Sports News Roundup: Tennis-Russians can compete at Australian Open, Djokovic would be welcome – Tiley; Soccer-Hay quits as New Zealand coach after World Cup miss and more

Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.

Tennis-Russians can compete at the Australian Open, Djokovic would be welcome – Tiley

Russian and Belarusian players will be able to compete at the Australian Open as neutrals while Novak Djokovic would also be welcome to play if he can obtain a visa, tournament director Craig Tiley said on Wednesday. Tennis authorities banned Russian and Belarusian players from international team competitions after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year but allowed them to compete at regular tour events.

Soccer-Hay quits as New Zealand coach after World Cup miss

New Zealand coach Danny Hay has decided to quit rather than re-apply for his job following a review of the All Whites’ failure to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar. Hay, who took over the team in 2019, will finish his tenure when his contract ends on Oct. 31, governing body New Zealand Football (NZF) said on Wednesday.

Motorcycling-World Supersport rider Steeman dies after crash in Portugal

Dutch World Supersport 300 motorcycle rider Victor Steeman has died of injuries suffered in a crash in Portugal at the weekend, World Superbikes said on Tuesday. The 22-year-old Kawasaki racer crashed with another rider in Saturday’s race at the Algarve circuit and was taken by helicopter to hospital in Faro.

Baseball-Ex-Angels employee Kay sentenced to 22 years after overdose death of pitcher Skaggs

Former Los Angeles Angels communications director Eric Kay, who in February was found guilty of distributing a controlled substance to late Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Tuesday, the Department of Justice said. Skaggs, 27, died on July 1, 2019 while on a team trip to Texas and an autopsy showed oxycodone, fentanyl, and alcohol in his system.

Soccer-Shakhtar fought for Ukrainians to feel ‘identified and proud’, says the coach

Shakhtar Donetsk coach Igor Jovicevic praised his side’s display and courage after they held Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw in the Champions League on Tuesday, saying they fought to make the Ukrainian people proud. A last-gasp header by Real defender Antonio Rudiger rescued a 1-1 draw for Carlo Ancelotti’s men and secured their place in the knockout stage after the Ukrainian side had taken the lead one minute into the second half.

Soccer-Mexico tells fans not to bring iconic ‘Lucha Libre’ masks to World Cup

Mexico fans have been advised by their government not to wear their colorful ‘Lucha Libre’ wrestling masks at World Cup matches in Qatar to comply with local rules. Alfonso Zegbe of the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) asked fans not to wear the masks at the World Cup, citing guidance from the tournament’s organizing committee, although organizers told Reuters there was no such policy in place.

Soccer-INEOS chief Ratcliffe contacted Glazers but told Man United not for sale

British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe said he had contacted Manchester United owners the Glazer family about buying the English Premier League club, but was told they were not for sale. Ratcliffe, head of chemical company INEOS, was interested in investing in the 20-time English top-flight champions back in August, a source close to the Manchester-born billionaire had told Reuters, but no official bid was launched.

Soccer-Thorns owner stepping down as CEO after NWSL misconduct report

Merritt Paulson, the CEO of the Portland Thorns and their Major League Soccer counterparts, the Timbers, said he was removing himself effectively immediately, following a report that detailed abuse in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). An investigation released earlier this month said that abuse and sexual misconduct were systemic throughout the NWSL and that the league and US Soccer failed to put in “basic measures” to safeguard players.

Soccer-Australia’s women end European drought in World Cup boost

Women’s World Cup co-hosts Australia secured their first away win over European opposition since 2013 with a 3-1 victory over Denmark to recover some badly needed confidence in the lead-up to next year’s global showpiece. The Danes went ahead in the first minute of the friendly in Viborg on Tuesday but the Matildas hit back with a Caitlin Foord brace and a wonder strike from Katrina Gorry in a nine-minute burst in the second half.

Flight bookings to Qatar boom for the World Cup, especially from Dubai

Flight bookings to Qatar are booming for the soccer World Cup being held in November and December, with particularly strong demand from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as fans work around a shortage of accommodation in Doha, a study showed on Tuesday. Flight bookings to Qatar from the UAE and nine other countries have risen ten-fold compared with before the pandemic, travel analysis group Forward Keys said,

(With inputs from agencies.)