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Burgess crowned rugby league player of the year

Burgess will now switch to playing union. Credit: PA

Sam Burgess has become the first English winner of the Rugby League International Federation's International Player of the Year Award.

Burgess, who defied a fractured eye socket and cheekbone to help South Sydney to victory in the NRL Grand Final, received the prestigious award at the Royal International Convention Centre in Brisbane, where the 2014 Four Nations Series gets under way without him on Saturday.

The former Bradford forward will link up with Bath next week ahead of his cross-code switch, although he will not be able to make his rugby union debut until December as he recovers from the injuries he sustained in the first tackle of the match against Canterbury Bulldogs earlier this month.

RLIF chairman Nigel Wood said: "He is a worthy recipient and deserves to be recognised for his achievements over the past year on the international stage as well as in the NRL competition."

Leeds owner sees tax evasion trial delayed

Cellino's trial was due to take place on Thursday. Credit: PA

Leeds president Massimo Cellino's court trial in Sardinia for tax evasion has been delayed.

The trial was due to take place on Thursday, but the judge has had to step down due to a conflict of interest.

Judge Dr Sandra Lepore convicted Cellino for failing to pay tax on his yacht Nelie in March and cannot hear the second case involving another yacht, Lucky 23.

Cellino was fined around £400,000 for the earlier conviction.

The appeal judge who overturned that decision ruled that if Judge Lepore confirmed in her written report that the tax evasion in the Nelie case had been a deliberate act of dishonesty then Cellino would fail the League's 'owners and directors' test.

Judge Lepore has since stated there was "elusive intent" and "Machiavellian simulation" by Cellino and the League is under mounting pressure to force him to sell the club.

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Hodgson 'gutted' over Sterling treatment

Hodgson rested Sterling against Estonia. Credit: PA

England manager Roy Hodgson has leapt to the defence of Raheem Sterling, saying the Liverpool winger has been treated unfairly by the press.

Sterling was blasted by former professionals and the press after Hodgson revealed he did not start for England against Estonia because he was 'tired'.

Speaking to students at the Cambridge Union, Hodgson said: "With young Raheem Sterling this week, it guts me to see that sort of treatment.

"It’s totally unfair and totally wrong. It’s suiting people’s agendas. But, you know, he’ll be stronger for it. Is that right? Of course it’s not right! But I can’t turn the clock back, I’m living in 2014, I can’t go back to Downton Abbey!”

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Ched Evans makes video appeal for 'second chance'

Ched Evans has issued a video statement asking for a "second chance" to resume his professional football career after serving a prison sentence for rape.

The former Sheffield United striker, sitting alongside his girlfriend Natasha Massey, said it was his "hope" to return to the game, adding: "If that is possible then I will do so with humility having learned a very painful lesson."

Evans said he remained "determined to continue the fight to clear my name" in the video released on his personal website.

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