Meet the Matildas supporter group creating a safe space for fans of women’s sport

Majella Card is a football fan, but more than that, she’s a vocal advocate for women’s football fandom.

Her passion is making sure all fans, including those who’ve championed women’s football for decades and those new to the game, have fun and find their community.

“It’s about everyone being welcome and supporting in a fun, noisy, passionate way. But we like to keep the aggro out of it,” she said.

Matildas Active Support (MAS) is an Australian women’s national team supporter group that started organically as A-League Women (then called the W-League) fans and affiliated club groups made plans to travel to France for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“That sort of ended up blossoming into the idea of, ‘well, should we actually create a bit of a support group … to try to set something up for the Matildas to have some organised support in France, and just more generally, throughout the year?’,” Card said.

Card, now a MAS committee member, put up her hand to help support with admin, and the memories from travelling to France have stayed with her. Even the tough losses for the Matildas still brought the fans to the meet-ups that MAS organised.

“It was like the first game we organised anything [in Valenciennes] … everyone was a bit down because we lost the game,” Card said.

“But I think just seeing that many fans together and coordinated all at once to just get together and celebrate being in France and following the Matildas … it was such a great memory.”

The way fans came together made Card think that Matildas Active Support had something special.

Not even the brisk nights at Bruce Stadium will keep the Matildas fans away. (Supplied: Matildas Active Support)

“It actually wasn’t that difficult to build the community, I guess because it was already there, but it was about creating and just providing the platform and the ability for people to connect. The way that it took off was just amazing,” she said.

For Claire Taylor, France was the catalyst to continue the momentum in Australia after having such a positive experience in the stands with other fans. After the event, she still wanted to be part of something.

“I just really loved the atmosphere. I loved the connection to people. I loved that we were all coming together, unified, purely there, 10,000 miles from home to support the Matildas,” she said.

From the friendship that grew between fans in France, Matildas Active Support has now become a wider collective that advocates for not only supporting the Matildas, but bringing more fans into the game, and focusing on fans who might not think football is for them.

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Players took unpaid leave and played on unsafe pitches en route to World Cup, report finds

The global players’ union FIFPro has called on FIFA and its six member confederations to drastically improve the conditions, compensation and medical care for all players competing in future Women’s World Cup qualifiers after a new report found myriad problems with the path towards the 2023 tournament.

Compiled over a two-year period, the inaugural report surveyed 362 players who took part in World Cup qualifiers, focusing on both the global perspective as well as the specific contexts of each confederation: the OFC (Oceania), AFC (Asia), CAF (Africa), UEFA (Europe), CONMEBOL (South America), and CONCACAF (North & Central America and the Caribbean).

Through anonymised online and in-person surveys, they were asked about various aspects of their experiences including travel and accommodation, pre-tournament health checks, pitch quality, recovery facilities, food, mental health support, match scheduling and payment.

The report found various qualifying paths fell short of minimum standards in many categories, with “multiple inconsistencies in the scheduling, duration, format and conditions between tournaments”. 

Sixty-six per cent of respondents said they had to take unpaid leave from other jobs in order to participate in their respective confederation competitions, which also double as qualifying pathways for World Cups and Olympic Games, with almost one-third saying they had not been paid to play at all.

Only 40 per cent of those surveyed said they viewed themselves as “professional” players, defined by FIFA as anyone who has a written contract with a club and is paid more for football than the expenses they incur.

Thirty-five per cent of players identified as amateur, 16 per cent as semi-professional, while nine were uncertain of their status.

In every confederation, match payment and prize money were two of the biggest issues of the qualifying phases, with the vast majority of respondents saying payment needed significant improvement.

Last week, players from the World Cup-bound Jamaican women’s national team posted public statements saying a lack of investment had led to abandoned camps and missed compensation.

“We are not financially supported enough,” said an anonymous UEFA player.

“Some of our girls had to take unpaid vacation at work and it wasn’t sure if they can even attend the tournament.”

Over half the players surveyed were not provided with pre-tournament medical checks, while 70 per cent were not given ECG heart-health checks.

“Any stat that is below 100 per cent in terms of access to important medical checks is completely unacceptable,” said Sarah Gregorious, director of global policy and strategic relations for women’s football at FIFPro.

“We just want to work with whoever wants to work with us, particularly FIFA and the confederations, to understand why that is the case and how that can be prevented, because that is certainly not something that should be acceptable to anybody.”

Almost 40 per cent of players surveyed did not have access to mental health support, while one-third of those surveyed said there was insufficient recovery time between games, which was exacerbated by the sub-standard quality of training and match pitches, particularly outside of Europe.

Sixty-six per cent said recovery and gym facilities were not of an elite standard or did not exist at all, making it more difficult to recover from games as well as from international travel, with 59 per cent saying they flew economy — even over long distances.

Another major issue highlighted was inconsistent match scheduling.

Only UEFA has a stand-alone World Cup qualifying process separate from their continental championship, which affords players more high-quality matches and opportunities for remuneration, while the other five confederations rely on a single tournament for multiple purposes.

Some of those tournaments — like the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, in which Australia participates — are shorter in length (the 2022 tournament ran for just 18 days), and also operate outside designated FIFA windows, forcing players to choose between playing for club or country, with the tight turn-around between games also heightening risk of injury and fatigue.

One-third of players said they did not have enough recovery time between matches, with 34 per cent saying that had one rest day or fewer between arriving in camp and playing a qualifying match. Further, 39 per cent said they had one day or fewer between the end of the international window and resuming training at their clubs.

FIFPro has used the report to call on FIFA to have greater control and oversight over World Cup qualifying pathways, highlighting the need to implement global standards for player conditions in international tournaments, as well as for each confederation to conduct stand-alone qualifying tournaments outside of their continental championships.

The lack of domestic player unions in many federations — particularly those from less privileged confederations such as Oceania and Africa — had made organising and collective bargaining difficult, but ABC understands one suggestion is to establish a confederation-wide union membership system so that players can still be protected even if they don’t have their own country-specific union.

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World Cup of Darts: England and Wales progress as Belgium win classic encounter vs Netherlands

England set up meeting with Germany as Belgium win a thriller, while Wales and Scotland progress the World Cup of Darts continues at Frankfurt’s Eissporthalle with a double session at 12pm on Sky Sports Arena and 6pm on Sky Sports Action on Sunday

Last Updated: 17/06/23 10:31pm


Rob Cross and Michael Smith were on song for England at the World Cup of Darts

England and Wales progressed through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup of Darts as Belgium knocked out highly-fancied contenders Netherlands in a classic contest.

Top seeds England – Michael Smith and Rob Cross – began their bid to win a fifth World Cup in comfortable style by seeing off Latvia 8-4, ending the hopes of Madars Razma and Dmitriy Zhukov.

“We were trying too hard but every time I hit a bad shot, Rob stepped in and we worked as a team there,” said world No 1 Smith.

“It wasn’t our greatest performance, but we needed a test and we know that if we play at our best we’ll win.”

Evening Session: Second Round Matches

Wales 8-2 Denmark
England 8-4 Latvia
Netherlands 7-8 Belgium
Poland 6-8 Germany

Smith helped England progress with this 111 checkout against Latvia

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Smith helped England progress with this 111 checkout against Latvia

Smith helped England progress with this 111 checkout against Latvia

Live World Cup of Darts

June 18, 2023, 12:00pm

Live on Sky Sports Action HD

They will now take on host nation Germany in a mouth-watering quarter-final contest after Gabriel Clemens and Martin Schindler edged Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski and Krzysztof Kciuk 8-6 to raise the roof in Frankfurt.

Belgium stole the headlines with a sensational sudden-death leg win over Netherlands.

A look at some of the best celebrations from Belgium's thriller against the Dutch

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A look at some of the best celebrations from Belgium’s thriller against the Dutch

A look at some of the best celebrations from Belgium’s thriller against the Dutch

The opening eight legs of a captivating tie went with throw, with the Dutch duo of Danny Noppert and Dirk van Duijvenbode hitting six perfect darts in one leg only for Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts to deny their rivals a break.

The Belgians took the ninth to claim that key first break of throw, and the next two also went against the darts as the tension increased before Huybrechts’ classy 108 checkout moved his nation clear for the first time at 7-5.

Van Duijvenbode kept Dutch hopes alive by hitting successive doubles to force a deciding leg, but he was unable to finish 109 for glory to allow Van den Bergh in on double 16 to joyfully continue Belgium’s progress.

Dimitri Van den Bergh waited for silence before throwing for the match in a thrilling conclusion to Belgium's clash with Netherlands

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Dimitri Van den Bergh waited for silence before throwing for the match in a thrilling conclusion to Belgium’s clash with Netherlands

Dimitri Van den Bergh waited for silence before throwing for the match in a thrilling conclusion to Belgium’s clash with Netherlands

The Belgian duo had dominated the headlines during the group stage as they put aside personal differences to put on a united front, and Huybrechts admitted: “We’re representing Belgium, now I’m his best friend.”

Van den Bergh added: “Kim was fantastic in scoring during this game and we never gave up. I’m feeling good, I learned so much from the Premier League and I can see the difference.”

Wales' Jonny Clayton and Gerwyn Price put their friendship to the test as they answer questions on how well they know each other

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Wales’ Jonny Clayton and Gerwyn Price put their friendship to the test as they answer questions on how well they know each other

Wales’ Jonny Clayton and Gerwyn Price put their friendship to the test as they answer questions on how well they know each other

Second seeds Wales impressed with an average of almost 100 as Gerwyn Price and Jonny Clayton ended the hopes of Danish duo Vladimir Andersen and Benjamin Drue Reus.

Although the Danes took the opening leg, Price landed two 180s as the Welsh levelled with an 11-darter to spark a run of five straight legs as they took command, before combinations of 121 and 70 from the world No 4 helped seal victory.

“I thought we played pretty consistently but it was our first game in this tournament and we blew a few cobwebs away,” said Price, a winner alongside Clayton in 2020.

“I think we’ve got a bit more in the tank so it was a good benchmark for us.”

Price's majestic 121 checkout against Sweden helped Wales edge closer to victory

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Price’s majestic 121 checkout against Sweden helped Wales edge closer to victory

Price’s majestic 121 checkout against Sweden helped Wales edge closer to victory

Australia and Scotland battle through

Australia kept their title defence alive after Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock fought back in a dramatic last-16 tie to beat Croatia

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Australia kept their title defence alive after Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock fought back in a dramatic last-16 tie to beat Croatia

Australia kept their title defence alive after Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock fought back in a dramatic last-16 tie to beat Croatia

Australia and Scotland battled through to the quarter-finals, as France and Sweden reached the same stage for the first time.

Reigning champions Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock of Australia had raced through the group stage without dropping a leg but endured some nervy moments against Croatian duo Boris Krcmar and Romeo Grbavac before booking their spot in the last eight in Frankfurt.

Heta struck with this 106 finish en route to Australia's close victory against Croatia

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Heta struck with this 106 finish en route to Australia’s close victory against Croatia

Heta struck with this 106 finish en route to Australia’s close victory against Croatia

Scotland’s Peter Wright and Gary Anderson, meanwhile, defeated Philippines’ Christian Perez and Lourence Ilagan by the same 8-5 margin following another tough battle.

The 2019 winners now meet France in Sunday afternoon’s quarter-finals after Thibault Tricole and Jacques Labre defeated South Africa’s Devon Petersen and Vernon Bouwers 8-4.

With Scotland and Philippines locked at 6-6, Gary Anderson produced this magnificent 141 checkout to close in on victory!

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With Scotland and Philippines locked at 6-6, Gary Anderson produced this magnificent 141 checkout to close in on victory!

With Scotland and Philippines locked at 6-6, Gary Anderson produced this magnificent 141 checkout to close in on victory!

Sweden matched France by reaching the quarter-finals for the first time, with Dennis Nilsson and Oskar Lukasiak overcoming Canadian duo Jeff Smith and Matt Campbell 8-5.

Afternoon Session: Second Round Matches

France 8-4 South Africa
Sweden 8-5 Canada
Australia 8-6 Croatia
Scotland 8-5 Philippines

Live World Cup of Darts

June 18, 2023, 6:00pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena HD

Afternoon Session: Quarter-Finals (Best of 15 legs)

Wales vs Sweden
Belgium vs Australia
Scotland vs France
England vs Germany

Sunday sees the £450,000 tournament conclude across two sessions in Frankfurt, with the quarter-finals in the afternoon session and the semi-finals and final in the evening session.

The World Cup of Darts continues at Frankfurt’s Eissporthalle on Sunday with a double session at 12pm on Sky Sports Arena and 6pm on Sky Sports Action on Sunday.



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World Cup of Darts: France and Denmark caused seismic shocks on opening night in Frankfurt

Australian duo of Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock begin title defence with an emphatic win as Belgium overcome personal issues The World Cup of Darts continues at Frankfurt’s Eissporthalle with a double session at 11am and 6pm on Friday – live on Sky Sports Arena

Last Updated: 16/06/23 1:35am


Thibault Tricole inspired France to a shock win against Northern Ireland on the opening night of the World Cup of Darts

France and Denmark caused opening night shocks at the World Cup of Darts, while defending champions Australia made a winning start and Belgium overcame personal issues.

The opening night of the revamped £450,000 tournament saw 12 group stage ties take place on Thursday, with Australia’s reigning champions amongst the high-profile nations to triumph.

French duo Jacques Labre and Thibault Tricole enjoyed a dream debut, courtesy of an emphatic 4-1 rout against Northern Ireland’s Brendan Dolan and Daryl Gurney.

Labre and Tricole dominated their more experienced opponents, and a 114 checkout from Tricole capped off a terrific display, as Northern Ireland’s miserable recent record at this event continues.

Group Stage – First Matches

Switzerland 3-4 Italy
Poland 4-3 Portugal
Czech Republic 4-2 Singapore
Spain 2-4 South Africa
Republic of Ireland 4-1 Thailand
Northern Ireland 1-4 France
Belgium 4-0 Finland
Canada 4-2 India
Austria 2-4 Denmark
Germany 4-0 Hong Kong
Australia 4-0 Guyana
Latvia 4-2 New Zealand

France caused a big upset with a surprise victory over Northern Ireland

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France caused a big upset with a surprise victory over Northern Ireland

France caused a big upset with a surprise victory over Northern Ireland

Check out the best of the action from Day One of the World Cup of Darts in Frankfurt

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Check out the best of the action from Day One of the World Cup of Darts in Frankfurt

Check out the best of the action from Day One of the World Cup of Darts in Frankfurt

Live World Cup of Darts

June 16, 2023, 11:00am

Live on Sky Sports Arena HD

Danish debutant Benjamin Reus produced the performance of the night, boasting an astonishing individual average of 114.7 to stun 2021 runners-up Austria in Group F.

Reus also landed four 180s and conjured up a match-winning 116 finish as he and Vladimir Andersen condemned Mensur Suljovic and Rowby-John Rodriguez to a shock 4-2 defeat.

“I don’t know what just happened. I was completely in the zone,” reflected Reus, who featured in January’s Nordic Darts Masters.

“I was totally relaxed and everything went perfectly tonight. We played two really good PDC players, so we knew we needed to find something extra tonight.”

Benjamin Reus was the star performer as Denmark outplayed Austria

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Benjamin Reus was the star performer as Denmark outplayed Austria

Benjamin Reus was the star performer as Denmark outplayed Austria

Australia’s Damon Heta and Simon Whitlock began their defence with a whitewash win over debutants Guyana.

“It wasn’t a great performance but we got the job done,” said Australia’s No 1 Heta, who warmed up for this event by scooping a Players Championship title on Tuesday.

“We move on to bigger and better things tomorrow night and hopefully we get the job done against Gibraltar.

“We have grown up in Australia playing Pairs, so I think this format suits us. We fancy our chances.

“We won this title last year and it’s up to the other players to try and beat us, and that’s how we are going to approach it.”

Australia delighted the crowd with their walk-on

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Australia delighted the crowd with their walk-on

Australia delighted the crowd with their walk-on

Germany also opened their challenge with a whitewash win over Hong Kong, as Gabriel Clemens and Martin Schindler dispatched Man Lok Leung and Lok Yin Lee in four straight legs.

Huybrechts no longer gets on with team-mate Van den Bergh

Kim Huybrechts admits he no longer gets on with team-mate Dimitri Van den Bergh

Kim Huybrechts admits he no longer gets on with team-mate Dimitri Van den Bergh

Belgium were the highest seeds in group stage action on Thursday’s opening night, and Dimitri Van den Bergh and Kim Huybrechts began their campaign with a 4-0 demolition of Finland.

After the match, Huybrechts admitted he no longer gets on with team-mate Van den Bergh.

Huybrechts, the world No 31, told Online Darts: “It was a professional victory. We did a job but that’s about it.

“For me it’s the first time playing a doubles tournament with someone you don’t get along with now.”

Huybrechts added there was “something personal” between him and world No 10 Van den Bergh.

Massimo Dante (left) and Michele Turetta celebrate their win over Switzerland

Massimo Dante (left) and Michele Turetta celebrate their win over Switzerland

Krzysztof Ratajski inspired Poland to a deciding-leg win over Portugal’s Jose de Sousa and debutant Luis Ameixa in their Group G opener, in a thrilling contest featuring seven maximums.

Elsewhere, Keane Barry impressed on his World Cup bow alongside ever-present William O’Connor, as 2019 finalists Ireland brushed aside Thailand 4-1 in their Group E opener.

Meanwhile, Michele Turetta and Massimo Dante led Italy to a landmark first win on the World Cup stage in the evening’s opener, after they fended off a late fightback from Switzerland to claim a 4-3 success.

Italy edged past Switzerland to secure their first win at the World Cup of Darts

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Italy edged past Switzerland to secure their first win at the World Cup of Darts

Italy edged past Switzerland to secure their first win at the World Cup of Darts

Live World Cup of Darts

June 16, 2023, 6:00pm

Live on Sky Sports Arena HD

Afternoon Session: Group Stage – Second Matches

Finland vs China
Singapore vs Philippines
Switzerland vs Sweden
Portugal vs Lithuania
New Zealand vs Bahrain
Spain vs Iceland
Thailand vs Croatia
Northern Ireland vs Ukraine
India vs Hungary
Hong Kong vs Japan
Guyana vs Gibraltar
Austria vs USA

The losing nations from Thursday’s matches will play the third team from each group in Friday’s afternoon session, as Northern Ireland and Austria battle to preserve their qualification hopes.

Evening Session: Group Stage – Final Matches

Belgium vs China
Czech Republic vs Philippines
Italy vs Sweden
Poland vs Lithuania
Latvia vs Bahrain
South Africa vs Iceland
Republic of Ireland vs Croatia
France vs Ukraine
Canada vs Hungary
Germany vs Japan
Australia vs Gibraltar
Denmark vs USA

England, Wales, Netherlands and Scotland – the top four seeded teams – do not enter until the second round on Saturday.

The World Cup of Darts continues at Frankfurt’s Eissporthalle on Friday with a double session at 11am and 6pm – live on Sky Sports Arena.



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Tennis Scores & Schedule


Tennis Scores & Schedule

























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French Open

ATP World Tour / Men’s Singles / Round of 128

  • Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia, seeded WC is currently playing Daniel Evans of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, seeded 20. The current score is 5-3. . Current server is Daniel Evans

  • Patrick Kypson of United States of America, seeded WC is currently playing Radu Albot of Moldova, Republic of, seeded Q. The current score is 3-6, 2-6, current set: 0-0. . Current server is Radu Albot

  • Sebastian Ofner of Austria, seeded Q is currently playing Maxime Cressy of United States of America. The current score is 6-4, 7-6, current set: 0-0. . Current server is Maxime Cressy

  • Karen Khachanov of Russian Federation, seeded 11 is currently playing Constant Lestienne of France. The current score is 3-6, 1-6, current set: 1-2. Current game: 30-G. Current server is Constant Lestienne

  • David Goffin of Belgium is currently playing Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, seeded 13. The current score is 3-6, 7-5, current set: 2-1. Current game is at deuce. Current server is Hubert Hurkacz

  • Pedro Martinez of Spain, seeded Q is currently playing Tallon Griekspoor of Netherlands. The current score is 4-6, 6-2, current set: 4-0. . Current server is Tallon Griekspoor

  • Marton Fucsovics of Hungary is currently playing Hugo Grenier of France, seeded WC. The current score is 4-1. . Current server is Hugo Grenier

  • Jiri Vesely of Czech Republic is currently playing Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, seeded 5. The current score is 2-1. Current game: Love-15. Current server is Jiri Vesely

  • Jason Kubler of Australia is scheduled to play Facundo Diaz Acosta of Argentina, seeded LL, at 12:05. First server will be TBD

  • Mackenzie McDonald of United States of America is scheduled to play Sebastian Korda of United States of America, seeded 24, at 12:20. First server will be TBD

  • Matteo Arnaldi of Italy is scheduled to play Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia, at 12:20. First server will be TBD

  • John Isner of United States of America is scheduled to play Nuno Borges of Portugal, at 12:30. First server will be TBD

  • Laslo Djere of Serbia is scheduled to play Andrey Rublev of Russian Federation, seeded 7, at 13:30. First server will be TBD

  • Arthur Cazaux of France, seeded WC is scheduled to play Corentin Moutet of France, at 13:30. First server will be TBD

  • Ben Shelton of United States of America, seeded 30 is scheduled to play Lorenzo Sonego of Italy, at 13:30. First server will be TBD

  • Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain is scheduled to play Emilio Nava of United States of America, seeded Q, at 13:30. First server will be TBD

  • Alexander Shevchenko of Russian Federation is scheduled to play Oscar Otte of Germany, at 15:00. First server will be TBD

  • Lucas Pouille of France, seeded Q is scheduled to play Jurij Rodionov of Austria, seeded LL, at 15:00. First server will be TBD

  • Lorenzo Musetti of Italy, seeded 17 is scheduled to play Mikael Ymer of Sweden, at 15:00. First server will be TBD

  • Adrian Mannarino of France is scheduled to play Ugo Humbert of France, at 18:00. First server will be TBD

WTA Tour / Women’s Singles / Round of 128

  • Panna Udvardy of Hungary is currently playing Iryna Shymanovich of Belarus, seeded Q. The current score is 7-6, 3-6, current set: 0-0. . Current server is Iryna Shymanovich

  • Nuria Parrizas Diaz of Spain is currently playing Storm Hunter of Australia, seeded Q. The current score is 6-4, 2-6, current set: 4-2. . Current server is Storm Hunter

  • Magdalena Frech of Poland defeats Shuai Zhang of China PR, seeded 29. 1-6, 1-6

  • Nadia Podoroska of Argentina defeats Jessika Ponchet of France, seeded WC. 6-0, 5-2

  • Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, seeded 2 defeats Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine. 3-6, 2-6

  • Maria Sakkari of Greece, seeded 8 is scheduled to play Karolina Muchova of Czech Republic, at 12:00. First server will be TBD

  • Sara Bejlek of Czech Republic, seeded Q is scheduled to play Kamilla Rakhimova of Russian Federation, at 12:30. First server will be TBD

  • Magda Linette of Poland, seeded 21 is scheduled to play Leylah Fernandez of Canada, at 13:00. First server will be TBD

  • Elise Mertens of Belgium, seeded 28 is scheduled to play Viktoria Hruncakova of Slovakia, seeded LL, at 13:30. First server will be TBD

  • Leolia Jeanjean of France, seeded WC is scheduled to play Kimberly Birrell of Australia, seeded WC, at 13:30. First server will be TBD

  • Clara Tauson of Denmark, seeded Q is scheduled to play Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus, at 13:30. First server will be TBD

  • Alize Cornet of France is scheduled to play Camila Giorgi of Italy, at 13:30. First server will be TBD

  • Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia, seeded Q is scheduled to play Qinwen Zheng of China PR, seeded 19, at 14:00. First server will be TBD

  • Taylor Townsend of United States of America, seeded Q is scheduled to play Anastasia Potapova of Russian Federation, seeded 24, at 14:00. First server will be TBD

  • Danielle Collins of United States of America is scheduled to play Jessica Pegula of United States of America, seeded 3, at 15:30. First server will be TBD

  • Anna Bondar of Hungary is scheduled to play Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania, seeded 27, at 15:30. First server will be TBD

  • Mayar Sherif of Egypt is scheduled to play Madison Brengle of United States of America, at 15:30. First server will be TBD

  • Jule Niemeier of Germany is scheduled to play Daria Kasatkina of Russian Federation, seeded 9, at 15:30. First server will be TBD

  • Liudmila Samsonova of Russian Federation, seeded 15 is scheduled to play Katie Volynets of United States of America, at 15:30. First server will be TBD

  • Sara Errani of Italy is scheduled to play Jil Teichmann of Switzerland, at 15:30. First server will be TBD

UAMS Health Little Rock Open

ATP Challenger Tour / Men’s Singles / Qualifying 1st Round

  • Mateus De Carvalho Cardoso Alves of Brazil is scheduled to play Omni Kumar of United States of America, at 16:00. First server will be TBD

  • Maks Kasnikowski of Poland is scheduled to play Rubin Statham of New Zealand, at 16:00. First server will be TBD

  • Peter Gojowczyk of Germany is scheduled to play Alafia Ayeni of United States of America, at 16:00. First server will be TBD

  • Giles Hussey of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is scheduled to play Nick Chappell of United States of America, at 17:30. First server will be TBD

  • Colin Markes of United States of America is scheduled to play Strong Kirchheimer of United States of America, at 17:30. First server will be TBD

  • Beibit Zhukayev of Kazakhstan is scheduled to play Kris Van Wyk of South Africa, at 17:30. First server will be TBD

  • Donald Young of United States of America is scheduled to play Mukund Sasikumar of British Indian Ocean Territory, at 19:00. First server will be TBD

  • Christian Langmo of United States of America is scheduled to play Gustavo Heide of Brazil, at 19:00. First server will be TBD

  • Adam Walton of Australia is scheduled to play Gabriele Brancatelli of United States of America, at 19:00. First server will be TBD

  • Duarte Vale of Portugal is scheduled to play Alex Bolt of Australia, at 20:30. First server will be TBD

  • Marius Copil of Romania is scheduled to play TBD , at 20:30. First server will be TBD

  • Tristan Mccormick of United States of America is scheduled to play Bernard Tomic of Australia, at 20:30. First server will be TBD

UK Premier Tennis Series Week 7

Regional / Men’s Singles / Group Stage

Regional / Women’s Singles / Group Stage

Saturn Oil Open

ATP Challenger Tour / Men’s Singles / Qualifying 1st Round

  • Oriol Roca-Batalla of Spain defeats Ramkumar Ramanathan of British Indian Ocean Territory. 6-2, 6-2

  • Robert Strombachs of Latvia defeats Maxime Janvier of France. 6-3, 6-4

  • Marvin Moeller of Germany defeats Vladyslav Orlov of Ukraine. 6-1, 6-3

  • Terence Atmane of France is scheduled to play John Sperle of Germany, at 11:00. First server will be TBD

  • Sumit Nagal of British Indian Ocean Territory is scheduled to play Sergey Fomin of Uzbekistan, at 11:00. First server will be TBD

  • Constantin Bittoun Kouzmine of France is scheduled to play Aldin Setkic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at 11:00. First server will be TBD

  • Benjamin Hassan of Lebanon is scheduled to play Hazem Naw of Syrian Arab Republic, at 12:30. First server will be TBD

  • Nick Hardt of Dominican Republic is scheduled to play Orlando Luz of Brazil, at 12:30. First server will be TBD

  • Liam Gavrielides of Germany is scheduled to play Manuel Guinard of France, at 12:30. First server will be TBD

  • Kenny de Schepper of France is scheduled to play Karl Friberg of Sweden, at 14:00. First server will be TBD

  • Renzo Olivo of Argentina is scheduled to play Jose Pereira of Brazil, at 14:00. First server will be TBD

  • Max Hans Rehberg of Germany is scheduled to play Louis Wessels of Germany, at 15:30. First server will be TBD

Trofeo FL Service – Citta di Vicenza

ATP Challenger Tour / Men’s Singles / Qualifying 1st Round

  • Roman Andres Burruchaga of Argentina defeats Ugo Blanchet of France. 7-5, 6-2

  • Vitaliy Sachko of Ukraine defeats Andrea Arnaboldi of Italy. 4-6, 2-6

  • Giovanni Fonio of Italy defeats Alexander Weis of Italy. 6-2, 6-4

  • Giovanni Oradini of Italy is scheduled to play Edoardo Lavagno of Italy, at 11:00. First server will be TBD

  • Alejandro Moro Canas of Spain is scheduled to play Francesco Forti of Italy, at 11:00. First server will be TBD

  • Luca Castagnola of Italy is scheduled to play Stefano Travaglia of Italy, at 11:00. First server will be TBD

  • Salvatore Caruso of Italy is scheduled to play Eduardo Ribeiro of Brazil, at 12:30. First server will be TBD

  • Lorenzo Giustino of Italy is scheduled to play Daniel Dutra da Silva of Brazil, at 12:30. First server will be TBD

  • Bor Artnak of Slovakia is scheduled to play Nerman Fatic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at 12:30. First server will be TBD

  • Edoardo Cherie Ligniere of Italy is scheduled to play Nino Serdarusic of Croatia, at 14:00. First server will be TBD

  • Maxime Chazal of France is scheduled to play Alvaro Lopez San Martin of Spain, at 14:00. First server will be TBD

  • Federico Gaio of Italy is scheduled to play Gabriele Bosio of Italy, at 14:00. First server will be TBD

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Premier League Darts: Michael Smith defeats MVG, Jonny Clayton and Gerwyn Price to win in Sheffield

Michael Smith storms to a third consecutive nightly win with a 6-3 success against Gerwyn Price in Sheffield; P&J Live, Aberdeen will be the 16th of 17 individual venues on Thursday May 11 with the Play-Offs returning to The O2 in London on Thursday May 25

Last Updated: 11/05/23 11:42pm


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A look back at the best of the action from Night 15 of the Premier League in Sheffield as Michael Smith stormed to a third consecutive nightly win

A look back at the best of the action from Night 15 of the Premier League in Sheffield as Michael Smith stormed to a third consecutive nightly win

Michael Smith secured a hat-trick of Premier League Darts nightly wins by defeating Michael van Gerwen, Jonny Clayton and Gerwyn Price en route to more stunning success in Sheffield.

Price could have guaranteed top spot with victory in the Night 15 showpiece, but the St Helens star cut the Welshman’s lead at the summit to just three points after claiming the spoils in the Steel City.

Premier League – Night 15 in Sheffield Results

Quarter-finals Gerwyn Price 6-2 Nathan Aspinall
Chris Dobey 6-4 Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen 4-6 Michael Smith
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Semi-finals Gerwyn Price 6-2 Chris Dobey
Michael Smith 6-4 Jonny Clayton
Final Gerwyn Price 3-6 Michael Smith

Smith ended Michael van Gerwen's hopes in Sheffield with this sensational 130 checkout on the bullseye

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Smith ended Michael van Gerwen’s hopes in Sheffield with this sensational 130 checkout on the bullseye

Smith ended Michael van Gerwen’s hopes in Sheffield with this sensational 130 checkout on the bullseye

Smith began his campaign with a 6-4 win over reigning champion Van Gerwen, converting a stunning 130 checkout on the bull to defeat the Dutchman for a second week in succession.

The world No 1 continued his charge to defeat Clayton in a repeat of last week’s decider, averaging almost 108 and sealing the deal with a superb 11-darter.

Smith then capped off a terrific night of action by claiming the £10,000 winner’s bonus, extending his winning Premier League run to nine matches in the process.

Van Gerwen produced this brilliant 154 checkout against Smith

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Van Gerwen produced this brilliant 154 checkout against Smith

Van Gerwen produced this brilliant 154 checkout against Smith

“Three in a row, it took me 15 weeks to win one night last year and now I’ve won four,” reflected Smith, who has leapfrogged Van Gerwen into second spot after his fourth nightly win overall. “I am still in with a chance of finishing top.

“Me and Gez spoke about it backstage before the match, if it’s me and him in the final next week he finishes top. Hopefully I can be top.

“I know you get nothing out of finishing top but it is the prestige. I have qualified last week and I could have just laid down and let anyone beat me. But I still need to go to The O2 playing well and winning.”

Smith says he spoke to Gerwyn Price after their match and reminded the Welshman he can still finish in top spot

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Smith says he spoke to Gerwyn Price after their match and reminded the Welshman he can still finish in top spot

Smith says he spoke to Gerwyn Price after their match and reminded the Welshman he can still finish in top spot

Price – who was victorious in Sheffield 12 months ago – retained top spot after storming through to his eighth nightly final of 2023 with 6-2 wins over Nathan Aspinall and Chris Dobey.

In the evening’s other quarter-finals, Clayton moved two points clear of Aspinall ahead of their decisive Night 16 showdown, courtesy of a battling 6-4 victory against Dimitri Van den Bergh.

The 2021 champion conjured up a spectacular 170 checkout midway through the tie, and registered his sixth ton-plus average of the campaign to see off the Belgian.

‘The Ferret’ is in a straight shootout with Aspinall for the final spot, with the pair going head-to-head in the quarter-final next week in Aberdeen.

Jonny Clayton took out this brilliant 170 during his victory against Dimitri Van den Bergh

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Jonny Clayton took out this brilliant 170 during his victory against Dimitri Van den Bergh

Jonny Clayton took out this brilliant 170 during his victory against Dimitri Van den Bergh

Victory will assure the Welshman another appearance at The O2 while even if Aspinall wins the quarter-final he also has to win his semi-final.

“It’s massive,” Clayton said. “All the pressure is on Nathan next week. He has to win, the ball is in my court because if I win I am through. I am going to try and relax and play my game.

“I was shaking like hell up there. It’s two points that are going to be massive.”

Meanwhile, Dobey cemented sixth spot in the table with an impressive 6-4 success against Peter Wright, crashing in six 180s and reeling off four straight legs from 4-2 down to advance.

Peter Wright found this 126 checkout after Chris Dobey just missed out on a spectacular 170 finish

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Peter Wright found this 126 checkout after Chris Dobey just missed out on a spectacular 170 finish

Peter Wright found this 126 checkout after Chris Dobey just missed out on a spectacular 170 finish

Live Premier League Darts

May 18, 2023, 7:00pm

Live on Sky Sports Action HD

Where are we heading next?

Night 16 in Aberdeen: Thursday, May 18

Quarter-Finals Gerwyn Price vs Peter Wright
Jonny Clayton vs Nathan Aspinall
Michael Smith vs Dimitri Van den Bergh
Michael van Gerwen vs Chris Dobey

The Premier League roadshow heads to P&J Live, Aberdeen on Thursday May 18 for Night 16 of the league phase.

League leader Price meets Wright in his quarter-final tie, knowing that a run to next Thursday’s final will see him top the table for the first time in his Premier League career.

Clayton and Aspinall meet in a huge encounter with fourth spot on the line.

Clayton would confirm his Play-Off qualification with victory, while Aspinall must progress to the Night 16 final to overhaul his Welsh rival, who will qualify via nights won if the pair finish level on points.

Smith will begin his bid for an unprecedented fourth straight nightly win against Van den Bergh, while Van Gerwen and Dobey also collide for a place in the semi-finals.

2023 Premier League Schedule

Night 16 P&J Live, Aberdeen May 18
Play-Offs The O2, London May 25

We’re back for more Premier League Darts action from the P&J Live, Aberdeen on Thursday May 18 – live on Sky Sports Action from 7pm.



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Premier League Darts: Michael Smith defeats Nathan Aspinall, Michael van Gerwen and Jonny Clayton to win in Manchester

Michael Smith claims his third nightly win of the Premier League season by defeating Jonny Clayton in Manchester The Utilita Arena, Sheffield hosts the 15th of 17 individual venues on Thursday, May 11 with the Play-Offs returning to The O2 in London on Thursday, May 25

Last Updated: 05/05/23 1:07am


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Michael Smith went so close to a nine-darter during the final against Jonny Clayton in Manchester

Michael Smith went so close to a nine-darter during the final against Jonny Clayton in Manchester

Michael Smith wired a nine-dart attempt on his way to sensationally defeating Jonny Clayton in Manchester, cementing his position in the Premier League Darts top four.

World champion Smith saw off local hero Nathan Aspinall, reigning champion Michael van Gerwen and Welsh star Clayton to complete back-to-back Premier League night wins with a remarkable display.

Premier League – Night 14 in Manchester Results

Quarter-finals Peter Wright 5-6 Jonny Clayton
Chris Dobey 6-2 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Michael Smith 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Gerwyn Price 2-6 Michael van Gerwen
Semi-finals Jonny Clayton 6-3 Chris Dobey
Michael Smith 6-4 Michael van Gerwen
Final Jonny Clayton 3-6 Michael Smith

A look back at the best of the action from Night 13 of the Premier League in Manchester

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A look back at the best of the action from Night 13 of the Premier League in Manchester

A look back at the best of the action from Night 13 of the Premier League in Manchester

After seeing off Aspinall 6-3 in their quarter-final, Smith then landed six doubles from 11 attempts to overcame Van Gerwen 6-4 in a repeat of January’s World Championship final.

He then raced to glory in the final to seal the £10,000 winner’s bonus, saving his best display of the night for the decider as he missed double 12 for a nine-darter and landed five 180s in a stunning performance.

Clayton took out 72 and 121 to establish a 2-1 lead early in the final, but ‘Bully Boy’ turned on the style in a stunning four-leg burst to take command.

He firstly missed double 12 for a nine-dart finish, taking leg four in 10 darts, before landing six perfect darts in the next as a 12-darter moved him ahead, before he took the next two – including a 100 checkout – to lead 5-2.

Clayton punished a missed match dart from Smith to hit back in the eighth leg, but Smith sealed his second successive nightly triumph in the next leg on double 13.

Smith ended the final with a season’s best average of 110.05, and crucially opened up a six-point buffer over Clayton and Aspinall in the league table.

Smith beat Michael van Gerwen thanks to this 116 checkout

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Smith beat Michael van Gerwen thanks to this 116 checkout

Smith beat Michael van Gerwen thanks to this 116 checkout

He said: “Beating Michael, I think I’ve beaten every player in the Premier League.

“I’m starting to come good, I won night three in Glasgow, struggled for seven or eight weeks just picking up the odd points.

“Now it’s starting to come good at the right time and the O2 is in three weeks and I’ll hopefully lift that title going into the Matchplay with the perfect run and the triple crown.

The 32-year-old added: “It’s twice now I’ve missed a double (for a nine-darter) in the last few weeks, but if I hit that I might have got involved with the crowd a little bit, not played as well so I’m glad I missed and a bit disappointed I
didn’t hit it, it happens but as long as I got the victory, that’s all that matters.

“It’ll happen again I know it will but for now I keep putting it on the wire, I’m not a million miles away but keep coming close.”

Clayton’s run to the final moved him back into the top four in the race for Play-Off spots, as he defeated Peter Wright and Chris Dobey.

Van Gerwen ended a run of five successive defeats against Gerwyn Price with a superb 6-2 win in a high-quality quarter-final, with both players averaging over 103 and the Dutchman landing six doubles from 10 attempts.

Dobey hit a the big 170 finish against Clayton. It was his second 'Big Fish' of the Premier League Darts season!

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Dobey hit a the big 170 finish against Clayton. It was his second ‘Big Fish’ of the Premier League Darts season!

Dobey hit a the big 170 finish against Clayton. It was his second ‘Big Fish’ of the Premier League Darts season!

Defeats in the quarter-finals for both Wright and Dimitri Van den Bergh saw their feint hopes of being able to qualify for the Play-Offs ended, as both relinquished a 2-0 lead before losing out to Clayton and Dobey respectively.

Despite landing a second 170 finish of the Premier League season Dobey also cannot now reach the Play-Offs in his debut season, sitting 10 points adrift of the top four with two league nights remaining, with Clayton and Aspinall certain to meet on Night 16 in Aberdeen.

Nathan Aspinall received a brilliant homecoming from the Manchester crowd

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Nathan Aspinall received a brilliant homecoming from the Manchester crowd

Nathan Aspinall received a brilliant homecoming from the Manchester crowd

Peter Wright was unhappy with the movement of the camera but still manage to take out this 86 before telling the crowd what he thought!

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Peter Wright was unhappy with the movement of the camera but still manage to take out this 86 before telling the crowd what he thought!

Peter Wright was unhappy with the movement of the camera but still manage to take out this 86 before telling the crowd what he thought!

Where are we heading next?

Night 15 in Sheffield: Thursday, May 11

Quarter-Finals Gerwyn Price vs Nathan Aspinall
Chris Dobey vs Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen vs Michael Smith
Jonny Clayton vs Dimitri Van den Bergh

The Premier League roadshow heads to the Utilita Arena, Sheffield on Thursday, May 11 for Night 15 of the league phase.

Van Gerwen takes on Smith in another repeat of the World Championship final, while Price takes on Aspinall.

Dobey faces Wright and Clayton squares up to Van den Bergh.

2023 Premier League Schedule

Night 15 Utilita Arena, Sheffield May 11
Night 16 P&J Live, Aberdeen May 18
Play-Offs The O2, London May 25

We’re back for more Premier League Darts action from the Utilita Arena, Sheffield on Thursday, May 11 – live on Sky Sports Action & Sky Sports Main Event from 7pm.



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If in doubt, sit them out: New concussion guidelines for grassroots sport


Concussion has become more of a subject in professional sport in recent years – but grassroots still lags behind

Awareness of concussion injuries in professional sport has been at times dramatically highlighted in recent years.

Across several sports, involving both female and male athletes, numerous head injuries have been seen by thousands in the stands and millions on the TV. Much more work in research, mitigation and aftercare is widely recognised as a priority though.

However, professional sports account for just a fraction of the amount of people who take part in sport across any given week. The vast majority participating in sport are hundreds of thousands of children, teenagers and adults playing just for the love of it. The ‘grassroots’.

But just how aware are coaches, teachers, parents and those who play when a concussion injury may have occurred and how to deal with it?

The Government, Sport & Recreation Alliance and a panel of medical experts are hoping that from today that new guidelines will increase awareness greatly as a huge difference between professional and amateur sport is that the pro’s will typically have dedicated healthcare professionals on site, while grassroots sport does not.

The government guidance isn’t medical advice, it’s about being aware and doing the right thing. In this case, it’s following what has been used in Scotland for several years now. A catchy headline: “If in doubt, sit them out.” It kind of does what is says on the tin.

It’s to make people think first and then know how to act. So why would you be ‘in doubt?’ A concussion is a brain injury that affects the way a person thinks, feels and remembers things, and in sport concussion can arise from an injury to the head.

Former England defender Matthew Upson said earlier this year football's approach to concussions should be the same across the board

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Former England defender Matthew Upson said earlier this year football’s approach to concussions should be the same across the board

Former England defender Matthew Upson said earlier this year football’s approach to concussions should be the same across the board

A clash of heads, falling heavily to the ground and hitting your head, even a heavy collision that doesn’t involve a blow to the head can cause a concussion. The key, say the guidelines, are to look out for 4 key elements; physical, mental processing, mood and sleep.

  • Physical – for example headaches, dizziness, vision changes.
  • Mental processing – for example not thinking clearly and feeling slowed down.
  • Mood – for example being short tempered, sad and emotional.
  • Sleep – for example not being to sleep or sleeping too much.

The full guidelines give greater details on visible clues of concussion.

If any of those traits are obvious, there must be doubt, so ‘sit them out.’ Remove the player from the field of play. The guidelines recognise that in fast moving sports it can be difficult to spot visible clues of concussion, but they urge players, coaches, teachers, referees, spectators and families to watch out and remove anyone with a suspected concussion from play immediately.

The guidelines also advise on not returning anyone back into play. That is crucial. The next step is an evaluation by a healthcare professional. That practically means accessing the NHS by calling 111 within 24 hours of the incident.

Rest and sleep as required within the first 24-48 hours is now seen as good for recovery while limiting smartphone, screen and computer time for the first 48 hours has also been shown to improve recovery. The don’ts are classic bits of advice, don’t leave someone on their own, don’t drink alcohol and certainly don’t drive a car.

As most grassroots sports don’t have professional healthcare professionals on site, the onus is on players, coaches, teachers and those watching on. Hence these guidelines are really about creating greater awareness.

Sports Minister Stuart Andrew said: “Sport keeps us healthy and active, but it is not without risk and major injuries to the head can and do happen.

Rugby League's Stevie Ward recently hosted a panel discussion on concussion in rugby league with fellow professionals James Graham, Tom Johnstone, Tyrone McCarthy and Greg Burke

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Rugby League’s Stevie Ward recently hosted a panel discussion on concussion in rugby league with fellow professionals James Graham, Tom Johnstone, Tyrone McCarthy and Greg Burke

Rugby League’s Stevie Ward recently hosted a panel discussion on concussion in rugby league with fellow professionals James Graham, Tom Johnstone, Tyrone McCarthy and Greg Burke

“Research has shown the importance of fast and effective tailored treatment and we are issuing expert guidance to help people spot and treat head injuries. Whether used in a local leisure centre during a swimming lesson or on a village green during a cricket match, the guidance will make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Development of the guidelines has been led by the Sport and Recreation Alliance, Professor James Calder, chair of the expert drafting group, and Laurence Geller, the government’s adviser on concussion in sport.

The expert drafting group drew upon existing field research, with the aim of producing a consistent and preventative approach across all sports in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It builds upon the world-leading work conducted in Scotland, which was the first nation in the world to produce guidelines covering all types and levels of sport. Its guidance was updated in March 2021.

Professor Calder said: “For the first time we have UK-wide guidance that raises awareness of concussion in grassroots sport at all levels. It provides practical evidence-based advice for those who may have sustained a concussion and gives a step by step plan for their safe return to work, education, exercise and full sport.

“Participation in sport and exercise is crucial for the nation’s mental and physical health and, with appropriate management, the vast majority of those who sustain a concussion during sport should make a full recovery.”

Professor Willie Stewart of Glasgow University added: “The release of these guidelines represents a world-leading landmark in sports concussion management.

“Based on the pragmatic, precautionary approach to immediate concussion management of ‘if in doubt, sit them out’, followed by an emphasis on individualised, self-managed return to normal life and sport, these guidelines set the standard for grassroots concussion management that all sports across the UK will follow.”

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ANZAC Soccer Ashes rediscovered in former football chairman’s garage after almost 70 years

For decades, Australian football has been hunting down an object described as “the greatest domestic treasure there is”: a small, hand-carved wooden box containing the ashes of two cigars smoked by the captains of Australia and New Zealand after their first ‘A’ international match on Australian soil in June, 1923.

Known as the Soccer Ashes, this precious relic was the first trophy that was ever contested between the two trans-Tasman rivals, and forms a key chapter in the larger history of the Socceroos.

The trophy was the brainchild of New Zealand team manager and trophy-maker Harry Mayer, who was convinced the two nations needed to play for something physical, something real, like what they had in cricket.

Mayer designed the casket with a combination of woods — New Zealand honeysuckle and Australian maple, to be precise — and adorned its lid with iconic national imagery, a kangaroo and two silver ferns, symbolising the relationship between the two nations.

The lid of the Soccer Ashes contains symbols of Australia and New Zealand.()

Inside the box, nestled into deep blue velvet lining, was a small silver-plated razor case that belonged to Private William Fisher, then-secretary of the Queensland Football Association, who’d carried it with him during the landing at Gallipoli in 1915 — the event that began the ANZAC legend.

For 30 years, Australia and New Zealand contested the Soccer Ashes, with the trophy travelling back and forth across the Tasman, paying homage to their wartime origin story.

But in 1954, the trophy completely disappeared.

Rumours swirled as to the trophy’s whereabouts, with some fearing it had been thrown away or destroyed entirely by someone who did not appreciate its significance.

And were it not for the ongoing efforts of historians Trevor Thompson and Ian Syson — who, with the backing of Football Australia and some government funding, spearheaded a project to track down the trophy in 2019 — it may have faded from Australian football’s collective memory, too.

Until now.

69 years after its last known sighting, the Soccer Ashes have finally been found.

The Soccer Ashes were found in the garage of Sydney Storey, former chairman of the Australian Soccer Football Association (ASFA) in the mid-20th century.()

Discovered by the family of former Australian Soccer Football Association (ASFA) chairman Sydney Storey, who helped run the game between 1922 and 1966, the trophy was identified amongst a treasure trove of football memorabilia, documents, photos, and other items as they sorted through old boxes in his garage after his death.

The sheer volume of artefacts meant the family took over a year to actually go through each box and verify their contents, but once they realised what they had on their hands, they immediately got in contact with FA.

“The large shed was literally full of relics of past days, and not easy to move around in,” Storey’s son Peter said.

“Most of these boxes had sat there untouched, decade after decade, until we started to go through them.

“There were so many historical, classical last-century items in the garage — even in the house — and the items we came across were of great interest. These included team photos, annual reports of the ASFA, an ASFA’s official badge, newspaper clippings, souvenir soccer match leaflets.

“And, importantly, found inside a well-sealed box, a wooden football match souvenir, which we identified as the Australia-New Zealand Soccer Ashes trophy.

“At that time, we didn’t realise that people might have been looking for it, or that it was of any interest, rather than just something 100 years old.”

Why Storey kept the trophy and all the other memorabilia hidden away remains a mystery.

Thompson, who authored the book Burning Ambition: The Centenary of Australia-New Zealand Football Ashes, thought Storey may have wanted to keep it safe as a political tug-of-war occurred between the old administration and newly arrived clubs and federations that were being created following post-war migration in the 1950s.

Thompson had reportedly tried to contact Storey about it 20 years ago, having narrowed down the suspects given their role inside Australian football at the time, but was rebuffed by the family.

For Syson, who first learned about the Soccer Ashes back in 2009, its disappearance was more than simple forgetfulness; it was a symptom of a broader cultural transition that football went through during the mid-20th century.

“It’s an interesting phase in Australian soccer history, where 1954 is very much the beginning of the end,” he said.

“Concern about representative football begins to decline as club football becomes much more important. The continental Europeans come into Australia and they bring professionalism, they bring quality, they bring in close[r] grounds. But they also bring club focus, to the detriment of other considerations such as international football.

“At this point, the idea of Australia and New Zealand as being an important contest starts to decline. I think we lose track of the Soccer Ashes because we lose our game’s focus on that international contest.”

However, FA are determined to fill in the gaps of Australian football’s history.

They hope to rediscover many more objects imbued with cultural memory that have faded into the dusty boxes of the game over the past century and install them at a new national Home of Football, which is slated to be built in the next few years.

Recognising its own past has already begun. Last year, FA celebrated the Socceroos’ centenary, lining up a pair of friendlies against New Zealand to mark 100 years since their first ‘A’ international, which took place in Dunedin in 1922.

The Socceroos played their first “A” international game against New Zealand in Dunedin on June 17, 1922.()

And there are already calls for the Soccer Ashes — or a replica of it — to be used as a trophy once again, and for the trans-Tasman clash to occur every year to not only mark the occasion, but to also recognise the game’s rich, storied past and ensure it does not slide into insignificance, as it has so often threatened to do over the past century.

“This trophy is symbolic of something really important, and its discovery is also really important as well,” Syson said.

“Its absence was a symptom of Australian soccer’s tendency to forget itself, and for the surrounding culture not to care at all.

“This trophy is replete with sacred significance to a country that is so obsessed with its ANZAC mythology. For that to go missing, it says a lot about the way this game manages to shoot itself in the foot all the time.

“And so maybe this is a sign that the game can correct itself, can fix itself, can remember itself — if there’s enough people caring about it, if there’s enough people taking an interest in the history.

“It means so much for the game.”

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Neurodiversity Celebration Week: British rower Caragh McMurtry, ironman Sam Holness on being autistic


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Neurodiversity Celebration Week: Caragh McMurtry and Sam Holness talk to Sky Sports News reporter Nick Ransom about being athletes with autism

Neurodiversity Celebration Week: Caragh McMurtry and Sam Holness talk to Sky Sports News reporter Nick Ransom about being athletes with autism

This week is Neurodiversity Celebration Week, celebrating the one in five people who think differently. These include autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic athletes, or those with ADHD, who often face invisible barriers in sport.

In Neurodiversity Celebration Week, former British rower Caragh McMurtry and ironman triathlete Sam Holness talk to Sky Sports News about life thinking differently.

McMurtry, founder of Neurodiverse Sport, an organisation supporting athletes who are neurodivergent, was initially diagnosed with bipolar disorder while competing.

Five years later, she was diagnosed as autistic which allowed her to access more support. She is now using her platform to campaign for better access and understanding within sport.

She explained: “It completely revolutionised my performance and my well-being and I went from being spare to making the Olympic team. I got 17 seconds faster on my 2K and I was generally a lot happier.

“Ultimately, I still faced quite a lot of stigma and discrimination and a lot of that came down to a lack of understanding from the people around me and that’s where I decided to step away and create Neurodiverse Sport.

McMurtry was initially diagnosed with bipolar disorder while competing, before a correct diagnosis of autism five years later

McMurtry was initially diagnosed with bipolar disorder while competing, before a correct diagnosis of autism five years later

“Neurodiverse Sport is ultimately there to change people’s perceptions around neurodiversity, to show them in a positive light or that they can be positive. Difference is not less, it’s not scary, it requires out-of-the-box thinking. It could provide that extra edge.

“We want to create role models because that is something that is really lacking, particularly in sport, because athletes are advised not to disclose their neurodivergence.

“We want to do those things by campaigns, raising awareness and educating sports teams and sports organisations and that’s something we’ve really started to do.”

“There have been a lot of athletes that have come forward and it increases exponentially. A month ago I would have said I’d had 100 athletes come to me and now I can probably say I’ve had 150. A lot of them are elite or people on the Olympic programmes.

McMurtry said many who have contacted her have said, while they are not ready to talk publicly about being neurodivergent, the organisation’s presence has made a difference.

While competing as a rower, McMurtry’s blunt and honest manner often caused issues, as did sensory challenges. She points towards unconscious bias and wants coaches to be aware of neurodiversity.

“It could make a real difference, if something goes wrong with the team, to not pinpoint it down to the person that looks different. It’s human nature really, but it really sent me on a downward spiral.

McMurtry says her autism diagnosis 'completely revolutionised my performance and my wellbeing', as she 'got 17 seconds faster on my 2K'

McMurtry says her autism diagnosis ‘completely revolutionised my performance and my wellbeing’, as she ‘got 17 seconds faster on my 2K’

“It baffles me that neurodiversity is something that is still stigmatised in sport. I just don’t understand how you’re trying to get 0.001 out of your performance, like why are we not looking into that?

“I really think that people, athletes that are different, shouldn’t be made to feel as bad as they do, as isolated as they do. Their differences can be embraced, optimised, then if they don’t make it, that’s fine, it’s fair.”

One athlete McMurtry has already endorsed through her work is Sam Holness, an ironman triathlete who was diagnosed as autistic aged three. He did not speak until he was six and lives in west London with his parents.

Now a Guinness World Record holder for being the first autistic person to compete in the Ironman World Championships, Holness wants to inspire others.

While preparing for this week’s ironman in Lanzarote, Holness said his aims for the next year are to complete a full Ironman in less than 10 hours and complete a marathon in less than three.

On his achievements, he said: “I get comments on Instagram about how inspiring I am during races and training. It’s very enjoyable but sometimes I feel like ‘wow’.”

Holness is an Ironman triathlete who was diagnosed as autistic aged three, and didn't speak until he was six

Holness is an Ironman triathlete who was diagnosed as autistic aged three, and didn’t speak until he was six

Holness continues to overcome communication difficulties, something his dad Tony says is one of his biggest achievements. Meeting new people in new environments is particularly hard.

Enthusiasm for exercise and routine is what Holness puts his success down to: “It helps with my confidence and self-esteem. It takes my anxiety away and makes me feel more relaxed.”

Life away from the soothing repetition of training and competition is more difficult. He says: “At the track, sometimes I have to get away because it gets overwhelming”.

Holness is a Guinness World Record holder for being the first autistic person to compete in the Ironman World Championships

Holness is a Guinness World Record holder for being the first autistic person to compete in the Ironman World Championships

Despite this, Holness has got better at managing crowds. He grew up struggling with parties and gatherings, even attending church, but it was at university, fellow students helped introduce him to new environments.

Thanks to the support of parents Tony and Marilyn, Holness is now able to travel all around the world and compete. As well as difficulties socially, he struggles with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) which requires a carefully constructed diet.

Despite all the difficulties, Holness is clearly enjoying breaking stereotypes as an ironman and using his love of repetitive activity to his advantage.

Holness says for the next year, his aim is to “get to the podium and become a professional triathlete.” This year’s World Championships will be held in Finland, for which he hopes to qualify again.

McMurtry and Holness’ experiences offer an insight into the strengths and challenges of thinking differently in sport. However, like many athletes, they wonder when sport will more openly discuss neurodiversity.



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