Here is this week's dose of “5-Point Friday”. A weekly round-up of the sports news and stories that I find most interesting and enjoyable.
Win I have been celebrating -
Scotland qualified for a first major international tournament in 22 years thanks to a 5-4 win on penalties over Serbia after a 1-1 draw in Belgrade to reach Euro 2020.
Ryan Christie's second-half opener had Steve Clarke's side tantalizingly close to a Euro 2020 place. However, Luka Jovic netted in the 90th minute amid a late Serbian rally to force extra time. Having dominated, Scotland then hung on for penalties where David Marshall saved from Aleksandar Mitrovic for a 5-4 sudden-death win.
Motorsports news I am learning about -
The Vietnamese Grand Prix has been dropped from Formula 1’s 2021 calendar.
Vietnam was due to host its first Grand Prix on the streets of its capital Hanoi in April but it was canceled following the coronavirus outbreak. It had been widely expected that the race would form part of the 2021 season’s schedule.
The removal of Vietnam, which at the time was the first new event introduced by F1's new owners Liberty Media, has been triggered by the arrest on corruption charges of a key official responsible for the race in Hanoi. Hanoi People's Committee chairman Nguyen Duc Chung was arrested in August for an alleged appropriation of documents containing state secrets.
Chung's absence has led to a vacuum and Vietnamese authorities have told F1 that the government has other priorities, including key elections, the pandemic, and recovery from a typhoon. Talks are ongoing with regard to a possible race in Vietnam in 2022, but the situation raises the significant possibility that the event may never happen.
Soccer news I am following -
Football Federation Australia (FFA) has reached an agreement to hand over control of the men’s A-League and women’s W-League to the two competitions’ clubs.
An in-principle agreement between the national governing body and Australia’s top-flight soccer leagues was struck in July 2019, but protracted negotiations meant an official deal has not been reached until now.
As a result, the clubs will take control of the A-League and W-League before Christmas. The newly formed independent organizations will oversee marketing and commercialization, while efforts will also be made to source outside investment, in part to help secure the future of several clubs facing financial pressures brought on by Covid-19.
In addition, clubs will be responsible for drawing up the two leagues’ fixture lists in conjunction with FFA, which wants the competitions to move to the Australian winter to coincide with the lower-tier leagues in the country.
Though FFA is relinquishing control, the organization will become the leagues’ regulator, giving it final say over issues such as the introduction of promotion and relegation, as well as team expansion.
“We are in the final stage of the unbundling process and have reached an agreement with the clubs and member federations,” said FFA chief executive James Johnson. “The unbundling is now being operationalized and will come into full effect for the start of this coming A-League and W-League season.
“The clubs will become the league's owner and operator and the FFA will become the regulator of the Australian professional game.”
NFL decision I was stunned by -
The Texans fired VP/Communications Amy Palcic (@amypalcic), leading to an outpouring of support from a wide range of NFL beat reporters for the first woman to have full public relations responsibility for a team.
Palcic reportedly was told that she was no longer a “cultural fit,” an assessment that continues to make no sense for a team that will hire within the next two months a new G.M. and a new head coach. As noted earlier, the timeline makes reasonable the suspicion that the firing resulted from frustration by someone in the Texans organization who found unpalatable the results of the presidential election, given that Palcic showed subtle but unmistakable support on social media for the Biden-Harris ticket.
What I have been reading -
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall (@ChrisMcDougall). Born to Run tells the story of McDougall's adventures with the indigenous Tarahumara tribe, who are known for being world-class ultra runners.
Although the primary story is about the Tarahumara, the book weaves in interesting stories about the evolution, fundamentals, science, diet, and commercialization of ultra running.
Have a wonderful weekend, all!