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Volume 10 No. 24

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni "refused to break" the Board of Control for Cricket in India gag on him in answering questions on the spot-fixing scandal that has hit the Indian Premier League except to say some players are "slightly mentally weak" compared to others, according to the PTI. Addressing a press conference ahead of the Champions Trophy, he said that he would "not answer questions relating to the recent controversies." Dhoni had "come under severe attack from media and commentators for his silence in refusing to answer questions at the Mumbai interaction." Asked about the spot-fixing scandal Thursday, Dhoni said, "If I have not answered Indian journalists, there is no reason why I should answer the right time (I will speak)" (PTI, 5/30). In London, Andy Wilson noted a reporter asked whether the tournament "offers an opportunity to restore the reputation of Indian cricket?" Dhoni said, "It's not that the reputation is gone." He added, "I don't think we have lost reputation because whatever the set-up will be throughout the world or in any sport, still you'll have people who will be slightly mentally weak compared to some of the others. I would have loved to elaborate, but at the right time I'll do it" (GUARDIAN, 5/30).

: The PTI also reported voices of dissent against embattled BCCI President N. Srinivasan "are becoming louder by the day." Officials from the Goa and Assam Cricket Association have joined the chorus of demand for his resignation. Goa Cricket Association VP Shekhar Salkar said, "He has to resign, there is no other option. How can you continue when your son-in-law is involved, he is involved with CSK, it is just not possible to have an impartial probe till he resigns" (PTI, 5/30). THE HINDU reported Justice T. Jayarama Chouta said that summoning Srinivasan "will depend on the scope of the probe." Chouta, who is on the three-member commission appointed by the Board, said that the commission "would discharge its duty as per the terms of reference, and it was not for the panel to ask him to quit" (THE HINDU, 5/30). The PTI reported ridiculing the IPL "for turning cricketers into a bunch of avaricious people," World Cup winning Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga said that the cash-awash T20 league "has given Indian cricket nothing but disrepute." Ranatunga: "It is making cricketers greedy. Everyone wants to play IPL now and the focus has been shifted. I don’t understand the need for such a league. What has Indian cricket gained from it? It is spoiling players. I don’t remember any world class player produced from IPL" (PTI, 5/30).

Without mentioning cricketer Fawad Ahmed by name, Australia Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor introduced a bill to federal parliament that paves the way for Ahmed "to become an Australian citizen before the Ashes," according to Chloe Saltau of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Under proposed amendments to citizenship laws, "the minister would have discretionary powers to fast-track the claims of people whose work benefits Australia, and who cannot meet the normal residency requirements, which dictate they must have been in the country for at least four years." Under the proposed changes, "relaxed residence requirements would apply to Ahmed and others in his position." Applicants must have "spent 180 days in Australia during the previous two years, been a permanent resident for 90 days, and must not have been an unlawful resident at any time during the past 180 days." Cricket Australia would have to provide O'Connor with written assurance that Ahmed has a "reasonable prospect" of playing int'l cricket. National selector John Inverarity has been "effusive in his praise of Ahmed and wants him to join the Australia A squad in England to warm up for the Ashes" (SMH, 5/30).

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority CEO Aurora Andruska said that the ASADA investigation into doping in the National Rugby League and Australian Football League "would take months, if not years, to complete," according to Jeffery & Morton of THE AUSTRALIAN. Andruska "defended the pace of the investigation under questioning from Liberal senator Gary Humphries, comparing it to the three-year USADA investigation that eventually brought down cyclist Lance Armstrong." Andruska said, "We are under four months into (the) investigation. To date, we have interviewed 113 individuals and that ranges from third parties, support staff and players. Those interviews take 1.5 to eight hours in duration each. We have examined over 50,000 documents." Andruska said that "the inquiry was nowhere near complete despite the investigating team being expanded from six to 12 members since February." She said, "Our investigators are still very much in the information-gathering stage, still interviewing a range of people, numerous interviews still to be conducted. It's an investigation with quite a lot of complexity" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/31). In Sydney, Rick Morton wrote the head of Australia's peak crime-fighting body said it took a tough stance on the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport because the local industry needed "hardening." Australian Crime Commission CEO John Lawler told a Senate estimates hearing that "its drugs in sport report released in February pointed to widespread use of performance enhancing drugs in sport, and links to organised crime." He said, "In this instance, it was about hardening the industry of Australian sport from increased serious and organized crime penetration" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/30). In Melbourne, Samantha Lane reported after rewriting the AFL Anti-Doping Code -- which will be formalized within weeks and is set to include a so-called no-needles policy -- the league "will turn its mind to imposing its own prohibited substances list." According to a source who has seen drafts of the amendments, the league "is poised to enshrine 'multiple changes' to its code, including replicas of some of the new principles announced this week by the Australian Sports Commission, and a ban on the injection of all supplements and vitamins, except in medical emergencies" (THE AGE, 5/30).

Second Bundesliga club MSV Duisburg "will not receive a license for the coming season as it is unable to provide proof of its financial capabilities," according to the SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG. The German Football League (DFL) "announced this unanimous decision on Wednesday." Duisburg "has the option to appeal the decision at the appropriate court within one week after it received the written decision by the DFL." The beneficiary of the whole situation "could be the SV Sandhausen that finished the season 17th in the 2nd Bundesliga" and therefore got relegated to the 3rd League. Should Duisburg's appeal be denied, Sandhausen "would be allowed to stay in the second division for at least another season" (SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, 5/29).

An overhaul of the Asian Five Nations "will be discussed at a meeting" of the Asian Rugby Football Union next month, according to Paul Radley of THE NATIONAL. UAE rugby officials acknowledged that they "might consider turning down promotion" back to the Asian Five Nations, in the case of winning Division I one next year, if the existing competition structure stays the same. Given "the massive disconnect" between the top three sides in the competition -- Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong -- and the rest, it has "proved impossible for developing rugby nations such as the UAE to compete." UAE Rugby Federation CEO Ian Bremner said that Asia's governing body has "to address the disparity in the structure of the competition." Bremner said, "If we go straight back up again we are going to be faced with the same thing: three teams who are very hard to beat" (THE NATIONAL, 5/29).