India's motor sports federation "is optimistic the tax problems that have jeopardised the country's Formula One race will be resolved and the home Grand Prix will be back in 2016," according to Sudipto Ganguly of REUTERS. F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said that the Buddh Int'l Circuit near New Delhi "will not be hosting a race next year after being dropped from the 2014 championship." Problems over taxation, with F1 classified as entertainment rather than a sport in India, "as well as the considerable bureaucracy governing the import of equipment have been seen as obstacles." The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) "is waiting for a final clearance from the sports ministry for recognition as a national sports federation and hopes that will pave the way for the race's return." FMSCI Chair Akbar Ebrahim said, "It's unfortunate but once the government gives the recognition I am very hopeful that Mr. Ecclestone's concerns will be satisfied" (REUTERS, 3/6).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The Queensland Rugby Union "has walked away from a plan to radically restructure provincial rugby in Australia," according to Georgina Robinson of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Three weeks after plans were revealed for a partial merger of Super Rugby sides Reds', Waratahs' and Rebels' operations under the auspices of a centralized "Rugby Australia" body, QRU CEO Jim Carmichael "confirmed that Queensland had withdrawn support for the concept." He said, "Nothing has changed in my mind on the need to work towards a long-term strategy that benefits the game and its assets. But from my and Queensland's perspectives, what we were looking at we didn't believe was going to be achieved." The ARU "was the driving force behind the aborted plan, which was based on the template used by Carmichael and the QRU to rebuild its business from the dark days of a few years ago." It was proposed that the marketing and sponsorship departments of each province "would be merged and based in Brisbane, where a centre of excellence for the code's national teams would also have a permanent base." Carmichael said that there "were several reasons for Queensland's decision, including a lack of support from the Rebels and Waratahs, and a fear the plan could actually 'dilute' the hard-won success of the QRU" (SMH, 3/6).
Officials at the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the Indian Premier League, "keen and eager" to make a major part of the IPL-7 a home affair, "are trying to get an undertaking from the Union Home Ministry that it would not intervene if the eight-franchise-team Twenty20 tournament is relocated to India from the first week of May." Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has on many occasions in the last week declared that his department "would be in no position to spare security for the IPL-7 during election time." But a proactive group in the BCCI-IPL "is making a last-ditch effort to get a clear window in early May itself" (THE HINDU, 3/6). ... Racing New South Wales and Racing Victoria "have undertaken a review and modernisation of the Australian Rules of Racing" as a result of recent high-profile cases, like the More Joyous saga, "that have shown shortfalls in the rule book." Racing NSW CEO Peter V'landys said, "The legal counsel at Racing NSW and Racing Victoria are looking at the rules to modernize and update them at the moment" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 3/7). ... Dozens of Indian students from Kashmir "have been suspended and threatened with sedition charges after they cheered the 'wrong' team in a closely fought India-Pakistan cricket match, reigniting arguments about Indian national identity.'' A private university in Meerut in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh "suspended the 67 students and expelled them from their hostel rooms." The students are accused of "shouting pro-Pakistan slogans after the game" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 3/6).
IPL MATCH-FIXING: Former Indian Premier League Chennai Super Kings Owner Gurunath Meiyappan "had admitted to 'friendly betting' in IPL 6 matches through Vindoo Dara Singh." This "is another blow" to BCCI President and Int'l Cricket Council chairman-designate N. Srinivasan as his son-in-law admitted to friendly betting (TNN, 3/6). What lies in store for IPL sides Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals "is going to get crystallised, as the Supreme Court on Friday will resume the hearing of the Mudgal Committee report" (HINDUSTAN TIMES, 3/6).