Daily Briefing

The Decathlon: Tony Blair suggests football leagues should merge to keep UK together

Ten things from the world of sport on Wednesday 1 May

1. Blair: merge British football leagues

Former Labour prime minister Tony Blair has again suggested that a merger of the English, Scottish and Welsh football leagues could be a possible solution to keeping the United Kingdom together.

When discussing if a hard Brexit could push Scottish independence over the line Blair told The Scotsman: “People used to think it was a bit trivial when I used to say we should put the football leagues together.

“It’s just you need to find ways in which people are realising they have a lot in common, as well as space for the diversity of the UK. I’d do a lot more of that.”

2. Spurs still alive despite Ajax loss

Tottenham Hotspur will need to overcome a one-goal deficit after losing 1-0 against Ajax in the first leg of the Uefa Champions League semi-finals. Despite the defeat Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino remains defiant: “We are alive. It’s only 1-0 down. We need to believe we can go there and win the game.”

3. Suarez and Coutinho ready for the Reds

Barcelona stars Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho will face their former club Liverpool in tonight’s Champions League semi-final first leg at the Camp Nou. See our match preview for team news and predictions.

4. Payday for Wimbledon champions

The winners of this year’s men’s and women’s singles titles at Wimbledon will receive £2.35m in prizemoney - £100,000 more than in 2018. The BBC reports that the overall prize pot will increase by 11.8% to £38m.

5. Hales lost backing of team-mates

Alex Hales was dropped from the England Cricket World Cup squad when his team-mates refused to back him, The Daily Telegraph reports. The 30-year-old was dropped from all of England’s squads after failing a second test for recreational drug use.

6. Team Ineos makes debut

Cycling’s Team Ineos, formerly known as Team Sky, have had their first outing at the Tour de Romandie prologue. The BBC reports that Team Ineos will officially unveil their new colours on Wednesday.

7. Wallabies facing ‘player mutiny’ over Folau

The Guardian says Australian rugby is facing a potential “player mutiny” over Israel Folau. Wallabies hooker Taniela Tupou wrote on social media: “Seriously ?????????? Might as well sack me and all the other Pacific Islands rugby players around the world because we have the same Christian beliefs ?????? I will never apologise for my faith and what i believe in, religion had nothing to do with rugby anyways ???????? #TYJ”

8. Scotland could name new boss soon

The BBC reports that the Scottish Football Association could name a new manager within the next two weeks. Alex McLeish was sacked in April and among the candidates to replace him include former USA head coach Bruce Arena, Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes, Kilmarnock’s Steve Clarke and former Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes.

9. Gatland: Edwards must resolve future

Wales rugby head coach Warren Gatland has urged defence coach Shaun Edwards to clarify his future. Gatland told The Daily Telegraph: “If it does go on any longer then I think it would be a distraction. I have to be honest and say I’m sick of reading about it in the newspapers every day.”

10. Remembering Senna

Today marks the 25th anniversary of Ayrton Senna’s death. The Formula 1 icon was killed in a crash at the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola on 1 May 1994. Tributes are being paid to the Brazilian with F1’s official Twitter account hailing him a “Racer. Hero. Legend”.

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