The CEOs of the Australian Football League and National Rugby League "have been slammed for not fronting a senate committee hearing focussed on implementing an accreditation process for sports scientists in Australia," according to Barbeler & Lane of THE AGE.
Instead, the two sporting bodies sent former Int'l Cricket Council CEO and barrister Malcolm Speed "in their place on Wednesday." Liberal Senator Sean Edwards described sending Speed as a ''hospital pass'' from the NRL and AFL CEOs, Dave Smith and Andrew Demetriou.
''And you (Mr. Speed) run very good cover for the AFL and NRL, so I would feel slightly used if I were you." Speed said that "he had not been advised why the two CEOs had declined to attend." He said, ''I feel lonely, but I've felt lonely before Senator" (THE AGE, 6/13). The HERALD SUN reported the father of AFL Essendon captain Jobe Watson has accused Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority "of using good cop-bad cop tactics to try and frighten the AFL club's players during their ongoing anti-doping investigation."
Tim Watson, himself an "Essendon great," said that questions directed at Bombers players "suggested supplements they allegedly took last year could have potential health effects on their fertility or their unborn children were disturbing" (HERALD SUN, 6/12).
SENDING A MESSAGE: In Sydney, Jackson & Barrett reported Smith "played a pivotal role" in North Queensland prop James Tamou being fined A$20,000 ($19,000) on top of his suspension from the second State of Origin. The NRL's newly formed integrity unit "had told the relevant parties Tamou would be handed a two-match ban," which also effectively meant a A$30,000 fine when the Origin bonus payment was taken into account. But later on Wednesday, with significant input from Smith, the A$20,000 fine was added. Smith said, "Our integrity unit has reviewed the situation, we have consulted with the Cowboys and we have sent a clear message of what is expected of our players" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/13).
After months of denial and an inexplicably huge surge in home runs, "Japan's baseball chiefs have admitted they secretly switched the design of the ball to make the game more exciting," according to the AFP. Players and fans had repeatedly quizzed Nippon Professional Baseball bosses after seeing a 40% rise in the number of balls "that were slugged out of the park so far this season." In April, the NPB said the specifications of their ball -- each of which bears the signature of Commissioner Ryozo Kato -- "have not been changed," a statement that was repeated several times since. But on Tuesday the NPB came clean, saying it had asked manufacturer Mizuno to "adjust" the ball to give it greater bounce off the bat and had demanded the company keep quiet about the switch. NPB Secretary General Kunio Shimoda said, "Our understanding was that it would be a matter of fine-tuning. We thought it would cause confusion if we let it be known." Mizuno initially said that "the increase was due to foreign batters hitting so many home runs and was also related to the higher number of games being played in domed stadiums, where wind is not a factor." But union Chair Motohiro Shima said that "it was important the organisation was honest because it affected statistics" (AFP, 6/12).
SWINGING FOR THE FENCES: KYODO reported Kato said Wednesday that "he had not been informed of changes made to this year's ball to make it more lively." Kato said that the decision was made last year by Shimoda, "and that Shimoda had done nothing wrong in either ordering changes to the ball or not informing him of the decision." Kato: "What he did was to make sure the ball met agreed-on specifications. It did not go beyond the parameters set by the Baseball Charter (NPB's governing document). Therefore, there was no need for me to be informed" (KYODO, 6/12).
Spain's government has proposed a division to add to the Spanish Protection of Health and Anti-Doping Agency: match-fixing, bribery and illegal betting, according to Gerardo Riquelme of MARCA. This division, "for which there is no date determined because the Law Against Fraud just started being drafted a few weeks ago, could be ready by Sept. '14." The division would concentrate on cheating under the same umbrella, with Anti-Doping Director Ana Muñoz in charge. A spokesperson said that "the project is viewed favorably by the Superior Sports Council" (CSD) (MARCA, 6/12).
The German Hockey Federation (DEB) "has announced the start of a 'new 2nd Bundesliga' in '14-15 under its umbrella," according to SPORT1. Not enough clubs registered by the deadline of June 7 to have an organized operation of the 2nd Bundesliga, therefore "it is not possible to implement the new 2nd league this season." During the upcoming season, a qualification round will be played involving all third-tier Oberligas. The current second league teams from Crimmitschau, Bietigheim, Heilbronn, Bremerhaven, Rosenheim, Ravensburg, Weißwasser, Dresden and Bad Nauheim "are planning to play in a DEL II." The clubs "are hoping for more synergy with the top league and a great economic stability." Only Kaufbeuren, Riessersee and Hannover Scorpions "have registered themselves at the DEB and want to play under its umbrella." Landshut "has not made a decision yet" (SPORT1, 6/12).
Emirates Team New Zealand's Managing Dir Grant Dalton "has vowed to invoke a nationality clause and slash the costs of competing" by around 50% if Team New Zealand win the America's Cup sailing competition in San Francisco this year, according to Dana Johannsen of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. The winners of the cup not only earn hosting rights, "they also control the rules of the regatta." Dalton said that "there are two major changes that need to be made." Dalton: "We stand for nationality rule and we stand for real budget numbers that real people can raise." Dalton said that "a nationality clause is needed to make it a genuine country versus country battle, rather than pitting billionaire against billionaire." The only way to attract more int'l entrants "is to significantly reduce the costs of competing" (NZ HERALD, 6/12).
The business partner of Indian Premier League Rajasthan Royals Owner Raj Kundra on Wednesday claimed in a court that "he was forced to name him in cricket betting on instructions from Delhi Police personnel who had 'traumatized' and 'physically abused' him in illegal custody for five days," according to the PTI. Umesh Goenka, whose statement has been recorded as a witness in the case, also said that he was "forced to name his friend Kundra to save himself from physical torture and from being booked" under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, as threatened by the police. Goenka said, "Due to threats, torture and extreme fear of consequences on refusing to comply with the dictates of the police, I made the statement before the magistrate. It was not made voluntarily and was given under duress on directions of police" (PTI, 6/12). The PTI also reported shocked at the Board of Control for Cricket in India's decision to suspend him on charges of gambling, Kundra "seemed to be in a philosophical mood." Kundra wrote on Twitter: "Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced." He added, "Humour is a rubber sword, it allows you to make a point without drawing blood" (PTI, 6/12).
MAKING A COMEBACK? The PTI also reported claiming innocence and expressing faith in the judiciary, India Test pacer S. Sreesanth said that he is "hopeful of making a comeback to the national side." Sreesanth: "I promise you I will never give up." Sreesanth is out on bail after spending 27 days in the Tihar Jail. He added, "My dream obviously is to play cricket. All I want to do is to play cricket and get back into the team... It is a dream to play in the South African tour series. But I am not sure about it now" (PTI, 6/12). The PTI noted police and Central Industrial Security Force "had a tough time in bringing the cricketer out of the airport as a huge crowd of fans, onlookers and media personnel had gathered to receive him." Sreesanth: "I am happy to be here. I can meet my people" (PTI, 6/12).
LOSING AN APPEAL: The BBC reported Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Asif has "lost an appeal against his spot-fixing conviction." Asif, 30, plus fellow paceman Mohammad Amir, 21, and ex-Pakistan captain Salman Butt, 28, "were found guilty of being part of a betting scam" in '11. Judges at the Court of Appeal in London declared they were "not persuaded" to overturn the ruling in regards to Asif (BBC, 6/12).
FA of Thailand presidential candidates Pinit Ngarmpring and Virach Charnpanich attacked incumbent FAT President Worawi Makudi. They alleged that Worawi "had delayed the poll to give himself an advantage in getting re-elected" (BANGKOK POST, 6/12). ... Australian horse trainers Danny O'Brien and John O'Shea are expected to face a media grilling about steroid use in Australia ahead of Royal Ascot next week. O'Brien "has strongly advocated a blanket ban on steriod use in Australian racing." Presently, out-of-training horses "may be treated with steroids" (HERALD SUN, 6/13). ... The Hong Kong Jockey Club said that 17 horses from the stables of three Hong Kong trainers "have tested positive for the banned drug zilpaterol, a substance used to produce muscle growth in livestock" (AFP, 6/12).