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Volume 10 No. 25

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The head of the anti-doping investigation into Australian Football League club Essendon's '12 supplements program told a meeting of players and coaches that "he would need to have 'rocks in my head' to try to build a case against any player over the use of the contentious hormone peptide AOD-9604," according to Chip Le Grand of THE AUSTRALIAN. Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Head of Intelligence Paul Simonsson "made the frank remark during a meeting at Windy Hill on the day ASADA began its lengthy examination of players." Although there are different interpretations of what Simonsson meant, Essendon "took it as direct confirmation that the vexed legal status of AOD-9604 was too problematic for ASADA to build a successful anti-doping case around." Any charges against Essendon players for using AOD-9604 "would have triggered a lengthy and costly legal challenge about the status of the compound, its performance-enhancing properties and advice provided by ASADA" and the World Anti-Doping Agency about the legality of its use (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/7). In Canberra, McKenzie & Baker reported the confidential ASADA report "detailed the strong faith Essendon coaching and management staff, including James Hird, placed in" sports scientist Stephen Dank and his assurance the program complied with the rules -- "a claim he maintains." ASADA "has also found Essendon staff failed to implement basic governance, management and medical practices to ensure players were not exposed to health and doping risks, and said the club failed to follow its own protocols around the review and use of drugs suggested by Dank" (CANBERRA TIMES, 8/7).

NARROWING THE FOCUS: In Sydney, Caroline Wilson reported Hird "has successfully prevailed on the AFL and the Bombers board in an agitated bid to receive a copy" of the ASADA report. But the Essendon players "have not yet been briefed on the ASADA summary, despite equally determined efforts by the AFL Players Association to view the 400-page document." AFL Players' Association CEO Matt Finnis has criticized the Bombers "for narrowing their focus to the legality of drugs given to their footballers and not the crucial issue of player welfare" (THE AGE, 8/7).

Ahead of the start of the Bundesliga this weekend, German Football League (DFL) CEO Christian Seifert said that the league "is well positioned, but he warns of unreasonably high expectations and appeals for healthy growth," according to Marco Heibel of GOAL. Seifert: "Looking at it objectively, never before, either domestically or internationally, have so many people been interested in the Bundesliga. It has never played in better, more modern and safer stadiums. Despite reasonable ticket prices, it has never had more economic possibilities." Despite this "great outlook," Seifert does not want to generate success at any cost. Therefore, the league is still not considering the acquisition of a naming-rights partner. Seifert: "Changing the name Bundesliga in order to generate between €20M-€30M ($27M-$40M) doesn't make a lot of sense considering a total revenue of €2.5B ($3.3B)." However, an area where Seifert sees room for growth is int'l marketing. Seifert said, "The worldwide press hype, which has surrounded German football and reported on an alleged change of power, showed how important the Champions League is for the international recognition. In that respect, it was a great support for the new international TV contracts" (GOAL, 8/6).

National Rugby League Canberra Raiders development officers "have demanded the NRL overhaul the system to reward clubs who develop juniors as they try desperately to keep star rookie Anthony Milford," according to Jon Tuxworth of the CANBERRA TIMES. The Raiders' frustration is "reaching breaking point as they face the prospect of losing another youngster they've spent years developing." Canberra High Performance & Recruitment Manager David Hamilton urged the NRL to "seriously consider introducing transfer fees to deter clubs from poaching players others have nurtured." Hamilton, "disillusioned by other clubs benefiting from Canberra Raiders development," said that the NRL must "introduce incentives for clubs to develop their own talent." Hamilton: "There has to be some sort of deterrent there. Even if it is compassionate grounds, what about all the money that's been invested in Anthony? Surely the club is entitled to some sort of benefits back" (CANBERRA TIMES, 8/7).

England cricket coach Andy Flower said that the use of the Decision Review System "must improve in the remaining two Ashes Tests against Australia," according to Neil Gardner of the LONDON TIMES. The use of DRS was "a big talking point after yet more contentious rulings" in Manchester, England, with former England captain Mike Brearley suggesting that the system "needs an overhaul." Flower said, "I think there are improvements that can be made. There are improvements in the use of technology and the use of experts who know how to use the technology that could make a difference to getting better results" (LONDON TIMES, 8/6). In another piece, Oliver Kay opined DRS "is here to stay." The "genie of technology has been let out of the bottle." We "cannot go back to a situation where it is commonplace for the umpires and the players to be the only ones unaware of the facts of the situation when a mistake has been made." The "increase in the percentage of correct decisions, and in visibility, leads to less resentment and ill feeling between teams on the field, and umpires on the whole like it." The "biggest problem with the DRS system as presently employed is, in my view, that it is not used universally, not controlled by the ICC but by TV companies." There is "no system, no human adjudicator," that is perfect. Technology, too, "will occasionally fail to pick things up" (LONDON TIMES, 8/6).

Victorian football's governing body "is on a collision course with some of the state's most famous clubs over plans to streamline the state system and create a new elite competition," according to Michael Lynch of THE AGE. The enmity between the parties over the introduction of the National Premier League Victoria "has reached fever pitch in recent weeks, and the clubs have issued an ultimatum to the governing body: back down by 4pm on Wednesday, or face a court challenge." Football Federation Victoria "is seeking to implement a strategic sea change of the game in line with Football Federation Australia directives to introduce a new top tier competition at state level around the country." But while the transition has run smoothly in other places, "it has hit turbulence in Victoria" (THE AGE, 8/7).

A German report into the country's use of banned substances in sport since '50 "has triggered a storm and renewed calls for a national anti-doping law," according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. The report "highlights systematic doping across many sports over decades in West Germany, resembling the state-run doping programme in East Germany during the Cold War." German Athletics Federation (DLV) President Clemens Prokop said, "We need a doping law in this country. We also need to extend the statute of limitation (for sanctions) against doping offenders past the current eight years." Names "were not included in the version made public on Monday, an omission objected to by many athletes, officials and politicians." Prokop said, "It is a bit of a problem that there is a short version that has been published and that names have not been named" (REUTERS, 8/6).

New National Rugby League Head of Football Todd Greenberg "has been appointed to help oversee a four-month review of the salary cap." Greenberg, the former Canterbury CEO, will work with NRL COO Jim Doyle and salary cap auditor Ian Schubert on the first major overhaul for 15 years (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/7). ... The All Japan Judo Federation said Tuesday that "it will select its new chairman at an extraordinary board meeting next week" (KYODO, 8/6).