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Volume 6 No. 216

Leagues and Governing Bodies

F1 drivers "have now been issued with their permanent race numbers," after the FIA confirmed the entry list for the '14 season on Friday, according to Jonathan Noble of AUTO SPORT. As part of an effort "to improve the marketing nature of the sport," the teams and the FIA agreed at the end of last year that drivers "would now be assigned with numbers that they will carry throughout their entire careers." Drivers "had to lodge a request" with the FIA for their preferred numbers -- with any clashes going in favour of the driver that finished further ahead in the world championship. World champion Sebastian Vettel will have No. 1 this season, but has chosen No. 5 as his race number and "will switch to it when he is no longer champion." Pastor Maldonado "has elected" to bring the No. 13 back to F1, even though "it is traditionally viewed as unlucky," while Nico Hülkenberg will race with the No. 27 "made famous by Gilles Villeneuve" (AUTO SPORT, 1/10).

The Int'l Rugby Board announced on Saturday that "it had suspended all direct financial support to the Fiji Rugby Union with immediate effect because of concerns over the administration and governance of the Union," according to the AFP. The IRB said in a statement the suspension will hold "until the Union adopts key financial reporting, administration and governance reforms." The IRB said it had committed "STG1.1 million ($2.05M) in direct funding to the FRU in 2013 and significant additional financial assistance to participate in international tournaments in 2013" (AFP, 1/12). REUTERS' Amlan Chakraborty reported the FRU "blamed its previous management on Sunday for the administrative mess that prompted the game's global governing body to suspend all direct financial support to the pacific island nation." The FRU said that "they were not to blame for the imbroglio." The FRU said, "All these issues were inherited by this current FRU board and the board expects to clear up all these issues by end of May 2014" (REUTERS, 1/12).

National Rugby League "'bad boys' face having to agree to good-behaviour bonds" of up to A$250,000 ($224,800) if they "want to stay" in the league, according to Aaron Lawton of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The game's bosses, including NRL Integrity Unit COO Jim Doyle, "are sick of scandals involving a few wayward players tarnishing the image of the sport." In the past, players "have been sacked by clubs for off-field incidents and contract breaches, only to then be signed by rival clubs." Doyle "acknowledges one mistake shouldn't end a player's NRL career." But under a new proposal, he "wants to see repeat offenders put up a good-behaviour bond" -- potentially up to A$250,000 -- that "would be forfeited for a repeat offence." Doyle said, "The players themselves ... are the ones who choose their actions. If they go out and beat someone up or they get drunk and do something they shouldn't be doing, well, that is them who has chosen that action. That's not us. We aren't stopping them from having a career -- they themselves are." Doyle also said that "bad behaviour by players can have an adverse effect on club finances." He said, "If you look at the 16 NRL clubs, and I've talked to all the CEOs and the chairmen ... their biggest challenge is continuously being financially stable." He added, "And if the brand of your club is bad and negative because you've got a few idiots that play for your team and you're not willing to penalize them in any way, that has a reflection on your own brand and therefore certain corporates aren't going to want to get involved with your organization" (SMH, 1/11).

Cycling’s ruling body is prepared to spend 3M Swiss francs ($3.3M) "on an inquiry into how it oversaw doping controls during Lance Armstrong’s career, a probe that includes a former war crimes investigator." The Int'l Cycling Union disclosed the budget "in an e-mailed response to questions." It is "the second attempt by the UCI to look into its treatment of Armstrong" (BLOOMBERG, 1/12). ... China’s table tennis federation "should give foreign players more access to its coaches to ease the country’s stranglehold on the sport and attract more television and sponsor interest." In the men’s game, Chinese players "have won seven of the past eight biennial world championships, while China’s women have claimed the last 10 titles" (REUTERS, 1/12).