Riyad Mahrez missed Manchester City’s Community Shield triumph over Liverpool to avoid the risk of failing a doping test, manager Pep Guardiola said.The Algeria international told Guardiola he was ready to play at Wembley on Sunday despite having only recently returned from Africa Cup of Nations glory in Egypt.However, the winger was not named in the City squad as he took some medicine for an illness and club doctors could not be certain whether he had inadvertently ingested any banned substances. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? Guardiola expects Mahrez to be available when City begin their Premier League title defence against West Ham on Saturday.”Riyad called me right after being champions with Algeria and told me he wanted to come back in 10 days and play against Liverpool. I said he was more than welcome!” Guardiola told a news conference.”But we don’t know what he took, the medicine, and that’s why today doping control was a risk. The doctors didn’t [know], so that’s why he didn’t play.”A guy who rested less, but could have played some minutes, but we could not take a risk because the doctors didn’t have exactly the medicines or what happened, and we did not want to take a risk.”Hopefully, next game against West Ham and the future, everything will be normal.”City won the Community Shield 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in London.Raheem Sterling’s goal was cancelled out in normal time by Joel Matip, but Claudio Bravo saved Georginio Wijnaldum’s spot-kick to secure the trophy.Mahrez’s fellow winger Leroy Sane limped off the field in the first half at Wembley and was replaced by Gabriel Jesus.The Germany international went down after a tackle by Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold in the 13th minute and underwent lengthy treatment on the pitch, but was unable to continue.Pep Guardiola played down the seriousness of the injury, saying he believed Sane would “be OK”.Mahrez signed for City from Leicester at the beginning of last season in what was then a club-record deal.The fee paid for the two-time Premier League champion has since been surpassed by the arrival of Rodri from Atletico Madrid, who cost £63m ($79m). Mahrez set the club back £60m ($80m). Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
POPE FRANCIS HAS called powers to be taken away from the Vatican and said Catholics should be more engaged in helping the needy in a key document released today.However, he ruled out allowing women priests.The Catholic leader said he was seeking advice on how his role should change, using an informal style for his first “apostolic exhortation” in which he outlined his vision for the future of the Roman Catholic Church.“It is my duty, as the Bishop of Rome, to be open to suggestions which can help make the exercise of my ministry more faithful to the meaning which Jesus Christ wished to give it,” the pope wrote.“A conversion of the papacy”Francis said it was time for “a conversion of the papacy”, adding that “excessive centralization, rather than proving helpful, complicates the Church’s life”.Bishops should have “genuine doctrinal authority”, he said in the document, a type of long open letter used by popes to communicate with their faithful.The document did not address many of the hot-button ethical reforms called for by progressives but Francis did say that the issue of the priesthood being reserved for men was “not a question open to discussion”.On abortion, he also said the Church “cannot be expected to change her position on this question”.But he added that it should do more “to adequately accompany women in very difficult situations, where abortion appears as a quick solution”.Francis has instituted a council of cardinals to advise him on reforms including a shake-up of the Vatican bureaucracy after a series of high-profile scandals in recent years and disgruntlement in many local churches.The Vatican this month also launched a worldwide consultation of Catholic dioceses including questions about pastoral care for same-sex couples, and Francis on Tuesday underlined the need for churches to keep an open door even without changes to Catholic doctrine.‘Freedom to worship’In the document, Francis stressed the importance of the Church’s social message and criticised the injustices of the global economy, a priority for his papacy.The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode.Turning to other faiths, Francis said that ties with Islam had taken on “great importance” for the Catholic Church because of the growing number of Muslim immigrants in many traditionally Christian countries.“We Christians should embrace with affection and respect Muslim immigrants to our countries in the same way that we hope and ask to be received and respected in countries of Islamic tradition,” he said.I ask and I humbly entreat those countries to grant Christians freedom to worship and to practice their faith, in light of the freedom which followers of Islam enjoy in Western countries.Much of the exhortation was devoted to spiritual issues, particularly the need for a more joyful approach to faith reflected in the document’s Latin title “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel).“There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter,” he said, adding that the Christian message should not be “a catalogue of sins and faults” and should be about striving for “the good of others”.The document included practical tips from Francis for priests on how to give better homilies as well as a call for them to be closer to their parishioners.“Our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door,” he said.- © AFP, 2013Read: Even the Pope has had his phone tapped by the US says Italian magazine >More: Pope Francis allows little boy to crash the stage at the Vatican >