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Volume 10 No. 25

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The Australian Football League "has proposed an overhaul of the Laws of the Games Committee," with the league's new football operations Manager Mark Evans "having detected club disenchantment with the rules process," according to Caroline Wilson of THE AGE. Club CEOs departed Thursday's CEOs meeting with the impression that "the influence of the contentious group could be diminished, and at the very least will undergo a facelift." Evans "has now visited more than half of the 18 clubs and found that in most cases coaches and football department chiefs have become increasingly disillusioned with the matter in which rules have been changed or re-interpreted." Evans told the clubs that "he was looking to bolster the committee with additional and more recently retired players" (THE AGE, 5/17). In Sydney, Jesse Hogan reported the AFL Players' Association "has made concessions in its voluntary illicit-drug test agreement with the AFL as a result of the proportion of failed tests more than tripling last year." Previously "only the club doctor was informed of a player's identity in a positive test but now club chiefs will be told if the player fails to reform" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5/17). BLOOMBERG's Dan Baynes reported the failed tests "were out of competition, with all but one related to stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine." The 26 positives "were detected in 1,979 tests in 2012, compared with six from 1,489 tests the previous year." The names of players who tested positive "weren't released by the AFL" (BLOOMBERG, 5/16). In Sydney, Greg Denham reported Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton Thursday night "reiterated his view illegal drugs, rather than performance-enhancing drugs, had the greater potential to compromise the integrity of individual players and, potentially, matches." Ashton said, "Victoria Police has consistently stated that illicit drug use and race/match-fixing threats are the big issues in sport integrity" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/17).

NRL: Also in Sydney, Brent Read reported the National Rugby League "has shouted long and loud about plans to review its drug testing regime." However, the AFL "showed the NRL that actions speak infinitely louder than words." Privately, the NRL "was surely doing cartwheels." Yet publicly, "it continues to hide its results behind a veil of secrecy." The NRL "talks about doing everything it can to catch the cheats, just don't ask for proof." You "won't get it" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/17). In Sydney, Adrian Proszenko reported the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority "has called off interviews with NRL coaches and support staff, believing they will get just as little co-operation from them as from their players." The agency "will now have to complete its investigations without the testimonies of players and staff members of interest, in a blow to their chances of obtaining enough evidence to warrant the issue of infraction notices" (SMH, 5/17).

The battle between the Chilean Rugby Federation (FERUCHI) and the Antofagasta, Chile government "apparently has no solution," according to EMOL. After FERUCHI was denied the use of the Calvo Bascuñán Stadium for the Sub 20 Rugby World Cup, which will take place from May 28-June 9, the organization moved the location to Temuco, Chile. This has motivated FERUCHI "to consider suing the Antofagasta government, led by Mayor Karen Rojo, because of the serious economic damages caused by the denial of holding the championship in Antofagasta, which is estimated to reach $300M in hotels, travel and stays for the players." FERUCHI President Francisco Davanzo: "We feel very defrauded by Antofagasta and its mayor. We believe the way the problem was resolved was inadequate and the minimum effort should have been to solve the problems that she had with the technical and legal aspects" (EMOL, 5/16).

Indian cricketer S. Sreesanth and two other bowlers belonging to the Rajasthan Royals Indian Premier League team "were arrested on Thursday for spot-fixing," according to the PTI. The three players received up to Rs. 60 lakh ($110,000) "for an over for giving away runs as per arrangements with bookies with underworld connections abroad." The sensational arrests of the three players in the early hours of Thursday in Mumbai by the Special Cell of Delhi Police "has cast a shadow over the ongoing IPL tournament and the players have been suspended" by the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said that the Special Cell "had hundreds of hours of recordings of phone conversations between the players and bookies, 14 of whom have also been arrested." More arrests "are on the anvil," but the role of no other player, Indian or foreign, "has come to light" (PTI, 5/16). THE HINDU reported during the hearing, Special Cell of Delhi police "sought seven days of custodial interrogation of the cricketers and others to unearth the entire conspiracy relating to spot-fixing in three IPL matches involving Rajasthan Royals." The counsel appearing for some of the accused opposed the police plea, alleging that "they were innocent and have been falsely implicated in the case. The defence counsel alleged foul play and claimed that some other persons were behind the conspiracy" (THE HINDU, 5/16). THE NATIONAL reported Sreesanth, who played in the 2011 World Cup final, "has been involved in several controversies." He was slapped by then-Indian teammate Harbhajan Singh ahead of the first IPL season in '08 "following an exchange." He has had "a much-publicised fight with the Kerala State Cricket Association." The Royals franchise, one of nine teams to compete in the IPL, "is part-owned" by Bollywood acress Shilpa Shetty (THE NATIONAL, 5/16).

AUSTRALIANS BENEFIT: In Sydney, Ben Doherty reported Australian cricketers Adam Gilchrist, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, and Aaron Finch have found themselves -- unwittingly and innocently -- "involved in the periphery" of the IPL's spot-fixing scandal. They were the beneficiaries of the ''thrown'' overs from three Indian bowlers. On-field, the players "would signal to the bookies they were about to 'throw' the over with a pre-arranged signal." Bookies "would lay bets against the runs being scored" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5/17). In Sydney, Malcolm Conn reported all five Australians who play for the Rajasthan Royals "will be questioned." No suspicion surrounds the Australians. Kumar "denied any Australians were involved." Kumar: "No, your countrymen can rest in peace" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5/17).

MAKING A STATEMENT: The Rajasthan Royals said, "We have been informed that three of our players have been called in for investigation on spot-fixing in matches. We are completely taken by surprise. We do not have the full facts at this point and are unable to confirm anything. We are in touch with the BCCI on this matter" (London TELEGRAPH, 5/16). Int'l Cricket Council CEO David Richardson said, "The ICC will provide full support to the BCCI and Delhi Police in this investigation. The BCCI's decision to suspend its three cricketers on corruption charges is a clear indicator of the ICC and its Members' zero-tolerance approach" (ICC).

FACING LIFETIME BAN: The PTI reported BCCI President N. Srinivasan said that the "unpleasant news came like a bolt from the blue." Srinivasan said, "I am shocked. The sport is clean and we [BCCI] are running it clean, but one or two bad eggs here and there cannot sully the entire game. We will see whatever necessary is to be done" (PTI, 5/16). The PTI also reported former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly said that the three cricketers accused of spot-fixing should be "banned" for life if found guilty. Ganguly said, "I am disappointed and angry at what has happened. If found guilty they should be banned for life" (PTI, 5/16). The PTI also reported it "could be curtains as far as S. Sreesanth’s cricket career is concerned." The BCCI is "set to impose a life-ban on the ‘maverick’ pacer from Kerala" for his alleged role in the spot-fixing scandal (PTI, 5/16).

The Swiss cabinet "proposed tightening anti-corruption laws" on Wednesday, pointing to the int'l sporting federations based in the country "as targets of the suggested changes," according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. In a statement, the government said, "Switzerland is among the countries least affected by corruption and has effective legislation in this regard. But suspicions of corruption in the awarding of the hosting of major sporting events have revealed the weaknesses which exist in the field of private corruption." More than 30 int'l sporting federations have their headquarters in Switzerland, including FIFA, which "has been hit by a string of corruption scandals over the last three years." The Swiss government, worried about the effect on the country's image, "has commissioned a report into the problem" (REUTERS, 5/16).