Pakistan Cricket Board interim Chair Najam Sethi has sought the help of PM Nawaz Sharif "as he tries to revive international cricket in the troubled country after a hiatus of nearly four years," according to the AFP. Pakistan "has not hosted any international cricket since a deadly militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in March 2009 in Lahore." Pakistan "twice tried to arrange limited-overs series against Bangladesh last year." Sethi said that "he has sought Sharif’s help." Sethi: "We have requested the prime minister to help us in this regard and we are going to meet him very soon" (AFP, 12/16).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
Australian Football League club Essendon Chair Paul Little "remains confident the club's players have not consumed any illegal, performance-enhancing or harmful substances," according to Emma Quayle of THE AGE. Little has also "hit out" at World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey "for making 'unfounded and unsettling allegations' that charges were imminent." Little told supporters at Monday night's annual meeting that the Bombers "were looking forward to welcoming back suspended coach James Hird when his 12-month suspension expired at the end of August." Little also confirmed the club would pay Hird's A$750,000 ($672,000) base salary for '14 by the end of this year, "as a result of negotiations with the AFL last week." He said that the club "was close to appointing a new chief executive and implementing a new executive structure that would include a chief operating officer, a general manager of human resources and a compliance manager" (THE AGE, 12/17).
NRL SAGA DRAGS ON: In Melbourne, Adrian Proszenko reported Advanced Sports Nutrition employee Darren Hibbert "could be fighting a fresh legal battle after he was stood down by his long-term employer." The man dubbed ''the Gazelle'' awoke on Monday "to find his work phone was disconnected after the supplements supplier had sacked him without notice." Hibbert, "considered a central figure" in the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's investigations into the National Rugby League supplements saga, "immediately contacted his legal team regarding unfair dismissal proceedings." The move "prompted a backflip of sorts later," when Advanced Sports Nutrition Founder and Dir Peter Memete told Hibbert his contract was ''on hold'' and would be reviewed in a fortnight (THE AGE, 12/17).
Despite being banned for life by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, former Indian Premier League Commissioner Lalit Modi on Monday "defiantly filed his nomination for the December 19 Rajasthan Cricket Association elections, prompting a livid BCCI to threaten suspension of RCA for letting him back," according to the PTI. Modi's nomination papers for the post of RCA president were filed by his lawyer, Mehmood Abdi, "who himself is aiming for the vice-president's post in the elections scheduled on Thursday." The BCCI has a shot off a letter to incumbent RCA President C. P. Joshi, "who has decided against contesting the polls." In a letter, BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel said, "We wish to remind you that as per the BCCI rules and regulations, all the members, including RCA, are bound to follow the decision taken and directives issued in the interest of BCCI, especially those related to disciplinary proceedings. The RCA stands to lose its rights and privileges as BCCI member if the expelled administrator of BCCI is allowed to remain an office-bearer of one of your district units" (PTI, 12/16).
It is one of the world's smallest and wealthiest countries, but experts say that "a deep gambling culture coupled with sheer entrepreneurial zeal has made Singapore a big player in global match-fixing," according to the AFP. The arrests of two Singaporean men over a scandal in Britain "has again thrown a spotlight on the Southeast Asian city-state, known for its cleanliness, strict law and order and high number of millionaires." Despite such advantages, Singapore "is continually linked to match-rigging around the world, testament to a network that is proving hard to eradicate -- even when leading members are under arrest or police protection." Singapore's Wilson Raj Perumal, a "notorious fixer" who was jailed in Finland and is now under police protection in Hungary, "denied any involvement in the English scam after one of the suspects called him his 'boss.'" The latest developments "are part of a chain of events set in motion more than 20 years ago, when Perumal started fixing games in Singapore before moving abroad to escape the attentions of Singaporean police." Doha-based Int'l Centre for Sport Security Dir Chris Eaton said, "These Singaporean criminals recognized that there was money to be made in match-fixing at the low levels, and later translated this national skill, if I could say that, to the global platform." Eaton, a former Interpol officer and ex-head of security at FIFA, called Singapore the "epicenter of gambling in Southeast Asia." Easy int'l transport, a passport accepted around the world and fluency in English and Mandarin "have helped Singaporean fixers spread their influence abroad with the support of external investors, most believed to be from China" (AFP, 12/16).
A "ground-breaking study" of concussion in park and elite Australian Football League players "has revealed that their on-field head clashes are just as damaging" as those experienced in the NFL. Deakin University School of Psychology neuroscientist Dr. Alan Pearce "has uncovered major concerns through comparing 40 footballers," including players from the '80s and '90s, against 20 healthy people of the same age. Pearce: ''It's logical to think that the AFL was not the same as the NFL and the impact is not the same as the NFL. But what we are seeing is an impact to the head is the same and that there are some long-term changes in the brain that we are seeing'' (THE AGE, 12/17). ... The next Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner "will be decided upon after the start of the new year." The support to name former prosecuter Katsuhiko Kumazaki to the post "has been growing from teams -- with the exception of some Pacific League clubs" (KYODO, 12/16). ... In a relief to India's National Congress Party CEO Sharad Pawar, the Bombay High Court "quashed and set aside an order passed by a city civil court temporarily restraining him" from functioning as the Mumbai Cricket Association president (PTI, 12/16). ... Spanish Motorcyclists Federation (RFME) President Ángel Viladoms "introduced two additions ahead of 2014 at the organization's AGM in Valencia." The organization "will launch a Copa de España motocross race." The most important change, however, was "without a doubt the creation of a Women's Commission, intended for the promotion and development of the sport for women" (AS, 12/16).