New Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne credits Diriyah E-Prix for kick-starting triumphant season

New Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne credits Diriyah E-Prix for kick-starting triumphant season
Formula E’s new world champion Stoffel Vandoorne. (Twitter: @MercedesEQFE)
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Updated 19 August 2022

New Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne credits Diriyah E-Prix for kick-starting triumphant season

New Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne credits Diriyah E-Prix for kick-starting triumphant season
  • The Belgian, 30, highlights importance of Saudi Arabian races this year as he claims his maiden world title in South Korea

RIYADH: Newly crowned ABB FIA Formula E World Champion Stoffel Vandoorne has credited the season-opening Diriyah E-Prix double-header races as a key factor in his “incredible” year as he paid tribute to his departing Mercedes-EQ team.

In the all-electric championship’s 100th race, the 30-year-old Belgian clinched his first Formula E title following a second-place finish in Round 16 of the Seoul E-Prix. The result meant he finished 33 points ahead of Jaguar’s Mitch Evans, who had triumphed in Round 15 to keep his hopes for the title alive.

It was the perfect end to Vandoorne’s season, who despite only claiming one race victory, showed consistency in picking up regular points throughout the 16 races which began in January this year at Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah E-Prix.

“I felt every race this year was very important, but to start the season at the Diriyah E-Prix with pole position and to then finish second in the first race was a very good feeling, especially as it came after a very long winter break,” he said.

“To start the season on a high is motivating for everybody, not just for myself but also for the team. It made me realize that we’re back and in good shape.

“We had won the championship the year before and it gave a lot of confidence to everyone within the team that we had the competitive tools to fight for the best results.”

The Seoul E-Prix marked the end of the Formula E chapter for Mercedes-EQ, and although Vandoorne hinted that he is likely to feature in the 2023 season, he expressed his disappointment that he will not be able to race for them again, especially after clinching their second consecutive teams’ world championship title in South Korea.

The ex-Formula One driver said: “It’s a shame, as I would’ve liked to have continued with Mercedes-EQ. When I first joined them, I was thinking of a long-term partnership, but all things have to come to an end, and we have to move on.

“Everyone knew about this decision for a long time, which gave them time to figure out their future plans. I obviously will miss racing for them, both as a team and as a brand. They are one of the biggest motorsport teams in the world and it doesn’t matter what series they enter, they are always winning. It will be a team that I’ll miss.”


Yankee Aaron Judge hits 61st home run, tying Roger Maris’s AL record

Yankee Aaron Judge hits 61st home run, tying Roger Maris’s AL record
Updated 19 sec ago

Yankee Aaron Judge hits 61st home run, tying Roger Maris’s AL record

Yankee Aaron Judge hits 61st home run, tying Roger Maris’s AL record

— More to follow.


Pakistan beat England by 6 runs in 5th T20

Pakistan beat England by 6 runs in 5th T20
Updated 29 September 2022

Pakistan beat England by 6 runs in 5th T20

Pakistan beat England by 6 runs in 5th T20
  • It was the second time in a row that England slipped while chasing a below-par total in the seven-match series

LAHORE: Captain Moeen Ali’s fighting unbeaten half century went in vain as Pakistan successfully defended a below-par total to beat England by six runs in the fifth Twenty20 on Wednesday.

Needing 15 runs off the last over, Ali could hit just one six off debutant fast bowler Aamer Jamal to reach his 50 before England got restricted at 139-7.

Mark Wood’s pace had earlier dismantled Pakistan for 145 in 19 overs in the lowest total so far of the series, which Pakistan now lead 3-2. David Willey and Sam Curran both grabbed 2-23.

It was the second time in a row that England slipped while chasing a below-par total in the seven-match series. They lost the fourth T20 at Karachi by three runs when Pakistan chipped in with the last three wickets for just one run.

Ali made an unbeaten 51 off 37 balls, but Pakistan strangled England through spinners Iftikhar Ahmed (1-16) and Shadab Khan (1-25) in the middle overs and the run-rate kept on climbing.

“Today was the most disappointing performance with the bat for sure,” Ali said. “I felt we needed two big hits, I managed to hit one ... but it was a very good last over and you can’t take anything away from him (Jamal).”

Top-ranked T20 batter Mohammad Rizwan’s belligerent form in the series continued as he anchored Pakistan innings with 63, his fourth half century in the series after Ali won his fourth toss and elected to field.

Pakistan’s middle-order stumbled against Wood’s pace, which got rid of captain Babar Azam with a steep short ball and then had the wickets of Haider Ali and power-hitter Asif Ali with sharp short-pitched pacey deliveries.

Pakistan slipped to 100-7 in the 14th over when Shadab got run out in a mix-up with Rizwan as England kept coming hard with regular wickets.

Rizwan also holed out at deep fine leg when he couldn’t clear Curran’s low full toss in the 18th over before Woakes wrapped up the innings off his last ball when Rauf was caught in the deep.

England also slipped to 31-3 early in their run-chase against pacers Rauf and Mohammad Wasim while Mohammad Nawaz had Alex Hales caught at point in his first over.

Shadab had reduced England to 54-4 when he successfully overturned an lbw decision of in-form Harry Brook (4) through television referral in the ninth over and Ali couldn’t accelerate against both spinners.

Ahmed then ended Dawid Malan’s nearly run-a-ball knock of 36 and Jamal got his first wicket off his second ball when Sam Curran holed out at long off in the 15th over.

Ali took the game deep with a 46-run stand with Woakes (10) before he fell to Haris Rauf in the penultimate over and the 26-year-old Jamal bowled some superb yorker length deliveries to Ali in the last over to deny England victory.

“It’s a team game and we believe if we are struggling (in one department), the other one (bowling department) chips in,” said Shadab, who was playing in his first game of the series after missing out the four games at Karachi. “Aamer Jamal had a believe in himself and we all backed him for the last over.”

Lahore will host the remaining two games of the seven-match series on Friday and Sunday.
 


FIFA judges detail why they rejected Chile World Cup appeal

FIFA judges detail why they rejected Chile World Cup appeal
Updated 29 September 2022

FIFA judges detail why they rejected Chile World Cup appeal

FIFA judges detail why they rejected Chile World Cup appeal
  • The 64-page appeal verdict released by FIFA is needed by the Chilean federation as the basis of another urgent legal challenge at the Court of Arbitration for Sport

GENEVA: FIFA judges comprehensively rejected the Chilean soccer federation’s entire case in a failed appeal this month to replace Ecuador at the World Cup, according to the detailed verdict published Wednesday.

Chile argued it had documents proving Ecuador defender Byron Castillo was actually Colombian and should have been ineligible for the eight World Cup qualifying games he played in.

However, “at no point did (Chile) provide ‘cogent evidence’ that the documents related to the individual born in Colombia indeed relate to the player,” the judges ruled.

The 64-page appeal verdict released by FIFA is needed by the Chilean federation as the basis of another urgent legal challenge at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

There are just 53 days left for that judgment to be issued before Ecuador is due to play in the World Cup opening game against host nation Qatar, on Nov. 20 in Doha.

If the FIFA appeal committee had ruled that Castillo was ineligible, Ecuador would have forfeited all eight games he played in — including two wins over Chile — as 3-0 losses and dropped out of contention in the South American qualifying group.

But the three FIFA-appointed judges wrote they were convinced both that there was no falsification of Castillo’s documents to get an Ecuadorian passport and identity document, and that he complied with the soccer body’s rules to play for the national team.

“There is no element on file that could suggest that the player would actually be Colombian, or bear another nationality,” wrote the judging panel chaired by Neil Eggleston, a former White House Counsel.

The case “revolved around three key sets of documents,” the judges said. They were: Birth certificates from Colombia and Ecuador; case files from the Ecuadorian soccer federation’s 2018 investigation into Castillo’s identity; court decisions in Ecuador plus national identification documents. Those included a passport issued on Nov. 13, 2017.

The passport and subsequent ID documents have “undoubtedly been issued by the competent state authorities and, as such, are to be considered genuine and authentic,” the verdict stated.

Castillo is eligible to play at the Nov. 20-Dec. 18 tournament in Qatar, where Ecuador will also play the Netherlands and Senegal in Group A.

He does face a separate FIFA disciplinary case which the judges requested because he did not take part in the Sept. 16 appeal hearing held by video link. Any potential punishment would not affect his ability to play in Qatar.

The detailed verdict confirmed that a Qatari judge originally selected by FIFA for the case withdrew after Chile objected to a potential conflict of interest because the case was to decide Qatar’s opponent in the opening game. An Iranian lawyer was picked instead.


‘All lights green’ for 2024 Paris Olympics opening ceremony: official

‘All lights green’ for 2024 Paris Olympics opening ceremony: official
Updated 28 September 2022

‘All lights green’ for 2024 Paris Olympics opening ceremony: official

‘All lights green’ for 2024 Paris Olympics opening ceremony: official
  • The opening ceremony on July 26, 2024, is not set to take place as is customary in the athletics stadium
  • The original plan was for an armada of 200 boats and some 600,000 spectators

PARIS: Organizers of the 2024 Paris Olympics intend to press ahead with an ambitious opening ceremony on the river Seine despite security concerns, a senior official said Wednesday.
“All the lights are green to organize this ceremony in good security conditions,” an aide to President Emmanuel Macron told reporters ahead of a top-level meeting to discuss preparations.
There had “never been a question” of abandoning the idea which was first announced by Macron himself, the aide added.
The French president is to chair a meeting with ministers, security forces, sports officials and the heads of Paris local authorities on Thursday to review the plans.
The opening ceremony on July 26, 2024, is not set to take place as is customary in the athletics stadium, but be celebrated with a flotilla down the river Seine.
The original plan was for an armada of 200 boats and some 600,000 spectators, but organizers are under pressure to scale down these ambitions.
Paris’ Olympics also face financial pressure, with the cost of energy and inflation rising sharply and Macron insisting “the Games must finance the Games.”
The aide confirmed that France was still discussing with the International Olympic Committee “if savings could be made” on some events and sites.
Paris was aiming to be the most energy-efficient and cost-effective possible, creating a “new model” for the competition, the aide added.


San Siro demolition on table as Milan and Inter’s stadium dream put to public

San Siro demolition on table as Milan and Inter’s stadium dream put to public
Updated 28 September 2022

San Siro demolition on table as Milan and Inter’s stadium dream put to public

San Siro demolition on table as Milan and Inter’s stadium dream put to public
  • AC Milan and Inter Milan both insist that they can no longer stay in the current, city-owned San Siro
  • Should it go ahead the project is scheduled to be completed in 2030

MILAN, Italy: A crucial step toward the demolition of the iconic San Siro begins on Wednesday when Milan hosts the first of a series of meetings with the public necessary for the new stadium proposed by the city’s two footballing giants.
AC Milan and Inter Milan both insist that they can no longer stay in the current, city-owned San Siro and have drawn up plans for a new 60,000-capacity ground flanked by sport and leisure facilities on the same site, which will be completely remodelled.
Should it go ahead the project is scheduled to be completed in 2030, with 1.3 billion euros ($1.24 billion) being jointly invested in the development by both clubs, who say they cannot afford to build separate new grounds and need the increased revenue this project would bring.
Over three years after presenting their initial project the public will now be able to scrutinize it and have their say at 10 meetings held over a month, after which a report will be presented to the city by the meetings’ independent organizers in mid-November.
The city can then decide whether to insist on further changes to a project which has had 50,000 square meters of development cut from it since it was first proposed, or proceed with approval.
The project is divided into two main sections: construction of the new stadium in the area immediately west of the San Siro currently occupied by car parking and a local park, which the clubs want finished by September 2027.
After that is built the current stadium, set to host the opening ceremony of the 2026 Winter Olympics, will then be demolished before the new facilities — including shopping, convention and sports centers, are built around a new public park.
It’s these facilities and the destruction of a symbolic stadium which have attracted the ire of some Milan residents and a sizeable portion of the city council, who are also angry at the granting of public land to private investors for a fraction of the rent the pair currently pay.
Other criticisms include the significant reduction in the number of seats — of which over 10,000 could be reserved for hospitality — way down not just on the San Siro’s capacity but also the number of fans currently packing the ground.
Both Inter and Milan have been regularly getting crowds of over 70,000 as a post-pandemic wave of enthusiasm among fans has led to supporters flocking back to stadiums in big numbers across Serie A.
Some pressure groups are pushing for the renovation of the current ground and dismiss Milan CEO Paolo Scaroni’s claims on Tuesday that it would be “impossible and dangerous to get 50,000 fans into a building site,” citing the redevelopment of the San Siro ahead of the 1990 World Cup which added a whole new tier to the stadium.
However, Milan mayor Giuseppe Sala has repeatedly asked critics what local authorities would be able to do with a massive, unused football stadium on the outskirts of the city should the project not be approved and the clubs decide to move in order to get the new ground built.
A source at Inter told AFP in the summer that any more bureaucratic bumps in the road would lead to the project being moved to the site of a former factory in Sesto San Giovanni, a town just outside Milan which is on the city’s metro network.
The teams abandoning the area wouldn’t just leave the city with a clubless football stadium, it would also have an impact on neighborhoods which have for a long time been some of the city’s most problematic.
Two stops down the ‘lilac’ metro line which takes fans to the San Siro is Piazzale Segesta, which flanks a troubled council housing estate — one of several in the area.
Laura Guardini, a former journalist at the daily Corriere Della Sera and volunteer at the local neighborhood association, says that of the 6,000 homes on the estate almost 1,000 are squatted in, often by people involved in drug dealing and other serious criminal activities.
She says that residents in the legally occupied apartments refuse holidays and sometimes even hospital treatment as once word is out that their flat is empty squatters “kick in the doors and take over.”
Silvia Cavagnari, who runs a local Italian language school for foreigners, says “the people in this area couldn’t care less about the stadium project, they have much bigger problems.”
And Laura Mariani, a teacher at the language school, hopes that Milan and Inter manage to get the project approved.
“I hope that the clubs do manage to build it,” she says. “Because if they leave it would be a disaster for this area.”