Matt Fitzpatrick is "not really too bothered" about the prospect of playing alongside LIV Golf rebels in Europe's Ryder Cup team.

Debate around the controversial Saudi-backed breakaway series has dominated this year and is only likely to ramp up further ahead of the Ryder Cup in 2023.

Rory McIlroy has been a fierce opponent of LIV Golf, and speaking on Wednesday, ahead of the Italian Open, he reiterated his stance on selection for the prestigious team event.

"If I have said it once, I've said it a hundred times: I don't think any of those guys should be on the Ryder Cup team," he said.

However, U.S. Open champion Fitzpatrick, McIlroy's European team-mate, does not agree.

McIlroy is set to play the Ryder Cup for the seventh time and already has four triumphs to his name. On the other hand, Fitzpatrick has only been on the losing team, in both 2016 and 2021. 

"I just want to win the Ryder Cup," Fitzpatrick said. "I want to be part of the team myself, but I want the 11 best guys we can get.

"I'm not really too bothered about where they are going to come from. I just want to make sure that we win, and I think that's what's most important.

"I know other guys might not necessarily agree with that, but I know the winning feeling is worth more than any sort of arguments you might have with other players.

"There's one that I had a conversation with last week – I told him I'd happily have him on the team. I'd have no issues."

Bernd Wiesberger, Paul Casey, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter were all team-mates of McIlroy and Fitzpatrick in Europe's 2021 team and have each since played LIV Golf events.

Rangers will play the national anthem ahead of the Champions League clash against Napoli, seemingly defying direction from UEFA.

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II last Thursday has impacted the football schedule, with the weekend's action being called off and a period of silence set to take place before this week's continental matches involving British sides – except in the game between Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic.

Ahead of the match, Rangers confirmed they would pay respects with an additional tribute, with the national anthem to be played before kick-off in Glasgow.

"Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be honoured this evening at Ibrox with a minute's silence, a display created by the Union Bears, and a rendition of the Nation Anthem," Rangers said on Twitter.

"If you are attending tonight's match, we encourage all supporters to be in their seat for 19:50."

In a statement issued to Stats Perform, UEFA declared that no anthems would be played in this week's fixtures, including the Champions League anthem.

UEFA's statement read: "There will be no anthems played – this also includes the UEFA Champions League anthem – on the basis of maintaining a consistent pre-match ceremony with a subdued atmosphere and without any celebratory activities across all UK venues to show respect as we did last Thursday."

Rangers were set to face Napoli on Tuesday, but the match was pushed back to Wednesday due to the difficulties of staging such an event in Glasgow while the Queen's procession moved through Scotland.

Gary Neville has labelled investment from the United States a "clear and present danger" to English football following Todd Boehly's call for the Premier League to learn from American sports.

Chelsea chairman Boehly made several controversial suggestions when discussing the future of the English game on Tuesday, making the case for the introduction of an annual all-star game and relegation play-offs. 

Boehly said any future all-star match could pit players from the Premier League's northern clubs against those from the south, with the additional revenue used to fund the wider football pyramid.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp poured cold water on that idea after the Reds' Champions League win over Ajax, declaring: "I'm not sure people want to see that".

Former Manchester United defender Neville, an outspoken critic of the Red Devils' US-based owners the Glazer family, has advocated for English football to introduce an independent regulator since the botched launch of the European Super League in April 2021.

Neville has doubled down on that call in response to Boehly's suggestions, tweeting: "I keep saying it but the quicker we get the regulator in the better. 

"US investment into English football is a clear and present danger to the pyramid and fabric of the game. 

"They just don't get it and think differently. They also don't stop till they get what they want!"

A fan-led review of English football was launched in response to the failed establishment of the Super League last year, with the UK Government subsequently backing plans to introduce an independent regulator.

The Premier League, however, claimed such a change was unnecessary in a statement released in April, though the league said it accepted the need for reforms.

Defending champions Duhaney Park Red Sharks face Washington Boulevard Bulls, the latter in their first decider in the Jamaica Rugby League National Club Championship Grand Final on Saturday, September 17 at the University of West Indies Mona Bowl (kick-off 4 pm, local time). 

The Bulls, who joined the NCC in 2017, beat Jamaica Defence Force Warriors 24-18 in their semi-final, whilst the Red Sharks qualified for their sixth straight championship tie - and 14th in the last 16 years – by beating West Kingston Hyenas, 54-6.

 The Warriors and Hyenas meet as part of a Grand Final double-header to contest third place (kick-off 2 pm, local time), both games will be played at the UWI Mona Bowl.

Bulls Head Coach Derone Davis said of reaching the final: “Our first half was poor but we got it together in the second 40. Our forwards are usually our strength and gave us momentum but our back line stood up, especially defensively. Overall, I am proud of the team. For the finals, we hope we can put together a more complete performance as we will have to be at our best to challenge the champions.”

Adrian Brown with two tries and two goals led the way for Duhaney in their triumph.

“The semis was about getting our combinations right as we are still looking for the perfect game,” said Head Coach Roy Calvert. “The finals will be exciting, we are going for victory and are confident of achieving it but know we need to play a certain way to win. Bulls are a good team and have been on our heels all season.”

The penultimate round of Rugby Championship fixtures are upon us and it is all to play for with every side having won two and lost two of their opening four games.

An inconsistent New Zealand side are a point better off than Argentina, South Africa and next opponents Australia by virtue of picking up two bonus points.

Despite a thumping win over Argentina last time out, the pressure still remains on head coach Ian Foster heading into Thursday's contest with great rivals Australia in Melbourne.

The hosts are looking to bounce back from a 16-point loss against South Africa, who make the trip to Buenos Aires in the second of this week's fixtures on Saturday.

Here, Stats Perform previews both clashes in round five of the championship using Opta data.


AUSTRALIA V NEW ZEALAND

FORM

New Zealand may lead the way at the top, but their form this year has been very poor by their usual high standards. The All Blacks have lost four of their seven Tests in 2022 – only in 1998 (five) and 1949 (six) have they ever lost more in a calendar year.

Back-to-back victories would provide a major confidence boost for Foster's charges, and they have a good record in this fixture. Of the past 20 Tests meetings between the sides, New Zealand have won 16 and lost only three, a run that includes three wins in a row.

Australia have not lost back-to-back Tests with New Zealand since August 2017, however, and their return of three wins from their past six matches against the All Blacks on home turf is more than they managed in the previous 13 such encounters.

The Wallabies have won the opening game of the Bledisloe Cup – which New Zealand have dominated for the past two decades – only twice in the past 13 years. However, one of those victories came when they last hosted the opening game three years ago.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Australia will have to watch their discipline in what is a highly charged fixture. Skipper James Slipper has conceded 11 penalties so far in this year's Rugby Championship, which is four more than any other player in the competition.

All Blacks centre Rieko Ioane continued his good form last time out by scoring a try and setting up another in the 50-point win against Argentina. That could spell bad news for Australia, against whom he has been directly involved in 13 tries across 12 Test appearances.


ARGENTINA V SOUTH AFRICA

FORM

Argentina fell short of registering three wins in a row in this competition for the first time ever when falling heavily to New Zealand two weeks ago. 

Los Pumas will take great confidence from beating Australia last time out at home, though, and are now seeking successive wins on their own patch for the first time since 2012.

South Africa may not be in full flow, but they have won 28 of their 32 Tests against Argentina, including the past four in a row. In fact, only against Italy (93 per cent) do they have a better win percentage than they do against Los Pumas (88 per cent) among teams they have faced at least 10 times.

The Springboks did manage to build a little momentum with their win over Australia two weeks ago, yet that was one of only three victories in their past eight games in the championship after winning six of the previous eight.


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Matias Moroni has put in some strong displays to keep Argentina in the hunt for the title, his five dominant tackles more than any other player in the competition. The centre has also won five turnovers, a tally only Malcolm Marx (six) – who he will face off against this weekend – can better.

South Africa are the lowest points scorers after four rounds of matches. Willie le Roux could hold the key to finding a way through Argentina this weekend as he leads the way for try assists this tournament with three, while also providing six assists in his past six meetings with Argentina.

This weekend's Premier League fixtures will be preceded by a minute's silence and a rendition of the UK's national anthem following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The passing of the UK's longest-reigning sovereign caused the Premier League to postpone a full fixture programme last weekend as a "mark of respect".

While English top-flight football is to resume on Friday, two matches have been postponed due to policing concerns on the weekend of the Queen's funeral; Manchester United's clash with Leeds United and Liverpool's trip to Chelsea, while Brighton's clash with Crystal Palace was already postponed earlier this month.

The Premier League has now confirmed plans for tributes to take place across each of this weekend's seven fixtures, with fans also invited to join a moment's applause after seventy minutes to mark the Queen's 70-year reign.

A statement on the league's website read: "All Premier League matches between Friday 16 and Sunday 18 September will provide an opportunity for the league, clubs and fans to come together to pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her extraordinary life and contribution to the nation and world.

"Fans will be asked to join a minute's silence, which will be followed by the national anthem, God Save The King.

"Big screens and LED perimeter boards will display tribute images to Her Majesty and flags at the grounds will be flying at half-mast. 

"When the clock turns to 70 minutes, fans will be invited to applaud The Queen's 70-year reign."

After the year Karim Benzema has had, you could be forgiven for thinking he came straight from a computer game.

Appropriately, the Real Madrid and France striker has been awarded the highest rating in FIFA 23 ahead of its release later this month.

EA Sports has announced its ratings for the top 23 players for this year's edition of the popular football simulation, with Benzema the top-ranked on 91, while the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane have fallen.

Benzema scored 44 goals in 46 games in all competitions for Madrid last season as they went on to win both the LaLiga and Champions League titles, and has already notched four goals in six appearances this season.

Last year's top-ranked, Messi, has seen his rating fall from 93 to 91, and he now sits in fifth place behind Benzema, Robert Lewandowski, Kylian Mbappe and Kevin De Bruyne.

Ronaldo moves down five places to eighth as he is rated at 90, with Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk placed between him and Messi in sixth and seventh, also on 90.

Harry Kane (89) has dropped nine places from last year's game to 17th, and now sits below Tottenham team-mate Son Heung-min, who is also rated 89 but is in 12th place on the list.

Manchester City hotshot Erling Haaland is up to 21st place on a rating of 88 after his electric start to life in England, where he has already scored 12 goals in eight games in all competitions.

FIFA 23 will be released on September 30, and will be the final iteration of the series after the licencing agreement between EA Sports and FIFA came to an end.

Top 10 FIFA 23 ratings

1. Karim Benzema - 91
2. Robert Lewandowski - 91
3. Kylian Mbappe - 91
4. Kevin De Bruyne - 91
5. Lionel Messi - 91
6. Mohamed Salah - 90
7. Virgil van Dijk - 90
8. Cristiano Ronaldo - 90
9. Thibaut Courtois - 90
10. Manuel Neuer - 90

Patrick Mahomes and Saquon Barkley were recognised as the respective AFC and NFC Offensive Player of the Week after flying starts to the new NFL season.

Mahomes led the Kansas City Chiefs to a dominant 44-21 Week 1 win at the Arizona Cardinals.

The 2018 MVP leads the league in passing touchdowns (five), passing yards (360) and quarterback rating (144.2) at this early stage.

Only Joe Burrow matched Mahomes' 22 passes for first downs, while he did not throw an interception and was not sacked, making him an obvious choice as the standout player in the AFC.

Minkah Fitzpatrick, who played a vital role in the Pittsburgh Steelers' wild win over Burrow's Cincinnati Bengals, is the AFC Defensive Player of the Year.

The Steelers safety caught a pick-six from Burrow's first pass of the game and later, crucially, blocked Evan McPherson's PAT to take the game to overtime.

Cade York was more accurate as time expired in the Cleveland Browns' dramatic victory over the Carolina Panthers, kicking the winning field goal to earn AFC Special Teams Player of the Week recognition.

In the NFC, New York Giants running back Barkley was the standout player on offense, stealing the show against a Tennessee Titans team featuring two-time rushing yards and rushing TDs leader Derrick Henry.

Barkley has the most rushing yards at this early stage with 164 and a score. His 68-yard run in the drive that culminated in his TD was the longest carry of the week.

The fifth-year superstar, who has been hampered by injuries since an outstanding rookie season, also caught a Daniel Jones pass for the decisive two-point conversion in a 21-20 Giants victory.

Also honoured in the NFC were debutant Seattle Seahawks linebacker Uchenna Nwosu and Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Zech McPhearson.

Nwosu sacked the Denver Broncos' former Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson and forced a fumble from Melvin Gordon at the one-yard line, while McPhearson fielded the Detroit Lions' attempted onside kick to set up a Boston Scott touchdown in an Eagles win.

Serena Williams joked NFL superstar Brady "started an amazing trend" as she hinted at a possible return to tennis in the future.

Williams, a 23-time grand slam champion, revealed before the US Open she was soon to retire from the sport, with her Flushing Meadows run widely expected to mark the end of her career.

The 40-year-old exited her home major at the hands of Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round but was unwilling to categorically state if she was retiring.

Speaking at a news conference after that loss to Tomljanovic two weeks ago, Williams said: "I've come a long way since last year at Wimbledon. I'm just not sure if that was my last moment or not."

Some of the biggest names from around the sporting world have since paid tribute to Williams, but she has offered a further indication she is not done just yet.

"Tom Brady started an amazing trend. That's what I want to say," Williams said during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Brady announced his retirement in February after 22 seasons in the NFL, only to reverse that decision 40 days later by agreeing to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I think retirement is something that is super earned and that people work really hard for," Williams added.

"I feel like I'm at an age where I definitely have a lot more to give and there's a lot more that I want to do, so I'm not going to be relaxing, there's so much more for me.

"I feel it's more of an evolution of Serena. There's many things I've been wanting to do for so many years, and I've had such a passion for tennis for so long I've never done them.

"Now it's time for me to start to enjoy those things."

The Indianapolis Colts have waived kicker Rodrigo Blankenship after his crucial missed field goal against the Houston Texans.

Indianapolis had the chance to beat their AFC South rivals on Sunday, only for Blankenship to send a 42-yard attempt wide right.

The Colts, who came into the season as division favourites, ultimately had to settle for a disappointing 20-20 tie.

Blankenship, an undrafted free agent in 2020, played all 16 games for the Colts in his rookie year but was restricted to five outings last season as he battled with a hip injury.

Chase McLaughlin and Lucas Havrisik have been added to the Colts' practice squad and one of those kickers will be selected to face the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2.

Manchester City will no longer face Arsenal on October 19, after the Premier League game was postponed to enable the Gunners to fulfil a Europa League fixture.

Arsenal were set to face PSV in their second Europa League group stage game on Thursday, only for that match to be called off in the wake of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Thursday's game was postponed due to "severe limitations on police resources and organisational issues related to the ongoing events surrounding the national mourning" of the United Kingdom's late monarch.

UEFA has now confirmed the match at Emirates Stadium will take place on October 20, with Arsenal's home match against City – which was set to take place a day earlier – postponed by the Premier League.

In a statement, European football's governing body said: "UEFA would like to thank the Premier League and the clubs concerned for their flexibility and cooperation in the rescheduling of the UEFA Europa League match which had been postponed due to the impossibility for local police forces to guarantee its secure staging."

Bayern Munich have been left with a hole after Robert Lewandowski's exit for Barcelona.

Sadio Mane moved to Munich from Liverpool in the close season but he is not a like-for-like replacement.

Bayern have started the new Bundesliga campaign in indifferent form, following up three wins with as many draws.

TOP STORY – NEGOTIATIONS UNDERWAY BETWEEN KANE AND BAYERN

Harry Kane is increasingly open to the idea of making the move to join German champions Bayern Munich, claims Sky Sports.

Sky Sports' Florian Plettenberg reports that negotiations have already been held by Bayern and Kane's brother Charlie, who represents him.

Bayern have made the Tottenham striker their number one target and can offer him the likelihood of silverware, in comparison to Spurs.

ROUND-UP

– Fabrizio Romano reports that Lionel Messi will not make a decision on his future until after the World Cup, but Paris Saint-Germain are planning to offer him a new deal, while Barcelona are interested in re-signing him. Messi is contracted until 2023 but there is the option of another year in Paris.

Jude Bellingham's list of suitors is growing with Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool all keen on Borussia Dortmund's English talent according to AS.

– New Chelsea boss Graham Potter has approved the club's pursuit of RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol, with the club to try to sign him again in June 2023 reports Fichajes.

– Germany international forward Max Kruse's contract with Wolfsburg is set to be mutually terminated during the Bundesliga break, claims Sport.

– The Guardian reports that Lens head coach Franck Haise is under consideration for the vacant Brighton and Hove Albion managerial post, along with Bodo/Glimt's Kjetil Knutsen and ex-Shakhtar Donetsk boss Roberto De Zerbi.

Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett says he "definitely" made a mistake opting not to run a fourth-and-five play instead of going for a 64-yard field goal in the closing stages of Monday's defeat to the Seattle Seahawks.

Hackett decided to send on kicker Brandon McManus with 20 seconds left to play instead of allowing quarterback Russell Wilson – playing against his former team – to run a play.

McManus could only drag his long-range effort left and thus allowed the Seahawks to take the knee for a 17-16 opening-round victory.

Since 1960 there have been only two kickers who have converted field-goal attempts of at least 64 yards, while the longest made at Lumen Field stands at 56. McManus is just one-of-five from 60-plus efforts.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, rookie NFL head coach Hackett conceded he got the decision wrong.

"Looking back at it, we definitely should've gone for it," Hackett said. 

"One of those things, you look back at it and you say, 'of course we should go for it, we missed the field goal'.

"But, in that situation, we had a plan. We had a plan, we knew the [46-yard line] was the mark."

Hackett explained how the plan to was to get into the 46-yard range, a target McManus said he was comfortable kicking from, and that he had more of an issue with a play earlier in the drive that saw Javonte Williams lose four yards on first-and-10 from Denver's 49.

"I'm more upset about that play before it, to lose yards," Hackett said. "Getting that there would've definitely been better to be able to call that same play and get extra yards. 

"[Wilson] dumps it out to Javonte, Javonte makes a move, goes a lot farther than I think we had anticipated. We were expecting to go for it on fourth down. 

"And then you hit the mark. The mark that we had all set before we started. We said, 46-yard line was where we wanted to be. And we got there, so we had to make the decision if we wanted to give it to Brandon. And we did. It didn't work. Sucks. But hey, that's part of it.

"Looking back at it, if you miss the field goal, you're always gonna wish you would've gone for it and if you would've gone for it and not gotten it, you wish you would've given him a chance."

Pep Guardiola does not like predicting the future.

Before a ball had been kicked this season, Manchester City's manager refused to solidify his team and Liverpool as favourites to push for the Premier League title again.

Based on Liverpool's underwhelming start to the campaign, perhaps Guardiola was right to hold off, and the City boss kept to the same tactic on Tuesday when asked if Erling Haaland – who has scored 12 goals in eight games in all competitions this season – could be the difference when it comes to the Citizens finally ending their wait for Champions League glory.

"I'm not able to know it," Guardiola said bluntly ahead of City's meeting with Haaland's former club Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday. "The team is playing well, so is he. But right now I don't know."

Where his manager had remained on the fence, Ilkay Gundogan – another former Dortmund star – was a little more forthcoming.

"We hope for it," City's captain told reporters when asked the same question. "Obviously having a proper number nine, proper striker, physically strong, determined is going to help us a lot, but we will see.

"Winning the Champions League is something incredible to achieve, a very tough competition; it's never easy and little details can decide the outcome. We'll try as hard as we can to go as far as possible."

Haaland's start to life in the Premier League has been nothing short of outrageous. He has netted 10 goals in six appearances, the joint-fastest player in the history of the competition to reach that tally, alongside Micky Quinn back in 1992. 

The 22-year-old wasted little time in transferring his domestic form to the European stage, too, scoring a double in City's 4-0 victory over Sevilla last week, and it is in the Champions League, not the Premier League, where City really need him to make the difference.

Only 36 players in Champions League history have scored more goals in the competition than Haaland, who has 25 from his 20 appearances in UEFA's flagship club tournament.

He is the first City player to score on both his Premier League and Champions League debuts for the club and the fourth player in the competition's history to score in his first appearance for three different teams (Salzburg, Dortmund and City), after Fernando Morientes, Javier Saviola and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Haaland's tally is the most by any player from their first 20 Champions League games, and should he score against Dortmund, he will be the second player to net in the competition both for and against the Bundesliga giants, after Ciro Immobile.

It was this kind of form that attracted City, who missed out on signing Harry Kane in 2021. 

With Sergio Aguero's availability becoming more limited as his time at City drew to a close, Guardiola enjoyed success without having to rely on a traditional striker. 

Although he enthused about Gabriel Jesus, who has made a blistering start at Arsenal, the Brazil international was often used out wide in the previous two campaigns, with Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling (now at Chelsea) and even Jack Grealish all filling in, at times, as a 'false nine' in Guardiola's fluid attack.

City won the league last season and the one before that. Indeed, four of the last five English titles have gone the way of Guardiola's side, and with or without Haaland, you'd have been brave to bet against them retaining the trophy this season.

Yet they have repeatedly fallen short in Europe. Having lost 1-0 to Chelsea – a team also utilising a false nine system – in the 2020-21 final, City last season had a plethora of chances to put their semi-final tie with Real Madrid to bed, only to lose after a remarkable comeback from Los Blancos in the second leg.

In Haaland, they have a player who should right those wrongs.

With De Bruyne, Silva, Foden and Co. providing the opportunities, Haaland was always bound to score, but his finishing has already exceeded expectations.

His 12 goals have come from shots with a cumulative expected goals (xG) value of 9.4. Essentially, he has scored close to three more goals than he would have been expected to, given the quality of chances he has been presented with.

Not that those opportunities have been particularly difficult ones, of course.

All of Haaland's 12 goals have come from 'big chances' – defined by Opta as an opportunity from which a player would be expected to score. 

No other player in Europe's top five leagues has had as many 'big chances' as Haaland, who has had 20 come his way including the Community Shield match against Liverpool in July. Neymar, who is flying high at Paris Saint-Germain, ranks second with 14. More evidence, perhaps, that he is the final piece of the puzzle in this incredibly creative City side. The player to see them over the line when push comes to shove.

City's top scorer in Europe last season was Gabriel Jesus, with four goals from six appearances. Haaland managed three in three, with injury limiting his minutes. Since he made his Champions League debut, for Salzburg in September 2019, only Robert Lewandowski (33) and Karim Benzema (26) have scored more goals in the competition. Both of those players have won the trophy in that time.

Guardiola might rightly refuse to predict the future, but one thing is for certain – with Haaland, City's chances of finally ending their wait for European glory look better than ever.

That is just what they bought him for.

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