In Brief

Today’s back pages: ‘Covidiot’ Jack Grealish is fined by Aston Villa, Olympics confirmed, cricket stars face cuts

A round-up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 31 March

Grealish fined

A humbled Jack Grealish stares out on the back page of The Sun after the Aston Villa captain released a video in which he said he was “deeply embarrassed” after being filmed looking dishevelled at the scene of an accident on Sunday morning. 

The tabloid, which broke the story of his car crash on its front page yesterday, says that despite his contrition Grealish’s action could have put the kibosh on his proposed £70m move to Manchester United. 

The paper also says that “furious” Villa chiefs have slapped Grealish with a £100,000 fine, a figure that The Times claims is actually £150,000 and which will be donated to the University Hospitals Charity in Birmingham.

The paper says that Villa are “deeply disappointed” in the fact their skipper ignored government guidelines on the coronavirus lockdown, but adds that the police will be taking no further action.

Another sports star who features on most of the back pages is WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, who has had his boxing licence suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control after he uploaded a video online in which he gave tips to men about how to hit women. 

The Sun calls Saunders an “idiot” while the Daily Mirror opts for “brainless”, both apt descriptions of a boxer who has also issued a grovelling apology for his stupidity.

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Olympics confirmed, Wimbledon off?

Metro is one of several papers to report that the Tokyo Olympics - which had been scheduled to take place this summer - will now run from 23 July to 8 August 2021 with the Paralympic Games slated for 24 August to 5 September. 

The paper adds that as well as the Games being affected by the coronavirus pandemic, so has Wimbledon, with tennis chiefs set to announce the abandonment of this year’s tournament. 

According to German Tennis Federation vice-president Dirk Hordorff, Wimbledon organisers are meeting tomorrow to discuss the situation, but in a TV interview he said: “The necessary decisions have already been made there and Wimbledon will decide to cancel [on] Wednesday. There is no doubt about it. This is necessary in the current situation.” 

Whether the event will be rescheduled is unclear but being a grass tournament the window of opportunity is very slim and the probability is that there will be no Wimbledon in 2020.

Cricket cuts

Independent and Metro report that England cricket captain Joe Root is ready to take a pay cut as the sport faces up to a period of severe financial hardship. 

A “catastrophic reality” is how the Indy describes a situation in which a ball is unlikely to be bowled before June. 

In normal circumstances, the county season would be starting next week but instead the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is working out “how best to support their 18-team set-up along with other aspects of the professional and amateur game”. 

Root and England’s other international players are on Test central contracts worth as much as £600,000 a year. While white ball deals are worth up to around £275,000. 

On the question of pay cuts, Root said: “I’m sure at some point in the coming weeks there will be a discussion. But I’m also aware they are discussions that will take place between the PCA [Professional Cricketers’ Association] and the ECB. That’s not my area of expertise. 

“I think we just have to concentrate on making sure we are as fit and as ready to go as we can be for whenever we get back to playing cricket.”

Today’s sport headlines

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