The Abu Dhabi Tour and Dubai Tour merged and "will run as the UAE Tour" from '19 following a memorandum of understanding signed by the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Sports Council on Wednesday, according to Amith Passela of THE NATIONAL. According to the general secretaries of the two councils, Aref Al Awani and Saeed Hareb, the UAE Tour will "consist of seven stages and make a greater impact" while retaining its Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) World Tour status. Al Awani revealed the first step was to "change the name on the UCI World Tour as a unified event on the calendar of world cycling events." He said, "It will be a seven-day, seven-stage and that will allow us to pass through all the Emirates. This is our aim and we hope that all the Emirates participate in it. The distance will vary from stage to stage but in seven Emirates we have more places to discover." The organizers of the UAE Tour will continue its partnership with Velon, which will "work closely" with the World Tour, Pro-Continental Teams, race organizers, broadcasters and the int'l cycling media. While the UAE Tour is "not limited as a cycling event," Hareb suggested the expanded race "will be a more financially viable project." Al Awani said, "It's not less or more on the financial resources for us but more impact in terms on the value of the vent in terms of the media coverage" (THE NATIONAL, 3/14).
Events and Attractions
Two major North American cities with World Cup-ready stadiums have "pulled out of being host cities in the 2026 World Cup bid," according to Daniel Karell of NBC SPORTS. Chicago and Vancouver reportedly "will not be hosting any World Cup matches" should the joint-bid between the U.S., Canada and Mexico win the right to hold the 2026 World Cup in North America. In both cases, city and state leaders "argued that FIFA asked for major financial guarantees without promising a huge return on investment," making the elected officials "nervous about moving forward with a bid." Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's office said, "FIFA could not provide a basic level of certainty on some major unknowns that put our city and taxpayers at risk." As of now, Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton have agreed to "move forward with the United 2026 bid," which "should be more than enough" for the current 10 games Canada will host. Mexico has proposed games played at Estadio Azteca as well as in Nuevo Leon and Guadalajara (NBC SPORTS, 3/15). REUTERS' Steve Keating reported British Columbia Tourism Minister Lisa Beare said that the province, which hosted the final of the 2015 Women's World Cup, "could not agree with the terms of the host contract" put forward by the United Bid Committee. Beare: "While we support the prospect of hosting the World Cup, we cannot agree to terms that would put British Columbians at risk of shouldering potentially huge and unpredictable costs" (REUTERS, 3/14).
England will tour Sri Lanka for the first time in six years to play three tests, five one-day internationals and one T20 match, organizers said Thursday. The tour will begin on Oct. 10 with a day-night ODI at Dambulla, Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement. There will be three day-night ODI matches in all, "while the T20 will also be a day-night game." The first test will be at Galle Int'l Stadium, while the other two tests are slated for Pallekele Stadium (AFP, 3/15).
Chelsea was "made aware of incidents" outside Barcelona's Camp Nou before Wendesday's game in which "a number of fans were hurt." Videos on social media showed "clashes between fans and security" before the Champions League match, which Barcelona won (BBC, 3/15).
ESL's Counter-Strike Pro Leauge added LA LEAGUE. LA will see South America "integrated to Pro League," complete with open qualifiers and culminating in a finals event that seeds its winner directly into the Pro League finals. A statement said, "After the open qualifiers taking place on March 24-25 and closed qualifiers on March 30-April 1, LA LEAGUE will feature eight of South America’s best teams in a league format with play days every Saturday and Sunday starting April 7th. The season culminates in the league finals on May 5th (THE ESPORTS OBSERVER, 3/15).
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