EFL lay down rules for early finish in three divisions

EFL lay down rules for early finish in the Championship, League One and League Two with final decision on their fate set for June 1

  • EFL clubs have until Tuesday to deliver their verdicts on plan to end the season 
  • Promotion and relegation will remain as final places settled by points-per-game
  • The play-offs will also take place but contested by a maximum of four teams

EFL clubs have until Tuesday to deliver their verdicts on the league’s plan to end the season, with a final decision on the fate of the three divisions set for June 1.

The EFL have invited their 71 clubs to give their feedback after confirming the planned framework to finalise the season should any of the three divisions end early.

Promotion and relegation will remain, final positions will be settled by points-per-game and the play-offs will take place but not with more than four teams.

EFL have invited 71 clubs to give their feedback on planned framework to finalise the season

The EFL board intend to adopt the proposals into their regulations after the plans have been reviewed by clubs ahead of votes next week. Confirmation of the outcome is expected by early in the following week, with June 1 earmarked.

For any of the divisions to be curtailed at least 51 per cent of clubs need to vote in favour.

Twenty-three club League One is the most divided with at least eight sides support for continuing the season known.

However several clubs, including from those clubs against curtailment, are resigned to seeing the season ended prematurely.

Leeds chief said it’d be embarrassing if European leagues finish and Championship couldn’t 

League Two clubs have already voted to end the season early, though were hoping to see relegation scrapped.

They too will have to agree to the new proposals drawn up by the EFL which include relegation in a vote next week.

While there is opposition to continuing the Championship campaign, the majority of clubs want the season to resume.

They can officially return to training on Monday following the first round of coronavirus tests in the last-48 hours. The EFL confirmed results are ‘unlikely to be available until Sunday 24 May.’

Angus Kinnear, chief executive of Championship leaders Leeds, said: ‘It would be a national embarrassment if the Bundesliga, La Liga or Serie A were to be able to complete safely and the first and fifth biggest leagues in the world were not able to follow suit if the context remained comparable.’




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In essay, Akim Aliu lays out foundation for change: ‘Hockey is not for everyone…But it damn sure should be’

Akim Aliu believes hockey is not for everyone.

“The NHL’s title for their annual diversity campaign, ‘Hockey is For Everyone’ makes me crack up,” Aliu wrote in a powerful essay for The Players’ Tribune that was posted on Tuesday morning. “Because, right now, hockey is not for everyone.”

Taking aim at the NHL’s “Hockey is for Everyone” campaign, which “uses the game of hockey — and the league’s global influence — to drive positive social change and foster more inclusive communities,” Aliu detailed the racism he experienced over the course of his career and insisted the time is now for the league to step up.

“I think the title of the NHL’s diversity campaign is a little funny. Because it’s like putting up a MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner before even starting the mission. It’s not that the campaign is misguided — I think it has promise,” he wrote. It’s just that the road ahead is long, and it will be painful for some. And we are not at the end yet.”

Back in November, Aliu disclosed on social media during the 2009-10 season, then-Rockford IceHogs head coach Bill Peters used racial slurs directed at him over his choice of music. 

“Surrounded by teammates. Surrounded by the boys. But completely alone,” Aliu said. Earlier in the essay, he also described the treatment he received from former Windsor Spitfire teammate Steve Downie, including him knocking out his teeth at a practice.

Aliu’s actions lead to Peters resigning a few days later as the head coach of the Calgary Flames. He was hired in April to serve as the bench boss for the KHL’s Yekaterinburg Avtomobilist.

“There are hundreds of coaches at all levels of hockey in Canada and the United States just like him,” he wrote. “They operate under the pretense of absolute power.

“They will pummel you mercilessly until you break, or until you give in, whichever comes first.”

After the Peters’ incident came to light, Aliu met with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly regarding issues in the game.

“I made my opinions on things clear to them, as I hope I’ve done here,” Aliu said, adding that conversations are ongoing. “I left that initial meeting feeling positive. I think — and it may take some time — that there will be an acknowledgment of the problems the NHL is facing — and there will be tangible changes coming.”

As Aliu mentioned, the changes need to come at all levels — from the hiring and teaching of youth coaches through the professional ranks. He did concede that at the pro level, it may not be so easy.

“It’s difficult to ask a veteran or a rookie to speak out on divisive issues and most NHL coaches aren’t going to change their ways. There’s too much money on the line. But what we can do is promote diversity,” he explained. It should be noted that the NHL did set up a hotline for players and staff to anonymously report incidents. 

While Aliu does state it will take time, one way he suggested to promote diversity would be creating something similar to the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs.

“We should be showing off the diversity our game is capable of having,” he wrote. “This has an immediate impact on youth involvement because I know there are kids like me out there who have a hard time seeing themselves in the NHL. Or there’s a little black boy or girl who wants to be an NHL coach, but he or she doesn’t see anyone in the league who looks like them.”

As more incidents come to light, such as former Hurricanes defenseman Michal Jordan revealing Peters’ physical abuse, and “the dark side of hockey” such as what was seen during a recent fan chat with New York Rangers prospect K’Andre Miller, Aliu notes it’s time for the NHL to be better and take the lead in creating a system that welcomes everyone regardless of background.

“What we CAN do is be honest. What we CAN do is be courageous. What we CAN do is stand up for one another. That’s what hockey is supposed to be all about, right?” he asked.

“Hockey is not for everyone. Not yet. But it damn sure should be.”

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Premier League clubs vote in favour of a return to training THIS WEEK

Premier League clubs vote to return to training TOMORROW as Project Restart gets the go-ahead… but stars will only be allowed to work in groups of five and with social distancing rules in place

  • Premier League clubs have voted for a return to group training later this week 
  • A vote was held on Monday following discussions between players and officials
  • Stars will be able to work together in small groups but no contact is allowed
  • Officials hope to resume games in June but season may not finish until August 
  • Training restrictions are expected to be eased as Project Restart is ramped up
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Premier League clubs have voted for a return to training this week in a much-needed boost to Project Restart following weeks of talks. 

Players at a number of top-flight clubs are already back training individually, but they will now be allowed to work together in groups of five from Tuesday as long as social distancing rules are followed.

Premier League officials needed at least 14 positive votes to press ahead with phase one of the return to training, in which all contact between players is banned.

Players will be allowed to train in small groups from this week but no contact will be permitted

And during a video conference call involving all 20 clubs on Monday morning, it was agreed that it was safe for players to return to action amid the coronavirus crisis. 

A number of clubs will test players and staff for the disease on Monday with a view to returning to training on either Wednesday or Thursday.

Clubs have told their players their results should be available 24 hours after their tests. 

A return to training was discussed by clubs, managers, players and officials from the Professional Footballers’ Association and League Managers’ Association last week.

Every player who returns to training will need to provide written confirmation that they have received and agree to their club’s Covid-19 operational policy.

Spurs boss Jose Mourinho is desperate to return to training and wants to resume the season

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has played a key role in talks with Premier League officials

Each club must also appoint a dedicated ‘Covid-19 officer’ who is not a member of their medical staff to oversee player and staff safety during the return to training and when the campaign restarts.

The Premier League hope to resume games in the second half of June, although they are willing to extend the season until the end of August in order to complete it. 

Although the majority of players are expected back this week, some managers are likely to be without stars who have concerns about returning to contact training, or who live with family members who are vulnerable to coronavirus.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain on Monday morning, Watford captain Troy Deeney explained how training rules are likely to be eased in the coming weeks.

He said: ‘Phase one is social distancing individual training with a coach. That’s no problem, that’s like going to the park. Phase two will be next week six days of training three to six people training together with contact and then six days after that you’re going into 11 versus 11 and you can’t social distance with 11 verus 11.

‘I would say 98 per cent [of players] are very much aware that phase one is very good, I would say 65-70 per cent of people are concerned with phase two. I’d say even higher after that.’ 

Watford captain Troy Deeney has hit out at the Premier League’s plans for Project Restart




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Mercedes won’t want Sebastian Vettel due to Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – Massa

Sebastian Vettel needs to wait and see what the rest of the Formula 1 grid does before making a decision over his next team, claims former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa. The Brazilian thinks Mercedes wouldn’t want him because of fears he would clash with Lewis Hamilton like Nico Rosberg did.

Vettel is set to become a free agent at the end of this year, having announced his split from Ferrari.

The four-time world champion is on the hunt for a new team, and speculation is rife over where he could end up.

A return to Red Bull has been mooted, as that was where he won his world championship titles.

However, it has also been suggested that he could make a staggering move to Mercedes to link up with rival Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas will be out of contract at the end of the season, and reports suggest Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is considering letting the Finn go in place of Vettel.

But Massa believes this would be the wrong move, as Hamilton’s poor relationship with former team-mate Rosberg is a sign of what would happen if he teamed up with Vettel.

He explained that the German should consider Renault or a return to Red Bull.

Massa did, however, explain that a return to Red Bull would be reliant on the development of their newest driver Alex Albon.

READ MORE

  • F1 news: Sainz a ‘better’ Vettel replacement for Ferrari than Hamilton

“Maybe there is a chance for him at Renault or Mercedes,” he said.

“I just don’t know what Valtteri Bottas’ plans are and if he will stay.

“Sebastian must wait to see what will happen.

“Lewis is in the right place at Mercedes. If Lewis stays, it will be very difficult for Vettel to go there.

READ MORE

  • F1 fans demand Mercedes ‘announce Vettel’ as 2021 Hamilton team-mate

“Everyone wants to see these two pilots on a team, but I don’t know if it’s true for the team.

“We must not forget the problems between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. I don’t think Mercedes wants this scenario.

“Red Bull? We will have to see how Albon [progresses], but there is no reason to change anything. As a leading team, you need two drivers to score points.”

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Arum wants Daniel Kinahan to find Middle East venue for Joshua-Fury

‘He is one of my favourite guys… he is a fair buffer for promoters who don’t always see eye to eye’: Bob Arum calls for controversial boxing adviser Daniel Kinahan to be tasked with finding Middle East venue for Anthony Joshua-Tyson Fury showdown

  • Prospect of a title bout in the Middle East is gaining momentum
  • Dublin-born Daniel Kinahan has been building his business reputation in Dubai
  • Kinahan was targeted by armed men who stormed a weigh-in in Dublin in 2016
  • Bob Arum calls Kinahan his ‘adviser regarding the Middle East’ 

Bob Arum has called for controversial Irish boxing adviser Daniel Kinahan to be entrusted with finding a Middle East location for Tyson Fury’s potential unification showdown with Anthony Joshua.

Influential American powerbroker Arum, is the 88-year-old CEO of Top Rank. He co-promotes Fury with Frank Warren and the heavyweight’s management company MTK have been discussing possible site offers from countries outside the UK with Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn.

Arum is quick to point out that both fighters will have to fulfil obligations to Deontay Wilder and IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev respectively but, should they prove successful, the prospect of a title bout in the Middle East is gaining momentum amid lockdown restrictions and Kinahan is the key figure.

Daniel Kinahan is key figure in getting a Middle East location for Anthony Joshua v Tyson Fury

The Middle East is also a destination being considered for Joshua v Pulev, along with Croatia.

Kinahan was the target as men armed with AK47s and some dressed as Irish Garda stormed a weigh-in for the Clash of the Clans bill at the Dublin Regency Hotel in 2016.

TV cameras captured the horror and commotion as gunmen killed one man and injured two others. 

A gangland feud was cited and the fall-out has been linked to another 16 deaths, raising serious questions about the Irish police’s handling of the investigation.

Four years on, despite footage from the weigh-in being widely broadcast, no-one has yet been held accountable for the deaths.

After the shooting, Dublin-born Kinahan, who has no criminal record, re-located to Dubai where he has since been living and re-building his business reputation.

Bob Arum has called on the Irishman to be tasked with finding a location for the showdown

Arum, a vastly experienced lawyer who once worked for President John F Kennedy’s administration, said: ‘We have great confidence in Dan. He is in effect our adviser regarding the Middle East. 

‘He is living there and has very, very good connections so we early on ceded to Dan the authority to explore opportunities in the Mideast on behalf of Top Rank and in talking to Frank (Warren) we told Frank what our preference was and Frank agreed to go along.

‘We have even been talking to Eddie (Hearn) saying let’s not go crazy with everybody talking to different people in the Middle East, let Dan field all those proposals and report back to us.

‘When that fight happens next year we will be looking for a site. The US, UK, is the Middle East coming up with a very, very large number for that fight? 

‘That is what Dan is looking into because everyone trusts Dan with handling that situation whether it’s Eddie, Frank or myself.

‘Dan is like the captain when it comes to the practicalities of doing a fight in the Middle East. He is one of my favourite guys. No-nonsense, whose word is his bond. 

‘He serves as a fair buffer for promoters who don’t always see eye to eye with each other, like Frank and Eddie!’

Joshua (right) lands a right fist on Andy Ruiz Jr during their fight in Saudi Arabia

https://youtube.com/watch?v=i2vUjOYRYjU%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1

Arum has worked with boxing’s most illustrious names including Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather Jr. 

The Top Rank mogul says he has been utilising advice from Kinahan to good effect with MTK, the management company that Kinahan helped set up, initially as MGM.

‘We have been working all the past year with MTK,’ Arum confirmed in an interview with YouTube channel iFL TV. 

‘Because of our connection we have been able to get a whole host of events and televise them in US on ESPN plus which is now eight million plus subscribers so that has been a big success and our relationship particularly with Dan has been a tremendous success.’

Arum has also consulted Kinahan during discussions over the potential welterweight mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Terence Crawford.

Arum’s comments have come amid a social media campaign within the sport supporting Kinahan as a reputable international boxing adviser.

Tyson Fury lands a punch on Deontay Wilder during his victory in Las Vegas in February

Middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, prior to having his licence suspended, credited Kinahan with setting up his proposed fight with Canelo Alvarez.

Saunders said: ‘He is a man I will always get advice from. He has very good connections in the boxing world, everybody respects him.’

Repercussions from the 2016 shooting are still reverberating around Ireland amid calls for an independent inquiry. The lead detective on the case was found dead after reportedly killing himself while an ombudsman investigation has so far failed to prove conclusive.

Kinahan had survived another attempt on his life prior to that fateful day and police were aware of the threat surrounding his presence at the weigh-in but Saunders insists: ‘There is no gangland feud. The only conversation I have had was when he was very shaken up. He just went to watch fighters weigh in and he ended up almost shot.

‘People don’t respect him because they fear him, they respect him because he’s a good businessman and knows his way round the boxing world very well.’

Sportsmail contacted MTK’s offices in Dubai but they declined to comment.




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Roy Hodgson admits cannot be forced to take part in Project Restart

‘It is a matter for the individual and the club’: Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson accepts he may not have all players available if they have concerns about Project Restart, but confirms he WILL be in the dugout when Premier League returns

  • Premier League players and bosses are preparing to return amid the coronavirus
  • Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson admits players could refuse to take part 
  • It is the first indication that teams may not have their full squad available to play
  • Hodgson has, however, confirmed that he will be in the technical area himself  
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Roy Hodgson has conceded it should not be expected that all Premier League players will agree to return to action should Porject Restart get up and running. 

Top-flight clubs are continuing to meet in order to agree the perameters in which football can return to the UK, with discussions ongoing as to when matches can resume.

While clubs are desperate to get the season finished in a bid to plug the financial blackhole sucking away at funds, some players have expressed concern about returning to action in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Roy Hodgson admits players cannot be forced to take part in the Premier League’s restart 

The Crystal Palace manager was speaking to Richard Keys and Andy Gray in beIN Sports

https://youtube.com/watch?v=5iTVbQH6ZAw%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1

Newcastle loanee Danny Rose and Sergio Aguero are among stars to express reservations about Project Restart, and, as revealed by Sportsmail on Tuesday evening, players are insisting they will not return to training this Monday. 

And Roy Hodgson has conceded that it could be the case that managers may find themselves without some members of their squads.

‘It’s a matter for the individual and for the club. I shall abide by whatever the club rules in that respect,’ he told the Keys and Gray Show on beIN Sports.

‘I would be very surprised, knowing my club as I do and knowing the chairman Steve Parish, that he would not be sympathetic to a player who came and said “I have serious reservations about playing”. 

‘I’m certain he would solve that situation, but it would be taken out of my hands. I wouldn’t have any problem with it.’

There was speculation that Hodgson himself may be prevented from taking his place in the dugout for the restart of the season, with it thought the 72-year-old may have been forced to continue self isolating due to his age. 

However, as revealed by Sportsmail last week, the former Inter and Liverpool boss has been given the green light to take his seat on the bench when play resumes, and the Eagles boss confirmed the news on Tuesday. 

Asked By Richard Keys if he would be able to return Hodgson answered: ‘Yes.  

It is the first time a Premier League boss has conceded some players may not be available

‘Age is age. It’s how you feel really. Your age doesn’t necessarily relate to your fitness or how you’re feeling, or your capacity to do a job. 

‘As far as I’m concerned, I feel every bit as good as I did on March 10th, in fact probably a little bit better because this time has given me more of a chance to work on my fitness than I had during the time I was working on a daily basis. 

‘When I’m called back to work I shall be very happy to go back to work.’




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How Peter Mata’utia and Owen Farrell’s new haircuts are raising funds

Ever heard of a hairdo so bad that it would likely be banned from the training ground?

If not, then check out Castleford Tigers’ Peter Mata’utia and his pink rat-tail.

With the Super League season paused and the United Kingdom in lockdown, it is the sort of DIY style that you hide behind closed doors… and from your coach.

“I get to try things that I wouldn’t normally try because I don’t think Powelly [Tigers head coach Daryl Powell] would be a fan of it,” Mata’utia told BBC Sport.

“It’s a good time to muck around with your hair, dye it or get the mohawk you always wanted as a kid.”

The Australia-born Samoa international says adding a splash of colour to his hair – which he describes as a “long mullet, ratty-type thing” – isn’t all just a style choice.

There is also a hugely important cause behind it as an ambassador for social care charity Community Integrated Care.

The 29-year-old is among a growing number of UK-based sports stars, including England rugby union captain Owen Farrell, to take up the #CareWithHair challenge, donating what money he would normally spend at the hairdressers to the social care provider instead.

With Mata’utia’s mother, Matalena, still working as a care home nurse in Australia, the cause is also a deeply personal one for the former St George Illawarra and Newcastle Knights player.

“I’ve always been proud of my mum,” the versatile back said.

“It’s tough right now but she enjoys working with older people, looking after them – she loves her job.

“She is determined to help out and do her part in this pandemic. Because of what my mum is doing, this cause means a lot to me.

“Getting and paying for a haircut is an everyday thing. This is just taking that money and putting it to something really important.

“It’s something you can have fun with. Pink is one of the colours of Community Integrate Care’s logo, so I thought it would help generate more attention.”

Community Integrated Care – one of the UK’s biggest social care providers, supporting thousands of people with learning disabilities, dementia, autism and mental health concerns – says that £2m has been spent on personal protective equipment (PPE) in the six weeks since lockdown began to ensure the frontline services they deliver continue in these difficult circumstances.

The impact of Covid-19 on people in care homes has been hard to calculate, as there are more than 15,000 care homes in England alone, compared with about 200 hospital trusts.

But an estimated third of all coronavirus deaths are happening in care homes.

“Right now, our staff are helping people to cope with the anxiety and disruption that self-isolation causes, wear PPE and protect the people they support, and in some cases face up to the devastating impact of an outbreak,” John Hughes, the charity’s director of partnerships and communities, said.

“When you’re spending so much on the essentials, it becomes even more challenging to fund the important things that also make a huge difference.

“Every penny raised by the #CareWithHair challenge will fund vital assistance for our carers and frontline care services.

“For the people we support, that will include purchasing items that will bring them comfort and joy – from technology to stay in touch with families, through to games and activities, or even projectors, so people receiving end-of-life care can be comforted watching the things that are important to them.”

Having Mata’utia sport a gnarly do is an extension of his and rugby league’s involvement in the charity, which last year saw Super League and Community Integrated Care form a “ground-breaking” learning disability competition.

The fundraising cause has also transcended rugby codes, with England and Saracens fly-half Farrell sporting a lockdown crew cut.

The 28-year-old was nominated to chop his locks by former Great Britain prop and rugby league commentator Terry O’Connor.

As someone who played with the England and Saracens star’s father, Andy – who is now head coach of Ireland – at Wigan, O’Connor says the short back and sides is a far cry from a long forgotten style the fly-half once sported.

“I have actually seen Owen with a mullet when he was a kid,” O’Connor said with a laugh.

“His dad has that horrific beard – black with streaks of grey in it – now and I keep asking when he is going to trim it. I couldn’t nominate him for this because he’s not on social media, but it is ridiculous.

“I’ve been looking like Captain Caveman myself, so getting the hair chopped at home without losing any part of my ears or skin was a bit of fun.

“Everyone needs a haircut and this is one that can really help at what is a tough time during this horrible pandemic. This is a simple way for everyone to make a big difference right now, and I hope that supporters of all sports get involved.”

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Dave Kitson a ‘true politician’ as he bids to Make the PFA Great Again

A slow clap for an apology at snail’s pace, if it can even be called that.

A staggering 510 days after stating “I do believe that players make themselves a target” for racist abuse, posing the question as to why Raheem Sterling in particular was a magnet for attacks when “there are other black players on the pitch every single week,” Dave Kitson is sorry.

Well, sort of if you file “perhaps I used clumsy language” 73 weeks later as a regretful acknowledgement.

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The former Reading striker launched his candidacy to replace Gordon Taylor as the Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive last week, complete with a 10-point manifesto and 101 questions for the union to answer.

Both of those had a sharp focus on racism in the game with Kitson insisting more needs to be done to eradicate it.

He is right. After all, a middle-aged white man could see no issue with putting himself forward for the PFA’s top job without accepting his comments in December 2018 were an upper cut to BAME players, who viewed it as an excuse for indefensible behaviour.

Perhaps it may have been easier for Kitson to ignore the overflow of criticism he received at the time for his opinion on Talksport, because he wasn’t reliant on the support of former and current black footballers?

Maybe it was also easy for the 40-year-old to go public with his plans to “rescue the PFA” without first addressing his remarks, because he was not challenged on them by the outlets who gave him a platform.

Perhaps he thought it would be as easy for everyone else to skip past his “there is no excuse whatsoever for racially abusing somebody, BUT…” line of thinking so he could evade being held to account as he transformed into the PFA’s saviour to be.

So here we are, all this while later, with Kitson explaining what he actually meant.

You see, he “couldn’t help but think back to the episode when I suffered a backlash as a result of posting glamorous lifestyle photos online” in reaction to Sterling being called a “f*****g black c***” during the first half of Manchester City’s 2-0 defeat at Chelsea.

What?

“I said that I’d looked down Raheem’s social media feed and that while in the beginning it was about his cars and houses, I was pleased to see he had changed it because there is a lot of jealousy out there and I knew what it was like to have been on the end of unwarranted abuse,” Kitson continued, still not grasping that he has no understanding of how it feels to be discriminated against due to skin colour or that Sterling’s Instagram was inconsequential to the attacks.

“I said that it gave people a reason to dislike him as a person. Not that he had done anything wrong on his social media account, but it gave certain people a platform to vent their ill-informed, ugly views.”

There’s that ‘but’ again.

Kitson was also “distressed that this has somehow morphed into a suggestion I condoned the shocking abuse Raheem suffered or that he otherwise asked for it” despite his words being “I do believe that players make themselves a target. Why Raheem Sterling?”

It seems to me that the only thing that has morphed is his need to now reframe his take – quite poorly – so his campaign to succeed Taylor doesn’t tank.

He also appeared to turn to the hackneyed ‘I have black friends’ defence too. Kitson pointed out that he converses with former teammate “Leroy Lita regularly” and he “spoke to him the other day”.

“He said, ‘Dave, I know what you’re saying, I shared the dressing room with you for four years, but how you said it was clumsy’. I totally take his point and I will learn from it. It was regrettable.”

Unsurprisingly, those who have vocalised their opposition to Kitson’s campaign are unmoved by this pathetic attempt at an apology as well as the timing of it.

“He’s played it like a true politician,” was the top-corner summary of one former player.

It’s maybe only a matter of time before Kitson screams ‘fake news’ in regards to his 2005 assertion that “if a black guy goes out there and 25,000 chant at him ‘you black this’ or ‘you black that’ I don’t see what the difference is if you replace it with a colour of hair or anything else.”

Or before he claims that his repeated stereotyping and belittling of players’ wives and girlfriends was just a twisting from the lamestream media.

Perhaps this is too harsh or is clumsy language.

Perhaps we should all feel grateful that Kitson is willing to speak to Sterling to “put his mind – and that of other players – to rest” as he bids to Make the PFA Great Again.

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Football Manager 2020 predicts final Sky Bet League One table

The Sky Bet League One 2019/20 season was supposed to come to a conclusion on Sunday, but who would have been promoted and relegated, or reached the play-offs?

If the campaign had continued as normal, the final round of third-tier games would have taken place today, and we have turned to Football Manager 2020 to find out what may have happened throughout the rest of the campaign.

So would have reached the Championship? Who would have been relegated to League Two, and who would have been set for the lottery of the play-offs?

Football Manager have used their unique software to simulate the rest of the season, and to see how the table would have shaped up…

Final League One table

The promotion battle

The League One season would have culminated in a thrilling finish in the battle for promotion, according to a simulation by Football Manager.

Heading into the final day of the season, three teams are level on 78 points at the top of the table with just the two automatic promotion places available.

Oxford United continue their excellent form through to the end of the season with a run of four straight wins in April, including a 2-1 win away at title rivals Coventry. That helps to propel them into pole position in the title race heading into the final day.

Rotherham recover from a slight stutter in early April and pick up wins against Doncaster and Bolton from their last two games to put themselves in second place on goal difference before their last match of the season against Sunderland.

Coventry were top going into the start of the simulation but fall apart in April, picking up just a sole win with a crucial 3-1 victory over Burton on the penultimate day of the season to leave them in third but level on points with the top two.

A dramatic final day plays out as Oxford fall behind after just five minutes to Bolton, and Rotherham take an early lead against Sunderland. Coventry meanwhile are never really in it against AFC Wimbledon as the Wombles run out 3-1 winners.

Oxford equalise just before half-time before a decisive 62nd-minute turnaround that sees Sunderland equalise at Rotherham and Oxford grab a second against Bolton. Despite going close late on, Rotherham can’t find a way through and Oxford see out the remaining half an hour against Bolton to secure their first league title since 1985.

Final day results

The play-off races

The battle for the play-off places is just as tightly contested. Coventry’s third place is their consolation prize for so narrowly missing out on the automatic places. Peterborough can’t take advantage of Portsmouth‘s 2-0 defeat to Burton on the last day as they draw 2-2 with already relegated Tranmere and have to settle for fifth.

Fleetwood and Sunderland fight it out for the final playoff place. With Fleetwood playing their last match of the season on the penultimate day, they need a win to put themselves in the best possible position to claim sixth. They could only draw at home to relegated Southend, putting Sunderland in control of their own fate. The Black Cats’ 1-1 draw with title contenders Rotherham on the final day is enough to push them into sixth and secure that all-important final play-off spot.

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Wonderlic test scores leaked for Tua Tagovailoa, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert & other 2020 NFL Draft QBs

During the NFL Combine, every prospect participates in a Wonderlic test. The results of those tests are supposed to be kept private, but every year the numbers make their way to the public.

In his series of NFL Draft previews, The Athletic’s Bob McGinn has released Wonderlic scores on nearly every prospect so far. In this post, we’ll just be focused on the numbers from quarterbacks. We’ll also focus on whether the results of this test have any effect on the quarterback’s prospects as an NFL player. 

First, an update to this post: Later reports contradicted McGinn’s list of test scores for top quarterback prospects. According to former Notre Dame receiver (and fellow 2020 draft prospect) Chase Claypool, Oregon’s Justin Herbert scored a 39 (out of 50) instead of the 25 that McGinn reported. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer backed Claypool’s statement.

A 39 would give Herbert the second-highest score for quarterbacks, just behind the 40 by Iowa’s Nate Stanley. Herbert won the Campbell Trophy, known as the “academic Heisman,” with a 4.01 GPA in biology. 

Breer also reported that Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa scored a 19 instead of a 13 and Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts scored a 21 instead of an 18. Jake Luton and Brian Lewerke also had higher scores than originally reported, according to Breer.

If you’re unfamiliar with what the Wonderlic test is, read this explanation from Wikipedia:

The Wonderlic Personnel Test is a popular group intelligence test used to assess the aptitude of prospective employees for learning and problem-solving in a range of occupations. The Wonderlic is available in 12 different languages and is often used in college, entry level jobs, and team-making efforts. It consists of 50 multiple choice questions to be answered in 12 minutes.

Wonderlic scores for 2020 NFL Draft quarterbacks

* Updated scores are according to SI’s Albert Breer.

Tagovailoa still had the lowest reported Wonderlic score among the 2020 draft-eligible quarterbacks with 19, if you replace McGinn’s original reports with Breer’s updates. That is just below the historical average of 20 based on data gathered from wonderlictestsample.com.

While Stanley’s 40 is well above average, it pales in comparison to Ryan Fitzpatrick’s score of 48, which is believed to be the highest Wonderlic test score ever recorded for an NFL quarterback.

SN’s Vinnie Iyer has Stanley going to the Bears in the seventh round in his latest mock draft.

Projected No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow (35) and Georgia’s Jake Fromm (34) also had above-average Wonderlic scores.

Does the Wonderlic test matter?

Now that you know the scores, it’s worth knowing if they even matter. In short, it depends on who you ask, but most people respond with “not really.” In a column for Sports Illustrated, Edward Krupat, PhD, wrote the Wonderlic is “an outdated way of thinking about intelligence when it comes to predicting performance on the football field.”

A well-researched article on Medium looked at quarterbacks only and determined there was a minor benefit at this position: “There seems to be a sort of smartness threshold, where the best NFL quarterbacks need to be at least this smart to see success. But once a QB passes that threshold (around a score of 25), their additional smartness has little to no effect on success on the field.”

Former NFL scout John Middlekauff has said in the past regarding the Wonderlic, “everything matters when it comes to quarterbacks.”

This article has been updated with new reporting on quarterback scores. Sporting News’ Austin Anderson contributed.

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