McLaren F1 Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh revealed that "his team is keen to be involved in a new global electric motor racing series set to start in '14 and could even enter a team at some stage," according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. Whitmarsh said, "I think there's quite a lot of interest...it's something that McLaren would be delighted to be involved with, so we're obviously looking at it at the moment. Who knows, we might pop up in it." McLaren is "far more than just an F1 team these days," having diversified into a range of applied technologies and manufacturing its own sports car at its headquarters in Woking, England. It is also the official suppliers of electronic control units to F1 and NASCAR and has developed a 120KW E-Motor for hybrid and electronic vehicles. Asked whether McLaren might consider entering a team in the series, Whitmarsh replied: "At some point, yes. But that's not at the moment. We are looking at the technology challenge and how we can contribute there. But I think the sport has to evolve and change and I personally think they are good technical challenges, and those are the things McLaren enjoys and flourishes at" (REUTERS, 9/4).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
Japanese players have agreed to take part in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, "backing off a threat to boycott the event because of a dispute" over how tournament money is shared, according to the AP. The players' union had demanded that two-time defending champion Japan "control all the sponsorship and licensing revenue generated by its participation in the tournament." Currently, however, all such money is pooled and distributed by MLB, the tournament organizer. Following a meeting with organizers in N.Y. in August, officials from Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league said that "some sponsorship and licensing revenue would remain in Japan" (AP, 9/4). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's blog Japan Real Time's Takashi Mochizuki reported that NPB "set up a new business structure" that will bring in ¥4B ($51.1M) in four years. Japan's players' union said in a statement: "We've decided to lift our previous decision not to participate in the WBC because it appears what we've been demanding has been fulfilled." For '06 runner-up Cuba "it may not be good news," but for NPB "it's great news." NPB announced last year that Japan would be taking part in WBC 2013, "and it believes Japan's joining the games next year is a particularly important weapon" in fighting off the growing popularity of football (WSJ, 9/4).
The Australian Football League announced its COO Gillon McLachlan had "rejected a monster deal" to switch to the National Rugby League, according to Read & Denham of THE AUSTRALIAN. McLachlan was the commission's choice to become the game's new CEO, but following weeks of speculation, he "elected to remain with the AFL." The commission will now "ponder its other options," which include Racing New South Wales CEO Peter V'landys. However, it can "put a line through" Essendon CEO Ian Robson, who announced he had "no intention of leaving." The AFL's second-in-charge, one of the country's most-respected sporting administrators, was one of three candidates earmarked to replace former NRL CEO David Gallop, although his decision "won't necessarily mean the commission will turn to one of the two remaining options." It would be "no surprise" if interim CEO Shane Mattiske remained in the role on a permanent basis. Commission Chair John Grant tried to downplay the impact of McLachlan's decision, it was "without doubt a victory" for the AFL. The NRL had tempted McLachlan with what the AFL described on its website as a "huge offer," believed to be in excess of A$1.5M ($1.54M) a year (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/5).
UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: In Sydney, Brad Walter wrote that league officials "were left questioning" whether McLachlan "ever really seriously considered an approach" to be the game's new CEO. Meanwhile, AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou had spoken publicly several times "about how he did not want to lose McLachlan" and understood why the ARLC had made him its No. 1 target. One official said, "You have to wonder whether he has just been stringing us along all the time and was never going to take the job. The timing is suspicious" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 9/5).
India's wrestling federation Friday announced its plan to launch the Indian Wrestling League early next year, according to THE HINDU. The new league has been jointly created by the Wrestling Federation of India and Leisure Sports Management. The IWL is based on the format of the successful Indian Premier League and will start with six city-based franchises. IWL Commissioner and Chair G.S. Mander said, "The IWL will be held in January and February next year." The franchises are "likely to be based" at Sonepat, Pune, Ludhiana/Patiala, Delhi, Nandini Nagar (Gonda, U.P.) and Patna. Each team will include "some star wrestlers from India and abroad" and will play 10 home-and-away matches. Mander said, "There will be seven weight categories in male and female wrestling. Each team will have seven male and female wrestlers. Two from each section will be foreigners" (THE HINDU, 9/1).
The Rugby Football Union has issued an apology to acting CEO Martyn Thomas and "withdrawn allegations" that were published in a report into the dismissal of former CEO John Steele, according to the PA. Thomas was accused in the 53-page report of having "inappropriate contact" with one of the candidates for the role of RFU performance director and of leaking information to the press. However, an independent report compiled in November by commercial arbitrator Charles Flint QC concluded there was "no solid evidence" to support misconduct charges against Thomas. The RFU has issued a public apology to Thomas and retracted two specific allegations contained within the Blackett report (PA, 9/3).
DRAWING CONCLUSIONS: In London, Gavin Mairs reported that Thomas stood down after eight years as RFU chair in the wake of the controversy following Steele’s sacking in June and threatened in May to take legal action against the governing body. On Monday night, the RFU "moved to draw a line under the affair by issuing an apology and retracting two specific allegations" contained within the Blackett report. An RFU statement read: “The report made a number of conclusions. Amongst these it concluded that Martyn Thomas, the then chairman and acting chief executive had inadvertently, but improperly and repeatedly passed confidential information in relation to the RFU either directly or indirectly through third parties to members of the media." It continued, “(It also concluded that Thomas) had inappropriate contact with one of the candidates for the role of RFU performance director and breached confidentiality between prospective job applicants. The RFU now accepts that there was insufficient evidence to support these conclusions (TELEGRAPH, 9/3).
German automaker BMW "has absolutely no interest in returning to F1," according to Nimmervoll & Wittemeier of MOTORSPORT-TOTAL.com. BMW Motorsports Dir Jens Marquardt said, "There are no plans for an F1 return whatsoever. In July 2009 the company made a clear decision, which is still valid. We are well portioned in motorsports and those involvements will not change in the near future." BMW's most-important motorsports involvement is the German Touring Car Championship (DTM). In addition, the Munich-based company is also featured with a factory team in the Superbike World Championship and in collaboration with Rahal/Letterman/Lanigan Racing in the American Le Mans Series (MOTORSPORT-TOTAL.com, 9/4). ... German national football team Manager Oliver Bierhoff "will travel to Brazil at the end of the year to find a team accommodation for the 2014 World Cup." Bierhoff said, "We will travel to Brazil at the end of November or at the beginning of December." A couple a weeks ago, FIFA provided national football federations with a catalog of more than four-dozen locations (DPA, 9/4). ... FIFA and UEFA said that they are studying corruption allegations involving Lithuanian football federation Leader Julius Kvederas before "deciding if he can remain" one of their committee members. A Lithuanian court "has ordered Kvederas to step down as LFF president for six months" during a probe into whether he illegally took football funds (AP, 9/4).
GETTING AHEAD: Australian Rugby League Commission Chair John Grant has "defended the decision to take tougher action on the eve of the finals against tacklers whose shoulder makes contact with the head of an opponent" as Cronulla's Ben Pomeroy prepares to face the judiciary Wednesday. Pomeroy will become the first player referred to the tribunal on a dangerous contact charge since the ARLC last week announced the crackdown on shoulder charges and is "expected to receive a season ending ban if he is found guilty" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 9/5).