Sports Ticker (22 April 2022) - Lamborghini esports team, World Rugby red card and Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games - a speed-read of commercial updates from the sports world

Published on 22 April 2022

In a fortnight which saw Victoria win the bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, we feature updates from the Masters, the launch of Lamborghini's esports team, alleged breaches of FFP regulations by Manchester City and proposals to introduce 20-minute red cards by World Rugby.

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Manchester City potential breaches of new FPP regulations

Following success before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in 2020 after investigations by UEFA into alleged breaches of the Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, there are now further reports of alleged breaches by Man City. Der Spiegel claims to have unearthed new documents alleging that the club's sponsors in Abu Dhabi have only provided a portion of their payments to the club themselves, with the rest coming from the club's owner. There are also issues being re-raised in respect of the club's former manager, Roberto Mancini, with Der Spiegel’s reports suggesting that some of Mancini's compensation was paid via a "fictitious consultancy contract". Man City deny the allegations, and it remains to be seen whether much more is made of them. The allegations have emerged just as new FFP regulations, renamed the Financial Sustainability Regulations, were approved. Breaches of the new regulations could include preventing clubs from using specific players signed during the most recent transfer window, limiting the number of players registered for a particular competition, incurring points deductions or relegation from one UEFA tournament to another - though this latest measure is yet to be approved.

Lamborghini races to launch esports team

Lamborghini has recently announced the launch of its esports team, named "Automobili Lamborghini", which is set to compete in the GT World Challenge Esports Championships in the Assetto Corsa Competizione game (an Italian driving simulator game focussing on GT3 and GT4 cars specifically). The venture is Lamborghini's first foray into the world of esports, and the team will be fully supported by the Squadra Corse, Lamborghini's in-house racing team, which includes a team principal, coach and engineers to analyse in-game telemetrics for the players. In addition to the launch of the esports team, Lamborghini has announced the return of The Real Race for 2022 - a competition where virtual and real car racing are set to be merged.

World Rugby to consider 20-minute red card

As part of a global trial, World Rugby are considering introducing a 20-minute red card which would mean that a player who is sent off can be replaced 20 minutes later by a substitute. Striking "the balance between safety and spectacle" has been cited by World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin as the rationale behind the trial, which is part of World Rugby's broader attempts to continue lowering tackle heights in the game. The new law is currently being trialled in Super Rugby but cannot be considered for global adoption before the next women’s (2022) and men’s (2023) Rugby World Cups. The proposals have drawn mixed reviews across the rugby world, including from former Rugby Union referee Nigel Owens, who has criticised the new law for potentially jeopardising the deterrent effect of a red card.

Scottie Scheffler wins first major as Rory McIlroy finishes second

America's Scottie Scheffler cemented his place as the dominant force in men's golf, by winning the Masters at Augusta National, and claiming his first major title. The 25 year-old remained steady throughout the tournament, and finished 3 shots clear of runner up Rory McIlroy. Northern Ireland's McIlroy raised hopes of a sensational comeback, shooting an incredible 64 for the tied course record on the final day, however in trailing Scheffler by 10 strokes going into Sunday, he fell just short of a Green Jacket and completing the elusive career Grand Slam. Meanwhile, it was confirmed that Sky Sports will remain the exclusive UK broadcaster of the Masters after agreeing a multi-year extension of its broadcast agreement with Augusta National Golf Club. The Masters joins Sky's extensive golf offering, with all four men's majors and all five women's majors showing exclusively live on Sky Sports Golf during the 2022 calendar.

Victoria victorious in its bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games

In 2026, for the sixth time in the competition's history, and the second time in 20 years, the Commonwealth Games will be held "down under". Just as with the 2006 Games hosted by Australia, Melbourne will host the opening ceremony. However, this time, the Games will not be limited to Victoria's capital, but held over the five separate regions of Victoria in cities such as Ballarat and Bendigo – this is the first time that an entire state or region has hosted the Games. So far, 16 events have been announced for the competition, ranging from boxing to lawn bowls, and more events are expected to be added in the future. In the meantime, we are now less than one hundred days away from the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will be held in Birmingham, England from 28 July to 8 August.

Extra time...

…and finally, Former tennis number one, Ashleigh Barty is set to play in a celebrity golf exhibition tournament, sparking rumours that she may attempt a professional career in a third sport, golf. Barty announced her participation in the event was an attempt to encourage more women and girls to take part in the sport. Barty, who played professional cricket for Queensland and Brisbane Heat in 2015 is a keen amateur golfer with an apparent handicap of four. The first event in the celebrity Icon Series will take place at Liberty National in New Jersey in June with further tournaments planned for Europe, Asia and Australia.