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Volume 6 No. 214

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Multiple F1 teams "are in negotiations about a possible involvement in Formula E," according to Sylt & Reid of MOTORSPORT TOTAL. The new series for formula cars with electric engines, which was created by motorsports governing body FIA, will debut in '14. It is expected that former F1 drivers also will compete in the new racing series. Formula E Holding CEO Alejandro Agag said, "We are currently negotiating with two F1 teams. Several will definitely participate." Agag added: "We also want participants from the IndyCar and even the NASCAR series." In addition to the possibility of "racing with cars that do not produce emissions, the financial aspect of the series is also very interesting for teams." While F1 teams spend an average of $190M per season, a season in Formula E will cost only about $5M. Due to its uniqueness, the series also is very attractive for drivers. Agag said, "It shouldn't be viewed as a step backward in the career of a driver. It is more a step sideways into a completely new series, and an honorable way to end a career. It isn't a development series but a completely new format that we want to position on the market as such." Agag added: "Due to that, former F1 drivers will also be participating." The Formula E engines will be produced by McLaren. Agag said that because of the very quiet engines, there are completely new possibilities for organizers and spectators. Agag said: "If drivers talk to their teams via radio, we will use the speakers at the track to play back the conversations, so spectators can hear it during the race." Formula E will only race on city courses. So far, Rio de Janeiro and Rome have been confirmed as host cities (MOTORSPORT TOTAL, 1/21).

Season one of the Indian American football league "passed by mostly unnoticed," according to Ranjita Ganesan of the Indian BUSINESS STANDARD. Launched in '11, Elite Football League of India, the first men's professional American football league in the subcontinent, "has not garnered much interest." With six Indian teams and one each from Sri Lanka and Pakistan, "it managed to land a television broadcasting deal with Ten Sports." However, the league's first season, with 51 matches played between July and August, "went mostly unnoticed." The games, which were played in Sri Lanka, "were slickly edited but the frenzy of activity on the screen only confused the viewer." After "the tame first season, the league management now plans to air short instructional videos before and after matches to explain the rules to viewers." Ten Sports CEO Atul Pande said TV revenue for the EFLI's first season was "negligible." He expects that the sport will "gain momentum over the next five to 10 years." EFLI co-Founder Sunday Zeller said, "The biggest challenge, quite frankly, has been ignorance of the entertainment value and potential for revenue, based on the U.S. model and the history of NFL. In a country where sport has merely been a hobby or an Olympic event, this concept has been difficult to take root" (BUSINESS STANDARD, 1/19).

All India Tennis Association VP Karti Chidambaram "has criticised the association’s handling of the selection of the Indian Davis Cup team" for the tie against South Korea, according to THE HINDU. In an open letter to the other VPs of the AITA, Karti questioned why the selection meeting could not have been postponed given the national body was facing an "abnormal situation." He "dismissed Secretary General Bharat Oza’s contention that the team had been announced early to help players plan their tournament schedule." Karti wrote, "He is probably unaware that no ATP tournaments are held in the week of the Davis Cup, and further there are no ITF (Int'l Tennis Federation) Futures or Challengers of any significance in our part of the world during this week" (THE HINDU, 1/22). The PTI reported the AITA "hit out" at Chidambaram, "for questioning the Davis Cup team selection on Tuesday, and asked why he did not raise the issue when he was the chairman of the Davis Cup Committee." AITA "hinted it may take a disciplinary action" against Karti. In a statement Oza said: "Mr. Karti, while he was chairman of the Davis Cup Committee, did not bring up any issues of players’ concerns with AITA. AITA is not going to change the team for the current Davis Cup tie against Korea as that will be most unfair to the players who are practicing very hard for preparation of the Davis Cup tie" (PTI, 1/22).

Int'l cricketers "are being strongly advised to reject lucrative offers from Pakistan's new Twenty20 league because of security concerns," according to Sam Sheringham of the BBC. Organizers of the $100M Pakistan Super League said that they "have had interest from England, South Africa and Australia." However, the global players' union (FICA) has "significant concerns" over safety. FICA CEO Tim May said: "I think you'll find the majority of current international cricketers will heed our advice" (BBC, 1/22). The PTI reported Pakistani players "can expect to earn" between $5,000-$100,000 in the much hyped PSL T20 tournament due to begin from March 26. The members of the national squad that departed Sunday for South Africa "were told about the money they could expect to earn from the league." This was after some of them "expressed apprehensions that since they would only return home one day before the start of the PSL they would not be able to be involved in the franchise selection and bidding process." One source close to a player said, "The board arranged a meeting on Saturday in which the managing director of the PSL, Sarwar Salma Butt, spoke to the players on video link and assured them their interests would be well taken care off in the process leading up to the league" (PTI, 1/20).

CONSIDERING ITS OPTIONS: The PTI also reported the Pakistan Cricket Board "is considering the option of hiring foreign security experts to set up the security plan" for the forthcoming PSL T20 tournament. A top official in the PSL secretariat confirmed that there "was a proposal to hire foreign security experts to not only coordinate the security plan for the league" but also ensure that Int'l Cricket Council anti-corruption measures "were put in place for the event" (PTI, 1/22).

Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and other leading tennis players calling for increased blood testing in tennis "could get their wish" in '13 with the introduction of athlete biological passports to the sport, according to Simon Cambers of REUTERS. The biological passport is a "method of monitoring selected biological parameters over time, rather than trying to detect individual substances, and was considered one of the main reasons for the success in catching cheats in cycling." Int'l Tennis Federation Exec Dir, Science & Technical Dr. Stuart Miller said, "We're looking very, very closely at it and I think there's a reasonably good chance that will be operational probably towards the end of 2013." The Tennis Anti-Doping Program, which operates under the World Anti-Doping Agency code is funded by the ITF along with the ATP and WTA tours and grand slams. On Tuesday, the ITF "confirmed that the total investment" in the anti-doping program was $2M per year (REUTERS, 1/22).

Japan's professional football league, the J.League, announced Tuesday that it "intends to develop" a third tier, J.League Division 3, starting in '14. The plan would see about 10 teams from the current Japan Football League and other local leagues participate. They will "carefully review the potential financial issues" in order to make the new division a reality. Currently, the J.League consists of two divisions: 18 teams in Division 1 and 22 teams in Division 2 (NIKKAN SPORTS, 1/22). ... I-League club Mohun Bagan paid Rs 2 crore ($372,000) penalty to the All India Football Federation. Despite the lifting of the ban, the club "still has a few issues to deal with." The AIFF "has pulled up the club's star striker Odafa for violence during the infamous East Bengal-Mohun Bagan derby last month." The federation held a disciplinary meeting on Monday (TIMES OF INDIA, 1/20).