In Brief

Sport shorts: Dana White plans to host UFC on a private island and Spurs fans urge club to reverse furlough decision

Ten things from the world of sport on Tuesday 7 April

1. White’s island plan for UFC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White says the sport will be “back up and running” by 18 April and UFC 249 will take place “somewhere on earth”. 

Events have been suspended because of the coronavirus lockdown, however, in an interview with TMZ Sports White revealed that he is working on hosting fights on a private island. 

He said: “I am a day or two away from securing a private island. I have a private island that I’ve secured; we’re getting the infrastructure put in now, so I’m gonna start doing the international fights, too. 

“With international fighters, because I won’t be able to get international fighters into the US, I have a private island that I’m gonna start flying them all in and doing international fights from there. So as of April 18, the UFC is back up and running.”

UFC 249’s main event will see Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje go head to head for the interim lightweight title.

2. Fifa World Cup: new bribe claims 

The Associated Press reports that prosecutors in New York have revealed new details of alleged bribes paid to Fifa executive committee members to gain their votes for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup. 

An indictment says former Conmebol president Nicolás Leoz and ex-Brazil federation president Ricardo Teixeira received bribes to vote for Qatar at the 2010 Fifa executive committee meeting.

Jack Warner, former president of Concacaf, is said to have received $5m (£4m) in bribes to vote for Russia to host the World Cup in 2018. 

3. NBA: no decision until May at earliest  

NBA commissioner Adam Silver says no decision can be made on the season until at least May.  

“Essentially what I’ve told my folks over the last week is we should just accept that at least for the month of April, we won’t be in a position to make any decisions,” said Silver. 

“I don’t think that necessarily means that, on May 1, we will be [in that position], but at least I know that just to settle everyone down a little bit.”

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4. Major reshuffle for golf 

Golf’s Open Championship is the latest sporting institution to fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic with tournament organisers announcing there will be no 2020 edition. 

It is the first time since the Second World War that there will be no British Open, and instead it will return to Royal St George’s in Sandwich in 2021.

Whether any of the majors will be completed this year remains unclear, although golf has rejigged its calendar in the hope that the other three majors will go ahead. 

The Masters, scheduled for this month, has been put back to 9-15 November, and the US PGA Championship is now due to take place from 3-9 August. 

The US Open at Winged Foot, New York, has been moved from June to 14-20 September, and will be followed a week later by the Ryder Cup, at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

5. Will Le Tour dates be moved?

One overseas sporting tradition that has so far avoided cancellation is cycling’s Tour de France. The event is scheduled to run from 27 June to 19 July, but that could soon change.

RMC Sport reports that Tour organisers are resigned to the fact that it’s unrealistic to keep to the existing dates because riders need two months’ preparation and that would mean a rapid relaxation of the lockdown rules in place in France and most other European countries. 

That is unlikely to happen before May so instead the relevant parties are in talks about staging the Tour from 25 July to 16 August, which represents a major logistical challenge given the nature of the race. 

6. Back pages: Liverpool reverse decision

One story dominates the back pages and that is the news that Liverpool have not only reversed their decision to put some non-playing staff on temporary leave but they have also issued a grovelling apology to fans. 

“We believe we came to the wrong conclusion last week and are truly sorry for that,” said the club’s chief executive Peter Moore, who added that Liverpool have “opted to find alternative means” to pay non-playing staff.

Today’s back page headlines 

Red-faced Liverpool make furlough U-turn

7. Spurs fans: club must listen to us  

Tottenham fans are urging chairman Daniel Levy to reverse the club’s decision to place non-playing staff on the government furlough scheme. 

In a statement the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust said: “We have been saying consistently @SpursOfficial - pause and rethink. We are now saying it clearly and in public - do not further damage the Club’s reputation, listen to your fans.”

Man City and Chelsea join race to sign Inter star Lautaro Martinez

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8. Guardiola’s mother dies from coronavirus

Pep Guardiola’s 82-year-old mother, Dolors Sala Carrio, has died after contracting coronavirus. 

Manchester City said in a statement: “Everyone associated with the club sends their most heartfelt sympathy at this most distressing time to Pep, his family and all their friends.” 

The Spaniard has already donated €1m (£920,000) to help fight the deadly virus, and, according to reports, he is now ready to accept a wage cut to ensure non-playing staff at Man City are not furloughed.

9. Walker’s England career over 

Kyle Walker’s England career is over after the Manchester City defender flouted lockdown rules by hosting a sex party in his flat. 

According to the Daily Mirror, Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate is allegedly “seething” at the antics of one of his more experienced players. 

The Mirror claims that Southgate “will not tolerate any players stepping out of line” and as a result Walker’s international career is finished.

10. Wolff slams ‘nonsense’ rumours 

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says rumours of a falling out with driver Lewis Hamilton are “total nonsense”. 

According to reports, six-time Formula 1 world champion Hamilton and Silver Arrows chief Wolff had clashed at the Australian Grand Prix over whether the season-opening race should have taken place amid the coronavirus crisis. 

However, in an interview with the Osterreich newspaper, Wolff dismissed the speculation.

He said: “Total nonsense! Lewis and I were in conversation every second in Australia, also on that night in which the cancellation occurred. We also speak to each other every other day. Our relationship is closer than ever.” 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 

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