High Flying Bird shows athletes are more powerless and powerful than they know

Steven Soderbergh’s basketball drama probes the fraying covenant between white power brokers and their mostly black labor forceSteven Soderbergh’s High Flying Bird, written by the playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney and available for streaming on Netflix, is the finest movie ever made about the business of professional sports, not for the answers it purports to give about a billion-dollar industry charged by undercurrents of race and politics but the questions it asks. Related: High Flying Bird review – Soderbergh scales new heights on Netflix Continue reading...



Olivier Giroud’s backheel helps Chelsea see out first-leg win in Malmö

European competition has offered Maurizio Sarri some respite. Chelsea may not have dazzled in southern Sweden, and the Italian was infuriated by the late concession that has left the tie more delicately balanced than he would have hoped. But, in the context of the wounds inflicted recently on his team at Arsenal, Bournemouth and Manchester City, any victory away from home, however workmanlike, is to be cherished.Malmö’s late reward, taken neatly on the gallop by Anders Christiansen as he burst away from Mateo Kovacic and on to Markus Rosenberg’s pass, will pep Swedish belief in next week’s return leg. Sarri was still cursing that collective sloppiness when, in stoppage time, Ross Barkley was caught in possession and the home fans briefly, tantalisingly, even sensed they might pull level. That opportunity was snuffed out by a mess of yellow-shirted bodies, though the head coach, a man on edge, made his exasperation very clear. Continue reading...



Chris Smalling says Manchester United are once again a team to be feared

• Defender says team playing their best since Alex Ferguson era• United away to Chelsea in FA Cup on MondayChris Smalling can draw on his own challenging childhood when talking to the pupils of Salford City Academy. He is there as the new patron of Football Beyond Borders, a charity that hopes to provide stability and hope for disadvantaged youngsters. Smalling’s glittering career shows how difficult beginnings can be overcome. The 29-year-old lost his father as a child and was raised on a council estate, the family requiring social security. Related: Kylian Mbappé’s teleportation device leaves Manchester United floundering | Barney Ronay Continue reading...



Presenting Percy to miss prep race and may go straight into Gold Cup

• Trainer Pat Kelly opts against running in chase at Gowran• Owner Philip Reynolds says they are ‘happy with where he is’Presenting Percy could go straight to the Cheltenham Gold Cup after connections of the talented but rarely spotted animal decided against the prep run that had been planned for him on Saturday. That raises the extraordinary possibility of a horse starting favourite for the Gold Cup despite not having raced over fences for a full year.Horses have won major races after injury-plagued preparations, restricted them to rare appearances at the track but it is something new for a young, reportedly healthy and top-class chaser to be campaigned so sparingly. There was no public comment from his Athenry-based trainer, Pat Kelly, and the only available explanation came from Presenting Percy’s owner, Philip Reynolds. Continue reading...



Hakeem al-Araibi arrives home in Melbourne – video

Former Socceroo Craig Foster welcomes home refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi at Melbourne airport, where he is greeted by an enthusiastic throng. Al-Araibi was released from prison in Bangkok after a Thai court dropped Bahrain's deportation case that would have sent him back to his native country, where he says he was tortured Continue reading...



Reece Prescod tones down social life in quest for world championship gold

Sprinter has stopped going out at nights and replaced house music with reading to prepare for the worlds in SeptemberReece Prescod is as disarmingly honest as he is dizzingly fast. So when the 22-year-old is asked whether he ever feels a devil on his shoulder trying to distract him from becoming the world’s best sprinter, he smiles, says “Yeah, yeah, 100%” and then adds bluntly: “To me there is no point in going on a night out if you are going to be half-hearted. If I am going out, I go full sesh.”Full sesh, it turns out, is a few drinks at a meal, followed by a few more afterwards and staying out until the small hours – which is hardly ideal when one’s intention is to win Olympic 100m gold in Tokyo. But Prescod says in recent months he has changed; these days he is scanning the bigger picture, not chasing short-term pleasures. Continue reading...



Sport on the BBC: Best of this week's TV & radio coverage

This week's sport on the BBC includes snooker's Welsh Open, Premier League football and the Alpine Ski World Championships, plus much more.



Sports quiz of the week: a birthday present, a record and a whiskey cup

Who wants a miracle? Who needs a drink? Who ran the world?What did Susannah Gill achieve in 24 hours, 19 minutes and nine seconds?She rowed from Botany Bay to Belfast She cycled from Asia to AfricaShe ran seven marathons across seven continents in seven daysShe swam from England to FranceNeymar celebrated his 27th birthday this week. In his speech at his party, what did the PSG forward say he wanted as a present?For his teammates “to stop losing without me” To move back to Spain A new metatarsal To become “the Tom Brady of soccer”Where is the Centenary Quaich being contested this weekend?DublinEdinburghLondon Chicago53% of households in New Orleans watched the Super Bowl last year. Why did that figure fall to 26% this year?People listened to the radio instead as Barack Obama was doing guest commentary Fans boycotted because a dubious refereeing decision ruled out their team Donald Trump was in the city so people were out protesting The main broadcast company mistakenly sold rights to New Zealand rather than New OrleansIn which of these leagues has one of the teams not lost yet this season?Bundesliga La Liga Ligue 1 Premier League Serie AAnd which league has a team who have not drawn a game yet this season?BundesligaLa Liga Ligue 1Premier League Serie A What world record did golfer James Nitties equal this week at the Vic Open in Australia?He went 18 straight tournaments without dropping a shot He hit nine birdies in a row He missed the cut at a tournament for the 21st time in a row He lost 10 balls on one roundWhy did Newport County goalkeeper Joe Day sprint off the pitch at the final whistle after his team had beaten Middlesbrough in the FA Cup?To brush his hair and "look smart" for the post-match interviewsHe was “absolutely busting for a number two”He is a Middlesbrough fan and “felt a bit teary”To see his partner, who was in labourDulwich Hamlet signed Simon Bloch Jørgensen this week. What makes Jørgensen stand out?He plays as a goalkeeper but refuses to wear gloves He is the tallest professional footballer playing in EnglandHe wears glasses while playing He insists on wearing a shirt with no branding or sponsorship PSG play Manchester United in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Which of these footballers has not played for both teams?Gabriel Heinze Ángel Di María Zlatan Ibrahimovic Ray Wilkins Laurent Blanc David Beckham It’s the Madrid derby this weekend, which pits Diego Simeone against Santiago Solari, the sixth different Real Madrid manager he has faced while in charge of Atlético. Who did Simeone face in his first Madrid derby as a manager?Rafa BenítezFabio Capello José MourinhoCarlo AncelottiWhich of the last-16 ties features two clubs that have won the competition three times in a row?Manchester United v PSGAtlético Madrid v JuventusLiverpool v Bayern MunichAjax v Real Madrid 11 and above.You've done very well there. Good work. Have a super weekend12 and above.You've done very, very well there. Good work. Have a super weekend1 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun2 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun3 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun4 and above.You've done OK there. Not great but certainly OK5 and above.You've done OK there. Not great but certainly OK6 and above.You've done OK there. Not great but certainly OK7 and above.You've done well there. Good work. Have a super weekend8 and above.You've done well there. Good work. Have a super weekend9 and above.You've done well there. Good work. Have a super weekend0 and above.It's not a good score but fret not. It's a Friday. Go forth and have fun10 and above.You've done very well there. Good work. Have a super weekend Continue reading...



Harry Wilson: ‘Ian Rush phoned. I thought what do I call him? Ian? Rushy?’

The Liverpool winger, on loan at Derby, talks about that five-fingered goal celebration at Manchester United and his surprise Wales debut at 16In October 2013, Harry Wilson was having a lie-in, watching television in bed in academy digs in Eccleston, round the corner from Liverpool’s academy in Kirkby, when his phone rang again. He had already missed a couple of calls from an unknown number. “I don’t usually answer them but something told me to answer it, so I answered it and it was Ian Rush,” Wilson explains, smiling. “He was like: ‘Hiya Harry, it’s Ian Rush.’ I was like: ‘What do I call him? Do I call him Ian? Do I call him Rushy?’ I didn’t really know what to call him.” Related: FA Cup fifth round: 10 things to look out for this weekend Continue reading...



'Rugby's like a chessboard with 120kg pieces' - how virtual reality could transform training

Painstaking research, virtual reality and holding the tackle bags in training... an insight into how a top rugby analyst operates.



FA Cup fifth round: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Swansea trying to find an on-field distraction, a striker searching for goals and a potential shock at NewportManchester United have lost five times to Chelsea in the FA Cup and the last of United’s eight Cup victories over the Blues came almost exactly two decades ago, in the 1999 quarter-finals, when Ole Gunnar Solskjær was in the team. Within the next month Solskjær’s side will play key games against Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal away from home and against Liverpool at Old Trafford, with the period ending with either a home match with Manchester City in the league, an FA Cup quarter-final or a few days off, depending on results here and at Newport County this weekend. By its end we will know if the Solskjaer Bounce was just a temporary elevation or whether the genial Norwegian has successfully coaxed this previously pedestrian team into taking flight. The first match of the run, against PSG, brought something of a reality check and also a couple of unwelcome injuries, with Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial both limping off, which may force Solskjaer into some fixture prioritisation. It will be interesting to see where this one ranks, given United’s chances of silverware this season almost certainly hinge on it. SB Continue reading...



Super League v NRL: is the northern hemisphere bridging the gap? | Aaron Bower

As Wigan take on the Roosters in the World Club Challenge, Super League needs to demonstrate the English game’s healthIt is said that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and never has that mantra been more applicable to a sporting event than in rugby league’s World Club Challenge. Of the 26 previous versions of the event to determine the best club side in the sport – dating back to the inaugural unofficial clash between Sydney and St Helens in 1976 – there have been more tweaks and changes than most league fans would care to remember.From the ill-fated, expanded 1997 edition, in which British clubs performed disastrously amid millions of dollars’ worth of losses, to the short-lived World Club Series of recent seasons, the format has never discovered its panacea. The purported disparity between the sport’s two elite competitions, Super League and the NRL, has long been cited as the reason why the competition has never properly taken off but, as Wigan prepare to host the Roosters on Sunday in the latest instalment, just how big is the gap between the two? Continue reading...



Chess: Guildford’s six-year 4NCL unbeaten run threatened by Manx

Surrey club’s record unbeaten run is threatened by the newcomers who have climbed rapidly from the third tierThe all-conquering Guildford team in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) are winning match after match but their manager is already planning well ahead to the showdown with a fresh and dangerous challenger at the final league weekend in early May.Guildford’s record unbeaten run, which stands at 70 wins and two draws stretching over more than six years, is threatened by promoted chesscom.Manx Liberty, whose squad is packed with seasoned grandmasters and bankrolled by a leading global chess website. Continue reading...



FA Cup: QPR's Toni Leistner misses a golden chance against Watford

Toni Leistner misses a golden chance for QPR late in the game as they lose 1-0 to Watford in the FA Cup fifth round at Loftus Road.



Soccer and soju: The football match that kicked off Korean peace

How a friendly chat on the sidelines opened the door for North and South Korea to start talking.



The Fiver | Unfit to face inferior players who have hardly run a lap since Christmas

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now!Buoyed, cheered and generally heartened by the sight of Tottenham Hotspur piling some Big Cup hurt on German league leaders Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night, Arsenal fans can look forward to some fun of their own when their team goes toe to toe with the works team of a tractor factory in Belarus tonight in Euro Vase. Bate Borisov are the opposition in the first knockout round and while most of their players are unknown outside their native country, there will at least be one recognisable face among the ranks. Continue reading...