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Volume 6 No. 212

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The Indian Premier League General Council on Tuesday "decided that Sri Lankan players will not play in IPL matches to be held in Chennai," according to THE HINDU. Earlier, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had written to Indian PM Manmohan Singh saying that "the participation of Sri Lankan players in the IPL tournament, with many games to be played in Chennai, will aggravate an already surcharged atmosphere and further offend the sentiments of the people." Chennai is scheduled to host 10 matches, "including a qualifier and an eliminator after the league phase." The Jayalalithaa's letter prompted the IPL Governing Council to convene an emergency meeting "where it was decided that Sri Lankan players and officials will not take part in the matches to be played in Chennai." IPL Chair Rajeev Shukla said, "Today, the Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has written to the Prime Minister of India stating that she will not permit the participation of Sri Lankan players or umpires in matches in Chennai during Pepsi IPL 2013. The security of all involved in the IPL, whether players, spectators or those working in the stadiums, is of paramount importance to the BCCI." It "was a rather quick response to a strongly worded letter from the Chief Minister." The letter said, "The Government of Tamil Nadu will permit IPL matches to be held in Tamil Nadu only if the organisers provide and undertaking that no Sri Lankan players, umpires, officials or support staff would participate in these matches" (THE HINDU, 3/27).

PLAYING HOST: IANS reported the Kerala Cricket Association "has offered to host" IPL matches at Kochi. KCA secretary T.C. Mathew said that "they would be glad to stage at Kochi all the matches that are scheduled in Chennai." Mathew: "We have already hosted IPL matches (fourth edition) in 2011, and we have no issues in organizing it this time. I am meeting Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to discuss this issue because we require the full support of the State Government and the Kochi Corporation" (IANS, 3/26).

Emirates Cricket Board CEO David East said that the organization "may soon contract players" to play for the UAE national team, according to K.R. Nayar of GULF NEWS. He said that with cricketers here being unable to get adequate time for practice due to their job commitments, "plans are on to create a centralised contracting system." East: “One of the key issues is the lack of availability of players due to work commitments. This is a matter which we will look towards solving to give our coach the best possible team to work with all the time." East also revealed that plans are "afoot to stage inter emirates cricket tournaments." East said, “We want to make sure we get the best versus best playing in all tournaments. We are certainly looking at an inter-emirate competition. This plan is very active at the moment in its preparation and consideration." Talking about the prospect of high-profile matches like Dubai versus Abu Dhabi, East said: “Our vision would certainly be for that to happen, but whether it can happen immediately or not is a matter we will discuss as it involves financial support, sponsorship and logistics" (GULF NEWS, 3/26).

The Australian Football League's fight to strengthen integrity measures "has hit a hurdle, with clubs questioning the need to hire integrity or risk officers," according to Jon Pierik of THE AGE.  Collingwood, Port Adelaide, West Coast and Brisbane "have people working in this area, but several clubs are weighing up the benefits shown in the job description of a full-time specialist integrity officer and whether they can fund what is believed to be an extra" A$150,000 ($157,000) from their tight budgets. The reported job description for an integrity officer appears to focus on keeping a close eye on players at all times, including to ''monitor and assist in the control of access to players from external parties." AFL Geelong CEO Brian Cook said that the Cats "were not interested in filling the position." Cook said, "If the role is dominantly a policing role, we don't want to do that." AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou has said it is ''very, very important'' for clubs to consider filling a role that has risen to prominence in the wake of trouble at Essendon. But "it is not compulsory" (THE AGE, 3/27).

In Sydney, Brad Walter reported National Rugby League Cronulla players "have never been offered a deal to plead guilty to using performance-enhancing substances and accept a six-month ban, and face a suspension of up to two years if charged with a doping violation." It has been reported former Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Chief Counsel Richard Redman "had negotiated six-month bans for them if they pleaded guilty." However, Fairfax Media "has been told that is incorrect and Redman merely advised the players of their options if they were to be charged at a meeting three weeks ago, which was also attended by several player agents" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 3/27).

The Handball Bundesliga (HBL) "is reportedly planning on playing a title game to determine its champion" starting with the '14-15 season, according to SPORT BILD. In a first vote on the proposed title game, 12 of the 18 HBL clubs voted in favor, five teams abstained from voting and only one team was opposed. Besides the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, the stadiums in Frankfurt and Dusseldorf are also venues considered to host the proposed game. HBL CEO Frank Bohmann said, "We don't want to set records, but give it a new dynamic." He added that "a title game would be perfect for it." The proposed game "will be played between the first and second-place teams after the end of the 34-game regular season" (SPORT BILD, 3/26). 

Connecting with Auckland's growing Asian population is "one of the New Zealand Rugby Union's main goals for the next three years," according to Patrick McKendry of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. In revealing the organization's hope of broadening its horizons, CEO Steve Tew said its future "depended on it." Asked if he would like to see an Asian represent the All Blacks, Tew replied: "We cannot be relevant in Auckland or New Zealand unless we accept the fact that there's an increasing Asian influence in our population, so we need Asian people to want to play, coach, administer, watch and 'wear' our game. If we don't get that right then some time in the future we'll be irrelevant." Ensuring rugby was the sport of choice in wider Auckland was point No. 4 in a six-point plan for the NZRU, which has rebranded itself for "everyday" use as New Zealand Rugby. The first two goals are "performance-based and clear-cut" -- win the 2015 World Cup in England and win the men's and women's sevens at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Included are maintaining the financial health of the New Zealand game -- "and there was good news on this point" with a surplus of NZ$626,000 ($525,000) announced for the 14 ITM Cup provincial unions for the past financial year, a turnaround of about NZ$1M after the deficit of NZ$631,000 in '11 -- "making sure teenagers stayed engaged with the game, and maintaining New Zealand's global presence" (NZ HERALD, 3/26).

The Rugby Football Union said that Premiership rugby side London Welsh has lost its "appeal against a five-point deduction for fielding ineligible player Tyson Keats." An Independent Appeal Panel "upheld the decision to dock the club five Premiership points and fine" it £15,000 ($22,700) but removed a further suspended five-point deduction that "had been imposed in the original ruling earlier this month" (REUTERS, 3/26). ... FIFA "is not recognizing the appointment of four new executive committee members" by the Indonesian football federation (PSSI) (JAKARTA POST, 3/26). ... Basketball Australia board member Andrew Gaze said that it is time to "seriously consider" reintroducing the National Basketball League as a winter competition. Gaze said that there was merit in the season running from March to October, as it was when the league was at its most popular -- during the '80s and '90s (THE AGE, 3/27). ... Australian Football League Greater Western Sydney CEO David Matthews wants to start the season at least two weeks earlier to combat the head start the National Rugby League gets with its season. He said, "Our preference would be to start the season at Skoda Stadium. You would love to get started well before Easter because it can be a very disruptive time" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 3/27).