Sports shorts: Saracens face relegation, Andy Murray comeback on hold, Kane out for six months

Ten things from the world of sport on Friday 17 January

England internationals Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje are two of Saracens’s top players
England internationals Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje are two of Saracens’s top players 
(Image credit: Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images )

1.Saracens face relegation as Wray steps back

With Saracens facing the prospect of relegation from the Premiership after claims of yet more breaches of salary cap rules. The i Paper claims that former chairman Nigel Wray “has cut all formal ties with Saracens and its parent company as he courts potential investors to buy at least a 50 per cent stake in the club”. In November Sarries were deducted 35 points and fined £5.3m for breaking salary cap rules and now they face relegation from the Premiership unless they can prove compliance with the rules in the next few days.

2. Australian Open will 'start and finish on time'

The Australian Open will start and finish on time, organisers have insisted despite concerns over the air quality in Melbourne which has been affected by raging bushfires in Victoria. Conditions have improved since the start of the week, but players are still worried about that plans are in place should the smoke return. Meanwhile Britain’s Harriet Dart has booked a place in the first round after winning through qualifying in Melbourne. She will be the fourth British woman in the main draw alongside 12th seed Johanna Konta, Heather Watson and Katie Boulter

3. Andy Murray delays comeback until February

Andy Murray has delayed his latest return from injury until February. The former Wimbledon champion is battling a pelvic injury that curtailed his comeback from hip resurfacing surgery at the beginning of 2019. The Scot, 32, last played at the Davis Cup in November and will now miss tournaments in France and the Netherlands next month. He said “bone bruising” was taking longer to heal than expected and added: “I'm going to listen to my body and step back on the court to compete when the time is right.”

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4. Harry Kane 'out for six months'

Not only is England striker Harry Kane likely to miss Euro 2020 with a hamstring injury, the Spurs star may not be fit until next season, according to a leading surgeon. “Kane went under the knife on Saturday to repair a ruptured tendon in his left hamstring and the club have said they expect him to resume training in April,” reports the Daily Mirror. “However, his participation at this summer's tournament was plunged into doubt earlier this week when Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho raised the possibility of Kane not being fit until next season. And now Chris Wilson, one of the country's prominent doctors in the procedure, says he thinks it is more likely to be six months before Kane could play again.”

5. Rabada banned from fourth Test

Ben Stokes and Ollie Pope both made half centuries on the second day of the third test in Port Elizabeth after the start of play was delayed by rain. The pair’s 100-run partnership stabilised England’s innings after the tourists stumbled to 148-4 on day one. And South Africa’s mood will not have been improved by the news that fast bowler Kasigo Rabada will miss the final Test of the series next week after being punished for his aggressive celebrations after dismissing England captain Joe Root yesterday.

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6. Derby County face points deduction

Championship side Derby County could receive a points deduction after being charged over a breach of spending rules, reports The Times. It relates to the sale of their Pride Park stadium to club owner Mel Morris for £81.1m, which helped the club register a pre-tax profit of £14.6m in April. However, Derby had previously listed the stadium as having a value of £41m and an English Football League valuation reportedly said it was worth £49m. The extra £32m from the sale meant the club avoided falling foul of English Football league sustainability rules, but they have now been charged by the EFL.

7. Odell Beckham Jr wanted by police

NFL star Odell Beckham Jr is wanted by the police over a video that appears to show him slapping a security guard on the bottom. It was filmed in the changing room of his old college side Louisiana State University Tigers after they had beaten rivals Clemson in New Orleans. The Cleveland Browns wide receiver was celebrating with the team. The security guard was in the changing room after reports that players were smoking cigars. “Beckham had already been involved in a post-match controversy before the slapping incident, with LSU having contacted tournament officials about him handing out cash to players on the field,” reports Sky Sports.

8. Masoe's career over - walking a 'success'

Rugby league star Mose Masoe’s career is over after he suffered a serious spinal injury - and he may not walk again. The Hull Kingston Rovers player was hurt in a pre-season friendly against Wakefield on Sunday and underwent surgery. Head coach Tony Smith revealed that Masoe lost all feeling from the chest down after one of three artificial discs in his neck gave way in a routine collision. “This is a career-ending injury,” he said. “If Mose is able to walk, that will be a success.”

9. Jamie Roberts heads to South Africa

Former Wales and British Lions centre Jamie Roberts has left Bath to play for the South African Super Rugby side Stormers in Cape Town. The 33-year-old won the last of his 94 Wales caps in November 2017 against New Zealand and has been overlooked by new coach Wayne Pivac, who did not name him in his Six Nations squad. Roberts has signed a five-month deal that will also see him act as a mentor for the South African side, captained by World Cup winner Siya Kolisi.

10. Goalkeeper threatens to walk off over sexist abuse

Crystal Palace Women goalkeeper Lucy Gillett claims she was subjected to sexist abuse and body-shaming during Sunday’s Championship game at Coventry United, and says she would probably walk off the pitch if targeted again, reports the Daily Telegraph. The 25-year-old said that “a group of about eight men, a couple of feet behind the goal, just abused me for 45 minutes” during her side’s 3-2 defeat. They also reportedly urged the referee to check the gender of several of her team-mates.

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