC will showcase 22 live games per season, with a minimum of 18 matches on mainstream, free-to-air channels, BBC One and BBC Two. Games not selected for broadcast by Sky Sports or the BBC will continue to be streamed live on The FA Player. 

Understood to be worth more than £7m-a-year, the deal will see women’s football receive its “biggest ever financial boost and unprecedented levels of exposure”, says The Telegraph’s Tom Garry. He believes it “could mark the biggest moment in the women’s game”.

“It’s a step change in the value of women’s football,” said Kathryn Swarbrick, the FA’s director of commercial and marketing. “This is a watershed moment.”

2

Rugby Union

What next for England and Jones after ‘calamitous’ Six Nations?

England’s 32-18 defeat in Dublin against Ireland means they finish fifth in the Six Nations standings - a year after winning the championship. 

Eddie Jones’s future as head coach is under scrutiny after a “calamitous and unacceptable” set of results. After winning just two matches, England boss Jones “must be held to account now”, says the Daily Mail’s Chris Foy. 

Jones, the world’s highest-paid rugby union coach, is facing “crunch talks” with Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney “as part of a review into England’s poor Six Nations campaign”, The Guardian reports. It’s understood that Jones’s contract contains a break clause.

3

Surfing 

El Salvador surfer killed by lightning strike

The international surfing community is in mourning after El Salvador’s top surfer Katherine Diaz was killed after being struck by lightning while training. The 22-year-old was preparing for May’s ISA World Surf Games in El Salvador, which will act as a qualifier for the Tokyo Olympics. 

The Salvadoran Surf Federation described Diaz as a “great warrior” while the International Surfing Association said “Katherine embodied the joy and energy that make surfing so special”.

4

Formula 1

Rosberg: four contenders for title 

Ex-Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg believes there will be four drivers in contention for this year’s world title. Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton is aiming for a record eighth world championship, but Rosberg believes that Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez will provide the main challenge along with Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

Speaking to Gazzetta Dello Sport Rosberg said “we are starting a season where for me there are four potential world championship winners, and that is very interesting”.

Verstappen is “so strong, he’s at Hamilton’s level now”, Rosberg added, but in terms of betting on the 2021 title winner the German says “stay on Hamilton, but a small amount on Verstappen as insurance is an idea”. 

5

Golf 

Koepka a doubt for The Masters

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka is a doubt for next month’s Masters after having surgery on his right knee last week. The first men’s golf major of the season takes place from 8-11 April but the 30-year-old American admits his participation could be out of his hands, Golfweek reports. “Whatever my body says, I’m going to listen,” he said. 

Koepka’s victory in February’s Waste Management Phoenix Open was his eighth on the PGA Tour. However, he has not competed since and is not scheduled to feature competitively ahead of the Masters at Augusta National. 

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