In a bid to clear A$60M ($57.8M) of debt -- including $35M worth of "inherited debt" from the Rosehill Grand Pavilion and stable upgrades -- Australian Turf Club CEO Darren Pearce laid off 18 full-time staff, "and failed to renew deals with eight employees on fixed-term contracts," according to Christian Nicolussi of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. Another nine positions already vacated "also won't be replaced." Pearce elected to dump his entire communications department, "with specialist PR and media staff to now be 'outsourced' during carnival time." The "savage job cuts come in the same week" the ATC will meet with the New South Wales Trainers' Association to "discuss increased stable and track fees, and a performance criteria that will force trainers to leave the city if they don't have provide enough runners and winners." Pearce: "I'd be lying if I said it's been easy. Obviously people are disappointed, and people are sad to see their colleagues go. But they also understand the economy is tight and the club has to ride out this challenge" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 6/4).
The first sports complex for women in Saudi Arabia has opened in the eastern part of the country, according to MIDDLE EAST ONLINE. Businesswomen and "women personalities attended the inauguration of the centre in Al-Khobar province after it was given the go-ahead by the authorities." The complex, "where women can engage in sports such as karate, practise yoga or attend fitness classes, is the country's first sporting centre for women." The center's director, Hanaa Al-Zuhair, said that "Saudi women who trained abroad -- including a karate black belt -- have been recruited to run courses" at the center (MIDDLE EAST ONLINE, 6/3).