Reports that the U.S. PGA Tour plans to buy the European Tour "have been denied by the Wentworth-based body," according to Iain Carter of the BBC. It has been suggested that the American circuit "wants to take advantage of the Eurozone economic crisis with a bid to take control of the European Tour." Such a move would give the PGA Tour a share of the Ryder Cup "and would help its desire to claim a bigger stake in the booming Chinese golf market." European Tour COO Keith Waters described the reports as "incorrect" (BBC, 8/13). The GOLF CHANNEL's Rex Hoggard wrote "published reports that the PGA Tour has made a bid to buy the European Tour seem premature according to numerous sources." The reports -- which appeared this week in the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph in the U.K. -- "do not cite specific sources." The reports quote Paul Casey, a member of the European Tour's players' committee, "although the Englishman stops well short of suggesting he would be in favor of unified tours." A PGA Tour spokesperson declined to comment on the reports and numerous sources said that "such a mega-merger between Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and Wentworth, England (home of the European Tour) would be a tough sale on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean" (GOLF CHANNEL, 8/13).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The Int'l Cricket Council announced that nine individuals face five-year to life bans from cricket "after being charged with match-fixing and other offences" during this year's Bangladesh Premier League, according to Ruma Paul of REUTERS. The ICC said in a statement, "The charges relate to an alleged conspiracy within the Dhaka Gladiators franchise to engage in match-fixing and spot-fixing activity during matches in the BPL 2013, as well as failures by individuals to report approaches made to them to be involved in the conspiracy." The Anti-Corruption and Security Unit of the ICC "has charged seven of them with fixing-related offences while two were accused of failing to report corrupt approaches made to them" (REUTERS, 8/13). The BBC reported those charged with fixing offenses "have been provisionally suspended." The nine people charged "have 14 days to respond to the allegations made against them." The punishment for match-fixing offenses "ranges from a minimum five-year suspension up to life, while failure to report an approach carries an upper limit of a five-year ban" (BBC, 8/13). The PTI reported the corruption scandal was unearthed by the ICC's ACSU, which "was engaged by the BCB to provide anti-corruption cover" during the BPL '13. ICC CEO David Richardson "lauded the work of the ACSU" (PTI, 8/13).
Australian Football League side Essendon was "charged by the AFL on Tuesday night with bringing the game into disrepute over last year's supplements saga," according to Pierik & Quayle of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Coach James Hird, senior assistant Mark Thompson, Football Manager Danny Corcoran and club doctor Bruce Reid "were also charged with bringing the game into disrepute." AFL General Counsel Andrew Dillon said that the club and the four officials "will face an AFL Commission hearing" on Aug. 26. Dillon said on the evidence before the AFL, "no anti-doping charges would be laid against Bombers players." However, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Association investigation "remains ongoing" (SMH, 8/14). The AAP reported the scheduled hearing date "is just four days before the start of this year's finals, and if the Bombers are stripped of points they could lose their place in them." Even before the charges were laid, Hird "forecast the Bombers would fight them." Hird: "I think we all find it hard to believe that charges can be laid on individuals or the club when none of our players have (been) shown to take performance-enhancing drugs, none of our players have shown that they've been harmed by anything that's been given" (AAP, 8/13). In Melbourne, Caroline Wilson reported the charges "came after months of interviews, mini-dramas, sub-plots and conspiracy theories, and even in the final hours the sensitivity of the wording was being debated by some of Australia's finest legal minds." Essendon Chair Paul Little admitted his club had done wrong but declared it would ''vigorously'' defend the charges. Essendon "faces the loss of draft picks, premiership points and a multimillion-dollar fine." Hird and his three fellow staff members "remain desperate to save their reputations, having already been tainted by the potentially harmful and illegal program they allowed to continue for so long" (THE AGE, 8/14).
BRAND TAKES HIT: In London, Russell Jackson wrote on the GUARDIAN's Talking Sport blog "it remains hard to see the league stripping the club of premiership points for 2014 and risking the ire of rights-holding TV networks, who'd be compelled to broadcast virtual 'dead rubbers', not to mention the potential drop-off in attendances and gate receipts if fans vote with their feet for those Essendon games." And "what of those fans and the image of the game itself now?" For all of the "moral posturing and furrowed brows at league HQ, the seemingly endless gossiping, leaking and chatter throughout the course of the season has felt disturbingly like, well, content'' (GUARDIAN, 8/13). In Melbourne, Jon Ralph reported the Bombers and captain Jobe Watson "claimed total victory," with Watson claiming vindication and Little stating "on current evidence no notices will be issued." The league "ruled the use of AOD-9604 would not result in an infraction even though WADA had declared it a banned substance." It means Watson "will keep his Brownlow Medal and Essendon players remain free to play finals if their club can dodge a charge of bringing the game into disrepute" (HERALD SUN, 8/14).
Up to 2 million Australians are now "considered rugby league players after a historic partnership" between the National Rugby League and Touch Football Australia, according to Brad Walter of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The merger, which has been "years in the making, will give the NRL greater clout to secure government funding, ensure access to more sporting fields and provide a foot in the door at private schools that only play rugby union." The aim of the new alliance is to "increase overall playing numbers to 2 million," or 10% of the national population. NRL CEO Dave Smith said, "We are announcing a commitment to build the biggest sporting community in Australia" (SMH, 8/14).
SMITH STAYS PATIENT: In a separate piece, Walter reported Smith is "unconcerned that the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority has finalised its investigation" into the Australian Football League first and he insists that "the fate of players will not be affected by what happens in the rival code." No decision is "likely to be made for weeks after about whether players are to be charged but Smith said he was satisfied with the way the six-month investigation was proceeding" (SMH, 8/14).
The Australian Paralympic Committee "has implored the next federal government to drastically increase funding for Paralympic sport," which it claims has been set at half the proportion the British Paralympic team will receive leading up to the 2016 Rio Games. The APC submitted a "hard-hitting" Policy Paper this week "outlining what it says are serious inequities in support for people with a disability to participate in sport, compared with support provided to able-bodied Australians" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/13). ... South Africa's amateur boxers are "out in the cold" after the sport's governing body, the Int'l Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA), suspended the national organization, "largely because of alleged interference by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee." In a letter sent to the SA National Boxing Organization over the weekend, AIBA Exec Dir Ho Kim wrote that AIBA's exec had "decided to provisionally suspend Sanabo from Aiba with effect from Sunday" (SOWETAN LIVE, 8/13). ... Racing Queensland "has announced a new Hendra vaccination program for racehorses in the state." Racing Queensland Chair Kevin Dixon said that the Hendra vaccination program, which is a first for racing in Australia, "would not immediately be mandatory" (AAP, 8/13). ... Former Indian football captain Baichung Bhutia on Tuesday backed the much-debated Indian Premier League-style football tournament of IMG-Reliance, scheduled to start in January, "and is confident that it would help revive the sport in the country." Bhutia: "I think the new tournament is great for Indian football. Being the president of the players' association, I have spoken to the players and they are looking forward to it" (PTI, 8/13). ... The Election Commission of Pakistan "has expressed its inability to conduct the election" for Pakistan Cricket Board Chair on the pretext "that it does not have the mandate to do so" (APP, 8/13).