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Volume 10 No. 22

Leagues and Governing Bodies

A "crisis of leadership is hanging over the body responsible for transforming" Andy Murray's Wimbledon victory into "lasting success," according to Neil Harman of the LONDON TIMES. The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), whose budget -- £38M last year -- "is intended to hone young talent," could be without a CEO within weeks. Roger Draper, who has held the post since 2006, announced his resignation four months ago and will step down in September. The search for his replacement from "well-known faces" in British sport has, it is understood, "failed to produce a favourite." The LTA has "also created confusion" by inviting applications from former Davis Cup player and captain David Lloyd and Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club Tournament Dir Chris Kermode, only to "reject them at the first round of interviews." Independent Chair David Gregson, leading the search, said it was “very difficult to be precise” about when a successor to Draper would be appointed (LONDON TIMES. 7/10).

Turkey is "at risk of being thrown out of next month's World Championships in Moscow after 'dozens' of its athletes tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs" in a series of recent anti-doping raids last month, according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. As part of a target-testing operation carried out by the Int'l Association of Athletics Federations, "large numbers of Turkish athletes were drug-tested both in and out of competition in the run-up to the Mediterranean Games," which were held in Mersin, Turkey June 20-30. The results of the anti-doping operation "have yet to be made public but the number of positive cases is said to run into dozens." A senior athletics source said, "We’re talking about a lot of athletes. It could be as many as 30." It is understood that the athletes have all failed tests on their ''A'' urine samples, and are now "waiting for the test results" from their ''B'' samples. Only then "will the cases be publicly revealed, though a formal announcement is expected within days."  If the adverse findings are confirmed -- and it is very rare for a ''B'' sample to contradict the result of the ''A'' -- then it would "represent one of the biggest ever doping exposes in athletics within a single country" (TELEGRAPH, 7/9).

OLYMPIC DAMAGE? In London, Rick Broadbent reported Turkey’s hopes of staging the 2020 Olympics "could be wrecked by the latest drugs sting to have left the country’s sporting reputation tattered and torn on the doping-room floor." Although Turkey "will not be thrown out" of next month’s World Athletics Championships, the Istanbul campaign "could be fatally weakened." If an inquiry is taking place while doping bans are being issued, Istanbul officials "will face some awkward questions." The vote will take place just weeks after the end of a World Championships already "blighted by the shadow of drugs" (LONDON TIMES, 7/10).

Former New Zealand All Blacks player Richie McCaw calls it a "game-changer," but the Int'l Rugby Players' Association is "urging the game's leaders to renew efforts to address player welfare and competition issues by developing integrated seasons in the northern and southern hemispheres," according to Marc Hinton of FAIRFAX NZ NEWS. Under the IRPA proposal, the June test window "would be moved to the last three weeks in July, beginning in 2016, when the competitions structures in both hemispheres will be on the table." Under the plan, formulated after a recent conference in Australia, the northern hemisphere club competitions would start a month later than usual, "enabling more of their domestic competitions to be played after the Christmas break, potentially provide more breathing space for finals series and improving player availability for test matches" (FAIRFAX NZ NEWS, 7/9).

HAND PICKING: REUTERS' Patrick Johnston reported McCaw and Irish flyhalf Jonny Sexton "threw their weight behind a proposal" by the IRPA that would help all test-playing nations to pick their best players. McCaw said that it "was an opportunity to make a significant and beneficial change." He said, "If the game's leaders give this idea, or a variation of it, serious consideration it could be a game-changer for professional rugby. It would be fantastic to address this long standing season structure debate once and for all, the players and the game would be so much better for it" (REUTERS, 7/9). The BBC reported another proposal from the IRPA "would see an end to the month-long break in Super Rugby, the southern hemisphere competition contested by 15 franchises in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa." The IRPA said, "The idea would also see the British and Irish Lions from the 2017 series in New Zealand onwards touring in a clear window after Super Rugby." IRPA Chair Damian Hopley said, "We're in a unique position -- for the first time since rugby went professional, the major Northern and Southern Hemisphere competition and commercial structures are on the table at the same time" (BBC, 7/9).

MOVING FORWARD: ONE SPORT reported IRPA Exec Dir Rob Nichol said that the players "are all extremely motivated to play a constructive role in now getting the key parties together." Nichol said, "We focused on what we felt was feasible and what would make a significant improvement and this integrated global rugby season, moving the June test window to the last three weeks in July, was what emerged" (ONE SPORT, 7/9).

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) on Tuesday approved a budget that will rise to €112M ($143M), according to the EP. A total of 131 voters voted in favor of the budget, "much like in '12," and only four people abstained from voting. RFEF Treasurer Juan Luis Larrea explained that the organization rejected a state grant because "of its good economic standing" (EP, 7/9). Sri Lanka cricket bosses on Tuesday "banned two umpires named by an Indian TV programme last year that claimed they were willing to make favourable decisions during matches for cash." Sri Lanka Cricket said it banned Sagara Gallage for 10 years and Maurice de la Zilwa for three years from all forms of the game "after a disciplinary hearing over allegations" in the TV sting (AFP, 7/9).