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Volume 10 No. 25

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The World Anti-Doping Agency "has revoked the accreditation of the Rio de Janeiro laboratory that would have handled testing for the 2016 Summer Games" for failing to comply with int'l standards, according to Steve Keating of REUTERS. WADA on Tuesday said that "the decision marks the second time the Rio laboratory has fallen below the required standards." The revocation, which will begin Sept. 25, means that the laboratory -- which is currently suspended -- "will no longer be authorized to carry out the testing of doping control samples on behalf of WADA or any testing authority." While under suspension, LAB DOP -- LADETEC / IQ -- UFRJ Doping Control Laboratory (LADETEC), "is also ineligible to perform analysis of doping control samples for any testing authority" (REUTERS, 8/27).

ACCREDITATION REVOKED: ATHLETICS WEEKLY reported "exactly how the laboratory has failed in its work was not revealed," but a statement from WADA advised that the lab's accreditation had been revoked "due to non-compliance with the International Standard for Laboratories (ISL) and the related Technical Documents." The laboratory may appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within 21 days and may also reapply for accreditation and seek a "fast track" process from the exec committee (ATHLETICS WEEKLY, 8/28). INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's David Owen wrote FIFA recently intimated that it had yet to formulate a "plan B" for handling World Cup doping tests in the event of the laboratory being unavailable and was unlikely to do so before next year. The only other WADA-accredited laboratory in South America at present is in Colombia, "although there are also facilities in Cuba and Mexico" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 8/28).

National Rugby League side Cronulla Sharks "will not face any possible sanctions" its contribution to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation until well after the grand final, according to Josh Massoud of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. The Australian Football League’s "unprecedented move to dump Essendon from the finals has turned attention on to what measures the NRL are contemplating in regard to Cronulla, which has also been charged with accusations of systemic doping." The NRL decided "long ago to wait until the ASADA probe is complete before determining any action against the Sharks." With ASADA not expected to complete NRL player interviews "until next week, Sharks legal representatives have been told they won’t learn about any further action until mid-October at the earliest" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 8/29). In Sydney, Brent Read reported former rugby league CEO John Quayle on Wednesday "backed the NRL's decision to delay any sanctions against Cronulla but warned if and when the game's governing body does decide to hand down penalties, it must do so irrespective of the Sharks' perilous financial position." That "patient approach has created the prospect that the Sharks could win the grand final and be stripped of the title a matter of weeks, or possibly months, later for bringing the game into disrepute." Just as concerning for the NRL "would be the impact a financial sanction would have on Cronulla." Essendon was slapped with a A$2M ($1.8M) fine by the AFL for "its part in the supplements scandal and a similar penalty for Cronulla could spell the end for a club that has lived on the breadline for years" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/29). In Sydney, Daniel Lane reported Australian Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare "has admitted Cronulla captain Paul Gallen's mobile phone was confiscated and downloaded by customs officers upon his return from New Zealand last month," but he has revealed it was not related to the ASADA investigation. When asked if the practice "could possibly make a footballer feel like a criminal," Clare confirmed the incident involving Gallen was not, "as initially suspected, because of a request made by ASADA." Clare: "The advice I got is that was not related to the ASADA investigation." When asked if he "knew what it was related to," Clare said, ''I don't have the details to that" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/29).

Australian Football League side Essendon players could still be penalized "beyond this year by recommendations still to come from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority," according to Greg Denham of THE AUSTRALIAN. A day after Essendon was "heavily sanctioned by the AFL over governance issues during its 12-month cutting-edge supplement use," the AFL Wednesday reiterated that further action was possible. While "sympathising with Essendon players, who he described as victims," AFL deputy CEO Gillon McLachlan conceded that "uncertainty remains." McLachlan: "We can't control where ASADA goes. I think there would have to be definitive new evidence for them to issue infraction notices, but I don't want to speak on their behalf" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/29). In Canberra, Samantha Lane reported the AFL has accepted that "it must take some responsibility in the Essendon supplements affair, admitting that earlier intervention and vigilance could have mitigated the damage for the club and competition." In the fallout from the scandal, "failings in the code more broadly -- rather than solely at Essendon -- have been highlighted by industry and employment law experts." On Wednesday, McLachlan said, "that’s potentially true." McLachlan: "There’s a lot of things to learn out of this" (CANBERRA TIMES, 8/28).

ESSENDON WARNED OF AXING: In Melbourne, Jake Niall reported the AFL made Essendon aware that the club "could be stood down -- removed from the competition immediately and taken out of the finals -- before the club reached an agreement over the unprecedented penalties for bringing the game into disrepute." While the AFL did not "explicitly threaten the Bombers with removal from the competition under rule 1.5A (G) -- the one that can also see players 'stood down' and effectively suspended on the spot -- the club was mindful that this was an option for the league as the parties fought over the settlement" that ended with the Bombers out of the finals, forfeiting draft picks and fined A$2M with coach James Hird and Manager Danny Corcoran suspended (THE AGE, 8/29). The AAP reported AFL Players Association CEO Matt Finnis said that "the prospect of Essendon players taking legal action against the AFL club can't be ruled out." Finnis added that the Bombers' actions have "compromised the careers, health and reputations of their players and appear to have breached their contractual obligations towards them." Finnis did not reveal whether he was "aware of any players that are contemplating legal action, but said players were aware that it was an option and the association was willing to offer support" (AAP, 8/28).

HIRD: 'I DID NOT BREAK RULES': In Sydney, Stathi Paxinos reported Hird "remains defiant, despite apologising for his role in the AFL club's supplements scandal." Asked on Wednesday morning if he conceded he had broken the rules, Hird said, "not at all." Hird: "I didn't break the rules... those charges have been dropped" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/29).

CLUB ADVISED TO START FRESH: In Melbourne, Murnane & Paxinos reported former AFL Hawthorn President Jeff Kennett and former New Era CEO David Koch "have encouraged Essendon to rid itself of any excess baggage from the drugs scandal and start 'fresh' next year." As the "gravity of unprecedented sanctions hit angry Bombers supporters on Wednesday," Chair Paul Little said that the board would accept "being voted out at the end of the year if it would satisfy members -- despite his own full faith in the executive and belief that the club should not add more names to its list of departures." Kennett, who "as president helped lead Hawthorn to its last premiership," said that he believed the Bombers should part ways with Hird and "anyone else involved in the supplements scandal that has ended with the club being kicked out of the finals and hit with crippling draft penalties and fines" (THE AGE, 8/29). In Brisbane, Peter FitzSimons opined on Tuesday's Sky Sportsnight program, Tracey Holmes "was right on the money, when it came to the subject of the penalties the AFL had just imposed on Essendon." Holmes: "It's a total whitewash. All these penalties on issues of 'governance' and 'misconduct' and no mention of drugs whatsoever!" Holmes "was not alone in her views." Australian cyclist Anna Meares tweeted, "Wonder what the response would have been if Lance Armstrong was demoted to 9th for doping ... AFL ... Seriously? What a joke" (BRISBANE TIMES, 8/28).

AUSTRALIAN PRESS REACTS: REUTERS reported Essendon's "gradual but inexorable downfall has captivated Australia's AFL-obsessed southern states for months, and its punishment knocked the federal election campaign off the front pages of Wednesday's newspapers across the country." The front page headline of the Sydney Daily Telegraph "shouted, 'bombed,'" with the back page headlined "Essendone." AFL columnist Patrick Smith described Essendon's failure to look after its players' welfare in '12 as "the darkest year in AFL history." Smith wrote in The Australian, "It is what we pray to God did not happen at any other clubs in the AFL" (REUTERS, 8/28).

Handball Bundesliga (HBL) CEO Frank Bohmann said that the league "will not reduce its number of teams," according to the DPA. Bohmann: "A reduction of the league's number of teams will definitely not happen in the next several years." It means that the HBL "will continue to consist of 18 teams during the upcoming season." However, Bohmann said that "due to economic reasons the championship could be decided by playoffs in the future." Bohmann said, "It could happen at the earliest during the '14-15 season." A decision on the introduction of playoffs "would be made by the clubs themselves at a membership meeting" (DPA, 8/28).

The Int'l Tennis Federation earlier this summer "approved of the use of 'smart equipment' in official competitions," starting in '14, according to Juan José Mateo of EL PAIS. As a result, "coaches and players are meeting with suppliers and sponsors." They are asking for "chips embedded in racket handles and discussing GPS's and camera systems that generate figures to understand patterns of play based on court position." Spanish tennis player Carla Suárez's coach, Xavi Budó, said, "The chips embedded in the rackets give very good information about how you hit the ball. I have met with Carla's sponsor, Wilson, to see what they could possibly make. It allows you to know the acceleration of each hit, the point of impact and the generation and transmission of force." Budó added that he likes to use GPS technology during practices. Budó: "GPS's give many things, average speed, distance covered, capacity to reproduce top-speed sprints... I want to ask if they will also let us use this in matches." The ITF explained this summer that "analysis technology includes any equipment that records, analyzes or communicates information about the performance of a player." Although it remains undecided "case by case, which technologies will be permitted for use during matches, two things are clear. The live use of data measured during a match will be prohibited. It is also clear that there is no going back; tennis, despite what it will cost, does not intend to miss the technology train" (EL PAIS, 8/27).

Singapore "is the front-runner" to be the next headquarters of the Int'l Cricket Council. This was revealed by Mustafa Kamal "who will take over as president of the sport's governing body next July" (STRAITS TIMES, 8/28). ... England cricket coach Andy Flower has called on the ICC "to change the regulations regarding bad light after his side narrowly missed out on a dramatic victory in the final Ashes test at the Oval on Sunday." England was "21 runs short of their target with four overs remaining when bad light forced the players off the field" (SOWETAN LIVE, 8/27). ... As the Sepaktakraw World Super Series begins in New Delhi on Thursday, the Indian team "was hit by a controversy on Wednesday with four members being expelled by their state federation for taking part in the tournament without informing it." Akash Singh in the men’s team and Kh Bijeta, Kh Omita and O Chaoba in the women’s team "have been expelled for 10 years" by the All Manipur Sepak Takraw Association for "taking part in the national camp without informing their state unit" (PTI, 8/28).

IN AUSTRALIA: Cricket Australia is "obliged to relinquish" cricketer Shane Watson to his Indian Premier League franchise for next month's A$6M ($5.3M) Champions League "in the first of several obstacles to its home Ashes preparation." Players "who have qualified for more than one team, as Watson and Mitchell Johnson have for Rajasthan and Mumbai, respectively, as well as Big Bash team Brisbane Heat, are obliged to represent the Indian team." The Heat "will receive" A$300,000 in compensation (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/29). ... Australian rugby boss Bill Pulver "has backed a proposal" for Australia and New Zealand to form part of a two-conference Super Rugby competition in '16. Pulver said that the plan, being proposed as a way of accommodating South Africa's demand for a permanent sixth team, "was discussed at an Australian Rugby Union board meeting on Tuesday" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/29). ... Cricket Australia announced a new initiative for the KFC T20 Big Bash League that will see all teams sign on two players on Community and Development rookie contracts (CA).