Malaysia's football clubs will be ordered to pay deposits of millions of ringgit next season before they can compete "to ensure players receive their wages," according to Ossian Shine of REUTERS. Ten of the 14 clubs in the M-League are "in the red," while three teams face sanctions for "failing to settle players' wages." Just four months ago, the Football Association Malaysia (FAM) warned all teams that they could "face expulsion from Malaysia's top flight if they failed to pay players on time." Beginning next season, top flight clubs must pay a deposit of MYR 3M ($978,000), second-tier clubs MYR 2M ($652,000) and third-level clubs MYR 500,000 ($163,000) before they can compete (REUTERS, 10/8). ASIASPONSORSHIPNEWS.com reported that football in Malaysia "is about to get a boost" with confirmation that the FAM is "close to finalising a few major sponsorship deals" for its M-League. Association Head Azzuddin Ahmad confirmed that the companies about to sign on with football in Malaysia "are major sport sponsors, but he was unable to reveal their identity because contracts were yet to be signed" (ASIASPONSORSHIPNEWS.com, 10/8).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
After a second round of negotiations over the future of the Heineken Cup on Monday, the Rugby Football Union indicated that it sympathized with the English clubs in their demand for an overhaul of the competition’s structure, according to Mark Souster of the LONDON TIMES. Twickenham CEO Ian Ritchie did not back the clubs’ "controversial TV deal with BT Vision, reiterating that the union’s approval for it had not been given or sought." But he agreed with Premier Rugby Limited’s assertion that "there should be greater meritocracy in terms of qualification for the tournament," and all the teams from the six participating countries "should earn their place rather than be guaranteed it." Ritchie said questions about the legalities of PRL’s position should be “parked” and all efforts focused instead on reaching a settlement, however long it took. Richie: “We want to try and help bring that agreement together, recognising that it is very important to have a good, highly competitive, meritocratic competition that exists across Europe. I think we certainly support a view — most people do — that some change in the competition would be a good idea. How far it goes, what the nature of it is, is the discussion that has to be had" (LONDON TIMES, 10/9).
The latest "sting operation has revealed that six umpires were ready to be bribed" during the recently concluded Twenty20 World Cup and Sri Lanka Premier League in August, according to IANS. India TV, which had earlier conducted a sting operation on corruption in India's domestic circuit, "has come up with another footage showing six umpires from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, willing to give wrong decisions during a game." The umpires are Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui of Pakistan, Nadir Shah of Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka's Gamini Dissanayake, Maurice Winston and Sagara Gallage. Amongst the officials interrogated on camera, only Shah and Bangladesh umpire Sharfuddoula Ibne Shahid represent the current umpire panel of the Int'l Cricket Council. The channel, however, "claimed that Sharfudoullah refused to give any favour in lieu of money offered by the undercover reporters" (IANS, 10/8).
INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED: The BBC reported that the ICC has launched an "urgent investigation" into the match-fixing allegations. In a statement responding to India TV's claims, the ICC said: "The ICC and its relevant members have been made aware of the allegations made by India TV this evening and calls on the station to turn over any information which can assist the ICC's urgent investigations into this matter. The ICC reiterates its zero tolerance towards corruption whether alleged against players or officials. The ICC will not make any further comment on this issue" (BBC, 10/8).
Spain Superior Council of Sports President Miguel Cardenal "announced cut-backs" of 34% in the grants to federations, according to the EFE. Cardenal explained that €31M ($40.2M) in grants will be given to sports federations. The number represents a 34% decrease from the €47M that was handed out last year. Cardenal also said the decrease would affect all the federations, "although a linear decrease is not expected for all." He also expressed his hope that "the sporting activity is affected as little as possible" (EFE, 10/8).
Former Head of Corporate Affairs for Football Federation Australia Bonita Mersiades called for "more women to be involved at board and senior management level" during Monday's Asia Pacific World Sport and Women Conference in Melbourne, according to Ray Gatt of THE AUSTRALIAN. Mersiades, one of Australia's "most respected sporting administrators," also called federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott a "pussycat" compared with the men who run world football. Once "one of the most powerful women in Australian sport," Mersiades, now a writer and consultant, believes governments "need to ensure qualified women have a bigger role to play at the top end of sports administration." Mersiades pointed out there were only two female members among the boards involved with the 10 A-League clubs, 2015 Asian Cup and FFA. Mersiades: "Amazingly, this ticks the box on gender diversity for the Australian government, which is a very disappointing standard" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/9).
NEW ZEALAND ENCOURAGES WOMEN: The AP reported that Sport New Zealand and the New Zealand Olympic Committee have created Development Scholarships to "help get more women onto the boards of sports organisations." The joint initiative is the first in a program to encourage "suitably qualified women to put themselves forward for sports governance roles." Sport NZ CEO Peter Miskimmin said, "Improving the governance of sports organisations has been a focus for Sport NZ in recent years with progress being made in many areas, so the time is right to tackle gender balance on sports boards because it will further improve governance capability" (AP, 10/8).