National Rugby League officials "are set to put an offer to a heavy-hitting group of players including Jarryd Hayne, Cameron Smith and Johnathan Thurston at a critical and potentially explosive collective bargaining agreement meeting in Sydney on Friday," according to Glenn Jackson of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD.
The move "will come after NRL interim CEO Shane Mattiske's concession on Thursday the administration was not bound to a A$5M ($5.2M) salary cap for next year." However, the potential for breathing room "has been clouded by the clubs," which are understood to "have voted during a CEOs meeting on Wednesday for the cap to be set at A$5M, flying in the face of the players." Should the NRL officials follow the clubs' vote with the offer of a A$5M cap Friday, they "will be likely met with anger from the players." The association "has been pushing for a A$6.5M cap to be divided among an increased squad of 30 players, but it is unlikely the union will succeed with that request" (SMH, 11/30).
BOYCOTT TALK: In Sydney, Brent Read reported "there has been talk of players boycotting next year's Indigenous All Stars game over the slow progress of the salary cap and collective bargaining agreement talks." However, there "is support in some quarters for an NFL-style lockout" until the commission and Rugby League Players' Association "can reach agreement on the cap." That would mean "players boycotting preseason training and have the effect of sending a strong message without affecting the season proper, unless of course the stalemate extends well into next year." It is understood the clubs "have asked Mattiske to speak to the commission over the prospect of increasing the grant in line with any salary cap increases." Should the commission insist the grant must stay at A$7M next season, the clubs "are expected to strongly resist any attempts to increase the cap for '13" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 11/30).
STADIUM TACTICS: The AAP reported "suburban NRL grounds could be a thing of the past with the league intent on implementing a stadium strategy" that "will deliver average crowds of 20,000 by '17." In a development sure to divide fans of a host of Sydney clubs, the NRL "will spend the next three months consulting clubs and their supporters in a bid to determine where games are played in the future" (AAP, 11/28).
The "power struggle to determine who can and who can't challenge for the top job in African football is being taken all the way to sport's highest court of law," the Court of Arbitration for Sport, according to Andrew Warshaw of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. Two months ago, the Confederation of African Football passed an amendment "banning anyone from outside its inner sanctum" from challenging President Issa Hayatou. But now Hayatou is "having his authority challenged." The CAS has confirmed that Liberian officials have "appealed to overturn the election rules," which are scheduled to take place from Monday. Ivory Coast's Jacques Anouma and South Africa's Danny Jordaan "were seen as potential challengers although neither are voting members of CAF" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 11/29).
The Int'l Rugby Board said that it is committed to ensuring the UAE "grow on the world stage" after confirming the national federation has been made a full member of the sport's world governing body, according to Paul Radley of THE NATIONAL. The UAE Rugby Federation "took over running the game" after the multi-state Arabian Gulf union was disbanded two years ago. UAE Rugby Federation Chair Mohammed Falaknaz believes that the upgrade in status from associate membership is "due reward for the progress that has been made in developing rugby here." Falaknaz said, "We have continued our commitment to growing the game through qualifying more coaches, as well as increasing participation by young people with an emphasis on our Emirati youth" (THE NATIONAL, 11/28).
Scottish FA Performance Dir Mark Wotte "reckons Scotland must mirror the English FA's £105M ($168.3M) St. George's football centre and hopes to have a project ready in four years," according to Alan Marshall of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. SFA bosses are "desperate for Scotland to have a similar facility of their own," and the Scottish government has pledged £25M ($40.1M) to the development at a yet to be announced venue. Tendering will be completed this year, and the project is "expected to be ready" by '16. Wotte -- "keen to reshape the entire thinking of Scottish football" -- cannot stress enough how vital it is the country get a similar facility to the English, with the Dutch already decades ahead. Watte said, "It’s great that the government have given us £25M ($40M) but now we are looking for partners to build the best centre possible within the money range we have" (DAILY RECORD, 11/29)
India's Kolkata city police believe that "they have busted a big-time betting racket that may have made crores on the recent India-England Test match in Mumbai." A senior investigator confirmed that gambling was going on "during the England-India Test." The investigator said, "The result of the match was a surprise because Indian players practically surrendered before the English spin attack, which is quite bizarre." DC south suburban division Sujay Chanda "confirmed the arrest" of eight people. He said, "We are probing whether they are linked with cricket betting" (TIMES OF INDIA, 11/28). ... K-League Gwangju FC has been relegated to the second division for next season after a 2-0 loss at Daegu FC Wednesday night, "blowing a chance to stay" in the league's first division, just as the '12 season comes to an end (KOREA JOONGANG DAILY, 11/30). ... The Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) received confirmation that its friendly against Spain will be played Feb. 6 in Qatar (EL OBSERVADOR, 11/29).