SBD Global/July 25, 2014/Events and Attractions

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  • Olympic Champ Mo Farah Pulls Out Of Commonwealth Games Citing Recent Sickness

    The "long-running saga" of Mo Farah's attendance at the Commonwealth Games was "finally resolved this morning when the double Olympic and world champion confirmed that he would not be competing in Glasgow," according to Ron Lewis of the LONDON TIMES. Farah, 31, spent two days in hospital in the U.S. after "being struck down with abdominal pains." He tweeted last week from his altitude training camp in France that he would "still compete in the Commonwealth Games." That hope "lasted until this morning, when it was announced that he would not compete in Glasgow but would instead stay in training for the European Championships in Zurich next month." Farah said in a statement, "I have taken the tough decision to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games. The sickness I had two weeks ago was a big setback for me" (LONDON TIMES, 7/24). The BBC reported Farah's decision "is another setback to the Games after a number of key withdrawals in athletics events." Jamaican Yohan Blake, Olympic Silver Medalist at London 2012 in the 100m and 200m, "was ruled out because he needed a hamstring operation and England's Katarina Johnson-Thompson withdrew from the women's heptathlon on Monday with a foot injury." Team England Chef de Mission Jan Paterson said, "It is a real blow for any athlete to miss out on a major championships through injury, but to have fought so hard to regain full fitness and to have to take such a difficult decision is particularly hard." BBC Sport athletics pundit Steve Cram said, "It's hugely disappointing for Mo and the event" (BBC, 7/24). In Glasgow, David McCarthy wrote Glasgow 2014 CEO David Grevemberg admitted that "Farah's absence was a blow." Grevemberg: "There's no question we're disappointed that Mo Farah announced he would be withdrawing. We're very disappointed for Mo. We knew how much he wanted to be here. I'm sure there will be some disappointed people, but there are plenty of great athletes who are here and will be competing" (Scotland DAILY RECORD, 7/24).

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  • Mexico To End 23-Year Absence With 2015 Return To Formula 1 Calendar

    Live events company CIE President Alejandro Soberon confirmed on Wednesday that Mexico is to return to the F1 calendar in '15 after a "23-year absence," according to Tony Goodson of REUTERS. Soberon said, "Start your engines, F1 will return to Mexico next year." CIE announced to the Mexican stock exchange on Tuesday it has signed a "five-year contract to host Formula One races but that the deal was still subject to final negotiations." The race will be held at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone confirmed the deal, saying, "We have got Mexico past the post" (REUTERS, 7/24). In London, Mark Bryans reported Mexican Force India driver Sergio Perez believes the return of the Mexico Grand Prix can show the country as "the best in the world." For Perez, the fifth Mexican to compete in F1, a "renovated circuit and a first race in 23 years gives his homeland a chance to showcase what they can do." He said, "The return of F1 to our country is a sign that the Mexican state can achieve anything" (INDEPENDENT, 7/24).

    PRICE OF ADMISSION: In Mexico City, Juan Pablo Sánchez reported to "give an idea of the price of tickets," one should look at the closest GPs to Mexico. For example, in Austin, Texas, "where the annual GP draws hundreds of Mexicans every year," the price of a three-day ticket ranges from $169 for general admission to $1,200 for club seats. For the Canadian Grand Prix, a three-day ticket in GrandStand 1 -- the best section -- costs $521, while the cheapest, for one day in general admission, costs $90. The announcement of F1's return included "some changes for fans." There will be a "paddock club for 5,000 featuring, among other things, TVs and a bar." There will also be a renovation of the stands for 42,000 fans in the Foro Sol, as well as temporary seating that will hold 75,000. Organizers indicated that in total, the circuit will accommodate 120,000 seated fans and an additional 30,000 in the general admission section, making the total capacity 150,000 (LA AFICION, 7/24).

    BASEBALL CLUB COULD LOSE HOME: In Mexico City, Miguel Boada Nájera reported Mexican Baseball League (LMB) side Diablos Rojos "will play at the circuit's Foro Sol through the end of the current season, but what will happen in '15 is an unkown." The renovations that will be made at the Hermanos Rodriguez track "will prevent the facility used as a baseball park from being used for the LMB season." It gives the club "two paths: finish the construction of a new stadium or look for another place to play." Diablos Rojos President Jorge Alum said, "What is a reality is that the issue of having our own stadium is more important than ever. We have been in search of a home and this news could be a spark. We do not want to advance anything until we are first officially notified, independent of what has been reported, that Formula 1 is returning to Mexico. What is true is that it is unlikely the Foro Sol will be the team's home next year." It was confirmed that the racetrack "will enter the Foro Sol area, and this plus the other repairs to the circuit will require the site to be closed to the public for several months." Diablos Rojos Owner Alfredo Harp Helú in February again addressed the topic of the team having its own ballpark. The "main problem with this is that a new stadium could not be completed in time for next season." The other option is "playing outside Mexico City." Possible options outside the city are "Puebla, Aguascalientes (where the team has previously held games) and Oaxaca" (LA AFICION, 7/24).

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  • Int'l Cricket Council Turns Down Invitation To Participate In 2018 Commonwealth Games

    Cricket's absence from Commonwealth Games will "continue at least until the 2018 Games in Australia" after the Int'l Cricket Council turned down an invitation from the governing body of the multi-sport event, according to Sudipto Ganguly of REUTERS. Commonwealth Games Federation Chair Prince Tunku Imran formally approached the ICC in '12 to "consider participating in the 2014 Glasgow Games, which got underway on Wednesday, and also the next one." An ICC spokesperson said, "There were discussions about the inclusion of men's and women's Twenty20 cricket in both the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games but neither of these came to fruition. However, cricket is scheduled to feature in the Commonwealth Youth Games in St Lucia in 2017" (REUTERS, 7/24).

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  • DTM Confirms Zandvoort As Replacement Venue For Canceled Chinese Race

    The ninth round of the '14 German Touring Car Championship (DTM) season "will take place in Zandvoort, Netherlands," according to the SID. The race, scheduled for Sept. 28, "was originally set to take place in Guangzhou, China." However, the race in China "had to be canceled due to construction delays." At first, the series "wanted to move to a different circuit in China, but this plan was tossed and Zandvoort confirmed as the replacement venue." Hans Werner Aufrecht, who is the managing director of DTM rights holder ITR, said, "We also have to ensure the DTM standard at our races outside of Europe, in terms of safety surrounding the racetrack as well as the paddock, pit lane and spectator stands. In addition, there have to be reliable finances." All those things "were reportedly not implemented to the extent necessary" for the proposed Chinese race (SID , 7/24).

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  • Rugby Football League Outlines Restructured Super League, Championship Format For '15

    The Rugby Football League has revealed "full details of the new structure for the 2015 Super League and Championship," according to the BBC. Clubs will play 23 games in "two divisions of 12 and then be split into three pools of eight." The top Super Eights group will then play "seven further games, with the top four at that stage progressing to contest places in the Grand Final." Four further top-flight clubs for the following season will "come from the middle qualifiers pool." Changes for the '15 season include:

    • Super League's top eight will split after 23 games (including Magic Weekend) into a seven-game group and the top four will contest the playoffs in a semifinal format.
    • The middle tier of eight qualifiers -- comprising the "bottom four from Super League and top four from the Championship" -- will play seven games -- the top three and 4th vs. 5th playoff winners go up.
    • League One -- formerly Championship One -- will grow to 14 teams, with Coventry Bears entering the competition from '15 and the end of the '14 season's bottom five in the Championship dropping down.
    • Bonus points, currently used in the bottom two divisions, will be "considered for use in Super League between now and the start of the season."
    • Top eight SL clubs go into the Challenge Cup sixth round, bottom four SL clubs into the fifth, Championship clubs in round four, League One clubs in round three (BBC, 7/24).
    'FINANCIALLY STABLE' FORMAT: RFL CEO Nigel Wood said, "The changes will ensure that every minute of every match in every competition matters and are being implemented following the most comprehensive consultation process in the sport's history. The return of promotion and relegation in a format that is financially sustainable for all clubs should ensure fans are entertained from February to October" (SKY SPORTS, 7/24). In London, Christopher Irvine wrote that RFL leadership "pointedly stakes its reputation on a radical overhaul of the league's structure" in an effort to increase crowds and boost commercial revenue. RFL COO Ralph Rimmer described the overhaul at a "step change" for the sport. Rimmer said the new system would provide "energy and vibrancy" to the league (LONDON TIMES, 7/25).

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  • Event Notes: Indian Para-Powerlifter Caught Doping At Commonwealth Games

    The Indian contingent at the Commonwealth Games was "left red-faced after para-powerlifter Sachin Choudhary returned positive for a banned substance in an out-of-competition test conducted by the National Anti-Doping Agency last month." Choudhary, who was a "late inclusion in the Indian team for the Games, left Glasgow on the pretext of his father's ill-health but it is now learnt that he was caught for doping in a test conducted by the NADA before leaving the country" (PTI, 7/24). ... India will host the sixth edition of the Champions League T20 from Sept. 13 to Oct. 4. The tournament will follow a format "similar to the three previous editions, with a Group Stage preceded by a Qualifier." A total of 29 matches will be played (NDTV, 7/24). ... Global charter company Air Charter Service reported that June was the busiest month in its history. The company completed more than 800 charter contracts in June, with CEO Justin Bowman saying that on average, an ACS flight took off once every 40 minutes throughout the month. Bowman: "We did a lot of flying for the FIFA World Cup in the month and the flights were spread across private jets, commercial airliners and even some cargo aircraft" (Air Charter Service).

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