EFL urge Government not to ban gambling sponsorship

EFL urge Government not to ban gambling sponsorship amid concerns more clubs could go out of business

  • The EFL want the Government to resist the banning of gambling sponsorship  
  • Report says that EFL teams should phase out gambling sponsorship by 2023
  • There are fears that further teams could follow Wigan into administration 

The EFL have urged the Government to resist banning gambling sponsorship for fears it could put more clubs out of business.

A House of Lords select committee on gambling published a major report on Thursday which said that Premier League clubs should not be allowed to have the logos of betting firms on their shirts from next season – and that teams below the top flight should phase such deals out by 2023.

This season, half of the Premier League clubs have gambling companies as their main shirt sponsors, as do 17 of the 24 teams in the Championship, which is also sponsored by Sky Bet.

The English Football League urged the Government to resist banning gambling sponsorship

The Lords report has now been put to the Government, who have promised to review the 2005 Gambling Act. It follows similar recommendations published last month by an influential group of MPs following a year-long inquiry.

However, the EFL are strongly against the proposals given their reliance on money from the gambling sector and the financial crisis already inflicting their clubs – including Wigan, who went into administration this week.

An EFL spokesman said: ‘The Covid-19 pandemic represents perhaps the biggest challenge to the finances of EFL clubs in their history. 

‘With over £40 million a season paid by the sector to the League and its clubs, the significant contribution betting companies make to the ongoing financial sustainability of professional football at all levels is as important now as it has ever been.

Fulham and QPR are among the Championship clubs sponsored by gambling companies

‘The League firmly believes a collaborative, evidence-based approach to preventing gambling harms that is also sympathetic to the economic needs of sport will be of much greater benefit than the blunt instrument of blanket bans.

‘It is our belief that sports organisations can work with Government and the gambling industry to ensure partnerships are activated in a responsible fashion.’

The Premier League, who are less reliant on cash from betting companies, have previously said they will support the Government’s review of the Gambling Act. 

There are concerns that further EFL clubs could follow Wigan by going into administration

The 192-page Lords report also recommends a ban on gambling advertising ‘in or near any sports grounds or sports venues, including sports programmes’.

On shirt sponsorship for EFL clubs, the report says: ‘We think they should be given time, perhaps three years, to adapt to the new situation.

‘They would not be allowed in that time to enter into new sponsorship contracts with gambling companies, but any existing contracts could continue until they terminate and clubs would have time to seek alternative sources of sponsorship.’

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Taking aim at ball boys to too much rest – Jose's most bizarre excuses

Not enough rest? Too much rest? Slow ball boys? Playing with ‘beach balls’?! After Jose Mourinho’s latest ridiculous excuse of there being too many days between Tottenham games after lockdown, here is a list of his most bizarre moans ever

  • Jose Mourinho is not one to shy away from making excuses for his team
  • He recently criticised how his Spurs side had too many days in between games
  • Mourinho has also taken aim at ball boys and stadium floodlights in recent years
  • Here is a catalogue of the Special One’s most bizarre excuses to date 

Jose Mourinho has always been quick to point the blame at someone, or something, else when things don’t quite go to plan.

Many believe the Portuguese boss makes excuses to deflect the attention away from his players while others think he just loves to moan.

While his analogies and outbursts are the stuff of legends, his catalogue of excuses from over the years have left fans scratching their heads.

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho is not one to shy away from making excuses for his teams

His most recent grumblings over the fixture schedule saw him bizarrely claim that his Tottenham team had too many days in between games – a far cry from the days of him complaining on a yearly basis about the hectic winter schedule.

But what else has Mourinho blamed for his shortcomings over the years? Here, Sportsmail has complied a list of the Special One’s most bizarre excuses.

Too many days between games

Mourinho’s most recent moan incredibly saw him criticise how his Tottenham team had too many days in between games following three months in lockdown.

Spurs face Sheffield United on Thursday night, more than a week after their 2-0 victory over West Ham. Chris Wilder’s side have played twice in that time and Mourinho is miffed by the long break.

‘It’s not good for us, it’s too long,’ he said. ‘I’d always say three days is the perfect time between matches. Two days? No. But more than three days, especially when you are chasing your best form.

‘So I’m not happy to be waiting for so long. After victories you don’t need time to rest, you don’t need recovery time, you need to play.

‘And especially now we play four matches in a very small period of time.’ 

Mourinho recently complained about Tottenham having a long gap between their games

Not enough days between games

It’s not uncommon for managers to lament and curse the festive fixture pile-up each season, but on this one, Mourinho takes the cake.

In the run up to Christmas this season, Mourinho described the Premier League fixture schedule as ‘a crime’.

Spurs came from a goal down to beat Brighton before facing the prospect of playing Norwich two days later after a hectic period for the club. 

Mourinho said: ‘How can they play again in less than 48 hours? The distances they run, the sprints, the intensity… how are we going to control that?

‘It’s a crime that they are going to play football again on the 28th. It’s against every rule of physiology, biology. But that’s the way it is.’

Mourinho described the Premier League calendar in the Christmas period as ‘nonsense’

And while he view of football may have changed following the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown, fans will point to his many other outbursts where he has hit out at the manic festive schedule.

While at Manchester United, Mourinho hit out at the ridiculous fixture pile-up each Premier League team faces. 

He said in 2017: ‘It’s absolutely nonsense, I know that applies with many other clubs. Liverpool are going to play 16 matches, Chelsea will play 16 matches, plus some in the FA Cup and we are in this crazy situation.

‘I think Southampton will have 15 days without football before the final and we are going to have in these 15 days two matches against St Étienne [in the Europa League] and the next round of the FA Cup so the calendar in the best country of world football is nonsense.

‘In a realistic way I think the ­Premier League is almost an impossible mission but I just think about winning the next match and the next match is not an impossible mission.

The wrong type of winter break

You’d think Mourinho and indeed most Premier League managers would have been happy to have finally got a winter break to ease strain on their squads earlier this season.

From too many games being played to not enough games being played in a week, you just can’t please him. 

However, after Premier League sides were granted a fortnight off, Mourinho took the opportunity to moan about the timing of the winter break, saying it offered his Spurs side no help with their Champions League ambitions. 

‘It is what it is. I am not happy that the break comes in the wrong moment because the break should be before the Champions League.

‘In the end before the Champions League we don’t have the break. We have to play Aston Villa on the Sunday before playing Red Bull [Leipzig] two days later.’ 

The Portuguese boss was critical of when this season’s winter break was introduced

Taking aim at the ball boys

Mourinho has had a topsy-turvy relationship with ball boys over the years.

Earlier this season, he heaped praise on one quick-thinking mascot for helping assist Serge Aurier in setting up a Harry Kane goal, which saw the young man get invited to meet the team as a reward for his efforts.

However, the Southampton ball boys didn’t quite get the same treatment earlier this season after accusing them of time-wasting.

Mourinho got into an argument with Saints’ goalkeeping coach Andrew Sparkes, calling him an idiot before receiving a yellow card as Spurs went down 1-0 to Southampton on New Year’s Day. While he accepted his punishment, Mourinho couldn’t help himself in taking aim at Sparkes and then the St Mary’s ballboys after the game.

Mourinho heaped praise on his Tottenham ball boy for helping set up a goal in November

‘I think the yellow card is fair because I was rude, but I was rude to an idiot. For some reason I was rude,’ he said in his post-match interview.

‘But I was, and because I was rude I deserve the yellow card. Basically, I had bad words with the guy.

‘The second half was not easy. They were winning, they were defending basically with 10 players, fighting hard and being aggressive, a good aggressive, with lots of fouls, lots of [times] the match stopped and the ballboys were well coached in the delaying of the game and there was not much play.’ 

However, Mourinho accused the St Mary’s ball boys of time-wasting on New Year’s Day

And this wasn’t the only time he’s had a problem with the young pitch-side assistants.

After Jose’s Chelsea lost 2-1 to eventual champions Leicester City in 2015, Mourinho revealed he was not happy with the Foxes ball boys.

He moaned: ‘They [Leicester City] fought with everything, they defended with everything, and the ballboys were amazing too.’ 

Beach balls

Perhaps one of the most absurd Mourinho gripes he’s had this season came after Spurs were held to a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough in the FA Cup third round.

The reason for Spurs failing to overcome this modest Championship team was… an underweight Mitre match ball.

‘I think this ball is [a] beach ball. It’s too light. I don’t think it helps the players. But that’s not an excuse.’

That sounds exactly like an excuse, Jose.

The Tottenham boss compared the ball used in the FA Cup to a ‘beach ball’ earlier this season

It’s the floodlights’ fault

While Chelsea managed a difficult win over west London rivals QPR in 2014, Mourinho still wasn’t happy.

Jose blamed the floodlights for not being switched on early enough – with it being one of the main reasons why his Blues team took so long to score.

‘I think the man responsible for the lights was in the same mood as the crowd, because everybody was sleeping. 

‘It took him 20 minutes to understand that it was dark, but it took me 30 minutes to understand that the stadium was not empty.’ 

Blaming his rivals

With the title already already wrapped up in the 2014-15 campaign, Chelsea were beaten 3-0 by West Brom at the Hawthorns.

And Mourinho blamed his side’s lack of intensity on the poor season their rivals had had.

He said: ‘If I have to blame anybody, blame Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool for letting us win the title so early!’

Mourinho cheekily blamed his title rivals for his Chelsea side’s lack of intensity in 2015

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Howe rallying cry to Bournemouth squad after crushing Newcastle loss

‘I still believe in the players’: Eddie Howe gives a rallying cry to his beleaguered Bournemouth squad after a crushing defeat by Newcastle compounds their relegation fears

  • Eddie Howe believes in his Bournemouth squad after crushing Newcastle defeat
  • The Cherries remain in the Premier League drop zone after 7th game without win
  • Bournemouth set to face Man United, Tottenham, Leicester and Man City

Eddie Howe is adamant Bournemouth can still avoid Premier League relegation after they capitulated to a humiliating 4-1 home loss to Newcastle.

The Cherries remain languishing in the drop zone following a seventh successive top-flight match without victory.

Goals from Dwight Gayle, Sean Longstaff, Miguel Almiron and Valentino Lazaro secured a resounding south-cost success for the dominant mid-table Magpies.

Eddie Howe said he still believes his Bournemouth side can avoid the drop in Premier League

The Cherries suffered a crushing 4-1 defeat at home against Newcastle on Wednesday evening

Dan Gosling’s stoppage-time finish was little consolation for Bournemouth boss Howe but he retains hope of beating the drop.

‘It’s tough at the moment to sit here and pick out the positives. We know the situation we’re in is difficult,’ said Howe.

‘We know tonight was not a good night. I think me sitting here and saying otherwise would be foolish.

‘But I do still believe we can get out of the position we are in.

‘I do still believe in the players and the group we have, I have no doubt about that. But we have to take tonight on the chin.’

Bournemouth never recovered from Gayle’s fifth-minute opener, which came following a mistake from Jefferson Lerma.

Longstaff’s 30th-minute strike soon compounded matters before substitutes Almiron and Lazaro added to the embarrassment with fine finishes.

The Cherries, who had a Joshua King header correctly ruled out for offside and hit the crossbar through David Brooks, finally claimed their first post-lockdown goal when former Newcastle midfielder Gosling bundled home deep into added time.

Howe is convinced his players are fully committed to fighting for survival going into a daunting run of fixtures against Manchester United, Tottenham, Leicester and Manchester City.

Bournemouth scored their first first goal since post-lockdown in the 4-1 defeat

‘I don’t doubt that (the players’ effort). It’s very easy from the outside to think differently, especially with the manner of the games at the moment, the lack of a crowd,’ said Howe.

‘I can see close at hand what it means to the players. How much they are hurting.

‘Tonight wasn’t pretty but I can assure everybody it wasn’t through a lack of effort.’

Victory for Newcastle moved them on to 42 points to banish any lingering relegation fears.

Magpies manager Steve Bruce hailed the performance as ‘arguably’ the best since he took charge at St James’ Park last summer.

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce hailed his side’s performance as best since he took charge

‘The quality in our play and the finishing, we were right at it from the first five minutes, which I was delighted with,’ said Bruce.

‘It’s worked out a very good night for us. I was very, very pleased to watch it and (it was) arguably our best performance of the season.’

Allan Saint-Maximin was at the heart of Newcastle’s attacking threat, creating the opening three goals.

Bruce had considered leaving the Frenchman on the bench due to the hectic fixture list.

‘If you haven’t seen him before then you’re going to enjoy watching him,’ said Bruce.

‘He’s such a naturally good footballer and yesterday I wasn’t planning on starting him because he’s already played three games and to play four in 11 days I thought is maybe too much.

‘But he bounced into training yesterday and he was full of himself, so I said ‘why not?’. He was terrific.’

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Joe Root to miss first West Indies Test; Ben Stokes to captain England

England have confirmed Test captain Joe Root will miss the series opener against West Indies to attend the birth of his second child.

Root has been based at the Ageas Bowl with the rest of England’s 30-man training group ahead of the first Test against Windies which starts at that same venue on July 8.

However, the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed on Tuesday that Root would leave the group on Wednesday to be with his wife, Carrie, who is expecting their second child.

Root, 29, will therefore miss England’s three-day intra-squad warm-up match which begins on Wednesday and the first Test against West Indies.

In Root’s absence, vice-captain Ben Stokes will captain his country for the first time.

Root will commence a seven-day self-isolation period at home once he and his family leave hospital and rejoin his England team-mates ahead of the second Test at Old Trafford on July 13.

The ECB have also confirmed that wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler will play in the series opener despite speculation over his place in the side and act as Stokes’ vice-captain.

Earlier this week, Stokes insisted he would not alter his style of play if he was confirmed as England captain for the first Test of the summer.

‘I hope that I always try to set the example in terms of attitude and commitment,’ the 29-year-old said.

‘If I am in charge that’s not going to change the way that I go about things. In terms of how I want to influence the game, I try to have a positive effect with the ball or bat in my hand.

‘No matter what I do in terms of choosing what to do in a situation, it will always be the positive route.’

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Premier League chief 'to be quizzed over Liverpool fans' celebrations'

Premier League chief Richard Masters ‘to be quizzed by MPs over chaotic celebrations from Liverpool fans in wake of their Premier League title win’ as one member of DCMS committee says Jurgen Klopp and his players ‘should’ve shown more leadership’

  • Premier League chief executive Richard Masters is set for a grilling from MPs 
  • Liverpool fans have had wild celebrations since they were crowned champions 
  • There are fears the celebrations could spark a huge rise in coronavirus cases
  • MPs will ask if the Premier League will take responsibility if that is the case 

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters is set to be questioned by MPs on Tuesday over the chaotic scenes on Merseyside that have accompanied Liverpool’s title win. 

The Reds were crowned league champions for the first time in 30 years last Thursday when Manchester City were beaten by Chelsea. It sparked scenes of jubilation all over Liverpool, with fans celebrating together into the early hours of Friday.

Supporters had been told to stay at home and adhere to the government’s social-distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic, but those warnings were ignored by large numbers of fans as trouble broke out.

Premier League chief Richard Masters will be questioned by MPs over Liverpool’s celebrations

Thousands of Liverpool fans gathered outside Anfield to celebrate their title win last Thursday

More than 1,000 fans gathered in the city centre and police confirmed 15 arrests were made

The celebrations stretched into Friday evening, with chaotic scenes around Pier Head where missiles were thrown at police during scuffles with officers. A total of 15 people were arrested.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, claimed that 300 fans had fought with police for over two hours on Friday evening, while the streets were left littered with rubbish the following morning.

A 19-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of arson after fireworks were launched at the Liver Building – now the city HQ of bitter rivals Everton – which caused £10,000 of damage.  

According to The Telegraph, Masters will be asked by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee ‘whether the Premier League and its members ‘accept responsibility for a rise in coronavirus cases across the city’ on Tuesday.

Police were assaulted and struck by missiles by Liverpool supporters on Friday night as fans gathered to celebrate winning the league title in the city centre

Police have urged more understanding of the need to adhere to social distancing rules

Steve Brine MP, a member of the DCMS committee, believes Klopp and his players fuelled the wild celebrations with their own party on Thursday night when they were crowned champions.

He said: ‘It’s all very well Klopp saying this now. It’s a bit like closing the door after the horse has bolted, isn’t it? Filming yourselves on Instagram, hugging each other, what do you expect your fans to do? I don’t blame the fans entirely.

‘Their football team won the league. Their players and their manager should’ve shown more leadership and now to write open letters decrying it, the saintly Klopp doesn’t look so good today.’

‘People were always going to behave this way. So, if you wanted to avoid these scenes, you should have avoided restarting the Premier League until such time as we could accept those scenes.​’

On Monday, Liverpool manager Klopp condemned the behaviour of some supporters in an open letter published in The Liverpool Echo, writing: ‘What I did not love – and I have to say this – was the scenes that took place at the Pier Head on Friday. 

‘I am a human being and your passion is also my passion but right now the most important thing is that we do not have these kind of public gatherings. 

Jurgen Klopp has asked Liverpool supporters to calm down and stop their mass gatherings

Fans congregated outside Anfield on Thursday to toast the Premier League title win

‘We owe it to the most vulnerable in our community, to the health workers who have given so much and whom we have applauded and to the police and local authorities who help us as a club not to do this. 

‘Please – celebrate – but celebrate in a safe way and in private settings, whereby we do not risk spreading this awful disease further in our community.

‘If things were different I would love nothing more than to celebrate together, to have a parade that would be even bigger than the one after we won the Champions League last year, so that we could all share this special moment but it just is not possible.

‘We have all done so much to fight COVID-19 and this effort cannot go to waste. We owe it to ourselves and each other to do what is right and at this moment that means being together and being there for one another by being apart.’

Liverpool had earlier put out a joint statement with police and the council in which they condemned supporters failing to abide by social-distancing rules. 

It is claimed one club who could win a competition this season is considering ‘banning players from using social media channels to post photographs or footage of themselves doing anything that did not comply with social-distancing rules.​’ 

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Manchester City 'to rival United for signature of Jack Grealish'

Manchester City ‘to rival United for signature of Jack Grealish if Bayern Munich stump up asking price for want-away winger Leroy Sane’

  • Jack Grealish is a man in demand after shining for Aston Villa in Premier League
  • Villa skipper Grealish has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United 
  • But City could go in for him if Bayern Munich match asking price for Leroy Sane
  • The Bundesliga giants have tracked the German winger for quite some time now

Manchester United could reportedly face competition from rivals City for the signature of Jack Grealish in the summer transfer window.

Grealish is a man in huge demand at the moment after shining for relegation-threatened Aston Villa in the Premier League, with United in hot pursuit of the midfielder.

But according to The Telegraph, City will consider Grealish as a transfer target if their asking price for want-away winger Leroy Sane is met by Bayern Munich. 

Jack Grealish has been one of the stand-out players in the Premier League this campaign

German international Sane has made it clear that he wants to make the move to the Allianz Arena and has refused to sign a new deal at the Etihad.

Sane has only 12 months left on his contract at City, meaning he could depart the Etihad next summer without a fee.

Bayern have tracked Sane for quite some time now but their £35million valuation of the winger – who has missed most of the season through injury – is viewed as derisory at City.

But if Bayern eventually stump up the cash for Sane to meet City’s asking price, then Pep Guardiola could reportedly go in for Villa captain Grealish.

Manchester City may well go in for Grealish if Bayern Munich meet Leroy Sane’s asking price

Despite Villa’s struggles this season, Grealish has been one of the stand-out performers in the Premier League and was in Gareth Southgate’s mind for an England call-up before the coronavirus pandemic brought football to a halt.

And with the upcoming departure of club legend David Silva, City may well be in the market for a creative replacement in midfield. 

United have been long-term admirers of Grealish as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to usher in a new era at Old Trafford by making young signings for the future.

United brought in plenty of homegrown talent last summer, including Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James – and they will be closely monitoring Grealish’s situation in the upcoming transfer market.

Both Pep Guardiola and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are big admirers of the Villa captain

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Hamilton to race for Mercedes in new all-black car in support of BLM

Lewis Hamilton to race for Mercedes in new all-black car and overalls as F1 team give up their famous ‘Silver Arrows’ trim to get behind Black Lives Matter movement after British star hit out at the lack of diversity in ‘white-dominated sport’

  • Lewis Hamilton has worked closely with Mercedes on their new design for 2020
  • British star and team-mate Valterri Bottas will race in all-black cars and overalls
  • Mercedes have given up ‘Silver Arrows’ trim to fight racism and boost diversity
  • Hamilton hit out at ‘white dominated sport’ after George Floyd’s death in May
  • The reigning F1 world champion says he and Mercedes want to ‘build a legacy’ 

Lewis Hamilton will race in an all-black Mercedes to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement when the Formula One season finally begins this week.

The reigning world champion has been outspoken about the lack of diversity in the sport and last month hit out his fellow drivers for ‘staying silent’ in the wake of George Floyd’s shocking death at the hands of a police officer in the US.

But in a bid to show they ‘stand against racism and all forms of discrimination’, Mercedes have abandoned their traditional ‘Silver Arrows’ trim for the 2020 season. 

Mercedes’s new all-black design will support the Black Lives Matter movement this season

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has been vocal about the lack of diversity in F1

Hamilton and his team-mate, Valterri Bottas, will instead race in an all-black base livery ‘as a public pledge to improve the diversity’ of Mercedes when the delayed season starts with the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Both drivers will also wear black overalls and adapt the designs of their helmets in order to reflect the campaign.

The message ‘End Racism’ will be displayed on the halo of both cars, while the new F1 initiative #WeRaceAsOne will feature on the mirrors. 

Hamilton, who attended a Black Lives Matter protest in London earlier this month, worked closely with Mercedes and team principal Toto Wolff on the project. 

Speaking about Mercedes’ decision to design the black car, Hamilton said: ‘It’s so important that we seize this moment and use it to educate ourselves whether you are an individual, brand or company to make real meaningful changes when it comes to ensuring equality and inclusivity. 

The British Mercedes driver was seen at a Black Lives Matter protest in London this month

Mercedes are ditching their traditional ‘Silver Arrows’ trim for 2020 to help fight racism 

‘I have personally experienced racism in my life and seen my family and friends experience racism, and I am speaking from the heart when I appeal for change. 

‘When I spoke to Toto [Wolff] about my hopes for what we could achieve as a team, I said it was so important that we stand united. 

‘I would like to say a huge thank you to Toto and the Mercedes Board for taking the time to listen, to talk, and to really understand my experiences and passion, and for making this important statement that we are willing to change and improve as a business. 

‘We want to build a legacy that goes beyond sport, and if we can be the leaders and can start building more diversity within our own business, it will send such a strong message and give others the confidence to begin a dialogue about how they can implement change.’

Hamilton has been a vocal leader in talking about the need for the sport to be more diverse

Hamilton had claimed that he ‘stands alone’ as a black F1 driver in a white dominated sport

Mercedes say they plan to announce a diversity and inclusion programme before the end of the season that will involve ‘continuing to listen to and raise the awareness of our team members; forensic analysis of our recruitment and development processes; collaboration with the sport’s key stakeholders to improve accessibility to our sport; and targeted education initiatives to encourage and support talented people from under-represented backgrounds who aspire to reach F1.’ 

The move comes after Hamilton blasted the lack of diversity in F1 and accused his other drivers of ignoring Floyd’s death, the incident which sparked huge Black Lives Matter protests around the world for over a month.

In a number of Instagram post on May 31, Hamilton wrote: ‘I see those of you staying silent, some of you the biggest stars yet you stay in the midst of injustice.

‘Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white dominated sport. I’m one of the only people of colour there yet I stand alone. I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us.

Hamilton criticised the lack of racial diversity in his own sport on Instagram last month

Hamilton also called for several world leaders to educate their countries on racial principles

‘Just know I know who you are and I see you.’

Hamilton added: ‘I do not stand with those looting and burning buildings but with those who are protesting peacefully.

‘There can be no peace until our so called leaders make change. This is not just America, this is the UK, this is Spain, this is Italy and all over.

‘The way minorities are treated has to change, how you educate those in your country of inequality, racism, classism and that we are all born the same!

‘We are not born with racism and hate in our hearts, it is taught by those we look up to.’ 

Last week, Formula One expanded on its new ‘We Race As One’ initiative by announcing it will plough $1million (£800,000) into helping those from under represented groups gain a career in the sport.

In partnership with the FIA, F1 will look to help under represented drivers from karting level and above to try and realise their dreams of becoming a grand prix driver by eliminating systemic barriers they may come across.

Hamilton will begin the defence of his world championship in Austria later this week

Teams will display the ‘#WeRaceAsOne’ rainbow on their cars at the opening race of the season

To help promote the cause, teams will display the initiative’s rainbow logo on their cars at the opening round of the 2020 season at the Red Bull Ring.

A task force will be set up over the next few months including representatives from drivers and teams as well as diversity experts outside of the sport. 

As well as helping potential future drivers, the scheme will also aim to help those from unrepresented groups gain access to possible careers in F1, with focus on education and employment opportunities.

Working alongside the taskforce will be an initiative to primarily, but not exclusively, help fund the under represented groups with internships and apprenticeships within the sport.  

The initial $1million input was financed by F1 boss Chase Carey, and it is hoped support and and funding for interns and scholarship opportunities will increase in the future. 

F1 chief Chase Carey has ploughed $1million into funding the task force and foundation

Carey admitted the sport was not diverse enough and wanted to do more to help those from all backgrounds.

‘We fully recognise that Formula One needs to be more inclusive and diverse,’ Carey said.

‘While we set out our strategy last year to improve the position of our sport, we need, and want, to do more.

‘That is why we will establish a Task Force to listen and ensure the right initiatives are identified to increase diversity in Formula One. We want to ensure we give people from all backgrounds the best chances to work in Formula One regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or physical abilities.

‘We are therefore also taking the initial step of creating a foundation to support key educational and employment opportunities across Formula 1 that will give under-represented talent the chance to work in this incredible sport and build an exciting career.’

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Werner sends promise to Leipzig after ditching Champions League to join Chelsea

Chelsea new boy Timo Werner has promised to ‘keep his fingers crossed’ for Leipzig in the Champions League and says he may even try to jet out to Lisbon to attend their upcoming quarter-final clash.

Werner has been at the heart of Leipzig’s success in Europe this season, racking up four goals and two assists across their campaign, but the 24-year-old striker will play no part when the competition restarts again in August.

The forward’s contract with Chelsea officially begins on July 1 which makes him ineligible for the upcoming mini-tournament in Portugal.

The Blues will also be unable to select the Germany international in what looks likely to be their final match of this season’s Champions League.

Frank Lampard’s side were thumped 3-0 at home to Bayern Munich in the first leg of their last-16 clash and their hopes in the competition appear to be hanging by a thread.

‘Of course it hurts me that I can’t help out Leipzig to play in the Champions League. But I’m a Chelsea player from July 1st and I’m being paid by Chelsea from then on,’ Werner told Sportbuzzer.

‘It was clear that all parties – Chelsea, RB and my side – should and must settle this.

‘Of course I tried to keep out of the Champions League issue as much as I could because it was clear that I would have to hurt one side.

‘That’s why my agent finally agreed it with the clubs.’

Werner added: ‘I am forever connected to Leipzig and RB.

‘I will sit in front of the TV during the quarter-finals and keep my fingers crossed.

‘Maybe I can even be on site in Lisbon.’

Roberto Di Matteo has backed Werner to take English football by storm when he arrives at Chelsea and claims he twice tried to sign the attacker.

‘When I was at Schalke he was at Stuttgart and he was just coming on to the scene,’ the former Chelsea midfielder and manager said.

‘During the second part of the season, before I left, I was planning with my sporting director.

‘I was saying I wanted to sign this guy, he’s good. He was young, quick, technically good. I said “can we not sign this boy Timo”.

‘We didn’t in the end and then I resigned and so on. Then I went to Villa. Stuttgart, the season after, they got relegated, and so I enquired again to sign him, but then Leipzig signed him on.’

He added: ‘I’m a big fan of his and he’s developed really, really well as well.

‘He’s a goal scorer, he scores goals, so he can guarantee a certain amount of goals for the team, which is very good, and he’s very pacey as well, he’s fast.’

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Celtic are keen to keep loanee goalkeeper Fraser Forster

Celtic are keen to keep Fraser Forster on loan for another seeing as Southampton eye signing French midfielder Olivier Ntcham as part of deal

  • Southampton may consider loaning Fraser Forster to Celtic for another season
  • The 6ft 7ins goalkeeper has two years left on his contract at Southampton 
  • Celtic have also considered free agent Joe Hart and Wigan’s David Marshall 

Southampton will consider loaning out Fraser Forster for another season when Celtic make their approach this week.

The Scottish champions want the 6ft 7ins goalkeeper to help deliver a tenth title in a row and will also look to re-sign Forster’s Southampton club mate Mohamed Elyounoussi.

Like Forster, the Norway international winger spent last season on loan at Celtic too and his inclusion in the deal could see Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham join Southampton.

Celtic believe Fraser Forster can help them in their quest for a tenth successive league title 

The south coast club expect to lose Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Mario Lemina this summer and former Manchester City midfielder Ntcham, 24, is among their targets.

Forster, 32, has two years left on contract and his salary is beyond Celtic’s ideal wage ceiling but another year’s loan could suit all parties.

Celtic have also considered free agent Joe Hart and Wigan’s David Marshall but Forster is manager Neil Lennon’s first choice.

Celtic have also considered free agent Joe Hart and Wigan’s David Marshall as choices

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Sports News

Ben Stokes to captain England for the first time against West Indies

Ben Stokes to captain England for the first time against West Indies with Joe Root set to be at the birth of his second child – forcing the skipper to self-isolate for a week

  • Joe Root is set to miss England’s first Test next week against the West Indies
  • The 29-year-old has not missed a Test since being made skipper back in 2017
  •  His absence will mean Ben Stokes is set to captain England for the first time

Ben Stokes is preparing to captain England for the first time after the team management resigned themselves to being without Joe Root for next week’s first Test against West Indies.

Root’s wife, Carrie, is due to give birth to their second child, and has been booked in for a C-section in Sheffield over the next few days. But with Covid-19 protocols dictating that Root would have to self-isolate for a week even after leaving hospital, his chances of walking out at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl on July 8 are remote.

His absence will end an unbroken sequence of 77 Tests since he returned to the team in 2014 following his dropping at Sydney in January that year. Only Alastair Cook, who played a world-record 159 in a row, has appeared in more consecutive Tests for England.

Ben Stokes is set to replace the absent Joe Root as captain in the first Test with West Indies

That means Stokes, less than two years after he was acquitted on charges of affray at Bristol Crown Court, will finally lead his country, despite never having captained any team more prominent than the Durham academy in 2008.

And he will do so with the endorsement of England’s senior players.

‘Ben will be absolutely fine,’ said fast bowler Stuart Broad.

‘He has got a really good cricket brain, and has grown and matured incredibly over the last three or four years. To come in and captain one game, I think he’ll find that very easy. 

‘He’s taking over Rooty’s team to make on-field decisions, so I don’t think he’ll struggle in any aspects.’

 ‘One thing we have to encourage him as other players is to make sure he uses his own ability as well.

Joe Root is set to be at the birth of his second child in the coming days and will have to isolate 

Root’s absence means that Stokes will step in his place and captain England for the first time

‘Captains can be quite shy of bringing themselves on to bowl. But we just need to him encourage him: “Actually Stokesy, now’s your time to come on with the ball and make an impact.”

‘I’ve got no doubts he will be brilliant at captaining England.’

Root is expected to be ready to resume his leadership for the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford starting on July 16.

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