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The "disgraced" founder of the Indian Premier League, Lalit Modi, vowed Wednesday to "fight to return to cricket administration despite being banned for life from holding any position in the sport," according to the AFP. Modi was named Rajasthan Cricket Association president on Tuesday, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India "refused to recognise the results." Modi "lashed out at the BCCI," saying that it was "unfairly punishing the Rajasthan association because of a long-running personal grudge against him." Modi: "If they have a problem with Modi, we can deal with that separately. But they just can't suspend the association. I have won a democratic election. They just can't say we don't like his face, so ban him." Modi said that he would "likely return to India after the country's general election ends next week when the ruling Congress party are expected to be thrown from power following a decade in charge." Modi: "I am sure under a new government there will be no witch hunt like... under the existing one" (AFP, 5/7).
The National Rugby League announced on Wednesday that beginning Jan. 1, CEO Dave Smith "will have the unprecedented power to go head-to-head with rival codes to recruit or retain the biggest superstars," according to Paul Crawley of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. While the new changes will not come in time to stop Sonny Bill Williams and Sam Burgess from going to rugby union at the end of the season, players like Israel Folau and Karmichael Hunt "will be headhunted to return." With the cash-strapped Australian Rugby Union struggling to stay afloat financially, "it will now face an uphill battle to keep its biggest star, with Folau off contract at the end of next season." The new salary cap rule "will allow clubs and the governing body to join forces to bring him back." While NRL COO Jim Doyle "did not want to mention individuals, he made the game’s strategy perfectly clear." Doyle: "To me it is not an option for us as a game not to be able to attract and retain those athletes that are probably once in every 10 years. It is crazy to not have those type of athletes not playing for us" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5/8). In Sydney, Brent Read wrote the NRL "also announced a slew of other salary cap changes, including an increase in the long-serving player allowance" by A$100,000 ($93,300) over the next two seasons, taking the figure to $300,000 by the end of '16. Clubs "will also be allowed to place long-serving players into careers with the clubs at the back-end of their contracts." The game "will also provide salary cap relief for clubs forced to stand down players due to concussion and exclude termination payments from the salary cap when the player has been sacked on behavioural grounds." The NRL "will also exclude termination payments where the club has prior approval to sack the player by the game’s integrity unit" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/8).
Melbourne "is appealing" the Australian Football League tribunal’s verdict to suspend Jack Viney for two matches, according to Andrew Faulkner of THE AUSTRALIAN. The Demons announced they will appeal on the grounds “that the decision was so unreasonable, that no tribunal acting reasonably could have come to that decision having regard to the evidence before it." It was "no doubt encouraged by the huge outcry from past -- and some present -- players about Viney’s suspension for a bump on Adelaide’s Tom Lynch on Saturday" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/7). The AAP reported outgoing AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou "will go before the appeal panel" on Thursday. He has "strongly backed the league's outgoing policy of protecting players' heads, but says the latest rule revision might need another look." Demetriou was "unusually candid about the issue." Demetriou: "He's (Viney) very unlucky, there's no doubt about that. It's a legitimate issue to say he didn't have much choice, but given it's going before an appeal tomorrow night, we'll wait and see the outcome of that" (AAP, 5/7). In Melbourne, Daniel Cherny reported the lawyer who defended Brett Deledio on Tuesday night in the tribunal case that immediately followed the "landmark" Viney decision believes that the AFL's rule changes in recent seasons "have likely shielded it from a major payout to footballers who suffer serious head injuries." Horvath contends that the AFL "was wise to implement a number of recent rule changes aimed at stemming the damage from major issues that were identified in their annual medical reports." Horvath: "From a legal point of view, once you're aware of something that can lead to serious injury and risk and so on, and particularly long-term head injury, and I'm particularly thinking of concussive injury and related matters, the AFL has an obligation to act on the information" (THE AGE, 5/7).