Asian Football Confederation presidential candidate and UAE FA President Yousuf Al Serkal "promised to introduce new transparency measures such as publishing his financial benefits if he’s voted into office," according to Panja & Fattah of BLOOMBERG. He said he would also "set up a whistle-blower helpline to encourage the exposure of wrongdoing." Al Serkal is competing with football heads of Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for the AFC presidency. It "will be decided at the 47-member AFC’s extraordinary congress" in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on May 2 (BLOOMBERG, 4/8). In Dubai, Alaric Gomes reported Al Sarkal unveiled his election manifesto Monday using the slogan “Football at Heart.” His vision "included six pledges that he believes can transform the AFC." Al Serkal: "We are at a time when our stakeholders believe that leaders in the game are only in it for themselves. This must change. I want to see an AFC where football is the first and only topic on the agenda" (GULF NEWS, 4/8). In Abu Dhabi, John McAuley reported Al Serkal "confirmed his confidence in being elected president, while he also outlined his policies." Al Serkal: "I know from my experience that I will win. I'm sure about that, not only by promises but by my old and new contacts within the football federations" (THE NATIONAL, 4/8).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) and the 2nd Basketball Bundesliga "have signed a fundamental agreement," according to the SID. BBL CEO Jan Pommer said, "We have a common understanding and the goal to strategically advance German professional basketball as a whole. Part of it is that the first and second league closely coordinate their activities." The agreement will run until '22. The front office of the 2nd league "will move to the BBL headquarters in Cologne." In addition, there will be "dynamic standards" for 2nd league clubs. Each club "has to reach a minimum score by completing freely selectable criteria from a points catalog in the areas of personnel, infrastructure, video/PR, VIP and youth support." The minimum score will increase from 100 points in '13-14 to 200 points in '16-17. In return, the previously required minimum budget of €350,000 ($456,000) will be dropped (SID, 4/8).
Ligue 1 Paris St. Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic's agent "has landed himself in hot water after an amazing outburst" against FIFA, President Sepp Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini, according to Darrren Witcoop of the London DAILY MAIL. FIFA fined and warned agent Mini Raiola "for using offensive language in the wake of his no-holds barred attack." He was ordered to pay 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,349) and "was also hit the pocket" to the tune of 1,000 Swiss francs ($1,069) "for the costs of disciplinary proceedings." Raiola's rant came after Ibrahimovic was "overlooked for the FIFA’s 2012 Ballon D’Or prize." The agent "began his tirade by comparing the governing body to a mafia organisation." He later branded Blatter a ''demented dictator'' and called Platini a ''mafia boss'' (DAILY MAIL, 4/8).
FILING A COMPLAINT: Former Iran side Persepolis coach Manuel Jose has "formally complained to FIFA," claiming that the team "has not paid his remuneration" (TEHRAN TIMES, 4/8).
Basketball Australia "has rejected" Townsville's bid to withdraw from the National Basketball League claiming, among other specifications, "it has not given nine months notice as is legally required," according to Boti Nagy of NEWS LTD. BA CEO Kristina Keneally "jumped onto the front foot" Monday after Barrier Reef Basketball Pty Ltd., holders of the Crocodiles’ NBL license, "handed it back this morning, saying the 20-year-old franchise could not financially continue." Club Chair George Colbran said, "What that means effectively is that unless a new entity wishes to take up the license in the very near future, the Townsville Crocodiles will not be participating in the 2013-14 NBL competition after 20 years." Keneally said, "I am not accepting his license surrender. He has not complied with the licensing agreement requirements which state he has to prove they are insolvent, and if they want to surrender, they have to give us nine months’ notice." Keneally said that Townsville "had given no prior indication of its financial plight" which, it claimed Monday, had seen it lose A$2.5M ($2.6M) over the past six years. Of the Crocs’ revelations and decision to quit, potentially leaving the NBL with seven clubs, Keneally said, "It came completely out of the blue." The NBL must have its eight-team schedule finalized with its broadcast partners, Network Ten, four months from the '13-14 season tip off. The season "usually tips off in the first week of October giving BA and the NBL until the end of May to either revive the Crocodiles franchise or move forward on other possible options." A team in Brisbane and a second club out of Melbourne both "have been close to fruition." If Townsville "is not replaced, a seven-team NBL appears unlikely to attract sufficient corporate or fan support to continue" (NEWS LTD., 4/8).
Russian athletics federation (VFLA) President Valentin Balakhnichyov said that "he expected more doping cases involving Russian athletes to be revealed in the future because the country conducted more drugs tests than any other nation," according to Gennady Fyodorov of REUTERS. Balakhnichyov said, "Don't be surprised if you hear about a few more suspensions coming our way." Russian authorities "have been forced to step up their fight against doping after nearly two dozen of the country's leading athletes failed drug tests in the past 12 months." Last week, the VFLA "handed two-year bans to three Russian female athletes, including former world and Olympic champions Olga Kuzenkova and Svetlana Krivelyova, for failing drug tests after their samples were re-examined." They were the latest high-profile Russian athletes "to fall foul of the doping rules," and Balakhnichyov said that he feared the worst. He said, "It's simple arithmetic -- the more you test, the more people are likely be caught" (REUTERS, 4/8).
With an eye to promote the sport at the grassroot level, Hockey India on Monday "formed a High Performance and Development Committee" for the year '13-14 to be headed by Secretary General Narinder Batra (PTI, 4/8). ... The Singapore Table Tennis Association "has made a u-turn on its selection criteria for the upcoming Asian Youth Games in August and next year's Youth Olympic Games." It "decided to hold trials after criticism from some paddlers' parents and the Singapore National Olympic Council" (STRAITS TIMES, 4/8). ... Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh said that "the government should play a bigger role and start making public golf courses for the sport to become popular among the masses." Jeev said, "We need to have more public golf courses and driving ranges so that the normal masses also get an opportunity to play. The government also needs to play a far greater role for the development of the sport" (IANS, 4/8).