Australian Football League CEO Andrew Demetriou "is directly warning players of the dangers of dabbling in drugs that are not approved for human use, in addition to the established bogies of performance-enhancing, illicit and prescription drugs," according to Jake Niall of THE AGE. In briefing players at all clubs about the drugs-in-sport issue, "Demetriou's message is that players who are involved in illegal activities 'will be caught' because of the greater investigative powers of law enforcement agencies such as the Australian Crime Commission." Demetriou said that his message to the players and staff at the clubs, which reiterated what club boards had heard, "was based on the contents of the explosive and contentious ACC report." He said, "It's not a new thing from us, it's in the ACC report. So that was what we briefed all the clubs about" (THE AGE, 4/5).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said on Thursday that "three Lebanese football officials have been charged with receiving sexual bribes" to fix an Asian Football Confederation Cup match in Singapore, according to Amlan Chakraborty of REUTERS. Referee Ali Sabbagh and assistant referees Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb "were hastily replaced by officials from Thailand and Malaysia for Tampines Rovers' 4-2 defeat by East Bengal of India on Wednesday." The Lebanese trio were taken to the CPIB instead and "appeared in a Singapore court" on Thursday. The CPIB said in a statement, "Singapore has always adopted a zero tolerance approach towards corruption and matchfixing of any form is not condoned in Singapore" (REUTERS, 4/4).
The attendance figures of the Austrian football Bundesliga "have slighty decreased," according to the KLEINE ZEITUNG. The league said that a total of 889,379 people "have attended its games during the first three quarters of the season." The number equals "an average attendance of 6,588 per game, which is a 6.6% decrease in comparison to the same period last year." This comes after the league's attendance figure already decreased by 11.5% from the '10-11 to '11-12. The team with the highest attendance number continues to be SK Rapid Vienna with an average of 14,255 fans per home game. Rapid is followed by Sturm Graz (10,163) and current first-place team Austria Vienna (9,052). Defending champion Red Bull Salzburg ranks fourth with an average of 8,327 fans per game. The team with the lowest average attendance is SC Wiener Neustadt with only 2,796. In addition to its attendance figures, the league "also revealed that the percentage of Austrian players in the country's top flight is the highest since the '95-96 season." After 27 matchweeks, an average of 75.9% of all minutes have been played by Austrian national team eligible players (KLEINE ZEITUNG, 4/3).
India's top football league "is asking expatriates to help keep the struggling sport alive in their cricket-mad homeland," according to Preeti Kannan of THE NATIONAL. The I-League's organizers will on Saturday "ask expats to dig deep for the beautiful game and invest millions of dirhams in at least two new clubs." The All India Football Federation "will meet potential investors at Dubai's Ritz Carlton." AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said, "We want people to buy into the potential of Indian football. We are confident overseas investors could help to revive the sport." Ten potential investors "have already agreed to meet football officials on Saturday." The timing could have been better as the Indian Premier League, the int'l Twenty20 cricket competition, began Wednesday. One of the 10 possible investors is Missan Computers CEO Amir Mohammed. He said, "The logic is very simple. Football has the maximum viewers around the world. Of course, Indians are crazy about cricket. But the fact is every sport is rising in India. Given the fan following for football in India, it has a lot of opportunities" (THE NATIONAL, 4/4).
Australia's world champion netballers "are 'up for a fight' and ready to take industrial action in a pay dispute with Netball Australia" if talks fail, according to the AAP. The players' union "is to meet with NA on Friday in the latest attempt to negotiate a new deal." The Diamonds "have taken the dispute to Fair Work Australia through the Australian Workers Union, with players asking for an increase" from A$200 ($208) to A$400 per day of national team duty. The union said that "on average, players spend 50 contact days with the Australian team a year, earning them an income of around" A$10,000. The increase would see that doubled to A$20,000. Netball Australia said that it has offered players a 20% pay increase, but the union said that "players won't accept that offer" (AAP, 4/4).