Sorry not enough Jofra!

By Sports Desk July 19, 2020

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realise that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT

 

Sorry is just not enough Jofra!

England fast bowler Jofra Archer has been fined, and given a written warning, after breaching bio-secure protocols ahead of the second #raisethebat Test against the West Indies. Despite numerous efforts to educate players on the dangers of the coronavirus and ensure their safety, Archer made an unauthorized trip to his home, in Hove, after the first Test at Southampton's Ageas Bowl.

 As a result, the bowler was excluded from the England squad for the second Test, at Emirates, Old Trafford, and is in isolation.  The 25-year-old has apologised for his conduct; "I am extremely sorry for what I have done. I have put, not only myself, but the whole team and management in danger. I fully accept the consequences of my actions, and I want to sincerely apologise to everyone in the bio-secure bubble.

 "It deeply pains me to be missing the Test match, especially with the series poised. I feel like I have let both teams down, and again I am sorry."

Saying sorry is not enough. Changed behavior is what is required moving forward. There are those arguing that he is young. However, twenty-five years is old enough to understand the severity of the coronavirus.  Archer’s action was selfish in many ways. Despite being briefed on the protocols and being aware of the dangers of the coronavirus, he put the health and safety of the team in jeopardy. Apart from health and safety concerns, which is enough to call off the series and put the organisers time and effort to waste, he let down his team and fans who waited months to see live sport again.

Archer, who took three wickets in the Southampton Test, which England lost by four wickets, was omitted from the squad to face West Indies in the crucial Manchester Test. Again, his selfishness put his team’s game plan into disarray, while costing him a place in the squad; a test match that they must win in order to stay in the series.

Following Archer’s selfish actions, England are now considering releasing players from the bio secure bubble before the series against Pakistan. This will be done in order to avoid the temptation to breach guidelines like Archer did when he took a 130-mile detour to go home on Monday.

 

 Is it time to revisit the financial fair play regulations (FFP)?

Manchester City’s two-year ban from UEFA competitions was lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and is proof that the governing body's Financial Fair Play project needs reexamination. It was created to ensure balance between rich and poor clubs. Has it done that? The answer is no.

After CAS announced their verdict on Monday, under which City must still pay a €10million fine – reduced from €30m – for failing to co-operate with the investigation, UEFA issued a statement saying they are “committed to the principles" of FFP. How much of FFP is worth saving? How effective has it been?

Not much has been done in redressing the competitive balance. Those who earn more spend more, and in doing so, dominate on the field in most competitions. Bayern Munich won their eighth consecutive Bundesliga title this season, Juventus are on course for a ninth-straight Scudetto, while in Ligue 1, PSG were crowned champions for the seventh time in eight years. It is evident that clubs with money continue to hold a lot of power.

The CAS ruling is a chance for UEFA to re-visit the FFP rules, especially the time factor issue. The Swiss-based court said a number of the allegations against City were time-barred under UEFA's own rules, which means cases more than five years old cannot be punished. The ruling clearly points to the immediate future of FFP if it is not rectified or improved.

A softening of regulations was announced last month to help ease the financial pressure on clubs due to the coronavirus pandemic.  However, UEFA needs to remember the main reason these regulations were created; to ensure balance with rich and poor clubs, that balance has been lost or should I say it was never achieved.

    The regulations are not specific or clear, especially around sponsorship deals, stadium infrastructure, and youth development and needs revisiting if it is to achieve its true purpose. Despite calls to eradicate FFP completely, UEFA needs some form of financial control within the game but that doesn’t appear to be FFP in its current format.

 

  Is LeBron upset that he was not consulted in selecting social justice messages?

Los Angeles Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis have stated they will not be wearing social justice messages on the back of their playing shirts, when the NBA restarts on July 30, in Orlando, after the break due to COVID-19.

LeBron revealed in a Zoom call with the media that he prefers wearing his own name on the back of his jersey, rather than one of the NBA-approved social justice slogans. He explained that it does not resonate with his mission and he would have loved to contribute to what went on the back of his jersey but he was not included in the consultation process.

The NBA's approved social justice messages are: Black Lives Matter, Say Their Names, Vote, I Can't Breathe, Justice, Peace, Equality, Freedom, Enough, Power to the People, Justice Now, Say Her Name, Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can), Liberation, See Us, Hear Us, Respect Us, Love Us, Listen, Listen to Us, Stand Up, Ally, Anti-Racist, I Am A Man, Speak Up, How Many More, Group.

Le Bron’s refusal to wear a social justice message was surprising as he is often outspoken on causes that are dear to him. What else is surprising is the NBA not consulting him on possible messages.  Social justice messages or not, the Black Lives Matter movement has gathered momentum and will continue to have an impact. The key however is education and awareness.

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    Pep Guardiola has no interest in the outcome of Liverpool versus Manchester United, with his focus only on finding a way to defeat Crystal Palace.

    Manchester City host Palace in the Premier League on Sunday, by which point champions Liverpool will have taken on United.

    Guardiola was asked who he thought would come out on top in the big clash at Anfield, but swiftly made it clear there was only one fixture he was focused on.

    "Crystal Palace," he replied. "It's the only thing I want - I want to beat them. The rest, honestly, I don't care. 

    "The last two seasons against Crystal Palace at home we got one point. We lost and we drew. Our performance in Selhurst Park was much better than the Etihad Stadium. 

    "That's what the only concern I have is - winning against Crystal Palace. 

    "We will play knowing the result [between Liverpool and United], because they play earlier than us, but I don't know."

    No side has kept more Premier League clean sheets this season than City (eight) and they are only four points behind leaders United with a game in hand.

    Despite their fine form, Guardiola is not concerned with the two sides ahead of them in the table getting all the attention.

    "I didn't talk with the players about that," added Guardiola. "Teams make confidence and make a positive for the next game they are going to play by how you performed in the last one.

    "I don't think the players are more optimistic or angry or upset because the people consider us not contenders this season, or maybe United or Liverpool are better than us.

    "Against Brighton [in the 1-0 win last time out] we played good. In the moments we didn't play good Brighton were brilliant. 

    "It is best to visualise we are in a good moment, because when you dream you want to be top of the league, you want to be in a better position when you don't play good, you are not going to achieve it. We won't get it."

    City will be eyeing an eighth straight victory in all competitions and a fifth consecutive Premier League win when they take on Palace.

    Only United (11) are on a longer current unbeaten run in the Premier League than City (eight), but Guardiola does not pay attention to such sequences.

    He added: "When we have had incredible runs I have never thought about how many wins or how many marathons we have to do to win something. 

    "When we won 18 games in a row in the season we got 100 points, after the win in the second game we said, 'okay, let's try to win the next one'. 

    "Then the next, then after that the next one. I never expect my players to win a lot of games. I want to win the next one, and the next one is Crystal Palace. 

    "This is the best way. I don't care how many games we are able to win or not win in a row. Absolutely zero. 

    "It is just Crystal Palace, Wilfried Zaha, Eberechi Eze, Christian Benteke, Roy Hodgson, Luka Milivojevic - this is the only way I am concerned since the day after we beat Brighton."

    DE BRUYNE EYES THREE FIGURES

    Kevin De Bruyne has racked up four assists in his last six appearances for City and will be looking to continue a strong individual run in matches with Palace.

    The Belgium international has been involved in eight goals in 10 Premier League games against Palace (two goals and six assists) – only against Southampton (two goals, seven assists) has he been involved in more in the competition.

    No Premier League player has provided more assists in all competitions than his 14 this season.

    In-form De Bruyne is hoping to reach a milestone against Palace, as his next assist will put him on to 100 for the club in all competitions.

  • Messi wants to stay at Barcelona, insists presidential candidate Laporta Messi wants to stay at Barcelona, insists presidential candidate Laporta

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    Messi's future has been the subject of speculation and debate for many months, with the club captain attempting to force through a move away last August.

    At the time, he was adamant a contractual clause that allowed him to leave for free was still active, but Barca refused to sanction an exit and Messi opted against dragging them through the courts.

    Since then Messi has taken a few public jabs at the club, though the early resignation of previous president Josep Maria Bartomeu in October is thought to have been a positive development in Barca's bid to rebuild the relationship.

    Messi's contract expires at the end of the season and he has assured fans he will not make any decisions until Barca's campaign has concluded.

    Laporta, the overwhelming favourite to succeed Bartomeu when the presidential election is given the green light to go ahead in either February or March, is convinced Messi wants to stay with the Blaugrana.

    "Messi is now totally focused on catching Atletico Madrid in LaLiga and playing the Paris Saint-Germain tie in the Champions League," Laporta is quoted as saying by Sport.

    "I do not know if he will be playing on Sunday [in the Supercopa de Espana final] but he will be on the bench and it is important that Leo encourage his team-mates.

    "I see him more and more happy, he is enjoying it. I know that he wants to stay and I know that he will do everything in his power to stay as long as the club can offer him an offer that suits him."

    One player who looks likely to arrive at Barca is Manchester City defender Eric Garcia, who has long been linked with a return to Camp Nou, where he began his career.

    Laporta understands Garcia will not join this month but, assuming the new board agrees to his signing, he is being lined up for the end of the season once his contract at City runs out.

    "Eric Garcia will not come this winter," Laporta added. "We cannot give a letter to the manager to carry out acts of disposition.

    "The options and figures have been explained to us and we have all concluded that if the contract ends, the new board decides to incorporate him.

    "We have assessed the player's salary, and it was an operation that had to be carried out by assessing the financial situation of the club."

  • LeBron James feeling 'real good with my shot' as Lakers win five straight LeBron James feeling 'real good with my shot' as Lakers win five straight

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    The Lakers moved to 11-3 on the season with a 112-95 home win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.

    James had 21 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in 31 minutes on court for the NBA champions, with Anthony Davis adding 17 points against his former team.

    Four three-pointers from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope helped him to 16 points, the same total as Montrezl Harrell as the Lakers stormed back from an early 15-point deficit.

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    The Lakers went 15-for-37 from deep as they continue to impress with their three-point shooting, which was third-best in the league coming into the game.

    While James was 2-for-6 against the Pelicans, he is currently on pace for the second-best three-point shooting rate (38.2 per cent) of his long career.

    Lakers coach Frank Vogel said this week he would probably rate James as the best shooter on the team, a status Davis would give to Caldwell-Pope.

    "I mean, we got a lot of great shooters on the team, man," James said when asked for his verdict on the debate.

    "KCP [Caldwell-Pope], a great shooter. Wes Matthews, great shooter. Kuz [Kyle Kuzma] can shoot the heck out of the ball. Dennis the Menace [Dennis Schroder] can shoot the ball. 

    "AD [Davis] can shoot the ball. So we got a lot of great knock-down shooters.

    "Obviously, if someone says, 'Bet,' then obviously you guys know, I'm going to take myself. That's just the competitive nature in me and the work ethic that I put into my shot. 

    "But I feel real good with my shot right now, both from the free throw line and also from the three-point line, and I want to continue that."

    The Pelicans slumped to 4-7 despite 21 points from Zion Williamson and 20 from Brandon Ingram. 

    Next up for James and the Lakers is a home game against the 6-6 Golden State Warriors on Monday.

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