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Volume 10 No. 22

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The German Football League (DFL), the commercial rights holder of the Bundesliga, revealed Friday that goal-line technology will not be implemented in the Bundesliga before July 1, 2015. The decision was made as part of the league's offical game-ball tender process for the '14-15 season. A further assessment will be made at a later time to determine whether to subsequently introduce the technology. The DFL is currently preparing the tender for the period following the expiration of its current game-ball contract on June 30 and has not ruled out the use of goal-line technology starting in the '15-16 season (DFL).

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone revealed for the first time "details of how he was allegedly blackmailed" for £29M ($44M) by jailed German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky, according to Sylt & Reid of the London TELEGRAPH. He said that Gribkowsky threatened to tip off U.K. tax authority HMRC with "false details about his tax affairs if the money was not paid." However, until now, Ecclestone "has not revealed details" of the threat that Gribkowsky allegedly used to get the £29M. Ecclestone said that "it centred on the Paul Ricard circuit," a race track near Marseille which hosted the French Grand Prix in the '70s and '80s. An extensive renovation involving 1,200 workers "was carried out to transform the circuit into a hi-tech test track." This work was co-ordinated by Excelis Chair Philippe Gurdjian along with Ecclestone, and "this formed the basis of Mr Gribkowsky’s threat." Ecclestone said, "I helped the people that own the circuit in Ricard, it belongs to the trust. I helped them and told them the sort of hospital they should build and even the sort of car run-off areas they should build. Gribkowsky said, I ran the trust and this is one example. As a U.K. taxpayer, Ecclestone "was not allowed control over the trust, otherwise it could be declared a sham and tax would have to be paid on it." Ecclestone said that, although there was no substance behind Gribkowsky’s allegation, he was concerned HMRC might take it seriously and that it “might cause them to assess me to owe a tax bill of many hundreds of millions, if not billions, of pounds that I believe I did not owe” (TELEGRAPH, 3/23).

MALAYSIA'S THUMBS UP: In Malaysia, Audrey Edwards reported Malaysia has been "given the thumbs up" by Ecclestone. Ecclestone said, "There are no dramas and all the people are very nice and good to deal with." He was commenting on Malaysia playing host to F1 races since '99. Ecclestone added that the Sepang Int'l Circuit will need a "paint job" (STAR ONLINE, 3/23). In Dubai, M. Satya Narayan reported after four consecutive sellouts, the Yas Marina Circuit "will now open its ‘Abu Dhabi Hill’ to accommodate extra spectators" for the '13 F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix -- the fifth running of which will take place on Nov. 3. Organizers announced the start of ticket sales with a 20% early bird discount available until May 31. This year's race will "see an increase in the number of spectators from 50,000 to 55,000" (GULF NEWS, 3/24).

Former Tom Brock scholar James Connor said that the ''normalisation'' of betting in rugby league may be the reason for a "dramatic disparity between the gambling habits of the code's supporters compared to the general population," according to David Sygall of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Figures provided to Fairfax Media by Roy Morgan Research showed people over 18 who said they supported an National Rugy League club were 72% "more likely than non-league supporters to have gambled in the past three months." They were 55% "more likely to have played a poker machine," 74% more likely to have used a tab to place a bet and 69% more likely to have "used the internet to have placed a bet." Connor, a senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales school of business who has extensively researched rugby league said, ''I'm not surprised in the least. The ads for betting have been completely normalised as part of the commentary. It's what you do now if you're engaged in rugby league. It's the most insidious change we've seen in the last decade.'' The figures showed Australian Football League supporters also gambled more than the general population, "but much less so than NRL supporters" (SMH, 3/24).

National Basketball League players "have expressed fears the competition is at the crossroads, declaring it is time to consider scrapping the player rankings system, lifting the salary cap and moving the season," according to Jon Pierik of THE AGE. NBL Players Association President Jacob Holmes said that "it is time for a serious review of a competition struggling to make an impact commercially and in the media." Basketball Australia CEO Kristina Keneally "has announced a major review and is seeking input from all parties, including players" Holmes said, "Our attendance has gone up but in terms of everything else, we are at a crossroads again." Holmes said that "there was merit in a January to May campaign, allowing two games a week to be held." He said, "From players' perspective, we are prepared to talk about the timing of the season." Other issues Holmes wants addresssed are:

  • Returning to a 48-minute game, as is the case in the NBA, rather than 40 minutes.
  • Expansion, with Brisbane again having a team, and Melbourne and Sydney introducing second clubs.
  • Tapping into the Asian market, with the two best NBL teams competing in a competition like football's Champions League (THE AGE, 3/25).

If F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has his way, Rio de Janeiro "could go back to hosting the F1 grand prix in the near future," according to GLOBO ESPORTE. Ecclestone is "not satisfied with the infrastructure" of the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo and has talked to Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes about possibly having the Brazilian Grand Prix in Rio in '16, the same year of the Olympic Games. Ecclestone said, "I am not satisfied with Sao Paulo and it has been awhile. It is an awesome circuit, but the installations need a major transformation. We could be in Rio during the years of the Olympics. The mayor told me that we could do this. But I know how difficult it already was for London to just host the Olympics" (GLOBO ESPORTE, 3/24).

The Golden Indonesia Program's (Prima) Head of Martial Arts Silvia Kristina said that "budget delays are hampering Indonesia’s preparations for major sports events and the government is to blame for neglecting the issue." Kristina "warned athletes were at a disadvantage and may not be able to compete at the highest levels unless bureaucratic bungling within the sector was fixed." Prima, a government body, "is charged with overseeing athletes training for major competitions" (JAKARTA GLOBE, 3/22). ... A 19-year-old weightlifter has been suspended by the Indian Weightlifting Federation "for allegedly harassing three junior women weightlifters" at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala, India. The three lifters "have alleged harassment by Shubham Verma, a silver medallist at the Youth Nationals last November" (PTI, 3/22).