Footballers continue to show generosity… 10 things we learned in week 4 of coronavirus lockdown

Scott Polacek Manchester City FC

During the sporting lockdown, replays, throwbacks and charity auctions have taken on unprecedented importance as fans look to fill the void left by the lack of live action. 

Football’s governing bodies remain undecided on how the season should be concluded and many are befuddled by mixed messages.

Amid the chaos, Sportsmail takes a look at 10 things we have learned over the past week of the ongoing coronavirus shutdown. 

Aymeric Laporte paid £4,360 for Alexis Vastine's outfit before returning it to late boxer's father

Aymeric Laporte paid £4,360 for Alexis Vastine’s outfit before returning it to late boxer’s father

Sports stars continue to show their generosity

By contributing to the #playerstogether initiative and auctioning memorabilia in support of those less fortunate, sporting stars have shown compassion during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Aymeric Laporte made another touching gesture after buying the outfit of late French boxer Alexis Vastine for £4,360 (€5,000) in aid of a health workers fund. 

The Manchester City defender purchased the kit worn at the 2012 Olympics but returned it to Vastine’s father Alain, who’d donated the gear in the first place.

Vastine won bronze as a light-welterweight at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and competed in London, but tragically died in a helicopter crash aged 28.  

Alexis Vastine, who won bronze at the Beijing Olympics, died in a helicopter crash in 2015

Alexis Vastine, who won bronze at the Beijing Olympics, died in a helicopter crash in 2015 

Test cricket can be thrilling… even when you already know the result

England cricket fans will remember where they were when Ben Stokes produced an extraordinary innings to beat Australia in the third Test of the 2019 Ashes. 

The Aussies would go on to retain the urn, but Stokes’ Headingley heroics will always evoke strong emotions, and so it proved during Sky Sports’ Easter ‘watchalong’. 

The match-winner commentated on a ball-by-ball replay of the final day with captain Joe Root and pundits Rob Key and Nasser Hussain. Each of them watched through their fingers as Nathan Lyon fumbled the chance to run out Jack Leach.   

Stokes was understated throughout the broadcast, but submitted to the tension of the run chase when he admitted: ‘Rooty, I know we know the outcome but it’s still nerve-wracking, isn’t it?’ 

England stars joined Rob Key and Nasser Hussain to give intriguing insight during Ashes replay

England stars joined Rob Key and Nasser Hussain to give intriguing insight during Ashes replay

EFL chairman Rick Parry puts safety first.. sort of

EFL chairman Rick Parry says it is ‘likely’ the remainder of the 2019-20 season will be played behind closed doors, with all matches being broadcast online or televised.

The Football League chief insists it is a priority to finish the campaign ‘with or without fans’, ending the Saturday 3pm TV blackout in the process.

Whether or not athletes will want to travel the country playing contact sport in the midst of a pandemic seems to be of little importance to Parry.

In fairness, Nottingham Forest defender Joe Worrall’s initial pledge to go on strike if the season gets voided shows it will be impossible to satisfy everyone when the situation is resolved.

Rick Parry says that EFL matches are likely to be behind closed doors when football resumes

Rick Parry says that EFL matches are likely to be behind closed doors when football resumes

US president wants golf to be his Trump card 

There have been over 795,000 coronavirus cases in the United States, but golf is likely to make a comeback sooner rather than later.

Although the PGA Tour’s ambitious announcement that they hoped to return by mid-June was met with incredulity, US president and golf fanatic Donald Trump has expressed his desire to ‘get our sports back’.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has been named by Trump as part of the Great American Economic Revival Industry Group, and he has reportedly considered ordering one million coronavirus test kits, to be used at events, to accelerate the decision to host tournaments.

Monahan told reporters: ‘We need to have widespread, large-scale testing across our country. We’re going to need to be able to test players, caddies, and other constituents before we return, but we need to do so in a way that’s not going to take away from the critical need that we’re currently facing. Based on the advice that we’re getting from medical experts, we feel confident we’ll be in that position.’  

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan (right) was named by Donald Trump as part of the Great American Economic Revival Industry Group, which will have zoom conference on Wednesday

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan (right) was named by Donald Trump as part of the Great American Economic Revival Industry Group, which will have zoom conference on Wednesday

Boxing’s latest race row is one we’ve heard before 

American lightweight Devin Haney insisted he isn’t racist after claiming he would ‘never lose to a white boy’ when asked about facing Vasyl Lomachenko.

The 21-year-old encountered widespread criticism online, with rival Ryan Garcia reminding him to ‘respect everyone from every race’. 

The sport has an uneasy relationship with racial politics, dating back to Joe Louis’ ‘Battle of the Century’ with Adolf Hitler’s favourite heavyweight Max Schmeling.

More recently, Bernard Hopkins’ repulsive rhetoric – ‘I couldn’t go back to the projects if I let a white boy beat me’ – didn’t help him during his defeat by Welsh legend Joe Calzaghe in 2008. 

Animosity sells tickets, but boxers would be wise to learn from the mistakes of their fighting forebears.  

Devin Haney insists he isn't racist after claiming he'd 'never lose to a white boy' in the ring

Devin Haney insists he isn’t racist after claiming he’d ‘never lose to a white boy’ in the ring

Turkeys won’t vote for Christmas at World Rugby chairman election 

Agustin Pichot is promising dramatic reform if he wins the election to become new chairman of World Rugby, yet established unions have been reluctant to accept change. 

The Argentine, who has been vice-president since 2016, will challenge current incumbent Sir Bill Beaumont, but Wales have been the only Six Nations union to engage directly with him during his campaign.

Among Pichot’s radical ideas is a proposal to introduce promotion and relegation in the Six Nations, allowing tier-two teams to challenge for entry. 

This is one example of the 45-year-old’s vision to make the governing body more democratic, giving an equal voice to developing countries and expanding the game’s global audience. However, the powerful unions believe they have too much to lose and will most likely vote to preserve the status quo.

It comes as no surprise that Wales were only Six Nations union to engage with Agustin Pichot

It comes as no surprise that Wales were only Six Nations union to engage with Agustin Pichot

Perhaps Karren Brady was right after all 

West Ham CEO Karren Brady was accused of self-interest last month when she suggested the Premier League season should be declared void due to the coronavirus crisis. 

The Hammers have been mired in a relegation battle, hovering above the drop zone on goal difference, and expunged results would enable them to retain their top-flight status. 

Fanciful plans have been made to quarantine players, resume training, and finish the season behind closed doors at ‘neutral hubs’, yet the logistics seem unmanageable.

Timing is key, and a long-term extension to the season could still prove to be the solution, but in a country where over 16,000 people have died as a result of the virus, Premier League executives are under pressure to get this decision right.

West Ham CEO Karren Brady was criticised for saying the season should be declared void

West Ham CEO Karren Brady was criticised for saying the season should be declared void

Only the fittest (broadband providers) will survive PDC Home Tour

Gary Anderson was dumped out of the PDC’s Home Tour on Thursday, just days before the event began, because his WiFi connection wasn’t strong enough.

The Scot was slated to take part in the tournament during the lockdown, but weak signal at his house in Somerset means he had to give up his place.  

Anderson said: ‘I was up for it but when we did tests of my WiFi, it’s just not reliable enough. It doesn’t surprise me. I struggle to pay bills online in my house, it’s really frustrating.’

It was disappointing to see the two-time winner of the World Championship unable to compete in the inaugural Home Tour, but his expulsion provides further evidence that natural selection is an ongoing process.

Gary Anderson pulled out of the PDC Home Tour because of his unreliable WiFi connection

Gary Anderson pulled out of the PDC Home Tour because of his unreliable WiFi connection 

Dana White targets May comeback after UFC 249 chaos

Dana White has entered Vince McMahon mode once again. The president of UFC reluctantly cancelled this month’s event due to the coronavirus pandemic, now he says the sport could return in May. 

This comes after executives from ESPN and Disney told the 50-year-old to back down from his controversial plans to host UFC 249 in California’s Central Valley. 

Its location on tribal land meant that the UFC would not have to adhere to the lockdown rules imposed by the US government. 

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn withdrew from an agreement to host the highly-anticipated show headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, so White will likely use the company’s Las Vegas HQ to bring back MMA.

Dana White is once again confident that he will be able to stage UFC fights as early as May

We shouldn’t expect immediate success at Newcastle 

It’s been 13 years since Newcastle played in the Champions League and almost a century since they won the First Division, but the Toon Army will be expecting to compete among England’s elite once the impending £300million takeover is completed. 

After navigating the FA’s feeble owners’ and directors’ test, the consortium backed by Saudia Arabia’s Public Investment Fund will have approximately £320billion to pump into the club.

Unfortunately, Financial Fair Play rules stipulate clubs entering European competitions are prohibited from recording losses in excess of £27m over a three-year period.

However, should UEFA decide to relax FFP rules in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis, fans could see Kylian Mbappe lining up alongside Paul Dummett in no time. Stranger things have happened.

Prospective Newcastle chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan is head of Saudi Public Investment Fund

Prospective Newcastle chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan is head of Saudi Public Investment Fund

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