SBD Global/January 11, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

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  • Sebastian Coe Rejects Summons To Give Evidence Regarding Russian Corruption

    IAAF President Sebastian Coe "will reject a summons to Parliament to give evidence over alleged corruption in Russian athletics," according to Amitai Winehouse of the London DAILY MAIL. The select committee for Culture, Media & Sport heard evidence from former long distance runner David Bedford on Tuesday suggesting Bedford "had tried to raise the alarm to Coe" in Aug. '14. Bedford sent Coe an email "about the extortion" of Russian marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova. But in Nov. '15, Coe told the committee "he had no knowledge of the scale of the corruption" inside the organization prior to revelations that followed his election. A statement from Committee Chair Damian Collins said, "David Bedford gave very measured evidence but it raised clear and important questions over the timing and extent of Lord Coe's knowledge of these allegations. ... There should be no reason he cannot find a time in his diary to attend the Committee by January 31 as we now request." But Coe "is able to reject the invitation as he is a Lord and therefore under no obligation to return." An IAAF statement said, "Today's evidence has offered nothing new to the committee's inquiry into 'Combatting Doping in Sport'" (DAILY MAIL, 1/10). The PA reported Bedford told the committee that he had "called and emailed Coe to warn him about the scandal." Coe told MPs he "simply forwarded Bedford's emails to the IAAF's new ethics board without reading them properly or opening the attached documents." Bedford said that he was "very surprised and quite disappointed" when he heard Coe say that (PA, 1/10).

    BRAILSFORD RIPS UKAD: The PA reported in a separate piece "embattled" Team Sky Principal Dave Brailsford criticized UK Anti-Doping Chair David Kenworthy for "undermining the investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in cycling." Brailsford was "commenting publicly for the first time" since being called before Parliament at the Culture, Media & Sport select committee on Dec. 19. The evidence provided by Brailsford and "other leading figures" in British cycling was on Saturday described as "extraordinary" and "very disappointing" by Kenworthy. Brailsford: "The only extraordinary thing, I think, was the chairman of UKAD's comments the other day when he commented about an ongoing investigation. As an organization like UKAD and for the chair to say it is an extraordinary thing -- that's the extraordinary thing in itself" (PA, 1/10).

    Print | Tags: Europe, Leagues and Governing Bodies
  • Para-Cyclists Given Seven Weeks To Prepare For Track World Championships

    British Paralympian Jody Cundy has called the Int'l Cycling Union's (UCI) announcement that the 2017 Para-cycling Track World Championships will take place in L.A. in March, giving athletes only seven weeks to prepare, "a joke," according to the PA. The UCI confirmed on Monday the event will take place from March 3-5 in the Californian city, "which will be hoping the event can boost its case to host the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics." The timing of the announcement "will not sit well with potential participants given the extremely short notice -- coming when many have still not resumed intensive training following the Rio Paralympics." Cundy, who won two para-cycling Gold Medals at Rio 2016, said on Twitter, "I'm all up for racing and new events, but a full blown world champs with 7weeks notice. Seriously what a joke UCI-cycling UCI-paracycling." Adam Duggleby, the sighted pilot for visually impaired cyclist Stephen Bate, who won two Golds and a Bronze in Rio, tweeted, "Me and @kiwistevebate aren't going! That's what Rio Gold medallists think" (PA, 1/10). The BBC reported Barney Storey, coach and husband of British multiple Paralympic Gold Medalist Sarah Storey, tweeted, "Para-track worlds in seven weeks, the UCI are NOT helping progress the sport. 'Helping' the sport to be mediocre is not progress." UCI President Brian Cookson said that the organization was "conscious" that some athletes are yet to return to full-intensity training. Cookson: "We believe that holding these UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships for the first time ever in a post-Paralympic season signifies notable progress and will enable our athletes to benefit from an enriched calendar as the discipline continues to develop" (BBC, 1/10).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, Europe
  • NBA To Hold Int'l Doubleheader On Thursday With Games In London, Mexico City

    The NBA "has never gone global quite like this," according to the AP. The league will play "somewhat of a unique doubleheader Thursday with games in London and Mexico City," the first time it will stage multiple int'l games in different countries on the same day in the regular season. The Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets are the new teams "getting to take what's become an annual trip to Britain," while the Phoenix Suns will be hosting the first of a "two-game trip south of the border." The NBA has played 165 int'l games dating to '78 and during the preseason has had multiple games on the same day from different countries. But this is "the first time doing it when the games count." NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum said, "We thought having two regular-season global games on the same day for the first time was another great way to celebrate the popularity of our game with fans around the world." Tatum said the league likes to "return to cities that are passionate about basketball." The game at London's O2 Arena is the seventh in the regular season dating to '11, when the NBA wanted to "increase its popularity in Britain" ahead of the 2012 Olympics. All have been sold out. Mexico "also was a preseason-only stop when the NBA first visited there 25 years ago." Now it "not only gets official games but this year two of them, as the Suns will host the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday and San Antonio Spurs on Saturday" (AP, 1/10).

    STRONG COMMITMENT: ESPN.com's Eric Gomez reported the NBA's commitment to growing the game in Mexico and bringing its product to the country "has never been stronger." In '15, an NBA fact sheet "stated 13 million people follow the game within the country." Through the end of '16, an updated document "boasted a digital community of more than 1.2 million fans and followers across social media platforms alone." This week, Mexico City will host its third and fourth regular-season games since '14. NBA Mexico Managing Dir Raul Zarraga said, "There are more than 40 million people playing basketball in this country. We've confirmed that about 12.5 million people consume the NBA's content and entertainment in different formats." Despite no NBA franchise "currently having a Mexican-born player on its roster, recent exports like Jorge Gutierrez and Gustavo Ayon had a positive effect on the game's popularity in the country." As to why the NBA is "so focused on Mexico instead of say, Argentina or Brazil, where the league also is popular and where local circuits have managed to produce players the likes of Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola and Nene Hilario, among others," the reasoning "is simple: logistics." Zarraga said, "We have a close relationship with the government and the Mexican Institute of Sports. We plan activities all year that culminate with the [regular-season] games." In '16, the league held a Jr. NBA event where 1,500 children participated across three Mexican states. Later that year, more than 60,000 people attended the NBA3X event in Mexico City, where 164 amateur teams "battled it out" in a 3-on-3 tournament. The league has "secured multiple partnerships with big companies to expand its footprint in Mexico." ESPN broadcasts five weekly games, and Televisa provides "more than a dozen events" on over-the-air TV, including all-star weekend. Zarraga said that the league might "consider bringing games to other venues, such as Monterrey, a northern city that has long had an appetite for American pro sports" (ESPN.com, 1/10).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies, North America, United Kingdom
  • League Notes: United Kingdom Becomes First Country To Recognize Parkour

    The U.K. has become the first country to officially recognize parkour as a sport. The practice, "also known as freerunning," has had its application to be recognized approved by the home country sports councils. U.K. Sports Minister Tracey Crouch described it as a "fun, creative and innovative option." According to Parkour UK, the discipline was founded in France in the '80s by a group of nine men and named "l'art du deplacement" (BBC, 1/10).

    A team game "once considered the preserve of a handful of private schools is becoming Scotland’s fastest growing sport." The modern version of lacrosse was first played in the U.K. by the girls of St. Leonards School, St. Andrews, in 1890. Now it has "discarded its elitist image to become a boom sport in Scotland with the number of registered players doubling to more than 1,000 in the past six years." Lacrosse Scotland National Development Officer Adam Szymoszowskyj said that "efforts to broaden the sport’s appeal were now coming to fruition." He added, "My background is in athletics and when I first took on my role here I very much had the impression that lacrosse was very much a private school sport. We are now breaking those barriers and making lacrosse accessible to teachers and students in state schools for the first time" (LONDON TIMES, 1/10).

    Former referee Dave Pearson defended World Rugby's enhanced high tackle sanctions, saying players are in "increasing need of protection" from the rigors of the professional game. The directive aims to "lower the acceptable tackle height" to help reduce the number of concussions. Pearson: "Players get bigger over the years, creating bigger impacts" (BBC, 1/10).

    The Pakistan Cricket Board on Tuesday "strongly condemned" the Federation of Int'l Cricket Associations for its "negative advisory on playing cricket in Pakistan." The PCB said in a statement, "FICA has done great disservice to the cause of cricket in general and Pakistan cricket in particular by advising players not to play in the PSL Final in Lahore next March because of 'security reasons'" (DAWN, 1/10).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
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