Saracens have named lawyer Neil Golding as their new chairman as they look to recover from the salary cap scandal.
The club were deducted 35 points and fined £5.36m after an inquiry into business dealings between ex-chairman Nigel Wray and some Sarries players.
Wray retired after guiding the club to five Premiership and three European titles, but they are now bottom of the table following November’s ruling.
“I recognise I am joining at a time of significant change,” Golding said.
“We, as a board, are strongly committed to introducing new robust processes and working together with other Premiership Rugby Limited stakeholders in the best interests of Saracens and English rugby.”
Saracens said Golding’s “immediate priority” would be to “lead and oversee new governance measures including steps to ensure regulatory compliance.”
Wray first invested in the club in 1995 and reclaimed full control in April 2018 by buying back a 50% stake sold to South African firm Remgro.
On Monday interim chief executive Edward Griffiths said the Saracens squad could be dismantled for the club to comply with salary cap rules this season.
Griffiths is leading a “scoping exercise” as the first step in making the club “whiter than white”, and has not ruled out the possibility of letting star players go.
The London side are bottom of the Premiership on -7 points, 18 points behind 11th-placed Leicester.
East Street Investments has completed its takeover of Championship club Charlton Athletic, ending Roland Duchatelet’s spell as owner.
Much of Duchatelet’s tenure was dominated by friction between the Belgian and a section of supporters and he has been trying to sell the club since the end of 2017.
A deal with ESI was first announced at the end of November, subject to English Football League approval.
Charlton are 19th in the Championship.
Tahnoon Nimer and Jonathan Heller, the chairman and chief executive of Abu Dhabi Business Development, have joined Charlton as directors, while Matt Southall is the club’s new chairman.
Abu Dhabi Business Development is the private office of His Highness Sheikh Saeed Bin Tahnoun Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan.
I believe the club is in safe hands – Duchatelet
Duchatelet said: “It was vital for the long-term health of Charlton Athletic that this deal was completed at the very start of the January transfer window.
“It allows the new owners to commit resources to the football side in order to bring in new players who will help secure the club’s position in the Championship.
“This is a hugely exciting time for everybody involved with Charlton Athletic and I believe the club is in safe hands with His Excellency Tahnoon Nimer, Matt Southall and Jonathan Heller.”
New Charlton chairman Southall added: “This is a great opportunity for ESI and we are thankful to Roland Duchatelet and his team for giving us the chance to build on such strong foundations.
“Now, for us, the hard work begins. We already have plans in place to support Lee (Bowyer, Charlton manager) and his staff over the next month.
“But most important is strengthening our links with both the fans and the Charlton community so they may understand our short-term and long-term plans for the club and how we intend to build on the amazing support and goodwill already shown to ESI.”
Duchatelet’s reign ends
Duchatelet took control of Charlton in January 2014, adding them to his portfolio of clubs that stretched across Europe.
But a group of supporters objected to how he and former chief executive Katrien Meire were running the club and formed a coalition group called Campaign Against Roland Duchatelet (CARD), urging Duchatelet to sell.
Five managerial changes were made in his first two years of ownership and Charlton were relegated from the Championship at the end of the 2015-16 season, during which a series of protests were staged by fans.
On one occasion a game against Coventry City in October 2016 was interrupted when plastic toy pigs were thrown onto the pitch.
Charlton regained their place in the second tier of English football last May, beating Sunderland 2-1 in the League One play-off final.
Three Extinction Rebellion activists who glued themselves to a train have been given conditional discharges.
Cathy Eastburn, 52, Mark Ovland, 36, and Luke Watson, 30, halted Docklands Light Railway services at Canary Wharf station in east London on 17 April.
They had claimed the stunt was justified but were found guilty of obstructing an engine or a carriage using a railway.
Each was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs.
The trio were arrested during two weeks of demonstrations organised by Extinction Rebellion across the capital.
Watson, of The Street in Manuden, Essex; Eastburn, of St Gerrards Close, Lambeth, and Ovland, of High Street in Keinton Mandeville, Somerset, had all denied the charges but a jury convicted them “with regret”.
Sentencing them at Inner London Crown Court, Judge Silas Reid said it was “clear that you did as you did to raise the alarm of the dire situation”.
However, he added the three had broken the law “and that means you are criminals”.
“What’s clear is that the rule of law is an essential part of society. It protects us all from anarchy and chaos,” he said.
The sentence means each of them could face prison if they commit another offence in the next year.
Eastburn was also ordered to pay £1,166 in costs, while Watson and Ovland were both ordered to pay £300 each.
The rumour parakeets arrived in the UK when rock star Jimi Hendrix released a pair in London’s Carnaby Street in the swinging 60s has finally been scotched.
They also didn’t escape across the country during the wrap party for the movie The African Queen, in 1951.
In fact, reported sightings from the 1860s have been uncovered, Goldsmiths and Queen Mary universities say.
Intentional releases may have also been encouraged in 1929-1931 and 1952 when fatal “parrot fever” hit the headlines.
The bright green non-native ring-necked parakeets now thrive across the UK.
Originally from Africa, it has become a successful invasive species in 34 countries on five continents, the study’s lead author, the late Steven Le Comber, says.
As well as the rumour from the Bogart and Hepburn classic, in 1951, another suggests that a flock kept at Syon Park escaped when a plane crashed through the aviary roof, in the 1970s.
However, the researchers found their spread across the UK is more mundanely down to repeated intentional releases and not to do with publicity stunts.
Numerous sensational accounts of human deaths due to psittacosis infections from birds were published in 1929.
And in 1932, the Middlesex County Times reported parakeets had been spotted in Epping Forest, with the paper blaming the “parrot disease scare” of 1931 for the observations in the wild.
“Scary” health stories often prompt a strong public reaction, said Sarah Elizabeth Cox, postgraduate history student at Goldsmiths.
“If you were told you were at risk being near one, it would be much easier to let it out the window than to destroy it,” she said.
This latest study used geographic profiling, a statistical technique originally developed in criminology to prioritise large lists of suspects in cases of serial crime, to analyse spatial patterns of parakeet sightings.
When applied to biological data, the model can identify the origin sites of diseases or introduction sites of invasive, non-native species.
None of the “suspect sites” connected to origin myths showed up prominently in the geoprofile of more than 5,000 unique records dating from 1968 – 2018.
By 1961, birds were a more popular pets than cats and dogs in the UK, with 11 million birds in captivity, of various species, and it seems obvious there would be an increase in escapes, researchers said.
Three men who were jailed nearly 50 years ago on the evidence of a corrupt police officer have had their convictions quashed.
Winston Trew, Sterling Christie, George Griffiths and another man were accused of stealing handbags in 1972.
The group known as the Oval Four were jailed for eight months for assaulting a police officer and attempted theft.
The Court of Appeal overturned the convictions due to the unreliability of a detective’s evidence.
The judge described it as “a very unhappy story” and all three men thanked those who helped overturn their cases.
The men, who belonged to a political organisation representing black people in London, were aged between 19 and 23 at the time.
Mr Trew, Mr Christie, now both 69, and Mr Griffiths, 67, were arrested with another man, Constantine “Omar” Boucher, at Oval tube station by officers who accused them of mugging women.
A plain clothes police operation was set up on the Northern Line led by Det Sgt Derek Ridgewell, who was later jailed for seven years for conspiracy to steal.
Judge Lord Burnett said there was “an accumulating body of evidence that points to the fundamental unreliability of evidence given by DS Ridgewell… and others of this specialist group”.
Mr Griffiths’ solicitor Jenny Wiltshire welcomed the decision, but said it was “deeply concerning that it has taken so long to happen”.
“Both the British Transport Police and the Home Office were warned about this police officer’s corrupt methods in 1973.
“They did nothing except move him to a different unit, where he continued to offend so that by 1980 he was serving a seven-year prison sentence for theft,” she added.
A man who pretended he was a Grenfell Tower squatter and claimed to have helped survivors escape the fire has been jailed for five and a half years.
Alvin Thompson convinced Kensington and Chelsea Council officials he had been sleeping rough there at the time of the June 2017 tragedy.
Thompson, 51, who was put up in hotels, defrauded the council of more than £90,000, Isleworth Crown Court heard.
He was convicted of two counts of fraud.
Police were able to show his bank transactions and passport records revealed Thompson actually lived in Archway, north London.
CCTV did not show him either fleeing the fire, or entering the tower at any point in the preceding two weeks, the Met Police said.
Det Con Lisa Cook said: “Thompson’s behaviour was despicable; he showed complete disregard for the suffering of those who lost their lives, and their families.
“Now he will have plenty of time in prison to think about what he has done.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced he is to join forces with ticket resellers Twickets in a bid to beat touts.
The theatrical grandee, whose LW playhouses include The London Palladium and the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, hopes the move will bring consumer-friendly ticket resale to the West End.
Fans have often been charged over the odds on secondary ticketing platforms.
The new system means unwanted tickets bought at the box office can be resold for no more than the original price.
Twickets will also add a fee of 10% to 13% of the face value.
Rebecca Kane Burton, CEO at LW Theatres said: “We continue to strive to not only offer our customers an incredible experience, but also help them when things don’t go to plan.
“Providing a safe, secure and easy way to resell tickets is best practice and yet another step LW Theatres is taking to innovate and improve theatre-going.”
Lord Lloyd-Webber has produced best-selling and long-running musicals including Cats and Jesus Christ Supsterstar.
Twickets launched in 2015 as a more ethical ticketing company, helping fans get into concerts by the likes of Adele and Arctic Monkeys, but this is their first official tie-in with a UK theatre group.
“The UK is in the midst of a market shift away from rip-off secondary ticketing platforms and towards capped consumer-friendly resale services,” said Twickets’ founder Richard Davies.
“I am proud Twickets is at the forefront of this change, and delighted we can extend our service to theatre lovers via this groundbreaking partnership with LW Theatres.”
The partnership will not stop touts from putting tickets on other ticket resale sites, but intends to give theatregoers a trusted option for trading unwanted tickets at a fair price.
The move comes after the West End production of Hamilton scrapped a paperless ticketing scheme intended to combat unauthorised resale.
Producers argued that increased customer awareness and action against sites like Viagogo meant they could reintroduce a “more open” system, including printed paper tickets.
Hamilton and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, two of the biggest West End hits in recent years, say tickets that are re-sold will be cancelled.
Music stars including Adele, Little Mix and The Spice Girls also teamed up with Twickets as the official ticket reseller for their last tours.
A burglar who beat two elderly people to death in their own homes to steal a watch and jewellery has been convicted of their murders two decades on.
Michael Weir fatally attacked 78-year-old Leonard Harris and Rose Seferian, 83, in 1998, the Old Bailey was told.
The original investigation missed clues to the killer but DNA testing linked Weir to the London attacks after 20 years, the court heard.
Weir, 52, of Hackney, had denied two counts of murder.
Prosecutor Tom Little QC told the jury the “defenceless pensioners” had been struck repeatedly and knocked to the ground then left for dead.
Weir was originally found guilty of murdering Mr Harris by an Old Bailey jury in July 1999, but his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal in 2000.
He was retried under the so-called double jeopardy law, and prosecutors believe Weir is “the first convicted man to be convicted twice”.
Trial judge Mrs Justice McGowan told the jury they had made “legal history”.
Sentencing was adjourned until a date to be fixed.
Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris has had surgery on the left elbow he dislocated in a 3-0 defeat by Brighton in October.
The France international fell awkwardly as he failed to hold a cross and, initially, it was thought he would not need to be operated on.
But Spurs said: “Surgery was advised after further reviews by specialists found the elbow remained unstable.
“Our club captain remains on course to return to training in the early part of next year.”
Lloris received oxygen when being treated after suffering the injury and was then carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital.