The Cricket Australia board has "eased rules governing the eligibility of players holding dual passports to compete in domestic tournaments as part of a scheme to strengthen its talent base," according to REUTERS. The initiative's aim is to "lure talented cricketers such as the Sydney-born opening batsman Sam Robson, currently the leading run-scorer in the top tier of the County Championship in England, back to Australian domestic cricket." Robson, who "holds a British passport owing to his Nottingham-born mother," has represented Australia at the U19 level but is "also eligible to represent England in the future" (REUTERS, 8/16). In Sydney, Chloe Saltau reported New South Wales "has a plan to coach Robson, the 24-year-old opener and leading run-scorer in the country championship, into the Australian system so he can audition for the state side." Cricket Australia said in a statement, "CA wants as many quality cricketers playing in its domestic competition as possible" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/17). In Melbourne, Chris Barrett wrote "there is a wider agenda" behind the push from New South Wales, whose new administration, headed by Chair John Warn and CEO Andrew Jones, has "made no secret of a goal to target the diaspora of players raised in the state and have them return to Sydney" (THE AGE, 8/16).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The Australian Football League "seems certain" to call Essendon coach James Hird's bluff "on his demand for an independent panel to hear charges against Essendon, and only after the Grand Final," according to Jon Ralph of the HERALD SUN. Hird's lawyers "set the Monday deadline when issuing a provocative challenge to the league's authority to have the AFL Commission hear the charges." AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou is adamant the AFL Commission is the forum for the Essendon charges to be heard, and says that "he will not stand down from the independent body." The league "refused to comment on Sunday, but it is believed the AFL is not prepared to accede to Hird's demands and still wants the issue resolved before the finals" (HERALD SUN, 8/18). In Sydney, Chip Le Grand reported the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's six-month investigation into the alleged systematic use of peptides at AFL club Essendon and Cronulla in the National Rugby League "is at risk of collapse" if lawyers acting for Hird "succeed in challenging the legality of ASADA's decision to involve the major football codes in its search for evidence of doping." Hird's legal team "foreshadowed the legal challenge, which will be launched once the bitter dispute between the AFL and ASADA inevitably finds its way into the Victorian Supreme Court." Former ASADA Legal Head and Dir Responsible for Intelligence-Gathering, Testing & Investigations Catherine Ordway said that "the joint investigation was a departure from normal practice" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/17).
MORE SMOKE: In Melbourne, Grant Baker reported an AFL charging document revealed that Essendon players "were to receive 1,500 injections of AOD-9604 and Thymosin." The document "also states more than 16,500 doses of Colostrum and 8,000 doses of Tribulus were planned." The charge sheet also said that "the club allowed the administering of prohibited drugs or alternatively is unable to determine whether players were administered substances prohibited by the AFL anti-doping code and World Anti-Doping Agency code" (HERALD SUN, 8/15).
FIFA has fined the Brazilian Football Confederation around €8,000 ($10,669) "after it failed to provide information relating to a doping case" (ESPN, 8/16). ... Indonesia's Enterprise Ministry "agreed to provide economic support to the Indonesia National Sports Committee (KONI)" in preparation for several int'l sporting events, including the 2016 Rio Olympic Games (JAKARTA GLOBE, 8/16). ... A team of Barwani, India Police have "arrested five people, including a bookie, allegedly involved in betting on English county cricket matches" in Indore (HINDUSTAN TIMES, 8/18). ... Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif has "defended banned spinner Danish Kaneria, questioning the evidence of spot-fixing against him by claiming that the alleged Indian bookmaker suspected to be close to the bowler has been Pakistan Cricket Board's official guest on several occasions" (PTI, 8/18). ... The World Anti-Doping Agency is "warning all athletes at the Asian Youth Games to 'Say No To Doping' in a themed activity that began Friday, the Games' opening day of competition" (XINHUA, 8/18). ... Israel will allow youth football teams "into the West Bank in a departure from its original decision after pressure from UEFA and FIFA" (HAARETZ, 8/17). ... A five-member Club Licensing Appeals Body is scheduled to meet at the All India Football Federation Headquarters on Wednesday. The council will "decide on the 14 I-League clubs’ appeal for exemption from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Club Licensing Criteria for the forthcoming season" (THE HINDU, 8/16).