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Volume 6 No. 216

Events and Attractions

The inventor of the Hot Spot technology that "played a central role in the first two Ashes Tests on Sunday" plans to persuade the Int'l Cricket Council that his refined Snickometer "should be part of the Decision Review System in time for the winter Ashes series in Australia," according to Paul Rees of the London GUARDIAN. Warren Brennan, the founder of BBG Sports, the Australian company behind Hot Spot, believes that "the combination of infra-red and audio technology would all but eliminate doubt about whether a batsman has edged the ball, either on to his pads or for a catch." "Snicko" is a tool used only for TV, but Brennan's English partner, Alan Plaskett, has "developed what is called Real Time Snicko, an improvement on the previous technology which furnishes the third umpire with details within seconds rather than minutes." It was the "slowness of the old system, rather than its accuracy, that stopped the ICC adopting it." Hot Spot, which has been used by the ICC since '06, "is not cheap." The four-camera system costs around £7,500 ($11,537) a day, "three times more than" Real Time Snicko. The bill is paid by TV companies, with the ICC "so far reluctant to make a financial investment in the technology that is playing an increasing role in Test cricket" (GUARDIAN, 7/27).

UK Athletics is "exploring a radical plan to stage next year's Diamond League meeting at a range of venues around London, with the sprint events coming from the Mall and the jumps from Horse Guards Parade," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. To "maintain the momentum of this weekend's Anniversary Games, UK Athletics is also hoping to bring the London Diamond League meeting back to the Olympic Stadium in 2015," despite the fact that its conversion "will not be finished until the summer" of '16. UK Athletics CEO Niels de Vos said, "There is a growing desire to keep this in London because you don't want to prick the bubble." A total of 195,000 tickets were sold for the three days of the Anniversary Games, which raised hopes among UK Athletics execs that "they will be able to enthuse a new wave of athletics fans who were engaged by last year's London Olympics." The Anniversary Games are "believed to have brought in revenue" of between £9M ($13.8M) and £10M ($15.4M) in ticket sales and sponsorship, leaving UK Athletics with a profit of at least £5M ($7.7M) (GUARDIAN, 7/27).

Tour de France Dir Christian Prudhomme has criticized Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman for her public proposal for a women's version of the Tour de France, insisting it is "ill-conceived and premature," according to Staniforth & Crooks of the London TELEGRAPH. Harman wrote an "open letter to Prudhomme last week urging him to look into the possibility of staging a women’s event alongside next year’s Grand Depart." Harman's letter "was backed by a 70,000-strong petition" and Prudhomme's response came on the day Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) presidential candidate Brian Cookson confirmed that he was "facilitating a meeting" with Tour owner Amaury Sport Organization "with regard to staging a women's race." Prudhomme accused Harman of "being impractical in her approach, and indicated it may be 'impossible' to simply bolt a women's competition on the side of a race that is already stretched to full capacity." Prudhomme: "It would have been much easier to talk to us directly instead of a petition and [finding out by] opening your mailbox and you don't know what has happened. We are open to everything. Having women's races is very important for me. [But] the Tour is huge and you cannot have it bigger and bigger and bigger down the road -- it is impossible" (TELEGRAPH, 7/26).

COOKING IT UP: The PA reported Harman's letter came as Cookson confirmed he is currently arranging a meeting with ASO about staging a women's race. Cookson -- who is also head of British Cycling -- "appeared more positive about the prospect of a major women's race and announced that a five-day international stage race will be held during next year's Tour of Britain." Cookson said, "It will be the first step in having a full equivalent Tour of Britain as it develops." Cookson also "appeared to distance himself from Harman's specific proposal, urging caution over any attempts simply to 'mimic' the men's Tour." Cookson: "Women's teams that are bolted on to men's teams is not the only answer" (PA, 7/26).