Six Australian universities have approached Swimming Australia about joint venture projects that newly-elected SA President Barclay Nettlefold "hopes will grow into a U.S.-style inter-varsity swimming competition," according to Wayne Smith of THE AUSTRALIAN. In an exclusive interview with The Australian, Nettlefold, who was elected on Saturday to replace outgoing president David Urquhart, revealed plans "to contract the country's top coaches and to provide SA CEO Kevin Neil with specialist assistance in the guise of a director of swimming to compensate for his lack of knowledge of the sport." Nettlefold plans "to tap the country's highest-participation sport into the Australian university system," allowing Olympic-standard swimmers to pursue an education on scholarships while representing their school. The universities would compete head-to-head in a U.S.-style college competition that "promises to radically reshape swimming." Nettlefold said, "Six universities have come to us on the back of the London Olympics with proposals for us to make use of their facilities and sports science expertise. It's real and it's very exciting for us." When asked if the system would aspire to mimic the U.S. inter-collegiate competitions, "one of the major strengths of American swimming," Nettlefold replied: "That's where we'll look to take it. Last year we sent a very strong swim team to the World University Games and I'd like to think we could send our best swimmers there in future" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/16).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
Australian Sports Commission CEO Simon Hollingsworth said calls for an amnesty for cycling drug cheats are "premature," according to Bianca Hall of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Hollingsworth said that he did not support calls for an amnesty "in the beleaguered sport," so that cheating athletes can be "purged from the profession." Hollingsworth said, "It is important that we send a clear message that any doping is unacceptable, and an amnesty would be inconsistent with that." Despite the "cynicism now surrounding the sport," the country's federal Sport Minister Kate Lundy said: "Now, more than ever before, doping cheats will be caught." She added, "The Australian government, through [that Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority], is committed to protecting the health of athletes and the integrity of Australian sport through the elimination of doping" (SMH, 10/16). The AAP noted Cycling Australia "referred doping allegations" against Matt White to ASADA just months before it appointed him national road coordinator. ASADA began investigating White, who recently stepped down, in '10 after CA became aware of allegations from U.S. rider Floyd Landis, "which ultimately led to White's recent admission that he had doped while a professional rider." CA appointed White to the road team job in January last year. Multiple sources have confirmed that "ASADA was investigating White ahead of his CA appointment and his hiring by Australia's professional road team, Orica-GreenEDGE" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/16).
NO TAKE BACKS: In Sydney, Rupert Guinness reported South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said that his government "would not pursue refunds for appearance money" paid to Lance Armstrong, who recently had his seven Tour de France titles stripped from him. Armstrong raced in the '09-11 editions of the Tour Down Under before retiring again. Weatherill said that the government "got value for the money outlaid to bring Armstrong to the 13-year-old race," which was "worth A$17M to the state's economy" from his first appearance in '09. The government has remained tight-lipped about how much money was paid to Armstrong, but it has been reported he "received A$1-2M for each" of the race appearances (SMH, 10/16).
PROBLEM AT THE SOURCE: Also in Sydney, Michael Ashenden wrote that following White’s admission to doping, the point is being missed if “we only bring the riders to account.” With “obvious exceptions,” such as Lance Armstrong, “I consider them to be victims of a broken system, rather than evil doers.” It is time the organizations who oversee cycling “are held accountable for what has transpired.” And nowhere is that more evident “than here in Australia.” There is “no doubt” that CA is “part of the problem.” For too long, “it has been long on talk, but short on walk” (SMH, 10/16).
FIFA President Sepp Blatter "plans to speak with Cuban officials" after three national team players defected in Canada ahead of a World Cup qualifier last week, according to Graham Dunbar of the AP. The players disappeared nine months after two players with the Cuba women’s team fled to the U.S. following a match against Canada in Vancouver. Blatter said Monday that the defections had become “a presidential question” for FIFA and not just an issue for the competitions department. Cuba Coach Alexander Gonzalez said, “As with any Cuban sport team that travels around the world, they’re all chasing the American dream. And it’s difficult to try to keep the team together" (AP, 10/15).
The Bundesliga "will reportedly not introduce goal-line technology," according to SPORT BILD. This is the result of a German Football Federation (DFB) board meeting, in which head referee Herbert Fandel "expressed his concern about the technology." FIFA allows national federations to decide if they want to use a goal judge or goal-line technology, which all have a margin of error between two and three centimeters. This margin of error is, in the opinion of a task force that includes Fandel, "considerably too much." The task force worries that when "a ball crosses the goal line by two or three centimeters, the technology does not signal a goal and TV images later prove that the ball clearly crossed the line." The German Football League (DFL) has asked the 36 Bundesliga and 2nd Bundesliga clubs to submit their opinion on the possible introduction of goal-line technology by Monday. The DFL also asked how much the clubs are willing to invest in such a technology (SPORT BILD, 10/15).
If F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone is charged with bribery "as expected," automotive corporation Daimler AG and subsidiary Mercedes "want to instigate a discussion about the early elimination of the 81-year-old from F1," according to Klaus Ott of SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG. In these circumstances, Daimler wants to have a "discussion with other teams and sponsors about Ecclestone's future as F1 CEO." Daimler's management has already discussed in detail what to do with Ecclestone if he will be charged with bribery. Mercedes said that it "will not wait for a month-long process but rather do something." Ecclestone "would have to leave the racing series if he is convicted of bribery." Daimler and Mercedes took precaution measures in this regard and made sure to include such a clause in Mercedes' new contract with F1. The new agreement, which takes effect in '13, includes new compliance rules that were adopted from Daimler's in-house guidelines. Mercedes was also able to negotiate some rights in its new contract. Company sources said that those rights include "detailed information, searching of documents, and above all Mercedes can demand personnel changes, if an F1 manager is convicted of breaking a law." If a manager keeps his position, Mercedes has a special right of contract termination (SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, 10/13).
Qatar Olympic Committee VP and Asian Basketball Confederation President Sheikh Saud bin Ali al-Thani "has welcomed the idea" of moving the ABC headquarters to Doha. (QNA, 10/15). ... The Irish FA has continued to win plaudits for its work within the Northern Irish community as part of its Football For All project. The project is managed by the association's community relations department, and its mission is to create "a fun, safe and inclusive culture throughout all levels of football" (UEFA). ... The Asian Football Confederation has "posted a full apology" on its website after a previous article referred to the UAE national team as "Sand Monkeys." Instead of referring to the UAE national team, nicknamed "Al Abyad" in Arabic, which translates to "The Whites" in English, the reporter referred to a Wikipedia entry, since removed, that dubbed the UAE the "Sand Monkeys" (GULF NEWS, 10/15).