SPORTS DAY: Sundowns give branding bill the boot
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Big bill forces Sundowns to move from Loftus
Mamelodi Sundowns will be playing all their African Champions League games in Atteridgeville even if Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria is their preferred home venue. Coach Pitso Mosimane has no choice but to move when it comes for the upcoming group matches of the league: the club will save R500,000 per game. That is the cost to cover all the Vodacom branding. Vodacom is the hereditary sponsor of the Bulls‚ but for the Champions League the Confederation of African Football requires all existing advertising boards in stadiums for their matches are covered.
Chiefs slapped with steep fine after crowd mayhem
Kaizer Chiefs have been fined R250,000‚ of which R200,000 has been suspended‚ for the acts of unruliness by their supporters at FNB Stadium following a 3-0 defeat for Amakhosi against Chippa United. Chiefs supporters threw missiles at players leaving the field‚ and uprooted and threw around temporary security fencing after their side’s heavy defeat at FNB two Saturdays ago (April 7). The R200,000 has been suspended provided the club are not found guilty of a similar offence for 24 months‚ the PSL said on Thursday.
Conflict looms in South African cricket
Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the country’s cricketers appeared to be headed for conflict on Thursday, just 11 days before the expiry of a four-year agreement between officials and players. A South African Cricketers’ Association (SACA) statement on Thursday contradicted one put out by CSA on Wednesday. The official body said it was willing to extend existing contracts if an agreement was not finalised by April 30. But SACA chief executive Tony Irish said CSA’s plans had caused consternation among players at a time when retaining players within the South African system was a matter of concern.
Folau fallout intensifies, RA remains under fire
Anti-gay comments by Israel Folau continued to engulf Australian rugby on Thursday with players in New Zealand criticising the Wallabies back, while pundits castigated the country’s governing body for its handling of the situation. Folau, an evangelical Christian, created a firestorm of controversy when he wrote on Instagram that gay people would be condemned to “hell” if they failed to “repent”. Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said her organisation would not sanction Folau because he had not meant to harm the game. Pundits have seen this as bending to Folau’s will.
Djokovic stunned by Thiem in Monte Carlo
Novak Djokovic was knocked out of the Monte Carlo Masters by an inspired Dominic Thiem in the third round on Thursday, with the Austrian fifth seed progressing to a possible quarterfinal with Rafael Nadal. Thiem, a two-time French Open semi-finalist, was the better player for much of the match and won 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 6-3 despite a battling effort from Djokovic. The 12-time Grand Slam champion has still not reached a quarter-final since Wimbledon last July after struggling with a right elbow injury.
Kiwi boss pours cold water on England selection
England coach Eddie Jones has a fight on his hands to secure Brad Shields for the June Tests, with New Zealand Rugby reluctant to release the Wellington Hurricanes captain. Shields, who qualifies for England through his parents, will join English club side Wasps after Super Rugby ends in August, prompting speculation that he could play a part in the three Tests in South Africa. But NZR chief executive Steve Tew told the New Zealand Herald: “I don’t think you should jump to the conclusion that he will be available from our point of view. He has signed to New Zealand and he is contracted to play for New Zealand teams until the end of Super Rugby.”
As driving career ends, Patrick remains drivenDanica Patrick may soon no longer be a race car driver but the only woman to win an IndyCar race remains as driven as ever as she speeds towards one last Indianapolis 500 and the end of a groundbreaking career. Patrick will bring her career full circle on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s famed oval on May 27 when she climbs into her Chevrolet one last time as one of North America and the world’s most recognisable athletes takes a final bow. “I’ve always said that I hope people remember me as a great driver and a woman. I hope it’s in that order,” Patrick said.
Solo Sanchez break seals Alps win
Luis Leon Sanchez of Astana launched a trademark late-break to win stage four of the Tour of the Alps on Thursday as French climber Thibaut Pinot kept the overall lead. Sky’s four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome is also well placed after coming 10th on the stage. The Briton is just 16 seconds adrift of FDJ leader Pinot in the overall standings ahead of Friday’s intriguing final stage.
No violent eSports at Olympics, says IOC chief
IOC chief Thomas Bach insisted on Thursday that violent computer games would never be part of the Olympics as he faces growing pressure to allow eSports into the Olympic movement. Bach said it would be a “red line” for the International Olympic Committee that no computer game that encourages violence would be allowed. eSports have already been admitted as a medal sport for the 2022 Asian Games and the Paris committee organising the 2024 Olympics has not ruled including eSports in its events.
Boston Marathon winner to quit his day jobThe Japanese high school clerk who sensationally won the Boston Marathon despite having neither a coach nor a sponsor announced on Thursday he was packing in his day job and turning pro. Yuki Kawauchi, 31, said at Narita Airport: “From April next year, I am thinking about resigning as a civil servant and turning pro. I want to use the (prize) money to do that.” Kawauchi scooped $150,000 when he became the first Japanese man to win the race since 1987, the year he was born.
AFP, Reuters and TimesLIVE