The Board of Control for Cricket in India has terminated the contract of Indian Premier League side Pune Warriors, according to Vijay Tagore of the MUMBAI MIRROR. The IPL, once a 10-team league, has now "been reduced to eight teams." The termination was a "culmination of six months of sabre rattling, legal battles and ego-clashes between the BCCI and Sahara Adventure Sports, the parent company of the Pune Warriors." The decision was taken at the "working committee meeting of the BCCI, which had also invited the members of the IPL governing council." The cause of the problem was the "BCCI's demand for a bank guarantee which Sahara refused to submit." Sahara instead "insisted on arbitration." After the Bombay High Court "refused to give injunction on demand" for a bank guarantee worth Rs 170 crore ($31.6M), the BCCI "activated its legal team." A letter was sent as recently as Oct. 8 but Sahara "stayed defiant demanding arbitration." The BCCI said, "Given Sahara's continued position that it would not deliver the bank guarantee, the working committee unanimously determined to terminate the Sahara franchise agreement while taking whatever action was necessary to protect the BCCI position" (MUMBAI MIRROR, 10/27). The PTI reported Sahara Group on Saturday "sought to defend its decision to not furnish the bank guarantee to the BCCI," which led to the termination of Pune Warriors. Sahara Group said that it was "forced to do that as the Board 'has always acted in betrayal of trust and not fulfilled its part of obligations.'" Sahara Group said that the "arbitrary" reduction in the number of IPL matches by the BCCI "from the number stipulated in the franchise agreement was at the centre of the whole dispute." The Sahara Group said in a statement, "BCCI had made pre-bid representations that 94 matches will be held in every season and then arbitrarily reduced the number of matches from 94 to 74 & then 76" (PTI, 10/26).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The LPGA Tour said on Monday that New Zealand's 16-year-old "golfing prodigy Lydia Ko has been granted full membership to the LPGA Tour" from the start of the '14 season after the "governing body waived the age limit clause," according to Sudipto Ganguly of REUTERS. Ko's mother, Tina, "had confirmed earlier this month that her daughter had asked the LPGA for an exemption." Ko "formally announced her decision to turn pro last week via social media." The LPGA Tour has an "18-year-old age requirement for membership but commissioner Mike Whan said they have made an exception for Ko" (REUTERS, 10/28). USA TODAY's Steve DiMeglio reported Ko currently is ranked No. 5 in the world and plans to "compete in her first event as a professional" at the LPGA's season-ending CME Group Titleholders in Naples, Fla., on Nov. 21-24. She earned a spot in the tournament field by "winning the 2013 CN Canadian Women's Open, her second win on the LPGA tour" (USA TODAY, 10/28). GOLF CHANNEL's Ryan Lavner noted Lexi Thompson was 16 when she won the Navistar Classic in '11, and then "successfully petitioned the tour so she could claim the tour exemption that came with the victory" (GOLF CHANNEL, 10/28). Golf Channel's Damon Hack said, "This is a player who is so special, who seems so mature beyond her years. I voice concerns about having a teenager granted special membership, but she’s a special player. This is a rare bird we’re seeing" ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 10/28). GOLF WEEK's Beth Ann Baldry wrote under the header, "LPGA Makes Right Call In Granting Ko Membership." LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan "made the right call" in granting Ko membership (GOLF WEEK, 10/28).
The Spanish Triathlon Federation (FETRI) "is experiencing new lows," according to Sara Massa of EL CONFIDENCIAL. On Saturday, 80 triathletes gathered to request the resignation of FETRI President José Hidalgo in a "reflection of what has happened in recent months, when the organization's situation became unsustainable." Poor "economic management," debt estimated to be €290,000 in '12, "a reviled leadership and popular races that are becoming less accessible have become the characteristics of FETRI's identity." The triathletes "exploded on Saturday after many of them had expressed their concerns with FETRI's management on their personal websites and through other mediums." Hidalgo was re-elected as president in January through "a voting system where one vote does not equal one person, but instead gives each vote different significance depending on the voter." The triathletes "can do very little under this voting system" (EL CONFIDENCIAL, 10/28).
Australian Football League CEO Andrew Demetriou "hailed the three-week trade period as a success despite its length and club anger over compensation selections." Demetriou said that "the fact 35 players changing clubs in a mainly seamless movement of players showed the system was working" (HERALD SUN, 10/28). ... The slow pace of work to develop stadiums for next year's World Twenty20 Championships in Bangladesh on Sunday "resulted in Cox's Bazaar being dropped as one of the venues for the March 16 to April 6 tournament." Another doubtful venue, Sylhet, which is scheduled to host the women's leg of the World T20, "has been retained" by the Int'l Cricket Council (PTI, 10/27). ... Disappointed that South African cricket player Faf du Plessis "was let off with a fine for ball tampering," the Pakistan Cricket Board will write to the Int'l Cricket Council "to review match referee's decision and impose harsher punishment for his 'grave' violation of rules." Du Plessis "was caught tampering with the ball on the third day of the second Test in Dubai." But he "escaped with only a fine of 50% of his match fee after he pleaded guilty to the charges, by Australian match referee David Boon" (PTI, 10/28). ... Japanese players may be joining MLB as early as November, "when the new posting agreement between America’s professional Baseball league and Japan is expected to come into place." Once sealed, ball players from Japan "will have easier and faster opportunities" to play in the U.S. (JAPAN DAILY PRESS, 10/28). ... The int'l "push for longer bans for serious doping offences is expected to gather strength following the publication of research that suggests steroids continue to boost muscles long after the drugs have been taken." The latest study, in mice, "found that exposure to the drug for a short period had long-lasting impact on the animals' ability to build muscle during training" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/29).