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Sportsweek on BBC Radio 5 Live will be replaced by a show hosted by Laura Whitmore

Those hoping that Garry Richardson’s brilliant Sportsweek programme would be replaced by another hard-hitting sports journalism show on BBC Radio 5 Live have been left disappointed. 

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Following the conclusion of the Rugby World Cup, Pienaar’s Politics will move to an earlier 9am slot and will be followed by former MTV News and I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! NOW! host Laura Whitmore, who the Beeb say will speak to ‘big-name guests from the worlds of politics, music and showbiz’.

Sportsweek on BBC Radio 5 Live will be replaced by a show hosted by Laura Whitmore

Sportsweek on BBC Radio 5 Live will be replaced by a show hosted by Laura Whitmore

An early peace in the War of the Roses is declared by The Hundred 

You would imagine that two of the biggest rivals in The Hundred will be the franchises based in Manchester and Leeds. Interesting then, that both will be promoted by the same ‘fan engagement manager’. 

Sports Agenda can disclose that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), who have hardly covered themselves in glory when it comes to the new competition, have employed four marketing types to look after eight clubs and have lumped Manchester Originals and Northern Superchargers together. 

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Presumably, the new staffer in question will be permitted to blast both of their sides, while also declaring them the best in the competition. The ECB say the four, taken on in July, are ‘agnostic’ and add ‘therefore we don’t believe there is any conflict’. 

Perhaps the doubling up explains Gary Kirsten’s embarrassing blunder this weekend when the Welsh Fire coach tweeted: ‘Can’t wait for The Hundred Draft and to pick the [insert team name] squad on Sunday at 7pm. #TheHundredDraft’

Kate Cross and Saqib Mahmood of Manchester Originals laugh during a Hundred press event

Kate Cross and Saqib Mahmood of Manchester Originals laugh during a Hundred press event

Kate Cross and Saqib Mahmood of Manchester Originals laugh during a Hundred press event 

Mark Alford shock candidate to become head of Sky Sports News 

Mark Alford is the surprise choice to replace Andy Cairns as head of Sky Sports News. 

The 39-year-old, formerly of this parish, saw off internal competition from interim boss Steve Scott and chief reporter Bryan Swanson in a five-month recruitment process. 

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Sky insiders say that Alford’s digital skills and impressive plan for the future are what got him over the line. 

The new man, highly regarded despite his affection for Leeds United, will face a long list of tasks which may include getting to grips with his presenters’ off-message social media posts. 

Transfer presenter Anton Toloui has criticised boxer Tyson Fury, while Michael Bridge likened a flag of the Pope to comedian Russ Abbot. Both tweets were subsequently deleted. 

Alford, whose job title will be director of Sky Sports News, moves from head of digital at Sky News and is unlikely to start until January. 

Liverpool still playing catch-up to Manchester United off the field 

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While it is clear that Liverpool are some distance ahead of longstanding rivals Manchester United in the Premier League table, it would appear to be a different matter for the clubs off the field. 

The European champions are in the High Court amid a kit supply row with Nike and New Balance. 

Central to the argument — and Liverpool’s preference to ditch their current partners — is the claim by Nike that they can put LFC-branded gear in 6,000 outlets around the world, which Liverpool say New Balance cannot match. 

Industry insiders say that figure falls well short of the 20,000 stores across the globe in which punters can buy United merchandise made by the club’s kit partner adidas. 

As reported by Sportsmail, United are seeking a new shirt sponsor to replace American car maker Chevrolet and believe such global power will stand them in good stead, despite the team’s under-performance in recent seasons. 

Liverpool are still some way behind Manchester United in terms of their popularity off the field
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Liverpool are still some way behind Manchester United in terms of their popularity off the field

Liverpool are still some way behind Manchester United in terms of their popularity off the field

UEFA officials surprised at criticism over punishments for racism 

Officials at UEFA, whilst acknowledging the severity of the racist abuse suffered by England’s players in Bulgaria, were surprised at the level of criticism and allegations of leniency from certain quarters here. 

They wonder if partial and full stadium closures penalties, which can cost international federations millions, are a punishment the Premier League or Football Association would ever consider on these shores.  

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NFL games in London includes specialist dogs being flown over 

The incredible logistical operation that surrounds bringing NFL games to London includes the Americans flying over around 40 specialist dogs for each series of matches to ensure they pass off without incident. 

The canines are specially trained in spotting signs of suspicious behaviour and insiders say they are at a standard not readily available in the UK. 

After crossing the Atlantic, the dogs play a key role in the security operation and their presence may be something Premier League clubs consider in the future.

Australian rugby bosses livid at reporting on team news

It would appear Australian rugby bosses have taken a leaf out of former England football regimes.

Sources in Japan say that officials accused journalists of being ‘un-Australian’ for reporting on team news ahead of their World Cup quarter-final thrashing by England.

Apparently, the consequences of the Wallabies’ ludicrous policy to run the ball regardless of field position played no part in the crushing defeat.

Departing coach Michael Cheika could not hide his disappointment following the pasting, telling Australian television: ‘I’m f****** so disappointed’ in an interview sadly not seen on these shores.

Departing Australia coach Michael Cheika was left livid following the loss to England

Departing Australia coach Michael Cheika was left livid following the loss to England

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Departing Australia coach Michael Cheika was left livid following the loss to England

Sarah Lewis OBE attends ‘Play the Game’ conference 

It was interesting to hear that Sarah Lewis OBE, International Ski Federation (FIS) general secretary, was a visible presence at the recent ‘Play the Game’ conference in Colorado Springs. 

Some have taken the Englishwoman’s visit as a sign that she has now embarked upon a mission to raise her profile ahead of a potential presidential campaign should Gian-Franco Kasper step down from the role. 

If that is the case, Lewis is likely to need backing from GB Snowsport, which sources have disclosed is ‘far from a sure thing’.

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Viewing figures for NFL clash at Tottenham’s stadium concerning

 Viewing figures for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers versus Carolina Panthers match at Tottenham’s stadium marked the lowest for an NFL match since 2013. 

The fixture was broadcast on subscription channel NFL Network across the pond, which will have had an impact. Sources say the early kick-off — 9.30am in America’s East Coast — also played a part but insist the disappointing figures will not hinder future decisions on games being held in Britain.  

Viewing figures for the game at Tottenham's stadium were the lowest for an NFL fixture since 2013

Viewing figures for the game at Tottenham's stadium were the lowest for an NFL fixture since 2013

Viewing figures for the game at Tottenham’s stadium were the lowest for an NFL fixture since 2013

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Contributor: Matt Hughes