Australian court to publish reasons for dismissing Djokovic challenge on Jan 20

The reasons will be read out in court by Chief Justice James Allsop, viewable online, a court spokesperson said. (File/AFP)
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Updated 19 January 2022

Australian court to publish reasons for dismissing Djokovic challenge on Jan 20

  • Djokovic was deported from Australia on Sunday night, just hours after the court dismissed his effort to stay in the country to play at the Australian Open

MELBOURNE: The Federal Court of Australia will publish reasons for its dismissal of tennis star Novak Djokovic’s challenge to the cancelation of his visa on Thursday at 0515 GMT, the court said.
The reasons will be read out in court by Chief Justice James Allsop in a session streamed live online, a court spokesperson said.
Djokovic was deported from Australia on Sunday night, just hours after the court dismissed his effort to stay in the country to play at the Australian Open, where he hoped to win a record 21st major title.
The year’s first Grand Slam tournament began on Monday.
His departure ended an 11-day rollercoaster following the cancelation of his visa on arrival for not having a proper medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
His saga has stoked global debate over the rights of people who opt not to get vaccinated as governments look to protect the community from the coronavirus pandemic.
Djokovic was held in an immigration detention hotel for several days until a court reinstated his visa on the grounds that he had been treated unfairly at the airport.
Late last Friday the government canceled his visa again on the grounds that he might foster anti-vaccination sentiment if he was allowed to stay. Djokovic challenged the cancelation on the grounds the minister had acted irrationally, but the court dismissed the case.


Salah staying at Liverpool ‘for sure’ next season

Updated 1 min 10 sec ago

Salah staying at Liverpool ‘for sure’ next season

LIVERPOOL: Mohamed Salah has confirmed he will see out his contract at Liverpool next season, but the Egypt forward remains non-committal on his future at Anfield beyond 2023.
Salah’s contract expires at the end of next season and talks over a new deal have dragged on for months without a resolution.
However, ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final against Real Madrid, Salah said his full focus is on winning the biggest prize in European football for the second time.
“I don’t want to talk about the contract. I’m staying next season for sure, let’s see after that,” said Salah at Liverpool’s pre-match media day on Wednesday.
“In my mind I don’t focus about the contract. I don’t want to be selfish, it’s about the team. It’s a really important week for us, I want to see Hendo (Jordan Henderson) having the trophy again in his hands.”
Salah’s fellow forward Sadio Mane also refused to commit his long-term future to Liverpool.
Senegal international Mane is out of contract in 2023 and has been linked with a move to Bayern Munich.
“This question (about my future) I will answer after Champions League,” Mane told Sky Sports.
“If I’m staying or not, I’m going to answer after Champions League.”

Boehly’s Chelsea takeover puts US tycoon in spotlight

Updated 46 min ago

Boehly’s Chelsea takeover puts US tycoon in spotlight

  • The American has grand ambitions for the west London club as he targets sustained success on the pitch and financial growth off it
  • The Premier League's global brand is a key driver of Boehly's interest

LONDON: Todd Boehly’s consortium has secured Chelsea’s future but the hard work is just beginning for the latest American billionaire to be lured by the promise of Premier League riches.
Boehly’s group has received the approval from the British government and Premier League required to seal the £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) deal.
Having masterminded the purchase from Roman Abramovich in less than three months despite numerous complications due to government sanctions targeting the Russian, Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Boehly will now focus on reaping the rewards of his labors.
The American has grand ambitions for the west London club as he targets sustained success on the pitch and financial growth off it.
Discussing a previous attempt to purchase Chelsea that was rebuffed, Boehly told Bloomberg in 2019: “What you are trying to build with these teams, you are really trying to A, win and B, be part of the community.”
The Premier League’s global brand is a key driver of Boehly’s interest as it provides the opportunity to benefit from significant broadcast revenues and merchandising.
“It’s the highest-quality play, it’s the best players,” Boehly said. “You also have a media market that’s just developing.”
Some football financial analysts believe leading Premier League clubs could be worth more than £10 billion within a decade.
California investment group Clearlake will be Chelsea’s majority shareholder as part of the consortium, with Boehly becoming controlling owner.
While the consortium is clearly motivated by guaranteeing a return on their investment, Boehly would be wise to learn from the experiences of his fellow American owners at Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal.
John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group has steered Liverpool back to the top of the game with a series of smart moves, crucially landing boss Jurgen Klopp, surrounding him with innovative lieutenants and providing the backing required to land his transfer targets.
In contrast, Manchester United owners the Glazer family and Arsenal’s Stan Kroenke have endured furious fan protests after presiding over precipitous declines in their clubs’ fortunes.
Chelsea have a solid foundation thanks to the sterling work of boss Thomas Tuchel, who won the Champions League in his first season and this campaign secured a third-place finish in the Premier League while reaching two domestic cup finals despite the distractions of the sale saga.
Significantly, Boehly already has institutional knowledge of what it takes to grow a club’s brand, while putting out a winning team.
He was a key member of the ownership group that bought the Los Angeles Dodgers from Frank McCourt in 2012 for $2 billion — then a record for a North American sports team acquisition.
In the decade since Guggenheim Baseball Management — the investment group that also includes Mark Walter and Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson — took over a Dodgers team in disarray, the club have become perennial contenders.
They reached the World Series three times in four years, coming away empty-handed in 2017 and 2018 before winning the title in 2020.
The turnaround, along with the revitalization of Dodger Stadium, was fueled by a multi-million-dollar media deal and, under Boehly and his co-investors, the Dodgers have eclipsed the New York Yankees as the biggest-spending club in MLB.
“There is only one Dodgers,” Boehly said at the time of the purchase. “It’s not, ‘Oh well, if you don’t get this one, you can go get that one.’“
Boehly left Guggenheim Partners in 2015 and co-founded the holding company Eldridge Industries, of which he is the chairman and chief executive.
He is also chairman of Security Benefit, which has a commercial partnership with the Dodgers, and MRC, an entertainment company with businesses spanning film, TV, media and data.
Boehly has also expanded his sports interests. He is a part-owner of the Women’s National Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Sparks and last year joined with Walter to purchase a stake in the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers.
In recent weeks, Boehly has been able to attend matches at Stamford Bridge, both in the directors’ box and also mixing in the stands among supporters.
The laid-back American appears to have the common touch, but emulating the sustained success of the Abramovich era — with 19 major trophies in 19 years — will be the true test of Chelsea’s new regime.


Murray says Wimbledon ‘will never be an exhibition’

Updated 25 May 2022

Murray says Wimbledon ‘will never be an exhibition’

  • Former world number one Naomi Osaka has revealed she is "leaning towards not playing" Wimbledon
  • Defending champion Novak Djokovic said he will play despite losing 2,000 points

LONDON: Two-time former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray said Wednesday the tournament “will never feel like an exhibition” despite it being stripped of ranking points over the ban on Russian and Belarusian players.
The decision by the ATP and WTA to remove the sport’s most prestigious tournament of ranking points has prompted some players to say they may skip Wimbledon, the year’s third Grand Slam.
“I’d hazard a guess that most people watching on center court Wimbledon in a few weeks’ time wouldn’t know or care about how many ranking points a player gets for winning a 3rd round match,” tweeted Murray.
“But I guarantee they will remember who wins. Wimbledon will never be an exhibition and will never feel like an exhibition.”
Former world number one Naomi Osaka has revealed she is “leaning toward not playing” Wimbledon while defending champion Novak Djokovic said he will play despite losing 2,000 points.
But Djokovic described it as a “lose-lose situation,” and the controversy has showed no signs of abating, with several players at the ongoing French Open likening Wimbledon to a high-profile exhibition event this year.
“I follow golf very closely and have no idea how many ranking points the winner of the Masters gets,” said Murray, who opted to miss the French Open to prepare for the grass-court season.
“Me and my friends love football and none of us know or care how many ranking points a team gets for winning the FIFA World Cup.
“But I could tell you exactly who won the World Cup and the Masters.”

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UK govt approves sale of Chelsea by sanctioned Abramovich

Abramovich was sanctioned over his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin. (File/AFP)
Updated 25 May 2022

UK govt approves sale of Chelsea by sanctioned Abramovich

  • Abramovich was sanctioned over his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin
  • Chelsea has been operating under a government license since Abramovich’s assets were frozen in March and it expires on May 31

LONDON: Roman Abramovich’s 19 years as Chelsea owner is closer to ending after the British government approved the sale of the Premier League club by the sanctioned Russian oligarch to a consortium fronted by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly.
The government had to be sure that Abramovich, who was sanctioned over his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, did not profit from the enforced sale of the club that his investment turned into one of the most successful in European football.
The reigning FIFA Club World Cup winners and 2021 European champions will be sold for 2.5 billion pounds ($3.1 billion) — the highest price ever for a sports team — once Premier League approval is granted.
Chelsea has been operating under a government license since Abramovich’s assets were frozen in March and it expires on May 31.
“Following extensive work, we are now satisfied that the full proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or any other sanctioned individual,” the British government said in a statement released Wednesday. “We will now begin the process of ensuring the proceeds of the sale are used for humanitarian causes in Ukraine, supporting victims of the war.
“The steps today will secure the future of this important cultural asset and protect fans and the wider football community.”
It was a hotly-contested sale process following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine three months ago and Boehly’s group had to guarantee 1.75 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) of investment in the team to be chosen as the new owners.
Chelsea had already agreed earlier this month to a deal with the consortium that features Boehly along with Dodgers principal owner Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, and funding from private equity firm Clearlake Capital.
Chelsea fans have become accustomed to lavish funding in the 19 years under Abramovich’s ownership, with more than $1 billion net spending on players who have helped the men’s team win 21 trophies.
Abramovich, who has not condemned the war, has said he would write off loans of more than 1.5 billion pounds ($1.9 billion) to Chelsea but that has been complicated by the sanctions put in place by the British government.
Chelsea’s ability to sell match tickets and commit to new player spending has been curbed by the sanctions.
The certainty is that Chelsea will be playing in the Champions League next season after finishing third in the Premier League last Sunday despite the off-field turmoil. The women’s team won a league and cup double with a squad funded by Abramovich’s investment.
Chelsea had won the men’s championship only once — in 1955 — when Abramovich bought the club in 2003. Helped by expensive signings, the club won the Premier League two years later and has added four more since then, most recently in 2017.
Investment is needed in Stamford Bridge. Chelsea has the smallest and most dated stadium of the Premier League’s most successful clubs, with plans for a rebuild of the 41,000-capacity venue put on hold by Abramovich in 2018 when British-Russian diplomatic tensions deepened.
The $3.1 billion cost of Chelsea eclipses the $2.3 billion paid in 2018 for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
As well as being part owner of the MLB’s Dodgers, Boehly also has minority stakes in the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.


Premier League approve Boehly’s takeover of Chelsea

Updated 24 May 2022

Premier League approve Boehly’s takeover of Chelsea

  • A consortium led by Todd Boehly, a co-owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, had already agreed a record £4.25bn deal to buy the club from Roman Abramovich
  • Russian billionaire Abramovich put Chelsea on the market just before he was sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

LONDON: Todd Boehly’s proposed takeover of Chelsea moved a step closer to completion on Tuesday when the Premier League board announced it had approved his purchase of the London club in a deal that could yet be finalized later in the day.
A consortium led by Boehly, a co-owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, had already agreed a record £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) deal to buy the Premier League club from owner Roman Abramovich on May 7.
And a Premier League statement said Tuesday: “The Premier League Board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Consortium.
“The purchase remains subject to the (British) Government issuing the required sale license and the satisfactory completion of the final stages of the transaction.”
Officials would like everything to be wrapped up on Tuesday so Chelsea can meet all registration deadlines for next season’s competitions, with an unnamed Government source telling Britain’s Press Association: “We now believe everyone will be ready to issue the necessary licenses.
“The last remaining hurdle boils down to a number of final technical details that are being discussed with the club. It’s going to go down to the wire.”
Russian billionaire Abramovich put Chelsea on the market in early March, just before he was sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Completing the purchase has been a lengthy process due to government concerns over the potential for Abramovich to profit from the sale.
The total value of the deal smashes the previous record for the sale of a sports team — $2.4 billion for the New York Mets baseball franchise in 2020.
There had been fears the takeover would collapse because of the £1.5 billion debt owed by Chelsea’s parent company, Fordstam Ltd, to Camberley International Investments, a Jersey-based company with suspected links to Abramovich.
Abramovich, who has said he has not asked for his loan to be repaid, is understood to have provided confirmation to the government that his associate, Demetris Ioannides, has resigned from the trust owning Camberley International.
Earlier on Tuesday, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the government were working with Chelsea and also holding “intense discussions with the relevant international partners” to get the deal done.
“We want to get this process done as soon as possible while also ensuring the sanctions regime is protected, but we will say more on this as soon as we possibly can,” the spokesman also said.
The Premier League statement added: “The board has applied the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test (OADT) to all prospective directors, and undertaken the necessary due diligence.
“The members of the Consortium purchasing the club are affiliates of the Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., Todd Boehly, Hansjorg Wyss and Mark Walter.
“Chelsea FC will now work with the relevant governments to secure the necessary licenses to complete the takeover.”
Chelsea have been forced to operate under a special license from the UK government since Abramovich, who bought the club in 2003, was sanctioned.
Under the terms of the license, Chelsea were unable to offer new contracts to existing players or sign players from other clubs.
The sale of the European champions brings the curtain down on 19 years of nearly unbroken success under the 55-year-old Abramovich, who has overseen five Premier League titles and two Champions League triumphs.
Chelsea finished third in the 2021/22 Premier League season completed Sunday and so gained a place in Europe’s Champions League, the continent’s leading club football competition.
The Blues also reached the finals of English football’s League Cup and FA Cup, only to lose both matches to Liverpool in penalty shoot-outs.