Monday, July 15, 2024
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Five IPL teams keen to buy stakes in Hundred club London Spirit
London, June 19: MCC president Mark Nicholas has revealed that five IPL teams have expressed “soft” interest in acquiring a stake in London Spirit, the Lord’s based team participating in The Hundred here. Nicholas, also a veteran commentator and writer, is set to take over as the Spirit’s chairman later this October. Nicholas has based his revelation on a recent letter by MCC CEO Guy Lavender to the members, seeking their approval for England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)’s offer to privatise 49 per cent stake in the Spirit. He, however, did not reveal which IPL teams have shown their interest in buying stakes. Those stakeholders will be finalised through a bidding process, and the remaining 51 per cent will remain with the franchise. (PTI)

FC Barcelona shuts down its football academies in India
New Delhi, June 19: World-renowned football club FC Barcelona has decided to shut down all its academies in India, 14 years after starting operations with an aim to train the country’s kids in their famed ‘La Masia (youth academy)’ style. FC Barcelona did not provide any official reason for the closure. All its academies in the Indian cities of Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Pune will cease to exist from July 1. “FC Barcelona have informed the families involved in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune will cease to operate as Barca Academies from 1 July 2024,” the club said in a statement which it uploaded on its website. “Barcelona’s presence in India began back in 2010 and since then thousands of youngsters have learned to play football in the Barca style and with the Club’s values. “Furthermore, India was the venue for two Barca Academy APAC tournament in 2019 and 2020 and the academies have been an ever present in the 11 editions of the Barca Academy World Cup held in Barcelona during Easter Week,” the club added. Barca Academy India was the largest grassroots football training and development initiative in India. As part of the venture, it set multiple football training centres in Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Pune, organising programs, camps, leagues, tournaments, and exposure trips. Barca Academy is the flagship FC Barcelona school aimed at boys and girls between 4 to 17 years of age and its main objective is to provide a comprehensive training environment for their students. (PTI)

Brussels declines to host match between Belgium and Israel
Brussels, June 19: The city of Brussels says it won’t host a UEFA Nations League match between Belgium and Israel in September because of the “dramatic situation in Gaza” that creates a security headache for city officials. Brussels’ first alderman Benoit Hellings said on Wednesday the city considers it impossible to organize the match, which was scheduled to take place at the Stade Roi Baudouin on September 6. Hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators have repeatedly taken to the streets of Brussels since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas last year. Last month, ticket sales for the Belgium-Israel match were paused because of security concerns. Hellings said that Brussels officials discussed thoroughly the possibility of hosting the match with the federal government, police forces and the Belgian soccer federation (URBSFA). (AP)

Regan Smith sets world record in 100 backstroke at Olympic trials
Indianapolis (US), June 19: This world record was five years in the making for Regan Smith. What an up-and-down journey it’s been. Bouncing back from a close-but-no-Olympics call in her first race, Smith set a world record in the women’s 100-metre backstroke at the US swimming trials on Tuesday night. The 22-year-old Minnesota native touched in 57.13 seconds, easily beating the mark of 57.33 set a year ago by Australia’s Kaylee McKeown. Smith was just 17 when she first set a world record in the 100 at the 2019 World Championships. But, she struggled to deal with the sudden, newfound fame, ceding dominance in the event to McKeown. “A long time coming,” Smith said. “It’s about time.” There was never any doubt about Smith’s talent, but a lack of confidence was almost crippling at times. She’s been working with a sports psychologist since October, which helped turn things around mentally. Her coach, Bob Bowman, best known for his work with 23-time gold medalist Michael Phelps, took care of the physical side with a gruelling training regimen. (AP)

Former Grand Slam champions receive wild cards for Wimbledon
Wimbledon, June 19: Former Grand Slam champions Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber and Emma Raducanu have all been awarded wild cards for Wimbledon. The grass-court tournament starts on July 1. Osaka – a four-time major champion and former No. 1 player – and three-time Grand Slam winner Kerber returned from maternity leave at the start of this season. Currently ranked 113th, Osaka was the only player to take a set from top-ranked Iga Swiatek at the French Open and followed that up with a quarterfinal spot last week in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, a warm-up event for Wimbledon. Former US Open champion Raducanu made her breakthrough at Wimbledon by advancing to the fourth round in 2021. She will be playing there for the first time in two years after undergoing wrist and ankle surgery in 2023. Kerber won the 2018 Wimbledon title and was runner-up at the All England Club in 2016. She is also a former top-ranked player. Wozniacki returned from maternity leave last August. She’s never got past the fourth round at Wimbledon, where she will be playing for the first time since 2019. British players Francesca Jones, Heather Watson and Yuriko Miyazaki were also included in the initial list of invitations. One main draw wild card remains to be allocated. Seven British players have been invited to play in the men’s draw, including last year’s junior champion Henry Searle. (AP)

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