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UK Sport chief Sally Munday optimistic for future of women’s sport | News

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Watch The Women’s Sport Debate, live on Sky Sports Action on Wednesday at 8pm and Women’s Sport Debate: The Reaction at 9pm

Last Updated: 12/08/20 6:09am

The CEO believes that momentum around women's sport will return and continue

The CEO believes that momentum around women’s sport will return and continue

Sally Munday MBE, UK Sport chief executive, is optimistic that the disruption to women’s sport will just be a short-term “blip”.

A year on from 11.7 million people tuning in to watch England play the USA in football’s Women’s World Cup semi-finals, women’s sport is struggling to return from the coronavirus shutdown.

Whilst several men’s team sports have resumed, the same can’t be said of women’s sport.

“I don’t want us to talk ourselves into there being a backwards step,” Munday said to Sky Sports.

“I want us to talk ourselves into the fact that we’ve got to use this situation. Every challenging situation is an opportunity.”

  • The show will take a detailed look at why and how women’s sport has been affected in recent months.
  • The panel will discuss what has led women’s sport to this point and what needs to happen next.
  • Ebony Rainford-Brent, Will Greenwood and Tamsin Greenway form part of the panel of experts.
  • ‘Women’s Sport Debate: Live Reaction’ will follow at 9pm with both shows streamed live on YouTube.

In football, the Premier League and Championship resumed, but Chelsea were named WSL champions on June 5 after the league was curtailed and the final standings were decided using a basic points-per-game basis.

In rugby union, the men’s Gallagher Premiership plans to return on August 15, long after the women’s Premier 15s season was declared null and void. And, England’s male cricketers have played the West Indies, Ireland and Pakistan, but England’s women are not set to play until September 1 at the earliest.

“I can see why some people would feel like [the momentum] it’s been lost, but I really believe that it’s just a blip,” Munday said.

“People do want to watch women’s sport and I don’t think just because we’ve paused that it will stop,” she added.

“I think people have had a taste for how brilliant women’s sport is, live and on TV, and I really am optimistic that this is a moment in time, and that we’ve got to get past and that we will then rebuild to gain the momentum we’ve seen before.”

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Join us on Wednesday night on Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Action and our YouTube channel for a special debate show on the impact of Covid-19 on women’s sport #WomensSportDebate

Join us on Wednesday night on Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Action and our YouTube channel for a special debate show on the impact of Covid-19 on women’s sport #WomensSportDebate

The gender disparity doesn’t appear to be as stark when it comes to Olympic and Paralympic athletes though, as Munday pointed out.

“Olympic and Paralympic sport has very much paved the way in terms of equal gender,” she said.

“The vast majority of Olympic and Paralympic sports treat men’s and women’s sports exactly the same way. That’s what we’ve seen during COVId-19 in terms of getting back to training.

“There’s been no difference in approach from Olympic and Paralympic sport – they want to get their sports back and that is women and men.

Mavs’ Ratnapala: Netball will ‘fly’ again

Saracens Mavericks’ Kat Ratnapala has no doubt that netball can “fly again” but admits that it will be a struggle for the franchise to secure their future.

“I think women’s sport is ripe for incredible growth, I think that the period ahead to Tokyo next year will give us an opportunity to showcase women’s sport again.

“Not only do we have the Olympic and Paralympic Games, where there’s likely to be more female than male athletes in Team GB, we’ve then got the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and that’s still on course to be the first multi-sport major that has more women than men’s events.

“Many of the current stars, that we’ve been seeing in the Olympic movement from Dina [Asher-Smith] and Hannah [Cockroft], through to Sarah [Storey] and Alice Tai, they are female and are showcasing the very best of Olympic and Paralympic sport.”

Watch The Women’s Sport Debate, live on Sky Sports at 8pm and Women’s Sport Debate: The Reaction at 9pm, plus stream both shows via the Sky Sports YouTube channel.



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Cost, racism and football are draining Black American talent in baseball

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This is a column by Morgan Campbell, who writes opinion for CBC Sports. For more information about CBC’s Opinion section, please see the FAQ.

Let’s examine some ways baseball loses African-American talent.

Former Blue Jay and current Pittsburgh Pirate Anthony Alford once told me fellow residents of Pearl, Miss., used to hold fundraisers to help cover the steep cost of the summer baseball circuit where teenagers develop into pro prospects. If those efforts had fallen short, Alford would probably have become a full-time football player, and Major League Baseball’s already tiny community of African-American players would be even smaller.

Another former Jay, Curtis Granderson, told me about a Black teammate released from their low-level minor league club after a simmering dispute that started because their conservative white manager didn’t like his cornrows. Granderson pointed out that white guys with mullets didn’t have their hairstyles scrutinized, but noted that a culture clash derailed a promising Black player’s career before he could sniff the majors.

Two years ago, Kyler Murray collected part of a $4.66 million US signing bonus after the Oakland Athletics picked him ninth overall in the 2018 draft. Murray promised to join the club for spring training 2019, after one final season as the starting quarterback at the University of Oklahoma. Then came 4,361 passing yards, 54 total touchdowns and the Heisman Trophy, and mock drafts casting Murray as a first-round pick.

Then came the reversal. Murray returned the Athletics’ signing bonus, went to the Arizona Cardinals in the 2019 NFL draft, and was last seen passing for 286 yards and rushing for 67 more in Arizona’s 30-15 Week 2 win over Washington.

So, if you’re wondering how Black players born, raised and developed in the U.S., who once composed nearly 20 per cent of MLB, accounted for just 67 (or 7.4 per cent of) opening-day roster spots this season, the three factors we just outlined – cost, racism, and football – explain a lot of it.

In the reckoning on race that followed the late May slaying of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, a group of current and former African-American MLB players formed The Players Alliance, aimed at dismantling the barriers between Black Americans and all levels of baseball. On Monday MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced a $10 million donation to the Alliance, the group’s first major cash infusion and an important symbolic gesture from two of the sport’s biggest stakeholders.

The money alone won’t solve the deep-rooted problems The Players Alliance has targeted, but it’s a concrete step toward helping the group stem a decades-long slow leak in Black American talent, and create a pipeline to deliver qualified Black candidates to front office jobs.

Why does any of this matter?

Because after Floyd’s death, and the international protests it spawned, pro sports and the news media joined a long list of industries re-examining their own relationships with racism, and vowing to do better by people of colour. Washington D.C.’s NFL franchise dropped its racist nickname, while the league emblazoned the words “End Racism” across its end zones.

The NHL splashed the slogan #WeSkateForBLACKLIVES across video screens inside its two postseason venues, and handed Matt Dumba a mic so the Minnesota Wild defenceman could make a heartfelt speech to rally the hockey community against racism.

WATCH | Wild’s Dumba delivers speech before anthem kneel:

After delivering a powerful anti-racism speech, Minnesota Wild defenceman Matt Dumba took a knee during the American national anthem prior to Edmonton taking on Chicago. 1:32

And in the month immediately after Chauvin killed Floyd, my inbox filled with requests for interviews, panel discussions, and training on how to make newsrooms less racist.

But I’ve seen this cycle too many times to be surprised if the late-springtime interest in Black voices and issues disappears with the warm weather. The question isn’t whether decision-makers in these industries will make time for Black folks in the wake of the latest racial crisis. They always do.

The bigger unknown is whether they’ll follow up when the topic’s not hot anymore. It’s one thing to celebrate the idea of Black people after a police officer slaying an unarmed Black person makes worldwide headlines. It’s something else to accept the reality of Black people as co-workers, bosses or power brokers.

The Players Alliance emerged in late spring, when members of a close-knit network of Black American players, both active and retired, formed a group dedicated to using “our voice and platform to create change and equality in our game.”

Awareness helps, and so does money.

When the cost of a season of elite amateur baseball spirals into the thousands of dollars, talented kids from working-class families can find themselves priced out. Alford would have, too, except his community found creative ways to keep his baseball fees paid.

MLB heeds calls for action

According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, white American families have a median net worth of $171,000, compared with just $17,600 for Black families. While that wealth disparity has always operated in the background, MLB said in a statement announcing the donation that 2020’s racial reckoning spurred the organization to action.

“Recent events … have crystallized the need for prescriptive programs and additional education designed to enhance Black participation at all levels of baseball for the betterment of our game,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said.

Racism entrenched at lower levels of the sport might prove tougher to uproot.

In July 2018, Twitter users unearthed old, racist posts from Milwaukee’s Josh Hader, and republished them as he pitched in the All-Star Game. Less than two weeks later, Trea Turner and Sean Newcomb of the Washington Nationals apologized after bigoted social media posts they authored as teenagers were discovered and reposted.

And in late June, when veteran outfielder Ian Desmond published an Instagram post explaining his opting out of the 2020 season, he also described playing alongside high school teammates who routinely chanted “White Power” before games.

“Two black kids on the team sitting in a stunned silence the white players didn’t seem to notice,” he wrote.

Would you have blamed Desmond for opting out of baseball sooner, and pursuing a sport that offered more scholarship money and less bigotry? Factor in the cost, and the surprise isn’t that so many talented Black athletes decide against paying for the privilege of spending summers with white teammates who might be racist. It’s that Black athletes with options would stick with baseball long enough to make it a career.

If MLB’s $10-million donation helps The Players Alliance remove the financial barriers facing future generations of Black baseball players, then the money will have helped solve one part of a multifaceted problem. In baseball terms, it’s pocket change. It’s about $500,000 less than Cleveland pays Francisco Lindor, and it’s $5 million less than what the Blue Jays paid relief pitcher B.J. Ryan not to play after dumping him midway through the 2009 season.

But if the money enables the Alliance to keep more African-American kids in the game, then it’s not a donation.

It’s an investment.



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Syracuse’s Carrier Dome Turns 40 Years Old, Gets New Look | Sports News

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By JOHN KEKIS, AP Sports Writer

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome opened 40 years ago with an overflow crowd that set an attendance record that still stands.

Pete Sala remembers when the Dome was just an idea on paper.

It was the late 1970s, he was in high school, and the university had decided to replace aging Archbold Stadium with an indoor facility on the same spot featuring an air-supported roof. Sala’s dad, John, was director of the university’s physical plant, and brought home some of the drawings of the new building.

“I remember conversations at the kitchen table, my dad saying Jim (Boeheim, the basketball coach) was going kicking and screaming,” said Sala, now in charge of the Dome as vice president and chief campus facilities officer. “We had to drag Jim down here, and now look at this place. Who would have imagined that?”

Certainly not Boeheim, who had just become the coach in 1976 and was enjoying great success inside raucous Manley Field House, which seated just under 10,000.

“I remember. I was very skeptical,” Boeheim said. “I had a meeting with (vice chancellor) Cliff Winters. He ran the university. We were winning some 50 games in a row (at home), and I said, ‘Well, I really like where we are.’ And he explained to me, ‘We have this building and we can’t just play six football games in there. We can’t afford it. We’re going to be playing (basketball) in the Dome.’ I said, ‘OK.’ That was the end of that conversation.”

The Teflon-topped structure cost $26.85 million and was named after the Carrier Corporation, which paid $2.75 million for the naming rights in perpetuity, a financial mistake the school is trying to rectify. The first football game in the Carrier Dome was Sept. 20, 1980, and the place was an instant hit. The Orange beat Miami of Ohio 36-24 before 50,564 fans, still the attendance record.

Four decades later, the Dome has a just-completed new roof that’s not supported by air, part of a renovation pegged at $118 million. The project required 4,000 tons of steel and just under 3 acres of fabric for the new roof (the old roof was 6.5 acres), which is designed to hold 7,700 tons of snow.

Also included are a center-hung scoreboard that’s more than 62 feet wide and nearly 20 feet high with four equal sides. The lighting and sound have been enhanced.

The irony of having the Dome named after a company renowned for its air-conditioning products and not having that luxury inside for four decades finally will become an old joke. Air conditioning is part of the renovation.

From early rock concerts featuring U2 and Pink Floyd in a span of days — “I think we rolled well over 100 tractor trailers through the building those two weekends. It was insane,” Sala recalled — the Dome’s impact has been significant. More than 16 million people have attended basketball games.

Since the building opened, the Orange under Boeheim have ranked first or second nationally in attendance in all but five seasons. The formation of the Big East Conference in 1979 and the arrival of the top basketball recruit in the country, Pearl Washington, four years later spurred the success at the gate.

“We thought if we could get 15,000 people in there, it would be great,” Boeheim said. “When Pearl came, we went right to 25,000. Nobody saw that coming. Nobody could ever have envisioned that, that we could average over 20,000 people a game for what, now, 30 years, with (little) parking. Our fans are second to none just because of what they have to do to get to the game.”

The first event in the renovated building is a home football game on Saturday against Georgia Tech on national TV. For Sala, whose crews over the years have kept the building in remarkable condition despite harsh upstate New York winters, it will be a bittersweet moment with no fans because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Yeah, it bothers me a little bit,” he said. “But we are going to simulate a game atmosphere. I think it’ll allow us to really showcase the place the way we should when we finally do open the doors, which I’m happy about.

“The thing that resonates in my mind is the footprint of the Carrier Dome actually takes up 20,000 less square feet and holds twice as many people as Archbold. That’s kind of a neat fact. It was kind of shoehorned into that location and look what it brought to the community.”

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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The Latest: SEC to Use Devices to Aid With Contact Tracing | Sports News

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The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

The Southeastern Conference says it is providing its 14 schools wearable technology for football players intended to aid with COVID-19 contact tracing.

The SafeTags made by Kinexon can be worn like a wristband at team facilities or attached to equipment when used in games or practice. The conference says the devices already are being used by the NFL.

The SafeTags allow medical and athletic training staff to track how close those wearing the devices have been to each other and for how long. Current CDC guidelines, which are being used by the NCAA and Power Five conference schools, say a person who was within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes of a person who has tested positive for the coronavirus is considered to be at risk and must quarantine for 14 days.

Contact tracing and determining what is a high-risk contact is vital for stopping the spread of the virus and one of the most challenging aspects of trying to stage a football season for college programs. Several teams already have had to postpone games because of players being quarantined due to contact tracing.

Atlético Madrid says defender José María Giménez has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The club says Giménez was the only player infected after the squad underwent tests on Monday.

Atlético says Giménez was isolated at home and the club was following all COVID-19 protocols.

Players will practice individually in the team’s next training session. The morning session had already been canceled because the club had not received all test results in time.

Atlético will make its Spanish league debut on Sunday against Granada at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

The British government has put on hold plans to allow the phased return of spectators into sporting venues in England from Oct. 1 because of a rise in coronavirus cases.

Pilot test events have been held across sports venues with capacity restricted at 1,000. The government hoped stadiums would be allowed to welcome more fans from the start of next month.

Senior medical officers have recommended Britain’s COVID-19 alert level be moved from three to four, meaning transmission is “high or rising exponentially,” and one below lockdown.

Conservative lawmaker Michael Gove says the government will “pause” the plan of a phased return of spectators because “we need to be cautious at the moment.”

Five players have been withdrawn from the European Masters snooker tournament as a result of positive tests for the coronavirus.

Daniel Wells and Gary Wilson were positive after arriving at the venue in Milton Keynes, England. Three players who came into contact with either of the pair — Elliot Slessor, David Lilley and Michael White — were also withdrawn from the event.

All five must self-isolate.

All players and officials have been tested at snooker events since the sport resumed in June with spectators after the coronavirus outbreak. The European Masters is the first ranking event of the season.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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