In a severe blow to the Board of Control for Cricket in India and its president-in-exile N. Srinivasan, the Bombay High Court held as "illegal and unconstitutional" the two-member probe panel set up by it to look into spot-fixing and betting charges in the Indian Premier League tournament, according to the PTI. The High Court order "comes just two days after the probe panel submitted its report on July 28" giving a clean chit to Srinivasan, his son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings Owner Gurunath Meiyappan and Rajasthan Royals Owner Raj Kundra and husband of actress Shilpa Shetty. The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Cricket Association of Bihar and its secretary Aditya Verma "challenging the constitution of the two-member commission." Verma said the constitution of the probe panel was "illegal and unconstitutional." Advocate Amit Naik said, "We have succeeded and the court has accepted our contentions. It is now up to the BCCI to see what is to be done next" (PTI, 7/30). The AP reported the Bombay High Court said, "The entire incident needs to be reinvestigated. There was disparity in the evidence collected by the probe panel." The order "effectively strikes down the panel's report clearing" Meiyappan and Kundra (AP, 7/30).
NO COMMENT: The PTI reported Srinivasan refused to comment on the Bombay High Court order declaring the Board's two-member probe panel "illegal and unconstitutional" (PTI, 7/30). The PTI also reported a defiant Srinivasan "made it clear that he will attend the BCCI's Working Committee meeting" on Aug. 2 despite the Bombay High Court ruling. When specifically asked in which capacity he will be attending the meeting, Srinivasan said, "Come there and see for yourself as to what capacity I will be attending the meeting." Srinivasan "took an aggressive stance when asked about the ruling of the Bombay High Court on the probe panel which was formed to inquire into the IPL spot-fixing scandal." Srinivasan: "I don't know why you people are making a big issue. A writ was filed and the court has given its verdict. The matter finishes there. I have no further comments to make on this issue" (PTI, 7/30).
THE NEXT STEP: The PTI reported "rattled by the Bombay High Court order," the Board's top officials were on Tuesday "engaged in hectic discussions to chalk out the future course of action." BCCI interim CEO Jagmohan Dalmiya said, "We will wait for the judgement to come into our hands before deciding our next step." Moments after the High Court order came out, "the BCCI's top officials started consultations on the implications of the development as a crucial IPL Governing Council and the Board's working committee meeting is scheduled" on Aug. 2 (PTI, 7/30). In a seperate story, the PTI reported that former BCCI secretary Jaywant Lele applauded the Bombay High Court's order, calling the Indian Cricket Board's internal enquiry panel an "eyewash." Lele: "Bombay High Court has taken a very correct decision. According to me also this (BCCI's internal enquiry) was an eyewash. The judges appointed in the two-member committee were the people of N. Srinivasan" (PTI, 7/30).
The Int'l Cricket Council "will strike agreements with law enforcement agencies in Australia and New Zealand to guard against corruption blighting the 2015 World Cup," according to Ian Ransom of REUTERS. The 2015 World Cup, to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, "is likely to generate huge global betting interest, raising fears that players might be targeted by rogue bookmakers with the promise of big pay-offs for cheating." ICC CEO David Richardson said that the global governing body "would work more closely with police in the co-host countries than in previous World Cups." Richardson said, "Previously, we always had anti-corruption unit people there observing, educating and just keeping an eye on things." He added, "What's different slightly for this event is that we'll be entering into agreements with local police, law enforcement agencies to make sure they can help us in just, basically, building up the intelligence and making sure we can keep track on all the guys around the world who are trying to influence and may try to corrupt players getting involved" (REUTERS, 7/30).
National Rugby League side Cronulla's prospect for financial assistance from the NRL to help cover possible legal action "may be in jeopardy following the club's decision to overturn the sacking of four key staff members before the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority completes its investigation," according to Walter & Carayannis of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The potential fallout "from the stunning decision" by the new Sharks board and the subsequent resignation of NRL-appointed interim Cronulla CEO Bruno Cullen "was all the talk in league circles on Tuesday as shocked observers across the game questioned why the club would take such action on the eve of players interview with ASADA." An official said, ''They have just stuck their finger up at the NRL and ASADA" (SMH, 7/31). In Sydney, Stuart Honeysett reported a "doomsday scenario" that predicted Cronulla stood to lose A$6M ($5.4M) in damages was drawn up by the club in March, soon after the ASADA supplements scandal broke. The amount, which has the potential to leave the Sharks in ruins, "included possible settlements with players not covered by the club's insurance policy, legal fees and wages for those stood down for doping offences as well as payments to replacement players." Sharks Chair Damian Keogh confirmed that the previous board "had worked on a worst-case scenario but said he was not privy to any details." Keogh said, "As a board we've had that many other priorities. This hasn't been a massive priority to address all that at this stage because you're almost jumping at shadows" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/31).
The "bitter battle" to become Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) president "has intensified" after British Cycling President Brian Cookson said an attempt to change the rules on nominations to the post was "an embarrassment to cycling," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. Cookson's rival for the presidency, "controversial" incumbent Pat McQuaid, has "faced a series of problems in his attempts to gain a nomination to be re-elected." The Irish federation "refused to nominate McQuaid, after a backlash from its members." The Swiss federation, which nominated him on the grounds of residency, "faces a legal challenge from three of its members." McQuaid "maintains that his Swiss nomination is secure." However, a new letter from the UCI explains that the Malaysian federation and the Asian Cycling Confederation "have proposed a change in the rules allowing any candidate to stand provided he or she has two nominations from any federation around the world." A Cookson spokesperson said, "This letter is an embarrassment to cycling and a naked attempt to change the rules midway through the election. We must do better than this if we are to restore confidence in the governance of cycling" (GUARDIAN, 7/29).
GOING TO COURT: The LONDON TIMES reported the Swiss nomination is being challenged by three members in court on the basis that the endorsement was "unconstitutional and made without proper authority." The costs of the court case are being "part-funded by" sportswear firm Skins, whose CEO Jaimie Fuller launched campaign group Change Cycling Now. A Skins statement said, "The decision to endorse is tainted on both procedural and substantial grounds and constitutes a clear attempt by Mr McQuaid to circumvent the fact that Cycling Ireland, his own national federation, has democratically decided not to present him again for re-election" (LONDON TIMES, 7/30).
The Australian Football League "is investigating whether a St. Kilda footballer took a banned substance after an irregular sample was provided by the player early this month."
The AFL and the Saints "would not comment" (THE AGE, 7/31). ... The third Ashes Test at Old Trafford "will this week trial an alternative technical feed which it is hoped will eventually assist in the implementation of the decision review system" (PA, 7/30). ... Premiership rugby club Saracens and Abu Dhabi Saracens RFC have agreed to a formal partnership in which the north London club "will provide coaching and community support to the UAE-based club." Saracens "will regularly send coaches and community staff to Abu Dhabi and also provide a pathway for talented UAE players into the professional game" (Enfield INDEPENDENT, 7/29).