F1 owners have stepped back from forcing the resignation of CEO Bernie Ecclestone after he "was indicted by prosecutors in Germany on a bribery charge," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. After what "appeared to be several tortured hours of deliberation," CVC Capital Partners published a statement on its website late on Wednesday night. But the content "was little more than a statement of intent to do nothing and wait and see what happens to Formula One's controversial" CEO. The notoriously secretive CVC has drawn up a list of potential replacements for Ecclestone, but has "so far refused to groom a potential successor" for F1's £1B ($1.5B) business. Even without the legal actions piling up on the doorstep of his office in London, "Ecclestone is 82 and many inside and outside of F1 are surprised that CVC have shown no desire to put in place arrangements for the future." In the prospectus for the cancelled £6B flotation of F1 on the Singapore Stock Exchange last year, "Ecclestone is listed as a key asset for his unparalled negotiating skills and a bulging contacts book that ranges from circuit owners to presidents, such as Russia's Vladimir Putin." Ecclestone also faces the prospect of another $1B worth of claims from BayernLB and Bluewaters, a private equity group in the U.S., "who are making claims based around the sale of F1 to CVC." All of this casts a long shadow over F1, "even for a sport with such a long history of shocking off-stage politics" (LONDON TIMES, 7/18).
SURVIVING THE STORM: The BBC's Andrew Benson wrote Ecclestone "has ruled Formula 1 for nearly 40 years with a combination of astuteness, cunning, sharp practice and sheer intellectual power arguably unmatched across business and sporting worlds." Can "he survive?" In the normal business world, the answer would be "no." Any CEO who is the subject of such serious criminal charges "cannot hope to hold on to his position." But this is not the normal business world, "and Ecclestone is most certainly not a normal businessman." Why? Probably "because of his remarkable achievements, his all-pervading influence in F1 and, since the sport began trading as a commodity, his success in making money for his bosses." That last attribute may yet keep him in a job, "as long as he can survive the bribery case in Munich" (BBC, 7/17).
The anticipation of the upcoming Bundesliga season "is getting higher and higher, espcially for fans who purchased a season ticket for their favorite club," according to Christoph Henrichs of HANDELSBLATT. However, "the price difference between season tickets of the 18 Bundesliga clubs is considerable" (HANDELSBLATT, 7/18).
'13-14 Bundesliga Season-Ticket Prices
Hertha BSC Berlin
*The prices indicate the cheapest season ticket of each club for one adult.
The German Hockey Federation (DEB) and the clubs of the second Bundesliga have reached an out-of-court agreement before Thursday's court date. The second division will continue to be organized by the "Eishockeyspielbetriebs-Gesellschaft" (ESBG) until '18, which from now on will manage itself. A corresponding cooperation deal between the DEB and the ESBG has been newly agreed upon. In addition to the clubs and the DEB, the German Hockey League (DEL) will receive a share of the new ESBG. DEB President Uwe Harnos said, "We have reached a compromise which satisfies all involved parties. The upcoming season has been saved." The second Bundesliga's chief negotiators Wilhelm Graue, Rene Rudorisch and Alfred Prey said, "We are planning to start the new season under the name of our new product, DEL2" (DEB).
Spain Anti-Doping Agency Head Ana Muñoz "discussed both match-fixing and doping in a press conference on Wednesday," according to Pol Pareja of EL PAIS. Muñoz's agency will now "also direct a team of professionals focused on investigating match-fixing." Muñoz: "We are working on a reform of the Penal Code to be able to assume jurisdiction in this field because we believe that the existing legislation is insufficient. Starting in October these procedures will begin." Muñoz recognized that there are ongoing investigations, but when asked if they involve La Liga clubs, she said, "It is difficult to answer this without revealing the games we are currently considering." Muñoz said that Spain's recent approval of a new anti-doping law has helped change Spain's int'l reputation on the subject of doping. Muñoz: "After being hired, I had to go to an international meeting in Strasbourg, France and I only heard criticism of our country. It was said that Spain's legislation interfered with fulfilling the World Anti-Doping Code. Now, this has changed and international organizations congratulate me." Regarding cycling's "eternal fight against doping," Muñoz said that her agency "has facts, which will be published a week from Friday, that demonstrate that it is not the sport with the most doping cases" and added that she believes it is "possible to clean up these competitions." Muñoz: "We have to decide if we want the sport to be a spectacle or a school of values" (EL PAIS, 7/17).
The Argentine FA has determined that in '13-14, the Championship Cup, formerly the Super Final, will decide one winner. The '13-14 season "will be more clear for everyone: there will be two champions (of the Initial and Final Tournaments) and one winner of the Championship Cup." The Championship Cup will be played between the two champions of the Initial and Final Tournaments, with the winner earning a spot in the Argentina SuperCup against the champion of the Argentina Cup (OLE, 7/18). ... The German Football Federation (DFB) is "going to send a pro-gay leaflet to all the 26,000 German football clubs." The aim of the project "is to suggest LGBT footballers still in the closet to come out" (GAY STAR NEWS, 7/18). ... The Int'l Rugby Board announced on Wednesday it is going to review "its controversial in-match test" for concussions (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 7/18). ... Athletics South Africa's bank account has been frozen after the federation "fell foul" of the Companies Act because incumbent directors "had not been registered" (SOWETAN LIVE, 7/17). ... The sixth edition of the Indian T20 league, which was "rocked by the spot-fixing scandal," has now been hit by a doping fiasco with Delhi and Kolkata Knight Riders cricketer Pradeep Sangwan "failing a random dope test during the cash-rich league." Sangwan "is only the second cricketer in the history of Indian T20 league," after Pakistani Mohammed Asif, to have been found guilty of consuming banned drugs (PTI, 7/18).