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Volume 10 No. 22

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The shelved National Sports Development Bill "seems to be back in the limelight," with the "drama involving the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the Indian Premier League," according to Kavita Chowdhury of the Indian BUSINESS STANDARD. Sports Minister Jitendra Singh, while condemning the "shameful" incidents that had overtaken the game, urged for "greater transparency" in sports and related bodies. He said the sports Bill was being revisited to inject "transparency" into sports and sports associations. The Bill "seeks to put in place compulsory elections," 25% representation of sportsmen in exec committees, an ethics committee in line with the Ethics Code of the IOC, a sports Dispute Appellate Tribunal and, most important, it will work toward keeping out conflict of interest (BUSINESS STANDARD, 6/7). The PTI reported "the Delhi Police has written to the Enforcement Directorate for a probe into alleged hawala transactions in the IPL spot-fixing case, including by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim." A senior police official said that "details have been provided to ED about 27 people arrested in connection with the scandal as well as that about Dawood and Chota Shakeel." He said, "We have written to ED. There has been hawala transactions not alone in India but abroad also like in Karachi and Dubai in connection with the case. They (ED) have the expertise in investigating this angle." He said establishing the money trail in the case is "very important" (PTI, 6/9). The PTI also reported Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said that "it is acutally time to weed out some 'bad' players from the sport." The 59-year-old, who has been engaged in several high-profile cases in his career spanning more than three decades, "feels that the spot-fixing scandal was a murder of faith of millions of cricket lovers" (PTI, 6/9). In another piece the PTI reported Minister of State for HRD Shashi Tharoor said that "the arrest of Kerala pacer S. Sreesanth for alleged spot-fixing is 'very painful' for cricket fans in the state" (PTI, 6/9). IANS reported West Indies wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin "has pleaded not guilty to a charge of misconduct" laid by the Int'l Cricket Council, "following his claim for a catch during the Caribbean side’s two-wicket win over Pakistan" (IANS, 6/9).

The "all-encompassing powers" of salary cap auditor Ian Schubert are expected to form part of the National Rugby League's review of the cap, according to Brent Read of THE AUSTRALIAN. Schubert, who has been vacationing in the U.S., "has returned to a firestorm" after NRL side Penrith Panthers was forced to leave fullback Matt Moylan out of its side to play the Wests Tigers Sunday "due to the enforcement of the second-tier salary cap." NRL COO Jim Doyle has been in talks with the clubs, including Penrith, over the cap and Sunday he confirmed that "changes could take place within weeks." One "is likely to see Schubert's powers reduced." Under the current structure, "Schubert is basically judge and jury." If clubs don't agree with his original decision, "they can appeal -- to him." Doyle "indicated that needed to change." Doyle: "There is no way a system should have the autonomy of any one individual. There has to be a process gone through. There is no sense in the appeals process being the same as everything else" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/10). In Canberra, Brad Walter wrote Doyle said that "he would seek to find whether there was a valid reason that clubs cannot have more than 25 players in their squad" if they are under the NRL salary cap of A$5.85M ($5.57M). Each NRL club has a ceiling of A$375,000 it can spend on second-tier players "but the Panthers exceeded that limit during a recent injury crisis that was so severe they were granted an exemption to play Moylan" (CANBERRA TIMES, 6/10).

Tough new laws on dealing with racism, sectarianism and other forms of unacceptable behavior in football "will be voted on at Tuesday’s annual general meeting of the Scottish Football Association," according to Alan Pattullo of the SCOTSMAN. Last month’s FIFA Congress agreed strict punishments for tackling racist incidents and “other forms of discriminatory behaviour.” SFA CEO Stewart Regan said these measures are “the big ticket item” which FIFA is presently focusing on. Now, Regan wants Scottish sides to adopt “strict liability” in dealing with racism and sectarianism, so incidents "are the responsibility of the clubs, regardless of measures they have adopted to tackle the problem." Sanctions imposed on a club or representative team will, in principle, "be issued in a two-stage approach: for a first or minor offence, the sanctions of a warning, a fine, and/or the playing of a match behind closed doors should be applied." For re-offenders, or for serious incidents, sanctions such as a points deductions, "expulsion from a competition or relegation should be applied" (SCOTSMAN, 6/9).

THE LOWDOWN: In Glasgow, Michael Grant reported the SFA will hold its "annual general meeting on Tuesday and the 93 members will be asked to agree the creation of the Scottish Lowland Football League as part of wider efforts to introduce a pyramid structure for the national game." The Lowland League "would be the southern equivalent of the Highland League and the champions of each division would playoff at the end of each campaign, with the winners of that tie playing off against the team who had finished bottom of the Third Division in order to claim the 42nd place in the Scottish League." Any team that drops out of the Third Division "would play in either the Highland or Lowland league the following season," with the geographical boundary of the two divisions altered a little each year depending on the locality of the "relegated" club (HERALD SCOTLAND, 6/9).