SPORTS DAY: Around the world

Sport

SPORTS DAY: Around the world

A roundup of international sporting highlights

Agencies

OLYMPICS
Sascoc split into two factions
Two SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) board members described on Wednesday how the body's executive was split into two factions. Merrill King told the ministerial committee of inquiry into Sascoc governance issues that Tubby Reddy, the former CEO who was recently fired along with CFO Vinesh Maharaj and manager Jean Kelly, tried to run South African sport as his own “little kingdom”. Natalie du Toit, the former swimming star, said fights in board meetings started after the president, Gideon Sam, had not given sufficient information to executive members. “There seems to be two factions ... the president hasn’t shared information and the other board members will say ‘you should have shared it with us’. There’s quite a lot of that that happens.”
SOCCER
Chiefs fire first Soweto Derby salvo 
Shots were fired early‚ though it was friendly fire made in banter‚ by Kaizer Chiefs’ defender Ramahlwe Mphahlele at Orlando Pirates counterpart Happy Jele during a press conference on Wednesday ahead of Saturday's Soweto Derby at FNB Stadium. Mphahlele joked that Jele was lying when he rolled out the line that Pirates have repeated in recent weeks that the Buccaneers‚ four points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns with eight games left‚ are not entertaining thoughts on the title. “We don’t think about winning the league – it’s all about trying to improve our game‚” Jele had said. “Happy has just come here and lied to you because how can you be in position No 2 and say that you are not thinking about the league?” Mphahlele said.
Nonkonyana bid to block Safa election
Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana has instructed his lawyers to make an urgent application to interdict the South African Football Association elective congress and prevent the election of the organisation’s new president from going ahead on 24 March. Nonkonyana argues that the Fifa statutes were not properly followed during the nomination process and the members of the current football leadership are acting as both referee and player. 
RUGBYRassie to be revealed as new Boks boss
The announcement of a successor to sacked Allister Coetzee as Springboks coach will be made Thursday in Johannesburg, a South African Rugby statement said. It had been widely anticipated that former Test loose forward Johan “Rassie” Erasmus would be revealed as the new coach at an SA Rugby media conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday. But the function was devoted to the announcement that SA Breweries will sponsor the national men’s and women’s sevens teams.
Heady times for rugby
Not too long ago SA Rugby were in a froth at their inability to attract potential investors in the sport. Now they will rake in around R100-million over the next three years thanks to Castle Free’s headline sponsorship of the Springbok Sevens and the Springbok Women’s Sevens teams. A source close to the deal said the sponsorship was worth significantly more than the Sevens team’s previous deal with the embattled couch makers Steinhoff. “This has turned out to be a good deal for SA Rugby. Steinhoff demanded exclusivity when they signed but in the new deal we can still sell the back (of the jersey) as well as space on the teams’ shorts‚” said the insider.
CRICKETAbbot’s departure deeply hurt Zondi
Proteas selection convenor Linda Zondi has revealed that Kyle Abbott’s abrupt Kolpak-enforced departure from the national team early last year deeply disturbed him. The 30-year-old ditched the national team at the conclusion of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Cape Town for a Kolpak contract with English county side Hampshire. While Abbott played second fiddle to the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel‚ the 2016/17 season was a breakout one for Abbott.
TENNIS
Hubby splashes out on Serena billboards
Serena Williams’s husband Alexis Ohanian has splashed out on four giant billboards to mark the tennis star’s return to tournament play in California next week. Ohanian, borrowing a tactic at the centre of Oscar-nominated movie Three Billboards, Outside Ebbing Missouri, delighted Williams after the giant adverts appeared on the motorway heading to Indian Wells. The first three billboards, which also feature images of the couple’s baby daughter, spell out the message, “Greatest Momma Of All Time“. A fourth reads: “Serena Williams — G.M.O.A.T — Alexis Jr + Sr.” 
OLYMPICS
Russia back in the fold
The head of Russia’s Olympic Committee said on Wednesday the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had reinstated his organisation’s membership after suspending it over doping allegations. “The Russian Olympic Committee has had its rights fully restored,” said Alexander Zhukov. Russians competed as neutrals in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics after the IOC suspended Russia in December, saying it had found evidence of an “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of the anti-doping system.Tokyo 2020 mascot unveiled
Tokyo unveiled its long-awaited mascot for the 2020 Olympic Games on Wednesday: a futuristic blue-checked, doe-eyed character with pointy ears and “special powers” that was picked by schoolchildren across mascot-mad Japan. The mascot, which has yet to be named, was selected by elementary school kids from a shortlist of three competitors instantly recognisable as “made in Japan“.
REUTERS, AFP, TimesLIVE

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