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Volume 6 No. 213

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Two former India cricketers, Balwinder Singh Sandhu and Nilesh Kulkarni, resigned from the Mumbai Cricket Association's Cricket Improvement Committee, while ex-Mumbai cricketer Milind Rege resigned as selector, according to the TNN. There was speculation that former India bowler Karsan Ghavri also resigned from the CIC, but it "could not be confirmed." Internal squabbling "is believed to be the reason behind Sandhu and Kulkarni's resignation." Sources familiar with the situation said, "Whatever is happening is mostly a result of MCA's own politics and vote bank. Who votes for whom, where the loyalty factor lies, determines most things in MCA these days" (TNN, 10/9).

DON'T CALL IT A CRISIS: PTI reported that MCA President Ravi Savant said that the resignations of Sandhu and Kulkarni "does not constitute a crisis." Savant: "There was some debate during the last CIC meeting (to decide on the resignation of former India captain Nari Contractor on personal grounds) after which Sandhu and Nilesh have sent in their resignations. We will put these two resignations before MCA's managing committee. I don’t call it a crisis.” Savant said that there was "a misconception" that CIC can appoint coaches and selectors, which was the duty of the MCA’s managing committee. Savant said, “CIC is there for suggesting improvement and development of the game. There is a perceived misconception that it can appoint selectors and coaches. It can recommend names but it’s the elected members of the managing committee who make these appointments" (PTI, 10/9).

The FA announced that it will "look at integrating Twitter guidelines into its code of conduct after the furore caused by" Chelsea defender Ashley Cole's "infamous four-letter tweet," according to Doug Gratton of the LONDON TIMES. Cole, who was angered after it was suggested last week that his evidence in support of Chelsea's John Terry had "evolved." His response "landed himself in hot water when he responded by describing the governing body as "#bunchoftwats." The FA has charged Cole with misconduct even though he "has since apologised." The incident has been a "reminder of potential pitfalls of Twitter." FA General Secretary Alex Horne said that "plans were in place to clarify the situation for England players." Horne: "The issues of social media are multiple, very personal. You take personal responsibility for what you put out. Tweeting is effectively like me talking to you and millions of people, and they need to understand that, and I think they do" (LONDON TIMES, 10/9).

Organizers of the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England have been accused of squandering the opportunity "to battle for the heart and soul" of supporters after axing Leicester Tigers’ Welford Road from the list of potential venues for the tournament, according to Gavin Mairs of the London TELEGRAPH. Welford Road, the biggest club rugby stadium in the country, with a capacity of 24,000, had been included in the original bid to host the tournament but "lost out because its facilities were not deemed to meet Int'l Rugby Board criteria." Leicester was informed on Friday that its application had failed, largely because of the size of its pitch and also because of delays in redevelopment of the Crumbie Stand. It is understood there is "no option to appeal the decision." Leicester CEO Simon Cohen said, "Rugby World Cups should not be just about the finances. It should be a battle for the heart and soul of rugby people, and you would like to think that rugby stadiums would play their part in that battle. As far as Leicester and the Leicester fans are concerned, I think they have missed that opportunity" (TELEGRAPH, 10/8).

DECISION CRITICIZED: Also in London, Mark Souster opined that "perception is everything" and Welford Road not making the cut as a rugby World Cup venue "is a spectacular error by England Rugby 2015." The organizers can quote processes, tick boxes and offer countless figures to substantiate their argument that Leicester’s ground is not big enough and its facilities are lacking, but denying the biggest and most successful English club its rightful place "is shameful and it sends out entirely the wrong message." The decision "shows a complete lack of understanding." Naming only one club ground on the proposed list of 17 stadiums to be used -- Kingsholm, the home of Gloucester -- "threatens to remove the soul from the tournament." It "may well prove phenomenally successful in terms of cash generated, but you have to ask at what ultimate cost." After all, "this is the rugby World Cup" (LONDON TIMES, 10/9). The BBC wrote that Gloucester has "no plans" to expand its ground in an attempt to improve its chances of hosting games at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Managing Dir Chris Ferguson told the BBC the club would not need "to make capital investment" to make the final list of 12 stadia. He continued: "The ground as it stands hold 16,000, and we have the facilities and infrastructure to match that" (BBC, 10/9).

The Int'l Cricket Council has launched an investigation after an umpire involved in a recent match featuring Australia and England in Sri Lanka "was implicated in a spot-fixing sting by an Indian TV channel," according to Peter Lalor of THE AUSTRALIAN. Undercover reporters for India TV "claimed to have caught six umpires allegedly agreeing to fix matches or provide information" in a sting that was conducted before the recent ICC World T20 Championships. The TV station named some umpires willing to accept money: Pakistan's Nadeem Ghauri and Anees Siddiqui, Bangladesh's Nadir Shah, and Sri Lanka's Gamini Dissanayake, Sagara Gallage and Maurice Winston. The ICC has launched a probe into the allegations and "asked to view the footage." The governing body said in a statement: "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 toward corruption whether alleged against players or officials" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/10). The PTI noted the Board of Cricket Control in India will wait for the ICC "to complete its investigations." Senior BCCI official Rajeev Shukla said, The ICC has to take a call on it. They (ICC) will be taking appropriate action. As far as we are concerned, we will take action as we will deem fit. Our job is to keep the game clean. The BCCI takes strong and immediate action whenever such cases come up" (PTI, 10/9).

CLEAN HANDS: The AP noted a Sri Lankan cricket official said that "they are studying tapes" of the TV sting operation. Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ajith Jayasekara said that "there has been no official communication" from the ICC on allegation by India TV that Sri Lankans were involved. He said that the local anti-corruption unit "will work with the ICC in the investigations" (AP, 10/9). The AFP noted the umpires at the center of the bribery claims "denied on Tuesday they were willing to fix matches for cash." The accusations were broadcast only a day after the West Indies' victory over hosts Sri Lanka in the final of the World T20 tournament. None of the umpires were involved in the tournament (AFP, 10/9). The PTI added that former umpire Darrell Hair "is not at all surprised by the allegations of fixing against match officials." Hair said that rumors "started doing rounds since the birth of the cash-rich Indian Premier League." Hair: "I was wondering how long it would take before some umpire did some stupid things. There have been rumours going around for ages, since the IPL started, that umpires were involved. It all comes down to two things: opportunity and greed. If you're the type of person and you're given the opportunity, the greedy part of you will say, 'Yeah, I'm in'" (PTI, 10/9).

Each player of the German national football team "could earn up to €200,000 ($260,000) in bonuses if the team successfully qualifies for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil," according to the DPA. The German Football Federation (DFB) "agreed to pay a victory bonus of €20,000 ($26,000) per qualification game after talks with the national team's player council," which is led by team captain Philipp Lahm. The national team plays a total of 10 qualification games. Each nominated player "will receive the bonus payments, not only the ones who actually appear on the pitch" (DPA, 10/9).

TVN is expected to finalize its new board in Melbourne on Monday, "clearing the way for the broadcaster to acquire the rights to all race meetings" in New South Wales, according to Chris Roots of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Representatives of Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club will meet with Racing Victoria and the Victorian stakeholders of the broadcaster. Racing NSW CEO Peter V'landys said, ''That meeting will finalise any outstanding matters, and we should to be able to move forward after it.'' The meeting should establish an eight-member board, including Moonee Valley Chair Bob Scarborough and Racing Victoria CEO Bernard Saundry, representing the industry and Country Racing Victoria. There will be "a strong push" from all stakeholders to have Burn and Symons on the board. The ATC board representatives will be CEO Darren Pearce and Board Member Laurie Macri. Racing NSW will have two seats, one of which is expected to be filled by V'landys. Meanwhile, the ATC and Racing NSW boards held a joint meeting Tuesday "in a bid to resolve the funding issue preventing a start on the A$1.7M ($1.73M) resurfacing of the Kensington track at Randwick" (SMH, 10/10).