Royal & Ancient CEO Peter Dawson "gave the slightest of hints" that he would "look into the issue of men-only clubs'' on the Open Championship rotation, according to Peter Dixon of the LONDON TIMES. With the topic "brought under the spotlight" at Open Championship host Muirfield this week -- a club that remains staunchly all-male -- Dawson said that he felt the debate "was being driven primarily by the media, but accepted that it was not going to go away." Dawson: "We will have a good look at what people are saying and try to take a view about all of this and find a sensible way forward. I’m absolutely not going to pre-empt what’s going to come out this. I wouldn’t even want to call it a review. But we are very conscious of the disparity of view on this subject." Much of what Dawson said "has been said before." He "is convinced that few people are truly bothered by the existence of single-sex golf clubs" (LONDON TIMES, 7/17).
VOICING THEIR CONCERNS: The London TELEGRAPH reported Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond is among the political figures who have said they will not attend the Open at Muirfield, describing the club's membership policy as "indefensible in the 21st century." Similar protests "occur when the championship is staged at Royal St George's and Troon" -- the other clubs on the nine-strong Open rotation to be men-only. Dawson said, "The whole issue of gender and single-sex clubs has been pretty much beaten to death recently." Dawson: "Single-sex clubs are in a very small minority in the U.K. Half of them are women only, half of them are men only. They're perfectly legal. In our view they don't do anyone any harm and we think the right of freedom of association is important" (TELEGRAPH, 7/17). SKY SPORTS reported Dawson said, "We've got politicians posturing, we've got interest groups attacking the R&A, attacking The Open and attacking Muirfield. To be honest, our natural reaction is to resist these pressures, because we actually don't think they have very much substance." Sky Sports golf analyst Denis Pugh "was another to voice his concerns." Pugh said, "It's a fantastic golf course and it's good for the Open but it's inconceivable to come to somewhere where there's a ban on anyone. This is called the Open not the 'closed' and I'm not sure I'll be able to explain to my wife she's not allowed in certain areas" (SKY SPORTS, 7/17).
The German Football Federation (DFB) and the German Football League (DFL) "will increase their fight against doping," according to the SID. Starting with the upcoming season, the two organizations "will, for the first time, use blood tests." The employees of the National Anti-Doping Agency "will then not only wait with a urine specimen cup for the players in the locker room but also with a needle." DFB Anti-Doping Commission Chair Rainer Koch said, "The agreement with NADA is close to being finalized. It has been a very positive development, NADA will most likely also carry out blood tests at team practices in the new season." Sources said that around 15% of all doping tests "will be blood tests." Koch: "The goal is to keep up the test quantities" (SID, 7/17).
A breakdown of decisions from the "controversial" Ashes Test at Trent Bridge has been released by the Int'l Cricket Council in an attempt to "defend the performances" of umpires Aleem Dar and Marais Erasmus, and "add weight to the value of the Decision Review System," according to Richard Hobson of the LONDON TIMES. The fallout "has still to settle from the first game," which will be remembered largely for "the use and misuse of technology." Even two days "after the tense climax," the DRS "was a talking point" at the England and Australia press conferences. ICC CEO Dave Richardson admitted "we must continue to strive to improve umpiring." Richardson said that the percentage of correct decisions before reviews stood at 90.3%, but climbed to 95.8% as a result of the use of the DRS. England continues to support the use of technology despite recent problems, but cricketer Matt Prior admitted to "being unsure whether Hot Spot would confirm the edge that he held from Brad Haddin to win the game on review." Prior: "I would not have put my mortgage on it." Australia captain Michael Clarke admitted that Australia "need to improve their usage of the DRS" (LONDON TIMES, 7/17). The AFP reported the world cricket committee of Marylebone Cricket Club "backed a call" from former Australia captain Ian Chappell for the sport's authorities "to take complete control" of the DRS. The MCC panel, made up mainly of eminent former players, insisted that DRS "was fundamentally sound, with problems in Nottingham down mainly to basic human error, and called for its use across all international matches." Cricket powerhouse India "has long objected to DRS and, consequently, it plays no part in bilateral matches involving the Asian giants" (AFP, 7/17).
SPIRIT OF THE GAME: The BBC's Ben Dirs wrote there has been much talk about "the spirit of the game" since the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge. But "does it not seem odd to believe that cricket should be governed by a spirit when we have algorithms and thermal imaging and all manner of cutting edge gadgets to make things less mysterious?" Technology, and the DRS, "which took centre stage in Nottingham last week, was introduced because we live in a scientific age." And once cricket "conceded that we live in a scientific age then any talk of spirits started to sound wilfully old-fashioned." At "least to some" (BBC, 7/16).
Sri Lanka's cricket authorities will decide Wednesday "whether to scrap their Twenty20 league after all franchise holders defaulted on payments for the tournament." Officials said that "all seven franchises for the Sri Lankan Premier League were held by Indian companies." But they "had failed to meet several deadlines" to pay nearly $3M (AFP, 7/17). ... The Pakistan Cricket Board has said that the team's newly appointed Chief Selector Moin Khan "was never convicted or fined for match-fixing and stated that a negative campaign is being hatched to demoralize the steps taken by the PCB" (PAKISTAN TODAY, 7/16). ... The Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth & Sport "has given the green light to the Cambodian Bokator Federation to resume hosting of their National Championships after a two-year hiatus" (PHNOM PENH POST, 7/17). ... The scheduled meeting between the All Indian Football Federation and its commercial partner IMG-Reliance on Tuesday to discuss the final plans relating to the Indian Premier League-styled league "has been postponed to later this week" (ASIAN AGE, 7/16). ... Racing Victoria announced on Tuesday that "it will be chasing new riding talent from non-Anglo-Saxon backgrounds." The successful recruitment of Mexican and South American jockeys in the U.S. and Europe and the growing strength of local Asian jockey ranks in Hong Kong and Singapore "has caused Racing Victoria to consider attracting talent from new communities" (THE AGE, 7/17).