SPORTS AGENDA: England trainer Eddie Jones has a plan for squad unity forward of Rugby International Cup

Eddie Jones has included lessons on Japanese history as part of England’s World Cup preparations, giving his backroom staff a copy of Japan: the Paradox of Harmony before they flew out to the tournament last week. 

The book, by Keiko Hirata and Mark Warschauer, charts Japan’s economic growth after World War Two, as well as exploring elements of Japanese culture.

Jones, who has a Japanese mother and has lived and worked in the country, has been eager for his players and staff to gain an insight into the host country.

Eddie Jones has included history lessons as part of England¿s World Cup preparations

Eddie Jones has included history lessons as part of England’s World Cup preparations

While last month’s Super Cup may have ended in controversial circumstances, with Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian off his line when he saved the crucial penalty, Sports Agenda understands that UEFA were delighted with the performance of referee Stephanie Frappart. 

So much so that one senior source disclosed that they expect to see all-female officiating teams in English football within the next five years.

UEFA were delighted with referee Stephanie Frappart after the Super Cup final

UEFA were delighted with referee Stephanie Frappart after the Super Cup final

Watford’s larger-than-life striker Troy Deeney is taking an MBA. The 31-year-old Hornets skipper left school with no GCSEs and trained to be a bricklayer before his football career took off. 

However, Deeney returned to education, obtaining maths, English and science qualifications — and will now take things to the next level with one eye on life after he hangs up his boots.

The ECB’s website states that it is ‘committed to eradicating ticket touting wherever possible’. That will be news to punters forced to pass the grubby ticket sellers lining the street from Oval Station to the cricket ground. 

Similar issues have been noted at other Test venues this summer. The ECB has lobbied the government to help stamp the murky business out and will need to do so again.

Kosovo will hand over their regular team hotel, the Emerald, to England when Gareth Southgate’s side play their Euro 2020 qualifier in Pristina in November, as a mark of respect to Britain’s role in saving them from Serbian forces 20 years ago.

Federation general-secretary Errol Salihu confirmed: ‘We want them to have the best as a symbol of goodwill and to say thank you to the English people.’


The reception for Australia’s cricketers has, as expected, not been the most welcoming. Few could blame England’s fans for letting the tourists know what they think about last year’s ball tampering scandal. 

However, things went too far on the first day of the final Test at the Oval when a couple of punters began to verbally abuse Nathan Lyon close to the boundary.

The pair started to make crass comments about the off-spinner’s family, prompting Lyon to complain to ground staff. And when stewards arrived on the scene those sat in the area, appalled at what they had heard, were quick to point out the culprits — who were turfed out.

Following the sudden announcement that Sunday would be the brilliant Garry Richardson’s final appearance on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek, attention has switched to what comes next for the Sunday morning slot. For 20 years Richardson, who went of his own accord, set the agenda along with his selection of fine guests. Serious sports journalism which should be cherished.

There are concerns that 5 Live, without a controller following Jonathan Wall’s promotion to head of BBC Sounds, will opt for a ‘banter-style’ chewing-gum-for-the-ears replacement aimed at attracting a younger audience. It is hoped that will not be the case.

The Premier League’s search for a new member of their communications team could take almost as long as their so-far unsuccessful hunt for a new chief executive, a role which has yet to be filled 14 months after Richard Scudamore announced his departure.

After two months liaising with headhunters, the League have assembled a list of candidates who have been told to prepare for four rounds of interviews. Unlike with the much-maligned Owners and Directors test, the League cannot be accused of failing to do their homework.

The Premier League are still searching for a CEO to replace Richard Scudamore

The Premier League are still searching for a CEO to replace Richard Scudamore

It has been a turbulent time for British Airways but there has at least been some good news for the nation’s flag carrier. Sports Agenda understands that Team GB will again use BA to take their travelling party to next summer’s Olympics in Tokyo. 

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The airline has had to cancel a number of flights recently due to a bitter pay dispute with staff but Team GB officials are confident that they are in safe hands. Some staff have already flown with BA to carry out reconnaissance duties in Japan and have suffered no issues.

Contributors: Matt Hughes, Joe Bernstein


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