SBD Global/January 21, 2014/Events and AttractionsPrint All
FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke "is set to crisscross Brazil again to view stadia that are behind schedule" with the opening of the World Cup less than five months away, according to the AP. IOC President Thomas Bach "is also in the country next week" meeting with President Dilma Rousseff and organizers of the "sputtering" 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Valcke and Bach "have similar concerns." Both mega-events face delays. There is "increased public scrutiny over the billions in public money being spent and, in the case of the World Cup, time is short" (AP, 1/20).
While insisting it was not a case of “holding a gun to anyone’s head,” a senior figure in one of the Open Championship’s main sponsors "has spoken for the first time about the 'uneasy position' in terms of the event being staged at men-only clubs," according to Martin Dempster of THE SCOTSMAN. HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship & Events Giles Morgan revealed Saturday that "the banking giant had been consulted" by event organizers Royal & Ancient since the "furore surrounding last year’s tournament at Muirfield, where First Minister Alex Salmond chose not to attend." Morgan said he is confident “things are moving” on the thorny subject and is hopeful the R&A’s ongoing research will lead to a “niggle” going away for one of golf’s biggest sponsors, which is estimated to pump several million pounds per year into the Open Championship alone (SCOTSMAN, 1/20). ESPN's Bob Harig noted Morgan said, "I don't want to be in a situation where we are potentially having to justify our sponsorship.'' R&A CEO Peter Dawson said last summer that the organization "would be looking at the issue." While he "personally defended the practice of same-sex clubs, he acknowledged that it one day could hurt the championship," which provides funding to all of the other tournaments it runs as well as various golf programs, including women's initiatives (ESPN, 1/18). GOLF DIGEST's John Huggan wrote that Morgan used "strong words, with obvious implications for the economic future of the Open, the R&A's primary source of income." Given that fact, "it was no surprise that the St. Andrews-based organization was not slow in responding." An R&A spokesperson said, "We promised a period of reflection immediately after last year's championship and this process is on-going. Naturally we have taken soundings within the game, and we will report the outcome of our deliberations in due course" (GOLF DIGEST, 1/18).
ALL POLITICS: The Scotland DAILY RECORD reported Salmond "was among the political figures who stayed away from Muirfield," describing the club's membership policy as "indefensible in the 21st century." Similar protests occur when the championship is staged at Royal St George's and Troon -- the other clubs on the nine-strong Open rota to be men-only. However, Dawson said that the R&A "was inclined to resist such pressure, despite finding the issue 'increasingly difficult'" (DAILY RECORD, 1/18).
Big wave surfers are "adept at calculating risks." But "navigating the ambiguous rules of a surf contest," run by a taxpayer-funded sporting organization, in pursuit of a A$30,000 ($26,000) first prize -- "that's turned out to be too confusing for some." The Intense Surf Challenge, organized by the taxpayer-funded Surfing Australia, "has been rocked by allegations of cheating" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 1/21). ... Sri Lanka Cricket said on Monday that the Sri Lankan cricket team "will go ahead with their four-week tour of Bangladesh and stay on for the Asia Cup" ending in early March. The Sri Lankans will leave for Dhaka on Friday and play the first Test on Monday. There will be two Tests, three ODIs and two Twenty20 games during the tour as originally planned (PTI, 1/20).