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FIFA "has proposed the introduction of extra officials in stadiums to watch out for incidents of racism, plus a two-tier system of sanctions" for teams whose followers indulge in discriminatory behavior, according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. A FIFA statement said the new officials "would identify potential acts of discrimination with the aim of easing the pressure on referees." They would also "help gather evidence for disciplinary committees." The inaugural meeting of FIFA's anti-racism task force also proposed that "first or minor offences be punished with lighter sanctions such as playing a match behind closed doors, a warning or a fine." Serious incidents and re-offenders "would be hit with points deductions, expulsion from a competition or relegation." English referee Howard Webb, one of the panel members, said that "match officials could not always be aware of what was happening off the field." Webb said, "We are very much in the front line, we are the first port of call for the players. You are not always aware of what's happening in the stands." Webb said the new role should be performed by someone "who has a good understanding of what constitutes a discriminatory act within the stadium, and can therefore guide the match official" (REUTERS, 5/6).
CONCRETE PLAN: INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Andrew Warshaw reported FIFA member countries and their clubs "were urged by the new body to provide a 'concrete action plan' and implement sanctions 'in a harmonised way' though that may be hard to impose given the different cultures and standards of education in both the industrialised and developing nations." All the proposals "were included in a draft resolution that will be presented in Mauritius at the end of the month" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 5/7).
World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey has launched a stinging attack against the National Rugby League for its handling of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation, claiming the Australian Football League "has shown far greater leadership on the issue," according to Stuart Honeysett of THE AUSTRALIAN. Fahey said, "I believe at the moment as a club and as an administration they've (the AFL) said, 'We took our eye off the ball, we didn't do it right. We have to improve.' ... What a breath of fresh air that is. From what I am seeing as a casual observer, that is not happening in Sydney with rugby league" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/8). In Sydney, Brad Walter wrote the NRL "has no plans to have a league official sit in on interviews between ASADA investigators and players," as the AFL will do when interviews with its players begin this week. Lawyers representing ASADA and NRL club Cronulla players are still negotiating on the level of cooperation players are required to provide "when interviews resume after questioning of Sharks back-rower Wade Graham was cut short last week." Fahey's comment supports the off-the-record view of another drugs enforcement agency official, who said that "the investigation into doping by NRL players could drag on for years, while the AFL cases were expected to be concluded within months." NRL CEO David Smith has asked for a transcript of Graham's interview "to determine whether the questioning from ASADA went beyond the previous agreement for players not to incriminate themselves." However, the AFL "will have either one or both of its investigators, Brett Clothier and Abraham Haddad, in attendance" when ASADA begins interviewing senior Essendon players, led by Jobe Watson (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5/8).
GROWING SUPPORT: Also in Sydney, Phil Rothfield wrote support "is growing in powerful NRL circles for an amnesty on drug users to break open the investigation stalemate." Under the plan, players at all 16 clubs "would be given the opportunity to turn themselves in and provide evidence to ASADA investigators." In return, they would escape suspensions or any punishment, "but face life bans if they ever test positive to a performance-enhancing substance" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5/8).
When 14-year-old Chinese golfer Guan Tianlang competed at The Masters, he became "the youngest player to compete in a major championship," according to XINHUA. Weeks later, 12-year-old Ye Wocheng "became the youngest player to compete" in the Volvo China Open, part of the European Tour. China Golf Association Deputy Secretary General Song Yingchun said that Guan and Ye "represent a growing community" of junior golfers in China. The CGA launched the China Junior Golf Program in '06, "aiming to introduce golf to Chinese youngsters through tournaments and training camps." Only 31 children across the country "signed up its first tournament" in '07. The program "has since caught on." The junior tournament in '12 "attracted more than 800 kids from the Chinese mainland." Experts say that "one of the biggest obstacles facing the sport's development in China" is the lack of public golf courses. Construction of courses "has come in for strong public criticism over their alleged encroachment of farmland and excessive use of water." The State Council, China's cabinet, "has suspended approvals of golf course projects" since '04. Beijing Forestry University Golf Education Dir Han Liebao said that "the government should take the lead in building public golf courses." Han: "The government should grant preferential policies in taxes and prices for public courses to make golf more affordable for ordinary people" (XINHUA, 5/7).
Horse trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni has lodged an appeal against the severity of his ban "following horse racing's biggest ever doping scandal." News Al Zarooni "is set to launch an appeal against his eight-year ban will be the last thing his former boss Sheikh Mohammad wanted to hear." Everything the Sheikh and his Godolphin staff have done since the drugs scandal at their stable erupted "has been geared at a fast resolution to an extremely embarrassing situation." Zarooni's appeal, for which no date has yet been set, "will mean the scandal remains in the headlines" (London DAILY MAIL, 5/7). ... Two French Senators, Jean-Jacques Lozach and Bernard Saugey, will visit Madrid Thursday and Friday to compile information about Spain's anti-doping battle, according to AS. Lozach and Saugey belong to the Commission of Investigation About the Efficiency of the Fight Against Doping, created in the French Senate on Feb. 20. The two will attend a Spanish Congress meeting regarding the country's new Anti-doping Law and will also meet with Spanish Education, Culture and Sports Minister José Ignacio Wert. (AS, 5/7). ... A miffed Federation of Int'l Cricketers Association on Tuesday "demanded an Int'l Cricket Council ethics committee enquiry" into the Board of Control for Cricket in India-backed L. Sivaramakrishnan’s appointment as a players’ representative in the governing body, saying "captains could have been forced to vote against incumbent Tim May" (PTI, 5/7). ... FIFA VP from Asia Ali Bin Al Hussein "has supported India's bid" to host the U17 World Cup in '17 (THE HINDU, 5/7).