McLaren chief open to allowing Daniel Ricciardo to race at Bathurst 1000

McLaren chief executive Zak Brown is enthusiastic about the idea of Daniel Ricciardo racing in the Bathurst 1000 touring car race, even if the Formula One schedule makes it unlikely the Australian could be freed up.

In a move announced two weeks ago, Ricciardo will leave Renault at the end of this season to join British driver Lando Norris at McLaren, Formula One’s second most successful team.

American Brown, who owns part of the Walkinshaw Andretti United team which ran a car in last year’s edition of Australia’s most prestigious Supercar race, said he would be delighted to see both drivers on the Mount Panorama track.

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“I think they’d both love to do it,” he told Australian TV show Supercars Sidetracked.

“I think people now know I’m a little bit different than most of the team bosses in F1 as I like to see our drivers go out and give it a go at Daytona or Le Mans, things of that nature.

“I think it’ll just come down to schedule and whether they can fit it in the schedule.”

That looks unlikely given the Bathurst 1000 takes place in the second week in October when the Formula One season is still in full-swing.

Brown’s impressive personal collection of racing cars includes the last works version of the Holden Commodore to win at Bathurst in 2011.

Even if racing at Mount Panorama did not work out for Ricciardo and Norris, Brown would at least ensure they had a run in an icon of Australian motorsport.

“I’d love to see them do it there,” he said. “Let’s see. For sure, they’ll get a go in my Holden.”

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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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Celtic named champions for ninth season in a row and Hearts relegated

Celtic crowned champions of Scotland for the NINTH season in a row and Hearts have been relegated after the SPFL decided to end the 2019-20 season… but title winners warn fans to stay away from Parkhead during celebrations due to lockdown

  • The SPFL had a meeting on Monday and decided to end the 2019-20 season 
  • Final league placings were decided on an average points-per-game basis 
  • Celtic have been crowned champions, with Rangers finishing in second place 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Celtic have been crowned champions of the Scottish Premiership for the ninth season in a row – with Hearts being relegated to the second-tier – after the SPFL ended the 2019-20 season.

The decision was made during a board meeting on Monday morning after the 12 clubs in the division agreed last week that it would not be possible to complete the current campaign amid the coronavirus crisis.

Final placings in the league table have been decided using an average points-per-game method.

Celtic have been crowned champions for a ninth season in a row after the SPFL decided to end the 2019-20 campaign – here the side are pictured in 2019 celebrating with the trophy 

It means Hearts have been relegated to the second tier in Scotland after finishing bottom

FINAL LEAGUE TABLE 

1. Celtic

2. Rangers

3. Motherwell

4. Aberdeen

5. Livingstone

6. St Johnstone (up one place)

7. Hibernian (down one place)

8. Kilmarnock

9. St Mirren

10. Ross County

11. Hamilton Academical

12. Hearts 

That means that St Johnstone have leapt above Hibernian into sixth place, the only change to the final league table from the moment football was halted on 13 March.

Neil Lennon’s Celtic side were 13 points ahead of rivals and closest challengers Rangers when the season was suspended. They had played a game more than Rangers.

Like most of the division, Celtic had eight games left.

The decision is a blow for Hearts, who were four points behind Hamilton Academical at the bottom and still had 24 to play for.

But they do have slim hopes of staying up after Ann Budge – owner of the Tynecastle club – was given the nod to work on a proposal to temporarily restructure the league, which would see the top flight expanded to more teams.

Celtic have paid tribute to their supporters but warned fans to stay away from their ground due to the current lockdown and insisted fans should remain at home.

Fierce rivals Rangers have finished second in the table as a result of the SPFL’s decision

A statement on their site read: ‘We dedicate this victory to you. To all our supporters. 

‘To the key workers who are saving lives, cleaning hospitals, stacking shelves and shielding loved ones at home.

‘We want Celtic fans all over the world to celebrate in style, but, of course, safety is the number one priority for all, and for now this means celebrating in our homes. 

Celtic warned supporters to stay away from Celtic Park after the news was announced

‘We all must stay safe and stay home. Please DO NOT come to Celtic Park.’

Large numbers of fans are not expected to travel down to the ground on Monday. 

The SPFL board were given the power to make the decision after a controversial vote in April that was backed by 81 per cent of clubs.

If they decided the 49 remaining games were unplayable then they would be able to end the season early.

The Scottish game was suspended at all levels until June 10 at the earliest and a solution had to be found for the rest of the campaign, given UEFA have asked associations to either end the season or find resumption plans by May 25. 

A group of Celtic supporters taking a photo with a flag outside the stadium on Monday

A man holding a dog pumps his fist with joy after his team were crowned champions




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Arsene Wenger calls for clubs to show 'solidarity' by aiding EFL sides

‘Something needs to be done or too many clubs will die after this period’: Arsene Wenger calls for Premier League clubs to show ‘solidarity’ by aiding EFL sides with financial packages due to impact of coronavirus

  • Arsene Wenger believes that Premier League clubs need to show ‘solidarity’
  • He agrees that there is an obligation of the bigger clubs to help out the smaller
  • Wenger says EFL should create a financial security net for future circumstances
  • He says this should be done by using the money they receive from the media  
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Arsene Wenger says that Premier League clubs need to show ‘solidarity’ by aiding EFL sides with financial packages following the impact of coronavirus. 

The former Arsenal boss, speaking on Bein Sports, believes that ‘something needs to be done or too many clubs will die after this period.’   

When asked if he feels like there is an obligation of the bigger clubs to help out the lower regions of the game, Wenger replied: ‘Of course the solidarity is needed. 

Arsene Wenger believes that Premier League clubs should show ‘solidarity’ by aiding EFL sides

‘You know in England there are 92 professional clubs. There are 20 Premier League clubs. Out of the 72 others there are 65 that are in different financial positions.

‘So, something needs to be done or too many clubs will die after this period.’

The repercussions of football being placed on hold until further notice is being felt across the pyramid of leagues. 

Some clubs face going out of business, many players fear losing their livelihoods, not to mention the support staff behind the scenes, from physios to press officers. 

Wenger agrees with the opinion of Gary Neville, suggesting that the Premier League needs to come up with a financial security net to save English football league clubs if an event like this was to happen again.  

He said: ‘Maybe with all the money we get in from the media, part of the income from the Premier League or inside the national leagues should be used to create an emergency fund in case a disaster like this happens again in the future’

Before finishing his point by claiming that ‘the league has enough funds to help out the clubs’ at present.  

Wenger says EFL should create a financial security net for future circumstances like this




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Wolves players report for individual sessions at training ground

Wolves players report for individual fitness sessions at club’s training ground as they take first steps in preparing for season to resume following coronavirus pandemic

  • Wolves players reported for individual fitness sessions on Monday morning
  • Each member of squad was required to complete running drill with fitness coach
  • All of the club’s squad are in the UK, so there are no problems with absences
  • Nuno Espirito Santo’s men have already played 48 competitive games in season
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Wolves players on Monday reported for individual fitness sessions as they take their first steps in preparing for the season to resume.

Each member of the squad was required to complete a running drill, overseen by one of Wolves’ fitness coaches, at the club’s Compton training base.

All players are back in the United Kingdom, meaning there ought to be no complications in that area for Wolves should the 2019-20 campaign return as planned next month.

Every Wolves player was asked to report for an individual fitness session at the club’s training ground on Monday. Pictured is forward Diogo Jota

Wolves have taken their first steps in preparing for the Premier League season to return

Wolves were one of the last top-flight clubs in Europe to play a competitive game – a 1-1 draw at Olympiacos in the first leg of their last-16 Europa League tie on March 12 – before the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to the game across most of the continent.

Prior to the shutdown, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men had already played 48 competitive matches after playing three rounds of Europa League qualifiers from July. Should both the Premier League and Europa League be completed, they would have a possible 15 more fixtures ahead this term.

Nuno was one of the most outspoken critics of the decision to go ahead with European fixtures during that week in March.

Before travelling to Athens for the Olympiacos match, the Molineux boss said: ‘You play a game of football and then realise what is happening worldwide – people dead and dying. Then we play a game of football – it’s absurd.’

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have already played 48 competitive matches so far this season

Fans are waiting to hear when the Premier League will return after the coronavirus shutdown




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Crunch weekend for plans

A provisional outline programme for the resumption of racing has been published by the British Horseracing Authority ahead of what is set to be a crunch weekend in plans for the return of the sport.

The BHA unveiled some details of its planned “phased” return to racing, with 13 fixtures to be staged over the first seven days – comprising one card on the opening day followed by two meetings a day for the subsequent six days and tracks categorised by geographical regions of North, Midlands and South.

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Brighton enter the race for FC Nordsjaelland's Abdul Mumin Suleman

Brighton enter the race for FC Nordsjaelland centre-back Abdul Mumin Suleman on a free transfer

  • Abdul Mumin Suleman has put in a string of impressive displays in Denmark
  • The 21-year-old is one of the best young central defenders in Scandinavia
  • Celtic have also shown an interest in the physically imposing 6ft 3ins Ghanaian 

Brighton are interested in FC Nordsjaelland’s emerging centre back Abdul Mumin Suleman. 

A number of clubs across Europe have been alerted to the Ghanaian defender following a string of impressive displays in Denmark. 

The 21-year-old has established a reputation as one of the best young central defenders in Scandinavia – and Premier League club Brighton are among a host of teams keen. 

Brighton are interested in FC Nordsjaelland’s emerging centre back Abdul Mumin Suleman

French club Strasbourg and Belgian side Zulte Waregem made an offer for Suleman in January but he remained in Denmark because FC Nordsjaelland could not find a suitable replacement.

Celtic have also shown an interest in Suleman, who has impressed with his comfort on the ball despite his physically imposing 6ft 3ins frame. 

The defender’s current deal expires in the summer meaning he will be available on a free transfer.

Suleman wants to join a club who can offer him significant first-team playing time in order to aid his development. 

Gent, Mechelen, Brondby, Espanyol, Getafe and Nimes are among the clubs to have scouted Suleman extensively so far this season. 

Clubs across Europe have been alerted to the Ghanaian, who has impressed in Denmark




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The NFL schedule release for 2020 might come without international games in London, Mexico City

A complete, 256-game NFL schedule for 2020 is difficult enough to craft in a normal year when a global pandemic isn’t casting a shadow of doubt over how much of the schedule can actually be played — and over where games can actually be played.

This year, the NFL’s international series could be a casualty in the creation of the schedule, which the NFL plans to release by the end of the week.

A league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Sunday that he does not “think any international games (are) coming this year.” Further, per the Daily Mail, London’s Tottenham Hotspur soccer club, which was scheduled to host a pair of NFL matchups in 2020, is “bracing” itself for the loss of those games.

While the specific matchups and dates for the NFL’s 2020 international games had not been set, the Jaguars were slated to host two London games at Wembly Stadium. The Dolphins and Falcons were to host one London game each, presumably both at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Cardinals were to host a game in Mexico City.

NFL SCHEDULE RELEASE:
Strength of schedule rankings & more for 2020

From the Daily Mail: “(Tottenham has) a 10-year agreement to put on two matches a season which began last year, but given the uncertainty surrounding international travel and mass events, hosting games in London this October is not feasible and the NFL (is) expected to complete (its) entire season in America.”

These coronavirus-related challenges are why the NFL has waited a few extra weeks to release its schedule this year. NBC Sports’ Peter King suspects the league is “making multiple schedules, in the case of a reduction to 14 or 12 or 10 games per team,” but that “even a 16-game schedule could have major changes.”

Marc Ganis, a sports business consultant who is plugged in with top NFL officials, told King he is “very confident of a 16-game season with a Super Bowl in February. … I didn’t say I was confident in 16 games with a bye, or what week in February the Super Bowl would be, or if every team will play eight games in their home stadiums, or whether there will be fans at every game.

“There’s more information that’s needed before we have these answers. Teams are just going to have be flexible.”

On a date no later than May 9, the NFL will release a full, 17-week schedule that features the 2020 season-opener on Sept. 10 and Super Bowl 55 on Feb. 7. Teams and fans will have to accept that schedule with the presumption that it will be modified over the summer as the league receives more clarity on the viability of its season.

“At some point,” a top NFL team executive told King, “we’re going to have start accepting inequalities. What happens when teams in four states are told, ‘You can’t have training camp?’ Do those teams not have camp? Do they travel to a state that allows a gathering of 100 or so people to work?

“Time will tell, but the way it looks now, there’s no way all states are going to be under equal rules by the summer.”

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Man Utd prepare for 'doomsday scenario' at Old Trafford after Covid-19

Manchester United preparing for ‘doomsday scenario’ with Old Trafford empty for SIX MONTHS once football finally restarts with fans unlikely to return until 2021

  • Manchester United chiefs are preparing for football’s highly anticipated return 
  • Yet United, like other clubs, are considering a potential ‘doomsday scenario’  
  • Clubs are being realistic regarding when fans will actually be able to return 
  • There is a growing feeling matches could be behind closed doors until 2021 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Manchester United are readying themselves for all possibilities once football is able to finally return amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the dawning realisation that fans may not be present until 2021.

The club are now considering a ‘doomsday scenario’ with supporters being away from Old Trafford for at least six months after football is given the green light, as reported by the Mirror.

It would mean the famous stadium would not see spectators present at a football match again until 2021, with players having to adjust themselves to the eerie situation.

Manchester United chiefs are preparing for the prospect of playing without fans until 2021

Many leading clubs are understood to believe mass gatherings and a return to capacity stadiums of up to 75,000 fans may not happen until next year at the earliest, when a vaccine for the virus may be widely available.

It is reported that United’s financial planners are now in the process of building various strategies to copy with a long-term absence of crowds from Premier League games, in order to keep the club in a healthy position. 

As the country searches for the best options in trying to return back to normality once the pandemic is brought under control, it is believed that large scale football gatherings will be among the last items to be given the go ahead by the government.

United have planned for a ‘doomsday scenario’ with six months of behind-closed-doors action

A United source told the Mirror: ‘The prospect of seeing full stadiums at Premier League grounds just isn’t going to happen anytime soon and clubs are aware of that.

‘It would be reckless if clubs didn’t budget for that happening. The realism is that the prospect of crowds returning to football is a long, long way off.’

United find themselves as one of the most financially powerful clubs in world football, and in a much healthier position that many of their rivals in the Premier League.

United are now budgeting different, with a huge move for Jadon Sancho now believed to be off

Nonetheless, the Red Devils have also felt the repercussions of coronavirus, which was highlighted by chief executive Ed Woodward publicly announcing the club’s summer intentions have changed.

Despite United initially planning a major rebuild with a series of star names on their transfer wish-list, Woodward delivered the bad news to supporters that lavish spending was off the agenda.

Woodward believes the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on football means the next transfer window will not be ‘business as usual’ in terms of blockbuster deals, with United now thought to be against pursuing huge deals for the likes of Jadon Sancho and Harry Kane.




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Long-range US aim for Powerful Breeze

An outing at the Breeders’ Cup could be the prize awaiting Powerful Breeze this season.

The Hugo Palmer-trained filly was a leading contender for Qipco 1000 Guineas honours during the winter months, having impressed on her first two starts as a juvenile before being beaten just a head by Quadrilateral in a thrilling renewal of the Fillies’ Mile.

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