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Volume 6 No. 215

Events and Attractions

When the Confederations Cup kicks off in 10 days, Brazil will have two weeks to convince skeptics that it can honor "its pledge to stage a successful World Cup next year," according to THE AGE. The Confederations Cup, in which eight teams -- Spain, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, Japan, Nigeria and Tahiti -- will compete from June 15 to 30, "is seen as a dress rehearsal for the 2014 World Cup." Some 355,000 Brazilians and foreign tourists "are expected for the tournament for which Latin America's leading power has struggled to complete the construction or renovation of the six host arenas." Also running behind schedule are urban mobility infrastructure projects initially planned for the World Cup (THE AGE, 6/5).

There is a genuine sense that "unless action is taken, a combination of financial and political expediency and an increasingly congested domestic and international playing calendar will inexorably undermine" the future of British and Irish Lions rugby tours, the "last great bastion of traditional touring," according to Mark Souster of the LONDON TIMES. It is a process that began in '09 in South Africa, when "early matches lacked quality and crowds, and is continuing here." After the tour four years ago, categorical assurances were given that the paucity of games would not be tolerated. Last year, the Lions "thought they had received verbal guarantees from the Australian Rugby Union that provincial teams would be as strong as possible. That has not happened." Australia head coach Robbie Deans kiboshed that when he "insisted on withdrawing his Wallabies players and cocooning them in a month-long camp to keep them from the line of fire." To "add insult to injury," Western Force will field a second-string team because they have to play the Waratahs in a meaningless Super 15 fixture on Sunday. Neither side can make the play-offs, "yet more than 20 players are being denied the honour of facing the Lions on the basis that two games in four days for the same squad is unsustainable." The result is that "the value of a Lions tour is being devalued." Dilute it further and there comes a time when "the 'what’s the point?' argument wins the day" (LONDON TIMES, 6/5).

The eighth round of the World Touring Car Championship "has been moved from Brazil to Argentina." The South American round will now take place on Aug. 4 at Termas de Río Hondo in the north of Argentina (EUROSPORT, 6/4). ... Indonesia's landmark badminton stadium of Istora Senayan "is scheduled to host badminton super series Indonesia Open" from June 10-16 (XINHUA, 6/4). ... Edmonton, Moncton, Montreal and Toronto "have been named as the host cities" for Canada’s staging of the 2014 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, while Bell Canada "has signed on as the first national supporter of both next year’s event and the country’s hosting of the Women’s World Cup in 2015" (SOCCEREX, 6/4).