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Volume 6 No. 214

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Cycling’s ruling body "banned Lance Armstrong for life and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles on Monday, but struggled to draw a line under a doping scandal that has brought its leadership of the sport into question," according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid told journalists at a press conference in Geneva: “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling. He deserves to be forgotten in cycling.” The UCI decided it was "endorsing the findings" of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that said Armstrong had engaged in “serial cheating” and participated in an organized doping ring in the U.S. Postal Service team over several years. Armstrong "now faces civil suits from sponsors seeking to recoup fees, and could also lose the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Olympics" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 10/22). THE NATIONAL reported that McQuaid admitted that cycling had "a culture of doping, but insisted that the culture was changing and that attitudes within the peloton toward using performance enhancing drugs was changing." He said that the body had been working in recent years "to improve its fight against doping, and had been working with other bodies and law enforcement services to crack down on cheats within the sport" (THE NATIONAL, 10/22).

QUESTIONS REMAIN: In London, Brendan Gallagher wrote that "some big decisions will now be postponed until they are debated at a general committee meeting." Among them are "what will happen to the prize money, and will Armstrong be replaced for those seven years on the Tour de France podium." McQuaid also "dipped his toe" into what has been labelled the Sky/Garmin debate -- zero tolerance of past dopers after interview or complete integration after a full admission of past sins." McQuaid "appears to come down marginally in favour" of Gramin-Sharp cyclist David Millar and Manager Jonathan Vaghters. McQuaid: "It is possible that people who have made mistakes in the past can help the sport in the future" (TELEGRAPH, 10/22). Also in London, Simon Rice wrote that "while addressing the past, McQuaid was steadfast in his belief that cycling has a positive future." McQuaid: "My message to cycling, to our riders, to our sponsors and to our fans today is: cycling has a future" (INDEPENDENT, 10/22).

ANOTHER SPONSOR GONE: The PA reported that Armstrong lost the support of another major sponsor after Oakley severed its ties with the "disgraced cyclist." The brand confirmed in a statement it was ending its relationship with Armstrong. The statement read: "Based on UCI's decision and the overwhelming evidence that USADA presented, Oakley has severed its long-standing relationship with Lance Armstrong, effective immediately. We are deeply saddened by the outcome but look forward with hope to athletes and teams of the future who will rekindle that inspiration by racing clean, fair and honest. We believe the Livestrong Foundation has been a positive force in the lives of many affected by cancer and, at this time, Oakley will continue to support its noble goals" (PA, 10/22).

The Australian Rugby League Commission and the recently formed Club Council are set to "meet to finalise a massive increase" in the National Rugby League's grant for next season, according to Brent Read of THE AUSTRALIAN. The parties are "ready to finalise an agreement that will guarantee the financial future" of the league's 16 clubs. Currently, the clubs receive just less than A$4M ($4.1M) a season, but that number "could jump as high as A$7M next season" as the commission begins spreading the game's A$1.025B broadcasting deal. Across the 16 clubs, "it would amount to an investment of roughly A$112M." The parties "are expected to agree on a figure for '13 only," followed by further negotiation over the size of the grant for subsequent years. With next year's grant to be confirmed, the game "should be in a position to nail down the salary cap for the same time." Clubs have already reached an agreement to act on a A$5M salary cap for next year, although that figure is yet to be ratified by the Rugby League Players' Association (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/23).

Badminton World Federation President Paisan Rangsikitpho said that badminton "is likely to have its own technology," similar to Hawk-Eye in tennis, for players to challenge line calls, according to THE STAR. Rangsikitpho, also the chairman of the BWF Council Events Committee, said that BWF has "come up with a few proposals after several meetings," including the introduction of instant replay technology. The suggestions include "an improved format for the Olympic Games badminton competitions," as well as an introduction of a new repackaged badminton series, the Grand Prix Gold series, "which will offer lucrative money for the second echelon players." Rangsikitpho: "We are finally making the proposal for the use of this technology. We are not adopting Hawk-Eye but are looking into investing in similar technology -- a combination of human and new scientific methods by an American company." Rangsikitpho said that next year's Olympic Games format would see some changes, following this year's disqualification of several teams for throwing their matches. Rangsikitpho: "We will stick with our group format as it was successful as we saw many quality matches. However, we are proposing for a fresh draw to be conducted after the group matches, so that there will not be any more loopholes for players to manipulate" (THE STAR, 10/22).

The resistance of Germany's professional football clubs "against a proposed security concept continues to grow," according to the DPA. Second Bundesliga clubs FC St. Pauli, Union Berlin and Hertha BSC have already publicly rejected the "Konzeptpapier Sicheres Stadionerlebnis" (draft paper safe stadium experience). In addition, "the skepticism in the Bundesliga also keeps growing." The security commission of the German Football League (DFL) "wants to analyze the feedback of all 36 Bundesliga and 2nd Bundesliga teams at its meeting on Monday in Frankfurt. In addition, the commission "will check if the proposed date for a decision in this matter, Dec. 12, is still feasible." The passage of the catalog of measures that was created following a security conference in Berlin and is supposed to take effect at the start of the '13-14 season "is questionable." In case of violations, the catalog "includes measures such as intensified stadium entry controls and a reduced amount of tickets for visiting fans." Eintracht Frankfurt CFO Axel Hellmann said, "I'm convinced that we have to rethink the schedule. There are also huge concerns on the part of the police." Hertha BSC said in a statement on its website "It cannot not approve the draft paper in its current form and the paper's depicted points as a whole due to a number of different reasons" (DPA, 10/21).