SBD Global/March 21, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

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  • UK Anti-Doping CEO Says Doping In Sport 'Fast Becoming A Crisis'

    Drug use at every level of sport is "fast becoming a crisis," UK Anti-Doping said in response to a BBC poll into doping in amateur sport, according to the BBC. It found more than a third (35%) of amateur sports people said that "they personally know someone who has doped," and 8% said that "they had taken steroids." Half believe performance-enhancing substance use is "widespread" among those who play sport competitively. UKAD CEO Nicole Sapstead described the figures as "incredibly alarming." A BBC State of Sport investigation into doping in U.K. amateur sport also found that 49% thought performance-enhancing drugs were "easily available." According to figures from UKAD, there are "currently 52 athletes and coaches serving bans." Of these, "only 12% are professional sports men or women; 62% are amateurs, 21% are semi-professional, and 5% are coaches." Sapstead: "Certainly the figures as regards the prevalence of performance-enhancing substances at an amateur level are incredibly alarming. That said, it does confirm what UK Anti-Doping has long suspected. ... I don't think any sport can say that they don't have a problem at an amateur level" (BBC, 3/20).

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  • Formula 1 Chair Chase Carey Lays Out Vision, Says He Wants Drivers To Be 'Stars'

    F1 Chair Chase Carey "has been given the task of turning around a sport" that has lost 200 million TV viewers since '08, according to Rebecca Clancy of the LONDON TIMES. The Harvard-educated American "has decades of experience of working in sports media," as Rupert Murdoch’s "right-hand man" and exec vice-chair of 21st Century Fox in the U.S. Carey said that he and Liberty were attracted to the sport because it is an "iconic unique global event content" and has "not been managed to its potential." He said, "There are probably two overriding views. One is that unique global event content will appreciate in value in a world where everything else is fragmenting. F1 is all of that. It’s the sweet spot in the content world. I think the second would be that we think it is a franchise that has really not been managed to its full potential, I guess particularly in the last five or six years." Carey added that the management of the sport "will not be played out in public." He said, "Generally I’ve always been of the world where you try to get something done and then explain publicly why you thought that was the right thing to do." Of his broad view of the sport, Carey said, "The top line view I’ve heard multiple times is that the racing needs to be more exciting and less predictable. The rules have become very complicated. Engineers have overtaken the drivers, so we need to push the drivers back to the forefront. ... We want them all to be stars." There are about 70 employees in the company that runs F1, "mostly working in finance and legal." Carey plans to keep the organization "lean" but is "likely to double the number of staff" by hiring people in areas such as sponsorship, media, marketing and digital. Former F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "openly shunned digital platforms and social media." Carey is talking to "multiple" cities in the U.S. about hosting a race, including a street race like Monaco and Singapore. He says that he would "like to get another American race on the calendar" for the '19 season, alongside the existing grand prix in Austin, Texas. As it stands, "he is not looking to lose any of the 20 grands prix" on the calendar for '17 (LONDON TIMES, 3/20).

    'ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM': AUTOSPORT's Glenn Freeman reported F1 Managing Dir Ross Brawn wants F1 to avoid a "Mexican standoff" over its future, but has "hinted that the richest teams should be prepared to sacrifice" their current favorable financial terms. Following Liberty Media's takeover of F1, "there is hope that revenue will be split more fairly" when new deals come into place after '20. Brawn: "There's always going to be differences of opinion, there's going to be different views on things and things sometimes get a bit heated. But at the core of it, there's lots of willingness to cooperate. The elephant in the room, we all know, is distribution of funds. We don't want to have a Mexican standoff in 2020 to see who's 'chicken,' that's what happened last time" (AUTOSPORT, 3/20).

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  • National Rugby League Hands Out Record Fines For Concussion Protocol Breaches

    Three National Rugby League clubs "were hit with record fines" totaling A$350,000 ($270,760) on Monday for "breaching the league's concussion protocols in matches over the weekend," according to Nick Mulvenney of REUTERS. The Gold Coast Titans were fined A$150,000 ($116,040) for incidents involving three players, while the St. George Illawarra Dragons and Newcastle Knights received fines of A$100,000 ($77,360) for single cases. NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said, "These are, by far, the heaviest fines ever proposed by the game for concussion breaches. That is how seriously we take it ... our message is clear ... we are not going to allow player safety to be put at risk through breaches of the concussion rules." The NRL changed its rules in '15 to "oblige players to undergo a formal head injury assessment if they were suspected of having a concussion." Newcastle is being sued by former player James McManus over the way the club "handled head knocks he received in his four years" there, and was also fined for its treatment, or lack thereof, of Brendan Elliot. Elliot laid on the ground for "several minutes after receiving a blow to the head" over the weekend. The fullback "did not undergo a head assessment and played on, only to be withdrawn in the second half when he went down again." Greenberg: "In the majority of cases we see strong compliance with the League's concussion rules, but ... we cannot stand by and allow player safety to be put at risk" (REUTERS, 3/20). The BBC reported Greenberg also "warned that further sanctions such as points deductions and the loss of accreditation for officials could follow monetary fines for any club that breaks the rules" (BBC, 3/20).

    VR HELP: The BBC's Laura May McMullan reported a virtual reality headset "could help football club doctors diagnose concussion more accurately, researchers have claimed." Michael Grey, who is trialing the technology, said that the £500 ($618) Oculus Rift system can "quickly" help medics detect "subtle changes" in players. Grey said that VR technology helps to "establish whether a player is concussed by testing their ability to balance at the same time as following instructions." Grey: "With our virtual reality balance test, we're having the brain do one thing and then challenge it by tilting the room and it's only by doing this we see subtle changes that might not show up in a standard neurocognitive test" (BBC, 3/20).

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  • League Notes: England & Wales Cricket Board To Introduce Law Changes Early

    The England & Wales Cricket Board is "set to announce new playing regulations for the coming season that include the early introduction of some law changes" recently approved by the Marylebone Cricket Club cricket committee. MCC "approved a number of changes to the laws of the game which will be introduced on October 1." However, the ECB sets the playing regulations for all English domestic competitions and it "decided to introduce some of the new laws six months early." From the start of this season, the laws "will allow batsmen to be caught off a fielder's helmet" (LONDON TIMES, 3/20).

    Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency began "interrogating" the cricketers accused of spot-fixing on Monday. It is "likely to book the suspects under its anti-corruption laws." The FIA's cyber crime wing in Lahore, headed by Deputy Dir Shahid Hasan, interrogated Mohammad Irfan. The other three -- Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif and Shahzaib Hassan -- will appear on Tuesday before the FIA (DAWN, 3/20).

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