SPORTS AGENDA: Azeem Rafiq receives offers for tell-all book

Azeem Rafiq, the whistleblower whose revelations triggered the racism scandal at Yorkshire, could be set to write a book after a number of publishers stepped forward with offers.

Should the project get off the ground, journalist George Dobell — who brought Rafiq’s claims to light — would be the author, though matters could be complicated by workloads and the ECB probe.

Last week Michael Vaughan, Matthew Hoggard, Tim Bresnan, Gary Ballance and former head coach Andrew Gale were charged by the ECB with bringing the game into disrepute following the racism allegations. The group along with Yorkshire themselves will be subject to disciplinary hearings this autumn.

Whistleblower Azeem Rafiq could write a book on his experiences at Yorkshire

Former England captain Michael Vaughan was among those charged with bringing the game into disrepute

Former England captain Michael Vaughan was among those charged with bringing the game into disrepute


The prospect of televised half-time interviews with coaches and training-ground highlight reels being aired has been temporarily placed on the backburner after the changes failed to receive the required 14 votes at the recent Premier League summit.

But expect those two adjustments to eventually become part and parcel of coverage in the not-too-distant future — potentially from next season — with head of media rights delivery Paul Stringer stressing the urgency of the situation. The word is that a number of small amendments will be made and another vote is due shortly.

As expected the Big Six — who prefer to flog similar content to their own commercial partners — voted against along with Newcastle and, bizarrely, newcomers Nottingham Forest. ‘It appears that Newcastle already have delusions of grandeur,’ said one official. ‘They appear to be following everything the Big Six do.’

Half-time interviews with managers such as Pep Guardiola won't be happening for now

Half-time interviews with managers such as Pep Guardiola won’t be happening for now


Sports Agenda readers will recall that Simon Timson, whose brainchild it was to build a national tennis academy in sunny Stirling, was well clear of the fallout when it closed down after three years as he departed the Lawn Tennis Association for Manchester City. 

It would appear that Timson, who is also on Andrew Strauss’s ECB review panel, is blazing a trail. 

The Premier League champions have now taken the LTA’s head of sports science, and pal of Timson’s Dan Lewindon, to the Etihad Stadium.


It would appear that the days of players hitting the burgers and booze on their holidays are a thing of the past. 

This summer a number of top-flight stars — including Tottenham’s Ryan Sessegnon — have taken fitness gurus and personal trainers on holiday with them to ensure they return in the best possible shape ahead of the dreaded return-to-work fitness tests.

It has been noticeable that a number of Manchester United players are going to some lengths to ensure they return in peak condition.

Marcus Rashford has headed to the Nike campus in Oregon and has posted videos of seemingly gruesome workouts. 

New manager Erik ten Hag has noted Rashford’s efforts and the view from within the club is that the player is determined to focus on football and return to his form of two years ago. Rashford will be among the first group of players to report back on June 27.

Ryan Sessegnon is not taking much of a break this summer as he tries to get in peak condition

Ryan Sessegnon is not taking much of a break this summer as he tries to get in peak condition


Throughout his career there has been no shortage of firms willing to take a chance on Michael Bolingbroke and the former chief operating officer at Manchester United and chief executive at Inter Milan now finds himself as executive producer for ABBA Voyage. 

The 54-year-old headed to Old Trafford from a role with Cirque du Soleil in 2007, although some might feel his skills in the big-top world may have been more relevant in recent years. 

After a stint in Italy, Bolingbroke also worked at Blackpool and is a member of UEFA’s financial control body, so he knows a thing or two about money, money, money.

ABBA Voyage sees the band’s avatars backed by a 10-piece orchestra in an arena at London’s Olympic Park and has won rave reviews.


Colostomy-gate has taken another turn, with one MCC member writing to his fellow egg-and-bacon tie wearers to seek expressions of support for a motion of no confidence in CEO Guy Lavender.

As Agenda revealed, chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown caused offence when he made a distasteful reference, caught on microphone, to some of them having to empty their colostomy bags during the AGM. He subsequently offered to resign, but this was turned down.

Now, Chris Waterman has penned an email to members citing a number of reasons for the move, including a failure by Lavender to call out Carnegie-Brown.

He also claims Lavender mismanaged the AGM and prevented members from speaking about a number of controversial matters including the decision to scrap the Eton v Harrow match.


Two Olympic stalwarts who have not recently enjoyed the most harmonious of relationships are to launch books within two days of each other. 

Journalist and Olympic historian, David Miller, will bring out his biography of International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach at the British Olympic Association HQ on July 5. On July 7, former IOC member Sir Craig Reedie, will launch his autobiography at the East India Club. Bach and Reedie fell out over how to deal with the Russian doping crisis in 2016.

Many felt Bach was particularly spiteful towards Reedie, so it will be interesting to see how the row is covered in both offerings.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach is set to release a biography

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach is set to release a biography


FIFA are well known for their control freakery when it comes to communications around the World Cup. 

So it was no surprise last week that they pushed the successful US cities selected to host the 2026 version to find high-profile celebrities to be cheerleaders for the FIFA decisions on their social media channels. 

Several of the cities were taken aback when FIFA turned their nose up at their initial suggestions for celebrity endorsement even though the names were a big deal within the cities.


A nice moment during the England v Italy Nations League borefest at Molineux when Roberto Mancini and Gianluca Vialli emerged early from the tunnel ahead of the second half and made a beeline for a watching David Platt. 

Platt played with Mancini at Sampdoria and Vialli at Juventus, and was Mancini’s assistant at Manchester City.

David Platt (L) got to share a moment with Roberto Mancini and Gianluca Vialli at Molineux

David Platt (L) got to share a moment with Roberto Mancini and Gianluca Vialli at Molineux


Former England spinner Monty Panesar has set his sights on becoming a sports journalist — and has joined broadcaster CNN.


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