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Manchester United have banner day at WACA as open training session raises £30,000

Manchester United’s open training session at the famous WACA in Perth, which drew around 12,000 spectators, raised close to £30,000 which will go towards an integrated football league in the area.

Keen cricket fans Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Dan James took a big interest in what has often been a brutal Test arena for England.

Meanwhile, United officials saw the funny side after a plane, paid for by Perth’s Liverpool supporters club, which flew over the WACA with a banner referencing the Anfield outfit’s six European Cup victories. ‘It was quite the tribute,’ said one. ‘It flew around the stadium 20 times.’

In what would appear to be a boost for women’s sport, the England and Wales Cricket Board are hoping to agree record investment for the women’s version of The Hundred. 

Sources say that salary budgets for each of the eight teams are set to be £120,000 – more than double that of the domestic Kia Super League – with players likely to earn up to £15,000 for the four-week competition.

An ‘unprecedented marketing budget’ is close to being finalised with standalone women’s venues to be confirmed soon.


Andrew Flintoff’s television career continues to go from strength to strength. Sports Agenda understands that the former England all-rounder and current Top Gear favourite has stepped up to present soon-to-be-aired shows of Sky’s A League of Their Own with time constraints restricting regular host James Corden’s availability.

The demands on Flintoff’s own time however, have had a couple of knock-on effects. Firstly, he was a notable no-show in Channel 4’s superb look back at the 2005 Ashes, which showed last week – a series Flintoff dominated. 

Some wondered if Flintoff, who now has a clean living life, wanted to distance himself from the big boozing character of 14 years ago but the reality is that his workload was too great to allow his participation. 

The popular Lancastrian has also not recorded an episode of the award-winning podcast featuring himself, Robbie Savage and journalist Matthew Syed so far this year.

While the BBC say the project is on hold, sources say a return is likely, with all three men keen on continuing to work together.

As part of their efforts to increase diversity, the Football Association are advertising a coaching programme for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) applicants and details have been sent to clubs.

The move is aimed at increasing the numbers of coaches with the experience which should see them challenging for elite coaching and technical roles in football.

Based at St George’s Park, the successful candidates – who will be paid expenses – will take on the role of ‘Observational Coach’ working with the senior England men’s and Under 21s.

They will then be expected to go for roles at top clubs and organisations. 

After recent unwelcome episodes of violence on racecourses, it might raise a few eyebrows that Newmarket will stage a Peaky Blinders themed race day on August 3 given the TV programme is about a violent criminal gang in Birmingham.

But a Newmarket spokesman said: ‘The Peaky Blinders raceday is about the romance, horsemanship and fashion of the award-winning series. Newmarket Racecourses promote responsible behaviour on-course and a strict zero-tolerance policy on any form of antisocial behaviour.’

In cricket, timing is everything. Curious, then, that the International Cricket Council decided to send an email informing soon-to-be departing staff working on the Cricket World Cup where to drop off their company lap tops and mobiles, the day before the World Cup Final.

‘I’m not sure why they couldn’t have waited,’ said one unimpressed employee. Officials say the email was ‘housekeeping’ and sent in response to questions from those whose contracts were about to run out about what to do with their equipment.

Premier League clubs who seek permission to play money-spinning friendlies during the inaugural mid-season player break will see their requests met with ‘instant rejection’ by the Football Association.

As this newspaper reported in April, top flight sides were told they would not be able to use the inaugural mid-season break to arrange lucrative exhibition matches overseas.

A new rule preventing them from doing so has not been introduced however, clubs wishing to organise foreign exhibition matches will continue to need approval from the FA and that will not be forthcoming with FA officials determined to ensure that the player break is just that.

A spokesperson said: ‘The FA has made it clear that it has no intention to sanction any matches played by clubs abroad for commercial gain during this period.’

Manchester City say that their botched departure, which has delayed their tour of Asia by 24 hours, was down to an unforeseen administrative error ‘beyond the club’s control’.

In another unfortunate development, the club’s Twitter account posted a message explaining the delay directly underneath a pinned advertisement for the trip which stated: ‘Counting down the days ’til our Asia Tour. We are ready! Are you?’

Contributors: Paul Newman, Matt Lawton, Marcus Townend 

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