TOKYO, May 18 -- Reports released by a global union federation on Wednesday demanded better conditions for laborers working on the construction of Tokyo Games facilities after several "alarming" alleged labor violations were uncovered.
The report from the Building and Wood Workers' International titled "The Dark Side of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics" is based on interviews with construction workers and documents how low pay, overwork and poor access to grievance mechanisms are creating a "culture of fear" among crews at Olympic projects. The BWI, headquartered in Geneva, is seeking an end to "dangerous patterns of overwork," citing the example of construction workers at the National Stadium and Olympic Village who reported being required to work up to 26 and 28 consecutive days, respectively. "The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics was Japan's opportunity to address some of the long-running gaps within the construction industry in Japan, however, these problems have just got worse," BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson said. "Wages remain low, dangerous overwork is common, and workers have limited access to recourse to address their issues," Yuson said.
According to the report, the Japanese construction sector is currently facing an "acute labor shortage," with 4.3 positions vacant for every construction worker. At the same time, an increase in construction activity has been driven by Japan's hosting of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Games, as well as ongoing reconstruction efforts in Fukushima. Among the findings, one case at the National Stadium was highlighted for being particularly grievous. The report cited a complaint about a worker's injury being rejected because it had been brought by the union and not the injured party. The alleged rejection "constitutes a serious violation of the right to be represented, a core component of the right to freedom of association," the federation said in the report. The BWI sent a delegation to Tokyo last September to meet with key decision-makers and investigate the "conditions faced by workers in the construction of Tokyo 2020 Olympic facilities." Their findings were further substantiated by interviews conducted in February by BWI and its Japanese affiliate, the National Federation of Construction Workers' Unions, with workers involved in the construction of the National Stadium and Olympic Village. The report was sent Tuesday to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee, the Tokyo metropolitan government and the Japanese Sports Council -- groups responsible for the construction of Olympic facilities. The 2020 organizing committee said Tuesday evening the report is "under review." Through their "Global Sports Campaign for Decent Work and Beyond," the BWI has been examining large-scale international sporting events for over 10 years to "improve working conditions and ensure safety and health for workers building all projects related to mega-sporting events."
MANCHESTER, May 16 -- Manchester United fans probably couldn’t wait for the season to end, following their dismal run of two wins in 12 games. But the new season hasn’t even begun and they have already suffered an embarrassing gaff.
The club revealed their new kit for the 2019-20 campaign on Thursday, with the design celebrating the 20-year anniversary of their 1999 Champions League win (despite them not even qualifying for the competition). Official pictures show Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard wearing the simplistic red design, while No 1 David de Gea wears a purple shirt. “The home goalkeeper jersey has a tiger pattern featuring a dark purple two-tone design, inspired by the top worn by our legendary No 1, Peter Schmeichel, during the 1998-99 season,” says a United press release. There’s only one problem – as Manchester Evening Newsreporter Samuel Luckhurst pointed out on Twitter, Schmeichel’s kit during the famous treble season wasn’t purple. The Dane wore a navy blue and grey away kit, while his home shirt was a mixture of luminous and dark green, in the 1998-99 season. It was during the 1996-97 season that Schmeichel wore a purple one, and the tiger pattern seems to be more reminiscent of Edwin van der Sar’s 2010-11 purple United goalkeeper shirt.
“We’re a joke,” one United fan wrote on Twitter, regarding the goalkeeper kit. Fans seemed a bit more positive about the outfield players’ shirt, though. The sleeves feature the minutes of Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s added-time goals against Bayern Munich that sealed the famous comeback win at the Nou Camp.
ZANDVOORT, May 14 -- Formula 1 will return to the Netherlands in 2020, as the Dutch Grand Prix has been confirmed at the Circuit Zandvoort.
Rumours have abounded for many months that Formula 1 has been itching for a return to the Netherlands, in light of Max Verstappen being one of the most popular drivers in the sport. The Circuit Zandvoort, built just after the end of World War II, has held Grand Prix racing since 1949 and formally became a round of the Formula 1 World Championship in 1955. It held the Dutch Grand Prix every year from then until 1985, aside from 1972 due to a driver’s strike. Rumours regarding the return of the Dutch Grand Prix also linked the TT Assen Circuit as a possible venue for the race, but a letter of intent was signed in March that would see the Grand Prix return to Zandvoort as long as funding was found.
AMSTERDAM, May 13 -- Dusan Tadic scored twice as Ajax Amsterdam all but claimed the Dutch league title with a 4-1 victory over Utrecht on Sunday as championship rivals PSV Eindhoven slipped to a surprise 1-0 loss at AZ Alkmaar.
Ajax will go into the final round of fixtures on Wednesday with a three-point lead over PSV and 14 goals to the good on goal-difference as they travel to second-bottom De Graafschap. PSV are home to seventh-placed Heracles. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Donny van de Beek also netted for Ajax as they put behind them the disappointment of their stoppage-time exit from the Champions League at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur this week. Ajax will extend their record of Dutch title wins to 34 in a season in which they have scored 115 goals in their 33 league games and also claimed the Dutch Cup under manager Erik ten Hag. Defending champions PSV paid a heavy price for some sloppy finishing as they lost 1-0 in Alkmaar to a Guus Til goal.
Robin van Persie ended his career at Feyenoord in Rotterdam but there was no fairytale finish as they were surprisingly beaten 2-0 at home by ADO Den Haag. He did hit the woodwork with a first-half effort before going off to a massive ovation in stoppage time at the end of the game.
AMSTERDAM, May 9 -- Tottenham Hotspur set up a Champions League final against Liverpool after beating Ajax 3-2 on Wednesday in Amsterdam.
After the 1-0 loss in London last week in the semifinal first leg, Tottenham progressed on away goals. Trailing 2-0 at halftime, Tottenham bounced back to 2-2 in the second half and Lucas Moura completed his hat-trick in the 96th minute. Ajax coach Erik ten Hag chose the expected line-up with Noussair Mazraoui instead of Joel Veltman on right back. However, due to an injury sustained by David Neres in the warming-up, Ten Hag had to make a late change just before the start. Kasper Dolberg came in as center forward and Dusan Tadic moved to the left.
Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino had South Korean striker Son Heung-min back from suspension, but had to do without injured forward Harry Kane. Moussa Sissoko replaced injured defender Davinson Sanchez. In the first five minutes, Ajax made clear their intentions with shots by Donny van de Beek, Hakim Ziyech and Dusan Tadic. After a corner by Lasse Schone, the 19-year-old captain Matthijs de Ligt headed in the early opening goal. It was the perfect start for Ajax, but Tottenham did not give up and was dangerous as well. Son hit the post just after the Ajax goal, Dele Alli hit wide and Christian Eriksen, Lucas Moura and Son again also had goal attempts. On occasions, Ajax showed their tremendous ability to combine from one side of the pitch to another, as they showed in the previous rounds against Real Madrid and Juventus. One of those attacks came in the 35th minute when Tadic found Hakim Ziyech and the Dutch born Moroccan international smashed in to give the home team a 2-0 lead.
The second half was a different story with Ajax showing signs of negligence and Tottenham profiting. In the 55th minute Lucas Moura scored and four minutes later Moura scored again after lackluster defending by Ajax, 2-2. It meant the Spurs only needed one more goal to go through. Ajax found back their form in time and got a major chance for Ziyech, who missed, and Ziyech also hit the post 10 minutes from time. In the nerve-breaking final minutes, however, Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen even hit the cross-bar and in injury-time Moura earned the Spurs a sensational win and a place in the final, the first Champions League final ever for the Londoners. For Ajax, a remarkable campaign, bringing back memories of the glory days, ended here in Amsterdam on Wednesday.
MILAN, May 8 -- Andrea Dovizioso will trade two wheels for four next month, when the Ducati MotoGP racer makes his debut in the ultra-competitive DTM touring car race series.
Filling in for Audi Sport Team WRT racer Pietro Fittipaldi, who will be on F1 duty, Dovi will race at the Misano round of the championship on 8 June. Coming about thanks in part to Audi’s ownership of Ducati, the two-time MotoGP championship runner-up has already tested for the factory Audi team, driving yesterday in Germany only hours after completing MotoGP testing at Jerez. Speaking afterwards, he said: “I love cars and I feel lucky to be able to race with the Audi RS 5 DTM. It’s tough to find the time to prepare for it during the MotoGP season but I am really looking forward to compete in such a high-level context such as the DTM. The car is amazing, but it's a different challenge compared with my Desmosedici GP and I need to get prepared, so I did many laps in the simulator before stepping into it for the first time.
Misano is a special track for every Italian driver and the place where I scored an incredible win last year so I'm very excited and thankful for this opportunity." "I’m delighted that in Andrea Dovizioso we managed to get a real superstar to race as a guest in the DTM," added Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. "MotoGP riders are true heroes in Italy. Andrea hails from the Misano area, won the Grand Prix there last year and is going to attract many additional fans. We’re already extremely excited to see how he’s going to fare in his DTM debut. That he’s taking time out for the DTM between two MotoGP races is fantastic and not to be taken for granted at all. I’d like to particularly thank Ducati’s CEO Claudio Domenicali and Luigi Dall'Igna, General Manager of Ducati Corse, who agreed to this guest entry. That’s a big thing for the DTM and for motorsport in general."
This year’s new-spec turbo DTM engines have a two-litre capacity with direct injection, replacing last season’s 4.0L V8 naturally-aspirated engines, and will produce a stunning 610hp. The most powerful cars ever raced in DTM, Dovi will have to come to grips with a Push-to-Pass function with extra power for overtaking and rear wings with Drag Reduction System activation for overtaking.
MANCHESTER, March 7 -- Romelu Lukaku wants Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to stay and has "no doubt" that the caretaker manager will get the Manchester United job on a permanent basis.
Parachuted in for the rest of the season when Jose Mourinho was sacked in December, the 1999 treble hero has presided over a remarkable upturn in fortunes. Solskjaer has lost just one of 17 matches since taking over and managed to render that 2-0 loss to Paris St Germain meaningless by overseeing an extraordinary last-16 second leg win in France. Marcus Rashford's last-gasp spot-kick sealed a 3-1 win that saw United make history and progress to the quarter-finals on away goals after the tie ended 3-3 on aggregate. Lukaku's first-half brace gave United hope and the striker fully expects the Norwegian to get the job.
"I know he's going to stay, there's no doubt about that," he told Viasport. "He wants to stay, the players want him to stay. We're doing really well, we're playing like Manchester United should play. "He's a young coach, he has young players as well so it's the perfect environment to develop and hopefully win trophies in the future." Lukaku pointed to the wins at Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal in another interview with beIN SPORTS, before asking: "What else does he have to do?"
United are into the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2014 and have broken into the top four, having been 11 points off it when Mourinho was sacked. Asked what Solskjaer has done, Lukaku said: "He's done a lot. When I came back in, for me, personally he had a plan. "He wanted me to be really sharp in three or four weeks and that's what happened. "We took three or four weeks, I did a lot of interval work and a lot of finishing and now I can say that I am fully fit. "But then for the team, He made us play offensive football. He gives the young players confidence. "Sometimes he's tough but at the right time he knows also to give a compliment. "In training we do a lot of small games, a lot of focus on our offensive part of the game and that's what the players like. "So, we just try to come in every game and win the games."
MADRID, March 6 -- After 1011 days as Champions League holders the 13-times winners Real Madrid came crashing down out of the competition losing 4-1 on the night to Ajax and 5-3 on aggregate.
It was a humiliation as Gareth Bale watched it unfold from the bench while suspended captain, Siegi Ramos watches from the stand as youthful Ajax side ran the show from the beginning of till the end.
Things started well enough. Rafael Varane headed Lucas Vazquez’ cross on to the cross bar after just four minutes and the Bernabeu believed Madrid had simply slipped into Champions League gear. They had not and the wheels were about to come off.
First Toni Kroos lost the ball in midfield and in a flash Dusan Tadic was crossing for Hakim Ziyech to score past Thibaut Courtois. There was stunned silence from the Bernabeu save 4,000 Ajax fans many now with shirts off celebrating behind the north goal. That was after seven minutes. By the 18 minutes mark Madrid were going out. Tadic spun brilliant away from Casemiro and ran at the heart of the Real Madrid defence. There was no resistance and it was Luca Modric left as the last man as David Neres got in behind him to slot the ball past Courtois. Madrid were butter soft at the back. The Bernabeu whistled and Ajax almost scored again with Courtois saving from Tadic at his near post.
On 28 minutes injury was added to insult. First Lucas hobbled off to be replaced by Bale. Vinicius followed soon after with Marco Asensio coming on. Madrid needed Bale more than ever yet still he was whistled on by many. He came closest to getting Madrid back in it before the break hitting the frame of the goal with a lob. As the half time whistle went there were more whistles from the Bernabeu. Real Madrid would need a second half hero with Sergio Ramos suspended and Cristiano Ronaldo sold, it looked like it would be Bale’s night or goodnight. It was to be goodnight. Ajax almost made it three at the restart but Courtois saved from Donny van de Beek. Karim Benzema broke down the left but after tricking his way past Hakim Ziyech he went for goal with a wild shot that went well wide of the far post. With Ajax’s next attack they scored the third and they got to celebrate it twice. Noussaire Mazraoul won the ball from Sergio Reguilon and when the ball reached Tadic the best player on the pitch postage-stamped it past Courtois. Referee Felix Brych stopped the play to consult VAR. The ball looked to have gone out when Reguilon was dispossessed. Bale led the complaints and time stood still until Brych’s verdict sent the traveling Ajax supporters into raptures once more. There was no way back now. Asensio gave supporters some hope by scoring for Madrid but it was wiped out by Lasse Schone’s direct free-kick past Courtois who looked poorly positioned.
The Ajax fans were now doing the Poznan behind Courtois’ goal. Up in his private box Ramos looked down non-plussed by events. He chose to miss this game by picking up a forced booking in the first leg. Madrid looked home and dry at that stage. Since then their season has imploded with league and cup gone. They needed him on the pitch tonight not looking down on one of the darkest nights in the club’s European Cup history. Madrid’s season is over with three months still to play. The blame game will start now and this time Bale will not be the only target. Coach Solari will do well to last the season and the club will intensify efforts to bring in Mauricio Pochettino or Jose Mourinho. The five minutes off added time were painful for Madrid. Bale was left hobbling after a knock on the ankle and Nacho was sent off. They must get used to being out of the Champion League now. Ajax are in the quarter-finals and deservedly so.
DUBAI, March 2 -- Roger Federer has claimed a historic landmark in his career after he won his 100th title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Dubai Tennis Championships on Saturday.
The 37-year-old Swiss and 20-time Grand Slam champion is only the second man in the Open era to reach the three-figure mark in accolades after American Jimmy Connors, who won 109 titles.
Swiss Federer also avenged his shock defeat by Tsitsipas in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January. "I'm delighted. It's great to win my eighth here in Dubai and in combination with my 100th singles title," Federer said.
"Tough conditions and tough opponents. To win in Marseille and then come here was difficult for Stefanos." Stuck on 99Federer, who had been stuck on 99 titles since triumphing at his hometown Basel tournament in October, broke Tsitsipas in the first game of the match and saved two break points at 5-4 to claim the first set in 36 minutes. Tsitsipas, who will break into the top 10 for the first time on Monday, held firm up to 4-4 in the second set before the 37-year-old Federer switched gears to seal the decisive break and close out the victory.
"I don't know if Stefanos was born when I won my first title," Federer joked. "It's a privilege (to play against potential champions) because I'll be watching them on TV. It was a treat to play Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. I'm sure Stefanos will have a wonderful career. "Tennis is in good hands regardless if I'm there or not," Federer said.
Previously Tsitsipas won his only previous meeting with Federer, completing a four-set victory over the Swiss in a round of 16 match at this year's Australian Open. On Friday in the semi-finals of the championships, Federer claimed two breaks of Croatian Borna Coric's serve in either set on the way to a 6-2, 6-2 win that took just over an hour.
BARCELONA, March 1 -- Current lap time results [11am] from the second Formula 1 pre-season test at Circuit de Catalunya.
1. Carlos Sainz ESP McLaren F1 Team MCL34 1m 16.913s 26 laps
2. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport W10 1m 17.960s 35 laps
3. Romain Grosjean FRA Rich Energy Haas F1 Team VF-19 1m 17.575s 38 laps
4. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Honda RB15 1m 17.709s 28 laps
5. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Renault F1 Team R.S.19 1m 17.772s 29 laps
6. Kimi Raikkonen ITA Alfa Romeo Racing C38 1m 18.255s 27 laps
7. Sergio Perez MEX SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team RP19 1m 18.430s 24 laps
8. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow SF90 1m 18.435s 32 laps
9. Daniil Kvyat RUS Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda STR14 1m 18.485s 23 laps
10. Robert Kubica POL ROKiT Williams Racing FW42 1m 19.786s 25 laps