World Sports News in Brief

Arsenal take out 120-million-pound loan after finances take COVID-19 hit

Arsenal have borrowed 120 million pounds (US$162.65 million) from the Bank of England to ease the strain on their finances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Premier League club said on Thursday (Jan 7).

Premier League - Arsenal v Aston Villa - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - November 8, 2020 General view of a corner flag inside the stadium before the match. (Photo: Pool via Reuters)
Premier League - Arsenal v Aston Villa - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - November 8, 2020 General view of a corner flag inside the stadium before the match. (Photo: Pool via Reuters)

The club announced it has met the criteria set by the Bank of England for the Covid Corporate Financing Facility, and they have taken out a short-term loan, which must be repaid by May 2021.

* Former Chelsea manager Avram Grant has backed under-fire current boss Frank Lampard to turn the Premier League club's fortunes around after a turbulent start to the season. A huge outlay in the close season, including the signings of German playmaker Kai Havertz and striker Timo Werner raised expectations on Chelsea, who finished fourth in Lampard's first season in charge in 2019-20.

* US President Donald Trump on Thursday awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to golfers Annika Sorenstam, Gary Player and Babe Didrikson Zaharias. With just 13 days left in his term, Trump gave the nation’s highest civilian honour to the trio.

* Manchester United have signed winger Amad Diallo from Italian side Atalanta, with the 18-year-old Ivorian putting pen to paper on a contract until June 2025, the Premier League club said on Thursday.

* Ukraine's Dayana Yastremska has been provisionally suspended after the World Anti-Doping Agency found a banned substance in an out-of-competition urine sample, the International Tennis Federation said on Thursday.

* The English Football Association panel handed Edinson Cavani a three-match suspension despite acknowledging the Manchester United striker was not deliberately racist and had not known his language on social media was offensive.

* Stephane Peterhansel extended his Dakar Rally lead in Saudi Arabia on Thursday in a fifth stage won by South African Giniel De Villiers. The Frenchman was third on the 456km stage from Riyadh to Al Qaisumah with closest rival Nasser Al-Attiyah fourth in a Toyota. Peterhansel now leads the Qatari, a triple Dakar winner, by six minutes and 11 seconds.

* The Australian Grand Prix will be postponed to the back end of the Formula One season with Bahrain replacing it as the opening race in March, Aston Martin team owner Lawrence Stroll told Reuters. The move, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine restrictions, has been widely flagged in the media but is yet to be confirmed by Formula One or local organisers.

* Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil's future at the Premier League club could be decided during the January transfer window and the German midfielder will be allowed to leave if they receive a good offer, manager Mikel Arteta said on Thursday.

* Inter Milan defender Danilo D'Ambrosio suffered a knee ligament injury in Wednesday's 2-1 Serie A loss at Sampdoria, the club said on Thursday. Italy's Sky Sport said the 32-year-old full back could be out of action for four to five weeks.

* Manchester City Women's Super League match against West Ham United on Saturday has been postponed because of COVID-19 cases within the squad, the club said on Thursday. City reported four positive cases on Monday but did not name the players affected by the virus.

* Belgian Elise Mertens withdrew from the WTA 500 event in Abu Dhabi on Thursday with a right shoulder injury hours before her opening match of the 2021 tennis season, the women's governing body said.

* Team boss Davide Brivio announced his departure from MotoGP champions Suzuki on Thursday amid speculation the Italian was heading for a new senior role at the Renault-owned Alpine Formula One team. Brivio presided over a double title success last year, with Spaniard Joan Mir winning the MotoGP world championship in the absence of injured Honda rider Marc Marquez.

* Football Australia on Thursday launched plans for a domestic transfer system in an effort to boost the sport's finances by securing a slice of a global transfer market which generated more than US$7 billion last year.

* Kenya's half marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie says he is shifting his focus to the 10,000m as he looks to earn a ticket for this year's Tokyo Olympics and help end his country's 53-year wait for a gold medal in the event. Kandie smashed the half marathon world record by 29 seconds at the Valencia Half Marathon last month, finishing in 57 minutes and 32 seconds and breaking the previous record of 58:01 set by compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor in September 2019.

* World number one Ash Barty will return to competitive tennis after a lengthy hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic when she headlines two WTA tournaments in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open, organisers said on Thursday.

* The 18th edition of the Asian Cup, the region's flagship national team competition, will take place in China on June 16-July 16, 2023, the Asian Football Confederation said on Thursday. Ten cities across China will host the 24-team tournament, which will be held over 31 days, three days more than the 28-day showpiece in the United Arab Emirates in 2019.

* Tokyo Metropolitan Government announced on Thursday that upcoming exhibitions of the Tokyo Olympics torch around the Japanese capital have been postponed "to reduce the flow of people and the further spread of COVID-19."