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Volume 10 No. 22

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Renault Sport "has signed up to be the technical partner for the new Formula E series, which is set to launch next season with a series of events on a range of new street circuits," according to CRASH. Renault "will work alongside Spark Racing Technology to build and supply the cars that will be used in the series for electric cars" -- with the 42 machines being produced for the inaugural season set to be known as "Spark-Renaults." In addition, Tag Heuer "has also been announced as official timing partner for the new series" (CRASH, 5/15). AUTOSPORT reported Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said that "the importance of getting a major motor manufacturer involved in FE could not be underestimated." Agag: "Not only is Renault one of the world's leading car manufacturers, with a very successful motorsport pedigree, it is also a pioneer for electric vehicles -- being the first full-range car manufacturer to market zero-emission vehicles. To have a manufacturer of this calibre onboard is a great testament to the growing appeal of the FIA Formula E Championship" (AUTOSPORT, 5/15).

The Australian Crime Commission report claims that "criminals are trying to establish relationships with senior club officials as a means to corrupting sports and athletes," according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. There are also concerns crooked sponsors are corrupting cash-strapped clubs, and that: "In essence, sport clubs/codes would never question the source of the money." While there have been suggestions criminals had gained access to athletes, "it's the first suggestion club administrators have also been targeted." The ACC report into doping and the integrity of sport "has been released under freedom of information laws to The Australian newspaper." The report specifically states that the National Rugby League and Australian Football League were areas of concern in relation to "infiltration through legitimate businesses, contractors and consultants." Sponsorships were another area of concern, "amid fears little scrutiny was given to the involvement of backers before clubs accepted their cash." The report said, "This was due to the high level of competition for sponsorship dollars between and within the codes, and the fact that many clubs are under significant financial pressure, and conduct little or no due diligence on potential investors and business partners" (SMH, 5/16).

NEEDING EVIDENCE: In Sydney, Roy Masters wrote federal government lawyers are trying to gain "immediate permission to use evidence" collected by the ACC. The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the ACC have a mountain of information, "including testimony by guilty parties and emails and text messages, but some of the ACC material cannot be used as evidence against the NRL and AFL players because it was gained by coercion." Government lawyers "are working late to devise ways the material can be supplied to ASADA in order to build a stronger case against players and coaches" (SMH, 5/16). In Melbourne, Caroline Wilson wrote AFL players "will be drug tested more than ever before as part of a raft of reforms to the competition's illicit drugs policy, to be outlined at Thursday's conference of the 18 clubs." Clubs look certain to be granted the power to target-test players, "but will have to pay for those tests" (THE AGE, 5/16).

Australian horse owners, trainers and racing clubs "sued the federal government, claiming its negligence caused a 2007 equine influenza outbreak that devastated the industry," according to Joe Schneider of BLOOMBERG. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Federal Court of Australia in Sydney by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, "seeks unspecified damages for more than 550 clients in the industry." The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry did not "immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment," and a spokesperson "declined to comment or be identified, citing government policy." Lawyer Damian Scattini said, "There are still many hundreds of people struggling to recover from the financial losses they suffered in 2007. There were systemic failures across Australia’s quarantine system." He added, "The plaintiffs’ damages will probably be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The losses range from significant to huge" (BLOOMBERG, 5/15).

The Rugby Football Union has been warned that it faces the threat of being plunged back into a “crisis of governance” ahead of a key debate on the recommendations of the Slaughter and May review into reforms of the governing body’s structure, according to Gavin Mairs of the London TELEGRAPH. The 18-month consultation process to reform the RFU’s corporate governance after the political turmoil of '11 "is under serious threat following the tabling of a number of radical amendments to the recommendations ahead of a special council meeting" in Birmingham, England on Friday. While all the controversial proposals, such as the call for women, ethnic minorities and disabled people form at least a fifth of the council and its reduction from 64 to 25 members have been dropped, the key battle "now appears to be the division of power between the council and the board." The RFU steering group charged with overseeing the review process that has included 12 nationwide road shows is "thought to have watered down and consolidated the Slaughter and May recommendations," which were published in Dec. '11, from 150 to nine key areas for reform. However, there are fears within the union that a major deviation away from the recommendations of the review process that was originally backed by U.K. Sports Minister Hugh Robertson "could also put in jeopardy" the RFU's £15M ($22.8M) annual funding from government agencies (TELEGRAPH, 5/15).

Reports about the death of boxing "have not been greatly exaggerated," according to Jung Min-ho of the KOREA TIMES. Just a few years ago Koreans hailed boxing champions "as bona fide national heroes." Now even "the best boxers fight to the background of the sound of crickets." The talent pipeline "appears to have dried up." The country's last Olympic boxing Gold Medal "came in the 1988 Seoul Games." It does not help that the sport continues to lose young athletes to mixed martial arts, "which seems to be everything boxing is not:" organized, business and media savvy and popular. Int'l Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) President Wu Ching-Kuo claimed that "boxing is undergoing dramatic and important changes to remake itself into a 21st century sport." But he also admitted that "progress in Korea has been slower than in other countries." Wu said, "If you judge boxing's popularity through the U.S. or Korea only, you miss the opportunity to recognize the whole world's development. Boxing has started to change." The scandal-plagued Korea Boxing Association "is still in a bind without leadership." The Korean Amateur Boxing Federation "had also run without sound leadership for years and was deprived of membership by the AIBA last year." Wu: "Boxing needs to be very clean, honest and transparent. You need a good leader to lead. If the leadership is bad, how can you develop? Now I'm happy that Korea got a new president." MMA "is proving a considerable threat to boxing" (KOREA TIMES, 5/15).