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Bae Jae Shik, the head of the South Korea delegation for the South Korea-Japan forum, said he will suggest to the South Korean government that South Korea and Japan co-host the 2002 soccer World Cup. Bae said he would make the proposal only if the Japanese delegation to the forum agrees with the idea. The Forum brings leading intellectuals from the two countries to promote "mutual understanding between the two nations." FIFA has moved up the selection date from June '96 to early next year -- "a moved viewed as trying to curb the already fierce bidding race between Japan and Korea" (KYODO NEWS SERVICE, 8/31).
"Barring an astonishing turn in voting next week, it will be business as usual for the NBA this season," writes Jeffrey Denberg in today's ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. Players yesterday voted "strongly in favor of retaining the NBA Players Association as their labor representative." Denberg reports that estimates are that "as many as 200 players" -- half the membership -- voted at 47 NLRB offices across the country. In Atlanta, 17 of 30 players registered to vote did so. Jon Koncak: "It was a very good turnout and I believe it was strongly pro-agreement. Things apparently went well, and it looks like we're in business." Joe Kleine: "I think it'll pass, but I don't think it's going to be a slam dunk, either" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/1). "If hearing is believing, then it doesn't look good for the move to decertify the NBA players' union," writes Lacy Banks in today's CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. Banks adds, "Just about all who revealed how they voted said they voted for the contract, suggesting the pro-union and pro-contract players are on their way to a landslide win. The dissidents, however, believe otherwise." Pro-decert agent Marc Fleisher: "From what I hear, it's an exceedingly close election and we think we are slightly up. You must realize, also, that our most fervent supporters like Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing - they haven't even voted yet because they were traveling. We believe they'll step forward next Thursday" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/1). "The proponents and opponents of the proposed six-year NBA labor contract agreed on one -- and only one --point yesterday": the turnout in was "heavy," according to Mark Asher in today's WASHINGTON POST. Gourdine and NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik "said the brisk turnout favored ratification of the contract and the end to a league-imposed lockout that entered its third month today." Granik: "Our reading going in was that a vast majority favored the deal. If you look at the press reports, a third to half of the players didn't want to reveal how they voted. Of those who did reveal it, about three-quarters said they voted for the deal" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/1).