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Volume 10 No. 22

Events and Attractions

European Club Rugby (ERC) are “dismayed and frustrated” at the threat issued by English and French clubs that they will quit European competition "unless structural changes are made," according to the IRISH EXAMINER. Premiership Rugby CEO Mark McCafferty insists that teams from the RaboDirect Pro12 are given "a significant advantage" in the Heineken Cup due to the method of qualification. ERC responded by stating Chair Jean-Pierre Lux and CEO Derek McGrath have "spent the summer seeking proposals from stakeholders that will be tabled at the next meeting" in Dublin on Sept. 18. They emphasized that the English and French clubs "consented to the existing accord," agreed in '07 and which has two more seasons to run. ERC spokesperson Mark Jones said, “This is a process that is laid down as part of the accord agreed in 2007. It’s not a bolt out of the blue. The current qualification process was agreed by ERC’s shareholders as part of the 2007 accord" (IRISH EXAMINER, 8/23). In Dublin, Gerry Thornley opined that "the latest Anglo-French stand-off with their European counterparts over the future composition of the Heineken Cup has intensified." McCafferty "upped the ante by accusing the ERC of dragging its heels on the issue." The current deal has two more seasons to run, and it is likely that the brinkmanship "will continue for much of the next two years, amid further threats of an Anglo-French breakaway competition." There is "little doubt though that McCafferty’s complaints reflect a growing angst and envy within English and French club rugby, however misguided, concerning the Irish provinces’ ability to claim five of the last seven Heineken Cups" (IRISH TIMES, 8/23).

Former NBA Houston Rockets player Yao Ming and L.A. Clippers F Caron Butler will lead campus activities and clinics this weekend as the NBA focuses "on earthquake-stricken areas in Sichuan province in the lead up to" the China Games this fall, according to Sun Xiaochen of the CHINA DAILY. Butler will "instruct students at a mini camp" at Mount Qingcheng High School in Dujiangyan, a city destroyed in the Wenchuan earthquake on May 12, 2008. Yao, "who has shifted his focus to charity after retiring last year," will join Butler on Saturday in Leshan to attend the final of the Yao Foundation Hope Primary basketball season. Yao and NBA China "plan to work with sports authorities to develop a high school coaches training program; a basketball training center in Shanghai for both amateur and professional players of a wide range of ages, and an annual basketball camp that will focus on developing elite young players" (CHINA DAILY, 8/23).

Sportfive Deutschland has launched a new online portal,, to market hospitality packages  for national and int'l sporting events. Customers can buy hospitality packages to Bundesliga teams that are marketing partners of Sportfive, as well as tickets to games of the German national football team. In addition, users can select from a number of premium events such as the tennis Davis Cup and various winter-sport events (Sportfive).

The FIFA volunteer program for the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup received 37,000 applications in its first 24 hours (, 8/22).

CAPITAL HOST: Following the Int'l Tennis Federation awarding three Futures tournaments this year to Cambodia, the Tennis Federation of Cambodia "will stage the $10,000 events back-to-back in Phnom Penh." The National Training Centre, adjacent to the Cambodian Country Club, will be the venue for all three competitions. The first will be Nov. 19-25, followed by the second Nov. 26-Dec. 2, with the third scheduled for Dec. 3-9 (PHNOM PENH POST, 8/23).

CHINA'S GOT UPS: The world's "top parkour athletes will gather in China" for the World Aquatic Parkour Masters in October. The tournament will be held from Oct. 25-29 at Wudang Mountain in Hubei province. Participants run along a route, attempting to surpass obstacles with skills such as climbing, rolling, jumping, vaulting and swinging (CHINA DAILY, 8/23).

PLUS ONE: In Nairobi, William Njuguna reported Tunisia rugby sevens is the "latest team to confirm participation" in the Safaricom Sevens tournament Sept. 21-23 at the Nyayo stadium, Nairobi. The North Africans join former champions British Army, New Zealand's Samurai and South African Sevens Academy "who have all put pen to paper confirming their participation" (THE STAR, 8/23).