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Volume 10 No. 25

Leagues and Governing Bodies

South Korean prosecutors said on Tuesday they were "investigating a professional basketball coach for alleged match-fixing, following similar scandals in domestic football and volleyball leagues," according to the BANGKOK POST. A spokesperson from the prosecutors' office said, "The investigation is underway." The coach, whose name was not revealed, allegedly received some 30M won ($27,500) from a gambler about two years ago and "rigged games by substituting key players." The gambler was "recently arrested, reports said, citing the city prosecutors" (BANGKOK POST, 3/5). In Seoul, Kim Tong-hyung reported "a fresh match-fixing scandal has kicked dirt in the face of Korean professional sports." There was a ubiquitous sense of ''here we go again" as prosecutors confirmed they have arrested a fixer and "plan to soon summon" a Korean Basketball League head coach over the possible manipulation of games. All four of Korea’s major professional sports leagues -- baseball, football, basketball and volleyball -- "have been rocked by game rigging in recent years." A KBL spokesperson said, ''This is a case that is currently under investigation, so it’s inappropriate for us to talk about the details. Commissioner Han Sun-kyo is watching the situation closely. We will call in team officials to hear their side of the story and get to the bottom of this" (KOREA TIMES, 3/5).

INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED: YONHAP reported the KBL said "it has launched its own investigation into allegations that an active head coach was involved in a match-fixing scheme." The league said that it will "ask the coach’s team to verify facts surrounding the fixing allegations." If the allegations are proven true, the coach "would become the first active head coach of a South Korean professional team to be directly involved in fixing schemes." The KBL said that if the head coach admits to his illegal activities, it will "immediately open discussions for punishments" (YONHAP, 3/5). In Seoul, Lee Ah-ran reported a professional basketball coach has "denied allegations" of illegal match-fixing. In an interview with Yonhap News, the coach "only identified as K," said that he "hadn’t been approached to illegally rig matches, and had not received money to do fix games" (KOREA HERALD, 3/5).

Scottish Premier League CEO Neil Doncaster pocketed a £28,000 ($42,000) pay raise last year "despite the Scottish game being in a critical state," according to Gavin Berry of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Fans "hit out at the inflation-busting deal," which saw his salary increase from £172,000 ($260,000) to £200,000 ($301,000). That rise was "revealed in the company accounts" and came despite a 6% fall in income from £22.7M ($34.3M) to £21.4M ($32.3M) (DAILY RECORD, 3/5). The SCOTSMAN reported Doncaster’s pay hike has "caused further puzzlement" as a replacement sponsor for Clydesdale Bank, whose deal ends this summer, has yet to be found. Rangers Supporters Assembly President Andy Kerr said, "It’s hard to believe that at a time when the game is struggling, Neil Doncaster is taking such inflation-busting rises. And that’s before we even get into the cost of appointing the legal eagles." Federation of Hearts Supporters Clubs General Secretary Steve Kilgour said, "How can they justify a wage rise like this for Doncaster? They withheld payments to Hearts when we were struggling to make payments on time" (SCOTSMAN, 3/5).

Australian Football League CEO Andrew Demetriou said that the interchange cap is coming in '14, "whether coaches like it or not, but his statement has caught some clubs off guard," according to Matt Murnane of THE AGE. Demetriou said on Tuesday that the AFL would "bring in an interchange cap next season and was using 2013 to work out the number of rotations and other changes that would be brought in." Several clubs "expressed surprise" to hear the AFL CEO "talk so definitively about the introduction of a cap next year." However, an AFL spokesperson said that all clubs "had been told the cap would be in place next season." And Demetriou met senior coaches at the end of last season "to discuss the change." Demetriou clarified on Tuesday: ''The fact of the matter is, unless people have got amnesia, the AFL Commission has already passed the rule … it said at the end of the year the cap's coming in. There's no going back on that -- that is already put in place'' (THE AGE, 3/6).

PLAYING IT SAFE: In Melbourne, Adam Cooper reported the AFL's investigator and one of Australia's leading sports administrators "agree the league should consider telling its integrity team, which players have failed drug tests to safeguard against corruption." AFL Integrity Services Manager Brett Clothier and former Cricket Australia CEO Malcolm Speed separately told a Senate committee on Tuesday that "there was merit for those watching for spot-fixing to know which players had drug strikes against their names." However, independent Senator Nick Xenophon "raised the prospect of the AFL's integrity investigators also being informed" at the joint Senate committee on gambling reform, which is focusing on the impact of gambling advertising in sport. Xenophon said that players who used illicit drugs and who could have a strike against their name "could be blackmailed into providing inside information or being coerced into spot-fixing scenarios by drug dealers or organised crime groups" (THE AGE, 3/6).

STICKING AROUND: In Melbourne, Jon Ralph reported Demetriou has said that his tenure "will extend well beyond a decade, hinting he plans to be in the top job for a minimum of three more years." Demetriou has "consistently refused to say when he might call it a day, stating only that he is happy about the challenges of his role." However, when he accepted VicSport's Victorian Sports Leadership Award on Monday night, he "made it clear he would be at the helm" for the next TV rights negotiation. AFL Commission Chair Mike Fitzpatrick said last year of Demetriou: "When the commission feels he's starting to flag or tire, we'll tap him on the shoulder." However, Fitzpatrick gave his total backing to Demetriou, who he said had "unfinished business" to "get up a good, stable, 18-team competition" (HERALD SUN, 3/6).

The NBA will play eight preseason games in six countries this October. The games will include the first NBA preseason games to be held in Brazil and the Philippines, and in the cities of Bilbao, Spain and Manchester, England. Additionally, the NBA global games will feature a variety of events off the court, including NBA Cares community outreach activities and interactive fan events in each city. They will also be supported by a variety of marketing and promotional partners, and will be available to fans on TV and through digital media (NBA).

THUNDER IN MANCHESTER: In London, David Kent reported the NBA will return to England when the Oklahoma City Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers meet at Manchester Arena on Oct. 8. It "follows the success" of January's preseason fixture between the N.Y. Knicks and Detroit Pistons at a sold-out O2 in London (DAILY MAIL, 3/5).

LINSANITY IN PHILIPPINES: In Manila, Josef T. Ramos reported Filipinos will "have a chance to see in person" NBA player Jeremy Lin when the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers play a preseason game on Oct. 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City (MANILA TIMES, 3/5).