Michelin "is in the frame" to be F1's tire supplier next year, according to Andrew Benson of the BBC. Sources said that the French company "has had discussions with governing body, the FIA, about taking over from Pirelli." Michelin, which last supplied tires to F1 in '06, "told teams it could produce the tyres, despite the late notice." There is "widespread discontent" with current supplier Pirelli among teams and officials in F1 "following a series of problems this season." A Michelin spokesperson told BBC Sport the company would be "interested" in a return to F1, but said this "would be contingent upon a change in the regulations." Michelin "would want a shift in emphasis" in F1 away from the multiple pit-stop formula that has been provided by Pirelli's high-degradation tires, at the request of CEO Bernie Ecclestone (BBC, 8/24).
LONG ROAD AHEAD: In London, Tom Cary reported F1 "is facing the prospect of a potentially protracted legal battle if Michelin steps up its bid to replace Pirelli." Pirelli claims that "it already has deals in place with 10 of the 11 teams, as well as the commercial rights holder," and said it would be "farcical" were the FIA to put out a tender now. Pirelli Motorsport Dir Paul Hembery said, "If Michelin wanted to return why didn’t they come out and say so last September? Quite frankly a tender in September when you are running in January would be farcical. You should have done that in September last year. We have contracts in place, and we would hope people would respect them" (TELEGRAPH, 8/24).
PLANNING AHEAD: REUTERS' Alan Baldwin reported Pirelli "is proceeding on the basis that it will remain the sole supplier next season," but has "yet to sign a contract" with the FIA. Hembery said an agreement with the FIA, led by Frenchman Jean Todt, "would have to wait until the governing body's world council meeting in Croatia next month." F1's tire specifications for '14, which teams need to know to design their cars, "have to be lodged within a matter of weeks and Hembery said Pirelli were on course to meet the deadline" (REUTERS, 8/24).
Australian Football League side Essendon "is likely to go it alone from its coach James Hird on Monday and pursue a plea deal with the AFL that will have the club barred from this year's finals, fined heavily and missing two years of prime draft picks," according to Michael Gleeson of THE AGE. Hird is shaping to continue his personal legal resistance to the charges leveled against him and unless a deal was able to be brokered overnight on Sunday "will enter the commission hearing and insist the AFL is compromised and does not have the jurisdiction to hear the charges against him." Hird's refusal to agree to a ban of any longer than six months for admitting to a legally redefined and more marginal role in the Essendon supplements scandal "was believed to be one of the impediments to sealing a plea bargain deal ahead of the commission hearing" (THE AGE, 8/26).
NRL WILL WAIT: In Sydney, Brad Walter wrote National Rugby League officials have rejected calls to banish Cronulla from the upcoming finals series "and will deal with any fallout from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation after the season is over." However, former AFL Deputy Adrian Anderson believes the NRL should use an internal Sharks report prepared by former ASADA Deputy Chair Trish Kavanagh "that detailed the use of JVC-1295 and GHRP-6 by players in 2011 as evidence to suspend the club from the play-offs." Anderson told the ABC's "Offsiders" program on Sunday, "They have an internal report that confirms two blatantly performance-enhancing banned drugs were administered to players" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/26).
Int'l Cricket Council CEO David Richardson said on Sunday that the ICC is considering using "Snicko" technology in the next Ashes series in Australia, according to Ed Osmond of REUTERS. The current series between England and Australia "has been dogged by controversy surrounding the Decision Review System" and there have been problems with the "HotSpot" technology which is supposed to show whether the ball makes contact with the bat. Richardson said, "Snicko will probably be the first bit of technology introduced. It's always been reliable." "Snicko," which uses sound from stump microphones, "has not been employed by the third umpire because it causes too much of a delay in decision-making" (REUTERS, 8/23). The PA reported although Richardson admitted it could be time to "take a backward step" with regard to the DRS system, he played down the need for wholesale changes. Richardson: "The time is right to maybe take a backward step but not to forget the statistics. Just looking back over the five Tests, we again see that without DRS we would have had a correct decision percentage of about 91 percent, which is lower than we like and lower than the average. With the DRS, we've ended up with the correct decisions about 97 [per cent], so again an improvement of around five or six percentage points" (PA, 8/25).
The Badminton Association of India "is set to amend its constitution to affiliate clubs and individuals" when it holds its special general meeting in Mumbai on Saturday (THE HINDU, 8/25). ... FA of Thailand presidential candidate Virach Charnpanich "accepted the proposed reduction in the number of election voters to 72 from about 180" as recommended by FIFA, during a meeting of representatives of FAT member clubs and FIFA. Virach and his supporters, including Thai Premier League clubs Chonburi FC and Buriram United, "had fiercely rejected the new number and demanded that it remain at about 180" (BANGKOK POST, 8/24). ... The French Embassy in Bangkok "has promised to issue visas for Thai golfers Pornanong Phatlum, Thidapa Suwannapura and Moriya Jutanugarn to compete at the Evian Championship." The trio "were initially denied visas to France" to take part in the $3.25M major tournament to be held from Sept. 12-15 (BANGKOK POST, 8/24).