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Volume 6 No. 215

Leagues and Governing Bodies

F1 "endured a shambolic return to the track on Tuesday" with driver Lewis Hamilton crashing after 18 laps, the sport's "pre-eminent designer revealing his misgivings about the safety of the 2014 cars, and Red Bull, the dominant team in recent seasons, only making it out of the garage with 15 minutes to go," according to Daniel Johnson of the London TELEGRAPH. The pattern of a "fairly farcical day was set when the front wing failed on Hamilton's Mercedes, sending him crashing into the barriers at turn one." The entire paddock "put together just 93 laps all day" (TELEGRAPH, 1/29). REUTERS reported F1's new regulations "affect almost every part of the car." But the "most unpopular change so far may be the new noses of this season's cars, which many describe as unseemly and Red Bull's chief designer calls possibly dangerous." Among the "plethora of changes, F1 has required manufacturers to lower their cars' noses, with the hope it will make cars less likely to take flight during an accident." Red Bull Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey, however, "believes the change might make knocks between cars potentially more dangerous." Newey said that he was "concerned the opposite may occur" and cars "might submarine and go under the car in front." Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel was "hesitant to comment on the safety aspect, but he did agree with Newey that there were some less than pretty vehicles this year." Vettel: "Some of the cars look a lot like a hoover. Walking around the paddock you might get sucked in" (REUTERS, 1/29).

: GRAND PRIX reported F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has written a letter to F1's 11 teams, "arguing that the controversial new 'double points' rule should be extended to the final three races of the season." Three races was always Ecclestone's plan, but "many team bosses refused to agree." Ecclestone, 83, "is trying again to push his original plan through, appealing directly in writing to the F1 teams because a change at such a late date would require total unanimity up and down pitlane" (GRAND PRIX, 1/29).

Germany's National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) "has received a million-euro donation from the private sector," according to the AFP. German prosthetics company Otto Bock, which is run by NADA board member Hans Georg Näder, donated €1M ($1.37M) to the anti-doping agency for its operation in '14. NADA Exec Chair Andrea Gotzmann said, "We are very happy about the support. There has been a certain imbalance in our stakeholder model." The stakeholder model "requires the federal government, state governments and the private sector to financially contribute to the NADA's budget," which is without lab expenses between €4.5M-€5M ($6.2M-$6.8M) annually. However, there "have not been any contributions from the private sector in the recent past." Adidas, one of the few permanent private sector sponsors of NADA, wants to increase its contribution from €300,000 ($410,000) a year to €350,000 ($478,000). Recently, the German Olympic Sports Association (DOSB) has increased its annual contribution by €300,000 to €2.3M ($3.1M) (AFP, 1/28).

No amount of Int'l Cricket Council spin or tinkering "has eased fears that radical governance changes pushed by the richest nations will spell the erosion of international cricket as we know it," according to Chloe Saltau of THE AGE. That fear was voiced by the Federation of Int'l Cricketers' Associations after the ICC sent out a press release trumpeting unanimous support for ''principles'' behind radical reforms. But the support "appeared less than unanimous" when Cricket South Africa said that its own board "needed to consider the proposals before voting on them" at a follow-up ICC meeting on Feb. 8. Reportedly, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan "also have reservations." Some concessions "have been made to the initial plan drawn up by the big three." But "there is no prospect of compromise" on the central plank of the proposal -- a financial distribution model that would see the Board of Control for Cricket in India "receive up to eight times more than the weakest full member" when revenues increase to A$2.5B ($2.1B). FICA Exec Chair Paul Marsh fears the gulf between the richest and poorest, and leaving boards to negotiate bilateral series without the safety net of the Future Tours Program will lead to domestic Twenty20 leagues like the Indian Premier League "taking over from international cricket" (THE AGE, 1/30).  NEWSTALK ZB reported New Zealand's representative on the board, Martin Snedden, has told the "Crowd Goes Wild Breakfast" that reports of financial losses "are inaccurate." Snedden: "Over the last eight years we have received about $2 million from the ICC events program, the deal that we're heading towards making now is going to see those revenues go up to maybe $70-100 million depending on the value of the rights sold.'' Concerns "had also been raised" over the implications for the smaller nations over the axing of the Future Tour Program. However, Snedden said that they "aren't as significant as reports suggest" (NEWSTALK ZB, 1/29). Former English cricketer Mike Atherton penned a column for the TIMES OF INDIA. In it, he wrote, "As a body, the ICC will not be missed. Incompetent, wasteful, as the draft proposal hammered home time and again, and self-interested, the directors had a chance to make a stand for something better and brighter, but chose instead to accept the scraps and the concessions on offer." He added, "South Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh huffed and puffed to get some concessions, but they are minor ... the principle that the money for ICC tournaments is owned by the countries that produce it, was accepted. That was the non-negotiable from the Board of Control for Cricket in India; it was always about the money. That, and control" (TIMES OF INDIA, 1/29). In Mumbai, Vijay Tagore opined, "In the end, it was all's well that ends well." The int'l administrators of the game "have kissed and made up." There was some give-and-take among the members "but the spirit of the draft was not changed." One of the biggest decisions taken at the meeting was the appointment of BCCI President N. Srinivasan as ICC chairman. He will be "the first holder of the post, being specially created from this year." The ICC will "have a president too, but only in ambassadorial role." Srinivasan is the current BCCI representative for the ICC Board and his appointment "has been confirmed by the world body." It was "also confirmed by a BCCI official who is in the know of the developments." A BCCI official said, "That is what has been agreed upon. Mr. Srinivasan will be the chairman of the ICC" (MUMBAI MIRROR, 1/29).

The NetApp-Endura team was announced as one of four wild card teams invited by the Amaury Sport Organisation to race in this year's Tour de France. The German team will be the first from that country in the sport's biggest stage race since '10, when Milram was in its final year as a team (CYCLING NEWS, 1/29). ... Advance Sports Nutrition employee Darren Hibert "has become the first person to be fined for failing to co-operate with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority under the body's new powers." Hibbert, an associate of sports scientist Stephen Dank, has "been slugged for failing to comply with two interview notices, despite providing a doctor's certificate claiming he was too unwell to attend to the latter request" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 1/30). ... Random breathalyser tests will "be conducted on athletes" at the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Perlis from May 24-June 4. Youth & Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said that the measure "was to ensure Sukma athletes were free from alcohol during the Games" (THE STAR, 1/29). ... Referees "will be instructed to waive complaining captains away after awarding a penalty as coaches admit some players will take time to adjust to the rule changes" introduced in the National Rugby League this season. NRL coaches "were advised at a meeting on Wednesday of the new restrictions on when their skippers could talk to referees, which will no longer occur after a penalty or while a scrum is being formed" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 1/30).