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Volume 6 No. 212

Leagues and Governing Bodies

F1 teams have "won an important concession over the future governance of the sport" ahead of next week's meeting with the motorsports governing body FIA and F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone, according to Jonathan Noble of The FIA and Ecclestone have "backed away from plans to limit an influence over the rule making process to just the six top teams, which had been singled out as an important issue." FIA President Jean Todt heard from seven teams"voicing their worries about possible changes to the way the sport is run." Other concerns, which cannot be addressed prior to the meeting, "include a dramatic hike in entry fees and a demand that the FIA gets tougher in controlling costs." Ecclestone had originally "been keen to revise the F1 Commission to an 18-man body" made up of six team representatives -- six FIA members and six members from F1 Management. The future governance structure will be revised after "concerns about the situation were raised from several quarters." A new version of the F1 Commission, which will include representatives of all the teams, will "remain in place as the final body to approve or reject rule changes before they are submitted to the FIA" (, 10/16).

Ford "will discontinue its factory involvement in the World Rally Championship at the end of the '12 season," according to Gerald Dirnbeck of Ford said in a statement that "it wasn't an easy decision." The decision is based on the difficult economic situation in Europe. Ford Europe Marketing & Sales VP Roelant de Waard said, "Ford has a long and proud history in the WRC, and it wasn't an easy decision. We have concluded that it is more beneficiary for the company and the Ford brand to reduce our involvement and put our resources in other areas." Ford decided only in late December to continue its factory involvement in the WRC and signed a two-year deal with British M-Sport. This contract ends now after only one year. M-Sport plans to continue its WRC involvement using the Ford Fiesta. Waard said, "We have a lot of respect for M-Sport and [M-Sport Managing Dir] Malcolm Wilson that ran the Ford WRC team since 1997." M-Sport has to plan its future without Ford. Wilson said, "We understand that difficult decisions have to be made to save jobs at Ford. We accept the commercial reality of this situation. However, we focus on the future and hope to continue our strong technical partnership" (, 10/15).

The German Touring Car Championship (DTM) and the Japanese Super GT have "signed a cooperation contract" that allows new manufacturers to enter the two racing series, according to the DPA. The new cooperation contract, which starts in '14 and runs through '17, allows Japanese brands Honda, Nissan and Toyota to join the DTM and German brands Audi, BMW and Mercedes to join the Super GT. A DTM spokesperson said that "it is not clear yet, if a Japanese manufacture takes advantage of this opportunity and joins the DTM in '14." Mercedes Motorsports Dir Norbert Haug said, "It is a positive development that there is interest in other countries. Whoever wants to join the DTM is welcome. However, you should not expect to see one or two new manufacturers in the DTM in 2014." The foundation for this exchange is that the DTM's technical regulations match those of the Super GT (DPA, 10/16).

U.K. Attorney General Dominic Grieve has "confirmed he will seek to quash the inquest into the deaths of 96 football fans in the Hillsborough stadium two decades ago, after an independent report found that the original coroner’s reports had been deeply flawed," according to Helen Warrell of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Grieve said even though he had not yet finished considering the evidence, he was taking the "exceptional course" of confirming he would ask the High Court to overturn the verdicts. He said that this "would prevent the bereaved from suffering any further anxiety." Grieve told MPs: "My current view is that I will apply to have every one of those 96 inquests quashed. I believe that these deaths, arising as they do from a common chain of events, should all be considered afresh." Grieve's actions "could lead to the original verdicts being overturned and a series of new inquests in due course." Although Grieve "warned that the application would not be immediate because he needed time to prepare a persuasive argument" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 10/16).

Australian Rugby League Newcastle Kights has blamed a disgruntled player for spreading rumors that "prompted renewed speculation" about Nathan Tinkler's ownership, according to Brent Read of THE AUSTRALIAN. The millionaire mining magnate bought the team last year but his time leading the club has been "shadowed by ongoing rumours about his financial position." The latest allegations were based on suggestions some players had "not been paid on time." The club responded to the reports by issuing a statement, saying that "all players and staff had been paid," and blamed a former player for causing the problems. The statement said, "It is unfortunate the rumour today, which the club believes has come from a disgruntled player who was not re-signed for next season, has caused considerable speculation." Knights CEO Matt Gidley added, "This is an absolute non-issue at the Knights. I have yet to field one phone call or inquiry from an employee or player in regards to this matter." Nevertheless, the ARL Commission has "kept a close eye" on the situation and made fresh inquiries on Tuesday. It was assured the "club was secure" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/17).

Volkswagen-owned Porsche "will make a comeback in the World Endurance Championship in '14, however, rumors say this is only a warm-up to an F1 return," according to AUTO MOTOR UND SPORT. The WEC's season highlight is the 24 hours of Le Mans race. Porsche's last overall victory at the 24 hours of Le Mans dates back to '98. In '14, Porsche will return to Le Mans with a LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype category 1) car. F1 insiders are wondering if Porsche will conduct such a huge effort only for its Le Mans project. The German brand is building a new state-of-the-art competence center. Motorsport insiders "point to the unusual high amount of skilled professionals with F1 background that Porsche hires for its Le Mans project." So far all F1 comeback plans have been vetoed by Volkswagen Chair Ferdinand Piech. F1's new motor regulations, which are supposed to take effect in '14, and a budget cap "make a possible F1 return more feasible for Porsche" (AUTO MOTOR UND SPORT, 10/15).

The Bangladesh Cricket Board has formed a three-member committee to investigate allegations of "corrupt conduct by umpires under its jurisdiction" levied by an Indian news channel that conducted a sting operation. The committee comprises BCB Directors Sirajuddin Mohammad Alamgir, Mahmood Jamal and the board's Head of Anti-Corruption and Security Mesbahuddin Serniabat (, 10/15). ...  The PGA of Australia has revealed its partnership in the "Grow the Game of Golf" project. The Grow the Game of Golf website has been developed over the last couple of years "into an invaluable online resource for golf course owners, managers and golfers alike." The website contains an in-depth catalog of various initiatives to encourage golf participation and up-to-date statistics on the development of the game (, 10/16). ... Hockey India "signed up as many as 10 current Australian players" for its inaugural franchise-based field hockey league (HIL) to be held across different cities of the country starting in January. These 10 players include four Australian co-captains: Mark Knowles, Fergus Kavanagh, Liam de Young and Edward Ockenden. Luke Doerner, Russell Ford, Kiel Brown, Simon Orchard, Christopher Ciriello and Rob Hammond are the other players who will also be a part of next month’s HIL Players Auction (PTI, 10/16).