Colors: Yellow Color

It was announced that the English Football League's first Black manager, Tony Collins, has died.

He spent seven years in charge of Rochdale A.F.C. and led them to a League Cup final in 1962, before later worked as chief scout at both Manchester United and Leeds United.

After a playing career with Sheffield Wednesday, York City, Watford, Norwich City, Torquay United, Crystal Palace and Rochdale, he went into management at Rochdale, who were, at the time, in what was the old Division Four - now League Two - during his time there.

He managed Rochdale, initially while playing, until 1967 but worked again as a manager only as caretaker in 1980 at Bristol City, where he had been chief scout and assistant.

He then scouted for Don Revie at Leeds and for Ron Atkinson and Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, where the players he brought in included former England international Lee Sharpe. When Revie became England manager he employed Collins to provide dossiers on the opposition.

The highlight of his tenure there was when he took Dale to the League Cup final, which was then a two-leg affair before it was switched to its present Wembley venue in 1967. Dale lost 4-0 on aggregate to Norwich City.

Former Manchester United boss Ferguson sent his "deepest condolences", adding: "His family should be very proud of all he achieved."

Nottingham Forest boss Chris Hughton, who is also a League Managers Association (LMA) board member, added: "Tony has always been an inspiration to me as I continue alongside my colleagues to campaign to see more diversity in management and coaching across the game. He will be very sorely missed."

LMA chair Howard Wilkinson said: "Tony was a true pioneer of the sport.

"He was known throughout the game for his ability to recognise and nurture talent, a skill which enabled him to have a huge impact on the lives of others."

He was 94.

Surrounded by 33,643 red roses - one for each and every point he scored in his 20-year

Career - athletes, musicians, actors, and adoring fans gathered together to mark a year since the tragic passing of one of the NBA’s greatest ever.

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel, WNBA superstar Diana Taurasi, Connecticut Women's Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma, fellow-NBA Hall of Famers Shaquille O'Neal, and Michael Jordan all spoke to pay their homage one year after the tragic helicopter crash which took the lives of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and seven other people who on board.

Showered in a purple, and with spotlights shining on his two gold jerseys hanging in the rafters, thousands gathered inside and out on the corner of Chick Hearn Court and Figueroa Street for a celebration of life.

February 24, 2020 was a symbolic day combining both Gianna and Kobe Bryant's jersey numbers with the 20 years he played for the all-conquering LA Lakers. And with every major television network around the world carrying the event live, millions of people watched with tears in their eyes for a send-off the likes of which has never been recorded before.

Legends of the music industry too made their telling and heart-felt emotions known too with superstars Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, and Beyoncé all performing – all remembering Kobe Bean Bryant. All reflecting back on the year that was, and the legacy he leaves behind.

During the celebration of life ceremony at the Staples Centre, widow and mother, Vanessa, still grieving a year on said: "God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home together." Reflecting on first hearing the news of the tragic accident, current Lakers' forward Anthony Davis mused: "I knew he was known and popular, but I didn't know how impactful he was worldwide.

"He inspired so many people, and that's why so many people feel the pain the basketball community felt last year. As we approach his one-year anniversary, it saddens our hearts to actually come to the realization that he's gone." But Kobe's legacy goes on - beyond basketball.

After retiring, age 37, he became a filmmaker and won an Oscar. He also became a storyteller – and published many books. He also became a philanthropist and established the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation and even began coaching 13-year-old Gianna's youth basketball team. On the day they died, he was travelling to a basketball tournament to coach her and her teammates.

Michael Jordan, who ‘wore’ the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) tag just as Kobe was establishing himself as a Lakers all-time geat, said: "Kobe gave every last ounce of himself to whatever he was doing. After basketball, he showed his creative side.

“In retirement, he seemed so happy. He found new passions and continued to give back as a coach to his daughters. More importantly, he was an amazing dad and an amazing husband. He loved his daughters with all his heart."

The memories of Kobe and Gianna Bryant will live on in the hearts of people the world over for what they represented – on and off the court – for generations to come.

Arena Birmingham is set to receive a £1.2m council investment for a new indoor athletics track with the aim of hosting more international sporting events following the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Plans to invest in a new track, which will replace the original one installed almost 30 years ago, will be reviewed by Birmingham City Council's cabinet on February 9. The £1.2million purchase will see the original track installed almost 30 years ago replaced as it worn and at the end of its useable life.

A replacement will ensure Birmingham is well-placed to achieve its aim of hosting more major international sporting events in the coming years following the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – and help support the city’s events and hospitality industries by providing the infrastructure that ultimately acts as a catalyst for those sectors. The Cabinet report also details the fact that the track will only be purchased once any contracts are secured for future indoor events.

Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The city of Birmingham is one of the pre-eminent locations globally for indoor and outdoor athletics, having staged two fantastic Indoor World Championships in 2003 and 2018.

“This is a competitive sector of the events market and we need to ensure we can offer international federations and governing bodies the best facilities if they are to continuing coming here. We know that competitors and spectators love their time in Birmingham and this investment will ensure there are many more memorable events in the future, supporting the many local businesses in the events and hospitality sectors, which have been devastated by the impact of COVID-19.”

Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane has said he is taking inspiration from Leicester City's 2016 Premier League success as he leads the Egyptian side at the Fifa Club World Cup. The nine-time African champions face local Qatari champions Al Duhail today in Doha. The prize for the winners is a semi-final game against European champions Bayern Munich.

"The level is the highest that it could possibly be and it's very difficult to win, but what's important is to go there and play to the best of our abilities," the South African coach insisted. We want] everyone to see that we've done the best against the best teams in the world so there's nothing bigger for me and Al Ahly.

"Any coach that goes to any tournament believes that he can win it, but the reality is how do you beat Bayern Munich - who have just defeated the mighty Barcelona 8-2 on aggregate with Lionel Messi on the pitch? But anything is possible - Leicester City has showed you that anything is possible." The global coronavirus pandemic means stadiums at the delayed tournament in Qatar will only be at 30% capacity.

Al Ahly board member Khaled Mortagy says his side is missing out on what could have been fantastic support had fans been allowed to attend matches. "There are a lot of Egyptians living here, which was obvious from the way we were welcomed at the airport by our fans wearing the red jerseys and cheering our club," he said.

"It made our players look into how they make these people happy. I believe if it was in normal circumstances, the stadium would have been full with Al Ahly supporters, so it's a pity, but we have to comply with the regulations in this extraordinary time. The focus is to win the first game and then take it from there I don't think anyone is looking at anything else. We are playing against a very good team - they have got 5 or 6 international players - so we have to take it step-by-step." Al Duhail's squad includes two African stars in Kenya striker Michael Olunga and Morocco's Mehdi Benatia, who joined the Qatari club from Italian giants Juventus.

"It is a match that everyone is waiting for with lots of quality players," said Benatia. "I know Egyptian teams - they have high quality players and I know they will be a tough opponent with their combative style and it will be a match of high level. But we have good quality and are in a good form ourselves. We work well so I think we have the ability to cause them problems."

Mortagy says that Mosimane has settled in well at Al Ahly since taking over in September, when one of his first tasks was to win the African Champions League. A convincing 5-1 aggregate win over Morocco's Wydad Casablanca in the semi-finals was followed by a 2-1 victory over arch-rivals Zamalek in the final.

"He is a great coach and a world-class coach too, and he has adapted very well to our club," Mortagy explained. "The aim of bringing him - especially during the semi-final and final of the African Championship - was to have someone who has the experience and who knows the opposition player.

"He is beloved by the players, works very hard and at the same time he thinks with a long-term strategy and wants to make something for the future. He has the spirit of the club, he knows exactly the values of the club and at the same time, being Al Ahly coach is a great value for him - he wants to leave a legacy for himself at the club."

This will be Al Ahly's sixth appearance at the Club World Cup but their first since 2013, and they'll be looking to improve on their best finish in 2006 when they finished third. While today's winners face Bayern Munich, the losers will play in the fifth-place game. That play-off will be against the losers of the other quarter-final between North and Central American champions UANL of Mexico and Asian champions Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea.

Madagascar's Ahmad Ahmad has been dramatically restored as Confederation of African Football (Caf) president following a ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas). He was banned by Fifa in November for five years after football's world governing body found him to have breached several of its ethics codes.

Ahmad is still ineligible to contest Caf's presidential elections in March however, since the Cas decision came after both Caf's Governance and Fifa's Review committees sat earlier this week to approve candidates' eligibility. The Malagasy - who will now resume his role as a Fifa vice-president - is appealing his ban at Cas, which issued a preliminary ruling.

Sport's highest legal body says it will hear the appeal in full on March 2, with a decision issued before the Caf presidential elections on March 12. "Due to a risk of irreparable harm for Mr Ahmad if the disciplinary sanction is maintained during the period prior to the Caf elections, the Cas panel has upheld the request to temporarily stay the effects of the Fifa ban," Cas said in a statement. This effective suspension of the Fifa ruling will be in place 'until the day that the final Cas award is issued'.

Since he was banned when Fifa met, followed by the Caf meeting to vet presidential aspirants, Ahmad was deemed ineligible. He will now need to overturn the decisions ruling him ineligible to run, since his appeal at Cas is not against the decision barring him from contesting the elections but against his Fifa ban. Should Cas uphold Fifa's ban when its hearing takes place in early March, Ahmad will be ruled out of the race once and for all. Yet if he can overturn both his ineligibility and his Fifa sanction, a man who was proclaiming the backing of 46 federations, out of 54, shortly before his ban will have the chance to secure an unlikely comeback.

As of this week, four candidates were cleared to run for the Caf elections in Morocco on March 12: Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast), Patrice Motsepe (South Africa), Augustin Senghor (Senegal) and Ahmed Yahya (Mauritania). Ahmad's stay of execution is uncommon, says a sports lawyer with working knowledge of the Switzerland-based Cas.

Paolo Torchetti of Ruiz-Huerta & Crespo Sport Lawyers said: "The Cas rarely issues a preliminary decision suspending the effects of a sanction to ban someone from football."

Fifa adjudged Ahmad, who took charge of Caf in 2017, to have broken ethics rules relating to duty of loyalty, the offering and accepting gifts, abuse of position and misappropriation of funds. These were primarily related to a decision to approve deals totalling $4.4m with a French company run by a close friend of Ahmad's then attaché and the financing of a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia for Africa's Muslim FA presidents.

The eSkootr Championship (eSC) is proud to announce that it has established a media partnership with Micromobility Industries.

Micromobility Industries, which is helmed by industry analyst Horace Dediu, is one of the sector’s most respected and established thought-leaders, acting as both an advocate and accelerant for new mobility technologies and solutions. The partnership kicked off with eSC’s participation at Micromobility World – a digital gathering bringing together leading figures from across the industry. Sustainability Ambassador Lucas di Grassi and CEO Hrag Sarkissian were both involved in discussion panels during the three-day conference.

Hrag Sarkissian, CEO of eSkootr Championship, said: “As we finalise our prototype test programme and prepare for races in 2021, we’re delighted to be working together with Micromobility Industries. It’s a perfectly aligned partnership: we’re both committed to the development and growth of transformative mobility solutions, and we both want to engage the hearts and minds of people across the world.

“Together, we have a number of exciting initiatives planned through the year – and we’re looking forward to revealing more very soon.”

Micromobility Industries co-founder, Horace Dediu, add: “We’ve watched the development of the eSkootr Championship, and we’re fascinated by its premise, its originality and its massive potential.

“We truly believe that micromobility sports will open up exciting new possibilities for the growth of the sector and we’re looking forward to collaborating together. We have some truly ground-breaking and exciting ideas and surprises in store throughout 2021.”

Tokyo Olympics organisers say they are not willing to see the event held behind closed doors - and that the Games "will take place this summer". International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound said on 7 January there could be no guarantees of the postponed 2020 Games going ahead from 23 July. But a spokesman says it could even happen without the need for athletes or spectators to be vaccinated.

"Our position remains - we will deliver the Games," Masa Takaya said. "The IOC has made it is absolutely on the same page as Tokyo 2020." Sir Keith Mills, who was chief executive of the London 2012 Olympics, said he thought it was "unlikely "the Games will take place this summer. He reported that organisers should now be "making plans for a cancellation".

British Olympic Association chair and former sport minister Sir Hugh Robertson said he was "very optimistic" the Games would take place. "I've spoken to the IOC - everybody is working on the basis the Games will go ahead," he said. "There's been no talk of cancellation or postponement."

On whether athletes will be vaccinated for the Olympics, he added: "It wouldn't be appropriate to ask athletes to be fast-tracked. The BOA doesn't want to queue jump, but this will look very different in the spring." Takaya said that a decision on how many fans will be allowed inside venues in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic will be taken in March.

"We are not willing to see the Games taking place behind closed doors," he said. "We obviously want to see as many spectators as possible inside the venues, which is why we have been working tightly with the Japanese government and all international stakeholders, spearheaded by the IOC.

"We will see in spring how we can accommodate spectators inside the venues. We also have to see what guidance we get from the government regarding spectators and look at the situation around sports, both internationally and nationally." Takaya also dismissed a recent survey which suggested 80% of locals want the Games cancelled or postponed, saying that it was just one of a number of such polls.

"Most recent surveys show people want the Games to be re-postponed, but in that trend we see that people are willing to see the Games go ahead in some form, which is why we want to keep conveying how we are able organise the Games in this situation," he said.

Takaya said the Olympics could be delivered without mass vaccination, pointing out that "lots of sporting events are taking place in Japan" without one.

Japanese tennis players Shingo Kunieda, who lives in Tokyo, said that he thinks there's a 50% chance the Games don't go ahead now. "Globally, the situation is getting worse in some places rather than better, so all we can do is hope they find a way to make it happen safely."

US gymnast Nia Dennis's routine celebrating "Black excellence" has gone viral, with millions of views on social media after the floor routine by the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) athlete incorporated songs by artists including Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé and Missy Elliott. She said Black Lives Matter protests inspired the performance, which saw her kneel with her fist in the air.

"I had to... for the culture," the 21-year-old wrote on Instagram. The routine wowed the judges and earned her praise from celebrities, fellow athletes and fans. A video shared by UCLA Gymnastics was viewed more than nine million times. She said that she wanted the routine to "be a celebration of everything (lack people can do, everything we can overcome".

Of the performance she said: "The subject of Black Lives Matter is so heavy. It is difficult for people to talk about - and sometimes you have to meet people where they're at, with a celebration.

"Every single song is a major Black artist, musician, from different time periods. They had a huge impact on Black culture, which has also had a huge impact on me. So I'm just literally celebrating what they've done and having the time of my life."

Sporting stars across the world are still taking the knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement after George Floyd was murdered by a police officer knelt on his neck.

In 1965, civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr. took a knee during a march in Selma, in Alabama. NFL star Colin Kaepernick started kneeling symbolically during the pre-game national anthem in 2016, in protest at oppression of African-Americans in the US.

Multi-award winning Miss Dennis said she was not able to attend the Black Lives Matter protests last summer because she was recovering from shoulder surgery but was "definitely out there in spirit". The judges awarded her a score of 9.95 out of 10 for the performance on Saturday, helping her team to victory against Arizona State.

US rapper Missy Elliott was among those to show her approval, sharing the video on social media and tweeting: "Snappin". Former US First Lady Michelle Obama wrote: "Now that's what I call fierce! You're a star."

It is the second time Nia Dennis has gone viral for her gymnastics. Last year, she made headlines for a routine set to a medley of Beyoncé songs.

Former Aston Villa and Celtic manager, Dr Jozef Venglos, has died. The first manager from outside Britain or Ireland to take charge of a top-flight English team, the Slovakian made history when he was appointed at Aston Villa in 1990.

Lasting only one season at the Birmingham club he was replaced by Ron Atkinson after Villa finished 17th in the league. He also served a single-season stint with Celtic in 1998-99, which included a memorable 5-1 derby win over Rangers but no trophies.

Dr Venglos was the assistant coach when Czechoslovakia won the European Championship in 1976 and had two spells as manager, taking them to third place at the 1980 European Championship and the quarter-finals at the 1990 World Cup.

He was later Slovakia's first national team boss after it gained independence in 1993.

In a long career he also served as national team manager for Australia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Malaysia and Oman and took charge of Fenerbahce and Sporting Lisbon.

Holding a doctorate in Physical Education and also specialised in Psychology he had been selected by FIFA on various occasions to lecture at the FIFA academies throughout the world.

Leading a host of worm tributes, former Villa striker Stan Collymore tweeting: "Sad news that Dr Jo Venglos has passed away.

"First ever foreign manager to manage in the English top flight with Villa, didn't last long but always came across as a decent man. Rest in peace, Dr Jo."

He was 84.

UK Athletics (UKA) has announced it will commence the recruitment of a new board member, having made a number of decisions about the diversity of backgrounds, skills and experiences it sees as important for the organisation and the sport. The advert for the role, to be released by the end of the month, will highlight the UKA board’s focus on appointing an applicant from ethnically diverse communities, and with recent and relevant athlete experience.

The UKA board has recently increased from 8 to 12, following the addition of a director nominated by each of the four Home Country Athletics Federations. All nominated directors were men, and the UKA board is now looking to appoint a woman to this position. Chief Financial Officer Mark Draisey has volunteered to stand down from his position as a director of the company, to enable the process to happen and ensure board continuity. He will continue in his role as CFO, Company Secretary and Executive Champion for Race supporting the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda.

Nic Coward, chair of UKA said: “We are committed to driving positive change within our organisation and the whole sport, with a demand that all involved have an open and collaborative mind-set. Athletics is for everyone. That is a core belief at the heart of our Athletics Unified strategy. We will soon finalise and publish our Diversity Action Plan for the next four years, and one commitment is that the board of the sport’s governing body board should itself be from a diverse range of backgrounds, skills and experiences. As part of this, going forward, we have decided at least two of our board are to be from a minority ethnic background.

“Our Let’s Talk About Race programme created impactful conversations across the sport and within UKA, with board composition one of the very many issues initiatives that were considered. The change we are making also reflects our commitments to diversity as signatories of the Race at Work Charter, which addresses race inequality in the workplace.

“Mark Draisey has shown his personal commitment to our plan for change, and I look forward to working with him and everyone involved in the sport in delivering Athletics Unified.”

Current UK Athletics Board:

Nic Coward - Chair

Joanna Coates - CEO

Penny Avis - Senior Independent Director

David Abrahams – Athletics Northern Ireland Nominated Director

Gordon Arthur

Ian Beattie – Scottish Athletics Nominated Director

Stuart Cain

Peter Crawshaw – England Athletics Nominated Director

Mark Draisey – CFO – to stand down

Stephen Perks – Welsh Athletics Nominated Director

Anne Wafula-Strike

Mike Whittingham

Full details of the process including role description and how to apply will be released shortly through the UKA website.

Newcastle Eagles have won the BBL Cup for the seventh time after overcoming London Lions 84-77 in one of the most dramatic finals in its history. It’s the fifth time they have won the Cup in the last decade - although their first since 2017, up to which point they had won three in a row – it comes after coming from behind at the death to secure a second piece of silverware already in Ian Macleod's tenure as Head Coach.

Eagles had led by as many as 15 points as Justin Gordon and Rahmon Fletcher scored 14 each in the first half, when a 10-1 push over the first quarter break and an 8-2 burst in the second stanza made it 40-28 three minutes before the break. However – despite playing the game with just seven players as the rest of the squad had to self-isolate under COVID-19 protocols – Lions mounted a brave second half comeback. A scintillating 16-2 third quarter run got them back within one, and they followed that with a 19-7 surge in the fourth quarter to snatch a 76-69 lead with four minutes to play as Justin Robinson, Orlando Parker and Kevin Ware, twice, hit big triples.

But the Eagles proved incredibly resilient to halt that momentum as, from there, they burst out of a timeout to score 12 straight points when a corner three from Gordon tied the game, before Louis Sayers did the same from the opposite corner to give Newcastle the lead for good at 79-76 with two minutes to play. It was a nervy finish until, with 30 seconds remaining, Gordon dragged down a huge offensive rebound – his 15th board of the game, a Cup Final record – enabling Fletcher to make a big score inside the paint that made it a two possession game at 81-76 and settled the tie.

The MVP award went to Justin Gordon as he finished with 18 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and three blocks. He said: "I can't even describe it right now, I'm just happy to enjoy this moment with my teammates. It was a crazy game, but we stuck it out and got the win. We're just going to enjoy this as a team for a little bit, and then get back to the regular season games”. Rahmon Fletcher led the scoring with 21 points.

Prior to that, Leicester Riders made it three BBL Championship wins on the bounce with a 90-58 defeat of Glasgow Rocks behind 18 points, eight rebounds, and four assists from Corey Johnson. The hosts scored 20 straight points in the first quarter to dominate from the outset, Zach Jackson hitting 10 in that spell; and followed that with a 9-0 opening to the second stanza, before holding Rocks to just eight in that period, for 48-22 at the half and no way back for the visitors.

 

British Athletics has confirmed the cancellation of the British Athletics Indoor Championships, due to be staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena February 20-21.

The decision was taken in light of the ongoing pandemic to ensure the safety of all those due to participate; athletes, coaches, technical officials, volunteers, event and venue staff as well as protecting the Glasgow community. At the present time, the process of testing all those attending the Championships from across the UK, seen as an essential measure, would not sufficiently mitigate the risks.

British Athletics recognises our wider social responsibility to reduce COVID-19 transmission and to not over-burden the NHS. Whilst elite sport has been granted the privilege of an exemption to enable training and competition to continue, the logistics of safely staging a national championships comprising approximately 500+ attendees based across the UK and overseas need to be balanced with the risks to those involved, the local community, and the current medical climate.

With the European Indoor Championships currently scheduled to take place in Torun, Poland 5-7 March British Athletics acknowledges that the cohort of athletes vying for GB & NI team selection will need competition to enable qualification.

Therefore, alternative provision that enables smaller, COVID-19-compliant event qualification opportunities is being explored and will be confirmed to eligible athletes by British Athletics in due course.

2021 cycling event, The Tour 21, has now sold out with 25 amateur cyclists signed up to ride the full Tour de France route, one week ahead of the professionals from Saturday 19th June – Sunday 11th July this summer. The team, led by ex-England, Crystal Palace, Wolves and Nottingham Forest footballer and blood cancer survivor Geoff Thomas, aim to raise over £1,000,000 for national blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia.

Cure Leukaemia, which was announced as the first ever official Charity Partner of the Tour de France in the UK in October last year, recorded a £1,500,000 fundraising shortfall in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and The Tour 21 team, which was increased from 20 to 25 riders after this event’s postponement last summer, aim to help the charity address this shortfall in funding by completing all 21 gruelling stages of the world’s most famous and prestigious professional cycling event 150 days from now.

All funds raised by The Tour 21 team will be invested in the national Trials Acceleration Programme (TAP) which has been solely funded by Cure Leukaemia since January 2020. TAP is a network of specialist research nurses at 12 blood cancer centres located in the UK’s biggest cities and a facilitatory hub based at the Centre for Clinical Haematology in Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. This network enables accelerated setup and delivery of potentially life-saving blood cancer clinical trials to run giving patients from a UK catchment area of over 20 million people access to treatments not currently available through standard care.

Cure Leukaemia Patron Geoff Thomas, 56, said: “I am delighted that we have a full team of 25 cyclists signed up and committed to not only taking on this gruelling challenge but also to raising vital funds to help blood cancer patients across the UK. COVID-19 decimated charity fundraising in 2020 and Cure Leukaemia were no different and that is why we, as a team, have an even greater responsibility to go beyond the initial £1,000,000 target for the event.

“I am confident that with the team we have assembled we can do just that not only giving these amateur cyclists the experience of a lifetime but also ensuring vital blood cancer clinical trials can continue to benefit patients across the country. This will be my 5th and final Tour de France cycling challenge since I was declared in remission from chronic myeloid leukaemia in 2005 and I am determined to ensure that this is the most successful and memorable of them all.”

Cure Leukaemia Chief Executive James McLaughlin continued: “Clearly 2020 was an extremely tough year for the charity and we are so grateful to Geoff and his team for taking on such a monumental challenge both on and off the bike. I know all the riders are going to do all they can to raise £1,000,000 which will help to ensure the sustainability of the TAP network across the UK and the blood cancer clinical trials it delivers. 

“We have all seen the leading role that clinical trials are playing in securing the accelerated approval of the COVID-19 vaccines and such clinical trials are equally vital for the thousands of blood cancer patients across the UK to ensure they can access pioneering new treatments with the aim of bringing us ever closer to a cure for all forms of blood cancer.”

 

The English Premier League (EPL) has said it hopes to start permanent concussion substitution trials from January. It follows football's lawmakers, the International Football Association Board (Ifab), approving trials in 2021.

The new rule means permanent substitutions can be made if a player suffers a head injury, even if all replacements have already been used. To avoid potential abuse of the rule, opposition teams will also be able to make a change at the same time.

However, Premier League clubs have voted against the use of five substitutes for a third time, despite Ifab's confirming an extension to the rule. Instead, the number of top-flight players allowed on the bench has increased from seven to nine. This measure will come into effect from matchday 14, which begins on Saturday.

"With player welfare the Premier League's priority, clubs agreed in principle to introduce additional permanent concussion substitutions following approval of the trial by the International Football Association Board yesterday," the Premier League said.

"The Premier League will look to implement protocols which will allow a maximum of two concussion substitutes to be used per team, with the opposition side able to use the equivalent number. The additional concussion substitutions may be made regardless of the number of substitutions a team has made already."

Speaking before the latest decision not to allow five substitutes, Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham said he was "surprised" top-flight clubs had not approved the change. He also said clubs still competing in the FA Cup would be allowed to make five substitutions. "I think when we started off at Ifab level, we fully expected all of the leading leagues to sign it off for the reason of a very congested season with a lack of pre-season."

Speaking about permanent concussion substitutes, he added: "I think we have to state clearly why permanent substitutes are better. We had a concussion expert group pulled together by Fifa and Ifab to look at this and their view is very firmly that it's safer."

Concussion substitutes were set to be introduced at the football competitions of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics before it postponed until 2021 because of coronavirus. The ability to gather a more accurate diagnosis of head injuries has been in the spotlight after several members of England's 1966 World Cup-winning team were diagnosed with dementia.

Stiles and Jack Charlton, who both died earlier this year, had dementia, while Sir Bobby Charlton's family recently revealed he had been diagnosed with the disease. Former Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen also recently explained how he had felt the effects of a concussion he sustained playing for Spurs for the following nine months.

 TikTok has today partnered with the British Basketball League and Basketball England to launch the #BritishBasketball hashtag challenge and showcase the best of British basketball.

In what is the first ever basketball focused campaign on TikTok in the UK, the BBL and Basketball England are inviting basketball lovers to share their best basketball tricks, skills and content on TikTok. TikTok Creators will have access to exclusive behind-the-scenes content from professional clubs like Sheffield Sharks, Leicester Riders, London Lions, Glasgow Rocks, Plymouth Raiders, Bristol Flyers and Surrey Scorchers.

"Our team have been using TikTok to share basketball content to a new audience and we've been encouraged to see it getting a great response," said Basketball England Marketing and Communications director Anthony Jepson.

"We’re excited to be working with TikTok to showcase #BritishBasketball and the talent in the BBL to people not only in the UK but across the world. From the hustle of training to the thrill of gameday, TikTok allows us and our clubs a unique and direct way to share with our fans and communities. We’ve also loved seeing great basketball content shared by fans and creators from the basketball community and cannot wait to see what they share on the hashtag to celebrate the sport we love!,” said Selina Conroy, British Basketball League's Head of Communications

Professional players including Mike Tuck, Jamell Anderson and Tayo Ogedengbe will also be sharing exclusive content to highlight what it's like being a pro basketball player in the UK.

"We're seeing great videos being shared by fans, content-makers and teams across the sport and would encourage everyone who loves the game in Britain, whether your thing is NBL, BBL, the national teams or up-and-coming young talent, to use the hashtag to celebrate it," Jepson said.

With more than 31 billion video views, #basketball has cemented itself as one of the most popular sports on TikTok and #BritishBasketball is on the rise with numerous clubs from the BBL joining the platform.

 

 

 

 

Her father is one of the biggest names in American sport - but Trinity Rodman wants success on her own terms. The 18-year-old is the daughter of Dennis Rodman, the iconic NBA Hall of Famer who is as well known for dramas off the court as brilliance on it. And she is making a big name for herself as a footballer. She just became the youngest player drafted in the history of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL).

Rodman, a USA Under-20 international forward, was the second overall pick in the draft, as she was snapped up by Washington Spirit. Afterwards, she talked about "paving my own path" and being "excited to be known as Trinity Rodman and not just Dennis Rodman's daughter". But she does appreciate her father's influence, saying that "he was an amazing athlete and I got those genes from him".

Rodman has already made a significant impact on the US football scene. In February and March, she impressed as the USA won the Concacaf Women's Under-20 Championship in the Dominican Republic, scoring nine goals - including two in the final as Mexico were beaten 4-1. She ended the year as one of three nominees for the US Soccer Young Female Player of the Year, losing out to Under-20 national team captain Naomi Girma when the results were announced in December.

In between, she enrolled at Washington State University and was scheduled to play for their college team, the Cougars, over the autumn season. But it was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, and so she did not get a chance to turn out for them.

Rather than wait for the spring season, Rodman decided to declare for the draft and start her professional career - skipping college. The risk paid off. "To even just be in the draft with my situation and my age is insane," she said, "but to be number two to an amazing team is out of this world, like I couldn't ask for anything more."