Queensland's "proposed new knockout cup competition will act as the state's feeder to next year's long-awaited" Football Federation Australia Cup, according to Marco Monteverde of the COURIER-MAIL. FFA CEO David Gallop Thursday announced that "the FFA Cup would start in 2014 -- provided a sponsor and broadcast partner are secured." However, the fact that FFA made the announcement "suggests that sponsorship and TV deals are all but finalised." Gallop: "The idea of the FFA Cup has captured the imagination of the football community and there’s a huge groundswell of support" (COURIER-MAIL, 8/30). REUTERS reported the competition is modeled after England's FA Cup "involving the top flight A-League teams as well as amateur and semi-professional clubs." The FA Cup, started in 1871, is the world's first football competition and "involves more than 700 teams from village clubs to Premier League outfits joining the draw at various stages." The FFA Cup "will emulate this progressive involvement but, given the huge distances involved in travelling around Australia, the early rounds may be played on a regional basis" (REUTERS, 8/29).
QUALIFYING TALK: In Sydney, Dominic Bossi reported local association clubs "can qualify for next year's competition through existing regional and state competitions," such as the Waratah Cup in New South Wales. Semi-pro clubs "will enter the tournament in progressive stages due to a seeding system, with the 10 A-League clubs earmarked to be introduced at the round-of-32 stage." The final composition of the other 22 teams "will likely be formed on a pro-rata basis reflecting the number of registered players and clubs of each state and territory, with NSW and Victoria set to be the most represented members" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/30). In Canberra, Lee Gaskin reported with Canberra having missed out on an A-League team, Capital Football CEO Heather Reid said that "it was important the region's elite players could be exposed to top-level football." Reid: "It's another opportunity for our men's clubs. We're working with the FFA to promote these additional opportunities, especially in the absence of an A-League or an NYL (National Youth League) team, entry is really important from our point of view" (CANBERRA TIMES, 8/30).
Cricket Australia "is putting into action its long-held ambition to pioneer day-night Tests, and will hold a round of the Sheffield Shield under lights this summer with the intention of staging a day-night Test against New Zealand" in '15-16, according to Chloe Saltau of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Having championed the concept for several years, and conducted experiments with balls of various colors, CA "has decided to forge ahead towards a specific goal." The trial, to cover round nine of the Shield, "will take place in Victoria, South Australia and Queensland" -- the places considered most likely to suit floodlit Tests. A pink Kookaburra "will be used after advances in manufacturing which were designed to make the ball last longer than previous versions, and the playing hours will be similar to day-night ODIs, with the whole last session played under floodlights." The durability and visibility of the ball, and the amount of dew on the ground at night, "are the main obstacles to day-night Tests." CA CEO James Sutherland said that "he was determined to find out if those hurdles could be cleared." If the trial is successful, more Shield games "will be held under lights next summer." CA "has in recent weeks started talks with New Zealand Cricket about hosting a day-night Test when the Black Caps tour" in late '15 (SMH, 8/30).
In a move "sure to enrage some who work within the sport, yet enthuse many thousands who watch it, the board of the British Horseracing Authority will next week consider firm proposals for two high-profile meetings" on Good Friday, according to Alan Lee of the LONDON TIMES. The headline act could be a £1M ($1.5M) card at Lingfield Park, "where plans to host a glitzy new finale to the all-weather Flat season are well advanced." A second fixture, with prize money well into six figures, "is likely to be at the other end of the country, at Musselburgh in Scotland." The exec of the BHA "is minded to support the bold initiative by the two courses and has also received tentative approaches for a third fixture." Only provisional approval "is likely next week, before the matter goes to a full fixtures meeting later in September" (LONDON TIMES, 8/29).
Five horse-race fixtures in Al Ain, UAE "will take the number of race meetings in the UAE to 57 this season," according to Geoffrey Riddle of the THE NATIONAL. Al Ain "will become the fifth racecourse in the UAE when the Al Nakheel Equestrian Club hosts its first race day at the new facility" on Nov. 30. The new racecourse "provides the only additional meetings this season." The dates for the upcoming UAE racing season were ratified by Emirates Racing Authority Chair and UAE Deputy PM Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed. Jebel Ali "has 11 fixtures and will bring up the curtain on the UAE season" on Nov. 1 and "will be followed by one of Sharjah's six meetings the next day." The first of Meydan Racecourse's 20 meetings will take place on Nov. 7, while the Dubai World Cup Carnival starts at Meydan on Jan. 9. Super Saturday "will be staged at the UAE's flagship track on March 8, and the Carnival culminates with the Dubai World Cup night on March 29." Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club gets underway on Nov. 10 and has 15 fixtures, "second only to Meydan" (THE NATIONAL, 8/28).