SPORTS AGENDA: Twitter accused of 'flaky' response to online abuse, Emma Raducanu and Fallon Sherrock are set to miss SPOTY, and the Qatar World Cup could scupper Ballon d'Or event

A number of EFL clubs were left 'seriously unimpressed' after a call with Twitter Footballers set to leave on a free this summer may have to lower expectations Several big-name British sports stars could miss this year's SPOTY ceremony 

It has not been the best of seasons for the Aston Martin F1 team and things got worse at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. 

Deep into Saturday’s qualifying session a toilet block above the Aston Martin section of the garages began to leak, showering those below. 

Much sniggering and predictable jokes from their rivals ensued as their mechanics raced for cover. 

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe (left) could be one of many footballers set to leave their clubs as a free agent who have to lower their salary expectations because of the market

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe (left) could be one of many footballers set to leave their clubs as a free agent who have to lower their salary expectations because of the market

 

A number of EFL clubs were left ‘seriously unimpressed’ following a recent group call with Twitter to discuss the fight against online abuse.

‘It was incredibly flaky,’ said one official at a Championship side. ‘They failed to address the fundamentals.

‘There were 200 people on the call and I’d be surprised if any of them left it any the wiser.’

 

Footballers earning north of £100,000 a week and set to leave their clubs on a free transfer this summer may have to lower their expectations, with insiders claiming the market is the flattest in years. 

With the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus no longer splashing out, clubs elsewhere have been tightening their belts and showing little interest. 

The return of Champions League games being played without spectators in Germany has also had an impact.

Agents are hoping that the arrival of Newcastle’s new super-wealthy owners will inject some life into the situation, but do not rule out some household names struggling to find new employers who will pay them anywhere near what they might have previously picked up. 

Even the Middle East option is less favourable, with clubs no longer having to compete with the subdued Chinese market.

Eddie Jones tested positive for Covid, forcing ex-Lions wing John Bentley to think on his feet

Eddie Jones tested positive for Covid, forcing ex-Lions wing John Bentley to think on his feet

 

The Premier League Christmas party will be going ahead this week, with no fewer than 210 people invited. 

Some staff have questioned the move, given the emergence of the Omicron Covid variant, although insiders say fewer than 200 are expected and the venue will be bigger than usual, with people taking lateral flow tests in advance. 

Spare a thought for those who work for the FA, who will attend their festive do virtually, while last week, the Rugby Football Union cancelled their festive drinks with the media.

 

England coach Eddie Jones tested positive for Covid last week, which left former Lions wing John Bentley to think on his feet. 

Bentley had lined up Jones as a special guest at the Leeds Carnegie Christmas party on Thursday and was made aware of his plight the night before the do.

Bentley thought he had solved all his problems when, at the last minute, he managed to bring in his pal, England World Cup winner Martin Johnson.

But with the panic seemingly over, compere Bentley’s microphone failed, before the fire alarm went off and the fire service turned up amid chaotic scenes at the Headingley shindig.

 

Darts sensation Fallon Sherrock (right) is set to miss the Sports Personality of the Year awards

Darts sensation Fallon Sherrock (right) is set to miss the Sports Personality of the Year awards

Emma Raducanu, set to be training in the United Arab Emirates, will not be the only big name to miss the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year. 

Darts sensation Fallon Sherrock will be taking to the oche at about the same time as the December 19 event, with some cynics wondering if the scheduling of her PDC World Championship match on Sky Sports is a coincidence.

With less than a fortnight until SPOTY, no shortlist has been presented and no word yet on whether there will be an after-party. Another headache comes with the end of the F1 season being next weekend.  

If Lewis Hamilton prevails again, he must surely make the list. Meanwhile, it was interesting to see Paris Fury on BBC Breakfast in October, given her husband’s relationship with the broadcaster. Last year Tyson Fury demanded his name be removed from the SPOTY shortlist.

 

It will be interesting to see what arrangements are made for next year’s Ballon d’Or given its normal date would see it take place during the World Cup. 

Some have wondered if the event may be moved from its French home to World Cup host Qatar. No date has yet been set, with talks due in January.


 

The impact of David Moyes stretches far and wide at West Ham. The Hammers’ 50 support liaison officers are put through their paces before each home game at the London Stadium in a quiz aimed at preparing them for questions from fans. 

It features rounds including stadium layout, operations and West Ham history. Its name? Moyestermind, obviously.

 

It would appear that no action will be taken against anyone at the FA following the publication of Baroness Casey’s report into the shameful scenes that marred the European Championship final and put lives at risk. 

While Baroness Casey was heavy on criticism of supporters and ‘agencies’, she was thin on identifying those whose inability to see the warning signs almost proved fatal. 

Baroness Casey's review of the Euro 2020 final scenes was thin on holding people responsible

Baroness Casey’s review of the Euro 2020 final scenes was thin on holding people responsible

Chris Bryant, for example, the FA’s ‘head of tournament delivery’, was not mentioned once in 129 pages. In a briefing with journalists, crossbench peer Baroness Casey went off on what sounded suspiciously like a prepared speech, saying that she did not seek a ‘scapegoat’ because she would never have found the truth. 

Such strange logic would have been music to the ears of those responsible for a horrendous episode and it means nobody appears to have been held to account. It’s almost like there’s a 2030 World Cup to bid for.

 

‘Turkeys voting for Christmas’ is how some international sports federations are describing the situation created by the newly-elected president of the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), Ivo Ferriani. 

He recently sent out a notice to all 97 voting member federations (from FIFA to Life Saving) announcing there will be a vote on the dissolution of GAISF at their next general assembly in mid-2022. 

The move for dissolution is thought to be driven by the IOC in an attempt to limit any attempts to create a World Championships of Sport which could rival the Olympic Games. 

Ferriani will require a two-thirds majority vote to push dissolution through and judging by the outrage from many small member federations, this is not a done deal.

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