Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Russia tonight is in some doubt due to the weather in Belfast. Overnight rain and snow has left the city in wintery conditions, making the Windsor Park pitch a major concern. Linfield’s stadium is among the more basic in international football and it does not have much in the way of defences to the elements. Press Association The Irish Football Association this morning released the following statement: “The referee (Norway’s Tom Hagen) will inspect the pitch at 10am this morning as part of his normal duty. “We will keep you updated throughout the day.” The snow has also forced the closure of the runway at George Best Belfast City Airport.
THE Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) has withdrawn its appeal against the length of the ban imposed on West Indies cricketer Andre Russell because of an internal procedural error by its executive director Carey Brown.This was disclosed on Monday during a press conference hosted by chairman of the JADCO Board, Alexander Williams.The decision to withdraw was made after consultation with Jamaica’s Attorney General.However, despite the foul up, Brown maintains the full confidence of the board, Williams said as he addressed journalists gathered in the boardroom at JADCO in Half-Way Tree in Kingston.Andre Russell, one of the best T20 all-rounders in the world, was banned for a year in January after an independent disciplinary panel found him guilty of an anti-doping violation in 2015.Russell had failed, on three consecutive occasions in 2015, to notify JADCO as to his location for possible drug-testing. Russell was warned about the breaches, and asked on each occasion to explain his filing failure and he failed to do so.JADCO appealed the length of the sentence but earlier Monday that appeal was withdrawn. Russell’s attorneys also withdrew their appeal of the one-year sanction before an appeals panel at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.According to Williams, the executive director may have misunderstood, a change of procedure introduced following a visit of officials of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 2013.“In 2013, WADA officials visited Jamaica to see how JADCO was functioning, and WADA came to the decision that changes had to be made to the structure of JADCO and indicated that there was a need to set out the role and functions of the members of the commission, and that of the executive director,” Williams said.The decision, Williams explained, led to the repeal of the Anti-Doping Sport Act of 2008, under which JADCO was formed and the Anti-Doping Sport Act of 2014 introduced as its replacement.The main idea behind the change was to ensure that there was no undue interference by what is now the board of the commission with the role and the function of the executive director.“I think, though, that it is fair to say that there was a misunderstanding about what the new law prescribed. While it is true that the board of the commission is not responsible for doping control, we are nonetheless required by law to monitor the administrative operations, which must include doping control, and, indeed the executive director is to have regard to the advice and recommendations given to him by the board,” the chairman said.“While the board of the commission has no authority to interfere in complaints, the WADA Code, and JADCO’s own rules both require that before an appeal is commenced, a post-decision review should be undertaken and it is now determined by the board that this should be done by the executive director in consultation with the board.In this case, involving Mr Russell, the simple fact is that there was no consultation with the board of the commission by the executive director prior to the appeal being lodged.”Subsequent to this situation, the board has decided that the board would be notified of any complaint being lodged to the Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel and that, prior to any appeal being pursued, the executive director must seek and obtain the approval of the board.(Spotsmax)
BRYAN FAUST/Herald photoThe University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team will truly begin their season this week as the team will play its season opener Sunday against Mercer, but not before its final exhibition game against Division III Carroll College Wednesday night at the Kohl Center.The contest should pose a little more of a challenge to Wisconsin’s perimeter players in the final tune-up before the year truly begins. “They’ve shown the proclivity to be a little better shooting team from the outside,” head coach Bo Ryan said at a press conference Monday, comparing the Pioneers to UW-Stout, whom UW played on Friday in the team’s first exhibition game. “Better shooters. We’ll probably see a little more motion on the perimeter … Carroll will be a little more perimeter-oriented.”Carroll has been successful at the D-III level, going 21-5 (14-2 Midwest Conference) last season and reaching the NCAA tournament. However, Ryan asserts that they are more interested in their own team than the opponent’s.”We’re trying to get better ourselves,” Ryan said.Ryan also defended the practice of playing exhibition games against smaller state schools over possibly scrimmaging against other top-tier schools, similar to how Marquette did against Kansas State.”The whole idea of exhibition games is to get people familiar pretty much with your own court, to get into the feeling of the Kohl Center,” Ryan said, before also pointing out that exhibitions are better for the fans. “I just think the game atmosphere is something that is really good for our players. Plus, I think it’s good for college basketball that people are seen, that basketball is played where it’s open, and scrimmages have to be totally private.”Wisconsin ranked No. 9 in APThe Badgers were lauded again Monday, as they received their highest Associated Press poll ranking since Dec. 11, 1962, coming in at No. 9 in the AP’s preseason vote.It is the highest preseason ranking UW has ever received and is just the latest praise brought down on a team that has already been ranked ninth in the Coaches’ Poll, has been tabbed by many as a conference frontrunner, and has had forward Alando Tucker named Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year.Still, this latest accolade isn’t likely to send Wisconsin players scrambling for their mirrors, as the team has repeatedly downplayed the importance of such preseason honors.”All that stuff, it’s nice, but it’s where you are at the end of the year that matters,” Tucker said at the Big Ten’s annual media day.Ryan tech savvy Ryan kept the Wisconsin media room entertained at his weekly press conference when a reporter asked him where he stood on the practice of text messaging recruits. Ryan made it clear that he is not a big supporter of the medium. “I’m not a fan of the text messaging,” Ryan stated before getting into a comical explanation. “My theory is based on that famous doctor that did the report that text messaging induces or influences obsessive-compulsive behavior. So, medically, I think it should be banned.” Once he was done questioning the health concerns surrounding text messaging, Ryan joked that the Badgers tend to rely on personality to sign recruits to UW.”We try to get them with our charm and our wit … we’ve lost a lot of recruits,” Ryan joked, before tossing out one more comic line as he was getting up to leave. “I’m gonna go text.”