In Brief

Sport shorts: Lando Norris wins a landslide in F1 rookie fan vote and Steven Gerrard extends Rangers contract

Ten things from the world of sport on Friday 13 December

1. F1 fans vote Lando as top rookie  

Boris Johnson is not the only person in Britain celebrating a landslide victory in the polls.

McLaren driver Lando Norris has also come out on top with a 76% share of fan votes in the Formula 1 rookie of the year poll.

Norris took top spot with 66,240 votes (76%), ahead of Red Bull’s Alex Albon (13,582 votes; 16%) in second and Williams’s George Russell (7,100 votes; 8%) in third. 

Albon was crowned the FIA’s rookie of the year at the official ceremony in Paris, but it’s Norris who F1 fans have voted for. 

2. Vettel seat up for grabs in 2021 

Ferrari will continue with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc as their driver line-up next season, but the future of Vettel in Formula 1 post-2020 looks in doubt. 

In recent weeks there has been speculation that Ferrari could make a move for world champion Lewis Hamilton in 2021. 

The Times says that the confirmed talks between the Italian team and the Mercedes driver could see Vettel’s “days numbered” in F1.

F1: Vettel’s future is in doubt - but Ferrari dismiss Verstappen move

3. Australia and NZ launch joint WWC bid 

The football associations and governments of Australia and New Zealand have backed an official joint bid to host the Fifa Women’s World Cup in 2023.

Richard Colbeck, Australia’s minister for youth and sport, said: “Australia and New Zealand have a successful history of both staging and co-hosting major international sporting events - most recently the Rugby League World Cup 2017 and the Cricket World Cup 2015.

“By hosting such a premier sporting event, we strengthen Australia’s reputation as a world leader in women’s sport.”

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4. Marijuana off MLB’s banned substance list 

Major League Baseball’s (MLB) governing body has announced that marijuana will be taken off the list of banned substances. The policy will come into effect in 2020.

5. Tahiti to host Paris 2024 surfing events 

The organisers of the 2024 Paris Olympics have confirmed that the French Polynesian island of Tahiti will host the Games’s surfing events. Tahiti is nearly 10,000 miles away from the host city. 

6. Wisemantel joins up with the Wallabies

Australia have appointed Scott Wisemantel as their new attack coach. The 49-year-old Aussie left his backroom staff role with England after the Rugby World Cup. Rugby Australia recently appointed Dave Rennie as the head coach of the Wallabies.

7. Five British teams into Europa League last 32

Arsenal, Celtic and Manchester United go into Monday’s Europa League last-32 draw as seeded teams after winning their groups. 

The 32 clubs will be divided into two pots with the first comprising the 12 group winners plus the four best third-placed teams from the Champions League. 

The second pot - containing Wolves and Rangers - will be the Europa League group runners-up plus four more teams dropping down from the Champions League.

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8. Gerrard extends Rangers contract

After leading Rangers to the last 32 of the Europa League it has been announced that manager Steven Gerrard has signed a contract extension with the Glasgow club until 2024. He said: “When [chairman] Dave King approached me about the possibility of extending my contract, it was a very easy decision to make because I’m very happy and feel that we are building something special together at the club.”

9. Man Utd shun Pochettino to support Solskjaer

Rumours of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s imminent departure at Old Trafford are wide of the mark, says The Sun, with the paper claiming that the Manchester United board are ready to stand by their man. 

Ever since Mauricio Pochettino was sacked by Tottenham last month, there has been fevered speculation in the media that he would head north to take charge of the Red Devils.

Not true, claims the Sun, which says that the chances of Pochettino becoming United’s new manager are “diminishing by the day”

10. Pep out, Poch in at Man City? 

Could Mauricio Pochettino be a target for the blue side of Manchester?

The Daily Mail reports that Pep Guardiola has a “secret release clause” in his contract at Manchester City and could leave the Premier League champions at the end of the season. 

It’s claimed City’s board “remain admirers” of former Tottenham head coach Pochettino.

Today’s back pages

Pep Guardiola’s ‘secret release clause’ in Man City contract and Liverpool pull off a ‘Mina coup’

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