The two-day Int'l Cricket Council CEOs meeting commenced in Dubai "with one of the main points of discussion being an attempt to save India's tour to South Africa in November-December," according to K.R. Nayar of GULF NEWS. Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat and Board of Control for Cricket in India Secretary Sanjay Patel "were due to meet to discuss the issue." Whether the "all-powerful and cash-rich" BCCI, which had protested about the appointment of Lorgat as CSA CEO, "will yield and go ahead with the proposed tour will be known only after their meeting." The CSA stands to lose $15M if the BCCI "sticks to its demand of not wanting Lorgat as South Africa's chief executive." The BCCI is understood to have clearly stated that Lorgat, who as ICC chief executive backed the controversial decision review system and also the Woolf Governance Review against its wishes, "should not be holding any administrative post in CSA" (GULF NEWS, 9/16).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
Anabolic steroids "are to be banned in Australian horse racing, with officials pledging zero tolerance of performance-enhancing drugs," according to Frank Keogh of the BBC. The move comes five months after a drugs scandal in the U.K. "highlighted anomalies in worldwide rules." The Australian Racing Board said that its ban will take effect on May 1 and "apply to all thoroughbreds from the age of six months." ARB CEO Peter McGauran said, "The ban on anabolic steroids goes far beyond any other racing jurisdiction outside of Europe and was decided by the ARB Board after lengthy consideration of veterinary and scientific advice and consultation with trainers' and owners' associations" (BBC, 9/16). In London, Greg Wood wrote at present, steroids are only illegal in Australia if they are present in a horse's system on the day of a race, "and can be administered without penalty to horses both in and out of training so long as they are 'clean' when they compete." Differing attitudes to the use of steroids in racing jurisdictions around the world "were highlighted earlier this year as a result of the Godolphin doping scandal at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket." Australia has now followed Dubai, which is ruled by Godolphin founder Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum, "by introducing strict new rules on the use of steroids." The ban "is likely to prove controversial, initially at least, among some Australian trainers." When senior ARB executives suggested in April that stricter regulation of steroids was under consideration, Australian Trainers' Association President Colin Alderson said that it would be "a complete over-reaction ... because of one isolated incident" in the U.K. (GUARDIAN, 9/16).
RULE CHANGE: RACING POST's Stuart Riley wrote Australia's rules on the use of steroids "had caused many of their successes overseas, most notably at Royal Ascot, to be called into question and part of the thinking behind the rule change was to abolish suspicion and retain public confidence in the sport in Australia." McGauran said, "Foremost in the board's consideration was the need for absolute integrity and public confidence in racing. ... Racing is a sport and as such must be a test of the ability of the individual horse, its trainer and rider and not of the pharmacologist, veterinarian or sports scientist" (RACING POST, 9/16). In Melbourne, Patrick Bartley wrote Racing Victoria stewards swooped on two of the state's biggest training centers, "carrying out early-morning raids and conducting blood tests from all horses who competed at Saturday's meeting at Moonee Valley." RVL stewards "arrived at Caulfield and Flemington racecourses to test for banned substances 48 hours after events." On Saturday, RVL stewards withdrew South Australian galloper Happy Trails from the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley "after discovering a puncture wound on the horse's neck." Stewards from the Compliance Assurance Team told stewards at Moonee Valley that "they had inspected Happy Trails in his stable at 9am and noticed no abnormality" (THE AGE, 9/17). In London, Wood wrote British Horseracing Authority CEO Paul Bittar said on Monday that "the regulator will investigate whether it will be able to follow the lead set by the Australian Racing Board and introduce a blanket ban on the use of anabolic steroids in horses both in and out of competition." The speed and above all the scope of the Australian reaction to the scandal "has come as a surprise to many, including Bittar." Bittar: "It's a very positive move and a significant move for Australian racing given their current and previous position." Australian racing is more localized than its British counterpart, and centered "around the major tracks in Sydney and Melbourne." As a result, a blanket ban on steroids should prove more straightforward to implement and uphold than would a similar ban in Britain, "where stables are scattered across the country and the BHA can regulate only licensed training premises" (GUARDIAN, 9/16).
Police "are working to extradite overseas members of a multimillion-dollar match-fixing syndicate, including a Singaporean middleman, that has rocked Australian sport," according to McKenzie, Baker & Cooper of THE AGE. The development comes as authorities examine whether match-fixing has spread outside the Victorian Premier League football competition "or involved the players' former clubs." Federal police are also understood to have been briefed about Victoria Police's ''Operation Starlings'' to try to enlist the AFP's int'l network in tracking down syndicate members. Police "allege the syndicate was run" by int'l match-fixing king-pin Wilson Raj Perumal. The long-standing modus operandi of the int'l syndicate behind the alleged match-fixing in Victoria "involves recruiting journeyman players to infiltrate cash-strapped clubs or leagues." A FFV source said,"We never even knew that was a possibility, but of course we know that now" (THE AGE, 9/17). In Sydney, Akerman & Shand wrote the alleged local head of Australia's biggest match-fixing ring received more than A$250,000 ($233,000) in foreign transfers over the past three months, as he instructed football players "on how to throw matches at the behest of an international betting syndicate." Segaran Gsubramaniam is "charged with engaging in and facilitating conduct to corrupt betting outcomes." Detectives said "he had admitted to dealing with known international match-fixers" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/17). In Melbourne, David Davutovic wrote Southern Stars club officials "deny any involvement in the fixing of five matches this season," adamant they are innocent victims who have been exploited. Stars committee members "are still coming to terms with becoming embroiled in the biggest betting scandal in Australian sports history" (HERALD SUN, 9/16).
FADING STARS: Also in Melbourne, Michael Lynch wrote the VPL is a far from glamorous sporting arena, and the sort of English "internationals'' implicated "are only internationals in the sense that they hold a passport that is not Australian." It is a competition made up of players who have, for the most part, "fallen short of what is required to play at professional level in most well-funded national leagues: the wannabe, might-have-been and never-will-be alongside the odd former big name who is now in the twilight of his career and playing either for fun or a final contract." For all those reasons -- lack of scrutiny, lack of money, generally lack of mainstream interest -- "such a competition is an easy target for gamblers looking to fix results and clean up in offshore betting markets" (THE AGE, 9/17). In Melbourne, Val Migliaccio wrote Football Federation South Australia CEO Michael Carter said that "he is not aware of any illegal gambling activity in SAs premier league." But FFSA is aware that "some spectators are seemingly providing mobile phone updates on SA premier league matches to offshore online betting agencies." Carter believes that "these unidentified men are paying entry fees to the premier league clashes and are not breaking the law" (HERALD SUN, 9/16).
Israel got back on the int'l curling map this month when "48 of 49 World Curling Federation delegates voted to reinstate the country as a full member." The reinstatement "followed years of persistence and lobbying, and despite a lack of facilities and limited funding from the Olympic Committee of Israel and the Sports Ministry" (HAARETZ, 9/15). ... Dubai Sports Council Sport Tourism Manager Ghazi Al Madani hopes that the hosting of the annual Dubai Int'l Open Bowling Championships "will raise the standard of the sport in the country." Al Madani: "One of the main objectives in organising this championship is to give our local bowlers an opportunity to interact with top professionals from across the world" (GULF NEWS, 9/16). ... The Int'l Tennis Federation "is hoping the UAE will cash in on the full potential of hosting the world governing body's Annual General Meeting" in Dubai in a year's time. ITF AGM organizer Vicki Fecci said, "Organizing an AGM is a fantastic opportunity for any country to showcase itself before the who's who connected with the sport from across the world. I can see that next year's AGM will bring in a lot of benefits for this country" (GULF NEWS, 9/16).