The Independent

Sport news in brief


Fifa targets equal men and women World Cup money by 2027

Gianni Infantino, Fifa president, wants equal prize money for the men’s and women’s World Cups in 2026 and 2027 but called on broadcaste­rs to pay more for the rights to the women’s finals. Infantino confirmed a total payments package of $152m (£126m) for this year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, inclusive of team preparatio­n funding and club release payments. That is still some way short of the reported $440m prize money on offer to teams at last year’s men’s finals in Qatar

but Infantino is determined to bridge the gap – if broadcaste­rs and sponsors step up.

He said that, in some cases, the offers for the Women’s World Cup rights were 100 times lower than for the men’s tournament. “Our ambition is to have equality in payments for the 2026 men’s and 2027 women’s World Cup,” Infantino told the Fifa Congress in Rwanda after he had been elected unopposed for a new four-year term. “This is the objective that we set to ourselves. Fifa is stepping up with actions, not just with words. But unfortunat­ely this is not the case of everyone across the industry.

“Broadcaste­rs and sponsors have to do more. Fifa is receiving between 10 and 100 times inferior offers for the Women’s World Cup. These same public broadcaste­rs who are paid by taxpayers’ money, they criticise Fifa for not guaranteei­ng equal pay to men and women. You pay us 100 times less but your viewing figures are similar. Maybe 20, 25 per cent less for the women than the men, not 100 per cent. Well offer us 20 times less, offer us 50 times less, but not 100 times less. We need to all be on the same side in this fight for equality.” PA

F1 accused of ‘enabling bloodshed’ by racing in Saudi Arabia

Formula 1 is again coming under increased scrutiny for staging races in countries with poor human rights records after the brother of a man executed in Saudi Arabia last year insisted the sport’s silence “enables violence and bloodshed.” A fortnight after staging the opening race of the 2023 season in Bahrain, F1 returns to Jeddah this weekend for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – a country where there have been 13 executions in the past two weeks.

Last year, 81 men were executed in one day shortly before the grand prix, including 41 from the Shia minority who had taken part in protests calling for greater political participat­ion, according to the United Nations. One of those men was Mustafa al-Kjayyat. His brother, Yasser al-Khayyat, insists that F1 is being used as a “tool to sportswash Saudi abuses”, in a letter

seen by The Guardian and addressed to F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

“They use the spectacle of this sporting championsh­ip to distract from the murder of my brother and hundreds of others,” Mr Al-Khayyat wrote. “The grand prix carrying on as normal, without even mentioning the atrocities that have just been committed on that same soil, legitimise­s these heinous crimes. Silence is complicity.”

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has spoken out in support of LGBT+ rights in Gulf countries, including wearing a rainbow helmet for races in Qatar and Saudi Arabia in 2021. An F1 spokespers­on responded: “We take our responsibi­lities very seriously and have made our position on human rights and other issues clear to all our partners and host countries who commit to respect human rights in the way their events are hosted and delivered. We are proud of all our partnershi­ps and look forward to building on those in the years ahead.”

Ireland pair passed fit for Grand Slam decider

Ryan Baird, Jamison Gibson-Park and Robbie Henshaw will make their first starts of this year’s Six Nations for Ireland in tomorrow’s crunch Grand Slam decider against England. Lock Baird and centre Henshaw replace injured pair Iain Henderson and Garry Ringrose following last week’s bruising 22-7 roundfour win away to Scotland.

Scrum-half Gibson-Park came off the bench in Edinburgh and has been preferred to Conor Murray in the only unenforced alteration to Andy Farrell’s starting XV. Hooker Dan Sheehan and number eight Caelan Doris have been passed fit following their premature withdrawal­s amid the Murrayfiel­d mayhem. But back-up number two Ronan Kelleher, who suffered a recurrence of a shoulder issue against the Scots, has joined Henderson (arm) and Ringrose (head) in being ruled out. Rob Herring, secondrow Kieran Treadwell and versatile back Jimmy O’Brien have been added to the bench.

Henry Arundell will start for the first time when England attempt to gatecrash Ireland’s Grand Slam party. Arundell has replaced Max Malins on the left wing in the hope that the most exciting talent in English rugby can produce the magic needed to topple the world’s number-one-ranked side. The 20-year-old try-scoring sensation has won all six of his previous caps off the bench and will add an X-factor to the backline. Owen Farrell is restored at fly-half after being dropped for the 53-10 defeat by France last Saturday, with Marcus Smith demoted to the bench to accommodat­e the England captain.

Ireland will complete their fourth championsh­ip clean sweep with a victory over England. PA

McGregor given drug test reassuranc­e ahead of UFC return

Conor McGregor’s UFC return could come courtesy of a loophole in drug test rules, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) has said. In January, the UFC announced that McGregor will make his comeback later this year, as the former champion takes on Michael Chandler. No date, location or weight class has been confirmed for the fight, though, with McGregor yet to re-enter Usada’s testing pool.

In order to compete in the UFC, fighters must have been present in the Usada pool for six months and have submitted two negative tests – and zero positives. However, Usada issued a statement yesterday, responding to comments made by McGregor on Wednesday and declaring that the UFC “can make an exception” in “exceptiona­l circumstan­ces”.

Want your views to be included in The Independen­t Daily Edition letters page? Email us by tapping here letters@independen­ Please include your address


 ?? (PA) ?? The Lionesses l ift the cup after winning Euro 2022
(PA) The Lionesses l ift the cup after winning Euro 2022
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom