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NASL loses two teams ... but gains Paolo Maldini and Carmelo Anthony

Guardian Sport - 13 hours 9 min ago

American soccer’s second-tier league is hoping to grow with the help of figures with valuable experience in the world of sport

The 2016 season will see a number of changes in the makeup of American soccer’s second-tier, the North American Soccer League. Over the coming months, two new franchises will be introduced, before a third is added in the fall section of a two-part season. The off-season, though, has also seen two teams jump ship, with another of its franchises, Minnesota United, set to move to Major League Soccer, in 2018.

First, the departees.

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Victoria Pendleton racecourse jumps debut scheduled for Fakenham

Guardian Sport - 13 hours 14 min ago
• Ex-Olympic cyclist will ride Cheltenham Festival mount Pacha Du Polder
• Amateur rider will get the leg up next week at Norfolk track

Paul Nicholls has revealed in his latest Betfair blog that Victoria Pendleton will step up her preparation, with the ambitious goal of riding in the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham, by riding in her first hunter chase at Fakenham on Friday, 19 February. Pendleton will be riding the Nicholls-trained Pacha Du Polder, her intended mount at the Festival in mid-March.

Nicholls told betting.betfair.com: “Fakenham is the logical target after their excellent debut together when they failed by inches to land a point-to-point at Milborne St Andrew on 31 January. It is important for Victoria to gain experience in a hunter chase before considering a tilt at the ultimate challenge of riding in the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham in March.”

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Cries of liberté, égalité, fraternité will not puncture Premier League bubble | Marina Hyde

Guardian Sport - 13 hours 20 min ago
Anfield’s walkout may have sparked revolutionary talk but fans on the ground are seen as an added bonus for clubs in the age of multibillion pound TV deals

There’s an uncomfortable moment in Robert Altman’s Hollywood satire The Player, during the morning meeting of a major studio’s top executives. “Let me ask you,” inquires one mischievous hotshot, who already knows the answer lies lost in the mists of time. “When was the last time you bought a ticket to see a movie? You actually paid your own money?”

A similar question might be asked of today’s Premier League executives, to say nothing of the owners, and would doubtless provoke similarly uncomfortable looks. When was the last time they bought a ticket? Perhaps you’d find the odd one who’d gone along to something non-league last season, and really liked to bang on about it, or a few who once took their kid to an away game for which they weren’t comped.

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15-y-o cyclist involved in motor vehicle collision, dies

Observer - 13 hours 23 min ago
PORTLAND, Jamaica — A 15-year old boy was on Tuesday pronounced dead at hospital after he collided with a motor car while riding his bicycle on the Spring Gardens main road in Portland.

Jürgen Klopp positive despite Liverpool's defeat by West Ham – video

Guardian Sport - 13 hours 28 min ago

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp says his team are not the Premier League’s ‘sunniest’ side after losing 2-1 to West Ham United in the FA Cup on Tuesday. Klopp says the team are not content with their recent results, but says there are positives to take from their performances

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ISSA schoolgirl football competition kicks off next Tuesday

Observer Sport - 13 hours 39 min ago
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Thirty-seven high schools will participate in this year's Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) High Schoolgirls' Football League, which is set to kick off next Tuesday across several zones.

Hooker Milner signs new Tigers deal

BBC Sport - 13 hours 41 min ago
Castleford Tigers hooker Adam Milner signs a two-year contract extension with the Super League side.

Jessica Ennis-Hill’s coach: Britain should move Rio 2016 camp over zika virus

Guardian Sport - 13 hours 44 min ago
• Toni Minichiello wants preparation to take place outside of Brazil
• ‘We should be looking at finding a camp that minimises the risk’

Britain should move its preparation camp for the Rio Olympic Games outside Brazil to minimise the risk of catching the Zika virus, Jessica Ennis-Hill’s coach said, adding he would not encourage the reigning heptathlon champion to defend her title.

Related: 'Everyone is catching it': Venezuelans fear the worst as Zika infections rise

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24-y-o motorcyclist killed in St Elizabeth crash

Observer - 13 hours 48 min ago
ST ELIZABETH, Jamaica — Twenty-four-year-old Trevor Morgan of Knoxwood district, St Elizabeth died from injuries he received in a motor vehicle collision on the Burnt Savannah main road in the parish on Tuesday.

Football teams of players with names of places from a single country | The Knowledge

Guardian Sport - 14 hours 1 min ago

Plus: players who have appeared at multiple major tournaments in the same country, and more tattoos. Send your questions and answers to knowledge@theguardian.com or tweet us @TheKnowledge_GU

“Me and a friend were recently discussing footballers whose surnames matched up with the main Scottish cities – Justin Edinburgh, Sean Dundee etc,” muses Graeme Coleman. “Can anyone name an entire team of 11 players whose surnames match up to cities/towns within a single country?”

Well, it’s fair to say we had a few emails in about this one. The youth of today might be all about computer video games, Pogs and happy slapping but we’re delighted to report that the readers of The Knowledge fill the hours by considering which footballers have the same names as places. So here we go …

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The most dangerous meal of the day?

BBC Sport - 14 hours 4 min ago
A frozen bagel, a sharp knife and a hungry rugby player. It's a dangerous combination. Just ask Leicester forward Ed Slater.

Joel Ekstrand determined to prove himself to Watford all over again

Guardian Sport - 14 hours 9 min ago
The Swedish centre-back is about to make his comeback and taste Premier League action for the first time nearly a year after suffering a knee injury that could have wrecked his career

Even for a typically mild-mannered Swede, Joel Ekstrand seems affronted by the question. “He can’t do that against me,” insists the towering central defender. “We’ve been in training camps with each other many times so I’ve known that move for a long time.”

Ekstrand may not be fooled by team-mate Odion Ighalo’s “scoop” – a trick that now even has its own Twitter account featuring a cartoon of the Nigerian striker serving ice creams to a series of bewildered Premier League defenders including Newcastle’s Fabricio Coloccini and Mamadou Sakho of Liverpool – but then the former Helsingborg and Udinese player is clearly no mug.

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Concussion questions haunt BMX after Dave Mirra's death

Guardian Sport - 14 hours 9 min ago

Although there is no definitive evidence CTE contributed to the X Games legend’s death, the issue is becoming a concern for many professional riders

When BMX freestyler Jamie Bestwick first started his career riding ramps and performing gravity-defying tricks, he landed on his head so hard his helmet split.

Even though he was knocked cold and forgot he was at a beach event rather than far away in his home town, Bestwick was back competing the next day.

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No permission given for JLP motorcade through Flanker — Police

Observer - 14 hours 10 min ago
ST JAMES, Jamaica — Head of the St James Division Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Steve McGregor today disclosed that no permission was given for a motorcade to go through the Flanker community in St James, yesterday.

Mido sacked by Zamalek after 37 days

BBC Sport - 14 hours 12 min ago
Former Tottenham Hotspur forward Mido is sacked as the coach of Egyptian side Zamalek after only 37 days in charge.

Cops nab wanted man after shoot-out in St Catherine

Observer - 14 hours 34 min ago
ST CATHERINE, Jamaica — A man who was wanted by the police for seven counts of shooting with intent was captured in St Catherine on Monday.

Three arrested in Kenya for falsely posing as Wada officials

Guardian Sport - 14 hours 36 min ago
• Men tried to accept bribes in exchange for negative doping tests
• Unnamed athlete asked to pay £4,800 at meeting in hotel

Three men have been arrested in Kenya after purporting to be officials from the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) prepared to take bribes for fixing doping tests.

Related: Kenya could pull out of Rio 2016 over Zika fears, says Olympic committee

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Neil Warnock on course to be named Rotherham manager until end of season

Guardian Sport - 14 hours 43 min ago
• Ex-Crystal Palace and Sheffield United manager interested in short-term deal
• Warnock played for Rotherham between 1969 and 1971

Neil Warnock is in pole position to become Rotherham’s new manager until the end of the season.

The former Sheffield United, QPR, Crystal Palace and Leeds manager is set to replace Neil Redfearn at the New York Stadium, with the task of keeping the Millers in the Sky Bet Championship.

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Extra ticket portal set up for NI fans

BBC Sport - 14 hours 59 min ago
The Irish Football Association says Uefa will set up a portal for Northern Ireland supporters to apply for extra European Championship tickets.

Football transfer rumours: Neymar to Manchester City or Manchester United?

Guardian Sport - 15 hours 3 min ago
Today’s fluff would have preferred a shootout

If everyone in the world said “Pep Guardiola” at exactly the same time, it would create a shout so loud that it would reverberate around the universe and give Tim Peake a splitting headache. And be warned, brave Tim, that if things carry on at their present rate we are due to reach that point in approximately 2.85 days. Everywhere the Mill turns, it’s Pep this, Pep that, Pep non, Pep si, as folks run through every player on the planet and wonder whether he will be invited to join the Manchester City revolution this summer. The top target today is said to be Neymar, a Brazilian forward that no manager other than the canny Guardiola would have thought about signing.

Manchester United are reportedly going to try to wade into the bidding for Neymar just to show City that they mean to be naughty neighbours. That’s how José Mourinho rolls and, according to several outlets, Mourinho is almost certain to be the next United manager and has told “close friends” that it is so – and at least one of those close friends appears to have told various newspapers. If all this is true, then Louis van Gaal must be not quite close enough as a friend to have been let into the big secret.

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