SPORTS DAY: Plucky little Belgium kiss French at the top

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SPORTS DAY: Plucky little Belgium kiss French at the top

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

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SOCCER
Belgium join France atop Fifa rankings  
Belgium have joined world champions France as joint leaders of the Fifa world rankings released Thursday, the first time in the table’s 25-year history that top spot has been shared. Bafana Bafana moved up one spot to 73.
Bafana return to FNB Stadium
Bafana Bafana will return to their happy hunting ground at FNB Stadium when they host Seychelles and Nigeria in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. Bafana will play Seychelles in back-to-back matches, first at home on October 13 and then three days later in Victoria. Bafana will play Nigeria on November 17.
Max Tshabalala’s R43m tax bill scuppers sale
Bloemfontein Celtic’s sale by owner Max Tshabalala to potential new buyers Sinki Leshabane and Moeketsi Mosola has officially fallen through. A sale of R40m‚ of which a R22m deposit was to be paid by Friday‚ was terminated by the potential new buyers on Tuesday. One of the reasons the deal is believed to have collapsed is a R43m debt owed by Tshabalala to SARS. 
Ronaldo faces further punishment for red card
Cristiano Ronaldo should escape an increase on his one-match ban in the Champions League, but Juventus’s star summer signing might not get off so easily in the race for the Ballon d’Or. Ronaldo is among the front runners for the prestigious prize, which considers performances during the calendar year, as well as “overall behaviour on and off the pitch”.   He was sent off against Valencia on Wednesday, after aiming a petulant kick at defender Jeison Murillo, before appearing to make contact with his opponent’s head as he gestured to him to get up. 
CRICKET
Scandal-hit Australia vow ‘hard but fair’ series
Skipper Tim Paine vowed Australia will play “hard but fair” against Pakistan as they embark on their first Test tour since a ball-tampering scandal and with fresh controversy raging following allegations by England’s Moeen Ali. The squad jetted out late on Wednesday for their first Test series since the ill-fated tour of SA, amid further off-field problems emerged after Moeen said in his autobiography that an Australian player called him “Osama” during the 2015 Ashes. Moeen is a practising Muslim. 
RUGBY
Wallabies seek instant bounce 
While the other Rugby Championship coaches are already looking ahead to the 2019 World Cup in Japan, Australia’s Michael Cheika is keeping his focus firmly fixed on the next two matches. The Wallabies head to SA for a September  29 Port Elizabeth showdown in disarray, having lost at home to Argentina for the first time since 1983 and battling to avoid a wooden spoon finish.
Cipriani out of England squad 
Gloucester flyhalf Danny Cipriani has been left out of England’s training squad for next week’s training camp in Bristol, while Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi were included on the 36-player list.  Cipriani, convicted recently of common assault, has been in top form for his club this season, has been left out by England coach Eddie Jones, who said the 30-year-old was currently England’s “third or fourth choice” flyhalf.
More ‘emerging’ nations to host World Cup?
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont signalled that more “emerging” rugby nations could be set to host the World Cup as the one-year countdown began Thursday to the 2019 edition in Japan, the first outside the sport’s strongholds. “World Rugby will have to have a philosophical debate going forward” over where future World Cups should be held, he said. “Do you say to Argentina, do you say to Ireland, Canada, the USA, these are countries we’re going to because actually strategically, that is going to make the biggest difference in that area?”
ATHLETICS
London Marathon raises record for charity  
Runners at this year’s London Marathon raised £63.7m (R1.2bn)  for charity, setting a new world record for an annual single day fundraising event for a 12th successive year. The organisers said the record was an increase of more than £2m on the previous record total from 2017.​
- AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE

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