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Volume 10 No. 25

Events and Attractions

The owner of Germany's Nürburgring racetrack said that the popular F1 venue "could still host the German Grand Prix next year despite uncertainty linked to the track's insolvency," according to Burger & Hübner of REUTERS. The current operator NAG, which has leased the facilities from the owner, is in talks with F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone to "secure the race and keep him from awarding the July event to Hockenheim, which alternates each year with its rival." Nürburgring GmbH Managing Dir Thomas Schmidt said, "If the issue over whether there will be a Formula One race at Nürburgring in 2013 is sorted out by year-end, that would still be early enough." The Nürburgring GmbH "ran into finacial trouble amid a dispute with operator NAG over leasing fees." Schmidt, who runs the company with an insolvency administrator, said he had met with Ecclestone in London, "but only to get to know one another." NAG, owned by hotelier Joerg Lindner and real estate investor Kai Richter, "for now remains at the negotiation table" with Ecclestone (REUTERS, 11/18). The DPA reported F1 "will race in Germany next year despite the crisis at the Nürburgring." Ecclestone said, "We do not want and will not lose the race in Germany, for sure." The first option as a host venue is still the Nürburgring (DPA, 11/16).

TWO IN INDIA? PIT PASS reported Ecclestone "has been in talks about hosting a second Indian Grand Prix to improve the sport's chances of gaining a foothold in such a large country." India's population of 1.2 billion makes it the world's second-most populous country after China. However, whilst China's interest in F1 has not run much deeper than its Grand Prix, India "had fielded two drivers and a team before it even had a race." The Indian Grand Prix is only in its second year, and like many new races it has seen declining attendance. Ironically, its fortunes "could be boosted by there being another race in the country." Last month Ecclestone admitted that "a second race in India is a possibility." He said, "There's one or two places I have had a word with which could work." However, Ecclestone added that a second race "will only get the green light if attendance at the first race does not continue to decline" (PIT PASS, 11/18).

Organizers of an "ambitious bid" to host four stages of the Tour de France across Great Britain in '14 are expected to find out if their plan is successful before Christmas, according to Robin Scott-Elliot of the London INDEPENDENT. There is "increasing confidence" among the bid's backers that Tour owner Amaury Sports Organisation will "favour the race returning to Britain" in the wake of Bradley Wiggins' win this year, the extraordinary growth of cycling in Britain and the success of the Olympics. The sight of "huge crowds" at both the road races and time trials during the London Games made "a positive impression" on ASO, as did the crowd that watched the torch relay across the country. British Cycling Dir Jonny Clay said, "The planned route would pass within one hour of 50% of the population" (INDEPENDENT, 11/18).

HEAD START: In London, William Fotheringham reported the joint bid from Scotland, Wales and England "looked to have gained a head start" over the other prospective host, Yorkshire, after British Cycling came out firmly in favor. Tour de France organizers could not be reached for comment, but "have always expressed enthusiastic support for the notion of returning to Britain." Organizers "tend to take the Tour start outside France in alternate years," and with the 2013 Centenary Tour held entirely on French soil, that "points to a possible foreign start in '14" (GUARDIAN, 11/17).

IT'S IN THE DETAILS: In Edinburgh, Richard Moore reported under the newly-revised proposals, Edinburgh, if successful, will "host a teams’ presentation" on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle on the eve of the Tour, and then the start of stage one – a road race that will take the riders south, with Newcastle and Dumfries both in the frame to host the stage finish. Typically, stage one commences on the first Saturday in July. A Scottish start "would see the Tour’s longest ever sojourn outside France" -- four days. Following a first stage from Edinburgh, further stages would visit Manchester, Wales and the south of England before the riders and their entourage -- around 4,000 people in total -- return to France. EventScotland Events Dir Stuart Turner said a successful bid would include payment to ASO estimated at “a round figure of around £10M ($15.8M)" (SCOTSMAN, 11/17). RTE noted should the bid succeed, '14 would be "a bumper year for sport in Scotland" with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Perthshire. Funding for the event would likely "come from the public purse" -- Scottish and Welsh governments, U.K. Sport and cities and towns which would stage the event -- with "further investigations into commercial contracts" should the bid be successful (RTE, 11/17).

The All India Football Federation "has refused permission to the Zambia national team" to train in the state of Goa, "prompting the African Cup of Nations champions to look elsewhere" (TNN, 11/16). ... Int'l Cricket Council President Alan Isaac said that "Bangladesh's proposed tour of Pakistan next month was a matter between the two nations, and the governing body's role was limited to deploying match officials for the series." Isaac said, "The process is clear. First Bangladesh and Pakistan have to confirm the tour is taking place, then they have to supply a security plan and only at that stage do ICC make an assessment with regard to the match officials" (PTI, 11/17).