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Japanese Grand Prix cancelled for 2021 due to ongoing Covid-19 issues in the country



October’s Suzuka race will now not take place for the second year in a row due to the pandemic; F1 understood to have a number of options to fill vacant slot on calendar with final season schedule expected to be published in forthcoming weeks

The Japanese Grand Prix in October has been cancelled due to the “ongoing complexities” of Covid-19 in the country.

After discussions with F1 and the Suzuka event’s promoter, the country’s government have taken the decision to shelve the October 8-10 event for the second successive year amid the pandemic.

F1 is understood to have been planning for such a scenario and have options to keep the calendar at the planned 23 races.

The cancellation of November’s Australian GP last month meant there was already one slot free on the schedule.

A finalised 2021 calendar is expected to be announced in the forthcoming weeks.

“Formula 1 has proven this year, and in 2020, that we can adapt and find solutions to the ongoing uncertainties and is excited by the level of interest in locations to host Formula 1 events this year and beyond,” read an F1 statement.

What next for the rest of the 2021 season?

Eleven of the planned record 23 races for 2021 have already taken place. Twelve more were originally scheduled to follow in the space of 16 weeks up to and including the season finale in Abu Dhabi on December 12.

The F1 season resumes next week after its summer break with the Belgian GP, the first event of a triple header in Europe which also includes the returning Dutch GP at Zandvoort and then the Italian GP at Monza.

The cancellations of Australia and Japan mean only 10 of the remaining events are currently confirmed, while doubts remain over several more ‘flyaway’ rounds such as Mexico and Brazil – both of which are also currently on the government’s travel red list.

What does the rest of the F1 calendar currently look like?

DateGrand Prix
August 29Belgian GP
September 5Dutch GP
September 12Italian GP
September 26Russian GP
October 3Turkish GP
October 10Japanese GP
October 24United States GP
October 31Mexico City GP
November 7Sao Paulo GP
November 21Australian GP
December 5Saudi Arabian GP
December 12Abu Dhabi GP

That list also currently includes Turkey, which is scheduled to hold a race in Istanbul on October 3. But the possibility of different onward travel arrangements amid calendar reshuffles, rather than the need to return immediately to the UK to fulfill the quarantine period, mean F1 retain flexibility on venues and dates.

F1 is understood to continue to have interest from venues not currently on the 2021 calendar.

Title-chasing Honda to bow out without final home GP

While the figure-of-eight Suzuka layout is one of the drivers’ favourite, the track is also owned by Honda – engine suppliers of championship-contending Red Bull.

The Japanese manufacturer is leaving F1 at the end of this season and had hoped to enjoy one final race weekend at their own circuit, where Red Bull would inevitably have been in the hunt for victory with title rivals Mercedes.

“At Honda, we are particularly disappointed, because this is the final year of our Formula 1 project and we know that so many fans were looking forward to attending the event,” said Koji Watanabe, Honda’s chief officer for brand and communication operations

“The 2021 season is now heading for an exciting climax and we will be giving our all, fighting hard all the way to achieve our goal of winning the championships as this Honda Formula 1 project comes to an end and we hope our fans will continue to support us.”

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Black Stars Head Coach CK Akonnor sacked



The Executive Council of the Ghana Football Association has taken a decision to terminate the appointment of Black Stars Coach Charles Akonnor and his two Assistants with immediate effect.

This follows the receipt of the Technical Report from the Head Coach of the Senior National Team and the report from the Black Stars Management Committee following Ghana’s Group G World Cup qualifying matches against Ethiopia and South Africa.

The Executive Council after considering the two reports have decided to terminate its relationship with the Head Coach C. K Akonnor and the two Assistants.

The Executive Council has formed a three (3) Member Committee made up of Vice President Mark Addo, Upper East Regional Football Association Chairman, Alhaji Salifu Zida and Dr. Randy Abbey to find a Head Coach and Assistant Coaches for the Black Stars within the next 72 hours.

The Association wishes C.K Akonnor and his Assistants the very best in their future endeavours.

Ghana currently have three (3) points after the two opening matches.

The Black Stars will take on Zimbabwe in the next round of games in October 2021.

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Andy Murray: Emma Raducanu win provides ‘huge opportunity’ for British tennis



Kent teenager Emma Raducanu took New York by storm, not dropping a set en route to victory as she became the first qualifier in history to claim a grand slam crown; fellow Briton Andy Murray was asked about the 18-year-old after his Rennes Open first-round victory over Yannick Maden

Andy Murray has hailed Emma Raducanu’s “incredible” US Open win and spoken of a “huge opportunity” for British tennis.

Kent teenager Raducanu took New York by storm, not dropping a set en route to victory as she became the first qualifier in history to claim a grand slam crown.

Fellow Briton Murray was asked about the 18-year-old at a press conference on Monday after his Rennes Open first-round victory over Yannick Maden.

The three-time grand slam winner said: “It was incredible what she did there. I think for a lot of the people involved in British tennis, we knew she was extremely good.

“She hadn’t competed much for the last sort of 18 months or so with school and coronavirus and those sorts of things, but I think at Wimbledon (where Raducanu reached the fourth round) everyone sort of got a bit of a glimpse of how good she could be.

“I’ve spent a little bit of time around her on the practice court, but more so in the same building, training close to each other, and watching what she’s doing, and she’s obviously really, really good.

“But what she did in New York was very special, a huge boost for British tennis and gives hopefully the governing bodies an opportunity to capitalise on that and get more and more kids involved in the sport.

“It’s great what she did and a huge opportunity for British tennis now.”

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Antoine Griezmann: Atletico Madrid re-sign French forward on loan from Barcelona



Antoine Griezmann joined Barcelona from Atletico Madrid in £103m deal two years ago; forward returns to Atletico on a season-long loan; Sky Italy and Barcelona say Atletico have obligation to make deal permanent next summer, but Atletico say they instead have the option to extend the loan

Antoine Griezmann has completed his shock Deadline Day return to Atletico Madrid on loan from Barcelona.

Atletico and Barcelona said there was an option to extend the loan for a further season, with the Catalan club adding the Madrid side also had an obligation to make the deal permanent. Sky in Italy reports this permanent deal would cost £34.4m (€40m).

Atletico were able to move for the 30-year-old after sanctioning Saul Niguez’s departure to Chelsea on an initial loan with an option to buy worth £33.4m (€38.9m) overall.

Diego Simeone was keen to sign a new striker and Griezmann will have no difficulty settling back at Atletico, having worked under the Argentine between 2014 and 2019.

Barcelona stated that Atletico have agreed to pay Griezmann’s wages in full.

Image:Saul Niguez joined Chelsea from Atletico Madrid on Deadline Day

The 2018 World Cup-winner joined Barcelona from Atletico on a £103m deal two years ago and scored 35 goals in 102 appearances for the club.

However, he has only won the Copa del Rey during his time at the Nou Camp, and the Catalan giants have been trying to lighten their wage bill this summer due to debts amounting to £1.15billion, as confirmed by club president Joan Laporta earlier in August.

The club’s reported financial struggles meant they were unable to offer Lionel Messi a new contract, prompting his shock exit to Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

On Tuesday, the club announced stalwarts Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba have accepted to take a pay cut in order to aid the club’s Financial Fair Play parameters and ensure new signing Sergio Aguero could be formally registered with the Spanish Football League (LFP).

Earlier in the summer, Gerard Pique took a similar decision to allow Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia to be ratified as Barcelona players.

Griezmann originally left Atletico for Barcelona in 2019 at the end of a protracted transfer saga after his £103m (€120m) release clause was paid in full.

A year earlier, he featured in a documentary with Spanish TV station Movistar called “The Decision” which followed him as he opted to stay at Atletico despite interest from Barcelona.

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