F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has claimed the organization "can get by without the contract," which has been at the heart of the sport for more than 30 years and commits all the teams to race, according to Caroline Reid of ESPN. The contract, known as the Concorde Agreement, is signed by the teams, motorsports governing body FIA and the F1 Group, which is run by Ecclestone. Ecclestone has spent the past year "trying to negotiate a new contract," to run until the end of '20, but it has still not been signed. Ecclestone said, "We don't need the Concorde Agreement signed. It doesn't matter to me whether we have got the Concorde Agreement or not." Time is running out to get the deal signed by the start of the F1 season in March, but Ecclestone is confident that the racing "will not be disrupted if the contract is not in place." He said that he has "agreed financial terms with each of the 11 teams in separate contracts, which commit them to racing in F1 for the next eight years" (ESPN, 1/26).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The FA "set the stage for another disciplinary showdown" with Chelsea when it announced it would push for a longer ban for Eden Hazard than the statutory three games for the red card he received over the ballboy incident on Wednesday, according to Sam Wallace of the London INDEPENDENT. The FA said that a three-match ban for Hazard's dismissal against Swansea, in which he kicked at a ballboy, was "clearly insufficient" and an independent regulatory commission will decide next week the ban that the player must serve. The club "would have accepted the three-game ban." It is now "likely to appeal" against any additional games. Chelsea has until 6pm on Tuesday to put together its submission to the commission (INDEPENDENT, 1/25).
Tennis will have a biological passport database by the end of the year to "try to end suspicions of blood doping," according to Barry Flatman of the SUNDAY TIMES. The top players "will be most closely examined." The Int'l Tennis Federation, working to guidelines set by the World Anti-Doping Agency, said that it is "committed to updating its surveillance and recognises the need to accelerate blood testing to bring tennis in line with other sports." A $1.8M budget will have to be increased and the ITF will financially partner with the ATP World Tour, the WTA and the Grand Slam Committee "in the same way it did nearly five years ago to form the Tennis Integrity Unit, designed to investigate and prosecute those guilty of gambling corruption in tennis." The collection and analysis of blood samples is a "far more complicated and expensive process than the long-standing urine process." The costs of transporting and analyzing each individual sample can surpass $1,000 (SUNDAY TIMES, 1/27).
The head of the World Anti-Doping Agency "has called on Spanish authorities to ensure the names of athletes across all sports linked to the 2006 Operation Puerto doping scandal are revealed," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. Seven years ago, dramatic raids on laboratories, offices and apartments in the Spanish cities of Madrid, Zaragoza and El Escorial were brought forward. Lance Armstrong's former teammate, Tyler Hamilton, called it a "treasure trove" of evidence that "astonished the world." The case is now set to "reach court on Monday." The Puerto case "implicated more than 50 cyclists including Alberto Contador, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich and Alejandro Valverde in the use of performance-enhancing substances or practices." Valverde is the only Spanish rider who has been punished based on Puerto evidence -- he was banned for two years in '10. The German cyclist Ullrich "chose retirement in the face of the police discoveries and Italian cyclist Basso's implication led to a two-year ban" (GUARDIAN, 1/27).
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority said that "it is conducting fewer tests on cyclists because screening is more sophisticated and the government agency is no longer responsible for drug controls at Tour Down Under." The federal government-charged investigation into Cycling Australia "showed Australia's anti-doping agency conducted 260 fewer tests on cyclists" in '11 than in '08 (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 1/28). ... A pro-Palestinian people's activist group "has occupied the reception of UEFA's headquarters to protest Israel's hosting" of the European U21 Championship in June. About 40 protesters carrying banners and placards, some critical of UEFA President Michel Platini, "chanted slogans and engaged UEFA staff in debate" (AP, 1/25). ... The All India Football Federation has finalized 21 clubs "to participate in the 2nd division league" in '12-13. The top two clubs "will get a ticket to play in next edition's I-League." The clubs have been selected on the basis of the licensing process, which started on Nov. 21, when state associations "were asked to nominate clubs interested in participating in the league" (PTI, 1/25).