English rugby bosses blamed for ‘failure on an epic scale’ following demise of Worcester and Wasps

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney and his Premiership Rugby counterpart Simon Massie-Taylor were questioned by MPs on the state of the game following the demise of Worcester and Wasps – who both entered administration and were suspended from competition – earlier this season.

DCMS chair Julian Knight MP accused Sweeney of being ‘completely asleep on the job’ as both Worcester and Wasps struggled and ultimately failed to overcome huge financial problems.

Knight added to Sweeney: ‘Frankly, you have failed in this instance and so has the RFU. Should you not be looking at your position?’

To Massie-Taylor, Knight said: ‘I have never come across anything as shambolic with a lack of thought towards people in your own game in my entire time as a select committee member.

‘If this happened in the Premier League, the head of the league would resign on the spot. I don’t know how you can come to this committee and say what you’ve said with a straight face.’

Knight’s evisceration of both Sweeney and Massie-Taylor saw him question the structure of English rugby from top to bottom.

His points primarily focused on Worcester, rather than Wasps.

As days go for English rugby’s top brass, it couldn’t have been more sobering.

There must now be serious and very real calls for change at the highest level at both the RFU and Premiership Rugby.

Knight reserved special criticism for both parties for allowing former Worcester owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham to lead the Warriors into ruin and being allowed to take control of the club in the first place. The pair passed the RFU’s ownership test in 2018.

But earlier this year, it was revealed Goldring had been banned by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. It meant he stepped down as a part-owner of League Two football side Morecambe but remained involved with Worcester. In a statement issued in July he said he had approval from the RFU to continue which wasn’t the case.

The RFU started an investigation into his false claim, but Sweeney said it was paused in order to try and sort out the financial situation at Warriors.

Knight asked Sweeney: ‘How did you allow a liar and an asset stripper to destroy a community club?’

Referring to Goldring and Whittingham as ‘reprehensible characters’, Sweeney responded: ‘The two previous owners went through a fit and proper owners test in 2018.

‘Subsequently their performance has, in no sense of the word, lived up to their ability to pass those tests. One of the major learnings that will come out of this very sorry episode is that a one-off owners test is not sufficient to prevent future bad behaviour.

‘Having ongoing reviews in terms of suitability is necessary.’

Sweeney and Massie-Taylor admitted how English rugby is set-up and funded is now under complete review.

There is also set to be strict governance reform and more stringent rules put in place on who can and cannot take control of a domestic club. All 11 remaining Premiership sides have also agreed to greater financial transparency by providing the country’s governing bodies with their accounts.

Sweeney revealed central contracts for England players will be and have been discussed by Massie-Taylor ruled out an Anglo-Welsh league.

These changes are too late to help save Worcester and Wasps although Knight did reveal he will ensure Goldring’s activities are fully investigated as fraud.

As things stand there is no police involvement in the process by which Goldring and Whittingham took Worcester into administration and left the club on the verge of falling out of existence.

‘I plan to write to the serious fraud office concerning Mr Goldring’s activities relating to the SRA. It appears to me he has made a financial gain from telling a lie,’ said the no-nonsense Knight.

‘I’ll also write to the West Mercia Crime Commissioner on that issue. When it comes to the game more generally, we will also be issuing a special report.’

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  • 1 час, 13 минут назад 02.12.2022Sport
    US men’s soccer players stand to earn $383K bonuses by beating Holland on Saturday

    US men’s national soccer team players have already earned nearly $300,000 in their ongoing World Cup run in Qatar, and with four more wins, they could almost triple that figure.

    The current minimum payout for each member of the 23-man roster is $294,000, but that jumps to $383,000 with a win over the Dutch on Saturday, $559,000 for a fourth-place finish, $696,000 for third, $794,000 for fourth and a whopping $892,000 for a World Cup title in Qatar.

    The math on individual playouts is complicated by the equal-pay agreement between US men’s players, US women’s players, and the US Soccer Federation. America’s top women’s players stand to earn $822,000 each if their male counterparts take home the trophy.

    Currently, US men’s players get a $10,000 stipend for each game played in Qatar, while 90 percent of their total bonus gets split with the US women’s players.

    Oddsmakers are currently giving the American men only a 1-percent chance of winning this year’s tournament in Qatar, but they can still profit off bonus pool money from the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

    Granted, the women’s tournament comes with a small bonus pool — $60 million compared to the men’s $440 million in Qatar.

    However, the US women have won four World Cups, and have much better odds at advancing deep into next year’s tournament.

    The US Soccer Federation agreed to landmark collective bargaining agreements with its men’s and women’s teams in May, equalizing compensation for the first time.

    The CBAs run through 2028. The USSF is the first national governing body to promise both sexes matching money.

    Here are some of the terms included in the agreements:

    The unions agreed to pool FIFA’s World Cup payments for this year’s men’s World Cup and next year’s Women’s World Cup. US Soccer will take 10 percent of the money awarded to each team, then split the rest among the 46 players on the teams’ rosters — 23 men and 23 women. For the 2026 and 2027 tournaments, the USSF will take 20 percent and split the rest in a similar manner.

    For qualifiers for a World Cup or other major tournament, each player gets $10,000 per game in base pay plus $14,000 for a win and $4,000 for a draw.

    FIFA earmarked $400 million for the 2018 men’s tournament, including $38 million to champion France, and $30 million for the 2019 women’s tournament, including $4 million to the champion United States. FIFA has increased the total to $440 million for the 2022 men’s World Cup, and its president, Gianni Infantino, has proposed FIFA double the women’s prize money to $60 million for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, in which FIFA has increased the teams to 32.

    The men’s national team has qualified for the World Cup in Qatar later this year. The women will play in a qualifying tournament this year.


    Each player earns a $10,000 per game appearance fee, $12,000 for a win and $4,000 for a draw. There is a $36,000 bonus for an Olympic gold medal, $24,000 for a silver and $8,000 for a bronze. The men’s tournament currently is limited to under-23 teams.


    Players will split 70 percent of the prize money for a CONCACAF Gold Cup and the equivalent women’s tournament, and get payments of $12,000 for a win and $4,000 for a draw in the Gold Cup, Nations League or other official competitions.

    Each also will get an $8,000 appearance fee for exhibitions and $10,000 for competitive matches, $10,000 for a win over a team in the top 25 of the FIFA rankings and Canada and $3,000 for a draw; for other opponents, the figures are $5,000 for a win and $2,000 for a draw.


    The women and men will receive commercial revenue from tickets for that team’s matches controlled by the USSF, with bonuses for sellouts, and each team will receive a portion of broadcast, partner and sponsor revenue. The USSF gets to deduct from the total agency and licensing fees along with 15 percent to recapture expenses.

    Players on each team will split commercial money based on their share of total rosters, sharing 10 percent of the amount from $55 million up to $75 million and 15 percent of the amount over $75 million. Ticket money will be shared $3 per ticket for 2022 and for 2023-26 at the higher of $5.06 per ticket or 10 percent of the average price if a sellout. The figure increases to $5.75 for 2027-28.


    Players will each get a 401(k) plan and the USSF will match up to 5 percent of a player’s compensation, subject to IRS limits. That money will be deducted from the shares of commercial revenue.


    Child care, covered for women for more than 25 years, will be extended to men during national team training camps and matches.

  • 1 час, 13 минут назад 02.12.2022Sport
    Holland’s World Cup team faces rash of ‘flu symptoms’ ahead of Saturday’s match with the US

    Holland’s World Cup team is dealing with an outbreak of ‘flu symptoms’ ahead of Saturday’s round-of-16 matchup with Team USA in Qatar, and manager Louis van Gaal is admittedly concerned.

    The 71-year-old van Gaal did not elaborate too much, but did confirm that star midfielder Frenkie de Jong is among the players battling illness right now.

    ‘We are not going to elaborate on that,’ van Gaal said. ‘But if it goes around in the group, it is worrying.’

    Despite his concerns, van Gaal explained that ‘there are not 15 or so’ cases, so, ‘in principle, everyone is fit and available.’

    Curiously, the Dutch did not do any 11-on-11 drills at practice, but van Gaal attributed that to rest, and not illness.

    ‘I gave them a day of rest,’ he said. ‘With this group, they communicate that to me. I listen to my players.’

    There are no shortages of ties between the American and Dutch squads, including Team USA manager Gregg Berhalter, who played professionally in Holland.

    Berhalter said Friday that he felt like a student when he signed with the Dutch club Zwolle 28 years ago, but now plans to apply the lessons he learned when the teams face off on Saturday.

    ‘I went to Holland just out of university and (was) totally unprepared for professional level soccer,’ Berhalter said Friday. ‘If I wasn’t in Holland, I don’t think I would have had that building that really helped shape my ideas.’

    Now 49, Berhalter will match tactics against van Gaal, the oldest coach in the World Cup. Van Gaal guided the Dutch to third place in the 2014 tournament and has won seven league titles with Ajax, AZ Alkmaar, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

    That success means little to the Oranje’s demanding fanbase.

    ‘If I have to believe the Dutch media, we’ll never become world champion,’ Van Gaal said in Dutch. ‘In 2014 it was exactly the same. Extremely negative. Now it’s the same all over again. I am used to it, and I think my players are used to it, so we will calmly move on.’

    Then he added playfully in English: ‘Maybe you can take now a picture after this declaration.’

    He smiled and said: ‘Cheese.’

    Van Gaal, who is out of contract after the World Cup, deflected questions about whether he would coach in Africa or replace Roberto Martinez, who parted ways with Belgium after his team was eliminated Thursday.

    ‘You got to convince my wife,’ he said.

    A losing finalist in 1974, 1978 and 2010, Holland began this tournament with a 2-0 win over Senegal, tied Ecuador 1-1 and beat Qatar 2-0 to top Group A.

    Van Gaal’s team has been criticized at home for an alleged lack of attacking flair despite an 18-game unbeaten streak.

    ‘I’m laughing because there’s always criticism in the Netherlands. How many Bond (national team) coaches are there in the Netherlands? Sixteen million. Isn’t that what they say? Seventeen million now?’ Berhalter said. ‘I think Louis van Gaal has tough enough skin. He realizes that his job is to deliver wins.’

    The Americans have several Dutch ties. US sporting director Earnie Stewart grew up in Holland, as did current right back Sergiño Dest.

    ‘It’s going to be a pretty fun one, playing against the country I was born in,’ Dest said. ‘I know almost every single guy over there.’

    Dest was teammates with the Dutch defender Daley Blind at Ajax before moving to Barcelona and then AC Milan.

    ‘You could immediately see he was full of talent,’ Blind said through a translator. ‘He evolved really rapidly.’

    Berhalter took a question in Dutch without translation. He left the University of North Carolina after his junior season to sign with Zwolle in 1994, switched to Sparta Rotterdam in 1996 and Cambuur Leeuwarden in 1998.

    Van Gaal claimed he didn’t recall Sparta upsetting his Ajax team in 1997.

    ‘Being that competitive, he has to remember that game,’ Berhalter said, chuckling.

    The US has played Holland five times, all friendlies The Americans lost four before rallying late for a 4-3 win in 2015. They have not reached the quarterfinals since 2002, losing round of 16 games in extra time to Ghana in 2010 and Belgium in 2014.

    Berhalter was hired after the failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

    ‘What I observe is a vision,’ Van Gaal said. ‘What I see is a team that is keen to execute that vision, which is of the utmost importance, and I see the conviction, especially the conviction of the players. So that for a coach must be fantastic.’

    Van Gaal’s squad has been battling flu, much like the Americans last week. The US opened its campaign in Qatar with draws against Wales and England, then beat Iran 1-0 on a goal by Christian Pulisic, who bruised his pelvis but hopes to play Saturday.

    The US has allowed only one goal at the World Cup. Berhalter credited a collective defense and recalled lessons and demanding teammates from his Dutch days.

    ‘Just about spacing and the positional game, third man, triangles. There was a striker, an old striker that I played with when I first got there. His name was Remco Boere. He would yell at me for giving him the ball with too much spin,’ Berhalter said. ‘If you ever laid a ball off to someone and you put it to their wrong foot, they would start yelling.’

  • 1 час, 13 минут назад 02.12.2022Sport
    Luis Suarez on the verge of TEARS after Hwang Hee-chan’s strike for South Korea against Portugal

    Luis Suarez was reduced to tears on the bench for Uruguay following South Korea’s late goal against Portugal, with Hwang Hee-Chan’s strike sending Uruguay out of the group stage.

    Suarez was inconsolable in the dugout as he was seen hiding behind his shirt with tears in his eyes and watched on powerlessly – having been subbed off during the match – with his side the latest side to head for a surprising early exit.

    The former Liverpool and Barcelona star twice assisted Giorgian de Arrascaeta to put Uruguay 2-0 up against Ghana in their final game in Group H, but it was ultimately not enough to send Uruguay through.

    After a 0-0 draw with South Korea in their opening game, and a 2-0 defeat to Portugal, Uruguay thought they had clawed their way back into the last-16 – before they were eliminated having scored fewer goals.

    However, rather than sympathise with the legendary forward, fans on Twitter were quick to state their schadenfreude.

    One viewer wrote: ‘The fact that Suarez is crying is enough revenge for me. Siato.’

    Another added: ‘Seeing Suarez cry makes me happy.’

    A third claimed: ‘Feels even sweeter seeing Suarez cry,’ with two laughing emojis.’

    And a fourth wrote: ‘Not many better views in world football than seeing Suarez cry.’

    The 35-year-old has long held the status of one of football’s most notorious pantomime villains, and famously bit Italian Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup.

    Suarez was likely playing in his final World Cup, having been art of his country’s two-pronged strike-force alongside Edinson Cavani for a number of years and featuring at four finals.

    And perhaps out of respect for his achievements in the game, there were still some fans who were quick to defend the Nacional striker.

    One wrote: ‘You’re a sick man if you enjoyed Luis Suarez going out with tears.’

    Another added: ‘Nah, man. I can’t watch Luis Suárez like this. This HURTS,’ accompanied by a broken heart emoji.

    Suarez’s side won 2-0 against a Ghana side bidding for revenge following their notorious clash in the quarter-finals of the South Africa World Cup in 2010.

    Ghana ultimately lost on the night after Asamoah Gyan’s missed penalty after Suarez was sent off for deflecting a shot off the line with his hand, before celebrating from the tunnel as Gyan’s strike crashed into the bar in the final second of the game.

  • 1 час, 13 минут назад 02.12.2022Sport
    Andre Ayew fluffs the chance to fire Ghana ahead against Uruguay with a HORRENDOUS penalty

    Ghana captain Andre Ayew made a horrendous miss from the penalty spot which would have put the African nation ahead in their grudge match with Uruguay – which they went on to lose 2-0.

    Suarez – captain of Uruguay’s team on Friday – was part of the protests against the penalty call after Mohammed Kudus was brought down by goalkeeper Sergio Rochet. After VAR inspection, it was given, and Ayew stepped up to the spot – but only after Darwin Nunez stamped on it to try and scuff the turf in the Al-Janoub Stadium.

    Ayew shot low to his right, but it was comfortable for Rochet to parry, before a defender hooked the ball to safety.

    Ayew is the only member of Ghana’s team who was part of their 2010 World Cup squad, which reached the quarter-final stage where they faced the South American side. Luis Suarez was sent off for an infamous handball which denied Ghana a goal, and the Black Stars were eliminated.

    The 32-year-old winger – who has previously played for Marseille, Swansea City, West Ham and Al Saad – could not use his experience to help him dispatch the all-important penalty when it mattered.

    Ghana viewed Friday’s group stage match as an opportunity for revenge against a player some consider to be the ‘devil’.

    In Johannesburg in 2010, Suarez stopped a certain Ghana goal with his hand, and was shown a red card. The Black Stars missed the subsequent penalty, and went on to be eliminated, sending Uruguay through to the World Cup semi-finals, where they were ejected by Holland.

    Ayew missed the match against Uruguay 12 years ago due to an accumulation of yellow cards throughout the tournament in South Africa, and could only look on as his country exited the World Cup on penalties.

    This time around, he was able to take one, but it was an unsuccessful attempt. Ayew’s miss at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah was followed up by a brace for Giorgian de Arrascaeta, to give Uruguay a 2-0 lead at half-time in a match they must win to have any chance of making the knockout phase in 2022.

    Ghana came into Friday’s encounter knowing that a draw would probably be enough to see them through, whilst Uruguay had to win after getting just a single point from their first two matches.

    Portugal are playing South Korea in the other Group H clash at the Education City Stadium.

  • 5 часов, 12 минут назад 02.12.2022Sport
    Mac Jones is caught on camera SCREAMING at Patriots’ play-caller Matt Patricia during loss to Bills

    New England quarterback Mac Jones failed to hide his frustrations in a sideline outburst during the Patriots’ 24-10 loss to Buffalo.

    Cameras caught Jones sounding off on his team’s play-calling. appearing to say ‘Run the f****** ball. The f****** quick game sucks.’

    Postgame Jones insisted it was not directed at offensive shot-caller Matt Patricia, or anyone particularly, but was merely an expression of his desire to launch the ball downfield.

    ‘Obviously, I just kind of let my emotions get to me,’ he said after the crucial divisional loss.

    ‘What I said was about throwing it deeper within the short game. I got to execute that part better.

    ‘But it’s the short game that we kept going to, which is working. But I felt like we needed chunk plays.

    ‘I shouted that out to kind of get everyone going. That’s emotional. That’s football. I’m passionate about this game.’

    The sophomore signal-caller conveyed he and Patricia were aligned as the Patriots attempted to gain ground on Buffalo as the ball game progressed.

    “It was just, “Let’s go for it, let’s be aggressive, let’s take those shots. Just go down fighting,” Matty P was on the same page,’ Jones remarked.

    ‘Obviously, you don’t want to let your emotions get the best of you. I think that’s pretty much it. It wasn’t directed at anybody. Just emotion coming out. We kind of needed a spark.’

    It never came. Jones had a tough night – completing 22/36 for 195 yards and a touchdown.

    Bill Belichick’s team were a meagre 3/12 of third down and had just 242 total yards of offense.

    To make matters worse, the home loss was something of a dagger to New England’s playoff hopes.

    The storied franchise fell to 6-6 on the season, three games behind the AFC East-leading Bills.

    While a wildcard berth is still a possibility, the Patriots are already a game behind the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets, who sit 7-4 with an extra game to play.

  • 5 часов, 12 минут назад 02.12.2022Sport
    Germany’s WAGs take the brunt of press inquests, as a top newspaper asks why they weren’t partying

    The national press of Germany have turned their inquests following the country’s exit from the World Cup to the WAGs – asking why they weren’t out partying.

    Germany fell short of qualifying for the knockout stages despite a 4-2 win over Costa Rica on Thursday, after earning just one point from their first two games in Qatar.

    Media in the country are scrutinising every aspect of Hansi Flick’s side, and have now turned their spotlights on accusing the wives and girlfriends of the German squad.

    Bild, one of Germany’s top newspapers, questioned: ‘What is actually wrong with our WAGs (wives and girlfriends)?’

    They noted that counterparts from England and Wales would ‘drink Qatar half-dry’, while German other halves were seen to be much less joyful, and staying in.

    Bild added: ‘Not thirsty? Dancing leg allergy? Don’t feel like lunging?’

    In a scathing insult towards the eliminated players and their families, they said: ‘Be happy that you too are now flying home with your football dwarves!’, rounding off the attack by saying ‘It can’t go on like this…’

    The results on the pitch may have been partially responsible for a lack of a jovial atmosphere among the travelling family and friends. Qatar also has a number of strict rules which the wives and girlfriends of the German players may have been cautious about upsetting.

    However, this did not stop the English and Welsh WAGs from enjoying themselves during the tournament.

    Sportsmail previously revealed some of the partying done by those there to support the Wales squad during their Group B fixtures, including Jodie Francis, the fiancee of Chris Mepham, and Ethan Ampadu’s partner Saara Sa downing shots in bikinis.

    One video from the Welsh adventures included Annie Wilson, the sister of footballer Harry Wilson, performing a daring cartwheel before crashing down on a coffee table. The group were in high spirits, and laughing raucously.

    A beach group photo of Welsh WAGs featured 19 women, including Rebecca Naylor, girlfriend of Leicester goalkeeper Danny Ward, MK Dons star Matt Smith’s fiancee Emily, 23, and Nicole Hagan, who has been linked to Nottingham Forest full-back Neco Williams.

    England’s WAGs and family members were staying on a £1 billion cruise ship, before moving into luxury villas and hotels on the mainland, as previously reported by MailOnline.

    Harry Maguire’s family have opted for a hotel just a short distance from the Lusail Stadium – where the World Cup final will be held in a little over two weeks time.

    England star Conor Coady’s wife Amie enjoyed a break from the football action as she shared snaps from her trip to the beach.

    They will also continue to follow the progress of the tournament into the knockout phase as England face Senegal on Sunday, at least one step further than Germany and Wales made.

    Following Germany’s draw with Spain on Sunday, World Cup players were able to invite their wives for two nights at the Zulal Wellness Resort, as previously reported in Sportsmail.

    The desert resort made the Germans the team based furthest away from the hub of the tournament, which Flick used as an excuse not to bring a player to a pre-match media session for the Spain game.

    Sophia Weber, the girlfriend of Kai Havertz, Christina Ginter, the wife of Matthias Ginter, and goalkeeper Kevin Trapp’s fiancee Izabel Goulart, were among those who went to the 1-1 draw with Spain.

    Ginter made headlines after she complained that the air-conditioned stadiums at the World Cup were too cold.

    After their miserable exit on Thursday night, WAGs were on hand to meet with the players as they returned to their base at 2.45am local time, less than three hours after their elimination was confirmed.

    The team bus left the desert compound on Friday morning, with players quickly leaving the country after their exit from the tournament, as reported earlier on Friday.

    German pundits weighed in on the state of affairs with the national team, after consecutive exits from the World Cup at the group stage, and an elimination at the last-16 stage against England during last year’s European Championships. Sportsmail has covered some of the major lines, with pundits split over whether Flick should remain as manager, or exit ahead of Germany’s hosting duties for Euro 2024.

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Sport English rugby bosses blamed for 'failure on an epic scale' following demise of Worcester and Wasps