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England to walk off on racial abuse in Euro 2020 qualifiers

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London, Oct 9 England striker Tammy Abraham has made it clear that the team are prepared to walk off the field if they are subjected to racist abuse in Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

England will face the Czech Republic on Friday and Bulgaria on Monday in a partially-closed stadium. European football governing body UEFA had ordered the partial closure of Bulgaria’s national stadium following racist behaviour by their fans in games against the Czech Republic and Kosovo in June.

“If it happens to one of us, it happens to all of us,” BBC Sport quoted Abraham as saying.

“Harry Kane even said that if we’re not happy, if a player is not happy, we all come off the pitch together,” he added.

Last month, England manager Gareth Southgate has said that racism is a concern and needs planning.

According to UEFA’s three-step protocol for racism, the referee can abandon a match if warnings to the crowd do not stop the fans racially abusing the players.

“We did speak about that (the protocol),” Abraham said. “Harry Kane did ask the question about instead of going through the three steps, if we decide that we want to stop the game — no matter what the score is — if we’re not happy with it, as a team we’ll decide whether or not to stay on the pitch.

“If it happens and let’s say there’s a warning or whatever in the stadium, then it happens again, we have to make a decision as a team and with the staff,” he added.

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Two HI employees diagnosed with COVID-19, office to remain shut

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New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) Hockey India’s office will remain shut for two weeks after two of its staff tested positive for the coronavirus. 29 out of 31 employees were tested and apart from the two that tested positive, two more tested inconclusive and will be tested again.

“The two inconclusive are being retested again on Sunday (May) 31st at 11am,” International Hockey Federation (FIH) and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra said in a statement.

While one of the employees is from the accounts department, the other is a junior field officer, Batra further informed. Amongst the two inconclusive tests, one is a joint director and the other is a dispatch clerk.

“All 25 found negative have gone into home quarantine for 14 days to work from home,” said Batra. “The two found positive are also in strict home quarantine under medical monitoring. The two inconclusive are also in home quarantine under medical monitoring.”

Batra said that Hockey India President Mushtaq Ahmad informed him of the offices remaining shut for 14 days.

Batra further urged all National Sports Federations and State Olympic Associations to get their employees tested for the deadly virus “without any further delay.”

“This will help in giving confidence to us and all our stakeholders including our athletes,” he said.

More than 1.7 lakh confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported so far in India while close to 5000 people have lost their lives.

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Virat Kohli only Indian in Forbes top 100 highest-paid athletes

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New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) Virat Kohli, captain of the Indian cricket team, remained the only Indian and sole cricketer to feature in the top 100 of highest-paid athletes of 2020 put forward by Forbes magazine.

With an estimated total earning of $26 million ($24m from endorsements and $2m from salary/winnings), Kohli has made a jump of more than 30 places from 2019 and is at the 66th spot in the list. In 2019 too, the ace batsman was the only Indian to feature in top 100 (at 100th place) with estimated earnings of $25 million.

Meanwhile, Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer became the first from the sport to top Forbes’ list of highest paid athletes. With an estimated $106.3 million earned over the past 12 months, the Swiss maestro edged out Portuguese football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo from the top spot.

The three athletes immediately below Federer are all football players with Ronaldo on second with estimated earnings of $105 million. Ronaldo’s arch rival Lionel Messi is third with an estimated $104 million while Brazil’s Neymar comes fourth with $95.5 million.

NBA stars came next in the list with Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James earning $88.2 million, Golden State Warriors all-star Stephen Curry with $74.4 million, Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant with an estimated $63.9 million.

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka is the highest paid female athlete with $37.4 million. She however comes only 29th in the overall rankings. US tennis great Serena Williams comes 33rd with $36 million.

The factors that went into Forbes’ calculation were athletes’ revenue, including prize money, salaries, contract bonuses, endorsements, royalties, and appearance fees from June 1, 2019, until June 1, 2020.

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Australia suspends Olympic bid amid COVID-19 recovery

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Sydney, May 25 (IANS) Australia’s Queensland has suspended its bid to host the 2032 Olympics recently as the state government focuses on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the bid process had been paused, reports Xinhua news agency.

“It’s just on hold. I wouldn’t read too much into that,” Palaszczuk told reporters last weekend.

“We’re focused absolutely on the economic recovery at the moment.”

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it fully supported the Queensland government’s position in placing the Brisbane 2032 candidature on hold.

AOC President John Coates said in a recent statement that meetings of the Olympic Candidature Leadership Group (OCLG) scheduled earlier this year were deferred, allowing governments to focus on dealing with COVID-19.

Coates said he’d proposed to OCLG members that the meetings would not proceed while all three levels of governments dealt with the pandemic.

He also told the AOC Annual General Meeting on May 9 that discussions with the IOC on the candidature would resume when appropriate.

“We all understand there are pressing issues of public health and community wellbeing for governments to address,” Coates said.

“The candidature will have its role to play in terms of jobs and growth in the Queensland economy once we have seen our way through the current crisis.”

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