Daily Digest: Poppy Cleall calls on nations to invest in women’s rugby

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In today's news: Poppy Cleall calls for investment in women's rugby, BT Sport makes Champions League final free-to-air, and Ashleigh Barty reaches Madrid Open semi-final.

Poppy Cleall calls for women’s rugby investment

English rugby star Poppy Cleall has called for countries to invest in their women’s rugby teams. In an Instagram post, Cleall wrote that England “can’t carry on playing professionals v amateurs.”

“Invest in the girls, invest in the passionate, dedicated athletes you see week in, week out – they represent your nations so well,” she said. “They deserve better and they deserve the resources to reach their potential sooner rather then later. It has to be a level playing field.”

Cleall was named Player of the Championship of the Women’s Six Nations, which England won last month for the third successive year. The Red Roses were the only professional side in the tournament.


BT Sport make Champions League final free-to-air

The Women’s Champions League final between Chelsea and Barcelona on May 16th will be made available to all.

Those with a BT subscription will still be able to watch the match on BT Sport 2, but the game will also be shown on the BT Sport app and YouTube channel for free.

“Showing the highly anticipated UEFA Women's Champions League Final advances our commitment to women’s sport, alongside BT’s partnerships with each of the four UK ‘Home Nations’ Football Associations to inspire girls and women to participate in football,” said BT Sport head Simon Green.

"We hope making the game accessible to all without a subscription will encourage new fans to watch and engage with women’s football during this exciting period for the game.”

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Ashleigh Barty and Paula Badosa reach Madrid Open semi-finals

Ashleigh Barty and Paula Badosa will play each other in the semi-finals of the Madrid Open after winning their respective quarter-finals.

Australia’s Barty, the current world number one, faced a battle against Petra Kvitová of the Czech Republic. She eventually emerged victorious after earning a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 result.

Badosa, who is a wildcard but has the Spanish crowd behind her, stunned Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic 6-4, 7-5.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova is still to find out her semi-final opponent. The Russian got past Czech star Karolína Muchová 7-6, 7-6, and will face either Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus or Elise Mertens of Belgium.

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Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix finishes fourth at Diving World Cup

The 17-year-old Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix just missed out on a medal at the Diving World Cup in Tokyo. She scored 73.60 points to place fourth in the women’s 10 metre platform event.

Although she failed to make the podium, Spendolini-Sirieix earned a quota place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by reaching the semi-finals.

Spendolini-Sirieix has impressed during her career so far and was named last year’s BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year as a result.


Billie Jean Cup Finals moved from Budapest

The Hungarian capital of Budapest will no longer host the Billie Jean King Cup Finals after its contract with the International Tennis Federation was cancelled.

The governing body claimed it was left with “no other option” after it was informed by the Hungarian Tennis Association that COVID-19 safety concerns meant the tournament could not be held in Budapest this year.

Formerly known as the Fed Cup, the Billie Jean Cup Finals were set to be held in Budapest in April 2020, before they were postponed by a year due to the pandemic. It was then announced in February that the event would be pushed back once again. The ITF must now find a new location alongside new dates.

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