Indian tennis "faces a second major embarrassment in six months after negotiations between the association and disgruntled Davis Cup players failed ahead of their home tie against South Korea next month," according to REUTERS. The eight top players "submitted a list of requirements to the All India Tennis Association with a veiled threat to snub the regional first round tie in New Delhi from Feb. 1-3 if no action was taken." The AITA "agreed to most of the demands, but it was not enough to convince the group" as they rejected the compromise formula. AITA CEO Hironmoy Chatterjee "ruled out any further dialogue with the players and set them a Thursday deadline to commit to playing in the team event." Chatterjee said, "We will wait for the players’ response. We won’t change our stand. Whatever was possible to be done, we have done" (REUTERS, 1/8).
PLAYERS' DEMANDS: The PTI wrote the revolting players "insisted that all their demands be met as it is." The players "did not accept Zishan Ali as coach, insisting that Aditya Sachdeva should be made the coach." They also "did not want S.P. Misra to remain captain," instead preferring either Rohit Rajpal or Anand Amritraj to be the next captain. In addition, they "also did not agree with AITA’s proposal to get a physio from the Sports Authority of India, proposing Yash Pandey’s name as their choice." The players have also "insisted that the team should consist of six players instead of four, and the fifth and the sixth player should also be considered for the sharing of prize money" (PTI, 1/8).
ATHLETES 'IN THE WRONG': In Dubai, UAE, Steve Elling opined "this time, the athletes might be the guys in the wrong." The "whining is as old as sport itself." The "tail-wags-dog tale received a good bit of publicity, making everybody involved look either selfish or ineffectual, perhaps a little of both." Worse, "the AITA caved in, granting nearly every wish." Right or wrong, "it is fair to wonder if the revolt was worth it because it resulted in another unflattering sports story for India" (THE NATIONAL, 1/7).
The Korea Baseball Organization "is expected to decide Friday" whether telecom company KT or housing giant Booyoung will be granted the operating rights for South Korea's 10th professional team, according to Jung Min-ho of the KOREA TIMES. The two conglomerates announced their bids Monday, and now an evaluation committee will review the applications, looking at about 30 categories including financial stability. A decision "is expected at a board of directors meeting on Friday." So far, KT has formed a partnership with the city of Suwon to create a team, while Booyoung is looking to form a club based in North Jeolla province and is backing plans by cities Jeonju, Iksan, Gunsan and Wanju. While "KT is trying to promote Suwon’s marketability, Booyoung is highlighting the need to decentralize the nation’s most popular sport, which already has four teams in Seoul and Gyeonggi province." KT Public Relations Manager Kim Dong-woo said, "In terms of population size and accessibility to public transportation, Suwon definitely has an edge over the cities in North Jeolla Province." Booyoung Chair Lee Joong-keun said that his company will build a new 25,000-capacity baseball stadium in Jeonju if the Jeolla bid is selected, "pledging it will continuously cooperate with the residents for sports development in the region" (KOREA TIMES, 1/8).
The Scottish Football League and Scottish Premier League "have agreed on a set of principles to restructure the game -- including a merger of both bodies" in a 12-12-18 structure, according to the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Both sets of clubs "have still to vote on the proposals," but a major breakthrough was made Tuesday during a meeting of the main decision makers in the SPL, SFL and the Scottish FA. The SPL "needs an 11-1 majority to push through the plans but already had a unanimous agreement in principle on the plans." The SFL, which had previously backed a 16-10-16 plan, "needs a minimum 75% agreement" (DAILY RECORD, 1/8). SFA CEO Stewart Regan said, "Ultimately it will be the clubs that decide, but we have seen today a willingness to make change happen and a recognition that Scottish football is crying out for a new dawn and we have now got agreement to take to clubs for a single league body. That is a huge step for the game in Scotland and it shouldn't be underestimated" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 1/8).
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said that the German Grand Prix is set to be held at the Nürburgring and "a deal could be agreed this week." The F1 calendar has the German race listed for July 7 at "a circuit to be confirmed." The Nürburgring and Hockenheim have alternated as venues for the German Grand Prix in recent years. Ecclestone added that the F1 calendar would have 19 races rather than the 20 slots available (REUTERS, 1/8). ... The Kuwaiti ambassador to Bahrain has been "forced to explain why some Kuwaiti flags raised" before the nation’s Gulf Cup Group B opening match with Yemen on Sunday "appeared to be orange in colour." Ambassador Sheikh Azzam Al Mubarak Al Sabah explained that the low quality material with which the flags "were made of inadvertently resulted in an orange reflection." Azzam insisted that "no political connotations were intended " (GULF NEWS, 1/8).
FOOTBALL DISCIPLINE: The Hungary and Bulgaria national teams must each play their next home matches without spectators after FIFA found each club in violation of FIFA's disciplinary code. Hungary was disciplined for an episode of racism and anti-Semitism by its supporters during an Aug. 15 match against Israel. The committee found Bulgaria in violation of FIFA's disciplinary code when supporters threw two fireworks onto the pitch during an Oct. 12 match against Denmark (FIFA). ... The FA has confirmed that it has "officially appealed" against UEFA's bans against Steven Caulker and Tom Ince over England U21's European Championship playoff against Serbia. Tottenham Hotspur defender Steven Caulker was given a two-match ban and Blackpool winger Tom Ince a one-match suspension after "clashes between players and coaching staff" at the end of an October match (London TELEGRAPH, 1/8). ... Fourth Division Italian side Pro Patria has been "ordered to play one home match behind closed doors" after racist chants prompted AC Milan to walk off the pitch during a friendly last week. The Lega Pro judge made the decision Tuesday, noting that Pro Patria has already been fined €5,000 ($6,500) for similar behavior by its fans this season (AP, 1/8).