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Volume 10 No. 25

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Scottish Premier League CEO Neil Doncaster Monday night "tried to defend the proposal to create a new league system, which contradicts the idea football is a simple game," according to Hugh Keevins of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. The SPL plan "to have two leagues of 12 clubs splitting into three divisions of eight was slated" by some of the Scottish Football League chairmen who "will be asked to join the new set-up." One of them, Alloa Athletic FC Chair Mike Mulraney, predicted law suits and a winter of discontent. He said: "If this is just another solution to get Rangers back up quickly I don’t know how many people would support that idea. If they plan to cherry pick 12 clubs and to hell with the rest what happens when the others take them to court? Surely there’s no one naive enough to think this idea will fly with the fans?" (DAILY RECORD, 11/20).

The SCOTSMAN reported the SFL will take its time "before forming an opinion on the SPL’s call to pursue an expansion of the top flight in Scotland" as it has "still to receive a detailed communication on the matter." SPL Operations Dir David Thomson said, "The issue is much more complex than just the size of the leagues as issues such as equitable governance, an all through distribution model, player development, stadium criteria, youth and reserve team football would all need to be considered. At the moment we know what our plan covers in these areas, but we have no detail on how the SPL view these issues. We will make comment on the SPL plans once we know more" (SCOTSMAN, 11/20).

The Russian Premier League has "tightened regulations imposed on clubs in terms of their responsibility for the behaviour of their fans," according to the AFP. From now on the visiting club will be "responsible for ticket sales for its fans" and will bear responsibility for their behavior. The league also issued an appeal to Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs to "launch a legal action against those who violate the regulations." The league's meeting was called to "discuss an incident" that occurred at Saturday's league match between hosts Dynamo Moscow and Zenit St. Petersburg at the Khimki arena.The match in question was abandoned in the 36th minute after home goalkeeper Anton Shunin was injured by a "firecracker thrown by the visiting team's fans." The Russian Football Union disciplinary panel "will investigate the incident and take a decision on the case on Thursday" (AFP, 11/20).

In the week of the lucrative and high-profile finish to its season at the Dubai World Championship, "a wider debate over the European Tour's status rumbles on," according to Ewan Murray of the London GUARDIAN. The desire of European players "to seek fortunes in the U.S. is nothing new but now seems more apparent, and potentially more damaging." Belgian golfer Nicolas Colsaerts "has become the latest golfer to take up membership on the PGA Tour." The scenario "has prompted one of the world's top players, Luke Donald, to speak of a 'talent drain' on the European Tour." Such sentiment is "understandable." Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and Justin Rose "are among those who have now set up home in the U.S." European Tour CEO George O'Grady said, "We have got to be concerned. Lee Westwood could go home to Worksop [in England] from Dubai [in UAE] and conceivably not hit a golf shot for goodness knows how long because of the weather. Lee explained to me that he wants to win a major; he can live in Florida with his own practice range within walking distance, which he can use whenever he wants because of the climate." O'Grady added, "I wouldn't say the phone has been ringing off the hook with people wanting to sponsor tournaments." The European Tour "has been damaged by the loss of tournaments, notably in Spain, because of economic circumstances." With that in mind, the addition of an event in Turkey this year "proved a timely boost, while this weekend in Dubai, O'Grady will formally announce a fresh, end-of-season European Tour format starting next year, which will partly mirror the FedEx Cup set-up in the U.S." One of golf's leading agents Chubby Chandler said, "You ... have to give the good players opportunities to play for proper money in Europe. I would go to the players and ask them to nominate a week where they will all play. You can go to sponsors with a commitment from 19 of the top 25 Europeans all to play in one week. It needs some creativity and thought." Chandler added, "Companies right now aren't stupid, they know what they can get for £2M-3M ($3.2M-4.8M). For £3M you could have a top European Tour event or the shirt sponsorship of teams five, six, and seven in the Premier League. What's going to get you more coverage?" (GUARDIAN, 11/20).

A survey released on Tuesday said that European football managers' "overwhelmingly favour clarification of the handball rule," and the majority wants to "see video technology introduced to the game," according to Josh Reich of REUTERS. The League Managers Association European Managers and Coaches Survey "quizzed 110 managers working in 14 countries," and found that "83% of managers feel the handball law requires further clarification." The introduction of video and goal-line technology "received a 62% backing" while 63% said that football "should consider a decision referral system such as in cricket and tennis." Managers "identified refereeing as the main area that could help improve the standard of the game and backed a professional referee training academy" (REUTERS, 11/20).

Former Int'l Cricket Council CEO Haroon Lorgat has recommended action to review "laws that create potential for government interference" in Sri Lanka Cricket, according to the PTI. SLC obtained Lorgat's services as a special adviser in its bid to "revamp the administration with emphasis on financial management." His report was published on Tuesday. Lorgat recommended the need to "develop suitable high performance and indoor facilities and to clear the prevailing tensions, so that former national greats could serve as role models for emerging players." He also said that even though SLC can boast of a reasonably successful national team, it has faced "very challenging strategic, financial, administrative and operational issues." Lorgat recommended "long-term soft loans as means to overcome the SLC's present burdensome financial obligations" (PTI, 11/20).

The Hong Kong Golf Association "will receive its sanction fee" of HK$1.6M ($206,000) for hosting the UBS Hong Kong Open that ended on Sunday. Fears were raised on the eve of the tournament that the HKGA, as well as partners the Asian Tour and the European Tour, "would have to forsake the sanction fees from the '12 tournament due to tight budgeting" (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 11/20). ... The All India Football Federation revealed that the elections of the office bearers of its organization will be held during its annual general meeting on Dec. 20. The decision was made at the Exec Committee meeting, chaired by AIFF President Praful Patel (PTI, 11/20). ... The Malaysian Hockey Confederation "will embark on a comprehensive exercise" to revamp and restructure its administration and constitution. MHC President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said that the current exec board was "too large and needs to be trimmed to make it more lean and effective in the decision making process" (THE STAR, 11/20).