Australia’s eSports Integrity Commission Reveals Concerns

After tracking suspects for six months who the authorities said deliberately lost no less than five tournament matches while placing bets on those matches, arrests have been made. The result of the Australian police’s investigation could see those responsible facing as many as ten years in jail for esports match-fixing.

As most of the world’s sports are postponed, many who enjoy betting on sports have turned to watching talented gamers battle it out online while playing esports. The number of people tuning in via the popular Amazon platform Twitch has almost doubles from this time last year. Fans of esports generally tune in to Google’s YouTube, Microsoft’s Mixer, and Twitch to watch professional gamers play many of the best selling Electronic Arts games such as FIFA soccer.

As a result of the increase and the amount of money it is generating, it is tempting many players to break the rules and is seeing a substantial increase in corruption with multiple gamers being caught for participating in illegal betting syndicates who fix matches. As all action is carried out in a virtual world and throughout the world, it is far more difficult to bring an end to this type of behaviour than it is during regular sporting events.

Australia forms Esports Integrity Commission

To combat this, Australia formed the Esports Integrity Commission as a tool to assist in the fighting of corruption in this industry. Its director, Stephen Hanna, while commenting on the challenges said: “It won’t be possible to fully eliminate illegal betting and match-fixing. It’s about limiting its position in the market to the greatest extent possible.”

It is expected that esport wagers will increase to over $13 billion this year, up from $5.5 billion two years ago based on a recent report from EK Gaming & Advisers. This makes it one of the largest in terms of sports betting growth that is estimated to be worth $135 billion globally. That has resulted in betting firms such as Hillside Sports ENC, Tipico and Betway all offering esports as a betting option to their members.

While governments have been attempting to bring an end to esport betting, Sweden is the only one of late who introduced legislation that will fine betting companies that offer odds on any esport matches where the average age of participants is less than 18. The goal is to protect the integrity of esports and bring an end to providing any financial incentives to fix matches. It is expected that the U.S and Spain will also be introducing similar legislation this year or early in 2021.

Edmonton Oilers Facing Downward Spiral

The Edmonton Oilers had the opportunity to win last night’s game in the first fifteen minutes. That is exactly what they should have done, but there was not the option of running after the Vegas Golden Knights for 60 minutes.

Edmonton is at the tail end of two back-to-back road games, and with the club being riddled with injuries, they managed to stay competitive against the super-hot Knights for about as long as anyone could expect before the Knights took over. The end result was a 3-0 loss on a night the Knights had superior goaltending and a better team as well.

In post-game interviews, Leon Draisaitl stated, “We needed a powerplay goal. We had enough chances to score, especially the first two powerplays. Just couldn’t get one over the line.”

Draisaitl himself lost messed on multiple chances of earning his 100th point this season but simply could not get the job done and that was not lost on the star forward, who adding to his comments stated, “Other than the second period I thought we played a solid game. We created chances. But nights like that, they happen. We’ve probably won a lot of games this year where we created a lot less than tonight.”

In the first minutes, he sent multiple shots but failed to put into the net, and in the third period, he hit the post with one shot. Connor McDavid also missed out on several opportunities in the opening minutes of the first that he usually connects with and it was the skill of Marc-Andre Fleury that put the brakes on the Oilers having any hope of being relevant in the game last night.

It was after the first 15 in the first that things went south for Edmonton. This came about after Max Pacioretty fired off a shot that should never made it in past Mikko Koskinen, who played solid in net thereafter had little help from the Oilers who after recent events seemed pretty beaten up.

On the plus side for Edmonton, they did manage to gain three points during this road trip, one that has seen them play nine of their last 12 on the road including stops in Florida, California, Nashville and Chicago. The bad news, however, is they lost four out of the last five.

Barty Breaks $10 Million Barrier

Topping the ranks of women’s tennis for 2019 is Ashleigh Barty. Now, this tennis star cut another record when she smashed the $10 million prize money ceiling for the season. Barty earned herself a spot only shared by one other for having the most lucrative WTA Finals ever, as her on-court earnings slipped to an impressive $10.93 million.

The recent windfall in the Australian’s income just more than doubled her career earnings in only one season. This could increase even more if Barty manages to defeat Petra Kvitova and thus qualify for the semi-finals. If Barty makes it to the final four in the tournament, she will be sure of at least $1.45 million, and if she moves on to the finals and takes victory, the total value of her prize money stands at $5.98 million. Considering the odd scenario that she might lose during the semi-finals, the 23-year-old player will still depart back on her journey home from China with $890 000 in hand.

Holding Your Future in Your Hands

The results of the finals are very much in Barty’s own hands. That is also the way that she prefers it to be. Currently, the contest within the pool is still keen to compete for the finals, but the action plan for Barty to proceed to the desired position is rather evident. The Australian star needs to take Kvitova out of the run and then she’ll be in the top view of the Red Group.

This will secure that she advances to the semi-finals. Once again even if she loses, she might still be able to slip into the finals if she manages to snatch a set from Kvitova and Kiki Bertens manages to gain victory over Belinda Bencic in a total of three sets. This would be a much more complex scenario, yet still possible. When counting back the number of games won and lost by each of the competing players, this might gain her access to where she wants to be.

Barty vs Kvitova

Barty stated that every single time the two of them met on the court, it had been a challenging experience. She also noted that each time is different. Now playing in China, the condition would once again be changed. What she needs to do is to be able to find Kvitova’s strengths and eliminate their effect while working on her weakness and still stay true to her pattern of play. Barty also expressed that the two tennis forces do have tremendous respect for each other. She stated that Kvitova does have a way to bring out the best performance she has to deliver on the court.

Does Barty manages to proceed, she is bound to meet up with either Elina Svitolina, the titleholder, or the champion of Wimbledon Simona Halep or Karolína Plíšková, to secure the desired spot in the finals.

Percy Losing Standing Record

On the brink of the Rugby World Cup to kick off in Japan, one record which is undoubtedly expected to be broken is the one standing for more than a decade. The record set by Percy Montgomery for the highest number of points scored for the South African Springbok team. The player chasing this record is Handre Pollard.

Montgomery is known for his trendy haircuts and white boots. The fullback of the Springboks played for his country during two World Cups. During 2007 he was part of the winning squad, just before he decided to hang up his boots for the last time. Montgomery debuted into the Springboks during the 1999 tournament. He was one of the strong forces on the field which led the Boks into the third place that year. During 2007 he was playing an instrumental role in gaining victory for South Africa and bringing the coveted trophy home once again. During the World Cups, Montgomery bagged a total of 111 points for the South African team, 12 points alone only from the final in Paris, defeating England for World Cup victory.

Second in Line

De Beer made his debut into the Springbok team at the same time as Montgomery. He managed his record when he managed five successful drop goals for South Africa while fighting it out with England in 1999. This number of drop goals remains a record number to take place during a tournament. De Beer only represented South Africa during the 1999 World Cup and managed a total of 97 points for the Springboks.

Third in Line

Pollard is standing on 93 points going into the tournament, and now it is only a complete lack of skill or injury which will prevent him from setting a new record within the Springbok camp. The 25-year-old is playing for the Bulls but also represented his country when playing for the Springboks in 2015. He is usually to be seen in the position of fly-half but was also part of the action in the past in the area of the centre.

The Rest

Up to now, De Beer and Montgomery were the only South Africans to have made it to the list. This situation is expected to change soon, with Pollard bound to move up in position. Still, even though these three players have managed to set the record for the Springboks, it is a far reach to the top of the list. Currently still standing with Dan Carter playing for New Zealand in fourth place with 191, Michael Lynagh playing for the Aussies with 195, Gavin Hastings from Scotland at 227 and then miles ahead of them all, is Johnny Wilkinson who played for England with 277 points.

Schumacher Showing Signs of Progress

Over the past six years, the family of the seven-time World Champions was very tight-lipped regarding his condition. Only seldom reports would surface from close friends stating that he is unable to communicate or walk. In January this year, around his 50th birthday, his family made a statement they are doing all that is humanly possible and that he is getting excellent care. Otherwise, his wife Corinna has managed to keep her husband entirely out of the public eye. Therefore recent reports stating that the racing legend is conscious, are received with great excitement by his loyal fans.

Admitted in Paris

It was revealed this week that Schumacher was admitted to the George Pompidou hospital on Monday. Even though the hospital refrained from commenting at all due to privacy policies, it was revealed that a nurse did confirm that he is in their care and that he is conscious. During his time at the hospital, which seems like his third visit for treatment, he was also visited by Jean Todt, his former senior at Ferrari. Todt spent 45 minutes at the racer’s bedside. It also appears that over the past couple of weeks, Schumacher was also visited by other previous racing colleagues.

Specialized Treatment

The reason why Schumacher was at the Parisian hospital is due to a very specialized form of stem cell treatment which he receives under the treatment of Professor Philippe Menasche. Menasche is the director of the Brain and Spinal cord institute at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital. This is where he initially examined Schumacher before sending him for treatment at the George Pompidou, where the 69-year-old professor is a practising cardiac surgeon. During 2014 Menasche was responsible for pioneering the successful transplant of stem cells unto a patient with heart failure. The assumption is that this is the same kind of pioneering work which he is applying to the legend as well. Stem cell treatment is used to aid recovery by reducing inflammation in the body. The stem cells distribute throughout the entire body and help the healing to take place faster.

The World is Starving for News about the Legend’s Condition

During December 2013, the entire world stood in shock when the news broke about his skiing accident and the severe head injury which he suffered when his helmet cracked open from the impact. For six months his medical team kept him under a medically induced sedation before he eventually was moved back home during September in 2014. Due to the tremendous amount of secrecy which his family maintained throughout his condition, fans haven’t had any real certainty about his actual state. Therefore rumours about him being conscious and seemingly better are well-received globally. One person who also urges the family to make some statement about the legend’s health is Nick Fry. Fry worked with Schumacher for three years at Ferrari and stated that millions of the fans have a genuine concern for their hero. Some update from the family would be much appreciated.

MLS Expanding By Adding St. Louis

There is a constant drive to expand the sport of soccer in the United States. Major League Soccer’s is also committed to providing the growing number of local soccer fans with clubs and stadiums. Thus the announcement was made this week that the town of St. Louis has been added as the 28th club in the league.

A Long and Winding Road to Success

During 2017, St. Louis had a bid to be included in MLS, but what it meant at that stage was a $60 million expense, paid out of tax revenue to be able to build a stadium. Using a referendum, the voters denied the payment. This was terrible news for the investment group which was at that stage in the process of getting a soccer club in St. Louis, Paul Edgerley. They ended up giving up on efforts, and the bid went cold.

Recently Carolyn Kindle Betz in her capacity as president of Enterprise Holdings Foundation started working with Jim Kavanaugh, the new CEO of World Wide Technology, to make this dream a reality. Kavanaugh is no newbie to the process since he was already involved during 2017 when he was still at Paul Edgerley. St. Louis is a town with a high soccer culture and getting their stadium would make sense. Therefore Betz and Kavanaugh as well as Andy Taylor, the executive chairman at the Enterprise Group, worked over many weeks with the rest of the Taylor family as owners of the club and the MLS, to achieve success. The main difference between now and 2017 is that the group has secure the majority of the funds needed for the construction of the stadium, from private funding.

The Future of St. Louis

The stadium is set to be built in Downtown St. Louis and the club will be based at this soccer-specific stadium. The stadium will also bring along some residential development with a new real estate development to be built surrounding the stadium. Even though the club of St.Louis will only join the MLS ranks in 2022, they are immediately set to work on a name, logo and team colours.

Regularly women are making a more and more impressive mark on the front of international professional sports. This is such a moment. The club of St. Louis’s ownership belongs to Betz, Kavanaugh and the Taylor family. Six women are in the Taylor family, and including Betz, this is the first club to join MLS which is predominantly female-owned.

The Change in the US Soccer Scene

Over time the increase in MLS expansion fee has risen dramatically. From when New York City FC joined MLS in 2013 for a $90 million payment, it now is estimated at $240 million. This is due to the increasing popularity of the sport in the US. Crowds are growing, and sponsorships are getting more profitable. It is indeed an era in US soccer history where it has become a lucrative investment to own a club.

Dovizioso Take the Austrian Grand Prix

In the blink of an eye, Andrea Dovizioso slipped past Marc Marquez, MotoGP World Champion, in a thrilling end to the Austrian Grand Prix. This win for Ducati on the final corner of the race left its mark on the Spaniard’s winning record.

A Duel Inside the Spielberg Red Bull Ring

The Spielberg Red Bull Ring was the scene where a duel between these two riders took place on Sunday. The Italian remained wheel-to-wheel with his rival for nine out of the 28 laps. Chasing Honda the entire time. Marquez had a 59th MotoGP pole start but moved into the front when only three more laps were remaining. Dovizioso was stuck to him the whole time, and when the last corner of the previous lap appeared, the Italian took his chance and sped past the Spaniard in the blink of an eye. The race left Marquez on 230 points. This is still a 58-point lead to Dovizioso’s 172 with 11 of a total of 19 tracks done.

The Austrian Track

Winning on this Austrian ring remains elusive for Marquez, while Dovizioso expressed his surprise with the results. He said that he was aware of the fact that it was his last chance to try and he just did something wild and crazy, and it worked out well. The Frenchman, Fabio Quartararo, racing for Petronas Yamaha, started with leading the first four laps and ended the race off being third. The other great Italian, Valentino Rossi, managed a fourth position on his Yamaha. He was followed by his teammate Maverick Vinales in the fifth position. Alex Rins on his Suzuki came in sixth.

Ducati had an unbeaten run over the past couple of years at the Spielberg Red Bull Ring. Since they joined in 2016, Ducati has been winning every single race. Dovizioso has been on the podium for all of them and in the winning position in 2017. After the race, Marquez stated that he had problems with controlling excessive sliding due to the wrong kind of rear tyre which he has chosen for the race. Nevertheless, he admitted that Dovisiozo had an incredible run on the track.

Moto2 race Action

It was a great moment though for South African, Brad Binder when he finished first and took his first win for the season after having some challenges with performing during the first part of the season on his Red Bull KTM. Not only could he celebrate his 24th birthday with a victory, but also made an end to a year-long dry spell in winning anything since last October. This win is an excellent way for KTM to move towards the end of the season. They have announced earlier on that they will mainly be focusing on MotoGP in the future and is quitting the Moto2 class at the end of the season. This expected break from Moto2 for KTM is expected to be around five years long, yet this is not a problem for Binder since he is moving in 2020 to the premier category.

Canadian Young Tennis Stars

Canada is celebrating its 40th year of delivering on world-class tennis, and they are enjoying unprecedented success in the international arena.

Forty years ago tennis was a sport for the select few. The Canadian stars were trained in private clubs and the entire tennis scene was immersed in an unhealthy presumed privilege. Today that picture has changed entirely, and most of the outstanding tennis talent delivered by the country is stemming from elsewhere in the world — the children of immigrants. Félix Auger-Alisassime is a teenage sensation whose father is originally from Togo in West Africa. Vasek Pospisil has roots in the Czech Republic. Milos Raonic is a child of Montenegro. Bianca Andreescu started her tennis career in Romania, the homeland of her parents. Fernandez’s parents lived in Laval in Ecuador. What seems to be the common denominator between all these stars is that somewhere in the more recent history, their parents moved from elsewhere to settle in Canada.

Their parents decided to make the sacrifice of working hard to provide a better future for their children. Tennis is no longer only for the Canadian elite. It isn’t only the children of immigrants who achieve success through hard work on the court. Eugenie Bouchard is from Canadian decent, and even though she has been going through a couple of tough times on the court, she is very dedicated and hard at work to achieve great success. They are very successful. For the first time in history, four Canadian male players are represented on the ATP 100 rankings. Canadian teen sensations Leyla Annie Fernandez and Bianca Andreescu are climbing the ladder of success on the women’s rankings. Some of the young Canadian talent to keep an eye out for is Felix Auger-Aliassime and Bianca Andreescu.

Felix Auger-Aliassime

There are many reasons why Felix is considered to be the 2019 breakout player. Not only is he dominating much more seasoned players, but he also moved up to be the youngest player featuring on the top 100. He defeated Tsitsipas during the Indian Wells, Grigor Dimitrov had to bend the knee before him at Queens Club and so did Nick Kyrgios. He also became the youngest star to reach the semi-finals during the Miami Open. The youngster is only 18 years old, and already he has the tennis world at his feet.

Bianca Andreescu

Her most inspiring attribute is coming back from dire situations. This year Andreescu is moving up the ladder at a tremendous speed and recently became the fifth Canadian to enter the courter finals since 1979 in the Rogers Cup. Her motto driving her to success is that if you don’t succeed, you need to find a way to deliver what is required to bring you back to where you belong. The 19-year-old star is currently 27th ranked on ATP rankings and is promising an exciting contribution to the future of Canadian tennis. Indeed it is no longer the face which was presented forty years ago by the Canadian tennis elite.

Women’s World Cup 2023 Expanding

FIFA announced this week that a unanimous decision was made that the 2023 Women’s World Cup will allow 32 teams to participate. This is equal to the number of teams participating in the Men’s Cup since 1998 and putting the two events on a level playing field.

Women’s Football Growing Undeniably

The great success that the Women’s World Cup had this year in France, as the hosting country, made it clear to all that women’s soccer is growing into a much larger sporting event. The event in France recorded record viewing numbers from all over the globe. It is considered to be the Women’s World Cup which was the most-watched in the history of the tournament. To keep up with the momentum which the competition created, FIFA made the change to allow an expanded version of the match. This was according to Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA. He also mentioned that he is very excited about this becoming a reality for women’s soccer and that this is only the first of many more proposal to enhance the game.

Updates on Hosting Requirements

Currently, eight countries have placed bids on hosting the event, of the nine states which were expected to bid by October this year. These include Australia, Argentina, South Africa, South Korea, Bolivia, New Zealand, Japan and Colombia. These countries, as well as other eligible countries, will receive updates on the new bidding requirements to host the more significant event. Those who have already placed their bids are now allowed to withdraw from the game if they so decide and others can still add their request. The process is due to close again in December this year and then during May, next year FIFA will announce the hosting country for the 2023 event.
FIFA made this decision remotely, and it came ahead of a formal meeting, which is due to take place later this year in Shanghai.

Allowing for Better Opportunities in Women’s Soccer

By expanding the event to 32 teams, many more women will now have the possibility of qualifying to play on the international level. Since the tournament is seen as the top of the pyramid of women’s soccer, being hosted only every four years, it is vital to give all women dedicated to the sport, a fair chance of excelling in it. It will also mean that much smaller clubs will now have a goal to work towards and start to prepare their teams to qualify on an international level. The decision made by FIFA is considered a great stride towards strengthening the future of this sport for women. Since 1991 when only 12 teams were participating, the event has grown to the 24 teams which competed in France. The United States National Women’s Team were the champions this year. Ultimately FIFA is aiming at strengthening not only the desire to achieve but also to develop the much-needed infrastructure to accommodate these events.

Shane Lowry, Winning It for Ireland

The pressure of a local crowd rested firmly on this humble Irishman’s shoulders while the weather wasn’t in his favour. He managed to bring great jubilation for the local supporters when winning The Open in Portrush.

The Moment of Glory

The 32year-old Lowry managed to lift the Claret Jug, not only for himself but for entire Ireland as well. He started the final round with a four-shot lead over Tommy Fleetwood playing for England. Through adverse weather conditions of rain and wind, he managed to parlay and enter into a six-shot win. Lowry closed the tournament on 1-over-par 72, and he also posted 15-under 269 total.

He delivered an immaculate performance for the first three days, but it was on the final day when the weather turned against him, and he had to refocus himself into the game a couple of times. Success on the Antrim coast was his, and the crowds couldn’t contain themselves. The strong presence of local support was visible through the number of Irish flags in the groups, and you could hear them chanting his name. When victory belonged to Ireland, the marshals had their hands full to keep the crowds off the greens. Lowry admitted later on to the added pressure he felt playing in front of a local group. An Irish win on Irish soil brought him however more than just the prize money of $1 935 000, but he also becomes the number one player for the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. It is also bringing the hope to Ireland that this win will sway the vote towards Ireland being chosen to host the 2026 Ryder Cup.

His Career

Winning The Open was the first significant cup which Lowry held in his hands. The Offaly man as he is nicknamed as a child of Clara in County Offaly was a scholar at the Athlone Institute of Technology. His amateur career debuted when he won the Irish Amateur Close Champion in 2007. It was, however, his win of the Irish Open, while still an amateur player, which entered him into the Official World Golf Ranking. It was shortly after this victory that he turned professional and debuted this career with the European Open in 2009. Some of his early highlights include finishing third in the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament in 2009 in Japan and then in early 2010 he finished fourth in the Abu Dhabi Gold Championship. This win placed him in the ranks of the top 100 players on the Official World Golf Ranking list.

Lowry stems from a family of sporting legends representing Ireland. His family is initially from Ferbane and are mostly famous for Gaelic football. His father, Brendan Lowry as well as his two uncles, Mick and Sean Lowry achieved All-Ireland medals for their contribution in 1982. All of them played for the club in Offaly. Lowry’s dad was also the All-Star winner of 1981. He was the then best-left corner-forward playing for Ireland.