Daily Briefing

Today’s back pages: flame flickers on Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Joe Cole says the Premier League should start from scratch

A round-up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 23 March

Olympics under threat

“The flame flickers” is the headline in the Independent, one of several papers to devote its back page to the fate of this summer’s Olympic Games. 

The paper says that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will make a decision on whether to scrub the Tokyo 2020 games within the next four weeks. 

The Times says the discussions will be extensive, and various scenarios are on the table, including rescheduling the games for a start date of 24 October instead of 24 July. 

The overnight news that Canada has become the first nation to withdraw from the games will only increase the pressure on the IOC to make a decisive announcement as soon as possible with some wanting the event to be staged in 2021.

IOC urged to make decision as Team Canada withdraws from Tokyo 2020

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Cole: restart the Prem

The Premier League last week vowed to finish the season in the summer, despite the current shutdown of international sport, but many of the papers report the comments of Joe Cole, who believes it would be in the best interests of everyone if football shut down until September. 

“If we can’t finish the season, and it’s getting close to the following season, the only situation which I think is fair is to just restart it,” said Cole, who is now employed as an academy coach with Chelsea. 

His words - reported by the Daily Mirror, Daily Star and the Daily Express - will alarm Liverpool fans, whose club are 25 points clear at the top of the table, but Cole - a former Red himself - believes that they may have to sacrifice their ambition in the greater interest. 

He added: “We’re in a situation where people have to be selfless in their lives and in football we need to lead the way. It’s going to benefit some clubs and others are going to be very upset but bigger things than football are at stake.”

Manny’s the man

Daily Star and the Daily Express report that boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is leading by example in the Philippines’s battle with coronavirus. 

The WBA super welterweight champion, now 41, is also a senator and in an interview with the Manila Bulletin newspaper he said he is “not afraid to die” in helping his people overcome the disease. 

Pacquiao has paid for 50,000 testing kits, 700,000 face masks, and donated five buses to transport health workers around Manila. He is also touring the streets to boost people’s morale. 

“If you are a leader, you have to be a front-liner,” he said. “You have to lead people and let people see that you are with them. I grew up poor. I know what they feel.”

Today’s sport headlines

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