The European Tour confirmed its support for the proposed ban on anchored putters, or belly-putters, from '16, according to the London TELEGRAPH. At the end of last month, the PGA Tour came out against the ban, "joining the PGA of America in opposing the move." But the European Tour has backed the proposal put forward by the game's governing bodies, the R&A and USGA, "although support from the tournament committee and player representatives was not unanimous." European Tour CEO George O'Grady said, "We understand the points put forward by the PGA Tour and respect and sympathize with their views, which are based on their experience and the evidence before them, and have been expressed with great concern for the game" (TELEGRAPH, 3/4).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
A pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and its 23 centrally contracted players has ended "after players signed new contracts ahead of this weekend's Test match against Bangladesh," according to REUTERS. SLC and Sri Lankan Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had warned the players they "faced being dropped from the national team if they did not sign new deals" by Tuesday. SLC officials said that the players were demanding a pay of 75% of the board's total earnings, while a senior cricketer said that they were "merely opposing SLC's move to cut their terms" (REUTERS, 3/4).
The National Rugby League's most sensational match-fixing scandal "is set to be played out again with three key players behind a massive betting plunge" on a Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and North Queensland Cowboys match to face a Sydney court, according to Kate McClymont of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Just weeks after the Australian Crime Commission released a "damning" report warning of the threat of match-fixing in sport, the case involving rugby league identity John Elias, former Parramatta player Brad Murray, and Jai Ayoub, the son of Murray Manager Sam Ayoub, "will be before the Downing Centre Criminal Court on Wednesday." The Director of Public Prosecutions "is seeking a joint trial for the three over their alleged role in the betting plunge on the Cowboys to open the scoring by a penalty kick in their match against the Canterbury Bulldogs" in Aug. '10. Justice Fullerton noted that "the prosecution case was that Bulldogs player Ryan Tandy manipulated the game by giving away a penalty to the Cowboys early in the game." Tandy "is the only person in Australian history to be convicted of match fixing." He escaped prison but was fined A$4,000 ($4,065) for attempting to ''gain financial advantage by deception" (SMH, 3/5).
Aussie rules footballer Lance Franklin could be paid by the Australian Football League "outside the salary cap should he choose to leave Hawthorn for Greater Western Sydney," according to Mark Robinson of the HERALD SUN. The AFL "would consider making Franklin an ambassador of the game, as it did rugby league converts Israel Folau and Karmichael Hunt." AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou Monday confirmed that "a precedent existed where an AFL player -- Tony Lockett -- was paid by the league as an ambassador in an expansion market." Demetriou Monday stressed that "the AFL would not be part of any deal to send Franklin north, but would look at a proposal from GWS after Franklin had signed." Demetriou said, "Under no circumstances are they to enter into an arrangement with a club to entice a player to go somewhere on the basis we are going to top up his salary" (HERALD SUN, 3/5).
The Cycling Federation of India, which will host the Asian cycling championship in New Dehli from Thursday, "has attracted international embarrassment," according to THE HINDU. Cyclists from a few countries, including Iran, "are yet to get visas for the event," and the CFI "is facing pressure from the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the Asian Cycling Confederation over the issue." The uncertainty over Iran’s participation, especially, "has irked the UCI and ACC." In a recent article published on its website, the Cycling Federation of Islamic Republic of Iran (CFIRI) said that the CFI was not giving any "authentic" reply. The article stated: "[The] Iranian national federation had to cancel tickets three times so far and sustained a big financial loss. A huge amount of money has been spent on the riders’ preparation for the Asian championship but the innocent riders are now seeing their efforts going waste." The CFIRI has put out portions of letters written by the UCI President Pat McQuaid and the ACC Secretary General Choi Boo Woong "in favour of Iranian cyclists." CFI General Secretary Onkar Singh said that his organization was trying to convince the government authorities. Onkar said, "We get a bad name for this. We had done all paperwork in time. We are trying to resolve the situation" (THE HINDU, 3/4).
The coach of New Zealand's successful sprint cycling program fears that New Zealand "will lose ground quickly" unless it finds the money to send more riders to Europe, according to Dana Johannsen of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. Justin Grace, who is in charge of the men's sprint team, said that "financial pressures were jeopardising BikeNZ's high performance programme, with the national body having to make cutbacks in response to increased competition costs." BikeNZ "is having to prioritise its programmes this year" after overspending NZ$251,000 ($207,000) in the high performance budget last year. The national body "could afford to send a team of only five to the track cycling world championships in Belarus this month, with the women's and endurance teams missing out on the event." BikeNZ received NZ$15.6M ($12.8M) from High Performance New Zealand in the latest round of funding, up NZ$300,000 ($247,000) from the previous four-year cycle. However, "it faces a couple of expensive campaigns over the next 18 months, with next year's world champs in Colombia, and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games shortly after." Bike NZ CEO Kieran Turner said that it was likely the organziation "would have to focus more on development than campaigning over the next two years." Turner said, "We're just going through that process now on looking at what we prioritize" (NZ HERALD, 3/5).