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Volume 6 No. 215

Leagues and Governing Bodies

French football clubs in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 "could go on strike next week" due to a possible increased tax on high salaries that "would especially affect the leagues' richest clubs," according to Abraham Romero of AS. The decision will be made next week in France's National Assembly. If applied, "clubs will have to pay taxes of 75%" if any employee's salary exceeds €1M ($1.3M). Ligue 1 Paris St. Germain, for example, would have to pay up to €20M ($27M) in taxes due to the high salaries of its players and coach Laurent Blanc. Ligue 2 Le Havre President Jean Pierre Louvel said regarding a possible strike, "It will depend on the government's attitude and the availability of our clubs." The clubs "have until next Thursday to decide on a possible strike" (AS, 10/17).

Former Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission Executive Dir Renee Anne Shirley claimed that the organization "has never conducted a blood test and is so short-staffed that it risks botching the prosecution of athletes on drug charges," according to Simon Hart of the London TELEGRAPH. Shirley prompted an investigation into Jamaica's anti-doping program by the World Anti-Doping Agency "following her revelation in a magazine article that JADCO carried out just one out-of-competition drug test in the five months leading up to the London Olympics." Now Shirley has added to her criticisms of Jamaica's anti-doping measures by claiming that "blood-testing kits that were delivered during her tenure at JADCO have never been used." Instead, she said that Jamaican athletes "are subject only to urine tests by JADCO, even though blood-testing is the only way to detect the presence of human growth hormone" -- a substance that could be of particular advantage to sprinters. Shirley: "Why have they not started doing blood tests and looking for things like HGH? I know that 30 kits were bought and I left them there. To the best of my knowledge, eight months later I don't know if Jamaica has started doing blood tests" (TELEGRAPH, 10/16).

Former Board of Control for Cricket in India President Sharad Pawar "is all set to be elected unopposed" as the Mumbai Cricket Association president after Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gopinath Munde's appeal against the rejection of his application to contest for the top post at Friday's polls was turned down on Thursday, according to the PTI. Outgoing MCA President Ravi Savant said that the former Maharashtra Deputy chief minister, "whose application to contest the polls was rejected by the election officer on the basis of his residential status, had appealed against the verdict but that too was rejected." According to MCA rules, "only a Mumbai resident can become a governing member of the cricketing body" (PTI, 10/17). The HINDUSTAN TIMES reported "things may finally land in a court as an unhappy Munde has decided to take a legal course against" the MCA's decision to bar him from elections due on Friday. He told media after the ruling on Thursday that "he would move city civil court" (HINDUSTAN TIMES, 10/17). The PTI reported Munde also "described the rejection of his candidature as a conspiracy against him and hit out at Pawar." Munde: "This is a conspiracy against me. I am fighting for justice. There is a monopoly of Sharad Pawar in MCA. I want to fight against this monopoly and I feel that the president should give me justice. If he does not give, I will go to Mumbai High Court" (PTI, 10/17).

Francisco Blázquez took charge as president of the Spanish Handball Federation (RFEBM) in April and "six months later, he has explained the current state of Spanish handball," according to Jesús Mínguez of AS. The Spanish Handball League's (ASOBAL) situation "is producing the most headaches for Blázquez," who warned, "If it continues like this, it is on the path to bankruptcy." The debt, which is estimated to be €2M ($2.7M), scheduling conflicts, ASOBAL side Atlético dissolving and the disappearance of TV rights "are making the competition nearly invisible." Blázquez said the "economic situation has forced him to require teams to pay membership fees" that have increased from €20,000 ($27,326) to €40,000 ($54,652). Blázquez added that clubs have received €450,000 ($614,800) from TV revenue and another €400,000 ($546,500) from int'l rights. The RFEBM president added, "But the teams are only fighting to recover sponsorships, and if they do not invest in the present, we are lost." Blázquez said, "My saddest day as president was when Atlético announced its disappearance." Blázquez nevertheless prefers to "see the glass half-full" (AS, 10/17).

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has excused Valencia of a fine for dropping off the F1 calendar, "but everything in Formula 1 has a price," according to Pablo Juanarena of MARCA. Ecclestone wants to "take fencing, spare tires and retaining walls from Valencia." This is an "insignificant price" compared to a fine for breach of contract, which would cost more than €50M ($68M). The beneficiary of Valencia dropping from the calendar is F1's new Grand Prix of America, "which is scheduled to take place June 1 on the banks of the Hudson River." Ecclestone "has a personal interest in having a race with the N.Y. skyline as the racetrack's backdrop." The idea is to "move as much of the material as possible from Valencia to the site of the Grand Prix of America" (MARCA, 10/17).