F1, for decades "stuck in a '70s Playboy time warp, is waking up to sexual equality," according to Sathnam Sanghera of the LONDON TIMES. For the first time in the sport's 63-year history, there is a team "with a female principal" -- Sauber's Monisha Kaltenborn. At the Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks ago, Red Bull sent head of trackside electronics Gill Jones "to collect their constructors' trophy." And Williams, one of Britain's most successful F1 outfits, "not only employs" the 30-year-old Susie Wolff as its development driver, but "recently appointed" 36-year-old Claire Williams, daughter of founder Frank Williams, "as deputy team principal." Wolff said, "Things are definitely changing." She acknowledged that change is coming from a low base, with only five women having entered an F1 race, against more than 800 men, but added, "There is a sense of expectation, and as soon as you get that pressure, things happen." If you are wondering what is (excuse the pun) "driving this belated revolution apart from drivers like Wolff, and the U.S. IndyCar and Nascar driver Danica Patrick," there is a clue to be found behind Wolff's high, starched collar. Wolff: "I was at a football game and a physio came up to me to ask what sport I did. He had never seen a woman with such a big neck." She strokes the side of a neck that has grown "as a result of fighting g-forces during races." Wolff: "If you grab a boy and girl from the street, the boy will be better at racing. Women have 30 percent less muscle than men. But with practice, training, women can become as good. I wouldn't do it otherwise." The belated acceptance that women "are up to the job physically" has come with another realization: motor racing seems to have realized that excluding half the world's population "is not the most commercially savvy thing to do." Claire Williams said, "I don't want to discuss it because I don't want to give other teams ideas. How many female brands do we have in F1? We are leveraging that possibility. We need to remember that 40 percent of our audience is female" (LONDON TIMES, 5/9).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority "could have the power to compel parties such as Stephen Dank to interviews by next week, with the federal Sports Minister increasingly confident that legislation to bolster the muscle of the government agency will be passed," according to Samantha Lane of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. After agreeing to drop an original push for ASADA to be able to force individuals to self-incriminate in interviews, minister Kate Lundy "has won support for a new bill from the Greens." The crucial amendments to the ASADA legislation "would give the national anti-doping watchdog the power to oblige all persons of interest to interviews, and compel them to produce all relevant documents, and other materials, relevant to investigations" (SMH, 5/10).
TAKING HEAT: In Melbourne, Brent Read reported ASADA "has copped a shellacking for a second successive day over its handling of the aborted interview" with National Rugby League Cronulla player Wade Graham. A day after NRL CEO Dave Smith found no justification for ASADA's decision to suspend the interview process, Melbourne academic and lawyer Martin Hardie claimed that "the anti-doping agency had no idea how to deal with athletes." Hardie "also ridiculed comparisons with the Lance Armstrong case" and suggested World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey had acted like a "spoiled brat" with his response to the NRL's handling of the ongoing inquiry (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/10).
Australian Football League CEO Andrew Demetriou admitted that "the code has no pretensions of becoming an international sport despite the initial success of their New Zealand venture," according to the AAP. Demetriou said that St. Kilda's three-year, five-game deal to host games in Wellington, which started with its Anzac Day clash against Sydney, "was a sign of things to come on the overseas front." But the aim "is to please clubs' multi-national sponsors and raise the value of the AFL's international television rights, not set the scene for a more substantial form of global expansion." Demetriou said, "We are unashamedly an indigenous code. We don't purport to be anything else" (AAP, 5/9).
NO ENEMIES: In Sydney, Steve Mascord reported National Rugby League Melbourne Storm's CEO-in-waiting Mark Evans said that rugby league "does not have to fight tooth and nail with the AFL in Victoria and, instead, sport as a whole should be trying to attract people away from other leisure pursuits." Asked if he was ready to roll up his sleeves and battle AFL, Evans said, "No, I don't think so. I think it's about doing a good job yourself as a sport and competition. If you do that, nine times out of 10 people will come and watch" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5/10).
The UAE's Emirates Racing Authority "has no plans to test the Godolphin horses still in Dubai," which previously were in the care of trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni, according to Geoffrey Riddle of THE NATIONAL. According to Godolphin Racing Manager Simon Crisford, Al Zarooni revealed that he was responsible for giving "fewer than ten horses" in pre-training anabolic steroids during early winter in Dubai. The former Godolphin trainer assured Crisford that those horses remained in Dubai, "and that the same two foremen and vet's assistant that assisted Zarooni in Newmarket were also involved." The ERA has not been made aware of which horses were given the drugs, "as the use of anabolic steroids is permitted outside of competition in the UAE." An ERA spokesperson said, "There is no need to test them. The substances in question are not prohibited when used out of competition and for therapeutic purposes in the UAE. It is the responsibility of the trainer to keep full medical records. These records should be available for ERA officials to view at any time, but trainers are not required to inform the ERA when these substances are administered" (THE NATIONAL, 5/8).
HAVING THE AUTHORITY: In a separate article, Riddle also wrote the British Horseracing Authority "could prevent any horse that has run or has been trained in Dubai from competing under its jurisdiction in Great Britain if they have reason to believe it has benefitted from the administration of anabolic steroids." The BHA "require the connections to all overseas runners to fill in a form detailing the full medical history of horses in their care before those horses are permitted to compete" (THE NATIONAL, 5/8).
The Int'l Cricket Council conceded Friday there was "confusion" in a vote for a place on one of its committees, according to the AP. The election has raised allegations of vote fixing and led the int'l players' association "to formally request an ethics committee investigation." Cricket's governing body said a re-vote had to be taken in the process to choose player representatives, "but it had no evidence that some countries put pressure on their captains to back Indian candidate Laxman Sivaramakrishnan for a place on the ICC's Cricket Committee because of the influence of the powerful cricket board." The ICC said that "the confusion in the initial vote in January resulted from it being unclear what should happen if the vote of the 10 captains was tied, or if a country had different captains for test and one-day formats" (AP, 5/10). The PTI reported the furore over the former India cricketer's appointment was caused following allegations that the Board of Control for Cricket in India "forced a re-vote" to get Sivaramakrishnan on the committee after former cricketer Tim May won the initial vote 9-1. The ICC stated that "it would not make any further comment regarding the issue" (PTI, 5/9).
Spain's congress voted Thursday on the new anti-doping law, "which will meet another requirement to continue the parliamentary procedure in the Senate toward approval before the end of the political year and before the bid for Madrid 2020 is submitted for the IOC's final decision in September," according to the EFE. Spanish Education, Culture and Sports Minister José Ignacio Wert will defend "The Organic Law of protection of the health of athletes and the fight against doping in sporting activity." It will substitute the '06 law "to adapt the Spanish rule to meet the World Anti-doping Code." The debate of the new law "coincides with the visit of the French Senate Commission, which is investigating the efficiency of Spain's fight against doping" (EFE, 5/9).
Talks with FIFA aimed at creating an historic deal to unify football in Cyprus "have stalled as Greek and Turkish Cypriot officials grapple with the wording of a firm agreement" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 5/9). ... A former member of the Pakistan Cricket Board's board of governors "filed a petition in Lahore High Court on Wednesday against the election of Zaka Ashraf" as the new PCB chairman (AP, 5/9).