Colors: Yellow Color

After a hugely successful inaugural event at St George’s Park last November, Cure Leukaemia is staging another six-a-side football tournament at the FA’s National Football Centre, on Tuesday, October 22.

Once again a number of footballing legends will be back to do battle, just as they did last year, when former Aston Villa favourites Ian Taylor and Lee Hendrie were both among the Anvillians team crowned Copa Del CL champions.

Cure Leukaemia CEO James McLaughlin said; “We had a fantastic inaugural tournament with players able to savour the world-class facilities at St George’s Park but also the atmosphere and camaraderie you’d expect when former footballers are reunited.

The feedback received was overwhelmingly positive, so we are delighted to be putting the event on once again, potentially bigger and better with a Champions League theme.

And you never know, the Cure Leukaemia team might actually manage to score a goal this year!”

Last year’s line-ups included an array of legends including Matt Le Tissier, Taylor, Hendrie, Stiliyan Petrov, Jody Craddock, Darren Purse, Lee Naylor, Maik Taylor and Tommy Johnson.

Cure Leukaemia Patron Geoff Thomas and fellow Wolves legend Matt Murray each managed a team, actor from the hit BBC show ‘Line of Duty’ and Villa fan Nigel Boyle was in the winning squad, and the whole event was hosted by Sky Sports’ Johnny Phillips, with former Arsenal and Aston Villa great Paul Merson providing the after-dinner entertainment.

Companies and clients from across the UK took part including Deutsche Bank, LDC, The Binding Site and Sadler & Partridge Ltd. Chris Hurley, Chief Portfolio Officer at LDC said: “The inaugural Copa Del CL provided the ideal springboard; it is original, ambitious, engaging and team focused allowing our LDC colleagues to lace up their boots and show their on-field talents in a unique location alongside some of the great names of English football. We look forward to supporting Cure Leukaemia further in 2019 and beyond with an even more exciting tournament.”

Global Football Pro, based at St George’s Park, who organise player experiences and tournaments across the country and internationally return to oversee the football event which will focus around a Champions League theme, as, once the tournament is over, guests will be invited to enjoy refreshments whilst watching the two Champions League fixtures in the company of the legends during the evening.

Taylor, who is a Director with Global Football Pro, is looking forward to another exciting tournament.

“Last year’s event proved a fantastic success and fun-packed day, but, most importantly, it generated both funds and awareness of this cruel disease, helping the amazing work that is being carried out to hopefully find a cure in the not-too-distant future.

As former players we are still competitive whenever we get out on the pitch, but there were also many excellent players and lively teams which made for a really hard-fought tournament.

We are looking forward to another great event with the action on the top-class pitches at St George’s Park then followed by the chance to sit down and watch the Champions League games and chat football – what a day!”

Proposals for the second phase of the regeneration of Perry Barr, in Birmingham, have been unveiled by Birmingham City Council.

The 12.27 hectare site would accommodate around 400 new homes, associated public open space and a new secondary school for 1,260 pupils.

The area, between Holford Drive and Aldridge Road in Perry Barr, is adjacent to the site of the former Birmingham City University Campus – already being demolished to make way for the residential element of Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Village, which will then be converted into approximately 1,400 new homes for the public post-Games.

The Phase Two site unveiled today is only due to come forward for development after the Games, as it will initially form part of the Athletes’ Village, accommodating a number of Games-time facilities such as the athletes’ dining hall and other temporary facilities.

The area will also benefit from a number of transport improvements, enhancements to Holford Drive to enable better access to the new school, and improvements to Perry Barr railway station.

There will also be a sporting legacy through improved access to facilities in the area including the retained Doug Ellis Sports Centre and associated all-weather pitch currently at the heart of the Phase Two site.

A drop-in session is being staged for existing residents to find out more about the plans for the housing and the school as follows: Wednesday 20 February, at the Doug Ellis sports Centre, Perry Barr, between 1pm and 7pm.

Councilor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham is a growing, thriving, city and we are projecting a population increase of 150,000 by 2031 – so it is crucial we deliver the housing, infrastructure and jobs to support our young and growing population.

Phase Two of the wider regeneration vision for Perry Barr will play a significant part in achieving our goals, providing a high-quality neighbourhood for people and the best possible standard of living in Birmingham.

This scheme will build on the magnificent progress we have achieved on Phase One. It normally takes three years for a Commonwealth Games Village project to obtain planning consent, but thanks to the ‘can do’ attitude of the council and its partners, we have already done the job in just 12 months.”

Following the end of consultation, which closes on 4 March 2019, all comments will be reviewed with any appropriate changes then being made before the submission of an outline planning application, ahead of an anticipated decision by the council Planning Committee in summer 2019. The secondary school, proposed to the Department for Education, would open in 2021 if approved.

The exhibition will be available via the Birmingham Consultation Hub at:


Actor James Marsden, star of X-Men and Westworld, is to present the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards.

James has been featured in a wide range of films and TV shows since he gained prominence on the big screen, including HBO’s critically-acclaimed sci-fi seriesWestworld; box-office smash Enchanted; 27 Dresses; the X-Men trilogy starring as ‘Cyclops;’ Lee Daniels’ The Butler, in the iconic role of John F. Kennedy; Adam Shankman's musical Hairspray, as “Corny Collins;” romantic-dramas The Notebook and The Best of Me; comedies Death at a Funeral and Bachelorette; and hit comedy series 30 Rock.

Continuing to expand on his versatile work, up next Marsden stars in Netflix dark comedy series ‘Dead to Me.’ On the film side, he will star in live-action/animation hybrid film Sonic the Hedgehog, an adaptation of the classic Sega video game and in Quentin Tarantino’s highly-anticipated film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

Looking forward to hosting the Awards Ceremony, James said: “I’m thrilled to serve as host and honor the dedicated athletes who have been nominated for Laureus Awards. I am proud to support The Laureus Sport for Good’s mission to combat the social challenges children face around the world through the power of sport.”

Joining James as co-host will be leading British sports broadcaster Amanda Davies. Amanda has been a sports anchor with CNN since 2012 and has fronted the network’s ‘World Sport’ coverage at multiple global sports events, including Summer and Winter Olympics, Football World Cups, Champions League Finals, the Tour de France and the World Athletics Championships.

Before joining CNN, Amanda was a presenter at the BBC, working across BBC News, BBC Breakfast and BBC World News. Prior to her role at the BBC, she worked in the production team at Sky News and Sky Sports News.

First staged in 2000, each year the Laureus World Sports Awards celebrates the greatest achievements of individuals and teams, across all sports. Nominees in various categories are chosen by a panel of the world’s most influential and respected sports media. The Winners are then selected from the Nominees’ shortlist by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury.

Broadcast in many countries around the world, the Awards Ceremony also showcases the work of Laureus Sport for Good, which uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage, proving that sport can change the world. Today Laureus supports more than 160 programmes in over 40 countries. Our work to transform society is championed by the Laureus World Sports Academy of over 60 legends of sport. They are supported by more than 200 Laureus Ambassadors.


Secretary Sports Punjab Nadeem Mehboob launched SBP’s 7-game U-16 Coaching Camp campaign with the inauguration of athletics and mat wrestling camps here at Punjab Stadium. Director Sports Hafeez Bhatti, Director Special Initiative Anees Sheikh, Deputy Director Tariq Wattoo, Deputy Director Shahid Nizami, Divisional Sports Officer Nadeem Qaiser, DSO Lahore Tanvir Shah and a large number of young athletes were also present on this occasion.

Young athletes warmly received the honourable Secretary Sports Punjab Nadeem Mehboob upon reaching at the Punjab Stadium. He was also introduced with all the participants prior to the racing and wrestling performances of young players. Secretary Sports Punjab Nadeem Mehboob also distributed track suits among the camp probable. The revolutionary camps of five other games – powerlifting, weightlifting, hockey, kabaddi and volleyball – were also inaugurated at various venues of Punjab.

In his media talk at the opening ceremony, Secretary Sports Punjab Nadeem Mehboob said promotion of sports among young generation has been among govt’s top priorities. “The training and grooming of young players was badly ignored during the previous eras and we are focusing on this key feature because Pakistan can get quality players in different games only through proper honing,” he elaborated.

Secretary Sports Punjab Nadeem Mehboob informed that Punjab govt will also organize several high-profile sports events in the coming months alongside the U-16 coaching camps.


“As per our planning, a high-profile kabaddi event was organised in January, Lahore Marathon this month, Dangal event in March and grand event of Punjab Games in April.”


Secretary Sports Punjab Nadeem Mehboob appreciated the 7-game U-16 Coaching Camp campaign saying that Punjab govt took a revolutionary measure by initiating coaching camp campaign.


“Definitely, it’s a future building step and we are quite upbeat that Pakistan will gain several talented young players after this coaching campaign.”


Secretary Sports Punjab Nadeem Mehboob said the 7-game U-16 Coaching Camp will prove to be a suitable platform for potential youngsters of different games to hone their sports skills. “Our camps are starting after tough selection process and there will be no compromise on quality of training at camps,” he stressed.


Katarina Johnson-Thompson led a string of impressive victors on the second and final day of the SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships at Arena Birmingham.

Confirmed as the biggest and best British indoor championships for some decades on the back of record athlete entries and tickets sold, many of those in action on a day consisting of 17 finals stepped up when it mattered most to claim domestic silverware and confirm British team spots ahead of next month’s European Indoor Championships in Glasgow.

The recipient of some of the biggest cheers of the day - as she appeared for the second time this weekend following 60m hurdles silver yesterday - was multi-international medallist Johnson-Thompson produced a season’s best of 6.46m in round four to add a second consecutive British indoor long jump title to her long list of achievements.

Behind KJT, a best of 6.36m secured Jahisha Thomas a silver medal that ensures she will make her first ever British team having secured the qualifying mark earlier this year, while Abigail Irozuru completed the podium courtesy of a 6.35m best.

One of the races of the day based on the strength of the final’s field, the women’s 400m failed to disappoint as an eyeballs-out affair saw a change of lead late in the day.

Johnson-Thompson’s joint indoor national record holder in the women’s high jump, Morgan Lake was another big name who stepped up once again to secure domestic gold. Lake’s 1.94m was another solid mark following the 21-year-old’s strong entrance to the year.

Among those to take advantage of the opportunity to score qualifying marks for the European Indoor Championships at a highly competitive domestic championship was Sophie McKinna, who entertained the crowd with the best display of British women’s shot putting since 2000 on her way to gold.

She said; “I couldn’t be more happy.  It is amazing to break barriers like this [best throw for 19 years], and at the European outdoors I got the best result by a British woman in sixty years. These milestones and barriers will stay with me but for me the most important thing is to qualify for those World Champs by throwing 18m.”

Joining McKinna in Glasgow will be local star Feron Sayers who prevailed in a tight men’s long jump with a 7.72m effort in the penultimate round distancing himself from the other eventual medallists James Lelliott and Reynold Banigo, whilst in the men’s 3000m Chris O’Hare, Andrew Butchart and Charlie Grice seems certain to be the three athletes toeing the start-line in Glasgow next month.

Though they are events that won’t form part of the programme at the European Indoor Championships, both the 5000m race walk and 200m competitions proved to be fiercely competitive affairs.

In the walk showpieces Heather Lewis won a tough women’s 5000m race walk in a personal best of 22:55.15 whilst all eyes were also on multiple British record holder in the men’s equivalent, Tom Bosworth, who underlined his class with yet another comfortable a victory in 19:22.56 despite battling illness in the build-up.

All three women’s 200m medallists recorded lifetime bests in a race won comfortably by Tamworth runner Hayley Mills ahead of Kiah Dubarry-Gay’s and Birchfield Harriers’ Melissa Roberts.

They were just some of what topped-off an action-packed, medal-laden weekend of athletics as places on the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team were booked ahead of the European Indoor Championship in Glasgow with confidence – and expectations - at its highest, for some time.


The Arena Birmingham brought the very best of Britain’s elite athletes for a weekend of SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships with Saturday’s action brimming with world class performances from wold class athletes on top of their game, with 26 British titles being awarded to the victorious athletes across events stretching from the 60m sprint to the pole vault and 5000m race walks.

Yesterday’s events saw Team GB No.1 sprinter, Asha Philip and 3000m runner, Laura Muir, living up to all expectations, coming out on top of their respective races in front of a jam-backed, hugely excited arena.

10-times British title winner Philip, who took gold with a 7.19s finish at the tape said: “I'm really happy because I had to work for that. None of my races are ever easy but I really had to dig in for that. It was a fight to the line and I'm really happy I came away with the gold.”

Ahead of the coming Indoor European Championships, in Glasgow, Muir, who won in 8:48.03 seconds, said: “I'm purely excited for the Championships after that performance. I feel so comfortable indoors in Glasgow, I know the surroundings and I'm in great form.”

There was a surprise winner in the Men's 60m final with Dominic Ashwell crossing the line in 6.64s, whilst Women's Pole Vaulter, Holly Bradshaw, winning comfortably with a height of 4.80m – a new Championship Record. “I've got the Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham next week and then I'll head to Glasgow,” said a delighted Bradshaw said. “These comps are about having fun and it's going amazingly well.”

Ashwell said: “I would say it's been a very good day to say the least, especially after the semi-final. I think to come into the final and produce that is just massive.”

Other Day 1 winners include; Naomi Ogbeta in the Women's Triple Jump final, Cindy Ofili in the Women's 60m Hurdles, Chris Baker in the Men's High Jump, with Men's Shot Put gold going to Scott Lincoln

Women in World Athletics (WIWA), an initiative launched by UK Athletics in 2013, has announced the winner of its commentary competition which will see one budding female commentator join the team for the live stream coverage of this weekend’s SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships in Birmingham.

This opportunity links to the annual ‘Women in World Athletics’ (WIWA) conference which has grown as a project over the last six years with the ambition of bringing women from across the world of athletics, together. This opportunity is an off-shoot project from the wider initiative, to increase the involvement of women in the sport at all levels and in all functions and roles.

Back in December WIWA invited women who are looking to develop a career in sports media to send in their commentary over the top of one key moment from the 2018 SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships series.

Judged by a panel consisting of WIWA Founder and British Athletics’ Major Events Director Cherry Alexander, former British international marathoner turned British Athletics regular in-stadium lead commentator Geoff Wightman and former British 100m star and 2008 Olympic finalist Jeanette Kwakye, Katie Hamilton, 29, from Kent, has been chosen as the competition’s winner following a superb entry covering Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s winning leap of 6.71m in the women’s long jump last year.

Alongside the experienced commentary team of Kris Temple and former 800m athlete Jenny Meadows, Katie will now get the opportunity of a lifetime to get behind the mic and commentate on the exciting British performances as athletes battle for the British title, and places at the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow a few weeks later.

An avid athletics fan from a young age and an amateur athlete representing Ashford AC in a range of disciplines (though predominantly the high jump), Katie typically attends events held in the UK and will join the team for both days of the championships next weekend.

Further to this, Katie will also be invited to a special sports media session as part of the 7th WIWA conference.

Major Events Director at British Athletics and founder of the WIWA project, Cherry Alexander said: “Katie’s commentary of Katarina Johnson-Thompson’s leap of 6.71m to take the British long jump title displayed everything we were looking for: knowledge, enthusiasm and an ability to bring the key stages of what was happening on the field of play to life for the viewer.

I’m sure she will be a great addition to the stream commentary team and will learn a lot from the experience that Kris and Jenny hold.”

Competition winner and co-commentator in waiting ahead of next weekend’s championships, Katie spoke of her excitement at being selected as the winning entrant and the opportunity itself: “I’ve been involved in athletics for as long as I can remember, and I still compete semi-regularly for fun – I’m still a member of Ashford AC and have been since I was really young, and it’s something that probably stretches back 15 years or so.

I follow athletics really regularly and keep across results, all of which has come from my parents’ enthusiasm for the sport which I definitely carry too, so this opportunity is something I’m really excited to be a part of.

I’ve always carried a general interest in broadcasting all the way through university; I did a bit of community radio work then and also had a bit of experience doing some shadowing work with the BBC.”

The SPAR British Athletics Indoor Championships will be live streamed via the British Athletics website tomorrow and Sunday.

Tennis enthusiasts in the West Midlands were given a unique opportunity to meet and learn from one of the world’s best tennis coaches.

Louis Cayer, the undisputed ‘number one doubles coach,’ headed to Birmingham for one day only to hold intimate breakfast and evening events and deliver two special masterclass coaching sessions for juniors and adults.

Organised by specialist coaching and tour operators Ethan Mason Sports and Tennis Smart, the action-packed event took place at Edgbaston Priory Tennis Club, with places offered on a first-come, first served basis.

Budding players and tennis lovers were able to explore Louis’ coaching methods and experience of working with 10 ‘top 100’ singles players and coaching Jamie Murray, whilst the latter was making his way to become the world number one in doubles.

He is also known for his skills development and writing all of the coaching manuals for the LTA, including technical aspects around movement on the ‘3 volleys.’

“This was the first time we were able to get Louis Cayer to visit the Midlands and make the most of his knowledge and expertise through a range of different activities that suit all ages,” explained John Donnelly, Chairman of Ethan Mason Sports.

It all kicked-off with an exclusive breakfast for nine people where guests asked Louis about his career, coaching tips and tales from the hundreds of tournaments he’s been part of.

We also got an ‘Audience With’ event for the evening, with Fix Radio Show Presenter Paul Burrell conducting an interview before opening up a Q&A to the floor.” 

Juniors, adults and their coaches were also be able to take part in two coaching masterclasses, with Cayer providing on court-sessions covering technique, movement, the ‘three volleys’, match psychology and tips for playing as part of a doubles team.

Adding his support, he said: “I really enjoy these events, where you can talk tennis to people who love the sport and try to give them an insight into coaching that they perhaps would never normally get. Edgbaston has always been a great venue for tennis so I was delighted to be returning and meet lots of players and supporters.”

Also in attendance was Ethan Mason Sports Director Arnaud Benidor (a LTA and USPTA qualified coach and former hitting partner for Mark Philippoussis and the Williams sisters) and Sarah Borwell, Managing Director of Tennis Smart and a former British Number One ranked doubles player, who has played at all four Grand Slam tournaments.

John concluded: “We had lots of people sign-up, so space was at a premium. Just imagine telling the people at your tennis club that you’ve been coached by Louis Cayer and, better still, showing them what you can do after enjoying his expert coaching.”

UK motorsport could be brought to a grinding halt, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands Dan Dalton warned, unless the European Parliament agrees to changes in a planned overhaul of the EU’s motor insurance rules.

A parliamentary committee of MEPs will decide whether to back the amendment that would grant motorsport an exemption under a piece of legislation designed to better protect victims of motor accidents.

“It is simply too close to call which way the vote will go at this stage,” said Dalton. “Many MEPs on the left oppose my suggestions, but I will be fighting to convince my colleagues that this is the right thing to do.”

The European Commission published its proposal to revise the EU’s motor insurance rules after a 2014 ruling by judges in Luxembourg that off-road vehicles should have unlimited third party liability insurance, including on private land.

Conservative MEPs say the draft law from the European Commission is so vague that it could effectively shut down British motorsport, but the amendment includes the phrase “in traffic” to mitigate the impact of the EU executive’s proposal.

"I met with members of the insurance industry at a recent motorsport fair in Birmingham. They told me that most insurers would be unwilling to underwrite this sort of risk. For the grassroots, that would slam the brakes on the next Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button emerging."

If the law takes effect before Brexit, or during the planned two-year transition phase, then it will apply in the UK.

The motorsport industry is worth more than nine billion pounds to the British economy each year. Motorsport Valley, which stretches from the West Midlands to East Anglia, employs more than 40,000 people. Several teams, circuits, and other companies involved in motorsport have been contacting Dan to warn that jobs could be at stake if the Commission's proposal goes through unchanged.

Dalton added; “My father used to volunteer as a marshal at events up and down the UK, including the British Grand Prix. I know that motorsport is a way of life for many people in this country.”

All MEPs could vote on the proposals as early as February when the European Parliament next meets in Strasbourg. The vote is key, however, as the full parliament generally follows the line taken at committee stage.

Athletics is well represented in the New Year’s Honours List 2019 which recognises the outstanding achievements of people across the United Kingdom.

Para Athletics Head Coach at UK Athletics, Paula Dunn has been awarded an MBE for her services to athletics. Lorna Boothe has been awarded an MBE for her services to Sports Coaching and administration while leading International Technical Official Roger Blades has also received the honour for his services to athletics and school sport.

BEMs (British Empire Medals) - awarded for a ‘hands-on’ service to the local community - have been awarded to Paralympian Sophia Warner, John Messum, Mairi Levack and William Russell for coaching, while five-time Olympian Christopher Maddocks – also the British 50km race walk record holder – has been bestowed with the same honour.

Paula Dunn became the first female and BAME Para Athletics Head Coach in 2012 and since taking the post has led the British team to their highest ever medal tallies in the modern era at the Paralympic Games in 2016, World Para Athletics Championships in London, and the WPA European Championships.

One of six children, Dunn grew up in Manchester where she would begin her athletics career at the Trafford AC. Committing to her sprinting career alongside full-time work, Dunn became an Olympian in 1988 running the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay in Seoul. She is a four-time Commonwealth medallist and a European bronze medallist.

She moved into coaching as her career as an athlete came to an end, conducting this alongside her job as a sports development officer in athletics and netball in the Manchester area. Dunn would later start working at UK Athletics in 2001, carrying out roles in the talent and para athletics programmes, before her appointment as Para Athletics Head Coach in 2012.

On her MBE, Dunn said: “Initially I was really surprised and quite shocked. But as the days have gone on, I’m just proud. I am because so many people have helped me to get to this position.

“It just gets you thinking about when I started in the sport and my expectations career-wise. It was never in my wildest dreams that I was receive an MBE, so it is amazing what you can do.”

Dunn took over from Peter Eriksson as British Para Athletics Head Coach in 2012 and has embarked on a memorable six years for the programme.

“When I took over as Head Coach at the end of 2012, I wanted to make sure we kept on moving forwards. It is easy to get complacent and think you have succeeded. I jumped right in and we have built upon that success. We have such a strong structure in place. The profile of the sport has risen so much so we are attracting athletes constantly. I am incredibly proud of the team and their progression over the years.”

On becoming the first female and BAME Para Athletics Head Coach at British Athletics in 2012, she added:

“It is always a watershed moment when you become the first of something. So, I was the first female Para Athletics Head Coach, and the first BAME Head Coach, so for people looking in, they can see this is a sport that provides opportunities. If you have the ability, the capability and the drive, you can achieve anything. I don’t particularly like to be called a role model because I still feel that I am learning but if people can see what I have achieved and that can motivate them, that is absolutely brilliant and exactly what I want to do.”

Lorna Boothe receives an MBE for her services to sports coaching and administration. A Commonwealth 100m hurdles gold medallist in 1978 and two-time Olympian, Boothe currently sits on the European Athletics Coaches' Association and England Athletics regional councils and was also the lead speed coach for Team England at this year's Commonwealth Games. She has worked as a team coach and manager on a several British and English teams during her career.

Roger Blades receives an MBE for his services to athletics and school sport, the latter in the Sheffield area. Blades is currently on the 2018-2021 list of Technical Officials (TOs) and Classifiers authorised by World Para Athletics. He was also Technical delegate at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016.

Among those receiving a British Empire Medal is John Messum for services to athletics in Wales. Deeside-based Messum was recently awarded the Endurance Participation Coach of the Year at recent Welsh Athletics Awards 2018.

William Russell is chief coach at the Banchory and Stonehaven Athletic Club in Scotland and has received his BEM for his services to Athletics in North East Scotland. Mairi Levack, a coach at North Uist Amateur Athletics Club receives a BEM for services to Sport and Young People on the Islands of North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist.

Paralympian Sophia Warner has been awarded an BEM for voluntary service to disability sport. Warner won world and European medals during her career and competed at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

Finally, Christopher Maddocks, the retired 50km Race Walk British Record holder receives an BEM for his services to athletics. Maddocks is one of only a handful of athletes – alongside Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Ben Ainslie - to proudly call himself a five-time Olympian having competed in every Games from Los Angeles 1984 to Sydney 2000. His best placing was 16th in both Los Angeles and Barcelona.

Shoppers, sports fans and party-goers are being encouraged to leave the car at home this Christmas and New Year and use public transport instead.

Those heading to the Boxing Day sales and the region’s top football matches will be able to take advantage of the biggest bus service outside of London.

A total of 171 services will be running on December 26 thanks in part to a financial subsidy from Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The region’s largest bus operator National Express West Midlands will be running a near-Sunday daytime schedule and Diamond Bus will also be laying on 17 key services.

People’s public transport options will be boosted further by the West Midlands Metro tram system, which will run an enhanced Sunday service on Boxing Day.

Full details of the bus and tram services were revealed today (December 13) following the release of the public transport timetables for the festive period. They can be viewed at

Cllr Roger Lawrence, the WMCA’s lead member for transport, said: “This is the time of year when many of us are heading out to the shops to buy presents or off to parties and other festive events.

“That can add significantly to the amount of traffic on our roads, leading to extra congestion and poorer air quality.

“So I would encourage people to consider leaving the car at home and getting the bus, tram or train. That way they can avoid the hassle of finding somewhere to park and enjoy a festive tipple at the same time.”

With no trains running on Boxing Day, the extensive bus and tram timetable will not only help those heading to the sales but also shop workers as well as thousands of football fans going to the West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City and Walsall home matches.

The bus and tram schedules are:


Christmas Eve:

Bus: Normal Saturday service with most routes finishing earlier at around 10pm

Metro: Normal weekday service

Rail: Weekday service on most routes with reduced timetable from mid-afternoon and finishing earlier


Christmas Day:

No bus, rail or tram services


Boxing Day:

Bus: Revised Sunday service with some routes finishing earlier at 6pm and key routes operating until normal end of service

Metro: Bank Holiday service operating every 10 minutes during the daytime and every 15 minutes during the evening

Rail: No services


Thursday December 27 and Friday December 28

Bus: Saturday service on most routes

Metro: Bank Holiday service (as on Boxing Day)

Rail: Normal weekday service on most routes with a later start on Thursday


Saturday December 29 and Sunday December 30

Bus: Revised Saturday service on Dec 29 and normal Sunday service on Dec 30

Metro: Normal Saturday and Sunday services

Rail: Normal Saturday and Sunday services


New Year’s Eve, Monday December 31:

Bus: Saturday service

Metro: Saturday service with last tram at around midnight

Rail: Monday service for most routes with some trains finishing earlier


New Year’s Day, Tuesday January 1:

Bus: Revised Sunday service with some routes finishing earlier at 6pm and key routes operating until normal end of service. A reduced service will operate in Coventry

Metro: Bank Holiday service operating every 10 minutes during the daytime and every 15 minutes during the evening

Rail: Sunday service on most routes

As preparations begin for Birmingham to host the Commonwealth Games in 2022, Birmingham City University has launched two new undergraduate degrees – Event, Venue and Experience Management and Global Sport Management.

The Event, Venue and Experience Management course sees students immersed in live event experiences as part of their studies, as learners explore future trends in event technologies and develop an in depth knowledge of the critical elements of venue design.

Those studying Global Sport Management will learn from international sports leaders on the key contemporary areas of business and management in the global sports industry, including insights into the latest digital innovations.

Both degrees are the first courses of their kind in the UK to be accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the only chartered professional body dedicated to promoting the highest standards in management and leadership excellence.

“The Event, Venue and Experience Management course has been a great success to date and the CMI accreditation further validates its strong links to industry and our commitment to developing work ready graduates and leaders of the future”, said Richard Oddy, Programme Director for Event, Venue and Experience Management at Birmingham City University.

“It’s a perfect time for us at Birmingham City University to launch the Global Sport Management course”, added Dr Russell Cowley, Programme Director for Global Sport Management at Birmingham City University.

“The Global Sport Management degree is unique with its accreditation to the Chartered Management Institute. Furthermore, the course is very practice focused through our extensive contacts with industry leaders and organisations.

“This course will see us deliver the next generation of global sport business and management experts.”

Dr Cowley is a former professional ice hockey player and previously played for Great Britain on the men's national ice hockey team.

Three University of Wolverhampton students are celebrating after scooping gold medals in Judo at a major national competition.

Jemima Yeats-Brown, Eric Ham and Kelly Petersen-Pollard all won their categories at the British Senior Judo Championships at the weekend.

Jemima Yeats-Brown, a BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science student, was successful in the -78kg category.

BSc (Hons) Exercise and Health student Kelly Petersen-Pollard clinched gold in the -70kg category.

Meanwhile, Eric Ham, who is studying BSc (Hons) Strength and Conditioning, won the gold medal in the -73kg competition.

The students, who train at the British Judo Centre of Excellence at the Walsall Campus, all receive support from the University’s Sports Scholarship scheme.

James Dale, Sports Manager (General), said: “The results in the British Championships are absolutely fantastic and we are very proud of our students’ achievements. To see our students win senior British medals along with junior British medals is a credit to the effort they put in both on and off the judo mat. I must also mention the hard work that our Head Coach, Dave Elmore has put in to help our students achieve this level.

“This coupled with our strong relationship with British Judo and the fantastic facilities provided by the University, are the reason that students have the opportunity to do so well in their sport. We are very excited for the second part of the competitive season which will see the same students compete at BUCS national championships along with other high profile, senior Judo events.”

Efforts to protect the ocean have received a major boost with the announcement that Seychelles will lead a Commonwealth Blue Charter action group on marine protected areas.

Seychelles is the latest and 12th country to step forward as a Commonwealth Blue Charter Champion country.

The announcement was made at the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.

Seychelles’ Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Charles Bastienne, spoke at a side-event on the Commonwealth Blue Charter.

“Seychelles wishes to lead the group because of the great progress we have made at the national and regional level in the establishment and management of marine protected areas.

“The government of Seychelles believes that in order to compliment the adoption of the Blue Charter and also to achieve sustainable development, Seychelles - being a small island developing state - must play a pivotal role in preserving and protecting our seas and oceans at all costs”.

Last week, Seychelles extended its planned protected areas to an impressive 26 per cent of the country's 1.4 million km2 exclusive economic zone (EEZ), building on the 16 per cent it protected earlier this year. The new marine protected areas are based on the Seychelles Marine Spatial Plan - a first in the Indian Ocean area.

The areas protected are important for biodiversity conservation, as well as for tourism and fishing. They include islands that are important breeding areas for endangered marine species, such as the remote Aldabra group of islands.

Other action group members updated delegates on their activities, including progress from the UK and Vanuatu on the Clean Ocean Alliance, from Cyprus on aquaculture, from Sri Lanka on mangrove restoration and from Kenya on the blue economy.

Nick Hardman-Mountford, Head of Oceans and Natural Resources at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said: "I strongly encourage other Commonwealth countries to follow the lead of Seychelles and their other counterparts in this vital Blue Charter initiative. Now is the time to take action to protect and sustainably manage the ocean, now is the time to join up.

“The wellbeing and livelihoods of billions of people depend on the health of the world's marine environment. We must act now to safeguard this one ocean for our children and their children".

During a panel discussion at the side event, panellists from the African Union, UN Environment, the Indian Ocean Rim Association, the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community stressed the need for regional cooperation on ocean sustainability.

Two members of a martial arts group have won gold medals at the World Championships in Rome.

The two kick-boxing competitors from React Martial Arts in Rowley Regis – the coach Arron Walker and junior member Harvey Adlam – won their world titles earlier this month.

Arron and Harvey, who is aged 11 from Cradley Heath, competed in ring continuous, mat continuous and boxing, at 85kg and 35kg respectively.

Arron won the gold in ring continuous and bronze in the other two disciplines and Harvey got gold in mat continuous, silver in ring continuous and bronze in boxing.

“It was a highly competitive world championships on 3 and 4 November, with teams from Spain, Sweden, USA, Mongolia, Morocco and Italy, to name just a few,” said Arron.

“It is a great achievement for our small club we managed to get medals from six categories with only two fighters,” said Arron.

Arron said the club, which was set up in 2014 to encourage kick-boxing in the area, were now anxious to get some new faces in the squad to train-up for future championships.

Arron said the club we were an active member of the community activity network (CAN) co-ordinated by Matt Hill and now attend regular public health meetings with Matt.

As part of the CAN, the club received some funding from Sandwell to help promote new sessions to encourage more young people to take up the sport. Members have worked in primary and secondary schools in Sandwell.

Sandwell Council's cabinet member for leisure, Councillor Bill Gavan said: "I was very pleased to hear of these amazing achievements by members of the local club.

"I hope their efforts encourage more people to get involved in this highly successful organisation."

Cricket has the potential to unite communities and help countries towards their development goals, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has said. She was speaking at the ‘Bringing the Commonwealth to the ICC Cricket World Cup’ event – launching a landmark collaboration between the Commonwealth, International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup 2019, and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

High commissioners, renowned sportsmen and community project leaders were among those attending the presentation at the Commonwealth headquarters in London. The initiative aims to shift the focus beyond the playing field to the greater impacts of sport such as accelerating development, promoting peace and improving health and education.

Welcoming the new partnership, the Secretary-General said, “Sport is one of the great shared traditions across Commonwealth member countries. This collaboration will utilise our Commonwealth convening power - which is truly remarkable - to champion and promote cricket and broader sport-based initiatives being delivered by a diverse range of organisations, using the sport as a tool for development and peacebuilding.”

Secretary-General Scotland spoke about the Peace at the Crease initiative she launched earlier this year to enhance the impact of cricket as a tool for development. The programme will create a network of governments, cricketing and sporting bodies and community organisations, and includes training and capacity building to use cricket and sport more generally to advance development goals such as good health and wellbeing, peace and gender equality. Contributing to Peace at the Crease there are Commonwealth Community Cricketing Cups, with special exhibition matches and tournaments to mobilise action on specific development challenges.

The Commonwealth will also support the ICC Young Flagbearers programme, which will recruit young people from diaspora communities of each of the 10 world cup competing nations.

Commenting on the partnership with the Commonwealth, Managing Director of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Steve Elworthy MBE said: “It is an honour to work alongside the Commonwealth ahead of what is a huge year for both the sport and the participating countries.

“The event provides a great opportunity for all members of the Commonwealth to be part of the World Cup and show how their communities can be part of cricket in the future,” he added.

Panel discussions at the event focused on the role cricket can play to promote social cohesion and sustainable development in local communities, as part of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 Social Legacy programme.

Participants also learnt about related Commonwealth initiatives such as ‘Faith in the Commonwealth’, which was created to improve global citizenship and religious literacy among young people and build stronger social cohesion through greater respect and understanding across faiths and cultures.