In Brief

French Ligue 1 season is cancelled and Tokyo Olympic Games would be ‘scrapped’ if more delays

Ten things from the world of sport on Tuesday 28 April

1. French football season finished  

The 2019-20 season for French football’s Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 is cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced that no sporting events, even behind closed doors, will be permitted until September. 

He said: “The big sporting affairs cannot occur before September. The 2019-20 professional football season cannot return.”

Before the campaign was suspended reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain were on course to defend their title. PSG were top of Ligue 1 with 68 points from 27 matches while second-placed Marseille were on 56 points from 28 games.

2. Uefa want decisions made by 25 May

BBC Sport reports that European football leagues - including the Premier League - will have until 25 May to inform governing body Uefa if they want to complete or cancel their seasons. 

Uefa said: “Given the unforeseen and unprecedented situation, national associations and leagues are facing a situation whereby the completion of their domestic competitions may be at risk. In the event that a domestic competition is to be prematurely terminated for legitimate reasons, Uefa would require the national association to explain by 25 May.”

3. F1 to ‘bankroll’ British GP at Silverstone

The Guardian says the Formula One Group is expected to provide the financial backing to ensure that the British Grand Prix goes ahead now that there won’t be any revenue from fans. 

While there has been no official confirmation as yet, the Guardian has it on good authority that “the hosting fee is to be waived and that F1 will meet the costs incurred by the circuit, in effect renting it from its owners, the British Racing Drivers’ Club”.

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4. US tycoon ready to buy Newcastle

Newcastle United will be approached with a takeover bid by American media mogul Henry Mauriss if their sale to a Saudi Arabian consortium is rejected. 

The Daily Mirror claims that if the Saudi bid is rejected then Mauriss will step into the breach with a £350m offer. An associate close to Mauriss said: “He’s a charitable and honourable man - and is desperate to become Newcastle’s new owner. It’s a genuine bid.”

5. Rugby targets July return

England’s Premiership Rugby is aiming for a July restart in order to complete the 2019-20 season.

Sky Sports says the RFU is liaising with the Department for Culture Media and Sports (DCMS) and due to health and safety concerns, Premiership Rugby are drawing up plans to play games behind closed doors in bio-secure environments. 

6. Olympics would be ‘scrapped’ if more delays

Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori says the mega-event would be “scrapped” if it is unable to go ahead in 2021.

The 2020 Games were postponed for a year due to Covid-19 and when asked if there could be another delay, Mori said: “No. In that case, the Olympics will be scrapped. This Olympics would be much more valuable than any Olympics in the past if we could go ahead with it after winning this battle. We have to believe this, otherwise our hard work and efforts will not be rewarded.”

7. West Ham to offload Rice 

West Ham United boss David Moyes is preparing to overhaul his floundering squad. The Sun claims that the Hammers are ready to offload Declan Rice for upwards of £70m with Manchester United and Arsenal among the clubs eyeing the 21-year-old England midfielder.

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8. Froome’s Tour ambition 

Chris Froome believes he can win a fifth Tour de France if the race goes ahead later this year. “I’d like to think that chances are I can do it,” said the British cyclist. “Nothing is written in stone, or given in sport but I’ve got the experience, loads of motivation and I want to make it happen obviously.”

9. Lewis: I miss racing

Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton admits that the delay to the start of the 2020 season has left a big “void” in his life. The Mercedes driver said: “I miss racing everyday. This is the first time since I was eight that I haven’t started a season. When you live and breath something you love, when it’s gone there’s definitely a big void.”

10. Tributes paid to Michael Robinson

Former Liverpool, Manchester City and Republic of Ireland striker Michael Robinson has died at the age of 61. He finished his career in Spain with Osasuna and stayed in the country where he became a broadcaster and journalist. 

Former Liverpool star Luis Garcia said: “R.I.P Michael Robinson. The Liverpool legend that got in all the Spanish homes with his fantastic commentaries every Weekend !! #YNWA.”

The Royal Spanish Football Federation added: “The RFEF wishes to join the pain of the football world over the death of Michael Robinson. All of us who form this institution wish to express our condolences to their family and friends. Rest in peace.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––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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