The Sport Matrix: Friday 20 September 2013


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The Independent Online

Winter World Cup moves step closer as Uefa backs plan

The prospect of a winter World Cup being staged in Qatar in 2022 moved a significant step closer yesterday when Uefa’s 54-member countries gave their overall backing to the controversial switch which would result in a radical overhaul of the football calendar. According to Jim Boyce, Britain’s Fifa vice-presiden (above) Uefa members consider it “impossible” to play in the searing heat of a Qatari summer. Fifa is expected to agree in principle next month that the tournament will not be held in its regular summer slot and the decision of Uefa – the Europeans are the strongest of the global confederations – makes a change ever more likely, even if the continent’s major clubs and leagues remain opposed. “They [Uefa members] all agree that to play the World Cup, to take thousands of fans to the biggest sporting event in the middle of summer would be impossible,” said Boyce. Any switch will heighten calls for compensation from those Qatar beat to win the hosting rights for the 2022 finals. MORE

Durham hail coach after securing title

Durham captain Paul Collingwood paid tribute to head coach Geoff Cook, who recovered from his mid-season heart attack, after the club secured their third County Championship in six years yesterday. Collingwood said: “For him to pull through was a miracle in itself.” MORE

Defoe double eases Tottenham to win

Jermain Defoe scored twice as Tottenham Hotspur beat Tromso 3-0 in their Europa League Group K game at White Hart Lane last night. Defoe struck both his goals in the first half, before Christian Eriksen recorded his first for the club, from 20 yards. MORE

Swansea see off Valencia in style

Swansea began their Europa League campaign in impressive fashion last night, defeating 10-man Valencia 3-0 at the Mestalla. Wilfried Bony, Michu and Jonathan de Guzman were the goalscorers. Wigan drew  0-0 away to Belgium side Zulte-Waregem. MORE

Murray sidelined by back surgery

Andy Murray is to undergo back surgery next week which is likely to keep him off the court for the rest of the year. The Wimbledon champion who has been troubled by a lower back injury for the last 18 months, has already withdrawn from forthcoming tournaments in Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai, and is also expected to pull out of next month’s Paris Masters and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London in November. The Briton’s aim is to return to fitness in time for his December training block in Miami. MORE

Wiggins grateful as he retains lead

Sir Bradley Wiggins paid tribute to his Team Sky colleagues after he retained his lead in the Tour of Britain yesterday on a gruelling stage five. He said: “You’re nothing without your team and the boys rode all day once again to control the race.” MORE

‘Game-changer’ Cipriani returns

Danny Cipriani has been welcomed back on his return to Premiership action for Sale against his former club London Wasps tonight. “Danny’s a game-changer,” said Sale’s rugby director, Steve Diamond. “He’s a brilliant player.” MORE

Ferguson showers praise on Rooney

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Wayne Rooney is back to his best. Ferguson said: “He’s got his energy back, the determination, his purpose to attack. As a director, I’m delighted to see him back to what we always remember him as.” MORE

Button sees his future at McLaren

Jenson Button insists he will remain with McLaren for the foreseeable future, even though his contract extension has yet to be finalised: “I don’t have a worry in the world about my future with this team.” MORE

Chris Robshaw

England’s rugby captain, who also runs his own coffee bar, tells Tim Rich about the challenges of leading his club and country – and recalls that historic triumph over New Zealand. MORE