Weightlifting "has had its UK Sport funding restored after a successful appeal," but the withdrawal of funding for six other sports "remains in place," according to the BBC. Basketball, synchronized swimming, water polo and Paralympic sports wheelchair fencing, goalball and five-a-side football "continue to lose out." All of the sports facing funding cuts "are considering an appeal against the decision." Weightlifting's reinstated funding is £894,000 ($1.5M), taking the total to £1.8M ($3M). Badminton has had £250,000 ($413,000) reinstated, taking its total funding to £5.9M (9.7M). UK Sport Chair Rod Carr said, "The starting point for UK Sport and the board is that we want to be able to invest in as many Olympic and Paralympic sports as possible but they must be able to credibly demonstrate medal-winning potential within eight years." British swimming CEO David Sparkes said, "This is a very dark and sad day for British sport -- especially for women's sport" (BBC, 3/19). In London, Ben Rumsby reported the Government and UK Sport "were under mounting pressure" to address the growing “bias” in funding between elite individual and team sports on Wednesday night after five of the latter -- including basketball -- "had the loss of millions of pounds of Lottery support confirmed" (TELEGRAPH, 3/19). In London, Owen Gibson reported the decision "has sparked a wide ranging debate" about the "no compromise" funding formula that requires sports to demonstrate medal-winning potential and has taken Great Britain from 36th in the medal table at the 1996 Atlanta Games to third at the 2012 London Games with 65 medals (GUARDIAN, 3/19).
BASKETBALL BLUES: In London, Jim White reported for British basketball, Wednesday "was the opposite of a slam dunk." The elite game in this country "was effectively emasculated." There "will still be government money injected into the grassroots (or in basketball’s case the floorboards) through Sport England." But as far as our representative sides are concerned, "a final time out has been called." When it comes to the Rio Olympics, British basketball "finds itself on an equal footing with the Faroe Islands and Papua New Guinea." In truth, "we now have about as much chance of securing a medal as Jack Warner has of being invited to the Anti-Corruption League’s annual dinner" (TELEGRAPH, 3/19). In London, Ben Jefferson reported the decision comes after British Basketball made presentations to UK Sport urging it to reconsider its Feb. 4 decision to pull the £1.6M ($2.7M)-a-year investment in the sport. The decision could mean that NBA players Luol Deng and Joel Freeland "may be asked to pay their own insurance costs for this summer's EuroBasket 2015 qualifiers" (EXPRESS, 3/19).
The eight franchises of the Indian Premier League will be "keen to know" how the Board of Control for Cricket in India plans to "make up for their revenue losses at their meeting" with the Board and IPL officials in Chennai, according to the DECCAN HERALD. The teams are "likely to see a significant reduction in their earnings" as a "part of the T20 event" that has been shifted to the UAE due to general elections in the country. Gate collections are one of the "major revenues for the hugely popular league but given their experience in the second edition, which was held in South Africa again due to its clash of dates" with the '09 general elections, they fear "huge losses" (DECCAN HERALD, 3/18).
THREE DIFFERENT PHASES: In New Delhi, Gireesh Babu reported this year's IPL matches will "be played in three different phases." The seven venues were confirmed in India, which does not "include Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Punjab for now." The BCCI said that the opening match, "on the phase I, will be on April 16 in Abu Dhabi." BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel said that 20 matches will be played outside India and 20 in India. Matches in India "will be played after May 1." So far, the "venues fixed in India include Gujarat, Karnataka, Orissa, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh" (Indian BUSINESS STANDARD, 3/19).
Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) President Alejandro Blanco's "comments in defense of Spanish runner Marta Dominguez, in which he questioned the viability of the biological passport as an anti-doping measure, are continuing to create surprise and discomfort for sports authorities," according to Juan Gutiérrez of AS. Blanco said, "Marta Dominguez remains an excellent Spanish athlete. If she has passed 50,000 anti-doping tests without problems, and by my information, there is only one anomaly in her biological passport, what one has to question if this method is 100 percent viable." Above all, the comments "concern the World Anti-Doping Association and the IAAF, which did not respond to Blanco's comments publicly." Spain Anti-Doping Agency Head Ana Muñoz said, "We respect the proceedings in any administrative or judicial instance related to sports. ... The biological passport is valid and becomes the hub to determine intelligent testing. Spain is on the same path as the most advanced countries in this fight, and this includes the latest legislative reforms driven by the CSD" (AS, 3/19).
The Rugby Union Players Association has "pledged not to oppose the proposed National Rugby Championship in August," according to Wayne Smith of THE AUSTRALIAN. Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver will on Friday put a "formal recommendation to his board over which teams should be part of the long-awaited, so-called third-tier competition intended to provide a stepping stone between club rugby and Super Rugby." Even at this "late stage, with the ARU expected to formally announce the new competition early next week," it still has not been determined whether the NRC will involve eight teams or 10. Most "impressive of all, apparently, is the combined bid put together" by Gordon, Norths, Warringah and Manly to form the North Harbour Rays. The Rays have "already" attracted A$200,000 ($180,960) in sponsorship from Macquarie University -- A$150,000 in cash -- and the remainder "in kind, and will play out of either Brookvale Oval or North Sydney Oval" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/20). In Sydney, Georgina Robinson reported former ARU CEO Gary Flowers is "stepping back into the rugby fray" as chairman of the North Harbour Rays to join the NRC. Flowers, who "created the defunct Australian Rugby Championship" in '07, will chair a board "to oversee one of the NRC's most impressive and unlikely alliances" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 3/19).
National Rugby League Chief Medical Officer Ron Muratore said that he believes rugby league "does not have a problem with players abusing prescriptions drugs but that the game's governing body is determined to find out," according to James MacSmith of the CANBERRA TIMES. The NRL announced on Wednesday it had "reached an agreement with the Rugby League Players' Association to begin testing for two classes of prescription drugs this year." Muratore said that his "own research had indicated that was not the case." Muratore: "I'm pretty confident we don't have a problem but until we test the players we can't be sure. I don't think it is a widespread problem. But we intend to find out" (CANBERRA TIMES, 3/19).
Sports scientist Stephen Dank has "refused to respond to a formal notice from anti-doping authorities accusing him of trafficking, administering and possessing banned peptides and human growth hormones" while working at Australian Football League sides Essendon and Gold Coast, according to Chip Le Grand of THE AUSTRALIAN. A 10-day window provided by anti-doping laws for Dank to "respond to a lengthy notice warning of 34 potential anti-doping violations while working for the two AFL clubs expires today." Neither Dank nor his lawyers are "intending to make any submissions to the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority." Dank's name will now "almost certainly be added to ASADA's Register of Findings, which would compel the AFL to issue an infraction notice" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/20).
Fuel meter maker Gill Sensors said on Tuesday that motorsports governing body FIA is "satisfied with the fuel flow meter whose accuracy was questioned by champions Red Bull after Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix." Gill Sensors said in a statement that FIA had provided it with "positive feedback" since Sunday's "controversial race" in Melbourne (REUTERS, 3/18). ... Netball bosses are "assembled in Melbourne this week for the latest round" of talks about the "future shape of the transtasman league." If the first six years of the competition "have taught us anything," though, "it is don't expect any changes any time soon" (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 3/19). ... China will not bid for the '15-16 or '17-18 FIFA Club World Cup as the Chinese FA "received no application from local football associations" until Tuesday (XINHUA, 3/19).