China’s football crisis: what happened next after Covid struck?

There cannot be many, if any, leagues that have been affected by the pandemic as much as the Chinese Super League. It was the first to deal with Covid-19 and, with China keeping stringent restrictions on daily life longer than elsewhere, the last to operate in tightly controlled conditions. With Beijing’s so-called zero-Covid policy recently abandoned, the country of 1.4bn people is finally opening up and this can only be good news for its beleaguered football industry. 2019 seems like a lifetime ago. Back then the league may have been…

F1 facing four-week hole in schedule with no replacement for Chinese GP

Formula One will have a four-week hole in this season’s calendar after the sport confirmed the Chinese Grand Prix would not be replaced. The race in Shanghai – which had been due to take place on 16 April – was cancelled last month amid ongoing coronavirus restrictions in the country. Despite Chinese officials subsequently moving away from their zero-Covid policy, the round could not be salvaged, marking the fourth season it has been scrubbed from the racing schedule. F1 executives assessed a number of options to fill the vacant slot…

Qatar’s World Cup of woe: inside the 18 November Guardian Weekly

Ordinarily a football World Cup would be a moment for celebration, a time to savour sport’s power to unite nations and a glorious distraction from the problems of the day. Not this time: the 2022 tournament has been mired in controversy since it was awarded to Qatar 12 years ago. The small but ultra-wealthy Middle Eastern state thought that hosting the world’s most-watched sporting event would showcase it as a major player on the global stage. But instead Qatar has come in for severe criticism on a number of fronts,…

Peng Shuai demonstrators at Wimbledon allege harassment by security staff

Activists wearing “Where is Peng Shuai?” T-shirts claim they were confronted by Wimbledon security staff who warned them against approaching spectators and political messaging at SW19. Nine-time champion Martina Navratilova expressed her anger at the move after the campaigners posted a video online saying they were stopped and questioned. The group of four men from the Free Tibet campaign said they came to Wimbledon to “raise a bit of awareness” about the Chinese tennis player, a former doubles world No 1. The 36-year-old disappeared from public view for weeks last…

China pulls Premier League TV coverage over shows of solidarity with Ukraine

Premier League matches will be blocked by Chinese broadcasters this weekend because of planned displays of solidarity with Ukraine. Under the banner “Football Stands Together”, club captains will wear armbands in the colours of Ukraine this weekend and a “moment of reflection and solidarity” will take place before kick-off. The gestures of solidarity are to feature in international broadcast feeds of all Premier League fixtures, and the league’s Chinese broadcast partner, IQIYI Sports, has informed the league that matches will not be broadcast in the country as a result. This…

Russia head for court to overturn ban on athletes at Winter Paralympics

Russia is launching a last-ditch court appeal after its athletes were banned from the Beijing Winter Paralympics on the eve of competition after a U-turn by the International Paralympic Committee. The IPC had announced on Thursday that it was reversing its shock decision 24 hours earlier to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete as neutrals following intense international pressure, but will now see its decision challenged in the court of arbitration for sport. The Russian sports minister, Oleg Matytsin, confirmed an appeal to let its athletes compete – which…

China told Russia not to invade Ukraine during Winter Olympics, report says

Senior Chinese officials told senior Russian officials in early February not to invade Ukraine before the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, the New York Times reported, quoting Biden administration officials and a European official who cited a western intelligence report. The New York Times said the intelligence report indicated senior Chinese officials had some level of knowledge about Russia’s plans or intentions to invade Ukraine before Moscow launched the operation last week. A source familiar with the matter confirmed to Reuters that China had made the request but…

The Kamila Valieva case shows yet again that the IOC is betraying teen athletes

A fish rots from the head. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is the head of the Olympic movement, and it is rotten to the core. Long ago, this vile organisation abandoned its stated principles of “excellence, friendship and respect” to embrace greed, corruption and abuse. For many, the enduring image of Bejing 2022 will not be one of Olympic glory, but the tragic and bizarre spectacle attending the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and 15-year-old figure skater Kamila Valieva. Once again, the Russians got caught cheating: Valieva tested positive for a…

‘Openly British’ Kenworthy signs off with criticism of IOC over human rights

The British freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, said on Saturday the International Olympic Committee should take a host nation’s stance on human rights issues into consideration when awarding the Games. Rights groups have long criticised the IOC’s choice of Beijing as 2022 host and several countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, mounted diplomatic boycotts to protest against China’s treatment of its minority Muslim Uyghur population, which the US deems to be genocide. China denies allegations of human rights abuses. “I am absolutely a…

How citizenship row clouded Eileen Gu’s Olympics

Until recently, the US-born freestyle skier Eileen Gu – or Gu Ailing as she is known in China – was one of the rising numbers of Chinese Americans straddling the two countries. They are comfortable operating between the two cultures and systems, taking pride in their heritage as well as their upbringing. Gu, now 18, was born in San Francisco to an American father and a Chinese mother. She’s a big fan of Chinese dumplings and, every summer, she flew back to Beijing to attend cram school for mathematics. “When…