In Brief

Today’s back pages: Phil Neville to leave Lionesses role next summer and rugby union is ‘too old and white’

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

Neville to quit Lionesses 

Several papers report that Phil Neville is set to leave his role as manager of the England women’s team in the summer of 2021. 

It’s expected that a formal announcement will be made today, but The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror and The Guardian all pre-empt the Football Association with the claim that the former Manchester United and Everton star will not sign another contract, thereby terminating his role that began in January 2018. 

The Guardian says that a new boss will therefore “take the reins for the European Championship in England in 2022”. 

The women’s tournament had initially been scheduled for 2021 but was put back 12 months to accommodate the rescheduled men’s Euros and the Olympics, both of which will now take place next year. 

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Rugby: pale, male and stale

Rugby union is “too old and white”. That’s the headline on the back page of The Times today. 

The words are attributed to Agustín Pichot, the Argentine who is running to become the chairman of World Rugby. 

His comments will be interpreted as a dig at the incumbent, 68-year-old Englishman Bill Beaumont, his rival in Sunday’s election to appoint a new chairman of the sport’s governing body. 

The main theme of Pichot’s election campaign is to make the sport more accessible, moving it away from what he sees as middle-aged white men. 

“You can see it in the prices you pay at Twickenham,” he said. “What happens to the young audience? They cannot buy a ticket. That kid from mini-rugby - how can that kid be engaged in the game?”

The vote is by secret electronic ballot on Sunday but the Times says the result won’t be announced until 12 May.

Wayne’s war

Wayne Rooney’s “wage war” is emblazoned across the back page of the Daily Mail with the paper claiming that the former England skipper is leading Derby County’s revolt against the plan to defer the squad’s wages by 50%. 

With football in financial crisis, clubs are asking players to defer their wages or take a pay cut, and the Mail says Derby’s board wants the Rams players to “forego half of their pay, which would be paid back at a later date”. 

But that is allegedly too much for Rooney, who has told chief executive officer Stephen Pearce that the squad are prepared to accept no more than a 25% pay cut. 

The Mail alleges that Rooney is taking advice from the Professional Footballers’ Association, which is “advising Championship players not to accept any more than 25% deferrals”.

Today’s sport headlines

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