For the second consecutive season, Granada CF tops La Liga's attendance list "with average attendances at 90.4% capacity," according to INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL. However, Granada CF "showed a decline on the previous season, when they averaged 94% of capacity." That decline is also recognized globally, with numerous factors "being blamed for the number of empty seats." The "poor economic situation and high unemployment in Spain, matched with amongst the highest priced league match tickets of the major leagues in Europe are one key factor." Late kick-off times "deterred many families with children from attending matches," whilst although Spanish fans generally do not travel in high numbers to away matches, Monday night matches "were another deterrent for working fans" (INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL, 6/16).
||Nuevo Los Cármenes
||Athletic Club Bilbao
||Deportivo La Coruña
||Reino de Navarra
||Ciutat de Valencia
Mercedes "will turn the tables on the FIA at Thursday's hearing in Paris by producing written evidence that they had permission" to test Pirelli's tires, according to Paul Weaver of the London GUARDIAN. The test "enraged the other teams, particularly Red Bull." Contrary to FIA regulations, Mercedes used its current '13 car rather than one at least two years old, as favored by Ferrari in another testing session. But Mercedes "is ready to play its trump card," in the form of an FIA e-mail -- allegedly from its Race Dir & Safety Delegate Charlie Whiting -- granting the team "permission to test."
It is difficult to believe that Mercedes Team Principal Ross Brawn "would have gone along with the test unless he felt sure of his ground." He said in Montreal last week: "We wouldn't have done the Pirelli test unless we believed we could do the Pirelli test and I believe when we get to tribunal you'll have your answers." If Mercedes or Pirelli "are found guilty they are likely to go the FIA's international court of appeal in an attempt to get the verdict overturned." There is even an outside chance that Mercedes "could walk away from the sport" if it feels it has been "dealt with harshly, although that is unlikely given their recent level of investment" (GUARDIAN, 6/15). NBC MOTOR SPORTS TALK's Tony DiZinno reported F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said that "Mercedes was purely at fault for its secret test at Barcelona." Brawn essentially "fell on the sword" when he said in Montreal that the tire test of Pirelli's '13 compounds, on this year's Mercedes W04, "was his decision." Ecclestone said, "Pirelli were doing the right thing, obviously. They couldn’t get out of a tire problem, if there had been proper testing, which there should be, they wouldn’t be in this problem." He added, "What is right, is right, you know. The one thing an unmarried girl has got is the right to say ‘no.’ You would have to reckon that Mercedes were in that position…" (NBC MOTOR SPORTS TALK, 6/13).
The past three days have been important to Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid "as he seeks re-election for a third term," according to David Walsh of the SUNDAY TIMES. They "could hardly have gone worse." On Thursday at UCI management committee meetings in Bergen, Norway, "McQuaid was confronted with serious allegations" by fellow committee member Mike Plant of the U.S. and Saturday the Irish cycling community cut its ties with McQuaid's candidacy. At Saturday's emergency general meeting in Dublin, "rank and file delegates from across Ireland voted 91 to 74 not to support McQuaid's ambition to continue as UCI president." The election will be held in Italy this September, "when McQuaid will be opposed by the British candidate Brian Cookson." McQuaid has been nominated by the the Swiss cycling federation, "and although the legality of this being challenged, he is still expected to stand." Saturday's rejection by his national federation was an important blow to McQuaid's chances, "because cycling enthusiasts in every country will wonder how they can support a candidate who does not have the backing of the people who know him best" (SUNDAY TIMES, 6/16). The AP reported McQuaid's future as the head of world cycling's governing body -- a position he has held for eight years -- "has been clouded since the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report last year that led to Lance Armstrong being banned for life from cycling." McQuaid "is facing a challenge for re-election in September," from Cookson -- the head of British Cycling (ESPN, 6/15).
Cricket Australia has had enough of cricketer David Warner’s "antics and the defective team environment that saw him intoxicated and brawling in a Birmingham pub at 2.30am," according to Phil Lutton of the BRISBANE TIMES.
It was a steaming CA CEO James Sutherland that fronted media in Brisbane "to fire a rocket at the troubled opening batsman, who has been suspended for a month" and fined A$11,500 ($11,000) after his altercation with England batsman Joe Root.
Warner "may still be on tour" but judging from Sutherland’s words and demeanour, it is clear the governing body "has had its fill of misbehaving cricketers" (BRISBANE TIMES, 6/16). In Brisbane, Robert Craddock reported cricket "is on the nose in Australia due to a deadly quadrella: shameful behaviour, weak administration, high pay and poor performance." When the four align to form the ultimate "imperfect storm," the game "ends up in the toilet." Dear "old thing that she is, cricket invariably trembles at the knees, goes pale in the face and falls head-first into her porridge at the very thought of handing out a tough penalty to a player who needs it." Sutherland "has had some big moments this year," but he "has failed to learn that when it comes to discipline, words mean nothing, actions are everything." Harsh medicine "is much better for a rebellious player than a soft landing" (COURIER-MAIL, 6/17).
The Int'l Rugby Board has announced a record investment program for '13, the first year of its new four year ('13-16) funding cycle, despite recording a planned operating loss in '12. Funding invested and utilized by the IRB in '13, excluding Rugby World Cup 2015-related expenditure, will total £47M ($74M). It is anticipated that the core investment will remain at approximately this level throughout the four-year cycle, implying a forecast investment over the new four-year cycle of at least £184M ($289M), eclipsing the previous cycle's £150M ($236M) by £34M ($53M), or 23% (IRB).
Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner Ryozo Kato apologized on Friday "for the confusion caused by introducing a new ball this season without notifying players." Kato held a meeting with representatives of the 12 teams and apologized for the mess while saying his management of the situation was insufficient. Japan's 12 teams "agreed to have a third party investigate the issue of why NBP secretly made its baseballs livelier" (KOREA HERALD, 6/14). ... The Thailand Football Association (FAT) on Saturday canceled its meetings for execs and member clubs to vote on its new electoral code to comply with FIFA statutes. The move came after Bangkok's Min Buri court on Friday issued an injunction to prevent the FAT from voting on the matter until the court reaches a verdict in a suit filed by Pattaya United against the FAT and FAT President Worawi Makudi (BANGKOK POST, 6/16). ... UAE Rugby on Friday signed a Memorandum Of Understanding with the Fiji Rugby Union, which will see Fiji Rugby help the country develop the game, with a particular focus on the sevens format (GULF NEWS, 6/14). ... The 12th season of the Eurocup basketball competition will include more teams and more games. The competition will increase from 32 to 48 teams in the regular season phase. The size of the groups will grow from four to six teams, thus the number of guaranteed games for each club will increase from six to 10 (EUROCUP).