National Rugby League clubs "will receive their sustainability grants" from the Australian Rugby League Commission Thursday after a A$30M ($31M) funding payment was negotiated with the Nine Network, according to Ian McCullough of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Clubs were each promised A$500,000 before Oct. 31 but were told this week by the ARLC "to expect delays." The ARLC was still waiting to be paid by Nine, but after the network avoided administration Wednesday when Nine Entertainment CEO David Gyngell "thrashed out a deal with lenders," the commission was able to pay clubs, which will have the money in their bank accounts by Thursday. ARLC interim CEO Shane Mattiske said, "'From the moment we signed the heads of agreement with our broadcast partners, we've been working towards providing this payment to the clubs." Mattiske added, "'This afternoon we reached a point where Nine was sufficiently comfortable to make the payment" (SMH, 10/18).
SMILING FACES: In Sydney, Honeysett & Read reported the NRL has always maintained that Nine's financial plight "had nothing to do with the delay in delivering on that promise, although clubs had been anxious." Canterbury Bulldogs CEO Todd Greenberg said that the payments "were welcome news for all clubs." Greenberg: "It certainly makes it easier for all 16 clubs to run our business. This $500,000 sustainability grant will put a smile on the faces of a number of chief executives tonight" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/18).
The FA has "issued a new, wide-ranging code of conduct, that covers everything from what players can say on Twitter, how long they are permitted to play video games and whether they can order room service at team hotels, which will be given to every footballer called up for the national team," according to Sam Wallace of the London INDEPENDENT. The code, already in possession of every member of England national team Manager Roy Hodgson's current squad, "reminds players that representing England 'is an honour,' and they are to avoid anything that could 'have an effect on the reputation and integrity of the England team'" (INDEPENDENT, 10/17). Also in London, Henry Winter reported that the code of conduct gives the FA "the power to strip the captain of the armband, the right to suspend any player from England duty during any investigation for a serious offence and the ability to impose an 'indefinite' int'l suspension for a substantial breach of the code." Much of the code "is simply common sense, but it has teeth too" (TELEGRAPH, 10/16). In London, Matt Dickinson wrote that there "is guidance on when mobile phones are allowed -- banned from the meal room, for example, unless Hodgson gives permission." Furthermore, the players are "encouraged to go through media mixed zones after matches." The players "will be advised not to do so wearing enormous headphones and running at the pace of Usain Bolt" (LONDON TIMES, 10/17).
Read the full directive issued by the FA on England players' code of conduct.
Australian Football League Sydney Swans Chair Richard Colless has "questioned the AFL's commitment to 10 clubs in Victoria in calling for a wide-ranging review of the competition and its structure," according to Caroline Wilson of THE AGE. Describing the disparity between rich and poor clubs as ''a ticking time bomb in the AFL universe,'' Colless has called on the game to ''stop pussyfooting about the problem and put it on the table.'' The AFL Commission and executive has "responded to Colless' strongly worded proposal and has confirmed it will hold a two-day summit" before the start of the '13 season, bringing together the 18 presidents and CEOs. Colless has "already put some of the wealthier clubs offside by proposing taking profits from blockbuster games and distributing them among the poorer clubs." He has also "raised capping football department spending." In a letter distributed to all club presidents and the AFL, Colless wrote: ''It is not being alarmist to state that in our view more than several clubs could be considered technically insolvent without the financial guarantee of the AFL'' (THE AGE, 10/17). In Sydney, Matt Murnane reported that AFL's Western Bulldogs President-in-waiting Peter Gordon has "wasted no time throwing his weight behind the idea of a summit to address the disparity between rich and poor clubs." Gordon said there was ''profound concern'' within the industry that the gap between big and smalls clubs could widen at an alarming rate, and ''intelligent discussion'' among presidents, CEOs and the AFL "was needed urgently" (SMH, 10/18).
Cycling Australia has sacked Men's Road Coordinator Matt White for his involvement in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, "while ruling out any amnesty with athletes who owned up to using drugs," according to the AFP. CA held a board meeting on Tuesday to discuss the evidence by USADA and admitted it was "incredibly damaging for cycling worldwide." CA said in a statement: "The evidence presented is damning, the behaviour of the key players is morally reprehensible and cycling fans have every right to feel let down." CA said that White "had made a valuable contribution," however, there was no choice left "but to dismiss him." CA: "The admissions contained within his public statement... clearly place him in breach of the CA Anti-Doping Policy and Code of Conduct" (AFP, 10/17). In a statement, White said he hoped for "a clear path and a bright future for the sport." White added, "It's crucial there is a positive outcome from the current debate about cycling's past, and I feel a responsibility to be part of that -- even if it won't be in an official Cycling Australia role" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/17). In Sydney, Le Grand & Kogoy noted "the peak body for cycling in Australia did not ask" White whether he doped during his riding career when they hired him as an Olympic coach. At the time, CA was "aware of allegations raised by a former teammate." CA President Klaus Mueller said that at the time of his hiring "the board and executive had assumed White was innocent" because the source of the allegations, disgraced Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, was a "highly discredited" witness. Mueller said the process that put White in charge of the men's road racing program was not perfect, but "it wasn't haphazard" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/18).
The Chinese government is encouraging domestic companies to "grab investment opportunities in Brazil by getting involved in the nation's infrastructure-related industries," according to Zheng Yangpeng of the CHINA DAILY. Ministry of Commerce's Foreign Trade Department Dir Wang Shouwen said, "Brazil is preparing for the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016, which is creating tremendous demand for infrastructure construction and consumer goods. This is a huge opportunity for China's competitive industries such as machinery, building materials, textiles and apparel" (CHINA DAILY, 10/17).
Volkswagen-owned sports car brand Porsche is reportedly working on an F1 comeback but "when asked about the rumors, Porsche did not want to confirm them," according to MOTORSPORT-TOTAL.com. Porsche spokesperson Oliver Hilger said, "Those are pure speculations, we currently don't have any ambitions to return to F1. Our intention to race at Le Mans and in the World Endurance Championship hasn't changed. That's what we are getting ready for." Porsche's recent hires of specialized personnel with F1 background "do not indicate any comeback plans." Hilger said, "We need new personnel from motorsports' top racing series for our racing plans. If you need top personnel, you obviously have to look around in F1" (MOTORSPORT-TOTAL.com, 10/17).
The Scottish Football Association board will meet "over the coming days" to discuss the future and Craig Levein's position as Scotland manager, according to the Scottish DAILY RECORD. Levein's role will be "one of the main topics" of discussion. Over the next few days, the board will meet at the National Stadium in Glasgow to "look back over the defeats" to Wales and Belgium, and the overall qualification campaign so far. SFA CEO Stewart Regan refused to talk about the manager's position stating, "I think that's a decision for the board. It's important that we actually sit down, look at the facts and then decide on the next steps" (DAILY RECORD, 10/17)
Cricket Wellington's "parlous financial state" has caused the organization to ignore the recommendation that clubs hire development officers for this summer, according to Hamish Bidwell of the DOMINION POST. The 13 clubs taking part in this season's premier competition went to "exhaustive lengths" to meet the participation agreement. It was all part of the "One Club" blueprint, which was designed to build sustainable organizations "in touch with their communities." But due to the NZ$142,000 ($116,700) loss CW posted for the last financial year, the "rollout of development officers has been limited" to just six clubs. The six clubs, which will have partially funded development officers this season, are: Taita, Onslow, Wainuiomata, North City, Johnsonville and Collegians (DOMINION POST, 10/16).
The U.K. government was criticized for "refusing to back a boycott of the Bahrain Grand Prix over human rights concerns," despite implementing its own boycott of Euro 2012 in Ukraine. The Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said it was difficult to find any "consistency of logic" in ministers' approach to the issue (London GUARDIAN, 10/16). ... The Int'l Cricket Council has told the Pakistan Cricket Board that "a team comprising of int'l players cannot call itself a World XI" in Karachi, Pakistan this weekend. ICC spokesperson Samiul Hasan said it "doesn't permit the names of World or World XI for exhibition matches" (AP, 10/17). ... The Pakistan Cricket Board has "constituted a committee to probe into the allegations of corruption against umpires, Nadeem Ghouri and Anis-ur-Rehman." The PCB has not made an official announcement regarding the formation of this committee, but reliable sources have said that the "board's legal experts were on the panel" (PTI, 10/17).