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Volume 10 No. 24

Leagues and Governing Bodies

UEFA President Michel Platini met with French politicians Tuesday, "as they seek to introduce controls that may curb" Qatari-owned Paris St. Germain's record spending on players, according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. Platini was invited by parliamentarians at France's National Assembly "to explain how his organization crafted its own rules that seek to punish teams playing in elite competitions if they breach cost-control regulations." Losses at European teams have grown from €700M in '08 to €1.7B in '11. Parliamentarians in France "have been raising concerns" about football finances since a unit of the state-controlled Qatar Investment Authority took control of PSG in '11. A PSG spokesperson did not "immediately respond to a call seeking comment" (BLOOMBERG, 1/16).

Scottish Premier League Dundee CEO Scot Gardiner warned that it is "now or never to radically overhaul Scottish football," according to Michael Gannon of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. And he claimed the controversial 12-12-18 plan is the "only show in town." Gardiner, who is one of the architects of the "much-derided proposal," said that every alternative structure was looked at -- including Rangers CEO Charles Green’s suggestion of three leagues of 14. But he insisted that "every other plan is dead in the water, and we will be stuck with the status quo unless the new structure is voted through later this month." Gardiner said, "We have to change, and we have to do it now. There is no point pretending otherwise. We are not in this position because everything is great with Scottish football" (DAILY RECORD, 1/17).

The Korea Baseball Organization "unanimously approved" South Korea's No. 2 mobile carrier KT as the owner of a 10th team on Thursday, according to Jung Min-ho of the KOREA TIMES. The telecom giant and the city of Suwon "overcame a challenge from construction firm Booyoung's partnership" with North Jeolla province. The new club will play in the minor Korea Baseball Futures League before joining the top-flight KBO in '15. In addition to the 20B won ($19M) donation KT "has promised for the further growth of baseball," it will also pay 3B won ($2.8M) as a start-up fee and provide a 10B won ($9.5M) deposit that can be used "in the case of a financial emergency in operating the team" (KOREA TIMES, 1/17). In Seoul, Moon Gwang-lip noted once the new team joins the top tier in '15, the KBO will be "only two clubs shy" of Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball, the biggest league in Asia. Suwon "launched a remodeling project" of Suwon Baseball Stadium earlier this month and plans to put 29B won ($27.4M) into the project." The plan will see the two-story stadium with a capacity to seat 14,000 "renovated into a three-story, 25,000-seat stadium by the end of the year" (KOREA JOONGANG DAILY, 1/18).

When the NBA's N.Y. Knicks defeated the Detroit Pistons 102-87 at the O2 Arena in London Thursday night, they did so "in front of a capacity crowd that was certainly not coerced into attending," illustrating that the league "continues to have some traction in Britain," according to Steven Cotton of the N.Y. TIMES. However, while the NBA "can generate some interest" in the U.K. -- even if the Wednesday editions of many of the country’s national newspapers "had no advance coverage of the game" -- domestic basketball on a professional level in Britain "is another story." It "does not resonate anywhere near the way it does in such countries as Spain or Greece or Turkey." In fact, it often "does not resonate much at all." The British Basketball League has "struggled to establish itself," with many crowds for games registering in the triple digits and virtually no coverage in the sports pages. However, the BBL’s cup final last Sunday in Birmingham drew a capacity crowd of 7,500. BBL Commercial Dir David Leyden Dunbar said that among the country’s 10- to 16-year-olds, basketball "is the second-most popular sport," behind football. Dunbar: "But the numbers drop off a cliff at the age of 19, and the challenge for us is how we stop the rot." A "clear jump" in the NBA's popularity in Britain in the mid-90s came "partly courtesy of the extensive league coverage on Channel 4," then one of four free, over-the-air broadcast channels that were beamed into just about every home in the country (N.Y. TIMES, 1/16).

The franchises of the Bangladesh Premier League "have been dealt a huge blow after the Pakistan Cricket Board refused to issue No Objection Certificates to the 26 national players who were set to be part of the Twenty20 event starting on Friday," according to the PTI. Bangladesh Cricket Board Media Committee Chair Jalal Yunus said, "A little while ago, we received a phone call from their COO Subhan Ahmed saying that if we don't send the Bangladesh team on tour to Pakistan, they won't give NOCs to their players to participate in the BPL." Yunus added: "We will hold the tournament without their participation, and it will start as per schedule, the opening ceremony on January 17 and the matches beginning on January 18." The seven franchises "will now have less than two days to replace the Pakistani cricketers, who were auctioned for this season" (PTI, 1/17).

PLAYERS KEEP QUIET: The PTI also reported Pakistani players are "disappointed with PCB's decision." Some of these players "were understandably reluctant to speak on record, but those who had contracts to play in the league feel that the PCB should have at least allowed those players who have yet to play international cricket." One player said, "The PCB could have reached a solution by holding back the star players to register its protest with the BCB for not sending its team to Pakistan but allowed those players who are only playing domestic cricket to go and earn some good money in the league." He pointed out that Pakistan "was one of those Test playing nations where domestic players were paid very little." He said, "This was a good chance for around 25 to 30 players to go and earn some good money, but apparently the PCB felt otherwise (PTI, 1/17).

STANDING FIRM: In another piece the PTI reported PCB Chair Zaka Ashraf "is adamant that they took the right decision by not sending the national players for the Bangladesh Premier League after the BCB twice backed out of its commitment to tour Pakistan." Ashraf said that the forthcoming Pakistan Super League "will provide compensation to the players who were not given NOCs to go to Bangladesh." Ashraf said, "Bangladesh weren’t the last option as we have other alternatives to resume international cricket in Pakistan" (PTI, 1/17).

The Board of Control For Cricket in India has "approved the organisation of a new inter-university tournament in the T20 format on the lines of the existing Rohinton Baria Trophy." The Toyota University Championship is a joint initiative of news channel NDTV, Union human resource development ministry and Association of Universities (PTI, 1/17). ... The Table Tennis Federation of India has "amended its constitution by incorporating the provisions with regard to age and tenure" to fall in line with the sports code. The decision came after the Sports Ministry "sent a letter to all the National Sports Federations, asking them to revise their constitution in consonance with the Sports Code by the end of this month" (PTI, 1/17). ... The Bhutan Cricket Council Board won the Best Women's Cricket Initiative award during the Int'l Cricket Council's '12 development program annual awards held for the Asian Region. The BCCB was recognised for its developmental work for "the fourth time in six years" (IANS, 1/17).