Warning: include_once(/homepages/10/d665793315/htdocs/clickandbuilds/informazing/wp-includes/wp-cd.php): failed to open stream: Permission denied in /homepages/10/d665793315/htdocs/clickandbuilds/informazing/wp-includes/post.php on line 1
Warning: include_once(): Failed opening '/homepages/10/d665793315/htdocs/clickandbuilds/informazing/wp-includes/wp-cd.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php7.0') in /homepages/10/d665793315/htdocs/clickandbuilds/informazing/wp-includes/post.php on line 1 Trending | informazing
Chris Froome became the new leader of the Vuelta a España on Monday after finishing third in the mountainous stage three as Italian Vincenzo Nibali snatched the stage win in the final 400m of the race in the Pyrenees in Andorra.
Froome, who is bidding to become the first rider to do a double of the Tour de France and the Vuelta in 39 years, set the stage alight with a vicious pace on the final climb of the 158.5km stage, chaperoned by team mate Gianni Moscon, although he was eventually caught on the descent.
The Briton takes a two-second lead in the general classification over Spaniard David de la Cruz, Irishman Nicolas Roche and American Tejay Van Garderen, while Nibali, who won the Vuelta in 2010, is fifth, 10 seconds behind the four-time Tour de France champion.
Frenchman Axel Domont took a 25-second lead over the escapees and a 4:40 lead over the peloton into the final 50km but his advantage rapidly eroded in the second climb.
Sky surged ahead in the final climb, led by Moscon with Froome on his wheel, with fellow general classification contenders Fabio Aru, Daniel Chaves and Nibali close behind although Alberto Contador was unable to sustain the pace.
The Spaniard trails Froome by 3:10, all but blowing his chance of an overall win in his final professional race before retirement.
Froome led at the top of the climb with Chaves on his wheel but the pair were soon caught by Romain Bardet and Aru on the descent, with Nibali and Roche joining them in the final 700m.
Roche made a futile attempt at breakaway as Froome slowed, but Nibali timed his attack to perfection to take the stage and 10 bonus seconds. De La Cruz finished second, taking six bonus seconds along with Froome.
The Vuelta moves into Spain in Tuesday’s stage, 198.2km route from Escaldes-Engordany in Andorra to Tarragona, Catalonia.
Mark Sampson, the manager of the England women’s football team, is alleged to have told one of his black players to make sure their Nigerian relatives did not bring Ebola to a game at Wembley, according to extraordinary new evidence the Guardian can present as part of the Eni Aluko hush-money case.
Aluko tells this newspaper that the Football Association has known about the comment – described in one letter from the Professional Footballers’ Association to the governing body as a “racist joke” – since November 2016 but chose to ignore it despite a previous allegation that Sampson had asked a mixed-raced player in another England get-together how many times she had been arrested.
An internal investigation cleared Sampson of any wrongdoing in relation when it came to the first alleged remark – “Haven’t you been arrested before? Four times isn’t it?” – and an independent inquiry, commissioned by the FA and overseen by the barrister Katharine Newton, later reached the same conclusion. That decision, however, has been described by Aluko as a “farce” at a time when the FA has been forced to admit the mixed-race player was not interviewed for either investigation. Newton’s investigation cleared Sampson of a number of allegations made by Aluko.
Aluko, who was born in Nigeria but moved to England with her family as a young child, was paid £80,000 by the FA to sign a confidentiality agreement but has now obtained consent to tell her side of the story and in an interview with the Guardian she alleges that Sampson made the comment to her about Ebola before England played Germany in November 2014.
“We were in the hotel. Everybody was excited. It was a big game. On the wall, there was a list of the family and friends who were coming to watch us and I just happened to be next to Mark. He asked me if I had anyone who would be there and I said I had family coming over from Nigeria. ‘Oh,’ he said. ‘Nigeria? Make sure they don’t bring Ebola with them.’
“I remember laughing but in a very nervous way. I went back to my room and I was really upset. It might have been easier to take if it was about me alone. Lots of things had been said about me over those two years but this was about my family. I called my mum and she was absolutely disgusted.”
Sampson is understood to deny making the alleged Ebola remark but, according to the FA, is not planning to say anything at this time.
The FA was notified about the alleged incident in a letter from the PFA in November 2016 that described the internal inquiry as “not a genuine search of the truth” and “a sham which was designed to establish the truth but intended to protect Mark Sampson”. The FA has accepted receiving that letter but says it was not a formal allegation, hence the lack of investigation.
Aluko also alleges that one member of staff repeatedly spoke to her in a mock Caribbean accent – another allegation that was put to the authorities in the same letter – and the FA is likely to face even more scrutiny because of its explanation about why it did not interview the mixed-raced player over the arrests allegations.
According to the FA, it did not know the player’s identity because Aluko did not name which team-mate it was. Yet Aluko’s original complaint made it clear who it was, stating the incident happened at the China Cup in October 2015 and involved a mixed-race midfielder – the only one in the squad – who was new to the England set-up, had been raised in London, and even naming the club for which she played.
The Guardian’s inquiries discovered the player’s identity by applying a simple search of the FA’s website, but we have chosen not to name her after a request from the player and her club. “The most basic investigation, if they really wanted to find the truth, would have found out who it was,” Aluko says. “They could have got her name in minutes if they really wanted the truth.”
In an interview that threatens to go to the top of the FA, Aluko said: “She has put it in writing to confirm it happened. Yet the FA has had two investigations and nobody has been in contact with her. They were having an investigation but they did not bother to speak to the person to whom a comment with racial connotations – in my opinion – was made. I think that’s pretty astonishing. Can you imagine, thinking back to when Roy Hodgson [as manager of the England men’s team] made the comment about the ‘space monkey’, if the FA had an inquiry, clearing him of any wrongdoing, but without bothering to speak to Andros Townsend, the player he was talking to? Well, that’s what has happened in this case.”
The FA has also accepted that the initial findings, throwing out Aluko’s complaint that she had been the victim of bullying and discrimination, were delivered to her before the inquiry had even spoken to one of the players, Lianne Sanderson, who had been named as a key witness. The official explanation from the FA is that it was handled in that order because of timings and logistics, as well as the PFA applying pressure for it to be a quick process. The FA says Sanderson’s evidence played a part later on for the final internal report. Aluko’s case is that this is further evidence to show the inquiry was a “farce”.
Sampson has previously disputed the allegation about the China Cup and Newton’s report exonerates him, saying she did not find any evidence that it was said and had watched a video recording of the relevant meeting. The FA, according to Aluko, will not pass over that video.
Aluko goes on to say that her 11-year England career, encompassing 102 caps, was ended within a week or so of detailing her experiences in what was described as a confidential report for what the FA’s technical director, Dan Ashworth, called a “culture review”. Sampson is said to have visited her at Chelsea’s training ground and said he was dropping her for “unlioness behaviour” on the previous England camp. Her view is that it was “retaliation” but the FA has told her the two are not related. According to Newton’s report, Sampson’s explanations for leaving out Aluko related to her attitude and behaviour.
Aluko then received an email, within 24 hours of another meeting with leading FA executives to discuss her complaint, that the organisation was holding an investigation into her work as a sports lawyer for a football agency. Aluko questions whether it was another coincidence or “something far more sinister” and believes there is a direct link as to why she has been frozen out of the England squad despite winning the Golden Boot as the leading scorer in the country last season. The FA has not yet commented on this matter.
“I believe all these things are happening because it’s a conversation about race and this is a big problem in the world right now. Herman Ouseley [the chairman of Kick It Out] said it. On the pitch there are clear punishments when it comes to issues involving race. Behind closed doors, we don’t know the FA processes.
“We do know [the mixed-race player] has not been picked since this incident. Lianne Sanderson hasn’t been picked since she complained about why her 50th cap was forgotten on the same trip that the 100th cap of a white player was remembered. Lianne asked: ‘Why me?’ The 50th cap is a customary celebration. It’s standard. There is a presentation in front of the team and you have a special shirt with ‘50th cap’ written on it. It’s a big deal. She asked why she had been forgotten and she hasn’t been picked since.
“Anita Asante disappeared without trace despite playing for one of the best teams in Europe. Danielle Carter scored two hat-tricks for England and doesn’t get picked any more – why? There are lots of national teams that are very white, not just England, and I’d hate to say we should be picked because we’re black or mixed race. But are we all bad characters? Are we all terrible players? That’s the question I think people need to be asking because a pattern is emerging here, as clear as day, and my belief is that it’s a culture.
“For months, one member of staff used to talk to me in a fake Caribbean accent. He thought it was OK to do that, he thought it was funny. I believe he was empowered to do that because of the culture. We pleaded it [in submissions to the FA] but they chose to ignore it.
“Yes, in a football environment industrial language is used. I’ve been at Chelsea five years and been the butt of many jokes. And I give it back sometimes. That is the beauty of team spirit in a healthy dressing room. I’m not a sensitive, precious person. I’ve been in the [England] team for 11 years, I’ve been through ups and downs. I’ve played for boys’ teams. I’ve played for Chelsea, at the top level, and I’ve been dropped by Chelsea before but I can recognise something toxic when I see it. This is a culture that has systematically dismissed certain players. There is lots of talk about being the most together team in the world – I’ve truly never felt so isolated as I was in that team between 2014 and 2016.”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It was fitting that Chiefs quarterback Tyler Bray, on his first play after checking into a preseason game against Cincinnati, threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Seantavius Jones.
Pretty much summed up the Chiefs’ quarterback situation.
Alex Smith has hardly missed through his first two exhibition games, leading the Chiefs downfield with relative ease. Patrick Mahomes II has moved past Bray to No. 2 on the depth chart, the first-round draft pick dazzling coaches and fans alike. And even Bray, who for five years has held onto a roster spot despite never appearing in a real game, has flashed moments of promise.
Like his touchdown pass against the Bengals on Saturday night, when he zipped a throw to Jones in perfect stride.
“All three guys played well. You could go into a game with those guys and feel comfortable,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “We never close our eyes to anything — our eyes are always open — but these guys showed they can play and move the ball.”
Smith was 4 of 6 for 48 yards while leading the Chiefs to a touchdown in his only series in their preseason opener against San Francisco. He was even crisper against the Bengals, going 8 of 9 for 83 yards while leading Kansas City to a field goal on its first offensive possession and capping the second with a short touchdown strike to backup tight end Demetrius Harris.
“We treat it for what it is,” Smith said, before admitting: “No one skipped a beat, right? Everyone was kind of feeding off each other, going out there making plays, even to the end.”
Reid was planning to let Smith play the entire first half, but he called an audible after two well-executed scoring drives and let Mahomes play spanning halftime.
The former Texas Tech star gave Chiefs fans reason to feel good about the future.
After a few shaky moments in his debut, when he was the third-string quarterback, Mahomes looked right at home leading Reid’s complex offense. He was 10 of 14 for 88 yards with a pair of touchdown passes, and he showed off his moxie and running ability by adding 29 yards on the ground.
“Our quarterback play is as good as it gets,” tight end Travis Kelce said. “We have a veteran in Alex, and we like the play of Patrick, too. It doesn’t matter who is in the game.”
There is no debating that Smith is the starting quarterback, as much as some fans would like to see Mahomes get his shot right away. He’s been through the ringer and knows what it takes to lead a team into the playoffs, just as he did taking Kansas City to an AFC West championship last season.
But the Chiefs traded up to take Mahomes with the 10th overall pick for a reason.
Smith’s contract becomes expensive to carry and cheap to let go after this year, and even he has alluded to the fact that he might not be in Kansas City next season. Two preseason performances by Mahomes have only confirmed that the gunslinger with the big arm is the Chiefs’ quarterback of the future.
“He made a couple plays where he threw from his back foot and still put the ball where it was supposed to go. Those are the types of plays you can’t teach,” Kelce said. “He does a lot of things very well. He’s on-point, and the reason our offense is clicking as well as it is.”
Smith could have taken umbrage with the decision to draft Mahomes, just like the rookie’s dazzling play could create some awkward tension in the quarterback room. But the fact that Smith has been every bit as solid alleviates any of that concern, and the reality is that Smith would rather help tutor a protege than carry any animosity about Mahomes eventually taking his job.
In that respect, the Chiefs have one of the most enviable quarterback situations in the league.
“They love challenging each other. They throw the ball against the goal posts and compete there,” Reid said, referring to an end-of-practice accuracy challenge. “Everything is a competition. They love it and thrive on it. But they support each other and that’s fun to watch.”
Paul Collingwood is in line to be the English representative in a World XI coached by Andy Flower that will play a three-match series in Pakistan next month as the International Cricket Council brings top level cricket back to the country.
The Guardian understands that Collingwood, England’s World Twenty-20-winning captain, has made himself available for the three Twenty20s in Lahore on 12, 13 and 15 September with the squad, which has previously been tipped to include South Africa’s Hashim Amla and Imran Tahir, due to be named in the coming days.
The World XI players are set to earn around £75,000 each for the series that will have international status, military-style protection and is hoped will encourage future tours by national teams. Collingwood, if selected for the squad, would be the one English player as Durham do not feature in the round of County Championship fixtures that takes place at the same time.
The 41-year-old all-rounder, who led England to the World T20 title in 2010 and is the country’s most capped one-day cricketer, remains an active domestic player and this summer became the oldest man to score a T20 hundred with an unbeaten 108 from just 60 balls against Worcestershire at New Road.
Collingwood has already agreed to play on for Durham next season but is also planning for his post-retirement career as a coach: this winter he will be part of the England management set-up under head coach, Trevor Bayliss, that travels to Australia for the defence of the Ashes.
Flower, the former England team director, will begin his World XI’s preparation with a training camp in the United Arab Emirates before flying to Pakistan and is also expected to draw on current or recent internationals from West Indies, Australia, South Africa, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Afghanistan. India are unlikely to be represented however.
Najam Sethi, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, confirmed on Monday that, subject to security clearance at the end of his month, the series is due to go ahead in Lahore and added that a one-off Twenty20 against Sri Lanka and a three-match tour by West Indies are also slated to follow in October and November provided the World XI matches pass without incident.
“This is a very big thing,” Sethi told reporters in Pakistan. “September, October and November are big months. It’s a big agenda, we need your prayers and we will open the doors and international teams will come. Pray that we keep our security solid. The Punjab government has given us the signal and preparations are in full swing.”
Only Zimbabwe and Afghanistan have played in Pakistan since 2009, whenfollowing a terrorist attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in Lahore began an eight-year hiatus by the major touring sides and forced Pakistan to play their home internationals at neutral venues.
The ICC’s Pakistan task force, led by Giles Clarke, is keen to change this and the World XI tour follows the successful staging of the Pakistan Super League final at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore through a military-style security operation. Dawid Malan, currently in the England Test team, and Chris Jordan were among the eight overseas players to feature.
ANDORRA LA VELLA, Andorra (AP) Vincenzo Nibali of Italy won the third stage of the Spanish Vuelta and Tour de France champion Chris Froome took the overall lead after a strong run in the first mountain stage.
Froome was ahead with about half a kilometer to go but Nibali made a charge in the final sprint to clinch the victory at the 158-kilometer (98-mile) stage from Prades to Andorra La Vella. Froome ended third, behind David De La Cruz of Spain.
The British rider has a two-second overall lead over three riders: De la Cruz, Nicolas Roche of Ireland, and Tejay Van Garderen of the U.S.
Nibali moved to fifth overall, 10 seconds behind Froome.
”It was a difficult stage because of the heat,” Nibali said. ”The pace was very fast.”
Froome is trying to become the third rider to complete the Tour-Vuelta double in the same season. He has never won the Vuelta, finishing second three times, including last year.
He led the way at the end of the final climb with about eight kilometers (five miles) to go, but lost time through a technical winding descent to the finish, eventually being caught up by the chasing pack.
Yves Lampaert of Belgium, who was wearing the leader’s red jersey after winning Sunday’s flat second stage, finished only 163rd, dropping to 147th overall.
Three-time Vuelta winner Alberto Contador, who is retiring from cycling after the race, finished 37th to move to 30th overall, more than three minutes from the lead.
Marc Fournier of France became the fifth rider to retire. He was involved in the crash that also saw Anass Ait El Abdia and Javier Moreno abandon on Sunday.
While the desperation of many football fans to be offended by things of indiscernible consequence seems limitless, the Fiver did at least think some sort of line may be drawn when it came to the scheduling for the third round draw of this season’s Carabao Cup. Not the scheduling of the third round of this season’s Carabao Cup … but the scheduling of the actual draw for it, which is slated to take place in Beijing later this week, at stupid o’clock in the morning for those of us in Blighty with an interest in which of the 32 balls involved get paired with each other.
The news that some British fans will either have to set their alarms to follow the Carabao Twitter feed to find out who their team will play or else – nurse, the screens! – simply wait until they wake up and find out at their own convenience a few hours later has caused howls of outrage in some quarters of cyberspace, prompting all sorts of grumbles from the kind of people whose baffling agitation over such nonsense would suggest they have far more important things to worry about.
“In staging it in this way it will give the competition both the maximum exposure in the UK, Chinese and south-east Asian markets,” droned an EFL statement, explaining why the draw for the competition is being moved to China. “This is not only an important factor for the EFL but also our new sponsors Carabao, who, like ourselves, plan to use the growing global appeal of the competition to reach new audiences.” Curiously, the draw will not actually be televised in Britain, China or anywhere else, a state of affairs that seems somewhat at odds with the desperation of all involved to reach new audiences, but anyone desperate enough to follow events from China can do so on the social media feed of a sickly sweet Thai energy drink that is named after a Filipino water buffalo. And the irony? Those fanatically interested enough to stay awake until 4.15am (BST) on Thursday will almost certainly probably do so with the aid of an intravenous drip of coffee or a can or two of Red Bull.
This is not the first time this season a Carabao Cup draw has caused controversy. Not is it the second. A graphic flashed up following the first spin of the tombola had Charlton playing two different teams, while confusion reigned following the second over which teams were playing at home and which were away. This consistent inability to get things right in what should be a very straightforward League Cup procedure is a little baffling, considering no less a thundering orange-haired imbecile as the current president of the United States of America managed to help conduct it without incident in 1991. “It’s a great game, I love soccer … in high school I played soccer,” said the man who has since claimed to be “America’s greatest defender and most loyal champion”. Oh dear.
“Our chances are not so great but anything can happen. But to be realistic, Celtic will be going through” – fighting talk from Astana manager Stanimir Stoilov ahead of his side’s Champions League play-off second leg against Celtic.
SUPPORT THE GUARDIAN
Producing the Guardian’s thoughtful, in-depth journalism – the stuff not normally found in this email, obviously – is expensive, but supporting us isn’t. If you value our journalism, please support us by making a one-off or recurring contribution.
“Is anyone else puzzled by the Barcelona strategy (mes que un mess and all that) of replacing a world-class striker Neymar with as many midfielders as possible (Everton reject Deulofeu, Spurs reject Paulinho, maybe Liverpool not reject Coutinho)?” – Noble Francis.
One talking point! Ha ha ha! Two talking points! Ha Ha Ha! Three talking points! Ha Ha Ha! Four talking points! Ha Ha Ha! Five talking points! Ha Ha Ha! Six talking points! Ha Ha Ha! Seven talking points! Ha Ha Ha! Eight talking points! Ha Ha Ha! Nine talking points! Ha Ha Ha! Ten! Ten talking points! Ha Ha Ha!
Alabama is No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason college football poll for the second straight season and third time in five years.
The Crimson Tide, coming off a last-second loss in the national championship game that left it No. 2 to Clemson in the final Top 25 of 2016, received 52 from a panel of 61 media members.
Ohio State was No. 2, edging out No. 3 Florida State and preventing the first 1 vs 2 opening game since the AP preseason poll began in 1950. Alabama opens the season against the Seminoles in Atlanta on Sept. 2, just the fourth opener involving top-five teams and the first pitting teams ranked in the top three.
Southern California starts the season at No. 4. Defending national champion Clemson begins the post-Deshaun Watson era at No. 5.
More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org/poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25
First port of call is the weekend’s action – the pod discusses the Wembley pitch, Arsène Wenger having a rare referee-related moan and Manchester United’s sparkling early-season form.
We take a look at the best and worst performers in the Football League, not forgetting to prematurely crown Cardiff the winners of the Championship after their 2-1 victory over favourites Wolves.
Next we speak to Sid about the big three in Spain, and the deals which may or may not yet be struck, and Paolo gives us his rundown of the Serie A opening weekend, not forgetting to round up all of the other major action on the continent.