THINGS WE LEARNED IN NFL THIS WEEK: Wembley woe is no great gridiron advert

How long will Andrew Luck’s happy-go-lucky approach last at the Indianapolis Colts? (AFP)
Updated 16 October 2018
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THINGS WE LEARNED IN NFL THIS WEEK: Wembley woe is no great gridiron advert

  • NFL made its annual hop across to London at the weekend
  • Arab News also assesses Colts, Vikings and Patriots-Chiefs clash

LONDON: Gridiron made its annual hop across the Atlantic to spread the message that American football is for all, not just for those who live west of New York. Here’s what we learned from that excursion and the rest of the action in Week 6.

WEMBLEY WASHOUTS
You have to feel for the legions of British NFL fans. Sunday’s match-up at London’s Wembley Stadium between the Seahawks and the Raiders was a one-sided washout — the sixth game in a row the UK capital played host to a tedious procession for one of the teams. The last decent game in London was the Redskins-Bengals tie in 2016. Considering the whole point of the these games is to spread the game, should these match-ups not be a spectacle for the sport? Are the players taking it easy when away from the glare of scrutiny from their hometown fans and media? Whatever the reason, fans on the other side of the Atlantic
deserve better.

VICTORIOUS VIKINGS
At last, we finally got to see what the Minnesota Vikings are capable of. We always knew they had the weapons capable of winning a game comfortably, and it was pleasing to see the Vikings finally put a team to bed. It was a strong team effort from front-to-back, with sublime performances from key players in an improving defense and an offense, led by Kirk Cousins, putting the Vikings back on track as they head into Week 7 against the New York Jets. They will need the momentum with games against the Saints, Packers and Patriots all to come.

LUCK-LESS COLTS?
How long will Andrew Luck’s happy-go-lucky approach last at the Indianapolis Colts? Having been ruled out of the entire 2017 season after shoulder surgery, his passion and enthusiasm for the game he loves was there for all to see at the beginning of this year. But despite his best efforts in another disappointing defeat — this week 42-34 to the Jets — you have to wonder how long that exuberance will last, forced to carry this extremely poor Colts side and as his Super Bowl dream fades yet again for another year. Or how long will Luck stick with a side that appears to be going backwards since their appearance in the Big Game back in 2010?

THE PUPIL VS. THE MASTER
The Patriots-Chiefs game on Sunday — one of the best games of the season so far — was the perfect metaphor for the old sporting cliche “form is temporary, class is permanent.” The newest kid on the block, Patrick Mahomes, has had the start to a season rookies can only dream of, displaying scintillating form in the opening five weeks of the season. And yet it was Tom Brady, in his 18th season, who came out on top. While his opposite number ducked and dived out of collapsing pockets and threw the ball from side to side erratically, Brady was a model of calmness under pressure. His final drive saw New England seal the win with a field goal three seconds from time. Classy.


Princess becomes first Saudi woman to head sports club

Updated 22 July 2019
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Princess becomes first Saudi woman to head sports club

  • Princess Nourah thanked her hosts for the hospitality and outlined her ambitions for the team’s future

RIYADH: Princess Nourah bint Saad has officially become the first Saudi woman to be president of a sports club. Italian news outlet Corriere Della Sera reported recently that the princess had successfully acquired the Umbrian football club Spoleto.

Speaking at a press conference, the princess thanked her hosts for the hospitality and outlined her ambitions for the team’s future. 

“Football is a family passion, and Italian football is followed all over the world. This is why I chose to invest in Umbria,” she said. 

Princess Nourah chose the team after considering several aspects. “Spoleto is a small, amateur football organization where it is possible to work with the aim of growing and aiming for promotion. But we cannot fail to consider the value and beauty of the city of Spoleto, which is famous throughout the world.” Spoleto is a member of Serie D of the Italian non-professional football association, Lega Nazionale Dilettanti.  The association represents more than 12,000 football players and 400 football teams across Italy and is considered the fourth-ranked league in the country. Under the princess’s presidency, the team aims to ascend to Serie C in the near future, and further in the long term.

Spoleto announced that they have formally registered for the Excellence Umbria 2019/2020 championship and the Regional Junior Championship 2019/2020.

This purchase marks the Saudi royal family’s second venture into sports club ownership. Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad co-owns English Premier League football club Sheffield United.