Australian Federal Sports Minister Kate Lundy "will launch a campaign" Wednesday night "to improve female representation on sports boards after reviewing damning statistics collected by the Australian Sports Commission," according to Nicole Jeffery of THE AUSTRALIAN. Lundy believes there is a "genuine appetite for change" on gender equity issues in Australian sport, and she is determined to take advantage of the mood. None of Australia's major professional sports has more than 25% female board membership, while the two sports with prominent national women's teams -- football and cricket -- "have only one female board member each." Only seven of the 55 national sports organizations reviewed by the ASC "have women occupying at least half of their board positions." Netball, primarily played by women, "tops the list" with 86%. Lundy is working with ASC Chair John Wylie "to establish a new Women in Sport unit to address the gender imbalance at the highest levels of Australian sport." She said the ASC met the requirement that government authorities should have women in at least 40% of board positions, and that would be a "worthy target" for national sports organizations (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/27).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
Peter Chapple-Hyam, leading horse trainer on the Flat for two decades with two Derby winners to his name, "could be banned from the sport for three years after he was charged with serious breaches of the Rules of Racing by the British Horseracing Authority," according to Greg Wood of the London GUARDIAN. Chapple-Hyam is charged with "deliberately misleading, or endeavouring to mislead, one of the BHA's investigations officers, both by falsifying his telephone records, and also by falsely claiming to have been in France with a runner" on July 12. He is also charged with "failing to supply his full and true telephone billings to BHA investigators within a reasonable time of the request being made." The "entry point" penalty for failing to produce telephone records is disqualification from racing for 18 months, "while the maximum penalty is a three-year ban." The BHA said that it will "not offer any comment on the case, including the reason why it requested Chapple-Hyam's telephone records, until it is concluded." No date has been set for the BHA disciplinary panel's hearing (GUARDIAN, 2/25).
The FA "is to investigate after a series of ugly incidents" at Monday night's Premier League U21 clash between Liverpool and ManU, according to John Drayton of the London DAILY MAIL. Liverpool striker Adam Morgan "was confronted by a pitch invader late in the second half of the match" at Langtree Park, the home of St. Helens rugby league club. There "were also two instances of flares being set off in the stands, with one being thrown onto the pitch." There were also reports of "distasteful chants being made by a section of the visiting support," but Merseyside Police said that "no complaints had been made to them and there was no record of any incidents in which they were involved at the fixture" (DAILY MAIL, 2/26).
ITALIAN ISSUES: The BBC reported Serie A side Inter Milan has been fined €50,000 ($65,340) after its fans "were found guilty of racially abusing former Inter striker Mario Balotelli." Ex-Manchester City striker Balotelli was also fined €10,000 ($13,100) for an "insulting gesture" toward Inter fans. The 22-year-old Italian int'l, who joined Milan in January, "raised a finger to his lips during Sunday's match at the San Siro in an apparent attempt to stop the abuse from the Inter fans." But Serie A's disciplinary commissioner deemed that "he had gesticulated to the opposition supporters and a fine was imposed" (BBC, 2/26).
The U.S. Wrestling Federation has invited the Iranian freestyle team to participate in an exhibition match in N.Y.'s Times Square. U.S. Wrestling has said that "a dual meet will be held in May" (TEHRAN TIMES, 2/26). ... Singapore Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong announced a new national High Performance System for elite sports and athletes. The new scheme will offer Sports Excellence Scholarships to selected athletes, "giving them monetary and non-monetary assistance that will encourage them to train full-time" (STRAITS TIMES, 2/26).