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The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has appointed Kevin Carpenter as its first-ever Head of Integrity. In his new role, Carpenter will develop and lead the ITTF Integrity Unit to be at the forefront of the protection of integrity of sport within the Olympic Movement.

The ITTF Integrity Unit is an operationally independent unit established in 2021 with responsibilities including investigating and prosecuting infringement of the matters relating to compliance, educating table tennis parties on integrity matters; and otherwise protecting and upholding the integrity of table tennis.

The Unit will cover the full range of issues that come within the term “sport integrity” including anti-doping, betting, corruption, discrimination, ethics, manipulation of competitions and safeguarding.

Carpenter has worked in the field of sports integrity for a decade, and dedicated himself to the field, so during that time he has achieved an international reputation in the field having worked across a diverse range of sports around the world, and for all stakeholder groups (including athletes), on issues ranging from competition manipulation and anti-doping, to discrimination and all manner of ethics issues.

Some of the prominent international, continental and national organisations he has advised and worked for on integrity issues include the International Olympic Committee (IOC), FIFA, the Council of Europe and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

He also sits on several disciplinary panels of sport governing bodies, including currently chairing the Independent Disciplinary Panel for the Esports Integrity Commission (ESIC) and being a member of the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) Independent Hearing Panel, as well as acting on occasion as pro bono counsel for individuals.

Carpenter had this to say about his new role, “I am relishing the opportunity to apply the expertise and knowledge of sports integrity, compliance, investigation and enforcement I have garnered over more than ten years to protect the integrity of table tennis globally for the ITTF, and for the Unit to become well-respected across the sports sector.”

Premiership: Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs (Fri)

Published in Rugby
Thursday, 28 October 2021 04:43

Gloucester make five changes form the side which beat Newcastle for the visit of stuttering Exeter to Kingsholm.

Billy Twelvetrees and Santiago Carreras come in for England's Jonny May and Mark Atkinson while Adam Hastings starts at fly-half and Fraser Balmain and Andrew Davidson come into the pack.

Exeter make seven changes from the side which lost to London Irish last week.

Fly-half Joe Simmonds is dropped for Harvey Skinner while England's Henry Slade is replaced by Ollie Devoto.

Facundo Cordero comes in for Tom O'Flaherty on the wing while up front Alec Hepburn and Harry Williams return to prop either side of Jack Yeandle.

England call-ups mean two changes to the back five as Sean Lonsdale replaces second-row Jonny Hill while Don Armand is back at flanker with Richard Capstick moving to number eight in Sam Simmonds' absence.

Gloucester go into the game on the back of a four-game unbeaten run which has seen them move up to fifth in the Premiership, a place and two points in front of Exeter.

Last season's beaten Premiership finalists have lost three of their first six matches and conceded five tries in a humbling 33-21 loss at home to London Irish last week.

Gloucester head coach George Skivington told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

"We're still very critical of ourselves, we're not by any means thinking we've strung together a perfect performance at all in the last four weeks. We actually feel we've left bits out there that we'd liked to have taken and everyone's very honest about that.

"You're always going to be happier when you're winning, or certainly not losing and nicking a draw, but from our point of view, we haven't been happy with a couple of the performances in terms of what we're about.

"We'll take the wins because winning's better than losing, but we're very critical, so the momentum of things doesn't really concern me.

"It's very much a week by week, even if we win let's be absolutely honest about the performance and our parts within the performance."

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Radio Devon:

"We're going there to do what we think we need to do to challenge Gloucester.

"The key for us to concentrate on is the foundation elements of our game. We're not going to try and suddenly create a miracle game of rugby.

"But we do need to get back to some of the key foundations that just slipped away a bit against London Irish, but they were very evident the week before against Wasps, it's just about reaffirming those things."

Gloucester: Woodward; Rees-Zammit, Harris, Twelvetrees, Carreras; Hastings, Meehan; Rapava-Ruskin, Singleton, Balmain, Clarke, Davidson, Ackermann, Ludlow (capt), Morgan.

Replacements: Socino, Elrington, Gotovtsev, Thomas, Clement, Chapman, Evans, Moyle.

Exeter: Hogg; Nowell, Hendrickson, Devoto, Cordero; H Skinner, Maunder; Hepburn, Yeandle (capt), Williams, Witty, Lonsdale, S Skinner, Armand, Capstick.

Replacements: Burrows, Moon, Iosefa-Scott, Tshiunza, Tuima, Hidaglo-Clyne, J Simmonds, Whitten.

Referee: Christophe Ridley (RFU).

Australia coach Dave Rennie says the side's selection policy will be reviewed after fly-half Quade Cooper became the third player to pull out of November's British tour.

Along with Cooper, centre Samu Kerevi and flanker Sean McMahon have opted to remain with their Japanese clubs.

Australia had moved away from its policy of only selecting overseas-based players with at least 60 Test caps.

Rennie said discussions were needed on "what that looks like going forward".

James O'Connor is expected to play at fly-half for the Test against Scotland at Murrayfield on 7 November.

Noah Lolesio, 21, will replace Cooper for the Wallabies, who play England at Twickenham on 13 November before travelling to Cardiff to face Wales the following week.

Rennie said the side had "accepted" Cooper's decision and "moved on", adding: "He obviously wanted the blessing of the club [to tour]. We talked about maybe some flexibility around the tour dates.

"At the end he felt that he needed to support his club, his employer."

Cooper, 33, took Lolesio's place during the Rugby Championship and helped Australia to five wins in a row.

"Ideally we want guys who are desperate to be Wallabies," Rennie continued.

"Obviously this [using overseas players] was a bit of a trial based on Covid, based on a few other plans we had, to utilise more players overseas.

"I guess we'll have a look at the end of the tour and then get a plan around what that looks like beyond this year."

Rennie is yet to name replacements for Kerevi and McMahon.

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones says fly-half Gareth Anscombe has shown the fight and desire to return to the international stage.

Anscombe is in line to start at 10 for Wales against New Zealand in his first international for more than two years.

The 30-year-old suffered an horrendous knee injury in August 2019 against England.

Anscombe only returned to action in September after 25 months on the sidelines.

Jones has seen the battles Anscombe has been through at Ospreys to return to the top level.

"The length of time and setbacks he's had along the way are a credit to him and what he's put in," said Jones.

"Irrelevant of if you're fit and playing every week, people only see the Saturdays.

"Gareth would probably say himself he's been through some dark periods when he was coming close to a return but having setbacks."

Anscombe played for New Zealand at Under-20 level before moving to Wales who he qualifies for through his Cardiff-born mother Tracy.

He has played 27 internationals but has only made one replacement appearance against the All Blacks in 2016.

Jones believes seeing Anscombe's inspirational return has lifted the squad as he prepares to face the country where he was brought up.

"When someone comes back from adversity or a long time out, and you can see their energy growing and the smile back on their face, that is really important to a squad," added Jones.

"You can feel like you're on an island when you're injured.

"To see the fight and bite he's got, holding people to account in training, is when you know someone has their foot back in the door and is ready to have a crack.

"He has been showing and displaying that for the Ospreys and since we have been back in camp.

"He's still got the fight and desire and if anything, it's probably more so than before because he's had that time away from the game. To see him back in the squad and what he gives to the environment is huge.

"Those characteristics which you see in a player who has been through so much is good and it can spawn a lot of determination from those around him."

Anscombe and Rhys Priestland are the number 10 options against New Zealand with English-based Dan Biggar and Callum Sheedy unavailable for the match because it falls outside World Rugby's international window.

Jones believes Anscombe can fit naturally into Pivac's style of play.

"He wants to play but there is a balance," said Jones.

"My last outing for Wales was against France, that was one of the best games we've played in terms of the mantra we're trying to achieve.

"We came up short on the final result which was disappointing, but Rhys, Gareth and Biggs can all play in the style and have the control we need to approach games and play like Wayne wants us to play.

"Huge credit must go to Gareth and Rhys. They've been here in the jersey and had spells out for different reasons and gone the long way round.

"To see them back in the fold is great. It shows strength of character and to have players of that quality vying for that position can bode well for the squad and our performances."

Wales have more then 15 players missing for the New Zealand match because of injury, Covid-19 and English clubs not releasing their players.

Gareth Anscombe will make his first Wales start since 2019 when they face New Zealand, the country of the fly-half's birth, in Cardiff on Saturday.

Anscombe, 30, has impressed for Ospreys after two years out with a knee injury.

There is also a first start for 21-year-old flanker Taine Basham in an all-Dragons back row alongside Ross Moriarty and Aaron Wainwright.

Hooker Ken Owens was initially named in the team but has failed a fitness test so is replaced by Ryan Elias.

Kirby Myhill, called into the squad as injury cover for Elliot Dee, takes Elias' place on the bench.

Scarlets full-back Liam Williams misses out as he continues to recover from surgery to remove his appendix.

Cardiff flanker Ellis Jenkins is also absent after injuring a rib earlier this month.

Jenkins and Williams had hoped to be fit in time to face the All Blacks but their absence means Wales will be without 19 players on Saturday.

Several players are injured and English clubs are not releasing their players because the game has been arranged outside World Rugby's international window, while Cardiff centre Willis Halaholo contracted Covid-19 this week.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones will lead Wales as they play in front of a capacity home crowd for the first time since February 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jones, 36, will play his 149th international for Wales, surpassing the previous record for one country set by New Zealand legend Richie McCaw.

Anscombe returns to Test rugby two years after suffering a serious knee injury while playing for Wales against England in a warm-up match for the 2019 World Cup.

He has only started four games this season, including one friendly, but has impressed enough to earn a recall alongside scrum-half Tomos Williams.

Anscombe played for New Zealand at Under-20 level before moving to Wales, who he qualifies for through his Cardiff-born mother Tracy.

He has 27 Wales caps but has only made one replacement appearance against the All Blacks in 2016.

Anscombe and Rhys Priestland were the two fly-half options, with English-based duo Dan Biggar and Callum Sheedy unavailable.

Priestland, 34, last featured at international level against New Zealand in November 2017 and is eligible for selection again after returning to Wales to join Cardiff from Bath.

Northampton's Biggar and Bristol's Sheedy and fellow England-based players Louis Rees-Zammit, Taulupe Faletau, Nick Tompkins, Thomas Young and Christ Tshiunza were unavailable to play against the All Blacks.

Head coach Wayne Pivac has a long list of absentees in the back row. Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi, Ellis Jenkins, James Botham, Josh Macleod, Dan Lydiate and James Davies are injured, with Young and Faletau also missing for the New Zealand fixture.

Basham, 21, made three replacement appearances in the summer against Argentina and Canada but is given a starting spot after a storming start to the season.

With Leigh Halfpenny ruled out until next year, Williams out for this weekend and Rees-Zammit unavailable, New Zealand-born Johnny McNicholl is handed a first start at full-back alongside wings Owen Lane and Josh Adams in the back three.

With George North missing the autumn series through injury and Halaholo absent, Johnny Williams and Jonathan Davies form an all Scarlets centre partnership.

"With injuries and unavailability it's another great opportunity for players like Taine Basham and Ben Thomas to come into the group and gain valuable experience," said head coach Wayne Pivac.

"They're going to come away from this test match knowing what it's like to play one of the best teams in the world.

"To win a World Cup you have to play against teams like New Zealand at some stage in the tournament and you have to win those games.

"It's going to be a great experience for those guys who haven't played a lot of test rugby and they'll certainly know they've been in a match afterwards."

Wales: Johnny McNicholl; Owen Lane, Jonathan Davies, Johnny Williams, Josh Adams; Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Ross Moriarty, Taine Basham, Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Rhys Carre, Dillon Lewis, Will Rowlands, Seb Davies, Gareth Davies, Rhys Priestland, Ben Thomas.

Man who organised Sala flight convicted

Published in Soccer
Thursday, 28 October 2021 05:35

Businessman David Henderson, who organised the flight which crashed leading to the death of footballer Emiliano Sala, has been found guilty of endangering the safety of an aircraft by Cardiff Crown Court.

Sala and pilot David Ibbotson died when the plane they were in crashed into the English Channel in January 2019.

- Sam Borden: In search of Emiliano Sala

Henderson had previously pleaded guilty to trying to arrange a flight without permission or authorisation but had denied the charge of endangering the safety of an aircraft.

It took the jury seven-and-a-half hours to come to the decision to convict Henderson.

The plane was bringing Sala from Nantes, France to Cardiff where he had signed a deal with Cardiff City.

A hearing in October 2020 heard that Ibbotson's licence to fly a commercial aircraft had expired in November 2018 while the Air Accidents Investigation Branch reported that the plane had been leaking carbon monoxide during the flight.

An attempt by Ibbotson to pull up the plane had caused it to break up in mid-air.

The jury heard that Ibbotson also didn't have a qualification to fly at night and his ratings to fly the single-engine Piper Malibu had expired. He had been asked by Henderson to take the flight as the businessman was on holiday in Paris, France.

After being made aware of the crash, the court heard, Henderson texted people telling them to keep quiet as information they gave out would "open a can of worms."

He later admitted in court that he was afraid of what an investigation would do to his business.

Owner of the plane, Fay Keely, had also asked Henderson to not let Ibbotson fly the plane again after being told by the Civil Aviation Authority about two airspace infringements he had committed.

The prosecutor in the case said Henderson had been "reckless or negligent" by prioritising his business rather than the safety of those onboard.

He also added that there was a culture of breaking airspace rules among the pilots that he hired.

Henderson will be sentenced on Nov. 12.

LaLiga report Barca fan for racist abuse at Clasico

Published in Soccer
Thursday, 28 October 2021 05:35

LaLiga will report a Barcelona fan to the Spanish authorities for subjecting Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior to racist abuse during Sunday's El Clasico at the Camp Nou.

Vinicius, 21, started in Sunday's 2-1 win at Barcelona. The Spanish league has condemned the racist insults directed at Vinicius and declared its solidarity with the Brazil international.

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"In view of the events that took place in the game at the Camp Nou last Sunday, in which a local fan reprimanded Real Madrid player Vinicius Junior with racist insults, LaLiga will proceed to report hate crimes to the local public prosecutor's office in Barcelona in the event that they constitute the offense under Article 510 of the Penal Code," a statement said.

"LaLiga will appear as a special accusation of cooperation in the fight against any kind of racist or xenophobic act or behaviour."

LaLiga took the same action last year when Athletic Bilbao's Inaki Williams revealed he had suffered racial abuse by Espanyol fans during a league game between the sides.

Barcelona's prosecutors' office brought action against the Espanyol fans, who face charges of crime against fundamental rights and, if found guilty, could face up to two years in prison.

Sources: Barca in Xavi talks after Koeman exit

Published in Soccer
Thursday, 28 October 2021 05:35

Barcelona president Joan Laporta will hold talks with Xavi Hernandez on Thursday over the managerial vacancy at Camp Nou following the dismissal of Ronald Koeman, sources have confirmed to ESPN.

Koeman was fired after Wednesday's 1-0 defeat to Rayo Vallecano, which left Barca ninth in LaLiga following three losses in their last four league games.

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Al Sadd coach Xavi, who made 767 appearances for Barca as a player, has quickly emerged as the first option to replace the Dutchman, with Laporta keen to know what his demands would be.

Sources told ESPN that talks will focus on what Xavi wants in terms of his coaching staff and transfers moving forward, with personal terms not expected to be a problem.

In the meantime, Barca will appoint an interim coach for Saturday's game against Alaves. B team boss Sergi Barjuan, academy director Albert Capellas and fitness coach Albert Roca have all been considered for the role.

Thursday's training session has been moved from the morning to the afternoon to give the club some time to make a decision.

Xavi, 41, has always made it clear that it is his dream to return to Barca in a coaching capacity. He left the club in 2015 for Qatar side Al Sadd, where he spent four years as a player before being appointed coach in 2019.

Since taking over, he has led Al Sadd to seven trophies, including one league title. They have won seven out of seven in the Qatar Stars League this season and are unbeaten in 34 matches dating back to the previous campaign.

He was previously targeted for the job by former president Josep Maria Bartomeu in 2020 when Ernesto Valverde was sacked. However, he turned it down because the timing was not right.

When Quique Setien was dismissed later that same year, he was again in the running for the job, but Bartomeu opted for Koeman.

Sources: Several Prem clubs eyeing Eden Hazard

Published in Soccer
Thursday, 28 October 2021 05:35

Several Premier League clubs have been sounded out over their interest in signing Real Madrid's Eden Hazard in January, sources have told ESPN.

Chelsea and Newcastle United are among a number of clubs to have been alerted to the possibility although it is unclear at this stage what level of interest there is in the 30-year-old or if the player himself is ready to call time on his career at the Bernabeu.

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Hazard was left on the bench for last weekend's El Clasico victory over Barcelona, after which manager Carlo Ancelotti said "the problem [Hazard] has right now is he has a coach who prefers another player."

Although he went on to praise Hazard's work ethic, it was a damning assessment of a player signed from Chelsea in 2019 for a deal worth an initial €100 million with a series of performance-based add-ons.

Hazard has started just 25 games in LaLiga and has five goals from 52 appearances across all competitions after suffering with a various injury problems since arriving in Spain.

Madrid are looking to raise funds to pursue Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland next summer in addition to Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, who will potentially be available on a free transfer once his contract expires but is still likely to command a huge signing-on fee and wage package.

Speaking in June, Hazard said he wanted to make a success of Madrid career.

"I still have three years of contract at Real Madrid," he said. "I like the club. I like the players. I will give everything next season for this club. I don't see myself leaving Real Madrid now."

However Ancelotti's stance has raised further doubts over his future and Madrid's desire to rebuild their team has led intermediaries to sound out possible interested parties. Precise figures have not been discussed but it has previously been suggested in Spain that Madrid would be hopeful of recouping around €50m.

Hazard spent seven seasons at Stamford Bridge and won the Premier League on two occasions. Should Chelsea formalise any interest, they could face competition from Newcastle, who will be looking for a marquee signing in January following their £305m Saudi-led takeover.

The club are expected to make a decision on their new manager by the end of the week following talks with several candidates including Paulo Fonseca, Lucien Favre and Frank Lampard.

Fran Wilson, a member of England's World Cup-winning side in 2017, has announced her retirement from international cricket. Wilson, 29, played 64 times for her country across an 11-year career, including eight of England's matches at the 2017 World Cup, en route to their victory over India at Lord's in the final.

She also featured in the 2019 T20 World Cup in Australia, and made the last of her international appearances on England's tour of New Zealand in February.

Renowned for her outstanding work in the field, Wilson's highest score in ODI cricket came in 2019, with a 49-ball 85 against Pakistan. She will continue to play domestic cricket in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, Charlotte Edwards Cup and The Hundred.

"I feel incredibly proud to have played for my country for the past 10 years and the time now feels right to step away," Wilson said. "I am excited for the challenges that domestic cricket will bring in the next chapter of my playing career.

"Playing for England pushes you to the limit and I'm grateful for the experiences which have made me better, on and off the pitch. The memories I have made with some amazing teams are ones I will always cherish and I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of my England journey."

England Women's Head Coach Lisa Keightley said: "Fran has served her country with distinction for over a decade and she can be very proud of the work she's put in and of what she's achieved.

"In my time in the job I've really enjoyed working with Fran. She's such a positive influence on the group, she's a real team player, she's very popular, and we'll really miss having her as part of our team.

"It's a very difficult decision to retire from international cricket, but our loss will be the domestic game's gain. Fran has always given everything for England and I know she'll continue to do so in domestic cricket."

Soccer

Man who organised Sala flight convicted

Man who organised Sala flight convicted

Businessman David Henderson, who organised the flight which crashed leading to the death of football...

LaLiga report Barca fan for racist abuse at Clasico

LaLiga report Barca fan for racist abuse at Clasico

LaLiga will report a Barcelona fan to the Spanish authorities for subjecting Real Madrid's Vinicius...

Sources: Barca in Xavi talks after Koeman exit

Sources: Barca in Xavi talks after Koeman exit

Barcelona president Joan Laporta will hold talks with Xavi Hernandez on Thursday over the managerial...

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