Lewis Hamilton’s father warns against Formula One’s return amid ongoing coronavirus pandemic: ‘Our fans are fighting on the frontline’

The father of Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has spoken out about the resumption of motorsport amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, just one day after F1 announced its revised calendar for the remainder of the season.

On Tuesday, it was announced that the season will resume on 5 July with the Austrian Grand Prix, and there will be back-to-back British Grands Prix in August as part of the new-look campaign, which has been heavily delayed since a member of the McLaren team tested positive for Covid-19 in March.

But Anthony Hamilton told ITV this week that F1 and sport in general should not yet be resuming, with the coronavirus pandemic still affecting the world at large.

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“We should have the patience and respect to say: ‘Let’s wait until the number of new coronavirus cases is down to zero,’ so the key workers can go home, relax and they too can enjoy watching sport,” Hamilton said.

“I understand that we have to get back to business as soon as possible, but it should be as safe as possible and essential business only. Motorsport is a global sport with a global fanbase. Now is not the time to be turning our backs on those who cannot take part, or come and watch. Now is the time for us to wait, be patient and support.

“If we don’t have fans, we don’t have a sport and right now our fans are fighting on the frontline, saving the lives of our fans.

“Although with each day things are improving and the number of virus-related deaths is falling, the enemy is not yet defeated. This is still a very clear and ever-present threat to our lives and society, so what is this rush back to motorsport?”

Lewis Hamilton is on course for a record-equalling seventh F1 title, but his father admitted he would struggle celebrate such an achievement by his son, given the circumstances.

“It would make me feel extremely disingenuous to celebrate watching Lewis racing, or celebrating on the podium,” he said. “I wouldn’t particularly want to be watching the TV and cheering while thousands of people are dying from a virus.”

As part of F1’s return, spectators will not be allowed to attend the races, while a number of measures will be in place to protect team personnel and other staff.

Staff will be transported to and from races on chartered flights, and will be tested for Covid-19 regularly over the course of a race weekend. However, Hamilton still doesn’t feel totally comfortable with the sport returning, warning of potentially “dire consequences”.

“One day it may be us who need saving,” he said. “What would we think then about a rush back to sport?”

Hamilton’s younger son Nic has cerebral palsy and became the first disabled driver to compete in the British Touring Car Championship in 2015. That competition is set to get underway in August.

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Dimitar Berbatov backs Paul Pogba to seal top-four spot for Man United

‘He will give huge confidence to the whole team’: Dimitar Berbatov backs Paul Pogba’s return from injury to provide ‘massive boost’ to Manchester United’s hopes of sealing top-four spot

  • Dimitar Berbatov says Paul Pogba can help Manchester United reach the top four
  • Though, he does worry he is at risk of picking up another injury after so long out
  • The former United star is excited to see Bruno Fernandes and Pogba together 

Dimitar Berbatov believes that Paul Pogba’s return from injury will help Manchester United finish in the top four after football restarts on June 17.

The 27-year-old has only made eight appearances all season due to an ankle injury that required surgery, with the France midfielder having been out of action since Boxing Day.

However, he is now back in training with the rest of the United squad and will be fit to play when the Premier League season resumes in a few weeks.

Dimitar Berbatov believes that Paul Pogba can help Manchester United reach the top four

Former Red Devils striker, Berbatov, believes that Pogba’s return to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could be monumental for the team, but does worry he could be at risk of picking up another injury. 

He told BetfairBetfairBetfair: ‘United have had a huge boost in Paul Pogba returning to fitness. It is great news for the team.

‘The dangerous thing is that he hasn’t played for so long, so hopefully he has prepared well and he will be ready to play at 100% again. Is he going to start?

‘I’m not too sure, coming back from a long injury may impact him starting, it will be interesting to see if Solskjaer puts him straight into the battle. I’m sure if the manager asks Pogba how he feels and if he is ready, then Paul will say “of course I am ready”.’

During lockdown, the Frenchman has been working hard on his rehab in the hope that he can build upon the 71 minutes of football he has played for the club so far this season when football returns. 

Though, he does worry that Pogba is at risk of picking up another injury after being out so long

The former United star is excited to see Bruno Fernandes and Pogba play together for United

Berbatov is also excited about the prospect of Pogba and Bruno Fernandes lining up together for the first time this season.

He said: ‘It will be the first time we get to see Fernandes and Pogba play together and it will be interesting to see if they can hit it off, they will have had the chance to get to know each other in training but that is totally different to a game.

‘It could be a great partnership and I am sure that Pogba’s return is a massive boost and will give huge confidence to the whole team. One player doesn’t define a team, but when you have good, quality, confident players putting all their effort in to help the team then you are going to succeed.’

United return to action with an away game against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham, which could determine who will finish in within the top four.

Given the importance of the result, Premier League bosses have scheduled the fixture as the opening game on the Friday night.

Berbatov said: ‘Make no mistake, this is a massive opportunity for United and they know it. Hopefully, they will be prepared for that challenge because three points are nothing, if they win their first game back and Chelsea slip up then the three points aren’t an issue anymore, it can be as easy as that.

‘But on the other hand, if United slip up and Chelsea win it will be six points, so they also have to be careful, there can be no room for error.’




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What Man Utd chief Ed Woodward has been told to do to win Jude Bellingham transfer race

Manchester United face a battle to beat Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal in the transfer race for Birmingham starlet Jude Bellingham. The Red Devils need to offer more guaranteed cash to sign the 16-year-old though.

Bellingham has visited United’s training ground and was personally shown around by Sir Alex Ferguson.

But it is believed German giants Borussia Dortmund are leading the race for his signature after proving their talent in bringing on youngsters such as Jadon Sancho.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is desperate to land Bellingham and he would be part of the first-team immediately.

And Birmingham privately accept they will sell the teenager this summer to raise funds to help the club survive in a post-coronavirus world.

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But ESPN claim the Championship club wand a big sum up front for Bellingham, something United have not yet offered

So far the Red Devils have offered a structured deal made up of smaller down payments but Birmingham want more initially for their prized asset.

If United are to beat Dortmund and Arsenal to the signature of Bellingham they will have to raise their original offer.

The Red Devils made their interest clear in January when they enquired about the availability of the youngster.

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And Solskjaer is keen to add Bellingham this summer as well as the likes of Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho and Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish.

Former United defender Wes Brown thinks Sancho would be a perfect signing for United and could be their new Cristiano Ronaldo.

He told MUTV: “Talent and excitement. We need someone exactly like that at the club.

“We’ve had them over the years and I’m sure if we were to sign him he would bring that excitement back to the club. It would be good for the team as well.

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  • Man Utd fans taunted after Saul Niguez new club announcement

“We’ve had players like that in the past, like with Cristiano Ronaldo.

“They’re the type of player who draw three or four defenders out and make the game a lot easier for the other players.

“If we could do it, it would be a brilliant signing.”

United are all set for the Premier League restart and will look to leapfrog Chelsea to finish in the top four.

That would ensure Champions League qualification and make them a more attractive club for prospective new players to join.

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Jags’ Khan has battled racism, asks for change

  • Covered University of Florida for 13 seasons for ESPN.com and Florida Times-Union
  • Graduate of Jacksonville University
  • Multiple APSE award winner

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, a Pakistani American businessman and the NFL’s first minority owner, released an essay on Wednesday denouncing the systemic inequity for people of color that exists in the country and writing that if the issue is not addressed, we risk failing the next generation.

Khan said he has battled racism and prejudice since coming to the United States in 1967, both as a student and while he was building his automobile bumper business. He joined an increasing list of professional sports franchise owners, celebrities, and politicians demanding change.

“I came to the United States from Pakistan in 1967 with $500 in my pocket and faith in the American Dream. Opportunities to learn and succeed were abundant, and more than 50 years later I am forever grateful and proud to be a citizen of the United States,” Khan wrote. “Nonetheless, while I pursued my goals as a student and later in the workforce, being a Muslim-American made me a frequent target of prejudice, discrimination and hatred. I won’t claim to know what it means to be a young African American today, but I can speak honestly and painfully to my own experiences as a person of color for the past 53 years in this country.

“Even recently, I have had people spew racist language in my presence when talking about other people of color — apparently ignorant of my ethnicity. Change for all people of color in the United States is long overdue, and it must happen now.”

Khan called the video of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis the latest horrific evidence of injustice that is all too prevalent in the country today and said that families should never have to worry that their child could lose their life because of the color of their skin.

Khan wrote that his goal is to try to ensure that everyone has the same access and opportunity to achieve the American dream and that he takes that responsibility seriously. Khan said that he benefited from the help of people of other races and religions during his journey from student to billionaire and that he wants others to experience that as well.

Khan, who became the NFL’s first minority owner when he purchased the Jaguars in November 2011, pledged to work with the Jaguars players and staff to come up with a response because indifference and periodic attention is no way to combat what he called the virus of racism.

“Most of all, we cannot fail our children — children who deserve to know they have the same opportunity to earn a living, have a family and live safely — no matter the color of their skin,” Khan wrote. “Racism, in all its forms, will kill. It kills people, it kills communities, it kills dreams, it kills hope.

“For many Americans, now is the moment. Never has that been clearer.”

Other players and teams spoke out Wednesday as well.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees took to Instagram to post this message:

“Words to unite.. A mentor of mine once told me that if you listen closely, the sound of children playing is the same no matter where you are in the world. The laughing, shouting, screaming, giggling… No matter what language you speak, no matter what your race, color, religion… the exact same. At some point we all change… The reasons… Our environment, experiences, education…The voices and influences around us. If you are reading this, you are probably one of those whose voice and influence is very powerful in the life of a young person. So when you ask what difference you can make in this world… It’s exactly that. Raise, teach, but most importantly model to young people what it is to love all and respect all.

“There is a saying in every locker room I have been in… Don’t just talk about it, be about it. Acknowledge the problem, and accept the fact that we all have a responsibility to make it better. “Your actions speak so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying”

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Tottenham confirm positive coronavirus case after latest Premier League testing

Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed that the one positive coronavirus case in the latest round of Premier League testing has come from their club.

Following the announcement that one individual had testing positive following 1,197 tests across the division, Spurs released a statement saying that an employee of theirs will now self-isolate for seven days.

"We have been informed by the Premier League that we have received one positive test for COVID-19 following the latest round of testing at our Training Centre," said the club in a statement.

"Due to medical confidentiality, the individual’s name will not be disclosed.

"They are currently asymptomatic and will now self-isolate for seven days, in line with Premier League protocol, before undergoing further testing.

"We shall continue to strictly adhere to the Premier League’s Return to Training protocol, which ensures our Training Centre remains a safe and virus-free working environment."

The fifth round of testing saw the Premier League record more tests than at any point in their Project Restart process thus far, up from 1,130 in round four.

Matches in the current campaign are set to resume behind closed doors, but Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has stated that he is hopeful that fans could return to stadiums soon.

"No one knows when matches will move away from the behind-closed-doors model and it is right to have contingency plans in place, but there is optimism at the Premier League and at clubs that we will see fans back in the stadiums next season and it may happen on a phased basis," Masters told Sky Sports News.

"Hopefully it will be a huge morale boost and that is what we've been working towards.

"We've got some incredible fans in this country and we all know the Premier League as we know and love it won't be fully back until we have fans back through the turnstiles."

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Everton offer Baines contract extension as club look to reward long-serving star

Leighton Baines has been offered a one-year deal by Everton, with Carlo Ancelotti keen to keep his experience at the club.

With the financial situation uncertain within football at present because of the coronavirus crisis, most Premier League clubs are keen to offload players who are out of contract this summer.

But the Toffees have a few injuries as the resumption of the season approaches, and they are ready tie up long-serving Baines for another season.

Manager Ancelotti has made no secret of his admiration for the England international, and he believes the player’s versatility can help Everton as they look to trim their squad further.

He currently acts as cover for first-choice left-back Lucas Digne, but can also play in a defensive midfield role, and further forward on the left.

Everton also have Oumar Niasse, Cuco Martina and Maarten Stekelenburg out of contract on June 30, but so far, no decision has been made over whether to offer new short term deals.

Clubs can extend current contracts until the end of the 2019-20 season, or for a further year, but the Blues will wait until close to the end of the month to decide.

They have problems with Yerry Mina and Jean-Philippe Gbamin both picking up serious injuries in training, as the season’s restart on June 17 approaches.

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Baines has been at Everton for almost 13 years, and is regarded as one of the greatest and most popular players in the club’s history.

Everton kick off the Premier League's resumption with a local derby against Liverpool on the opening weekend.

Ancelotti will likely have to select Michael Keane and Mason Holgate as his centre-back partnership in Mina's absence.

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Saul Niguez's tweet about a 'new club' finally explained

Saul Niguez’s cryptic tweet about his ‘new club’ got Manchester United fans excited they were going to sign Atletico Madrid star… but he has now revealed true meaning of his tease – and they are NOT impressed!

  • Saul Niguez’s cryptic ‘new club’ tweet caused transfer speculation on Twitter 
  • The Spain midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United 
  • But tweet was actually about Costa City, a new club in his hometown of Elche
  • United fans were less than impressed at the 25-year-old’s marketing stunt 

Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez has revealed that his ‘new club’ he teased on Instagram is in fact business venture with his brother, rather than a transfer confirmation.

The Spain international has been heavily linked with a £70million move to Manchester United, leading fans to believe that Niguez had put pen to paper with the Red Devils when he took to social media to tell his followers he would be announcing his ‘new club.’

But the 25-year-old – who has played 37 times for Diego Simeone’s men this season and scored four goals – shared the news that he and his brother Aaron have created Costa City club instead.

Saul Niguez sent out a cryptic tweet that suggested he was about to move to a new club

Taking place in Elche, the project will bring together over 30 players and 500 players across all age groups in the area, according The Evening Standard. 

Though Niguez did reveal his new club, it was not the sort of announcement many United supporters were hoping to learn about.

Niguez has been linked with a move to the English top flight and were he to end up in the Premier League next season, it is believed Old Trafford would be his destination.

Manchester United sent scouts to watch Atletico’s victory over Liverpool in the Champions League, and fans started to get excited about a potential move for Niguez 

United have been long-term admirers of the Atletico Madrid midfielder, having sent a host of scouts to watch him during Madrid’s victory over Liverpool in the Champions League in March.

Niguez has a £135m buy-out clause in his nine-year Atletico contract, which most observers consider well above his true value, and despite some reports to the contrary it is unlikely that United are willing to match that and smash the club record £89m they forked out to bring Pogba back from Juventus in 2016. 

Still, ambitious fans were less than impressed when they realised his cryptic tweet teasing a ‘new club’ was in fact a marketing stunt for his new club. 

One Twitter user, Dan, simply replied to Niguez: ‘Are you joking?’, while another added ‘U hyped up leaving for this.’

Other’s found the funny side, mocking United fans so thinking Niguez would ever join Old Trafford in the first place. 

But it turns out that Niguez has simply set up a new club in his hometown of Elche, and fans were less than impressed with Niguez’s marketing stunt

They took to Twitter to slam Niguez, saying he hyped up a move just to promote his club

While others found the funny side of the stunt, claiming he would never have joined United




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Manchester United and Chelsea target Havertz compared to Zidane

Manchester United and Chelsea target Kai Havertz compared to Zinedine Zidane by Bayer Leverkusen coach who says German starlet echoes legendary midfielder’s ‘elegance’ on the pitch

  • Kai Havertz has emerged as a breakout star for Bayer Leverkusen this season
  • Manchester United and Chelsea are among top European sides tracking him
  • Bayer Leverkusen assistant Marcel Daum believes his talent is limitless
  • Daum though warns clubs that midfielder will not leave the club cheaply 

Kai Havertz has the tools to go on and become a modern day Zinedine Zidane according to Bayer Leverkusen’s assistant manager Marcel Daum.

Havertz has been one of the breakout stars for the German club this term from midfield and has become a key player for a team battling to qualify for the Champions League.

His performances have attracted interest from Premier League sides including Manchester United and Chelsea, and according to Daum the 20-year-old has the ability to become an all-time great.

Kai Havertz (above) has been likened to Zinedine Zidane by Bayer Leverkusen’s assistant coach

‘Everyone is asking about Kai Havertz,’ the Leverkusen No 2 told talkSPORT . ‘If you see him play, it tells you everything.

‘For me, he has the elegance of Zidane. If you see his movement, he’s very elegant, he’s always calm, he has great passing ability.

‘What a lot of people don’t see, because we watch him every day, is that he’s pretty fast. That’s a big bonus.

Havertz’ ability and ‘elegance’ marks him similar to Zidane, pictured scoring against Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League final, according to Marcel Daum

‘He’s a great player; he’s scoring goals, he’s great in the air and he’s pretty fast. It’s up to him how far he can go.

‘I can’t say he will be the best German player ever, but he has the talent and there are no limits. He’s displaying signs of Zidane.’

United are thought to be leading the chase for Havertz who has 15 goals from 38 matches this season including eight assists.

The Red Devils may be tempted to open the bidding with Leverkusen at £50million but are likely to face competition from Chelsea, who could be set for a big summer spend up under Roman Abramovich looking to take advantage of the financial uncertainties post coronavirus.

Daum, son of former Bayer boss Christoph, believes there is no ceiling to Havertz’s abilities

Daum admits that Havertz could leave in the summer despite his contract at Leverkusen still having two more years to run but warns rivals that he will command a premium price.

‘The situation with coronavirus is so strange and so complicated that it’s still open that he will leave us,’ he added.

‘I don’t know what will happen, but at Bayer, he has the right place to develop his strengths and improve. The only thing I know is that Bayer won’t sell him for a cheap fee.’

The likes of Manchester United and Chelsea have been tracking the 20-year-old’s progress




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New Zealand Super Rugby event to have ‘red card replacements’

Red-carded players can be replaced 20 minutes after their dismissal in New Zealand’s new Super Rugby tournament.

The country’s five Super Rugby teams will play a domestic mini-series from 13 June after getting approval to restart the sport behind closed doors.

“Paying rugby fans, players and coaches want to see a fair contest,” said New Zealand Rugby’s head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum.

“Replacing a player after 20 minutes strikes the right balance.”

If teams are level at full-time, 10 minutes of ‘golden point’ extra time will follow with the first score decisive.

New Zealand Rugby has also tightened rules around the breakdown, requiring both ball-carriers to play the ball and tacklers to roll away quicker.

Teams playing in the mini-series will use chartered planes to travel on match days and players will be checked daily for coronavirus symptoms.

Last week, World Rugby introduced a series of optional adaptations to laws designed to reduce the threat of coronavirus transmission in the sport.

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BBC set to confirm first ever live Premier League game as TV list is confirmed

Bournemouth and Crystal Palace are set to face off in the first ever live Premier League match broadcast on free-to-air television in the UK.

Both clubs are expected to feature in the Saturday evening kick-off on the first weekend that fixtures will resume again, as reports The Telegraph.

The match has been scheduled for 7:45pm on June 20 and will be the first of four fixtures due to be screened on the BBC.

All remaining 92 fixtures are being broadcast live on various channels, with Sky and BT taking the lion's share, while Amazon has also been given four matches.

Sky have been given the rights to 64 matches, 25 of which they are offering to viewers for free.

Among them is the Merseyside derby, where Liverpool could seal the title against rivals Everton.

A date and time for that fixture is still to be confirmed, while Premier League chiefs are also yet to determine whether the clash will take place at Goodison Park as originally planned, or at a neutral venue.

The season gets back under way in the midweek prior with Aston Villa vs Sheffield United believed to be at 6pm on June 17, followed by Man City vs Arsenal straight after at 8pm.

Both matches will be shown on Sky.

There is then expected to be a full schedule on Saturday June 20, culminating with Bournemouth vs Palace.

Traditional kick-off times have been altered to incorporate the TV schedule, with four different time-slots now being used on a Saturday and Sunday.

Matches will now kick-off between 12pm-8pm, while a 6pm kick-off time has been added for midweek games.

The fixture programming has been made easier by the absence of fans, with all games due to go ahead behind closed doors.

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Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said last week: "Sadly, matches will have to take place without fans in stadiums, so we are pleased to have come up with a positive solution for supporters to be able to watch all the remaining 92 matches.

"The Premier League and our clubs are proud to have incredibly passionate and loyal supporters. It is important to ensure as many people as possible can watch the matches at home."

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