Mexican football clubs "have rallied to aid the relief effort after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake caused devastation in Mexico City and surrounding states on Tuesday," according to Tom Marshall of ESPN.com. More than 200 people died as buildings collapsed, "with all midweek Copa MX matches postponed as the country recovers." Liga MX clubs like León, Pachuca, Veracruz, Monterrey, Necaxa, Santos Laguna, Puebla and Atlas "set up collection points in their stadiums or facilities," with the public urged to bring essential and non-perishable goods for those affected by the earthquake. Liga MX clubs in Mexico City -- Club América, Cruz Azul and Pumas -- "suspended their normal activities for Wednesday" (ESPN.com, 9/20).
ESTADIO AZTECA OK: YAHOO's Henry Bushnell reported "several reports that Estadio Azteca has been damaged by the devastating earthquake" appear "to be false." A video "showed the stadium trembling." However, "what looks like a crack is simply part of the structure of the stadium." It is a "junta constructiva, as many Spanish-speaking journalists put it, a constructive joint." It is also referred to as an "expansion joint." The stadium is built with such a design "to avoid collapse during an earthquake or landslide" (YAHOO, 9/19).
IPC EVENTS POSTPONED: REUTERS' Karolos Grohmann reported the World Para Swimming and World Para Powerlifting Championships to be held in Mexico City later this month "have been postponed following the devastating earthquake," the IPC said on Wednesday. The IPC said that this was the "first time it had been forced to postpone a major championship." Both events were due to start on Sept. 30, with 1,400 athletes, officials and staff involved. IPC President Andrew Parsons said in a statement, "As a result of this tragedy, we are in full agreement that the immediate focus of the Mexican authorities should be on prioritizing recovery and rebuilding for the Mexican people and not organising two major international sport events." Parsons added that arrangements were being made for a "safe departure of delegations that had already arrived in the capital" (REUTERS, 9/20).
PÉREZ MAKES DONATION: The EFE reported Force India Formula 1 driver Sergio Pérez will donate 3M pesos ($170,000) to "those affected by the earthquake." In addition to that contribution, Pérez announced that for every dollar the Checo Pérez Foundation receives, the Carlos Slim Foundation "will contribute five additional dollars to the cause" (EFE, 9/20).
France is "using financial incentives in an effort to overtake Ireland in the race to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup," according to Ziegler & Lowe of the LONDON TIMES. World Rugby requires the host nation to pay a €135M ($160.3M) fee to stage the tournament, which the Irish government has said it will pay "up front." France's bid execs have now said that they will pay an extra €34M ($40.4M) to the world governing body. There are "echoes of Qatar's offer" of €26.5M to int'l athletics as "additional incentives" just minutes before the vote in which Doha was awarded the 2019 IAAF World Championships. Ireland's bid is the "frontrunner in a three-way contest with France and South Africa." It has never before hosted the tournament but has a "powerful financial case and the potential to tap into 40 million people with Irish roots" in North America. French Rugby Federation (FFR) President Bernard Laporte is "under pressure over an alleged conflict of interest" because of his relationship with Top14 side Montpellier. France 2023 Bid Dir Claude Atcher insisted that the Paris Olympics "would not have a negative impact." He claimed the financial pledges to World Rugby would help to prevent int'l rugby from "dying." Atcher said, "You have to pay a fee to host. It is a minimum. We have proposed not €135 million but €169 million ($200.7M). This fee is 100 percent guaranteed by the French government" (LONDON TIMES, 9/20).
Potential candidate cities for the 2022 Commonwealth Games have until the end of the month to submit details of intent, with Birmingham, England, "seen to be in pole position as organizers continue the search for a new host," according to Mark Gleeson of REUTERS. Kuala Lumpur and Victoria, Canada, are "also in the running but both have sent mixed signals in recent months concerning their ability to pay for the event." Durban, South Africa, was removed as host in March after "failing to agree to financial guarantees and losing government support." The Commonwealth Games Federation exec board meets in Sri Lanka next month. Birmingham was chosen ahead of Liverpool by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport as Britain’s "preferred option after officials and independent assessors weighed up the merits of the two cities." The Olympic Council of Malaysia said that its government’s consideration of a Kuala Lumpur bid would only be finalized in the days leading up to the deadline, while Victoria was told that it "will not be supported by home province British Columbia, leaving it to local business to keep the bid alive" (REUTERS, 9/20).
A women's int'l friendly match "will take precedence over a domestic men's national cup final," with Football Federation Australia set to reschedule the FFA Cup decider "due to a clash of dates with the Matildas," according to Dominic Bossi of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. This year's FFA Cup final is reportedly "set to be moved from its original date" of Nov. 22 after the Matildas' friendly against China at AAMI Park in Melbourne "was booked for the same date." To maintain "the Matildas' momentum," FFA is prepared to "move one of its marquee fixtures to avoid any potential distraction." While a venue for the FFA Cup is yet to be confirmed, "it is understood the final will likely take place either a day before or after" the Matildas' first match against China as part of their two-game series in Victoria. FFA is reportedly eager to "harness the public support surrounding the Matildas," particularly in Victoria, where Australian Football League Women's "made a large impact in its debut season" (SMH, 9/20). In Melbourne, Neelima Choahan reported the Matildas "are bringing their roadshow to Victoria." The two-game int'l series against China will be held in Melbourne and Geelong in November. Victorian Sports Minister John Eren "is confident the team will draw close to capacity crowds." Eren said that the series "was an opportunity for the Matildas to showcase their talent, boost women's sports" and attract more tourists to Victoria. He said, "We are so proud of our Matildas. We want the Matildas to shine" (THE AGE, 9/20).
RAISING THE BAR: The AAP's Rob Forsaith reported Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said that record crowds at recent women's football internationals in Australia "have given local cricket fans something to aspire to." The Matildas attracted 15,089 supporters to their recent clash with Brazil in Penrith, "then 16,829 packed in to watch them defeat the same opposition in Newcastle." Sunderland said, "The great crowds the Matildas have attracted ... that's something for Australian cricket fans to aspire to. We've seen in recent times a really strong wave of public support for women's sport. It doesn't get any bigger than an Ashes" (AAP, 9/20).
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will "set aside their long-time rivalry" when they play for Europe against the rest of the world in the inaugural Laver Cup tournament, which starts on Friday. Conceived by Federer and his sports management company, Team8, the tournament is the "latest to join a crowded calendar and comes on the heels of the Davis Cup" semifinals last week (REUTERS, 9/20).
Every fan attending Sunday's NFL game at Wembley will be "subject to a search, with most bags banned as officials step up security following the recent terror attacks." It is understood "hourly" discussions are being held over safety arrangements -- amid concerns from owners in the U.S. -- for the clash between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens (London DAILY MAIL, 9/19).
Rio de Janeiro will stage the 2018 Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) Para Cycling Track World Championships. The event will take place in the Rio Olympic Velodrome. Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, was selected as host city of the '19 edition (IPC).
New Zealand Cricket changed the venue of its second one-day int'l against England in February to Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui from Napier's McLean Park "due to a delay in re-turfing the troubled venue." The match was shifted after "poor weather affected the supply of new grass," NZC said (REUTERS, 9/19).
December's Hong Kong ePrix "should see fewer crashes and a smoother race thanks to track improvements." According to a leading track specialist, the chicane on turns three and four "will be the main focus of this year’s improvements" to the 1.86km circuit along the Central Harbourfront. Architect and Formula E track specialist Rodrigo Nunes said that the improved chicanes "could help prevent crashes that marred last year’s race" (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 9/20).