Fears that the 2014 World Cup "could be decimated" by the ongoing Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigation "have eased after event organisers reached an agreement allowing countries to replace any players suspended by the anti-doping body during the tournament," according to Brent Read of THE AUSTRALIAN. Under the existing rules, countries "are required to nominate 24 players before the start of the tournament and stick to them." However, there are concerns ASADA "could stand down players during the tournament, leaving some teams undermanned." As a result, the board "agreed to allow any players stood down by ASADA as a result of the investigation to be replaced." The agreement "covers only players caught by the current investigation, meaning countries will be unable to replace players who fail drug tests during the tournament" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/17). In Sydney, Dan Koch reported Australia's reputation on the int'l sporting landscape has taken a "significant battering" on the back of the ongoing investigations into the use of peptides in the Australian Football League and National Rugby League. Speaking at a sports law conference in Brisbane Thursday, World Anti-Doping Authority President John Fahey said the damage to Australia's reputation was "incredibly sad." Fahey: "As a great lover of sport and a very patriotic Australian, to the extent that there are significant lessons to be learned. ... I do hope we take this on board and continue to deal with matters with the seriousness and swiftness with which they deserve" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/18).
Events and Attractions
Officials from the UAE Cycling Federation "are proposing to host future stages of the Giro d'Italia in Dubai," according to Ashley Hammond of GULF NEWS. A UAE delegation followed the Giro d'Italia in May to pick up organizational tips ahead of the inaugural Dubai Tour next February, "however they returned to Italy last week to propose actually hosting part of the event." UAE CF board member and Dubai Tour Head of Technical & Sport Division Mohammad Al Sabagh said, "This is something we're working on and are going to discuss as part of our strategy with the Giro organisers. We've seen how Northern Ireland and Ireland have organized the opening three stages and that's fabulous." Previous stages of the Giro d'Italia, like the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, have been held in different countries in recent years as organizers seek new revenue streams, however "Dubai would be the furthest detour to date" (GULF NEWS, 10/17).
Spain's national football team will play a friendly in Gabon in November, "and this is not the only offer" at the Spanish Football Federation's (RFEF) office. The offer from Gabon for playing in the friendly will pay Spain nearly €4M ($5.5M) (MARCA, 10/17). ... The World Figure Skating Grand Prix Cup of China "will be held at the Beijing Capital Gymnasium" from Nov. 1-3 after being held for two years in Shanghai. It "is the third leg of the Grand Prix season" (CHINA DAILY, 10/17). ... The Badminton World Federation is sticking with its plan "to host the World Super Series Finals" from Dec. 11-14 "although it clashes with the SEA Games in Myanmar" (THE STAR, 10/17). ... The organizers of the 27th SEA Games in Myanmar "have pledged to tighten security for the event after Yangon was hit by a series of bomb blasts this week, which reportedly killed two people and injured three others." About 1 million spectators are expected to fill the stadiums, multi-purpose halls and swimming complexes in the cities of Yangon, Naypyidaw, Mandalay and Ngwe Saung Beach for the biennial event from Dec. 11-22 (Singapore TODAY, 10/17).