Premiership rugby club Saracens Chair Nigel Wray said that the top Premiership and French sides "would be 'crazy'" to remain in the Heineken Cup after this season, according to Robert Kitson of the London GUARDIAN. Wray is promising a "better" competition no longer run by the unions. The Premiership owners are "due to meet on Wednesday to discuss what a new tournament will look like." Wray, adamant there "can be no significant changes" under the existing structure, said, "The English and French clubs would, in my opinion, be quite crazy to stay in the existing tournament under the existing rules. The minority -- in terms of revenue producing -- nations outvote the English and the French 4-2 so, surprise, surprise, not much is going to change." The English and French clubs "already have a broadcaster in place in the shape of BT Sport." Premiership Rugby CEO Mark McCafferty said that "an Anglo-French event will go ahead whether or not anyone else joins in" (GUARDIAN, 9/15).
Events and Attractions
Valencia, Spain Mayor Rita Barberá revealed that Valencian regional government President Alberto Fabra "requested her help in keeping the F1 Grand Prix in the region," according to the EFE. Barberá denied the "request regarding the project of moving the GP to Cheste," which is located 26km outside Valencia. Barberá: "Valencia's budget is for Valencia." Barberá also assured that "the development of Valencia's dock area to convert it into the best urban athletic dock in the Mediterranean and a tourist and business zone of economic reactivation 'was never dependent' on Valencia becoming a sub-site (with Madrid) for the 2020 Olympics" (EFE, 9/13). EL PAIS reported Barberá explained that in the case of the Grand Prix that will take place in the Spanish state of Catalonia, the "Barcelona city council will charge a tourist tax that Valencia will not be able to collect." Barberá: "They could collect around €15 million ($20M), even if they only earn €5 million ($6.7M)" (EL PAIS, 9/13).
Spanish anti-doping authorities "were not able to carry out a test on Tour of Spain winner Chris Horner on Monday after they showed up at the wrong hotel." The Spanish authorities "had been asked to carry out the test on behalf" of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (AFP, 9/16). ... In a reversal of its stand, the Union home ministry on Monday "granted visa to players of Pakistan's T20 team Faisalabad Wolves to stay in Chandigarh, a day after they were unceremoniously asked to go to Mohali after they had checked in a hotel in Chandigarh." Faisalabad Wolves players "were on Sunday asked to leave the hotel in Chandigarh after they had checked in and asked to go to Mohali because their visas were marked only for that Punjab town" (PTI, 9/16).