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Volume 10 No. 22

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The prospect of the world's leading male tennis players boycotting January's Australian Open due to a pay dispute "has been dismissed by tournament organisers and representatives of the players' organisation," according to Courtney Walsh of THE AUSTRALIAN. Australian Open Tournament Dir Craig Tiley said that "while there was a genuine issue with funding at lower levels, he was sure all players will be in attendance in Melbourne." Tiley said, "We are 100% confident the players will show up in January." He acknowledged, however, genuine concerns in regard to attracting and retaining players compared with other sports but said that "the solution needed to be broader than simply raising prize money at Grand Slam level." He said that the biggest issue "was the money for the lower-tier circuits, where funding had dropped in recent years" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/28). In Sydney, Linda Pearce reported that Tiley confirmed the men were pushing for a little more than 12% of total revenue, which equates to about 25% overall when the equal prize money for women is factored in, up from about 18%. Tiley said, "We don't deal in percentage of revenues, because it goes up and down, of course, and you can't pay players less one year than you did the previous year, as an example." He added: "We don't disagree that the lower-ranked players, 80 and below, really don't make enough money to support a viable professional tennis career. But it's not isolated to the grand slams, we just think it's a bigger sport issue to deal with and it needs to be looked at as a whole" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/28).

KEEPING THE PEACE: BLOOMBERG's Dan Baynes reported that the ATP released a statement, saying it is not "helping to organize a boycott of the Australian Open." The statement read, "The ATP has been clear and repetitive in telling players that it will not organize a boycott. Instead, ATP management and players have taken a diplomatic approach this year with the Grand Slams to address player compensation issues." The Florida-based ATP said it remains focused on having "active dialogue" with the four Grand Slams about player compensation for '13 and beyond (BLOOMBERG, 8/26). The AFP's Madeleine Coorey wrote former ATP Player Council President Todd Woodbridge, who is now Tennis Australia's head of professional tennis, said while the idea of a boycott had been "thrown around for a while," one was unlikely to happen. Woodbridge said, "I would be very shocked if that were to happen. I think we're in good shape" (AFP, 8/27).

An announcement on a new rugby league CEO "is set to be delayed" if Australian Football League COO Gill McLachlan knocks back the job, according to Brad Walter of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The Australian Rugby League Commission will discuss the appointment Tuesday, but ARLC Chair John Grant is understood to have told Monday's National Rugby League Coucil meeting that unless the commissioners got their No. 1 target they would leave interim CEO Shane Mattiske "in the job." Grant did not name McLachlan, but sources have said that "he is the first choice for the job and was flown to Sydney two weeks ago for an interview." It is believed that the eight commissioners "are keen to appoint someone from outside the game but who has experience in sport administration." McLachlan's role as Chair of the AFL's investment committee would also "ensure he meets the criteria of having a business background." However, rumors are that "he has gone cold on the job" unless the ARLC match his reported $1.3M salary plus bonuses for being Andrew Demetriou's No. 2 at the AFL. Meanwhile, since David Gallop's departure in June, Mattiske "has impressed key figures in the game" in his interim role. On Tuesday, he was appointed "to a powerful sub-committee to develop a funding model for the entire game" (SMH, 8/28).

The NBA and WNBA, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, sent Charlotte Bobcats GM Richard Cho, former WNBA player Allison Feaster, L.A. Lakers Assistant Coach Darvin Ham and former NBA player Marty Conlon to Rangoon, Myanmar (Burma) on Sunday as sports envoys. Through Friday, the group will conduct basketball clinics and sports sessions to emphasize the importance of academics, cooperation and respect for diversity. In addition, they will give workshops at local schools and sports facilities, and learn about the country's traditional sport Chin Lone (U.S. Department of State).

The IOC cautioned Japan's Olympic body during the London Games over a handbook that urged its athletes to vote for hammer thrower Koji Murafushi in his campaign to win a seat on the IOC's Athlete's Commission, according to KYODO. The Bronze Medal-winning hammer thrower received enough votes to win election to the commission, but because of "violations of election rules" his selection was nullified by the IOC. The Japanese Olympic Committee "had included a phrase in a Japanese language handbook that urged athletes to vote for him." IOC rules state that materials with language not authorized by the IOC cannot be distributed, and putting up posters or presenting gifts is also banned. The JOC is currently appealing the IOC's decision (KYODO, 8/27).

With 48,529 tickets sold for the Korea Baseball Organization's Sunday games, the number of visitors to baseball stadiums this year hit 6 million "and keeps shooting up with great force to crash last year’s record" of 6,810,028, according to Jung Min-ho of the KOREA TIMES. As of Monday, the KBO has welcomed 6,046,019 fans to the arenas since the season started in April. This is the second consecutive season the attendance figure has reached 6 million since the inception of professional baseball in Korea, however, in the past five years the number had only stood around 5 million. An average of 14,430 fans visited stadiums for every game, which is 9% higher than last year. The momentum has caused the KBO to predict that "the number will easily surpass the 7-million-mark." Seoul-based club Nexen Heroes has contributed to the popularity by drawing 524,565 fans to its home stadium in 55 games, showing a 38% increase in spectators from last year. Meanwhile, "traditionally favored teams" the Lotte Giants and the Doosan Bears welcomed 1,165,602 and 1,100,384 to their home stadiums, in Busan and Seoul respectively (KOREA TIMES, 8/27).

Danish footballer Nicklas Bendtner and the Danish Football Association have lost their appeal against the one-match suspension imposed on the player for improper conduct during a Euro 2012 match against Portugal in June. The UEFA Appeals Body rejected the appeal, which was handed down to Bendtner on June 18. Instead, the appeals body upheld the original decision of the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body both to suspend the forward and to fine him €100,000 ($125,000). The two sanctions related to Bendtner's improper conduct occurred during the Euro 2012 Group B game against Portugal in Lviv, Ukraine on June 13. Bendtner had already paid the fine before Monday's Appeals Body hearing (UEFA).

The Board of Cricket Control in India announced a cash prize of Rs 20 lakh ($36,000) each "for members of the Indian team that lifted its third U-19 World Cup title" in Townsville, Australia after defeating the defending Aussie champions (TNN, 8/27). ... Rowing Federation of India President Rajlaxmi Singh Deo "found fault" with the Union Sports Ministry in the selection of nominees for the Dronacharya and Arjuna awards (THE HINDU, 8/27).