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Volume 6 No. 234

Leagues and Governing Bodies

A four-team American football league representing the cities of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain in the UAE will kick off next month, according to Paul Oberjuerge of THE NATIONAL. Organizers have planned the league's season to culminate with the Desert Bowl championship game in March. Emirati American Football League Commissioner Kai Trompeter said, "This is a real football league, open to anyone who wants to play, and we want it to be sustainable." Trompeter added, "It will not be run like a business. It will be not-for-profit, and if we make any money it will go right back into the league in the form of more training or doing nicer things." The 41-year-old German, "who picked up the fast and collision-packed American game" while growing up in Alabama, has been the "prime mover in a busy summer ahead of the EAFL's debut season." The four teams that will take the field this fall are the Dubai Stallions, Dubai Barracudas, Abu Dhabi Wildcats and Al Ain Desert Foxes. The Stallions will be coached by former NFL Indianapolis Colts linebacker Andre Sommersell. The league's expenses will be covered by membership fees of Dh 1,500 ($408) from each player. Players "will be responsible for purchasing their own equipment," including practice jerseys, pants, helmets and pads. Trompeter estimates the cost to total at Dh 1,000 ($272) for adults and Dh 800 ($218) for youth (THE NATIONAL, 9/11).

The Hockey India League will have 90 of the country's "best players," including all 16 members of the London Olympics field hockey team, available for next month's player auction, according to PTI. HIL Secretary General and Chair Narinder Batra said that the "creme de la creme of Indian hockey," including the 32 junior players who are receiving a stipend of Rs10,000 ($181) each a month, have signed up for the HIL Players Auction. Olympian Bharat Chetri and PR Sreejesh are among the goalkeepers while Sandeep Singh, VR Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh are among the 14 fullbacks who have signed for the league. India Co-Captain Sardar Singh leads the list of 25 midfielders while SV Sunil, Shivendra Singh, Tushar Khandker and Gurvinder Singh Chandi are among the 41 forwards. Batra said, “We are pleased with the progress of HIL. Sahara India, Jaypee Group and Uniexcel Group have already taken up HIL franchises for Lucknow, Punjab and Ranchi respectively. We will soon announce the remaining three franchises" (PTI, 9/12).

British PM David Cameron apologized to the families of the 96 victims of Hillsborough for the "double injustice" they suffered in the wake of Britain's worst sporting disaster, according to Brown & Herbert of the London INDEPENDENT. The Attorney General will now "consider applying to the High Court to re-open the controversial inquests into the deaths," which happened at the '89 FA Cup semifinal between Liverpool and Nottingham Forrest. The findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which has gone through hundreds of thousands of pages of documents over the past two years, concluded that "the crush had been foreseeable" (INDEPENDENT, 9/12). The AP reported Cameron said that evidence contained in 400,000 pages of previously undisclosed papers turned over to the families of the dead on Wednesday "detailed sophisticated attempts by police to turn the blame for the disaster on to the victims and to sully their reputations by insinuating that many were drunken, and had histories of violence or criminality." Cameron said, "New evidence that we are presented with today makes clear that these families have suffered a double injustice. The injustice of the appalling events, the failure of the state to protect their loved ones and the indefensible wait to get to the truth, and the injustice of the denigration of the deceased -- that they were somehow at fault for their own deaths." He continued, "On behalf of the government -- and indeed our country -- I am profoundly sorry for this double injustice that has been left uncorrected for so long." Many legislators in the House of Commons "gasped audibly or wept" as Cameron spoke (AP, 9/12).

REUTERS' Peter Griffiths reported that the report sought to blame the Liverpool fans, portraying them as "aggressive, drunk and ticketless and bent on packing into the already crowded stadium." The report's authors read in a statement, "The tragedy should have never happened. There were clear operational failures in response to the disaster, and in its aftermath there were strenuous attempts to deflect the blame onto the fans." The report said that the biggest danger at Hillsborough lay in "the emergency services' poor planning and a stadium that failed to meet minimum safety standards" (REUTERS, 9/12).

THE TRUTH?: In Liverpool, David Bartlett noted that the report also blames White's News Agency for "being the originators of the false press reports" including The Sun's "shameful 'The Truth'" story from April 19, 1989. White's reporting was "based on briefings" from four South Yorkshire police officers (LIVERPOOL ECHO, 9/12). EUROSPORT reported that Hillsborough Families Support Group spokesperson Trevor Hicks threw out journalists from The Sun covering their press conference Wednesday. Sun Editor Kelvin MacKenzie apologized to Hicks for the "incendiary story" headlined as 'The Truth,' which was exposed as incorrect. Hicks called the apology "too little, too late." The Sun has still "not been forgiven by Liverpool fans for the article," which was based on a police source and "accused them of having a role in causing the tragedy and responding to the unfolding events in depraved fashion" (EUROSPORT, 9/12).

LIVERPOOL REACTS: Liverpool FC released a statement on the report which begins, "Over the last 23 years the families who lost loved ones and the survivors of this terrible tragedy have shown immense dignity and resilience in their tireless campaign for justice." It continues, "For 23 years they have campaigned for the full disclosure of documents relating to the disaster and for someone to take responsibility for what happened. Today, following years of inquiries, investigations and setbacks, the Hillsborough Independent Panel has announced its findings in relation to the disaster" (Liverpool).

David Cameron's statement in full

Scottish Third Division club Rangers former Chair Alastair Johnston has "rebuffed accusations that paying players through the club's controversial tax scheme was akin to 'financial doping,'" according to the PA. Rangers face having titles stripped "amid an inquiry by a Scottish Premier League-appointed commission," which engaged in procedural hearings on Wednesday. Johnston struck back against the process, claiming the probe into alleged undisclosed payments was being driven by "vested interests" in the SPL, and "questioning why the Scottish Football Association had not taken action" when they were furnished with information on Rangers' use of Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) in April '11. Johnston also "launched a detailed defence against those who have accused the Ibrox club of effectively cheating by cutting their wage bill through EBTs," which are the subject of an ongoing tax tribunal (PA, 9/12). STV reported that an inquiry will "continue later this year." The SPL confirmed its independent commission would hear evidence in the case beginning Nov. 13. The SPL also confirmed that oldco and newco Rangers CEO Charles Green "would have the opportunity to be represented throughout the process (, 9/12).

New Zealand's Cricket Wellington is set to announce a "hefty deficit" that Chair Peter Garty and CEO Peter Clinton attributed to "overly optimitistic hopsitality forecasting," according to Hamish Bidwell of the DOMINION POST. CW posted an almost $70,000 loss in the previous financial year, and this year's deficit is expected to be "six figures." Clinton said the hospitality projections were "set in the last quarter of last year." Clinton: "We are over forecast." Garty: "Way over forecast." The setbacks were incurred at the New Zealand-South Africa test match at the Basin Reserve in March and, "to a lesser extent," the Twenty20 and one-day matches between the teams at Westpac Stadium the previous month. CW expected hospitality marquees to "dot the Basin Reserve," but few did, "hence the loss." Clinton said the challenge now was to "cut our cloth to fit." Staff restructures have occurred, with several part-time summer staff "not rehired this year" (DOMINION POST, 9/11).

Official F1 tire manufacturer Pirelli has "no intentions of leaving the racing series." Pirelli Motorsports Dir Paul Hembery said, "Hopefully we can continue. We always emphasized that we understand our F1 involvement as a mid-term project. And if promoter and teams want to continue to work with us, we are more than willing to do so." Pirelli's three-year contract with the racing series "expires after the '13 season" (, 9/12). ... The German Hockey League (DEL) has "already set a new attendance record," four months before its inaugural "Winter Game" at the Stadium Nuremberg. The league has "already sold 20,000 tickets" for its first outdoor game between the Ice Tigers Nuremberg and defending champion Eisbären Berlin on Jan. 5. The previous DEL attendance record was 18,700, set in '02 (SID, 9/12).