Barely a month goes by in sport without something major happening and that has certainly been the case during April.
There have been some huge stories dominating the news agenda, keeping fans across the world engaged over the past few weeks.
Read on as we look at some of the biggest sports stories in April 2021, starting with some crazy fun and games in European football.
European Super League sparks outrage
The news that 12 of the biggest football clubs in Europe had been conspiring to launch a breakaway competition caused outrage across the sport.
Six English clubs and three each from Spain and Italy were the ‘founding members’ of a new European Super League (ESL) that promised them untold riches.
Manchester United, Liverpool and Real Madrid were amongst the dirty dozen who wanted to ring fence themselves away from the established football pyramid.
The move sparked plenty of anger, with coaches, players, fans and pundits heavily criticising the greedy owners of the clubs involved.
The proposal quickly floundered, with most of the owners backtracking and issuing questionable apologies for their despicable behaviour.
It has yet to be determined what punishments, if any, will handed to the clubs in question, with fines and suspensions from competitions amongst the options available to football authorities.
Formula 1 shakes up qualifying
Formula 1 bosses confirmed during April that shorter ‘sprint’ races will be introduced to set the grid positions at three Grand Prix events this season.
The shorter ‘sprint qualifying’ race will be staged over around one-third of the distance of a normal race, and is being viewed as a way to spice up the sport.
Great Britain and Italy have been confirmed as venues for the first two events, with a third to be announced in due course.
If the new idea proves to be successful this season, F1 bosses hope to roll it out across more races during the 2022 campaign and make it more interesting for fans to watch F1 qualifying live.
The plan has been formulated after a proposal to introduce a reverse-grid sprint qualifying race was blocked last year by Mercedes.
It is hoped that the new structure will provide added interest for spectators who had become disenchanted with the current qualifying format.
Spurs give Mourinho his marching orders
Tottenham Hotspur caused a shock in football as they sacked manager Jose Mourinho just six days before the clubs was due to play in the Carabao Cup Final.
The move failed to pay dividends as Spurs were outclassed from start to finish by Manchester City at Wembley Stadium.
Mourinho was a surprise appointment at Spurs, with his pragmatic managerial style conflicting with the club’s supposed attacking principles.
However, Spurs’ reputation as a ‘big club’ is somewhat mythical, with sporadic cup successes masking their repeated failure to challenge for league titles.
The Portuguese was seen as the ideal man to change the culture at Spurs, but a lack of investment in the playing squad hindered his hopes of success and led to negative Tottenham news for long stretches of his stay.
Some of Spurs’ managerial targets have already ruled themselves out of the running for the role and the club could regret the decision to part company with Mourinho.
Usman fires a warning shot to the world
Kamaru Usman took a step closer to superstar status at UFC 261, producing a devastating performance against Jorge Masvidal and providing value for money to viewers who were in attendance or watching UFC via live streaming.
The reigning welterweight champion knocked Masvidal out in the second round and pocketed around $1.5million in the process.
The Nigerian Nightmare is better known for his wrestling, but his knockout punch proved that he has other weapons in his arsenal.
There was little to choose between the pair in the first round, but Usman settled matters with a huge overhand right early in the second.
Masvidal had never previously been knocked out, and was overheard asking his corner what had happened as he started to come around.
Usman is only two wins behind Anderson Silva’s record for longest win streak in UFC and is probably in the mix to be classed as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the company.
Matsuyama edges home in the Masters
Hideki Matsuyama just about held his nerve to win the Masters by one stroke at Augusta National and become the first Japanese man to claim a major golf title.
He led by four shots heading into the final day, but endured some nervous moments before finally claiming the victory ahead of Will Zalatoris.
The 29-year-old laid the foundations for his victory on the third day, shooting a fantastic round of 65 to move four strokes clear of the field.
Matsuyama had failed to win on the PGA Tour since 2017 and was unfancied ahead of the tournament, but he deservedly clung on to claim the prestigious Green Jacket.
He is only the second golfer from an Asian country to clinch a men’s major, following South Korean YE Yang’s victory at the PGA Championship in 2009.
Matsuyama made his Masters debut a decade ago, finishing in a tie for 27th place as the tournament’s low-scoring amateur.
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