FIA Foundation Dir General David Ward "has resigned his position" in order to "challenge for the presidency of the FIA," according to Tom Cary of the London TELEGRAPH. Incumbent FIA President Jean Todt, who is on a business trip in Africa, "has still not confirmed whether or not he intends to stand for a second term." The Frenchman "has been a divisive president." No other potential candidates "have yet put their names forward" (TELEGRAPH, 8/29). REUTERS' Alan Baldwin reported Ward, who was a key adviser to former FIA President Max Mosley, "has led the Foundation since it was set up in 2001 as an independent charitable body with a focus on road safety and the environment." He "was also a policy advisor to the late British Labour Party leader John Smith, who died in 1994, and was then director general of the FIA's European Bureau in Brussels" (REUTERS, 8/29). AUTOSPORT's Jonathan Noble reported "having revealed several weeks ago that he was considering putting himself forward as a candidate, Ward has decided to resign from his Foundation role to focus on an election campaign." Ward: "Election processes inevitably involve robust and lively debate, and whilst the Foundation is independent and there is no legal requirement for me to resign, I believe that it is in the best interests of the charity that I stand down now." Ward's position as director general "will be taken temporarily by his deputy Saul Billingsley before a permanent successor is appointed" (AUTOSPORT, 8/29).
CRUCIAL TIME: In London, Kevin Eason reported "this is a critical moment for Formula One with disputes and fears over the sport’s entire future." Ecclestone "will face criminal charges in a German court in the next few weeks, while Todt’s leadership has been questioned right from the start of his presidency."
F1 "still has no official commercial structure with the Concorde Agreement, the binding tripartite deal between the teams, the FIA and Ecclestone’s F1 company, still to be signed, even though the deadline was at the end of last year, and the sport has been consumed by in-fighting and intrigue."
Ward "has emerged as a potential peacemaker with an agenda for change" (LONDON TIMES, 8/29).
National Rugby League side Canberra Raiders winger Sandor Earl on Thursday "became the first player from either of the major codes to be stood down as a result of the ongoing Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation," according to Brent Read of THE AUSTRALIAN. Both his lawyer and the NRL "played down suggestions it would lead to a slew of infraction notices." Earl, who accepted a provisional ban for the use and trafficking of banned substance CJC-1295, has already indicated that "he will provide substantial assistance to ASADA as he targets a return to rugby league, possibly as early as next year" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/30). In a separate piece, Reid wrote the immediate reaction was that "his sanction represented the start, rather than the end, of an already painstaking process." Players "would now fall like dominos." This is "not so." Earl "will provide substantial assistance, but not in relation to fellow players." Earl will not be bringing Cronulla down, "but CJC-1295 just might." An independent report into Cronulla, commissioned by the club, alleged that "Sharks players were found to have used the substance before the club's round-four game against New Zealand Warriors" in March '11 (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/30).
SEEKING REDUCED PENALTY: In Sydney, Massoud & Hooper wrote Earl "threw himself at the mercy of ASADA after text messages from several mobile phones framed him for a network that distributed peptides and other prescription drugs." Earl faces a ban of four years to life, "but is striving to have the penalty reduced to 12 months after electing to stand down immediately and provide ASADA with extensive information about his activities" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 8/30). Also in Sydney, NRL COO Jim Doyle said that "Earl faced the possibility of a life ban from the game." Doyle: "It's clearly stipulated in the rules. From a use point of view it is two years and from a trafficking perspective it is four years to life. Obviously [the suspension] will be in line with the rules" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/30).
The Australian Football League Commission has ruled that the hearing into Dr. Bruce Reid's case will be ''open'' and heard by the public, as the long-time Essendon club doctor seeks to take his case to the Supreme Court in a bid to clear his name, according to Jake Niall of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The AFL commission's three-member panel has ruled against Reid's attempt to have his case heard by an independent arbiter -- "he wants a retired Supreme Court judge to hear the matter." This ruling prompted the doctor's legal team to indicate it will seek an injunction in the Supreme Court, "in a bid to get his case heard by someone independent, rather than the AFL," which Reid said is biased and cannot give him a fair hearing. Reid's lawyer, Ross Gillies, argued to the commissioners that "Reid could not get a fair trial and that his case was complex and should not be heard by part-time commissioners, but by a retired Supreme Court judge." Reid "is expected to apply to get the matter in the Supreme Court next week." If he succeeds in his legal action, "his case will be heard" (THE AGE, 8/30). In Sydney, Chip Le Grand wrote the standoff between the AFL and its longest-serving club doctor came as Essendon coach James Hird "expressed regret at giving up his fight against the league." In a video message to club members, the banned coach apologized for the poorly managed '12 supplements program "which cost the club a place in this year's finals series," draft picks and a A$2M ($1.7M) fine. Hird: "I am also sorry that we did stop fighting and (to) all the people who wanted us to keep fighting, we weren't able to fight our way through it" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/30).
The new Aviva Premiership season "is to see use of the Television Match Official extended to all six matches played in the league each weekend," according to Mick Cleary of the London TELEGRAPH. Last season, the video referee "was in operation only at the three televised matches, thereby undermining the integrity and universality of the system." The 12 Premiership clubs have invested close to £500,000 ($775,000) "to ensure that there are eight cameras at each ground, the minimum required to facilitate the TMO."
The Premiership "pioneered the enhanced TMO system last season when the match referee could refer to the video referee matters of foul play in any part of the field as well as possible infringements in the build-up to a try."
In contrast to the DRS third-umpire technology used in cricket, the trial in the English league "was deemed a success and other countries have followed suit." There "is one other significant change: a new broadcaster." Cameras in dressing rooms, in-match conversations with directors of rugby and halftime player interviews "will be an integral part of the new-look approach taken by BT Sport" as it begins its £152M ($235M), four-year association with English rugby (TELEGRAPH, 8/29).
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone insists that Pirelli "will remain as F1's sole supplier 2014, despite Michelin having thrown its hat into the ring," according to Adam Cooper of AUTOWEEK.
The French company "has now confirmed to the FIA that it is interested in the role." Some top teams "are known to be interested in at least discussing a change, despite the short lead time Michelin has before the start of testing for next season in late January." Ecclestone also denied that "there was any interest from the teams in joining forces with Michelin." He said, "None of the teams who have spoken to me have said that. All the teams who have spoken to me say they are very happy with Pirelli, and the problems they've had, they're happy that they've dealt with them" (AUTOWEEK, 8/28). SKY SPORTS' William Esler reported when asked about the chances of seeing Michelin return, Ecclestone told U.S. broadcaster Speed, "FOM and Pirelli have a contract." Whilst that may be the case, Pirelli Motorsport Dir Paul Hembery has admitted that "they are yet to agree a deal with the FIA, but Ecclestone does not see that as an issue." He said, "We don't need one, I don't think. They are nothing to do with commercial. The FIA's position is that they are regulators. They regulate all the regulations that have been agreed" (SKY SPORTS, 8/29).
Under pressure from the Int'l Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) to set its house in order, the Indian Boxing Federation "has said it is ready to hold elections again." IBF Secretary General Rajesh Bhandari said that "the date for elections will be decided after receiving final approval from AIBA" (THE HINDU, 8/29). ... Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver "has backed a proposal for Australia and New Zealand to form part of a two-conference Super Rugby competition in 2016." 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 ARU board meeting on Tuesday (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/29).