A Dutch International beach volleyball player is starting a four-year jail sentence for raping a 12 year old English girl.

Steven Van de Velde, 19 at the time, flew from Amsterdam in August 2014 to meet up with the schoolgirl from Milton Keynes he had met on Facebook and raped her three times before returning home. He was extradited to the UK and tried and convicted at Aylesbury Crown Court, the judge telling him: “A young, naive and foolish child had formed the view that you loved her. In reality you only knew her on the internet, had never met her before and were fully aware of the age difference. You were the adult, she was the child, and until you recognise this you will remain a danger to young girls”.

Meanwhile Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson has pleaded guilty to one count of internet grooming and one count of sexual activity with a child after an extra-marital relationship with a 15 year old model and Sunderland fan. Amid claims that his club had copies of the 854 grooming emails and still let him play, and earn on, Sunderland’s chief executive Margaret Byrne has resigned in disgrace.

Meanwhile Russian tennis player and businesswoman, Maria Sharapova has admitted that she has taken a performance-enhancing drug, Meldonium, for the last ten years of winning titles and accepting up to £100 million from sponsors, most of whom have now dumped her. Meldonium became a banned drug in January of this year and Sharapova failed a drugs test prior to the Australian Open. Her sponsors have included Nike, Tag Hauer, Porsche, American Express, Tiffany, Avon and Evian.

Meanwhile sporting goods retailer Sports Direct, owned by billionaire chairman of Newcastle United Football Club Mike Ashley, has been described as “a truly hideous company” by Shadow Commons leader Chris Bryant. Bryant claims that in one Sports Direct warehouse 80% of the staff were on zero-hours contracts and that every member of staff is subjected to an unpaid 15-minute search before going home. A Guardian investigation of the company’s Shirebrook, Derbyshire warehouse last year found that wages were docked for “excessive toilet breaks” and being a minute late, and the BBC has heard accusations that staff were “too afraid” to take sick leave. Ashley has reportedly refused to comment on the allegations and has accused the MPs of trying to create a “media circus” by making him give evidence.

Meanwhile the investigation into corruption at football’s governing body FIFA continues.

Meanwhile hands up all those who think sport is inspirational…

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