Daily Briefing

Sport shorts: Joe Root gets Ashes motivation watching The Test on Amazon and Wimbledon looks set to be cancelled

Ten things from the world of sport on Tuesday 31 March

1. The Test motivates Root

England captain Joe Root has revealed that the Amazon Prime documentary about Australia’s cricket team is motivating him ahead of next year’s Ashes series. 

The Test docu-series on Amazon follows a “new era” for the Australian team and includes scenes of them retaining the Ashes last summer. 

Root told the BBC: “It’s been a good motivator to get back and train, use it as a way of incentivising myself. I resisted watching that for a good while. I’ve started watching the first few now.”

The next Ashes series will start down under in November 2021. Australia retained the urn following a 2-2 draw in England last year.

Best sports documentaries and TV shows to watch on Netflix and Amazon

2. Cricket stars face pay cut 

Joe Root is ready to take a pay cut as cricket faces up to a period of severe financial hardship. 

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

On the question of pay cuts, England skipper 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.”

3. Spurs cut non-playing staff wages

Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur have announced that 500 non-playing staff will have their pay cut by 20% as part of furlough measures to “protect jobs”, Sky Sports reports. 

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said: “The club’s operations have effectively ceased, some of our fans will have lost their jobs and most will be worried about their future.

“Yesterday, having already taken steps to reduce costs, we ourselves made the difficult decision - in order to protect jobs - to reduce the remuneration of all 550 non-playing directors and employees for April and May by 20% utilising, where appropriate, the Government’s furlough scheme. We shall continue to review this position.”

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4. Premier League planning May return?

The English Premier League could restart as early as May in order to finish the season by 12 July. 

In what it bills as an “exclusive”, the Daily Mail says that the EPL bosses have drawn up an “ambitious plan to restart the season behind closed doors on the first weekend of May”.

Their proposal will be examined in detail during a conference call of the 20 clubs on Friday.

5. Messi’s high praise for Mount 

Chelsea youngster Mason Mount has been backed to become a star by arguably the biggest star of all, Lionel Messi. 

Barcelona and Argentina captain Messi has partnered with Topps to produce an exclusive set of Champions League “Greatest Moments” football cards. One category of card is “youth of the rise” and this is where Mount is featured. 

Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi said of the Chelsea man: “Having watched him play he has the potential to be one of the best.”

The Wimbledon women’s and men’s singles trophies on display at Centre Court

Julian Finney/Getty Images

6. ‘No doubt’ Wimbledon will be cancelled

German Tennis Federation vice-president Dirk Hordorff says Wimbledon chiefs will announce tomorrow that this summer’s grass-court grand slam is cancelled. 

Hordorff 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.

7. Saunders has boxing licence suspended

WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders has had his boxing licence suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) after he uploaded a video online in which he gave tips to men about how to hit women. 

The BBBofC said: “We have suspended his boxer’s licence pending a hearing under the board’s misconduct regulation, at a time and venue to be confirmed as soon as possible.”

Saunders, who is due to fight Mexican star Canelo Alvarez this year, added: “I didn’t mean for anyone to get upset about it. There are people dying all around the world with coronavirus and I was just trying to take the heat off that a little bit. It clearly hasn’t done, my sense of humour is not everyone’s cup of tea.”

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8. Non-league clubs send open letter to the FA

BBC Sport reports that more than 100 non-league clubs have called on the English Football Association (FA) to reconsider its decision to expunge the season.  

All football below the National League’s three divisions is to end immediately but in an open letter the clubs say: “Our concern is grounded primarily in the needless and inexplicable haste exercised in reaching the decision, coupled with a total lack of substantive dialogue or consultation with affected clubs. 

“We believe it is unacceptable that such a decision has been handed down to us in this manner. We urgently seek constructive dialogue with the FA with the aim to have the decision reconsidered.”

9. Briatore: Max is better than Jos

Former F1 team boss Flavio Briatore has revealed that he would have preferred Max Verstappen driving for him instead of the Red Bull star’s father Jos. 

Verstappen senior drove for Benetton in 1994 and when asked by F1’s Beyond The Grid podcast if Max was better than his dad Briatore said: “No question. The name is the same, but the driver is completely different… I tell the father, ‘Jesus Christ, I wish I had your son in the car and not you!’”

Briatore: Hamilton and Verstappen are F1’s only two stars

10. Back pages: Grealish says sorry 

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. 

Today’s back pages

‘Covidiot’ Jack Grealish is fined by Aston Villa

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