England's travelling party for the Ashes will not benefit from any "special deals" regarding quarantine rules when they arrive in Australia, according to the country's prime minister Scott Morrison.

The first Test of England's tour of Australia begins on December 8, though it has been reported that a host of players are considering withdrawing from travelling.

This would be due to the strict COVID-19 protocols in place for travellers arriving in Australia, with new arrivals having to undergo a mandatory isolation period in a hotel.

Earlier this year, tennis stars such as Novak Djokovic had to spend up to two weeks in their hotel rooms prior to taking part in the Australian Open.

Australia do plan to ease those restrictions for fully vaccinated travellers, but only once 80 per cent of the nation's adult population have received both doses.

Prime minister Morrison says that figure will hit 50 per cent this week, while he discussed the matter with United Kingdom counterpart Boris Johnson in Washington D.C.

However, he insisted England's squad would have no special arrangements made for them.

"I would love to see the Ashes go ahead, as I shared with Boris last night," Morrison said, as reported by BBC Sport.

"But there's no special deals there, because what we're looking to have is vaccinated people being able to travel.

"I don't see a great deal of difference in skilled workers or students who will be able to come to Australia when you reach those vaccination rates.

"Those who are coming for that purpose when it comes to their profession, which is playing cricket, I don't see the difference between that and someone who's coming as a skilled, qualified engineer or someone who's coming to be ready for study."

Cricket Australia is set to provide details around the travel and quarantine arrangements for the tour to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) this week. 

England players will then be able to make decisions on whether they wish to be included in. the squad, which will be announced in early October. 

Prime minister Johnson said: "I raised it and he said he was going to do his best for the families. He merely undertook to come back and see if he could find a solution."

A Sunrisers Hyderabad player has tested positive for COVID-19 and six close contacts are isolating, but their Indian Premier League clash with Delhi Capitals will go ahead.

An IPL statement confirmed on Wednesday that India bowler Thangarasu Natarajan had returned a positive PCR test result and had isolated himself from the rest of the Sunrisers squad.

While Natarajan was asymptomatic, six close contacts were identified by the team's medical staff, including India international Vijay Shankar, team manager Vijay Kumar, a physiotherapist, a team doctor, the logistics manager and net bowler Periyasamy Ganesan.

However, further PCR tests conducted on the rest of the squad and staff early on Wednesday all returned negative results, meaning the match against the Capitals will go ahead in Dubai.

The IPL has restarted this week after it was brought to a halt in May due to a rise in COVID-19 cases across India, with the tournament subsequently suspended and relocated to the United Arab Emirates for the rest of the 2021 season.

Juventus revealed annual losses of €209.9million as the Italian giants defended their involvement at the forefront of the failed European Super League project.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic saw income plummet for the Serie A club during the 2020-21 financial year, Juventus said on Friday.

Juventus said it had covered the losses with its share premium reserve, meaning the club's overall net debt stood at €389.2million, just €4million higher than at the end of the previous year.

The Turin club had reported annual losses of €89.7million for 2019-20, and the club said it estimated "direct and indirect adverse effects" of the pandemic from March 2020 to June 2022 to amount to €320milion, based on an assumption that economic normality would steadily resume.

Juventus, who expect to post " a significant loss" for 2021-22, said the club's board had "decided to start the process for a capital increase of up to €400million, including any share premium, to be offered to the company’s shareholders".

Since the end of the last financial year, Juventus have allowed star forward Cristiano Ronaldo to leave the club for Manchester United, collecting a transfer fee and saving significant sums on his salary.

Together with Barcelona and Real Madrid, Juventus have continued to back proposals for a Super League, despite widespread opposition to the scheme when it was revealed in April.

Where most clubs backed away from the project within days amid a wave of criticism, including the six English Premier League clubs involved, Juventus remain apparently keen for it to get off the ground.

Club chairman Andrea Agnelli was a prime figure behind bringing the concept together and Juventus included a section in their financial statement, in which they stood by their belief in the "legitmacy" of such a league.

The club described the Super League as an "alternative to the UEFA competitions but not to national leagues and cups".

The Juventus statement said: "As at today, it is not possible to predict with certainty the outcome and future development of the Super League project, of the legitimacy of which Juventus remains confident."

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is working with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to reschedule the fifth Test after it was called off due to coronavirus fears.

The final match in the series at Old Trafford, which India lead 2-1, was cancelled a little over two hours before the first day of action was due to begin at 11:00 BST as India felt they were unable to field a team.

India head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for COVID-19 during the fourth Test victory at The Oval and has been isolating along with backroom staff members Bharat Arun, R Sridhar and Nitin Patel.

Another member of the tourists' camp, reported to be a junior physio, was next to test positive on Thursday, forcing India to cancel their training session on the eve of the match 

Despite each member of the India squad returning negative PCR tests on Thursday, the decision was taken to call off the fifth Test to prevent the respiratory disease from further spreading.

In a statement published on Friday, the ECB initially said that India had forfeited the Test and the series was therefore drawn at 2-2, but they later clarified that was not the case.

The BCCI has now stated the call to cancel the contest was a joint decision and the governing body is working closely with the ECB to find a window to reschedule the final Test.

"The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) along with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have jointly decided to call off the fifth Test match scheduled at Manchester in India's tour of England 2021," the statement read.

"The BCCI and ECB held several rounds of discussion to find a way to play the Test match, however, the outbreak of Covid-19 in the Indian team contingent forced the decision of calling off the Old Trafford Test match.

"In lieu of the strong relationship between BCCI and ECB, the BCCI has offered to ECB a rescheduling of the cancelled Test match. Both the Boards will work towards finding a window to reschedule this Test match.

"The BCCI has always maintained that the safety and well-being of the players is of paramount importance and there will be no compromise on that aspect. 

"The BCCI would like to thank the ECB for their co-operation and understanding in these trying times. We would like to apologise to the fans for not being able to complete an enthralling series."

Any prospect of rescheduling the match during the current tour seems unlikely as the Indian Premier League resumes in the United Arab Emirates on September 19.

England are already due to host India next year across three T20Is and three ODIs, including a T20 fixture in Manchester on July 1.

The fifth Test between England and India at Old Trafford has been called off due to fears of rising coronavirus cases in the tourists' camp.

The start of the final match in the series had been in doubt after India cancelled a practice session on Thursday as a result of a member of their support staff testing positive for COVID-19.

England had been hopeful of the contest, which was due to begin at 11:00BST on Friday, going ahead as planned.

But after talks between the England and Wales Cricket (ECB) board and their Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) counterparts, the match has been cancelled.

"Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth LV= Insurance Test between England and India men due to start today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be cancelled," an ECB statement read.

"Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team.

"We send our sincere apologies to fans and partners for this news, which we know will cause immense disappointment and inconvenience to many."

The statement initially said India had forfeited the final Test and the series was drawn at 2-2, but that was later removed.

India head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for coronavirus ahead of last week's 157-run win at The Oval, which gave his side a 2-1 lead in the five-Test series, while bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physio Nitin Patel isolated as a precautionary measure.

The overall number of positive cases climbed this week after another backroom staff member, reported to be a junior physio, also contracted the respiratory disease.

The entire India squad returned negative PCR Tests on Thursday, though any hopes of rescheduling the match appear unlikely given the start of the Indian Premier League on September 19, four days after the England series was due to finish.

The fifth Test between England and India at Old Trafford has been called off due to concerns over rising number of coronavirus cases in the tourists' camp.

The start of the final match in the series had been in doubt after India cancelled a practice session on Thursday as a result of a member of their support staff testing positive for COVID-19.

England had been hopeful of the contest, which was due to begin at 11:00BST on Friday, going ahead as planned.

But after talks between the England and Wales Cricket (ECB) board and their Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) counterparts, the match has been cancelled.

"Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth LV= Insurance Test between England and India men due to start today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be cancelled," an ECB statement read.

"Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team.

"We send our sincere apologies to fans and partners for this news, which we know will cause immense disappointment and inconvenience to many."

India head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for coronavirus ahead of last week's 157-run win at The Oval, which gave his side a 2-1 lead in the five-Test series, while bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physio Nitin Patel isolated as a precautionary measure.

The overall number of positive cases climbed this week after another backroom staff member, reported to be a junior physio, also contracted the respiratory disease.

The entire India squad returned negative PCR Tests on Thursday, though it has been reported that some players raised concerns around leaving the United Kingdom ahead of the start of the Indian Premier League on September 19, four days after the England series was due to finish.

The fifth Test between England and India at Old Trafford has been called off due to concerns over rising number of coronavirus cases in the tourists' camp.

The start of the final match in the series had been in doubt after India cancelled a practice session on Thursday as a result of a member of their support staff testing positive for COVID-19.

Jos Buttler said England have their "fingers crossed" that the fifth Test against India will go ahead at Old Trafford after the tourists were hit by a new COVID-19 case.

A member of India's support staff, reported by the Times of India to be a junior physio, has tested positive for coronavirus, and the team did not appear for a net session or hold a news conference on Thursday.

On the eve of the match, the last in a series in which India hold a 2-1 lead, it remained to be seen whether there could be an issue with it going ahead as scheduled.

India do not want to concede the match, yet this is the latest case in their camp, after head coach Ravi Shastri and two members of his staff also tested positive and were sidelined during the fourth Test at The Oval.

England wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler said: "At present we're fully expecting the game to go ahead. We're preparing to play tomorrow and fingers crossed the game will go ahead.

"Things are all fine in our camp and we trained well this morning so, hopefully, we're looking forward to the game tomorrow."

The Oval defeat for England came as India carved through the hosts' batting line-up on the final day, reducing them from 100-0 to 210 all out, earning a 157-run success.

"It was a fantastic Test match for the neutrals," said Buttler, who missed the game as his wife gave birth. "The team played some brilliant cricket for large parts of that game but couldn't quite get it done.

"As a group we're determined to win this Test match and level this series. Spirits are high and so it's one last big push this summer for a must-win game for us."

England have a proud Old Trafford record against India to defend, having never lost in the nine matches the teams have contested at the ground. England have four wins and five draws in their head-to-head, winning by an innings and 54 runs when the teams last played in Manchester, in August 2014.

An Old Trafford draw in 1990 featured the first Test century of Sachin Tendulkar's stellar career, the then 17-year-old making 119 not out in the fourth innings of the contest.

 

BUTTLER SEES ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Buttler made a Test ton against India at Trent Bridge three years ago, and a return to that level of form would be welcome after a run of low scores, with 25 his highest across five Test innings in this series.

"I haven't played my best by a long stretch," Buttler said. "I think I've felt like that the whole season. It's on yourself as a player to put the work in, to train hard and make some runs.

"I've been working hard on that and that's the challenge of the game: can you do the work to give yourself the best chance to perform in the middle?"

For the Lancashire player, home advantage may help in the coming days.

ANDERSON COULD TAKE CENTRE STAGE

Another player relishing the chance to shine at his county ground will be James Anderson, England's evergreen paceman.

The 39-year-old has 15 wickets at an average of 24.66 so far in this series, and Buttler is confident Anderson and fellow quick Ollie Robinson will be raring to go after a heavy Oval workload.

"They've bowled a lot of overs and bowled fantastically well," said Buttler. "They've rightfully taken rest in the few days since the last game.

"But they seem to be pulling up well. Jimmy is a fantastically fit guy who looks after himself and Ollie's exactly the same. Fingers crossed they'll both be in good shape and available for selection."

Robinson has a series-high 21 wickets at 21.33, and his contribution could be important as England target a fourth straight win in Tests at Old Trafford. 

The last and only time they enjoyed a longer winning run at the venue was a four-match span from July 2006 to June 2010. England have not lost consecutive home Tests against India since June 1986, which was the first time that had occurred.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– India last won a Test series against England, in England, in 2007. To deny them, England will be chasing a win that would be their 50th in men's Tests against India. They have passed that landmark against three other Test teams previously: 110 wins against Australia, 64 against South Africa and 51 against West Indies.

– England have not lost back-to-back men's home Tests since July 2008, when South Africa were the opposition.

– India captain Virat Kohli is 40 away from becoming the fifth player to score 2,000 runs in men's Tests between England and India (Tendulkar – 2,535, Sunil Gavaskar – 2,483, Alastair Cook – 2,431 and Joe Root – 2,353); however, Kohli's Test batting average (43.6) against England is his second lowest against any country (43.3 v West Indies).

– England skipper Root (1,455 in 2021) is 27 away from recording the most runs in men's Tests by an England player in a calendar year (Michael Vaughan – 1,481 in 2002).

Japan will no longer host the 2021 Club World Cup due to ongoing problems with coronavirus.

After hosting the 2020 Olympics, Japan were set to put on the international club football tournament – usually held in December – but have decided to relinquish its right to the event after discussions with FIFA.

The Japan Football Association (JFA) were preparing to stage the competition for the first time in five years, but with coronavirus-related issues still lingering fears grew as to whether the decision would be profitable.

According to Japanese outlet Kyodo News Agency, the JFA chief executive Kiyotaka Suhara revealed the decision in a virtual press conference following a board meeting on Thursday.

Suhara explained "we had to make a decision at this time", and the news follows on from the JFA president Kozo Tashima claiming that the federation had to "dip into savings" due to the absence of supporters at national team fixtures throughout the year.

FIFA is yet to comment or announce an alternate location or dates for the Club World Cup, but the announcement further compounds Japan's problems after they were forced to cancel a friendly match with England earlier in 2021.

Brazil coach Tite feels Argentina showed a lack of respect in the decision-making process that saw four players allegedly breach coronavirus regulations ahead of Sunday's doomed World Cup qualifier.

The fixture was suspended mid-game due to Argentina's Premier League players apparently flouting Brazil's coronavirus restrictions.

Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso started the match, with Brazilian health officials entering the pitch after the game had kicked off. A melee ensued before Argentina left the field and did not return.

Due to the pandemic, Brazil is temporarily restricting entry to travellers from the United Kingdom if they have spent time in the country within the previous two weeks. The Selecao had attempted to call up nine players from the English top flight, but none of those selected travelled as Premier League clubs united in an agreement not to release players.

FIFA has since launched an investigation into the match's interruption, with disciplinary cases opened against the national associations of both Argentina and Brazil.

While Tite would rather the health officials had not stormed the pitch, he also believes football should not think it is above the law.

Asked what would be the "fair" decision regarding the outcome of the match, he said: "The fair decision is to respect the laws. The fair decision is to put people's health first. The fair decision is that sport is important but has a scale of importance on which health is higher. The laws are above this [football].

"I wish the game had happened, [but] we need laws, and to respect those laws. Football is not above that. It has to be respected. We're dealing with lives. It's about health.

"Coming here and going over laws and circumventing situations ... this does not happen. Of course I'd like the game to have happened.

"I cannot judge what happened. I do not know enough to know what was done and at what time it was done. I cannot judge it and I should not judge it.

"But to be above the law, you have to have a little respect. Respect for the entity, for a country, for its people, for a club, for a national team. Calm and respect."

Oscar De La Hoya has overcome coronavirus after spending three days in hospital, the boxing great has confirmed.

De La Hoya was due to come out of retirement to face former UFC champion Vitor Belfort in Los Angeles on September 11.

However, the 48-year-old had to withdraw from the fight after falling ill with COVID-19.

Former world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, 58, has been named as a replacement for De La Hoya, though that decision has been met with scrutiny.

Indeed, the event has now had to be moved to Florida due to licensing issues.

Holyfield has not fought in over a decade.

Three days ahead of the bout that was supposed to make his return, De La Hoya offered an update of his recovery on his official Twitter account.

"Hey guys, I am out of the hospital. I was in there for three days," De La Hoya tweeted.

"COVID hit me really hard. I was in the best shape of my life and I really can't wait to get back in the ring.

"Thank you very much for all your well wishes and all your support. I appreciate it."

David Haye is ending his retirement to fight Joe Fournier in the headline bout.

FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Brazil and Argentina after the suspended World Cup qualifier on Sunday.

The fixture came to a halt following an alleged breach of coronavirus regulations by Argentina relating to Premier League players.

Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso started the match, leading to Brazilian health officials to act by entering the pitch after the game had kicked off. A melee ensued before Argentina left the field and did not return.

Brazil restricts entry to travellers from the United Kingdom if they have spent time in the country within the previous two weeks. The Selecao had attempted to call up nine players from the English top flight, but none of those selected travelled as Premier League clubs united in an agreement not to release players.

FIFA started investigations into the scenes on Monday, with world football's governing body then confirming disciplinary cases had been opened against the two national associations.

"Following the analysis of the official match reports related to the FIFA World Cup qualifier match between Brazil and Argentina, FIFA can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened involving both member associations," the statement said.

"The two teams were asked to provide further information on the facts that led to the suspension of the match, which will be gathered and then thoroughly reviewed by FIFA's disciplinary committee.

"Updates will follow in due course."

Pakistan head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis have resigned from their roles a little over a month before the T20 World Cup begins.

The pair were appointed in September 2019 and were under contract with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for another year.

However, Misbah and Waqar informed the PCB of their decision to leave on Monday ahead of the upcoming three ODIs and five T20Is against New Zealand, with the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman also on the horizon.

Saqlain Mushtaq and Abdul Razzaq have joined the Pakistan management team as interim coaches for that New Zealand series, which begins on September 17.

Misbah's decision to step down was for family reasons amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the 47-year-old having recently spent time self-isolating in Jamaica after testing positive for COVID-19.

"The quarantine in Jamaica post the West Indies series provided me with an opportunity to reflect on the past 24 months as well as the schedule for international cricket ahead," Misbah said in a statement. 

"Considering that I would have had to continue to spend considerable time away from my family and that too in a bio-secure environment, I have decided to step down from the role.

"I understand that the timing may not be ideal but I don't think I am in the right frame of mind for the upcoming challenges and it makes sense for someone fresh to step in and take the side forward.

"The past 24 months have been thoroughly enjoyable and I want to thank my team and the management for their support. 

"I wish the Pakistan cricket team best of luck in the upcoming events and will continue to support them every time they will take the field to represent Pakistan."

Waqar's decision to step down was linked to Misbah's departure. 

"After Misbah shared with me his decision and future plans, it was a straightforward one for me to resign as we had walked into the roles together, had worked collectively as a pair and now also step down together," Waqar said.

"Working with the Pakistan bowlers, including the youngsters, has been most satisfying as they have now started to show progress. 

"Bio-secure environments in the past 16 months have had their impact, something we had never experienced during our playing days.

"The next eight months will be busy and exciting for the Pakistan team and, like in the past, I will continue to back and cheer them. 

"I want to thank each and every member of the Pakistan cricket team set-up as we stayed united in good and bad days, and hope there will be brighter days ahead."

The shock double exit came two hours after Pakistan had named their squad for the T20 World Cup, as well as the warm-up internationals against New Zealand and England.

Asif Ali and Khushdil Shah were among the surprise inclusions in the 15-man selection.

 

Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (c), Asif Ali, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Azam Khan, Shadab Khan, Sohaib Maqsood, Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Rizwan, Khushdil Shah, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Wasim.

Brazil's World Cup qualifier against Argentina in Sao Paulo was halted on Sunday after the visiting side named three Premier League players in their starting XI, an apparent breach of coronavirus regulations.

The Selecao had called up nine internationals from the English top flight for their latest fixtures, but none of the group travelled to Brazil.

Argentina were able to include four Premier League stars, however, in Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero, Giovani Lo Celso and Emiliano Buendia.

Martinez and Lo Celso both played in the side's 3-1 win against Venezuela earlier this week, but issues arose as they headed to Brazil.

The United Kingdom is a red-listed country in Brazil, restricting the entry of those who have been in the UK in the past 14 days.

Martinez, Romero, Lo Celso and Buendia – the first three were involved against Brazil – all fall under that category.

Anvisa, Brazil's health authority, said in a widely released statement shortly before Sunday's game: "Anvisa considers the situation a serious health risk and so has asked local health authorities to determine the immediate quarantine of the players, who are stopped from participating in any activity and should be prevented from remaining on Brazilian soil."

When the match began with the relevant Argentina players still included, health officials walked onto the pitch.

A melee broke out and the action was halted, with the entire Argentina team soon leaving the field.

Conversations continued, with the Brazil XI remaining on the pitch, while Argentina's Lionel Messi reappeared to speak with officials and his opponents.

There were few immediate updates from official sources, with both Brazil and Argentina reporting only that the game had been halted. The visiting side posted a further message to say it had been "suspended".

India have announced head coach Ravi Shastri is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 during the fourth Test against England.  

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) issued a statement ahead of play on the fourth day of the game confirming Shastri will remain in the team hotel after undergoing further tests following the initial lateral flow result.  

Bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physio Nitin Patel are also isolating as a precautionary measure, having been identified as close contacts.  

"They have undergone RT-PCR testing and shall remain in the team hotel and not travel with team India until confirmation from the medical team," a BCCI statement read.  

"The remaining members of the team India contingent underwent two lateral flow tests – one last night and another this morning. The members upon returning negative COVID reports were allowed to proceed for day four of the ongoing fourth Test at The Oval." 

India resumed on Sunday on 270-3 in their second innings, Rohit Sharma’s first Test century overseas helping them establish a 171-run lead over their hosts. 

The series is level at 1-1 after England won by an innings at Headingley last time out. The fifth and final Test begins at Old Trafford in Manchester on Friday. 

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