The Sport Matrix: Tuesday 18 November 2014


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Chairman bans players from having beards

A leading Turkish football club have banned their players from growing beards after their chairman said they looked like students of Islamic vocational schools and set a bad example.

“I am 80 years old, and I shave every single day,” Genclerbirligi chairman Ilhan Cavcav (right) said while explaining the reasoning for his club’s decision to start issuing a fine of 25,000 lira (£7,100) to any of their footballers with beards.

“Man, is this an imam-hatip school? You are a sportsman. You should be a model for the youth,” he said, adding that his own 23-year-old grandson was negatively affected by the growing number of beards in football.

Bell wants England to be aggressive

England batsman Ian Bell called for the team to be more aggressive over 50 overs, as they arrived in Sri Lanka for the one-day series. “I think people would rather see us be aggressive and lose instead of be timid and come away with nothing,” said Bell. There is an issue with the balance of the batting order, but openers Alastair Cook and Alex Hales, and No 4 Joe Root, can be named with certainty.

Hamilton to agree new Mercedes deal

Mercedes will meet with Lewis Hamilton next Monday, after the Abu Dhabi GP, to tie the Briton to a new contract. Hamilton’s deal is set to expire at the end of 2015 but executive director Toto Wolff said: “We have agreed that we want to continue and Lewis has said the same.”

Messi and Ronaldo duel at Old Trafford

Argentina face Portugal in a friendly at Old Trafford tonight, with the mouth-watering prospect of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo coming up against each other. All eyes will be on the pair, and Manchester United’s British record signing Angel Di Maria will also feature. Ronaldo will be making his second appearance at the ground since his departure for Real Madrid in 2009.

Lancaster rejects England crisis talk

The England head coach, Stuart Lancaster, added five players to his squad for Saturday’s must-win meeting with Samoa at Twickenham. Luther Burrell, James Haskell, Billy Twelvetrees, Calum Clark and Richard Wigglesworth have been called up following the defeat by South Africa, but Lancaster dismissed notions of his World Cup planning going awry. “A crisis? That’s not true at all,” he argued.