Riyadh to host Formula E opening race in December

Formula E's first championship was as recent as 2014 and Brasil's Lucas di Grassi is the current champion.
Updated 17 May 2018
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Riyadh to host Formula E opening race in December

  • Saudi Arabia capital gets green light to host spectacle of speed at the end of the year.
  • Hosting the race "aligns perfectly" with the country’s 2030 vision, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud says.

The all-electric Formula E motor racing series will start its 2018-19 season in Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, organizers announced on Thursday.
The December race in Riyadh’s Ad-Diriyah district, on the outskirts of the capital, will be the first involving the season five next generation cars and marks Formula E’s debut in the Middle East.
The city-based series said it had reached a 10-year agreement with the General Sports Authority and national motor federation.
“Saudi Arabia is looking to the future and Formula E is the motorsport of the future,” Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice-chair of the GSA, said in a statement on the Formula E website.
“It aligns perfectly with the country’s 2030 vision and offers the prospect of world-class racing on the streets of the capital for the first time in our history,” he added.
“This is the latest in a series of game-changing sports events that the people of Saudi Arabia will now be able to enjoy as families, with benefits that go far beyond the sport to deliver a positive impact across our society.”
“Many other sports are already increasing their presence in Saudi Arabia and we’re proud that they’ve chosen Formula E over other categories in racing,” said Formula E founder and chief executive Alejandro Agag.
“Most countries are now looking to Formula E, especially Saudi Arabia which is concentrating on the development of new technologies, renewable energies and electric vehicles.”
Saudi Arabia is targeting 9.5 gigawatts of annual renewable energy by 2023 in line with Vision 2030, an economic reform plan launched in 2016 to diversify the economy beyond oil.
The renewable program involves investment of between $30 billion and $50 billion by 2023.


NBA fracas, Jose Mourinho's antics prove action needed to prevent rise of violence in sport

Updated 22 October 2018
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NBA fracas, Jose Mourinho's antics prove action needed to prevent rise of violence in sport

  • In LeBron James’ home debut for the Lakers, he ended up playing peacemaker, not play-maker
  • Sport stars are extremely wealthy individuals and the vast majority of fines issued by sporting governing bodies are a drop in the ocean

LONDON: The NBA has become one of the most popular competitions in the world in recent years, with the likes of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and LeBron James becoming global superstars.
As a product it is slick, glamorous and boasts celebrity fans, from the rap world to Hollywood royalty.
But the glitzy facade was shattered on Saturday when the Lakers-Rockets game descended into chaos, with both teams getting caught up in an ugly melee. Someone claimed to be spat on, punches were thrown, and three players had to be ejected from the game as the unruliness spilled over into the crowd.
In LeBron James’ home debut for the Lakers, he ended up playing peacemaker, not play-maker. Afterwards, no one was talking about his performance or the fact his team lost again. The result seemed almost irrelevant.
That fracas came hours after tension on the touchline in the Chelsea vs. Manchester United Premier League clash saw United boss Jose Mourinho lose his cool and need to be restrained in an ill-tempered scuffle with a Chelsea coach. And earlier this month, the hotly anticipated MMA match-up between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor witnessed disgraceful scenes as both fighters got involved in fights with each other’s coaching teams in the aftermath of the bout.
Unwarranted violence and aggression are becoming commonplace in sport, and yet it seems to be tolerated more and more.
What will happen in these cases?
Likely a short suspension here, a nominal fine there. Certainly less than the repercussions would be if similar behavior occurred on the streets away from sporting arenas.

Sport stars are extremely wealthy individuals and the vast majority of fines issued by sporting governing bodies are a drop in the ocean. Likewise, weeks-long suspensions seem scant punishment for actions that would see most other people fired.

Top-level sportspeople are also role-models to millions of people. What sort of message does it send to young people striving to reach the top of their chosen sport when they see those already there appearing to be given a free rein to behave inappropriately with impunity? Sport has enormous power in society, and means a lot to many people. It should be setting an example.
As such, it is about time sporting authorities started handing out punishments that fit the transgressions: Banning individuals for months and years rather than weeks, or issuing fines to the tune of a whole season’s wage. Firms must pull out of multimillion-dollar sponsorship deals instantly.
Nobody balked at the year-long bans for cricketers Steve Smith and David Warner for ball-tampering earlier this year. It was welcomed.
It may seem an overreaction, but something has to be done to deter the sort of behavior seen at the Staples Center, Stamford Bridge or in Las Vegas for the good of professional sport.