Record TV deal for EPL
The English Premier League (EPL) on Monday announced that it had agreed a record ￡6.7 billion (US$8.46 billion) domestic television rights deal for a four-year period starting from the 2025-2026 season. The current deal is reported to be worth about ￡5 billion over a three-year cycle and covers 200 matches per season. Sky Sports and TNT Sports retained their rights to show live matches, with Amazon not part of the next cycle. Sky would screen a minimum of 215 live matches per season, while TNT would broadcast 52. BBC Sport is to broadcast highlights via its Match of the Day program. A Saturday afternoon blackout, designed to protect attendances in the lower leagues, would remain, but for the first time all matches outside of those scheduled for 3pm on Saturday would be screened live.
‘No plan B’ after attack
The French government still plans to hold next year’s Paris Olympics opening ceremony on the River Seine, even after a deadly attack in the French capital at the weekend amplified existing security concerns. French Minister of Sports and Olympic and Paralympic Games Amelie Oudea-Castera said that the plan could still be adapted, as media reports indicated grave concern within the security forces that the ceremony could be vulnerable to attack. A man known to the authorities as a radical Islamist with mental troubles on Saturday stabbed to death a German tourist close to the Eiffel Tower by the River Seine. “There is no plan B, we have a plan A within which we have several alternatives,” Oudea-Castera told France Inter radio. The “terrorist threat and in particular the Islamist threat exists,” she said. “It is not new and it is neither specific to France nor specific to the Games.”
Neck guards compulsory
The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) on Monday announced that it is making neck guards mandatory for all levels of competition in the tournaments it runs, including the Olympics and men’s and women’s world championships. The mandate would not apply to professional leagues, including the NHL. Any sort of mandate in the NHL would require an agreement between the league and players’ union. The IIHF’s move comes after the death of American Adam Johnson, whose neck was cut by a skate blade during a game in England in October. The exact date for the IIHF neck guard mandate to go into place is still to be determined.
World Cup final ref quits
English referee Tom Foley, who received death threats after acting as television match official at the Rugby World Cup final, is to step away from officiating Test rugby for the foreseeable future. Foley was television match official for October’s final between South Africa and New Zealand in Paris, which the Springboks won 12-11. The 38-year-old said last month that death threats had been aimed at him and his family since the World Cup, and he had to warn his children’s school as a result. “While it is a privilege to be at the heart of some of the sport’s most iconic moments, the increasing levels of vitriol, when the demands and expectation are so high, have led me to this moment,” Foley said in a statement released by the Rugby Football Union on Monday.
A leading Australian equestrian’s buildup to a fourth Olympics was thrown into disarray yesterday after he was stood down from competition for wearing a “mankini” swimsuit during a showjumping event. Three-time Olympic medalist Shane Rose wore the skimpy fluorescent orange outfit — popularized in the movie Borat — on his horse during a competition near Sydney earlier this month where riders were encouraged to wear “extraordinary costumes.” Rose, 50, said on social media that he had been stood down by governing body Equestrian Australia (EA) while it conducts a review after receiving complaints. “I am truly sorry if I have offended anyone,” Rose
Officials from the South Korean national soccer association (KFA) yesterday recommended that Jurgen Klinsmann be fired as head coach of the South Korea national team after their semi-final exit at the Asian Cup and reports of infighting among star players. Klinsmann was already under heavy criticism after South Korea’s upset 2-0 semi-final loss to Jordan on Tuesday last week and pressure intensified following media reports of a spat between captain Son Heung-min and young star Lee Kang-in during the tournament. At an Asian Cup campaign review at the association’s headquarters in Seoul, the eight-member National Team Committee talked to Klinsmann via videoconference
SUPERSTAR SHOWDOWN: WNBA single-season three-point record holder Ionescu said the shoot-out would show young girls and boys that ‘if you can shoot, you can shoot’ Stephen Curry on Saturday sank his last four shots from the right corner to defeat Sabrina Ionescu 29-26 in a three-point NBA-WNBA Challenge at the NBA All-Star festivities. Ionescu set the score to beat, matching the best numbers by any player in the NBA Three-Point Contest, only for Curry to rally late for the victory, then hug Ionescu as both celebrated a successful effort. “I knew I had to get hot,” Curry said of his closing run to win the challenge champion’s belt. The first-ever shoot-out of the sexes was a groundbreaking showdown between elite guards — Golden State’s Curry, the NBA’s all-time
‘CHAOS, CRAZINESS’: Rajah Caruth said he felt like he got a bad push on the last lap, which had a 12-truck crash, but added it was ‘a good night to start the year’ With trucks wrecking and flipping behind him in overtime on Friday, Nick Sanchez claimed the first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory of his young career in the Fresh From Florida 250 at Daytona International Speedway. The race ended under caution on the second lap of the overtime after Rajah Caruth, running fourth, moved up the track and turned the No. 91 Chevrolet of Jack Wood in front of the field. Sanchez and runner-up Corey Heim were clear of the chaos, while Caruth escaped with minimal damage to run third, but behind them, the Chevy of Daniel Dye launched the Toyota of Taylor