England star Moeen Ali admitted he would be open to joining Yorkshire, but not as a "publicity stunt" following the ongoing rebuild at Headingley after the Azeem Rafiq racism scandal.

Moeen has played for Worcestershire for 15 years and has captained the side, but his contract expires at the end of the season.

The 34-year-old has also made his intentions to return to Test cricket with England clear, announcing he was "officially unretired" after a conversation with new coach Brendon McCullum.

Yorkshire are reportedly interested in the all-rounder to bolster their white-ball side and County Championship outfit.

Widespread change is still ongoing at Headingley, with chairman Kamlesh Patel, director of cricket Darren Gough and coach Ottis Gibson appointed to oversee improvements.

The changes came after Rafiq suffered racial harassment and bullying while at Yorkshire, which was eventually brought to light and taken in front of a parliamentary select committee last November.

The former off-spinner also accused his former club and England of being institutionally racist, with several high-profile figures at the county resigning or being dismissed over the handling of the allegations.

Moeen insists that a move to Yorkshire would only be for "cricketing reasons" as he discussed his future.

 

"This is my last year at Worcester. I'm talking to them, I'm talking to other counties. I do love playing for Worcester, I've been there 15 years now," Moeen told BBC's Test Match Special.

"I moved from Warwickshire and they obviously helped me develop my game, play for England, but when the time comes I'll make a decision.

"I think Yorkshire are doing a good job and will continue to do that. I don't think they need to sign me to make it a publicity stunt, almost. If I ever left, it would be for cricketing reasons."

Nick Kyrgios said he was racially abused by a spectator during his semi-final with Andy Murray at the Stuttgart Open on Saturday.

Murray won the match 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 to advance to the final, where he will play Matteo Berrettini on Sunday.

However, Kyrgios had greater concerns as he took to Instagram afterwards to say he was called a "little black sheep" by someone in attendance.

"When is this going to stop? Dealing with racial slurs from the crowd?" he wrote.

"I understand that my behaviour isn't the best all the time – but 'you little black sheep', 'shut up and play' – little comments like this are not acceptable. When I retaliate to the crowd, I get penalised. This is messed up."

Meanwhile, Murray's win saw him reach his first tour-level final on grass since 2016.

The three-time major winner upset Stefanos Tsitsipas in the previous round – his first win over a top-five opponent in six years – and followed that up against Kyrgios with another impressive performance.

"A lot of ups and downs, but I kept going and kept working and finally managed to get to another one. I am proud of the effort I have put in," Murray said after securing the win.

He moves up to 47th in the live ATP rankings – the first time he has been in the top 50 since May 2018 – and his clash with Berrettini will be his 70th career final.

"You're always battling yourself as well as the opponent, it's one of the difficult things about individual sports," he added in relation to Kyrgios' frustrations during the game.

"Nick has the potential to be one of the best players in the world, there's absolutely no question about that. But he obviously got very frustrated in the second set and made it a lot easier for me.

"I'm happy to be in the final. I've played well this week and I've got a great opportunity against Matteo tomorrow."

Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan promised to support England and take the knee on Tuesday after Hungary fans jeered the action on Saturday.

England fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat in their Nations League Group A3 opener after Dominik Szoboszlai's second-half penalty at the Puskas Arena, the same Budapest venue where some England players were subjected to racial abuse in September.

Hungary were supposed to play the fixture behind closed doors after racist behaviour at Euro 2020 last year, but children accompanied by some adults were allowed to attend as a crowd of 35,000 watched on.

There were boos when England players took the knee prior to kick-off, with Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate subsequently expressing his confusion and dismay at the pre-match response.

"The first thing is that is why we do it [take the knee], to try to educate people around the world. I have no idea why people would choose to boo that gesture," Southgate told Channel 4 after the game.

England next head to Germany, who played out a 1-1 draw with Italy in their opener, and Gundogan vowed to support his opponents by taking the knee.

"We will go down on our knees together with the English because we want to support this whole initiative," Gundogan told reporters at Monday's pre-match news conference.

"We did this last year at the Euros and, of course, we will do it tomorrow too. I'm used to that from the English league, where we do it almost every match, so it's nothing new for me.

"We talked about it inside the team and we will support the opponent."

Gareth Southgate was perplexed as to why Hungarian children booed England players when they took the knee before the Three Lions' shock Nations League defeat on Saturday.

Dominik Szoboszlai's second-half penalty gave Hungary a shock 1-0 victory at the Puskas Arena.

The League A Group 3 game was supposed to be played behind closed doors as punishment for racist behaviour in the same stadium during Euro 2020 last year.

Yet children were allowed to attend the game and a crowd of 35,000 watched England's record 22-game unbeaten run come to an end in Budapest.

There were boos when England players took the knee prior to kick-off in the same stadium where some of Southgate's players were subjected to racist abuse during a World Cup qualifier in September.

England manager Southgate told Channel 4: "The first thing is that is why we do it [take the knee], to try to educate people around the world. I have no idea why people would choose to boo that gesture.

"I think very often, young people especially, they can't know why they are doing it really, so they are being influenced by older adults. The UEFA decision [to allow people into the ground], that is for other people to decide.

"I think we've made our stand as a team, everybody knows what we believe and what we stand for. I think tonight, I've got to focus on the football. When you lose, you can't be talking too much about other areas because I think that would be a lack of responsibility for the result."

Southgate said there could be no excuse for a substandard display from England, although he questioned referee Artur Dias' decision to award Hungary a penalty when Reece James was adjudged to have fouled Zsolt Nagy.

"We have to accept that we did not do enough to win the game, a draw would have been the fair outcome," he said. "We did not create too many clear-cut chances and the actual result hinged on a decision which is harsh but probably won't be overturned.

"Once it has been given as a penalty, he probably will not overturn it. You see challenges like that in the box, Reece James puts his body between the ball and the forward makes a meal of it. Away from home sometimes you will get those calls.

"It has [been a long season], but the heat was a factor and took a lot out of the players, and we tried to refresh the team earlier than normal.

"The balance of finding out about new things and the consistency of the regular team, I have to look at whether I got that right.

"I don't want to be too harsh on them, these are games where we need to learn from. They are bitterly disappointed because we want to keep winning matches. If we want to be a team right at the top tier of football, we need to come here and win."

A Dominik Szoboszlai penalty ended England's record 22-game unbeaten run as Gareth Southgate's side suffered a 1-0 loss to Hungary in their Nations League opener.

The Three Lions had not lost since 2020 outside of penalty shoot-outs – their best ever sequence – but left Budapest empty-handed in their first competitive match of a World Cup year.

The decisive goal came from the spot after substitute Reece James was penalised for a trailing arm on Zsolt Nagy in the box, allowing Szoboszlai to score 24 minutes from time and earn Hungary's first win against England since 1962.

It was a result welcomed by around 35,000 fans in a behind-closed-doors match, as children were allowed to attend in line with UEFA sanctions despite a stadium ban for racist behaviour at Euro 2020.

And there were audible boos from those in attendance as England took the knee ahead of kick-off, back in Budapest where their players were the subject of abuse last year.

Alan Pardew has quit his role as CSKA Sofia boss after several of the club's players were subjected to racist abuse by their own fans.

Pardew initially joined the Bulgarian club in an advisory capacity in 2020 but moved into the dugout after Stoycho Mladenov's resignation this April.

But the former Newcastle United boss has now left the club after four CSKA black players had bananas thrown at them by their own fans before a game against Botev Plovdiv last month, one week on from losing the Bulgarian cup final to fierce rivals Levski Sofia.

In a statement released on the club's website, Pardew said: "First, I want to thank all the real CSKA fans for their support and passion for the club.

"It was a privilege for me to be a part of and to serve this club. Unfortunately, my time here is over. 

"The events before and after the match with Botev were not acceptable for me, for my assistant Alex Dyer, or for our players. The reason no one gave an interview after the match was that we were all very outraged by the situation that had escalated.

"Our players decided to play only out of loyalty and to protect the club. The small group of organised racist fans who tried to sabotage this match is not what I want to lead and represent the team in front of. 

"This is definitely not the right path for the benefit of CSKA, because such a club deserves much more."

Pardew's assistant Dyer, the first black coach at the club, has also left his role.

Nazem Kadri scored a decisive hat-trick for the Colorado Avalanche against the St. Louis Blues in Game 4, having been determined to perform after alleging threats and racist abuse.

Avalanche center Kadri was involved in a collision with Jordan Binnington in Game 3, bringing a premature end to the Blues goaltender's series.

Former NHL player Akim Aliu revealed on Twitter on Sunday he had subsequently spoken to Kadri, who he said had "been subject to so many racist attacks and threats since last night that police had to be brought in".

The Avalanche confirmed they were aware of threats made towards their player – a Muslim of Lebanese descent – and were working with local law enforcement to investigate.

In the meantime, Kadri responded on the ice with three goals in Monday's 6-3 win to put the Avalanche 3-1 up and on the brink of the Western Conference Finals.

"I wanted to come out tonight and really put a mark on this game, especially after what happened," Kadri said. "I tried to do that as best as possible.

"Sometimes you've got to be patient, and you've got to wait. I was able to strike early in the second period and was able to get the mojo going."

He added of the incidents: "People need to be aware this stuff still happens, and it's hurtful."

Speaking ahead of Game 4, Blues coach Craig Berube – who had questioned Kadri's role in Binnington's injury, referencing his "reputation" in an apparent nod to previous postseason suspensions – said of the threats: "I've got no comment on that stuff."

Former South Africa director of cricket Graeme Smith has been cleared of racism allegations against him by two independent arbitrators.

Smith was accused of racial bias against black leadership at Cricket South Africa (CSA), discrimination against Proteas wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile and unfair racial treatment surrounding the appointment of Mark Boucher over Enoch Nkwe in 2019.

The former Proteas skipper was under review by Dumisa Ntsebeza SC after CSA's Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) process, with Ntsebeza unable to conclude on "definite findings" in December 2021.

The initial report criticised Smith and former captain AB de Villiers for selection decisions, which it said were prejudicial towards black players, allegations the pair both denied.

That led to further formal processes, with two independent arbitrators Ngwako Maenetje SC and Michael Bishop reviewing the case, before Smith was cleared of the allegations of racism.

Smith, who held the CSA director role between 2019 and 2022 before his contract ended in March this year, has also been reimbursed his costs by CSA on the advice of the arbitration.

Lawson Naidoo, chairman of the CSA Board, said after the decision: "The manner in which these issues have been dealt with and resolved by the arbitration proceedings confirms CSA's commitment to deal with the SJN issues in a manner that treats them with utmost seriousness but also ensures fairness, due process and finality.

"Now that finality on these processes has been reached, it is appropriate to recognise the extraordinary contribution that Graeme has made to South African cricket, first as the longest-serving Test captain in cricket history and then as director of cricket from 2019 to 2022.

"His role as director has been critical in rebuilding the Proteas men's team in particular and has laid a solid foundation for his successor.

"We fully appreciate that after his time as director, Graeme wants new challenges in the commercial and cricket worlds.

"He has a long career ahead of him and we very much hope that he will still work in the cricket world in appropriate capacities going forward."

CSA apologised for the unwarranted public disclosures of Smith's personal information, including his remuneration, during the SJN process, as they thanked the 41-year-old for his efforts in charge.

Pholetsi Moseki, who is CSA's chief executive, added: "On behalf of the executives, staff and players at CSA, I would like to thank Graeme for all that he did as the director of cricket.

"He put up his hand at a particularly tumultuous period for CSA and he has often gone beyond his contracted duties to assist CSA during his term."

Milan head coach Stefano Pioli insisted "four teams can still win the Scudetto" after his side moved back to the top of Serie A with a 1-0 victory over Cagliari, which was marred by abuse directed at Mike Maignan.

The Rossoneri dominated for large parts on Saturday, but a lack of clinical finishing left them frustrated until just before the hour.

Ismael Bennacer stepped up with an exquisite volley into the bottom-left corner to edge Milan past Walter Mazzarri's side, who spurned two great opportunities through Joao Pedro and Keita Balde in response.

Victory meant Milan restored their three-point lead over Napoli, who defeated Udinese 2-1 earlier on Saturday, and they are six ahead of defending champions Inter, who have played a game fewer, after they were held by Fiorentina.

Juventus could cut the gap on the leaders to seven when they host Salernitana on Sunday, and Pioli believes the Scudetto race is far from over with eight games remaining for his side.

"Every game is an important crossroads now. I liked the team, even when we didn't score in the first half, as we played with quality and intensity," Pioli told Sky Sport Italia.

"Cagliari caused us problems, but that's inevitable when you have two teams with such strong motivation."

Milan's triumph was their third straight win by a 1-0 scoreline and, while delighted with the result, Pioli would look to see his team be more ruthless in front of goal.

"We would like to score more and went close again several times today, but the important thing is to win," he added.

"We're doing great things, but we also know there are four sides that could still win the Scudetto. There's no point looking too far ahead, there's a long way to go and we need to concentrate only on our own path."

Milan's win was tainted, however. There was a commotion between the players after the final whistle, and Pioli confirmed that goalkeeper Mike Maignan had made claims he was racially abused by some Cagliari fans.

"Mike told me there was racist abuse from behind the goal," Pioli responded when asked about the scenes at full-time.

"It's always sad when these things happen, nobody deserves that."

Michail Antonio believes West Ham team-mate Kurt Zouma's punishment for abusing his cat should not be more severe than the sanctions handed out to those convicted of racist abuse.

Zouma was filmed kicking and slapping his cat, prompting West Ham to issue the defender a £250,000 fine – which will be donated to charity – while animal charity RSPCA removed the Frenchman's cats.

However, the 27-year-old was not dropped from the Hammers' starting line-up, with manager David Moyes selecting him in the 1-0 win over Watford in their subsequent fixture.

Zouma's presence on the pitch was met with criticism, but Antonio feels those calling for the centre-back to be sacked are going too far in light of the punishments put in place for players that are found guilty of using racist language.

"I've got a question for you," Antonio said to a Sky Sports reporter. "Do you think what he's done is worse than racism?

"I'm not condoning a thing that [Zouma] has done. I don't agree with what he's done at all.

"But, there's people that have been convicted, caught for racism and have played football afterwards. They got punished, they got an eight-game punishment or something like that.

"But people are now calling for people to be sacked, for them to lose their livelihood. I've just got to ask this question to everyone out there: Is what he's done worse than what the people have done that [have been] convicted for racism?"

West Ham's next fixture is a Premier League game against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday as the Hammers compete to finish in the top four.

Vincent Kompany said he was “disgusted” after being racially abused during Anderlecht's 2-2 draw with Club Brugge on Sunday.

The former Manchester City captain, now manager of Anderlecht, stated after the game that players and coaches were verbally abused throughout.

"I go home disgusted and disappointed. My players, my staff and I were victims of racist insults," the 35-year-old told broadcaster Eleven Sports.

"I want to get together with my staff, to be with the people who matter to me. We should not still have to experience this today."

Club Brugge, who were in the same Champions League group as Manchester City this season, released a statement after the game condemning the actions of their fans, saying: "Club Brugge, its fans, staff, players and board, strongly condemn any form of racism.

"These individuals are not representative of the values and norms of our club, and do not have their place at Jan Breydel Stadium."

On Monday, Club Brugge said the club would do all they can to identify those responsible and seek to impose stadium bans.

Kompany won two Belgian league titles as a player at Anderlecht before going on to win four Premier League titles with City, as well as two FA Cups and four EFL Cups during his time at the Etihad Stadium, before heading back to Anderlecht as player-coach in 2019. He retired from playing in 2020 to focus on managerial duties.

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku posted support for his former Belgium team-mate on Instagram, and demanded a firm response from the football authorities.

"An icon like Vincent Kompany has been insulted because of his skin colour," Lukaku wrote. "Enough is enough ... take real action now."F

Darren Gough has been appointed as managing director of Yorkshire on an interim basis following the Azeem Rafiq racism crisis, the club has confirmed.

Ex-England bowler Gough will relinquish his current media duties to take the role at his former county, initially until the conclusion of the 2022 season, as Yorkshire look to rebuild in the wake of the revelations by Rafiq.

A 100-page independent report in early November upheld claims by Rafiq that he had been the victim of "racial harassment and bullying" during his time at Yorkshire.

Former chairman Roger Hutton resigned with immediate effect over Yorkshire's handling of the investigation, with new chair Kamlesh Patel stepping into the role.

Chief executive Mark Arthur then followed Hutton in resigning, while Yorkshire announced on Friday that they were parting ways with their entire coaching and medical team, including first-team coach Andrew Gale and director of cricket Martyn Moxon.

Gough, who enjoyed two spells at Headingley as a player, will oversee the recruitment of a new coaching team as his immediate priority.

On his appointment, Gough told Yorkshire's official website: "Yorkshire County Cricket Club has been part of my life since my earliest days in cricket when I made my debut in 1989, and I spent 15 happy years at the club. 

"Like many, I have followed how the club handled the recent racism allegations with sadness and anger.

"I want to play my part in rebuilding cricket in Yorkshire and I am looking forward to working with the exceptionally talented group of players here. 

"I am also aware of my wider responsibility to listen to everyone and ensure that every person who is associated with this club feels welcome, instilling values we want associated with the White Rose: honesty, straight talking, hard work, integrity and excellence.

"I share [Kamlesh] Patel's vision for Yorkshire County Cricket Club, and the collective determination to face the issues head on with a series of positive actions. Change will not happen overnight, but I am certain that we can make Headingley roar again."

Gough retired from professional cricket in 2008 but travelled to New Zealand in 2019 as a mentor for England's seamers on tour.

Current England captain Joe Root, who worked with Gough on that tour and is a lifelong Yorkshire player, has backed the 51-year-old to succeed in his new role.

Speaking ahead of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, Root – before the appointment was confirmed – said: "It's news to me, but if that is the case he's a good man and I'm sure he'll be looking to put his stamp on things at the club.

"From my experience of spending time with Goughie, he's obviously very passionate and knowledgeable about the game. His love for it is clear for everyone to see. 

"I'm sure he'll want to bring all of that to the fore, all of his experience and achievements in the game and pass them on to the group if he is the man to take over."

Yorkshire's director of cricket Martyn Moxon, first-team coach Andrew Gale and all members of the coaching staff have left the club following Azeem Rafiq's racism allegations.

A 100-page independent report in early November upheld that Rafiq had been victim of "racial harassment and bullying" during his time at Yorkshire.

Former chairman Roger Hutton resigned with immediate effect over Yorkshire's response to the investigation, with new chair Kamlesh Patel tasked with changing the culture at the club.

Chief executive Mark Arthur resigned from his position last month, before Gale was suspended pending investigation over a historical tweet, while Moxon took sick leave due to stress.

Yorkshire announced on Friday that Moxon and Gale have left the club, in addition to all members of the coaching staff and the backroom medical team.

A new director of cricket is the immediate priority, according to Patel, who is also recruiting an entire new coaching team for the upcoming season.

"Significant change is required at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and we are committed to taking whatever action is necessary to regain trust," Patel said in a statement on the county's official website.

"The decisions announced today were difficult to make but are in the best interests of the club. Without making important changes to how we are run, we cannot move on from the past to become a culture which is progressive and inclusive.

"We want to make Yorkshire County Cricket Club a place for everyone, from all backgrounds. To do this, we need to rebuild our culture and instil positive values in everyone associated with Yorkshire. 

"We are determined to learn from the mistakes of the past to become a club which people can trust.

"We are hoping to announce a new director of cricket in the coming days. We have a huge rebuilding job to do but we are confident that this heralds a step forward towards a brighter future."

Michael Vaughan remains under contract with the BBC, who "expect to work" with the former England captain again after standing him down from their Ashes coverage following Azeem Rafiq's racism allegations.

Vaughan was named in a report this month investigating Rafiq's claims of institutional racism at Yorkshire, but has repeatedly and categorically denied the allegations.

The 47-year-old, who played for Yorkshire between 1993 and 2009, allegedly told a group of team-mates in 2009 there were "too many of you lot, we need to do something about it".

Those claims were corroborated by then Yorkshire player Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and current England white-ball specialist Adil Rashid.

Vaughan has since been stood down from his BBC Radio 5 Live Show before being removed from the broadcaster's Ashes coverage due to his involvement in a "significant story" representing a "conflict of interest".

The BBC reiterated their stance on Wednesday, as they informed that Vaughan – who led England to Ashes glory in 2005 – would play no role in their upcoming coverage, though they look set to work with him in the future.

"We're in regular contact with Michael and have had positive conversations with him in recent days," read a statement from the BBC.

"Our contributors are required to talk about relevant issues, so Michael's involvement in a story of such significance means it's not possible for him to be part of our Ashes coverage or wider cricket coverage at the moment.

"We're pleased with how our conversations are going and expect to work with Michael again in the future. He remains on contract to the BBC."

Vaughan said after the BBC's decision he was "very disappointed not to be commentating on the Ashes" but added he was looking forward to working on the series for Fox Sports in Australia.

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief Tom Harrison said it felt like "an earthquake" had hit the English game following the allegations of institutional racism within the sport.

Over recent weeks, Yorkshire's dismal handling of Azeem Rafiq's allegations of racism have brought cricket under the spotlight.

The ECB were also criticised by Rafiq, who told Sky Sports: "the ECB know they messed up."

In the first media briefing since last week's select committee hearing at Westminster, ECB chief executive Harrison said: "It feels like an earthquake has hit us.

"The last few weeks have been very, very tough for cricket. Our game has been portrayed in the worst possible way in the world's media, and testimony from others has revealed serious issues which we've collectively not dealt with as a game for many decades, as well as more recently."

Harrison's appearance in front of the media came as the ECB released its action plan to tackle racism within cricket.

The ECB's plan was split into five main aims: understanding and educating more; addressing dressing-room culture; removing barriers in talent pathways; creating welcoming environments for all, and publishing localised action plans on a six-month deadline.

Each heading has several sub-aims, including a vow to have "a standardised approach to reporting, investigating, and responding to complaints, allegations, and whistleblowing across the game" instilled within three months. 

The ECB also promised to hold "a full review of dressing-room culture in all mens' and women's professional teams, both domestic and international."

A review of governance and regulation in cricket to identify any opportunities to strengthen the structures and processes across the game will also be carried out, while the ECB pledged £25million of strategic funding over five years in support of Ethnicity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) actions.

A new anti-discrimination unit will be established within six months, as well as the immediate inclusion of EDI minimum standards. These standards will be upheld by a direct link to funding, with any central distributions able to be withheld if necessary.

Barry O'Brien, ECB Interim Chair, said: "This is a critical moment for cricket. At the all-game meeting last week, we agreed with one voice on the need to act decisively. 

"Whilst change is required urgently, we also recognise that sustained action and improvements will be required over months and years if we are to become the most welcoming and diverse sport in the country. We begin today and will hold ourselves to account at each step of the way."

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