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Volume 6 No. 213

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The Spanish Basketball League (ACB) is "considering changing its format," according to AS. The proposals include "restructuring the postseason, among others." Several players, coaches and execs "provided their opinions."

Bilbao player Álex Mumbrú: "We have to look for a way to make all the games important. Change is not just important, it is fundamental. In La Liga, it seems that players' lives are at stake every game."

Baskonia player Andrés Nocioni: "The format changes have to be left to the directors. We will go play where they say. The changes concern other people. I am here to play."

Baskonia President Jose Querejeta: "We can choose to generate resources through TV rights or sponsorships when there is stability, which is good for everyone. The last two years teams have not risen because there are necessary precautions."

Valladolid coach Ricard Casas: "The model is stagnant. The ACB should stay at 18 teams, but it would not be bad to create other clubs from nearby countries like Portugal to add more competitive stimulation" (AS, 11/6).

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "has scored an early victory" in a legal battle about the value of F1 as the claim against him as been reduced by $30M to $140.4M, according to Christian Sylt of the London INDEPENDENT. The F1 boss took the stand Wednesday to "answer charges that a stake in the sport was undervalued" when it was sold by German bank BayernLB (BLB) to private equity firm CVC in '06 (INDEPENDENT, 11/6). REUTERS' Keith Weir reported Ecclestone said a multi-million dollar payment to a jailed German banker was an "insurance policy." Ecclestone denied "it was linked to the sale of a stake in the business to private equity firm CVC." Ecclestone said that he paid German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky £10M  ($16M), but said that was because Gribkowsky "was threatening to make damaging claims about a family trust to the British tax authorities" that could have cost him up to £2B ($3.2B). Ecclestone: "What I paid him was a very small amount, what I call an insurance policy." Ecclestone called it "quite a cheap insurance policy." He said that "there was no link" to a deal in which CVC paid BayernLB $830M for a 47% stake in F1. Ecclestone: "This issue was nothing to do with anyone except Gribkowsky and myself, nobody else" (REUTERS, 11/6).

SHAKE DOWN: BLOOMBERG's Kit Chellel reported Ecclestone "was asked whether he denied making the payments to newspapers" and the F1 board in '11 after Gribkowsky was arrested on suspicion of receiving bribes. Ecclestone: "I was being shaken down." Philip Marshall, a lawyer for Constantin said Ecclestone had told a newspaper in '11 the bribery allegations were "absolute nonsense." Ecclestone "admitted making payments and denied being dishonest when asked about it afterward." Ecclestone said, "I was more concerned with this whole matter being kept out of the public," because of Gribkowsky’s threats to tell British tax authorities about a family trust. He said he told the truth to journalists, F1 execs and investigators from CVC (BLOOMBERG, 11/6). The London TELEGRAPH reported giving evidence in the damages case brought by Constantin Medien, Ecclestone "repeated previous statements that he was being put under pressure by Gribkowsky who he feared would make false claims about his tax affairs." He "denied misleading" F1 board members including ad group WPP CEO Martin Sorrell and Nestle Chair Peter Brabeck about payments to Gribkowsky. Ecclestone: "It wasn't the slightest concern of theirs" (TELEGRAPH, 11/6). Also in London, Kevin Eason wrote "it would be an ordeal for anyone to answer such detailed and intensive questioning, but Ecclestone was 83 last month and occasionally seemed his age." Before the hearing, Ecclestone’s lawyers told the court that "their client suffered fading eyesight and was hard of hearing." Ecclestone "had to take his spectacles off to read the long list of documents presented to him and many of his murmured answers were inaudible in the far reaches" off the packed courtroom (LONDON TIMES, 11/7).

Korea Baseball Organization officials said that KBO general managers "have agreed in principle to increase the current foreign player quota starting next season," according to YONHAP. Execs from 10 clubs, nine current teams plus the expansion KT Wiz that will join the league in '15, "met on Tuesday." Currently, "teams are allowed to carry two foreign players on the active roster." The NC Dinos, an expansion club that played its inaugural KBO season in '13, was "permitted three foreign players." At their meeting, the general managers agreed that "teams will now be able to sign three foreigners and play two of them." The Dinos and the Wiz "will be granted four foreign player spots, with up to three of them allowed to suit up for games" (KOREA HERALD, 11/6).

The Int'l Centre for Sport Security "has signed a partnership with UNICEF in Brazil." Recognizing that hosting mega sport events may pose risks to children, "the two bodies will collaborate to promote child protection, safety and security in sport and try to safeguard children from illicit activities" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 11/6). ... The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), "an apex industry body," has suggested the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to bring the Board of Control for Cricket in India under the ambit of the Right to Information Act. ASSOCHAM said in a statement, "The BCCI is not a registered National Sports Federation as it does not take any grants from the government and thus it cannot be brought under the RTI Act, but if the National Draft on Sports Development Bill 2013 is finally passed by the Parliament, then BCCI may not be able to use the word 'India.'" As per the Draft National Sports Development Bill 2013, "only those federations who come under the RTI ambit" will have the right to use "India" as the team name (PTI, 11/6). ...Thai Premier League club Buriram United on Wednesday "filed a lawsuit" against acting FA of Thailand President Worawi Makudi and his acting Secretary General Ong-arj Kosinkha "for allegedly using forged documents and providing false information to a government official in the run-up to last month's election for FAT president." In a suit filed with the Criminal Court, Buriram United Manager Tadthep Pitakpulsin claimed that "the two conspired to modify FAT regulations before submitting them to a registrar at the Local Administration Department," which oversees all associations in Thailand, between Aug. 23 and Oct. 14 (BANGKOK POST, 11/6).