18-12-2018 McCann case may put bookies’ treatment of winning punters in the spotlight

• Teenager not paid after winning bets totalling nearly £1m• Remote Gambling Association denies ‘cartel-like’ behaviourThe legal case in which Megan McCann, a young punter from Northern Ireland, is suing the online bookmaker Bet365 for more than £1m in unpaid winnings promises to put the entire betting industry’s treatment of successful punters in the spotlight after her legal team submitted an amended statement of claim which is understood to allege “cartel-like” activity by major online operators.McCann’s case took another step towards a full hearing last Friday, when Bet365 was granted four weeks to consider whether it will continue with an attempt to strike out key parts of McCann’s claim. The parties will reconvene at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast on 18 January when it is possible that a date will be set for a full hearing of the case in the spring. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 The Breakdown | England’s dilemma: undermine Eddie Jones or risk scramble for a top coach

Looking for a successor could be a distraction in World Cup year but waiting could mean the talent is snaffled up and Wales and Ireland have already made their moveThe start of the World Cup is nine months away but countries are already thinking about their next coach. Wales are sorted, appointing Wayne Pivac in the summer knowing Warren Gatland would be off after his side’s final match in Japan, as are Ireland, with Andy Farrell to take over from Joe Schmidt.In New Zealand, Steve Hansen is due to announce this evening UK time as to whether he will seek a new contract after the World Cup. Rassie Erasmus has told South Africa he will not be carrying on after Japan, focusing on his director of rugby role instead. Australia’s Michael Cheika may not last that long after taking part in a performance review this month after the Wallabies’ worst year, in terms of results, for 60 years. A decision is expected before Christmas. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 Soccer and soju: The football match that kicked off Korean peace

How a friendly chat on the sidelines opened the door for North and South Korea to start talking.

18-12-2018 Saints smother Panthers to close on home-field advantage for playoffs

New Orleans Saints 12-9 Carolina PanthersPanthers’ only TD comes from pass by RB Christian McCaffreyNew Orleans put the clamps on Cam Newton, and the Saints beat the Carolina Panthers 12-9 on Monday night to take a big step toward locking up home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.The Saints’ defense, which has been among the best in the league the last six weeks, held the former MVP to 131 yards passing, sacked him four times and forced two turnovers on a night when Drew Brees and the offense couldn’t get much going. Alvin Kamara had 103 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown, and Brees had 203 yards passing for the Saints (12-2), who took a one-game lead in the NFC over the Rams. The Saints close the season at home against Pittsburgh and Carolina; the Rams visit Arizona and host San Francisco. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 Tyson Fury is no angel but he should have been on the Spoty shortlist | Kevin Mitchell

It is toweringly paradoxical that a fighter who is trying against mountainous odds to put embarrassing chunks of his past behind him is reminded of his sins again in a public referendumGeraint Thomas deserves the acclaim of armchair Britain as the nation’s outstanding athlete of 2018. He’s a wonderful cyclist, won the Tour de France – only the third Briton to do so, after Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome – and is, by all accounts, a decent man.Tyson Fury, on the other hand … is, well, a bit difficult. He fights for a living. He’s prone to discomfit “civilised company”. He grew up on a Travellers’ site. Some of his views would embarrass a nightclub bouncer. Or once did. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 The Superclásico final that became too big and too bad for Buenos Aires

For the last five years, Copa90 have been making films about the biggest derbies in the world. Now for the biggestA film by Copa90, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkOn the ground at the Superclásico final in Buenos Aires ... and MadridThe two biggest football clubs in Argentina? The fiercest rivalry in South America? The best derby in the world? Every superlative was used to describe the first ever Superclásico final in the Copa Libertadores. As the eyes of the world turned towards Buenos Aires, our team of filmmakers set off to experience the “final to end all finals” first hand. Everyone expects controversy from this fixture, but no one could have predicted what happened between these two teams over two legs in two continents.First off, Boca’s home tie at La Bombonera. After a biblical rainstorm led to a 24-hour delay, the football gods finally gave the fans the moment they had been waiting for all their lives on Sunday 11 November. The first of the two ties ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw. The away goals rule was not in play, so the tie was perfectly poised before the second leg. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 Who is the greatest F1 driver ever?

After Lewis Hamilton won his fifth world title on Sunday, BBC Sport is asking you just who is the greatest F1 driver ever?

18-12-2018 Shaqiri, scrambles and Champions League draw thoughts – Football Weekly

Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Mark Langdon and Marcus Bean discuss the Champions League draw, dour management, Xherdan Shaqiri’s career revival, goalmouth scrambles and a message for listeners in TogoJoin the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.We look back at the weekend’s football action, starting with Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Manchester United, which has done something for the Anfield side’s title-challenging credentials, and nothing for José Mourinho’s job prospects. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 Transgender women in sport: Are they really a 'threat' to female sport?

Transgender women's participation in female sport has prompted criticism, but two trans athletes says there is a lot of misunderstanding.

18-12-2018 NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves' Taj Gibson tries to block shot with his shoe

Minnesota Timberwolves' Taj Gibson makes an unorthodox attempt to block an opponent's shot after losing his shoe during his side's 132-105 NBA win over the Sacramento Kings.

18-12-2018 Mourinho and United ended up like a loveless celebrity marriage | Barney Ronay

His style at Manchester United has been defence-heavy and excitement-free but problems exist in all areas of the clubFarewell, then, José. It’s been fun. Or if not exactly fun then fitful, tedious and wreathed in a familiar sense of entropy. Either way José Mourinho’s abrupt departure from Manchester United on Tuesday morning completes a familiar three-year cycle of doomed hope, doomed decline and, by the end, simply doom.There was at least an inevitability about the end. It has been clear since the summer that Mourinho was preparing for this moment, using his public pronouncements to shift blame, distance himself from the squad of players assembled, and tend to the one element that really matters: his glorious but increasingly distant legacy. Continue reading...

18-12-2018 What is the smallest football ground a European champion has lost at? | The Knowledge

Plus: the longest delay for any new stadium in history and the worst goal difference you can get away with and still qualify in the Champions League. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU“Real Madrid recently lost 3-0 to Eibar in a stadium that holds just 7,000 people,” begins Robin Tucker. “That got me thinking: have any former European champions lost a competitive match in a smaller stadium? This would be only counting results after their first European success, so games such as Liverpool’s 1959 defeat to Worcester City would not count.”A fine question, but it’s not even the smallest stadium a former European champion has lost in this season. The 1986 winners Steaua Bucharest, now snappily known as FCSB, have suffered plenty of turmoil recently, including a defeat earlier this month to Sepsi OSK. That was in front of an estimated 2,500 at the 5,200-capacity Stadionul Municipal. Continue reading...