MP demands inquiry
A British member of parliament (MP) is demanding an inquiry into the state of English soccer, branding the national team’s performance at the World Cup “pathetic.” England went to the tournament in South Africa with high hopes but went out on Sunday when Germany trounced them 4-1. Conservative lawmaker David Amess said on his Web site that he was so appalled by England’s performance that he filed a parliamentary motion demanding action. The motion urges parliament to voice “its great disappointment at England’s pathetic exit from the World Cup finals” and says the team “let this country and their supporters down.” It calls for an urgent inquiry into the state of the national game and says many players in England’s Premier League are “grossly overpaid and under-perform.”
Ballack loss good: Matthaus
The loss of Michael Ballack ahead of the World Cup has been a blessing in disguise for Germany, former captain Lothar Matthaus said. Ballack was set to take the captain’s armband in South Africa, but his World Cup dream died when he injured his ankle playing for Chelsea against Portsmouth in the FA Cup final at the end of May. It was seen as a huge blow for German hopes in South Africa, but their young side has coped without him. “I’m genuinely upset for Michael Ballack, but I have to say his absence has helped Germany,” Matthaus told FIFA.com. “I don’t mean that in a spiteful way, but Ballack was arguably holding up a number of players who’ve now blossomed. Each of them has taken on a little more responsibility. Germany are playing with far more pace. Ballack often took a lot of pace out of the game, but that wouldn’t fit the mentality of this young team. Missing out is a personal catastrophe for Michael, but it’s benefited Germany.”
Coach calls it a day
Javier Aguirre quit on Wednesday as Mexico coach, three days after the team were knocked out of the World Cup in a 3-1 loss to Argentina in the round of 16. It marked the fifth straight time that Mexico have been eliminated in the second round of the World Cup. “I’m the person responsible,” said Aguirre, adding that he’d made a commitment to reach the quarter-finals. “We didn’t qualify for the next round, and because of this one can consider it a failure,” Aguirre said. “The plan was to ... be among the best eight in the world. This was the plan. If we didn’t do it, it’s clear staying on the job is not an option.” Aguirre was appointed 15 months ago for a second stint as Mexico coach. He also coached the team in the 2002 World Cup, but was replaced after Mexico was eliminated by the US. Aguirre is Mexico’s fourth coach in four years and the fifth since Argentine Ricardo La Volpe was released after the 2006 World Cup.
Legends’ spat continues
Brazilian legend Pele’s war of words with Argentina coach Diego Maradona continued yesterday as he said the latter was not a good coach because of the troubled private life he had led. Pele, who earlier during the World Cup finals said that Maradona had only taken the Argentina coaching job because he needed the money, said Maradona’s previous troubles — which included treatment for a cocaine addiction — could only have a bad effect on the team. “He [Maradona] is not a good coach, because he had a bizarre lifestyle which cannot go down well with his team,” three-time World Cup winner Pele told German magazine 11Freunde.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is buying the Forum for US$400 million, ending the billionaire’s legal fight with Madison Square Garden Co (MSG) and clearing the way to build a new arena for his NBA team down the street in Inglewood, California. Ballmer on Tuesday announced his cash purchase of the venerated arena. Ballmer, a former Microsoft executive, and Clippers vice chairman Dennis Wong are making the transaction through CAPSS LLC, a newly formed entity that would continue to operate the Forum as a live music venue. “This is an unprecedented time, but we believe in our collective future,” Ballmer said.
When two Spanish soccer players took to the controls of FIFA 20 after the COVID-19 pandemic saw their La Liga match canceled, a stadium-sized virtual audience watched online. The huge digital crowd last week is part of a spectacular boom for the digital gaming industry, as record numbers flock to online servers for distraction, entertainment and friendship with the “real world” seemingly falling apart. Real Betis Balompie striker Borja Iglesias kicked the winning goal using his own digital likeness in the 6-5 battle against Sevilla, which was broadcast on popular video game streaming platform Twitch. It took place at the same time the
This year’s Wimbledon Championships have so far survived the cull of the world’s most prestigious sporting events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it seems only a matter of time before they are postponed or canceled. With London in its first week of lockdown, All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) officials are weighing up their limited options. The “build” for the June 29 to July 12 championships is supposed to start in little more than a month, but it seems increasingly likely that Wimbledon will be forced to miss a year for the first time since 1945. “The AELTC has been
New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson has said that the sport is “fighting for survival” as competitions at all levels are shuttered amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Robinson told Sky Sport’s The Breakdown that he cannot say when professional rugby might resume in New Zealand and in what form, whether it would be the five-nation Super Rugby tournament or the domestic Mitre 10 Cup. Rugby is New Zealand’s national sport and the All Blacks, the national men’s team, are one of the country’s most recognizable brands. The continuing suspension of competitions has been fully testing rugby’s resilience, Robinson said. “We’re fighting for sport’s survival in