In Brief

Sport shorts: Leeds legend Norman ‘Bites Yer Legs’ Hunter dies of coronavirus and Harry Kane hails Capt Tom Moore

Ten things from the world of sport on Friday 17 April

1. RIP Norman Hunter 

Leeds United legend Norman Hunter has died in hospital at the age of 76 after contracting the coronavirus. 

The former centre-back played 726 matches in 14 years for Leeds and also won 28 caps for England. Nicknamed “Bites Yer Legs” for his tough tackling, Hunter was a non-playing member of the 1966 World Cup-winning squad. 

A statement from the Elland Road club said: “Leeds United are devastated to learn of the passing of club icon Norman Hunter at the age of 76.

“He leaves a huge hole in the Leeds United family, his legacy will never be forgotten and our thoughts are with Norman’s family and friends at this very difficult time.”

2. Pivac: Wales players have had virus

Wales rugby union head coach Wayne Pivac says that “two or three” of the country’s senior players have had the coronavirus. 

The BBC reports that the 57-year-old did not reveal who the players were, but it’s understood they have since recovered. 

“It’s ripping through the communities here [in Wales],” Pivac told 1 NEWS in New Zealand. “At the moment we’ve had two or three cases that I’m aware of within our squad.”

3. August finals for Uefa competitions?

Uefa is striving to complete this season’s Champions League competition even if it means playing the final on 29 August.

According to BBC Sport, Istanbul will host the final (as was always the intention) with the Europa League final taking place in Gdansk on 26 August. 

European football’s governing body is scheduled to hold a video conference on 23 April in which the idea will be discussed in the context of the coronavirus crisis.

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4. Magpies deal done by 1 May 

Newcastle United’s new owners could be installed by 1 May, claims the Independent, with the paper reporting the £300m takeover is progressing smoothly and is expected to be finalised by the end of April. 

The takeover bid is led by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which will own 80% of the club, and the Indy says it does not anticipate any hold-up during the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test. 

Concerns have been raised by human rights group Amnesty that the takeover amounts to “sportswashing”, but the deal is expected to go through this month.

5. Back pages: Premier League deadlock

The Times describes the stand-off as “deadlock”, while The Guardian deploys “loggerheads”, but one thing is certain: the issue of Premier League players’ pay cuts just won’t go away.

A Premier League shareholders’ meeting will be held today and The Guardian says that also on the agenda is the “thorny issue” of the cut-off date for completing the season with many of the top-flight clubs adamant it has to end before 30 June otherwise a good number of their players will be out of contract.

6. Harry Kane hails Capt Tom

England football skipper Harry Kane is among the many sporting figures to praise Capt Tom Moore for his fundraising efforts. 

The 99-year-old has raised more than £18m for the NHS and Spurs striker Kane said: “Captain Tom Moore, I just want to say how proud I am, and the whole country are, of you right now. You’ve been a huge help to the NHS who really need it at this vital time. You’re a true inspiration, keep it going and I want to wish you all the best.”

7. Wifi rules out Anderson 

Gary Anderson won’t be playing in the inaugural Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) Home Tour because of a dodgy internet connection. 

The Scot, a two-time world champion, told The Sun: “I was up for it but when we did tests of my wifi, it’s just not reliable enough. It doesn’t surprise me. I struggle to pay bills online in my house, it’s really frustrating. I did want to take part. It would have been something different to try and win.”

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8. Vettel: consistency is key

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel says it does not matter how many races there are in this season’s Formula 1 world championship - drivers will still need to be consistent. 

The German said: “I don’t think it makes a big difference. A season is a season whether it has 10, 20 or 25 races; you still have to be the most consistent. In the end, the championship is the championship. With 10 races, there would still be a lot of things to get right.”

9. Daley-Mclean signs for Sale Women

Sale Sharks Women have signed England World Cup-winning captain Katy Daley-Mclean as a player-coach.

Sale will play in the women’s top division next season and 34-year-old Daley-Mclean said: “I’m really excited to join such a great club. And to be part of an ambitious women’s programme from the outset.”

10. Cricket in crisis 

With the Indian Premier League having been suspended until further notice, there could be further bad news on the horizon for cricket. 

The Daily Mail says that the England and Wales Cricket Board will meet next week to discuss the devastating impact of the coronavirus crisis. 

It’s expected that the upshot will be: 

  • the postponement of the Test series against the West Indies  
  • the cancellation of the inaugural Hundred tournament  
  • the rescheduling of the T20 Blast to the late summer 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––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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