The British Horseracing Authority "sought to draw a line" under the doping case of Emirati horse trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni on Thursday when it "published its long-awaited report into the on-goings at Godolphin’s Moulton Paddocks stable in Newmarket earlier this spring," according to Marcus Armytage of the London TELEGRAPH. There "will be no further disciplinary charges," but the report "was critical of shortcomings in the Godolphin management structure which created the environment for the trainer to perpetrate the offences." Al Zarooni "was banned for eight years at a hastily convened inquiry" on April 25. Subsequent investigations by the BHA "have found no evidence of other parties or anyone further up the Godolphin food chain involved beyond those identified at the original disciplinary hearing." The report "also gave the all-clear" to Al Zarooni's assistant, Charlie Appleby, and Godolphin Head Lad Oliver Costello. BHA CEO Paul Bittar said, "The investigation process has been a complex and challenging one. However, I am satisfied that the conclusions reached are an accurate reflection of events" (TELEGRAPH, 7/25).
MAKING CHANGES: In Dubai, Leslie Wilson Jr. reported Godolphin has appointed Appleby as its "second trainer with immediate effect." The announcement was made Thursday after Appleby "was granted a license" by the BHA. The 38-year-old "will be in charge of up to 200 racehorses at Moulton Paddocks during the summer and Marmoom Stables in Dubai in the winter, as one of Godolphin’s two main trainers" alongside veteran handler Saeed Bin Surour (GULF NEWS, 7/25).
Following the Spanish Basketball League's (ACB) General Assembly on Wednesday, the league decided that starting next season, referees will have access to instant replay to review questionable plays, according to EL PAIS. Officials will be able to review plays to "not only see whether a shot was released before time ran out on the clock, but also in other situations including out of bounds calls, whether a shot was a two or three-pointer and to correct mistakes involving the game and or shot clock." Instant replay "will only be available in games broadcast on TV." The system "is not perfect," but the technology "will help make errors less common." The ACB has "also adapted to the rules of FIBA in some cases," and "followed NBA rules in other aspects: contested possessions will be decided by a jump ball" (EL PAIS, 7/24).
MANRESA ADDED: The EFE reported the ACB also ratified the addition of Bàsquet Manresa to the league. The ACB General Assembly vote was the "last formality that Manresa was missing after being relegated last season." Bàsquet Manresa President Josep Vives called the process "extraordinarily hard" (EFE, 7/24).
New administrators of the Australian National Basketball League "are preparing to unveil an ambitious three-year plan aimed at expanding and revitalising the competition," according to Adrian Warren of the AAP. The NBL "is expected to be relaunched in around two weeks," with control back in the hands of club owners after a de-merger with Basketball Australia is completed, when deals are finalized with media partners which are still contracted to BA. Under the new structure, "clubs will be shareholders in the NBL and will have majority voting rights while there will also be private equity in the competition." NBL CEO Steve Dunn said, "We will have a three-year plan. Any major changes, however, to things like rules, season formats, will probably have to wait until 2014-15 because of current contractual arrangements, plus the shortness of time." Among the proposed changes are the addition of extra clubs, "with Brisbane and a second Melbourne side among the contenders to make up a potential 10-team competition" (AAP, 7/25).
The ongoing Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority investigation "has the potential to disrupt the game's showpiece international event," the Rugby League World Cup, according to Brent Read of THE AUSTRALIAN.
Sources close to ASADA Thursday confirmed that the investigation "was likely to stretch well beyond" the end of the National Rugby League finals series.
That means the Rugby League World Cup could take place, albeit in Europe, as the investigation "reaches its conclusion, with the potential issuing of infraction notices against any players implicated."
It "could also cause headaches for some of the countries involved, given the vast majority of the players expected to take part will come from the NRL" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/26).
Former cricket umpire Simon Taufel said that the job of the third umpire "has become a highly specialised role requiring tailored training as demanding as the coaching players," according to Nick Hoult of the London TELEGRAPH. Taufel works for the Int'l Cricket Council and "is in the process of building a training programme for officials across all forms of the game in an attempt to lift the standards of third-umpiring, and to widen the diversity of the elite panel that at the moment includes eight out of 12 umpires from England or Australia." The third umpire’s decisions "have been one of the most controversial aspects of the current Ashes series, beginning with the wrongly overturned lbw decision against Jonathan Trott in the first Test and including a couple of close calls on faint edges behind at Lord’s." Commentators "have blamed the third umpires for failing to apply the decision review system properly," and Taufel believes that more training is required for what has become a pressurized job as technology increasingly influences cricket (TELEGRAPH, 7/24).
UNDER FIRE: The PTI reported Taufel also discussed the benefits of the Decision Review System, which "has come under fire during the ongoing Ashes series following a number of controversial decisions." He said, "Decision-making in today's game is in my opinion tougher than when I started umpiring 22 years ago because more people see evidence that we may not get to see on the ground at the time. Anyone who watches the game at the ground, on the giant replay screen or on TV, will assess each and every decision of the umpires and also make an overall judgement of their performance." He said that the role of an umpire today "is much more than just making decisions." Taufel said, "We have to police (and I personally dislike this term and approach) other vital areas of the modern game. Player behavior, ball tampering, over rates, logos and clothing, impact of ground, weather and light, having to reduce playing times" (PTI, 7/25).
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver "is looking to present a proposal for a Super B competition to the national governing body's board of directors at its next meeting" on Aug. 27, according to Bret Harris of THE AUSTRALIAN.
Pulver said that the ARU "was still working on the details for the competition." The Super B competition "is designed to develop more depth of players for the five Australian Super Rugby teams."
But the ARU "needs to work out a way to fund it and ensure it does not encroach on premier club rugby in Brisbane and Sydney." Pulver said,
"There is a lot of very healthy dialogue going on at a strategy group level. There are a lot of things to resolve." Pulver said that "he did not expect to make any announcement about a Super B competition until after the ARU board meeting" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/26).
Pakistani field hockey player Shakeel Abbasi, "who was kicked out of the national training camp for fasting," has requested that the Int'l Hockey Federation (FIH) avoid organizing major tournaments around the holy month of Ramadan. Abbasi: "There are no major hockey or cricket tournaments during Christmas, similarly they should keep Ramadan in mind while finalizing the annual calendar" (PTI, 7/25). ... The India Sports Ministry has asked the Sports Authority of India and National Sports Federations to "curb the tendency amongst sportspersons for giving preference to playing in prize money tournaments rather in tournaments where India participates for medals rather than cash awards" (PTI, 7/25). ... Some Hockey India League teams are worried about missing the services of their top Dutch field hockey players, "as their national commitments could force the players to skip the league." A team official said that "they have received letters from some of their players saying they have been told by the Netherlands chief coach to skip the tournament and concentrate on the preparations for the World Cup," which is to be held four months after the HIL (TIMES OF INDIA, 7/25). ... The El Salvador Football Federation said that it "will request a meeting" with captain Victor Turcios following comments he made to ESPN Deportes Sunday alleging match-fixing in his country (ESPN, 7/24).