Sport news in brief
Record World Cup goalscorer Fontaine dies aged 89
Legendary France striker Just Fontaine, who holds the record for the most goals scored at a single men’s World Cup, has died aged 89. Fontaine struck a record 13 goals in just six games at the 1958 tournament in Sweden, where France reached the semi-finals. Fontaine was a last-minute call-up to the French squad and was largely unheard of outside his country before going on to set the record.
No player has come close to breaking Fontaine’s record since. The late Germany forward Gerd Muller scored 10 goals at the 1970 World Cup but that was the last time a player hit double figures at the tournament. In 2006, Fontaine said he did not think his record would ever be beaten. “The person who wants to beat me has a massive task, doesn’t he? He has to score two goals per game over seven games,” he said.
Fontaine scored 30 goals in 21 international appearances for France between 1953 and 1960 but his career was cut short at the age of 28 due to a broken leg. At club level, he scored 259 goals in 283 matches for French club Stade de Reims and led the team to the 1959 European Cup final against Real Madrid. The team said: “A star of French football, an outstanding goalscorer, a Reims legend.”
Glazers consider minority bids for Manchester United
The Glazers are considering minority offers for Manchester United, as the protracted sale of the club enters its second stage with all bidders so far considerably short of the desired value. The initial bidders, who include Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani and Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos, are now waiting for responses from Raine Group but all offers for 100 per cent of the club were considerably below the desired fee. Elliott Management has meanwhile denied an earlier report that they wanted to buy 60 per cent of the club.
The first offers submitted at last month’s soft deadline were no more than £4.5bn but, while there had been an initial feeling the Glazers would accept £5bn, it is understood that figure is actually £6bn. There is nevertheless said to be a bullishness around the Al Thani bid, which would represent a Qatari state project. One feeling is that Qatar will ultimately pay what it takes to secure a prize asset that would have immense political value, but the fear among a number of interested parties for some time has been that the Glazers would ultimately just seek minority investment.
There is not full agreement among the siblings, with Joel and Avram Glazer desiring to either keep the club or keep a stake in the club. The latter made a conspicuous appearance at Wembley for the Carabao Cup final win over Newcastle United. Elliott Management, who until last summer owned Milan before a takeover from RedBird Capital Partners, are one of the groups who have offered financing as the Glazers also consider whether to redevelop Old Trafford.
Kompany set for Man City return in FA Cup quarter-finals
Burnley boss Vincent Kompany is set to make a return to Manchester City after the clubs were paired together in the FA Cup quarter-final draw. Former City skipper Kompany, who won four Premier League titles and two FA Cups among his haul of trophies during his 11-year-stay with the club, will take the Clarets to the Etihad Stadium later this month. The Championship leaders booked their showdown with the reigning English champions minutes before the draw courtesy of a 1-0 win over League One Fleetwood thanks to Connor Roberts’ 90th-minute strike.
League Two Grimsby Town’s reward for their shock 2-1 win at top-flight Southampton is a trip to Brighton. Gavan Holohan’s penalty double either side of half-time produced a huge upset at St Mary’s and left them one win away from a trip to Wembley. Midfielder Holohan capitalised on moments of madness from Saints pair Lyanco and Duje Caleta-Car to fire the Mariners into the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time since the Second World War. Croatia defender Caleta-Car atoned for his mistake by halving the deficit for the top-flight’s bottom club with 25 minutes to go. But the 1976 FA Cup winners could not prevent another major setback of a miserable season as they crashed out at the hands of the lowest-ranked side remaining in the tournament. The Mariners, who have reached the quarterfinals for the first time since the Second World War, sit in 16th place in the fourth tier, while the Seagulls lie eighth in the Premier League.
Carabao Cup winners Manchester United will entertain topflight rivals Fulham with a place in the semi-finals at stake.
The final tie will see Championship promotion hopefuls Sheffield United host second-tier counterparts Blackburn. The Blades dumped top-flight Tottenham out of the competition with a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane yesterday evening with Iliman Ndiaye scoring the winner. Exactly one year ago to the day since they were beaten by the same scoreline at Middlesbrough, Spurs again succumbed to a team in the division below them after a limp display in South Yorkshire. After starting Harry Kane on the bench, they fell behind to Ndiaye’s 79th-minute opener and could not find a way back into the game.
The fixtures will take place over the weekend of March 18 and 19.
Russia joins Asian chess group after European ban on players
Chess powerhouse Russia has joined the Asian Chess Federation following an ACF vote that allows Russian players to keep competing at an international level despite the war in Ukraine and the sanctions that it has prompted. Russian athletes have been banned from many sports and largely cannot compete in Europe due to the sanctions and competition complications caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
However, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last month urged sports federations to create a pathway for Russian and Belarusian athletes to return to international competitions in Asia. This pathway would also give those athletes the chance to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics through Asian qualifying events as they are unable to compete in Europe. Belarus is also under Western sanctions because it has allowed Russia to use its territory as a key staging area for the invasion.
“This day witnessed a historic event: a chess federation, one of the strongest in the world, has moved from one continent to another for the first time ever,” Russian chess federation president Andrey Filatov said, following the ACF vote in Abu
Dhabi. Of the 36 votes 29 ACF delegates voted in favour of Russia's inclusion and one voted against, while there were also six abstentions, with the result sealing Russia’s departure from the European Chess Union.
Many countries have publicly opposed the IOC’s plan to see a return of Russian and Belarusian athletes in international competitions, while Ukraine has threatened to boycott the Paris Olympics if Russians are allowed to compete, even as neutral athletes with no flag or anthem, as proposed. Reuters
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