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Volume 6 No. 215

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Premier League clubs "have paved the way for the introduction of spending controls and a salary cap after their chairmen agreed in principle to their introduction," according to Mark Cue of the LONDON TIMES. Despite some opposition, the EPL "is keen to ensure that financial safeguards are in place before the start of the lucrative new broadcast deals" in August. Under the plans, the 20 clubs "would have to break even although the exact details of the controls have yet to be agreed." The main issue to be resolved "is believed to centre around how much funding wealthy owners can put into clubs to cover losses" (LONDON TIMES, 12/18). The BBC's Simon Austin reported "there are two main proposals on the table -- a break-even rule and a cap on the amount clubs can increase their wage bills by each season." Club CEOs "have now been asked to produce detailed plans for exactly how these proposals will work." City and Fulham "are the only clubs opposed to any spending controls." However, any new Premier League rule "requires the approval of only 14 of the 20 clubs in order to be introduced" (BBC, 12/18).

Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund has "urged fans to avoid protests over a new league security plan" when it takes on Hannover 96 in Wednesday's German Cup round of 16 tie, according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. Many Bundesliga fans, "angry with the newly-approved tighter security rules in and around stadiums that they say are spoiling the experience, have protested by staying silent for the opening 12 minutes of dozens of games in recent weeks." Dortmund said on Tuesday in a letter signed by captain Sebastian Kehl, coach Jürgen Klopp, Sports Dir Michael Zorc and CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, "We know that protests are planned among some fans for the game against Hannover, but we also know that many fans will be supporting us. We ask you not to allow trenches to be dug within the fan community and between you and us." The German Football League (DFL) and the 36 clubs from the top-two divisions "voted last week in favour of tougher stadium checks, an increased crackdown as well as sanctions for flares and smoke bombs, video monitoring, and better-trained security staff" (REUTERS, 12/18).

Australia's cricket team has "been cleared of the ball tampering accusations" that surfaced during the first Test match with Sri Lanka, according to Jason Marsh of FOX SPORTS. Images and video showing "suspicious treatment of the ball have caused a stir," and reports circulated that the Sri Lankans alerted the Int'l Cricket Council to potential ball tampering. However, the ICC announced that "there is no evidence of foul play," with accused player Peter Siddle stating that he would "never jeopardise a match by cheating." The Sri Lankans have "confirmed that they did not in fact file a formal complaint." In a post-match press conference, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said that the team "didn't make any formal complaint as they didn't see the incident, except for the well-publicised TV replays" (FOX SPORTS, 12/18).

NO EVIDENCE FOUND: In Melbourne, Andrew Wu reported match referee Chris Broad said in a statement that umpires cleared Siddle and Ed Cowan of any wrongdoing on Tuesday night after they "found no evidence to suggest that the condition of the ball had been changed." However, Broad "asked Channel Nine to send footage to the ICC," which has 24 hours after the completion of the game to lay charges. Pictures of the incident "were circulated on social media on Tuesday." After returning match figures of 9-104, Siddle said sarcastically, "I wake up in the morning, I thought today if I ran out there and ball tampered in front of 15 cameras and a lot of people watching the game I will get away with it -- that is a ridiculous statement. Why would I want to jeopardise that, when I know we can go out there and do everything in the spirit of the game and win?" (THE AGE, 12/19). In a statement, Broad said, "The umpires frequently inspect the ball during play, and did so again after they had reviewed the video footage in question on Sunday. They found no evidence to suggest that the condition of the ball had been changed. During the tea interval on that day, I spoke with Australia coach Mickey Arthur and told him that the umpires will continue to inspect the cricket ball regularly, and monitor the actions of all the players" (ICC).

The Australian Rugby League Commission "has scrapped the controversial 'benefit of the doubt' rule in a move it hopes will reduce pressure on referees next season," according to Honeysett & McDonald of THE AUSTRALIAN. The commission met Tuesday for the final time this year and later unveiled "several changes to next year's Telstra Premiership that also included changing State of Origin eligibility guidelines and amending rules and penalties to help outlaw the shoulder charge." Beginning next season, all referees will be required to make an on-field call on any try-scoring situation, "referring the matter to the video referee only if the ref has any reservations over his initial decision." The video referee will overturn the decision "only if there is sufficient evidence proving it was incorrect." National Rugby League Football Operations Dir Nathan McGuirk said, "We're hopeful that this will be a positive move in the utilisation of video technology to get more decisions right. Moving away from the video referees being the sole determiner of a decision to simply reviewing it, we believe, will be a positive move" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 12/19). The AAP wrote State of Origin eligibility "was another hot topic in '12." Now from '13, no player will be eligible to play for New South Wales or Queensland "unless he has lived in that state before the age of 13, or unless he is the son of an Origin player." The player must also be eligible to play for Australia. NRL interim CEO Shane Mattiske said, "The intention there is to bring some real clarity around the eligibility. I think we've got some very clear rules" (AAP, 12/18). In Sydney, Chammas & Keeble noted former Maroons and Kangaroos coach Wayne Bennett said that tightening Origin eligibility rules "would protect the fabric of the iconic series." Bennett said, "It's important that we all understand what makes Origin so great. It's what we've all bought into and believed -- state against state, mate against mate -- so if that's our belief, then it's important there is some basis around that." There was also an approval of the amended rule that provides a definition of the outlawed shoulder charge tackle that states: "Where a defender, without attempting to tackle, grab or hold the ball-carrier [or any opposing player] using the arms or hands, makes direct physical contact using the shoulder or the upper arm [tucked into the side]." Players will no longer be automatically referred to the judiciary panel for illegal contact from shoulder charges "and will face varying penalties" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 12/19).

A new franchise-based Twenty20 cricket tournament, the Caribbean Premier League, "has been launched" by merchant bank Verus Int'l, according to IANS. The CPL will see each franchise team "being built around Caribbean players complemented by a few int'l stars." West Indies Cricket Board President Julian Hunte said, "The WICB is particularly pleased about the opportunities the CPL will provide to players but is equally elated with the agreement, which will allow for regional retainer contracts for a broad pool of players.” The CPL will announce tournament dates, locations and partners in as well as launch a website in early '13 (IANS, 12/18).

The attendance numbers of Germany's 3rd League "are increasing again after the record-low of 4,562 per game in '11-12," according to the DPA. So far, 1,307,065 people have attended the games of the 3rd League, which is 6,165 per game. A major contributor to this number has been insolvent club Alemannia Aachen where 148,402 fans have watched the team's games, which equals 13,491 per game. The team with the worst attendance number is Borussia Dortmund's second team, which averages only 2,239 fans per game (DPA, 12/17).