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Volume 6 No. 214

Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL U.K. Managing Dir Alistair Kirkwood said that Wembley Stadium "could become the permanent home of an NFL franchise before the end of the decade and even host the Superbowl one day," according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. Kirkwood also revealed that he was in negotiations over staging three regular-season matches in London in '14, with this year seeing two "held in the capital during a single campaign for the first time." The "spectacular success of the NFL's decision to allow matches to be played in London has led to calls for the city to host its own permanent franchise." Kirkwood said, "It's possible that it could be done before the end of the decade." However, "he warned that 24 of the 32 current NFL owners would have to agree any such move." Having signed a four-year deal to play one home game in London until '16, the Jaguars look the most likely candidate to move -- "particularly after owner Shahid Khan bought Premier League club Fulham" (TELEGRAPH, 9/23). ... Wembley's Managing Dir Roger Maslin will not rule out a bid to host a Super Bowl, but warned it may take a while to bring the event to London. Maslin praised the continued success of the partnership with the NFL and said that one day the world's most-watched sporting event could take place under the famous arch. Maslin: “If you spoke to Mr. Goodell [NFL Commissioner] at the moment I think he would be saying that it would stay in the U.S. But they are a very progressive organisation, so long term I think they might consider it, but it’s a hell of a call. If they would bring it anywhere in the world, I’d want it here at Wembley" (The FA).

Australian Football League CEO Andrew Demetriou "has faced his biggest challenge yet," according to Caroline Wilson of THE AGE. His refusal to schedule games on Good Friday was met with a united push from presidents and CEOs "for the competition to overturn its traditional insistence that the religious holiday remain football-free." Western Bulldogs Chair Peter Gordon led the charge, "outlining a detailed assessment of views around the world on playing sport on the holiday long regarded by the AFL as sacrosanct." The game's governors also unveiled a long-term plan at Monday's commission meeting to annually plough in between A$20M ($19M) and A$30M "to help bridge the gap between the rich and poor clubs." With details of the long-term equalization plan to unfold over the next 12 months, the AFL revealed to the clubs it would inject an extra A$6.5M next season "to be spread among the financially struggling clubs as a short-term bid to start closing the gap" (THE AGE, 9/24).

BRIGHT FUTURE: The AAP's Sam Lienert wrote the AFL has decided that "Melbourne's future is bright enough without needing a priority pick at November's national draft." The league confirmed on Monday that it will give Melbourne -- which has changed its coach, CEO and president this year and is restructuring its whole football department after a disastrous season -- a one-off A$1.45M grant. The Demons also wanted the AFL to award it "an extra draft pick." But "that bid was opposed by all 17 other clubs and the AFL on Monday decided it would not happen" (AAP, 9/23). In Sydney, Patrick Smith wrote the commission has also agreed to guarantee an extra A$500,000 in borrowings "if the club requires it." There is no doubt the commission's demand that the club must raise A$450,000 on its own if it wants the AFL to match it "is to ensure that the club pays for the redundancies forced on the new team leading the club." It is cooler news for another club as well, cash-poor Brisbane, "which has its triple premiership hand searching for the AFL till, will not get any aid until its board is unified either through conciliation or restructure" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/24).

Sydney's most prestigious schools association, the GPS, "is in turmoil with Scots College boycotted from sporting contests amid claims from rival schools that it offered prohibited inducements to recruit young athletes," according to Proszenko & Munro of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Concerns "have also been raised" about the exclusive Bellevue Hill school's sports science program, which "is being run by a protege of controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank." Five of Sydney's top private schools -- believed to be The King's School, Sydney Church of England Grammar School, St. Joseph's College, Sydney Grammar School and St. Ignatius' College, Riverview -- "have refused to play Scots' first- and second-grade basketball teams." The schools "accuse Scots of offering sports scholarships to its players in breach of the Great Public Schools code of practice, which prohibits such inducements 'whether direct, disguised, or at arm's length'" (SMH, 9/24). In Brisbane, Peter Munro reported Scots' Headmaster Ian Lambert "boasted about the school's recent premiership success and its improved win-loss ratio across all age groups, teams and sports." A parent of a former senior student at Scots, who declined to be named, said that "the school's sports program went further still." The parent said, ''Dr. Ian Lambert decided they should win a basketball premiership, so they went out and basically bought an entire team with scholarships and dumped the team that should have been in the firsts." It is "a charge Lambert denies." But The King's School Headmaster Tim Hawkes admitted that most schools, including his, ''have offered inducements to a few good sportsmen." Hawkes suggested that "sporting scholarships should be tolerated as readily as academic scholarships, particularly as sport is a professional career for some." The use of sports supplements by schoolboys "is also a concern." Scots College "had accepted a rugby tournament scholarship from a sports nutrition company, which sells products promising 'explosive gains in muscle size and strength'" (BRISBANE TIMES, 9/24).

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has moved the Delhi High Court against restraining it from holding its Special General Meeting, according to the PTI. The Special General Meeting was to be held to "consider the disciplinary committee's report" on former Indian Premier League Commissioner Lalit Modi "for alleged financial irregularities in the cricket league." The BCCI contended that "the trial court has no jurisdiction to pass such an order as the SGM is scheduled to be held at the cricket body's headquarters in Chennai." The High Court "will also hear Modi's cross-appeal against the decision of the lower court which had declined to pass an interim order on his petition challenging the appointment of Sanjay Patel and Jagmohan Dalmiya" to the BCCI by BCCI President N. Srinivasan. Appearing for the BCCI before Justice Shali, senior advocate C.A. Sundaram said, "The Delhi court has no jurisdiction to pass such an order as the BCCI headquarters is in Mumbai and SGM was to be held in Chennai where Srinivansan resides" (PTI, 9/23). In Mumbai, Vijay Tagore wrote the BCCI "is confident of having the stay vacated in the next couple of days." The Modi camp obtained the stay, "successfully raising questions over the legality of the SGM." It has been argued that "the meeting was called by a secretary, who was not appointed by the general body." In a pure technical sense, Sanjay Patel "was appointed by the working committee." The BCCI bylaws, apparently, "mandate an office-bearer to have the vote of the general body." A lawyer from the Modi camp said, "They did not have respect for the bylaws of the board. There was no functional president and the secretary did not have the mandate" (MUMBAI MIRROR, 9/23). The PTI reported the Cricket Association of Bihar on Monday "approached the Supreme Court seeking to restrain" Srinivasan from contesting for the post of BCCI president at the Annual General Meeting of the Board on Sept. 29. CAB, in its interim application, also sought interim injunction against the BCCI "from inducting Srinivasan in any of its committees till the matter pending in the apex court is decided." CAB "is likely to plead before the apex court" Tuesday for early hearing of its application (PTI, 9/23). 

CRICKET'S 'DOOMSDAY': The PTI also reported Modi was his usual outspoken self when he said it will be "doomsday" for Indian cricket if Srinivasan gets re-elected as BCCI president. Modi: "Across the globe, the fans, advertisers and administrators will be disappointed at this if Srinivasan gets re-elected. A wrong message would be sent. It will be a doomsday for Indian cricket" (PTI, 9/23). The PTI reported Sri Lanka Cricket on Monday denied reports that all-rounder Thisara Perera indulged in match-fixing during this year's IPL, saying that "it has full faith in its players." The SLC rebuttal "comes in the wake of a media report which stated that a Mumbai-based bookie fixed an IPL match" for Rs. 6 crore ($958,000) after striking deals with four players of Sunrisers Hyderabad (PTI, 9/23).

POLICE COLLABORATE: In Mumbai, Rahul Mahajani wrote "the friction between the Mumbai and Delhi police has been set aside for a change and the two forces are co-operating in the Twenty20 betting and spot-fixing cases as there are many common accused." The Mumbai crime branch "handed over evidence" related to banned fast bowler S. Sreesanth to the Delhi police on Saturday following a court order. Mumbai crime branch sources said that "since Sreesanth, who has been banned for life by the BCCI, is not an accused in their case, all articles seized from a hotel at the Bandra Kurla Complex where he allegedly stayed, including key CCTV footage, was handed over to the Delhi police" (HINDUSTAN TIMES, 9/23). PAKISTAN TODAY reported Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf  "could be named as a wanted accused in the Mumbai Crime Branch's charge-sheet" of the IPL betting scam. A senior Crime Branch officer said that "deliberations about Rauf's status were under way and the chargesheet is expected to be filed by the end of the week." The officer said, "We will reach a decision on the matter soon" (PAKISTAN TODAY, 9/23).