Heavy rain turns par-four into par-three at Byron Nelson (Reuters)

May 29, 2015; Irving, TX, USA; Jordan Spieth and caddies walk down the 11th fairway past a flooded area of the rough with dead minnows during the second round of the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship at TPC Four Seasons Resort - Las Colinas. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) – Torrential overnight rain in Irving, Texas, forced tournament officials to take the unusual step of transforming a par-four hole into a par-three for the second round of the AT&T Byron Nelson on Friday. Due to unplayable conditions on the water-logged 14th fairway at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas after 4-1/2 inches of rainfall overnight, the 406-yard hole was shortened to a par-three measuring 104 yards. “The 14th fairway is unplayable where we drive the ball,” Slugger White, the PGA Tour’s vice president of rules and competitions, told reporters.

AFL: Sydney Swans v Carlton – live!

8.37pm AEST

Sydney goal! (2nd quarter – 13:47 remaining) – Sydney 7.2 (44) vs Carlton 1.4 (10)

That new big-screen at the SCG is a bit of an eyesore, isn’t it? Do you think players ever turn around and watch it, momentarily forgetting that it’s showing the game they’re playing in? Maybe they should show another game or maybe a movie tonight to give the Carlton forwards some entertainment.

8.31pm AEST

Sydney goal!! (2nd quarter – 17:06 remaining) – Sydney 6.2 (38) vs Carlton 1.4 (10)

The second term gets under way with a perfect bounce and a very imperfect mass of players diving all over the ball like it’s a bar of soap. John Barker presses a couple of fingers to his lips and looks on intently but his men are up against it right now.

8.26pm AEST

Some quick stats from the first term

Swans lead the inside-50s 15-9, contested possessions 33-24, the stoppages 8-4 and the all-important tackle count 21-17, but that still qualifies as a huge improvement in intensity from the Blues.

8.23pm AEST

Sydney goal on the siren! (the 1st quarter is done) – Sydney 5.2 (32) vs Carlton 1.4 (10)

Reader Brendan Brown is a gambling man and tonight he’s lost out. “First four goals to Sydney. My son won the bet. I thought fairer odds were the Swans getting the first six. I lost so I’m doing the dishes tomorrow.” Takeaway, Brendan?

8.17pm AEST

Carlton goal! 1st quarter (2:37 remaining) – Sydney 4.1 (25) vs Carlton 1.4 (10)

Carlton’s midfielders are trying valiantly to get back and give their defensive colleagues a hand at the moment but it’s mostly one-way traffic until Tom Bell converts himself to an improvised leading forward to mark 30 metres from goal, bang in front. He really needs to kick this one but yanks it to the right.

8.10pm AEST

Sydney goal! 1st quarter (8:17 remaining) – Sydney 4.1 (25) vs Carlton 0.3 (3)

The Swans can smell blood in the water now and continue to press forward with purpose. Gary Rohan takes off on a lead and gets tackled to the ground in comical style by Patrick Cripps, earning himself the most clear-cut of free kicks only 25 metres from goal on a slight angle. He’s never going to miss from there, the gangly ginger wizard.

8.06pm AEST

Sydney goal! 1st quarter (11:24 remaining) – Sydney 3.1 (19) vs Carlton 0.3 (3)

Troy Menzel almost kicks a miracle goal with a speculative banana from the pocket but in the blink of an eye Sydney have swung it back down the other end with menacing intent. They’ve really stepped up their intensity a notch or two after the Blues had put it to them early. It’s all bone-jarring tackles and grit until Gary Rohan tries to nutmeg his opponent on the forward flank and with the ball on the turf. That was cheeky.

8.00pm AEST

Sydney goal! 1st quarter (14:12 remaining) – Sydney 2.1 (13) vs Carlton 0.2 (2)

Oh dear. Simon White was unlucky a moment ago because Jack’s ‘pass’ to Franklin was actually a mis-kicked shot at goal that caught him off guard and there’s not much he can do when the ball comes tumbling artlessly into the path of the big Swans forward again here. He marks thirty metres out and dobs it. So much for the joy of that 50-game milestone. He’s copping a bath in the last 2 minutes.

7.58pm AEST

Sydney goal! 1st quarter (14:55 remaining) – Sydney 1.1 (7) vs Carlton 0.2 (2)

There’s a promising start for the Blues when Dale Thomas wins a free kick and a 50 metre penalty early to get Patrick Cripps within range. The latter bombs his set shot long towards goal but big Mike Pyke leaps at the line and gets a finger to the ball before it crosses the line.

7.50pm AEST

The toss

Adam Goodes wins it as he and Andrew Walker swap boomerangs and an Aboriginal painting. We’re only moments away from the first bounce now and there’s plenty of jostling among the two teams, Simon White and Buddy Franklin in particular.

Carlton somehow 45 points down before opening bounce. #AFLSwansBlues #afl #IndigenousRound

7.46pm AEST

More body blows for the Blues

Quite a stat, that.

10 years & 16 days since Carlton fielded a side w/o any of Judd, Murphy, Gibbs, Carrazzo. @FeathertopDT @RileyBev @BenCuzzupe @areas_shane

7.41pm AEST

Simon White brings up his 50th game tonight, by the way

How excited are Blues fans about that one? No Judd, no Gibbs, no Murphy, but White’s on board and Seven have even gone to the trouble of supplying some highlights of their caretaker coach John Barker playing for Fitzroy in Tasmania, lest they require a worst-case scenario.

7.29pm AEST

Sydney’s Indigenous Round guernsey tonight

…is a beauty

Congratulations @McGlynn_21 who will pass a magical milestone when he plays his 150th game tonight! #proudlysydney pic.twitter.com/6XNG6ousf9

Our Old Dark Navy Blue guernsey has transformed into a work of art for #IndigenousRound. #AFLSwansBlues https://t.co/Mqkgss1I2c

7.26pm AEST

Your teams tonight

As Carlton President Mark LoGiudice circles the SCG boundary wearing the ashen-faced expression of a Victorian-era undertaker, it’s time to take a look at the line-ups.

The captain with his game face on with just an hour to go until the bounce. #aflswansblues #hcfgoswans pic.twitter.com/06cn0VqI0q

7.15pm AEST

Hello cruel world (well, if you’re a Carlton supporter in 2015)

Russell Jackson here and I have indeed been entrusted with the honour of bringing you all the live action from John Barker’s baptism of fire. Sydney in Sydney. Doesn’t get much tougher than that for a struggling side.

7.05pm AEST

Mick Malthouse is gone and Carlton is a club in crisis (not according to the Blues’ top brass, mind, but considering their position on the ladder – last – and the fact that they don’t have a full-time coach or, some might say, the playing staff to help claw themselves off the bottom rung, it would appear on the face of it to be a pretty indisputable claim). Whatever the labelling though, there can be no denying that their first assignment of the post-Malthouse era is a tough one – a trip to the Sydney Cricket Ground to face the Swans, who currently sit in third after winning their last three outings. How will the Blues respond to their week of turmoil? Russell Jackson will let you know over the course of the evening – he’s on his way into the hotseat, but before he arrives, have a read of his excellent piece on the news that rocked the AFL world this week.

Staggeringly, it seems that few in Carlton’s senior management team heeded any lessons from Malthouse’s ugly departure at Collingwood, apparently bumbling their way along under the misguided assumption that the league’s most abrasive and opinionated media performer would just silently endure this undignified coda to his record-breaking career.

Continue reading…




French Open 2015: day six – live!

11.36am BST

Richard Gasquet: so much imagination, so much swagger, so much skill. So underwhelming. He’s a delight to watch but he’s only ever flirted with the idea of making the most of his talent – semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2007 and the US Open in 2011 are the best he’s managed in his grand slam career. Maybe he’s playing in the wrong era. In another age, when they played with wooden racquets perhaps, he might have had the game to rule.

Now, though? He can’t match the physical power of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal, while there have been too many times when he was wilted in the face of pressure (I’m thinking of the way he twice collapsed from two sets up against Andy Murray, first at Wimbledon in 2008 and then at Roland Garros in 2011).

11.25am BST

Morning! There’s no time for a preamble today. I’ve arrived late too work. Don’t tell my bosses! They don’t read this stuff, so we’re absolutely fine, as long as no one snitches. Good? Okay. Let’s go. What’s happening? Alize Cornet is fighting back against the remarkable Mirjana Lucic-Baroni after losing the first set 6-4. Cornet leads 4-2 in the second set. Once this is done, Roger Federer plays the unheralded Bosnian Damir Dzumhur.

Continue reading…

Fifa corruption crisis: Sepp Blatter delivers speech ahead of presidential vote – live

Embattled Fifa president expected to triumph against challenger Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein as Greg Dyke threatens European World Cup boycott

8.06pm AEST

Shots fired!

@michaelbutler18 They’ll need to update their financial report to include bail money!

8.04pm AEST

Congress has broken for lunch. In true football style, it will take 90 minutes to complete and will resume at 1.30pm in Zurich, which is 12.30pm BST. We will, of course, continue to distract you from doing any of your actual work today.

I wonder what’s on the menu?

7.59pm AEST

Following the publication of that financial report, Domenico Scala, Fifa’s audit & compliance chair, has been speaking.

“It is the leader’s tone at the top that ensures it is embedded at all levels. This tone must be honest.”

Domenico Scala, head of audit and finance committee, speaks sense on Fifa’s need for culture change. Trouble is, we’ve heard it all before.

7.50pm AEST

Page six of that report, meanwhile, is simply this:

7.45pm AEST

Fifa have published their 2014 Financial report, which is just the kind of light reading that your Friday needs.

2014 Financial Report http://t.co/oOfwNObqjQ

7.36pm AEST

More from Blatter:

“The committees I mentioned at Fifa cannot control all 300m and all fans in the world. That is impossible. You can’t just ask people to behave ethically just like that”

7.22pm AEST

Let’s catch up with a couple more quotes from Blatter’s speech this morning. And he’s gone all aquatic.

“Fifa has become a business. It is no longer a club as it is in the Swiss civil code, like a swimming club or a fishing club.”

A nautical metaphor. Bingo! "Join us to put Fifa back on the right track, where the boats will stop rocking and go placidly into port."

7.17pm AEST

Hello everyone. Football administration aye … who knew? If you have any thoughts, do wing me an email on michael.butler@theguardian.com or tweet me @michaelbutler18.

7.07pm AEST

That’s all from Mr Blatter for now, and with that I’ll hand over to Michael Butler. In the meantime catch up with our global round-up of the latest reaction to the crisis at Fifa.

7.02pm AEST

That was a long speech by Blatter which covered some of the same ground as his opening of the 65th congress earlier. In total he has spoken for well over 30 minutes so far this morning in Zurich – Prince Ali is yet to address the audience. Here’s some of the reaction on the ground from British journalists:

Blatter says Fifa now has lots of committees. Ignoring fact some of those arrested served on those committees.

That was possibly the worst speech I’ve ever heard. 22 mins of deluded, rambling, irrelevant, self-serving Blatter blather. ***APPLAUSE***

Blatter telling congress about how much lovely broadcasters and sponsors bring in to Fifa (which he then gives to members). #fifa

6.55pm AEST

As his president’s speech draws to a close, Blatter says:

It is not good for all this to occur two days before the election. I’m not going to use the word coincidence but I do have a small question mark.

6.54pm AEST

Blatter continues:

We are at a turning point and we need to pull together and move forward. We cannot constantly supervise everybody in football. We have 209 members and 300m active participants, men and women. And with families, friend, we reach a figure of 1.6bn people that are directly touched. Our stat from last year, the German press said we are wrong. And though often Germans tell Fifa it is wrong, we are at 1.6bn.

We are a very important entity. With popularity comes responsibly. How can everybody take responsibility? There are limits on the pitch of the goal-lines, the sidelines, there’s a referee and a time limit. Outside the pitches there are no geographgical limits, no time limits, no referee.

6.47pm AEST

Sepp Blatter gives the president’s address:

You will know that right now we are going through troubling times. I will not call in unprecedented – also in election congresses such as 2002. These events have cast a shadow so let’s try to lift that shadow. Let’s try to lift our spirits. We can’t let the reputation of football be dragged through the mud like that. Because they are truly at fault, especially if they are found guilty.

They are not the entire organisation; certain individuals who have forgotten that Fifa is based on respect discipline and a team sport with the same goal. We need to be singing from the same song sheet, especially when we talk of the character of the organisation. It’s our goal to share this respect with all of you.

6.30pm AEST

In case you missed it, here’s a quick summary of what happened, and to whom, on Wednesday:

This graphic of FIFA leadership is extraordinary. pic.twitter.com/tTLOyrJKCa

6.18pm AEST

To recap on how the voting will work, before the 209 associations cast their votes, incumbent Sepp Blatter – angling for a fifth term in the top job – and his only rival, Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, will each address the Fifa congress. Prince Ali, from Jordan, was elected Fifa vice-president for Asia in 2011.

Voting takes place in a secret ballot, although several countries and regional groups have already declared who they intend to plump for.

FIFA Secretary General confirms 209 member associations present @ #FIFACongress pic.twitter.com/FpxW3s0Ry1

6.13pm AEST

Michel Platini’s suggestion yesterday that Uefa could consider a boycott of the 2018 World Cup has understandably caused a stir. The Guardian’s Damien Gayle has more:

The World Cup would go on even in the face of a boycott by Europe’s football federation, the head of Nigeria’s national association said today.

“A World Cup without [Europe], it would be regrettable. But I assure you, it will go on,” said Amaju Pinnick, president of the Nigerian Football Association, as he backed Sepp Blatter to remain as the sport’s global chief.

6.03pm AEST

OH MY GOD. At Fifa congress, they’ just tested e-voting system by asking delegates if Germany won World Cup. Five per cent said no! #FIFA

6.01pm AEST

Palestinian protestors burst in shouting "red card for Fifa" before being bustled away by security.

6.01pm AEST

Sepp Blatter opens the 65th Fifa congress:

The events on Wednesday unleashed a storm and it was even questioned whether this congress would take place or the agenda may be changed. Today I am appealing to unity and a team spirit so we can move forward together. It may not always be easy but it is this reason that we are here today. We are here to solve [these problems]. This may not happen in one day but we are starting and we will do it with the members of the national associations because you are the ambassadors of our football. You have the power to change the face of Fifa. You have the power in your hearts, a power you can not buy on the markets.

Let’s get down to work. Let us not just talk about problems, let us go and solve them. let us move forward. The important point is transparency. The important point is where is our football? Where does Fifa stand in the world? It is the fight against corruption, match fixing, and racism – which we still have in our game and it hurts. We will naturally talk about development but that all belongs together. We have a chance to create unity.

5.45pm AEST

Fifa’s 65th congress is under way in Zurich where, following Friday’s arrests, only 25 of the 28 delegates have taken their place on stage. There are 18 points on the agenda and 18th will be the vote for presidency.

5.38pm AEST

5.23pm AEST

Protest over treatment of migrant workers in Qatar ahead of 2022 World Cup, as reported on extensively by Guardian. pic.twitter.com/ju5PEgVtCM

5.17pm AEST

Hello, Lawrence Ostlere here to take the helm for a while, and the first thing to report is that Fifa have postponed today’s post-vote press conference until tomorrow, meaning the winner will not face the media today.

5.01pm AEST

Former South African president Thabo Mbeki has denied that any public money was used to bribe Fifa officials in his country’s bid for the 2010 World Cup.

In a statement, Mbeki said:

As former president of the Republic of South Africa, I have noted reports alleging that bribes were solicited and paid to some officials of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association [Fifa] in exchange for our country to host the 2010 soccer World Cup.

I am not aware of anybody who solicited a bribe from the government for the purpose of our country being awarded the right to host the World Cup.

4.47pm AEST

English FA chairman Greg Dyke has backed the idea of a co-ordinated European boycott of the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme (I’ve taken the quotes from Press Association):

What there is no point in is one or two countries saying ‘We’re not going to take part’ because they will carry on with the tournament without them and that is pretty unfair on the fans.

But if Uefa as a group said ‘Look, unless you get this sorted we are not going to be in the World Cup’ then I think that we would join them.

There would be no point pulling England out if everyone else stays in. It would have no impact. It would just be forgotten.

But if you could pull Uefa out, that might have an impact. If Blatter gets re-elected, then that should be discussed.

I hope he doesn’t win but if he does I think the events of this week have turned him into a diminished figure and I can’t see him lasting more than a year or two.

Mr Blatter’s statement yesterday in which he basically said ‘Leave it to me, I will clean it up’ – nobody is going to believe that.

4.38pm AEST

Aside from the presidential election, Fifa congress will also today tackle a call by the Palestinian Football Association for a vote demanding the suspension of Israel from the world football organisation.

The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Peter Beaumont, reports:

Despite last-ditch attempts at mediation by world football officials, the Palestinian delegation insisted it would push for a vote unless Israel expels five teams based in illegal Israeli settlements from its football league.

The five teams are Ma’aleh Adumim, Ariel, Kiryat Arba, Bik’at Hayarden and Givat Ze’ev, which play in Israel’s lower divisions.

4.24pm AEST

Once you’ve read through our global round-up, here’s your quick catch-up of Guardian Fifa coverage:

4.08pm AEST

It’s widely expected that Blatter will sail off with his fifth presidential term today, despite the eruption this week of corruption allegations that have long haunted his time as Fifa’s chief.

So who will be voting for him?

3.50pm AEST

The Fifa congress will begin at 8.30am UK time (9.30am in Zurich).

There are several items on the agenda – including “suspension or expulsion of a member” and “president’s address” – before item 17: election of the president. We could see the results of that election around 4pm UK time.

3.34pm AEST

Welcome to Friday’s Fifa live blog, as voting is set to begin in a presidential election that under-siege incumbent Sepp Blatter is nonetheless expected to win handsomely.

Before that, here’s a global round-up of all the latest from the last few hours:

Brazil unrepresented at Fifa vote after Marin arrested and Del Nero flit. Football has been rotten in home of the beautiful game for years.

Our BoD met and has made the decision of voting for Prince Bin Ali Hussein as we cannot support the current political leadership of FIFA.

Continue reading…




Jürgen Klopp plans super-cool German Cup final for Borussia Dortmund farewell

The most charismatic Bundesliga coach of his generation is in line for cheers and tears if his side beat Wolfsburg in his last game in charge

On Saturday night in Berlin, Jürgen Klopp’s reign as Borussia Dortmund manager will come to a close where it effectively began, a little over seven years ago. Klopp was working as a TV pundit for the state broadcaster ZDF at the 2008 DFB Pokal final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the German capital. Sitting in the Olympic Stadium, he confided in one of the channel’s producers that he wanted to be “down there on the touchline one day”.

Back at their hotel lobby after Bayern won the German Cup 2-1 in extra time, BVB fans serenaded him with “Jürgen Klopp, you are the best man”. They wanted him to take over their club next season. The Mainz 05 coach was about to resign from his post after a failed attempt to regain promotion – he had taken the small, spendthrift club to the Bundesliga in 2004 for the first time in their history, then dropped down a division again in 2007 – but was nevertheless regarded as one of the best young managers in German football at the time.

Related: Borussia Dortmund not planning major overhaul despite loss of Klopp and co

Continue reading…




FIFA elections: What you need to know

Amid corruption charges and turmoil in the organisation, FIFA will vote in its next president on Friday at the election in Zurich. Here is a guide as Jordan's Prince Ali Bin Hussein takes on Sepp Blatter. Vivek Chaudhary »

Warriors’ Thompson better after blow to head: father

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors(Reuters) – Golden State guard Klay Thompson was recovering well from a blow to the head that caused headaches and vomiting and should be ready for the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, his father has said. Thompson suffered concussion-like symptoms after he received a knee in the head during Golden State's Western Conference-clinching victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

Warriors’ Thompson better after blow to head: father

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors(Reuters) – Golden State guard Klay Thompson was recovering well from a blow to the head that caused headaches and vomiting and should be ready for the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, his father has said. Thompson suffered concussion-like symptoms after he received a knee in the head during Golden State's Western Conference-clinching victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.