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The Scotland Rugby Union has confirmed that it has "reached agreement with a new Scotland head coach," and, while it is keeping his identity secret for now, the man "is not a Scot and Australian Ewen McKenzie has emerged as front-runner," according to David Ferguson of the SCOTSMAN. The SRU has "struck a deal with a leading coach currently involved with a Super Rugby team" and has "agreed not to reveal his identity until the end of this month at the earliest." He "will not be involved with the summer tour to South Africa as the Super Rugby competition runs until a final at the start of August" and Scott Johnson, who will name the tour squad Tuesday, "will remain in charge alongside new forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys," while also taking up his new role as SRU Dir of Rugby. SRU CEO Mark Dodson said, "I am also delighted to be able to tell you that we have concluded our search for a head coach and we will be announcing that appointment in the next few weeks. That is also one of the key decisions in Scottish sport because this is a sport where we can be globally competitive. We’re happy that that structure is right" (SCOTSMAN, 5/6).
THINKING LOCALLY: In Glasgow, Roddy Duncan reported SRU chiefs Sunday night "vowed to splash the cash" after claiming rugby is the only team sport where Scotland is not "hopeless on the world stage." The claim was made by Dodson and backed up by Johnson. Dodson said, "We must invest in Scottish talent because it is the only team sport where we can be globally competitive." Johnson said, "Rugby is the one sport in which we can really compete but only if the systems are right. That is one of the big factors that attracted me to this job" (DAILY RECORD, 5/6).
Singapore's Sports Hub could "host an NBA preseason game in the future as the franchise looks to expand its presence," according to Lim Say Heng of THE NEW PAPER. NBA Asia, currently headquartered in Hong Kong, "is also keen to establish a base" in Singapore. NBA Asia Business Development & Marketing Partnerships VP Francesco Suarez said, "Singapore is a very important market for us, as a market in itself and as an opinion leader and hub for the surrounding region." Suarez spoke at the launch of the NBA 3X 3-on-3 tournament next month. The initiative "is a ramp-up from the franchise's previous activities here, such as the 2010 Basketball Without Borders Asia" program and clinics conducted by Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra last year (THE NEW PAPER, 5/3).
Three Sydney sporting and racing identities "could face life bans from race tracks across the world if they refuse to front a stewards' inquiry into the poor performance of More Joyous, the mare trained by Gai Waterhouse and owned by adman John Singleton," according to Kogoy & Fitzpatrick of THE AUSTRALIAN. At the end of Monday's hearing -- during which Singleton "traded insults with the Waterhouse family" -- Racing New South Wales Chief Steward Ray Murrihy "issued a warning to ex-footballer Andrew Johns, brothel owner Eddie Hayson and former jockey Allan Robinson to co-operate with the inquiry." Murrihy said, "The strongest sanction we as a panel can impose is a 'warning off' and that's a life ban." The trio "are crucial witnesses in the matter, which centres around whether bookmaker Tom Waterhouse passed on inside information from his mother Gai about More Joyous' fitness to Johns" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/7).
TRIP TO THE VET: In Sydney, Chris Roots reported Gai Waterhouse "faces sanction after conceding she had failed to keep More Joyous' treatment records up to date in the lead-up to last month's All Aged Stakes." Waterhouse conceded More Joyous had heat in her neck, but said that "she didn't believe it was a problem." More Joyous was given Cartrophen, an anti-arthritic drug, on Thursday, then the antibiotic Trimprim, on the request of Singleton's vet, John Peatfield, on Friday -- "but neither were entered in the treatment records book." The treatments were invoiced by Waterhouse's vet, Leanne Begg, "but not logged in the treatment book." Gai Waterhouse said, ''We never tried to hide anything." Murrihy replied, ''I'm not suggesting you did, but it's important those records are accurate'' (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5/7).
JOB FEARS: In Canberra, Davies, McClymont & Gridneff reported Johns "fears being sacked by Channel Nine for his role in the More Joyous racing controversy," believing the network values its multi-million-dollar deal with Waterhouse above his services. That was the evidence given by Singleton on Monday afternoon, who told a stewards inquiry that "Johns was extremely upset and anxious that he may have 'embellished' the information given to him by Waterhouse about the state of the horse" (CANBERRA TIMES, 5/6).
'MASSIVE CONCERNS': In Sydney, Ray Thomas reported Murrihy asked Gai Waterhouse "if she had relayed any information about the condition of the horse to her son." Waterhouse said, "I'll happily swear on a Bible, the first time I made contact with my son was after the race when Mr. Singleton screamed abuse at me." Singleton told stewards that "he had not been aware there was any problem with More Joyous until race day." Singleton said, "I had massive concerns when I heard Allan Robinson and Andrew Johns passed on information which Duncan Grimley said was a bit too close to the bone. I wasn't happy. I was what Andrew Johns would call 'agitated.'" Waterhouse interjected, "I would say drunk." Singleton replied: "I had two to three beers before (the race) and as much as I could after" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5/7).
ON THE OFFENSIVE: Also in Sydney, Paul Kent wrote "the longer the hearing went the more it began to be confirmed that, in the battle between conspiracy and stupidity, stupidity wins nine out of every 10 times." Finally, it took Gai Waterhouse to call it. She said, "Chinese whispers." Waterhouse had listened to evidence for more than six hours. She said, "It's an absolute disgrace." She "pointed across to Singleton, who had breathed life into their whispers by airing them in several television interviews before and after the race 10 days ago." Waterhouse said, "You're an absolute sham, John. You really are. It's a beat-up jockey, a brothel owner and a footballer who can't even turn up to Racing NSW today and show their faces. Meanwhile, we're all looking ridiculous." Singleton "sank in his chair, seemingly conceding for the first time how foolish Johns had made him look" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5/6).
Australia FIFA exec committee candidate Moya Dodd said that the introduction of a female seat on the governing body's exec committee "is a significant step in gender inequality being eradicated from the game and not a token position," according to Patrick Johnston of REUTERS. The first election for the exec committee is "due to take place this month." Dodd, a former player, commentator and current lawyer, "is up for the role but faces competition." Also in the running are New Zealand's Paula Kearns, Sonia Bien-Aime of the Turks and Caicos Islands and President of the Burundi FA Lydia Nsekera, "who has been the co-opted member of FIFA ExCo since 2012." The successful candidate "will be decided by a vote at the FIFA Congress in Mauritius on May 31," and Dodd believes whoever wins the seat on the board "must seize the opportunity." Dodd: "For me, personally, it would be a very significant step. I hope that whoever takes the seat makes a real tangible contribution and I suppose exceeds expectation as to what she can contribute." Dodd said that women "had long faced struggles at all levels in the game but that the newly-created role was not an attempt by FIFA to plaster over past sexism accusations." Dodd: "Is it a token position? I wouldn't treat it as that. If you are given an opportunity to contribute to the top table then you have got to make the most of that opportunity." Dodd "is keen not to be pigeonholed." She has "assembled an impressive resume," which includes a victory over Brazil in FIFA's women's invitational tournament in '88, three years before the inaugural women's World Cup. Dodd: "One day I would love to get to the point where your gender is not a matter of comment. I don't want to be famous for being female, I would just like to be good at what I do and become known for having made a contribution but that day is some way off" (REUTERS, 5/6).
Australian Football League club Essendon Chair David Evans has declared he is "more and more confident" his players were not administered illegal supplements last season, according to Jon Pierik of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. While "the joint Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority-AFL investigation into what went on under controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank continues," Evans used the release of an internal probe by former Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski to reveal the club had turned to pharmacological experts Dr. Andrew Garnham and Professor Ross McKinnon for help. Evans said, "They have been advising the board for the last three months. We are getting more and more confident, as I said, about the solid safety profile and, indeed, the fact there was nothing banned that was given to our players" (SMH, 5/7). In Sydney, Richard Hinds opined this interpretation of events last year is not based on any real evidence because -- at least in the edited version released on Monday -- "there is not a great deal of that." Rather, as was its intent, the report deals with the notion of "good governance" and, more pertinently, the "failure in structures and accountability" (SMH, 5/6). In Melbourne, Pierik wrote Evans has apologized for the mess in which Essendon finds itself and "is prepared to step aside if he is not endorsed by club members" (THE AGE, 5/7).
CLOSING THE DOOR: In Sydney, Danny Weidler wrote Dank has "shut the door on a request to speak to the AFL integrity commission" -- and said that the complete lack of respect from the organiziation and its CEO Andrew Demetriou has ruined any chance of that happening. Dank "has ripped into the process that has been undertaken and taken a swipe" at ASADA and said that they have botched the process in the same way the AFL has. Dank said that "if the approach was different the result would have been different." Dank: ''Had the AFL rang me and said, 'Stephen, I think there may be a problem and I think we need to have a chat,' I would have been on the plane to Melbourne and said, 'OK boys, let's have a chat''' (SMH, 5/7).
Girls in Saudi Arabia "are to be allowed to take part in school sports for the first time in the latest sign that the Islamic kingdom is inching forward on the contentious issue of women's rights," according to Lubna Hussain of NBC NEWS. The official Saudi Press Agency announced Sunday that female students enrolled in private girls' schools "will be able to take part as long as they wear 'decent clothing' and are supervised by female Saudi instructors within the tight regulations of the country's Ministry of Education." However, "most girls are educated in public schools where the rules forbidding female competitive sports will not be relaxed." It means school sports will remain restricted to members of the wealthy elite, "despite the country's need for more female athletes" (NBC NEWS, 5/6).