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SBD Global/October 11, 2012/Leagues and Governing BodiesPrint All
Hollywood stars such as Australians Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman are "among the celebrities targeted by organizers of a new U.S.-based Twenty20 cricket competition to help sell six $40M franchises," according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. Cricket Holdings America "is copying the approach of the celebrity-endorsed Indian Premier League" as it builds toward the June start of the UST20 League. Cricket Holdings America CEO Neil Maxwell said, "We want to combine Hollywood and Bollywood and integrate celebrities into this entertainment product that we’re building." Twenty20 is the newest and shortest form of cricket, with three-hour games "punctuated by big hits, thumping music and cheerleaders attracting larger crowds than the traditionally longer forms." Organizers are aiming "to play the matches at temporary venues in N.Y. before setting the six franchises up in different U.S. cities." Maxwell said that attracting Hollywood, and even some Bollywood performers, "may help the league attract women and children, a key demographic for the start-up." Maxwell added: "The IPL has challenged the soap operas in India in that 4:30 time slot when a lot of women sit down and watch. It did that by integrating Bollywood into the cricket product. From that learning we’re very keen to build a similar structure" (BLOOMBERG, 10/10).
The Int'l Cricket Council has suspended six umpires from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan "over allegations of corruption" in the build-up to the World Twenty20, according to Josh Burrows of the LONDON TIMES. India TV has broadcast undercover footage "claiming to prove that six officials were willing to fix matches for money" before the event in Sri Lanka. The ICC issued a statement Wednesday confirming that "none would be asked to stand in any matches until the investigations were complete." The statement read, "The International Cricket Council and its relevant full member boards have agreed not to appoint any of the umpires named in a sting operation recently conducted by India TV to any domestic or international cricket matches pending the outcome of the ongoing investigations into the allegations made" (LONDON TIMES, 10/10). The TNN reported that the cricket boards of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have "launched investigations" into the corruption allegations against the umpires. A Bangladesh Cricket Board spokesperson said, "Like the ICC, we all have zero tolerance against corruption, and if they are found guilty, they will have to face the heat." A Sri Lanka Cricket official said that the board is "studying the tapes of the sting operation." The Pakistan Cricket Board also said that it has launched investigations into the matter. A PCB spokesperson said, "We are in contact with ICC and carrying out a detailed investigation into the matter. We have sought the details involved in the matter" (TNN, 10/10).
UMPIRE PLANNING LEGAL ACTION: The PTI reported that Pakistan umpire Nadeem Ghauri, who was implicated in the TV allegations, is "planning to take legal action against the channel" after getting the subtle backing of PCB, which has "decided against jumping to conclusions." Ghauri has been shown "speaking about corruption in cricket by umpires on Skype." Insisting that the video "was fake and had been altered by the channel," Ghauri said that he has met PCB officials and "informed them about his stance on the issue." Ghauri said, "I will take legal action once the board also completes its inquiry" (PTI, 10/10).
UMPIRE BACKS FIXING CLAIMS: The TNN's Partha Bhaduri noted that "no Indian umpire was implicated" in Monday's TV sting. Several Indian umpires have told The Times of India that they are "often asked to favour particular teams or players" during tournaments in Delhi and at state-level age-group events and trials. A Board of Control for Cricket in India level-1 umpire told The Times of India, "Big local tournaments are often fixed through umpires. Some local umpires are known punters. In age-group events, say an under-16 trial match, it's not uncommon for umpires to be given incentives to favour players" (TNN, 10/10).
The Circuit of the Americas signed a formal, multi-year agreement with the V8 Supercars series that will allow the Australian touring car series to make its North American debut at the new central Texas sports and entertainment venue from May 17-19. The V8 Supercars championship is made up of 15 championship events across Australia, New Zealand and Abu Dhabi of the UAE, with the U.S. joining the schedule in '13. The series is the world’s leading touring car championship recognized by the motorsports governing body FIA and receives regular carriage by the SPEED TV network. The cars are based on modified versions of Australia’s two most popular passenger cars, the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore. Automakers Nissan and Mercedes have revealed that they will also provide vehicles for the series in '13 (COTA).
The FA has drawn up "a tough new code of conduct" for English players that will leave them "under no illusions" about the penalties for misbehavior off the pitch, according to Gibson & Fifield of the London GUARDIAN. The announcement comes following "damaging cases" involving players John Terry and Ashley Cole. FA Chair David Bernstein believes that the new rules should have been brought in "years ago" but would make it "crystal clear" where they stood. The rules include "separate sections for when players are on England duty or with their clubs." England’s senior squad was presented with the code on Monday night. Berstein said, "The England players are representing their country, they’re role models. Their behaviour is incredibly important in respect of everything else we’re trying to do." The code will encompass three sections: General conduct, applicable whether the player is with England or not; another on "conduct and behaviour" when players are with England; and a third on "how any breach will be dealt with." Sanctions are "not laid out" in the six-page document but will range from fines to bans and will be decided by the Club England management board. (GUARDIAN, 10/9).
LONG TIME COMING: In London, Matt Barlow reported that "plans have been unfolding since February, following the example set by England’s cricket team," who banned player Kevin Pietersen in a recent high-profile case. The code will cover England players and includes social networking activity like Twitter as well as "offences of discrimination, including racism." The code of conduct "will exist independently" of FA discipline and under the auspices of the Club England board (DAILY MAIL, 10/10). Also in London, Henry Winter reported that having consulted with the Rugby Football Union and the England and Wales Cricket Board about their codes for players, the FA "aims to have its version signed by the squad" before next month’s friendly with Sweden in Stockholm. The FA Board and all the England coaches "have approved it" (TELEGRAPH, 10/9).
Red Bull Racing F1 Team Principal Christian Horner explained that "his team was not invited to the Formula One Team Association meeting on the morning of the Japanese Grand Prix, and therefore he does not know what was discussed," according to Frederik Hackbarth of MOTORSPORT MAGAZIN. Ten of the 12 F1 team principals met Sunday morning in Suzuka, Japan to discuss "urgent issues in regard to the racing series' future management structure, the potentially increased starting fees and cost reduction." The two teams that were not represented were Red Bull and its sister team Scuderia Toro Rosso, as "they were simply not invited." However, Ferrari and Sauber, which are both non-members of the team association, participated for the first time in a long time at the meeting. The "controversial decision" of FOTA to hold a meeting without Red Bull and Toro Rosso comes "only days ahead of an important meeting" between FOTA, FIA and F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone in Paris on Oct. 23. Horner said, "I don't even know what was talked about because I wasn't there -- therefore I can't commentate on it. We have the FOTA, which consists of some teams and not of others. I have no idea what was talked about, but whatever it was they obviously feel it doesn't concern Red Bull" (MOTORSPORT MAGAZIN, 10/9).
Free licenses for competitive racing will be issued to all Emirati drivers in '13. The move is part of an ongoing commitment by the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE "to encourage greater participation among Emiratis" (GULF NEWS, 10/8). ... The Australian Rugby League Commission "is close to finalising a proposal that could solve the issue of State of Origin eligibility" by preventing players who have represented the junior Kiwis [New Zealand] declaring allegiance to Australia. Junior Test matches currently do not count toward full eligibility (AAP, 10/11).