DFL Sports Enterprises, the marketing arm of the German Football League (DFL), "is set to launch a tendering process for license rights to stickers, trading cards and 'interactive entertainment products' of the Bundesliga and 2nd Bundesliga," according to the SID. The rights for stickers and trading cards "will be awarded for a period of four years, while the entertainment products rights will be awarded for three years." The DFL "is expected to make a decision by the end of July" (SID, 4/9).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The National Rugby League is looking to "tackle the concussion dilemma by following the lead" of the NFL and "installing 'spotters' in stadium boxes to closely monitor players who may be affected by head knocks," according to Chris Barrett of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The NRL is examining "world's best practice in a bid to stamp out players carrying on playing after being concussed and it's understood a model of particular interest is the NFL." The NFL has introduced a "raft of rule changes, sideline concussion tests and return-to-play guidelines in recent years, and last year stationed independent neurologists on the sidelines at all games to evaluate players and treat head injuries." The NRL "made it clear before the season" that it was not considering adopting the "independent doctor model themselves," but another NFL innovation is "being considered." The so-called "eye in the sky," a trainer "positioned in a grandstand box to closely watch for dazed and groggy players, has been a fixture at all NFL games" since '12. If the NRL "ultimately chooses to go down that path and adopt a similar system, the spotters" would have access to replays and be able to "call sideline medicos to request players be withdrawn to undergo an immediate SCAT3 test" (SMH, 4/10). In Sydney, Paul Crawley opined NRL Head of Football Todd Greenberg's comments about the why game "can't immediately ban all lifting tackles is not good enough." Greenberg "all but ruled out making changes to lifting tackle laws this season." The NRL "can't continue to gamble with player safety." It "can't wait until next year to change a rule that should have been changed long ago" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 4/11). In Canberra, Lee Gaskin reported NRL Canberra forward Joel Edwards "credits the NRL club for putting his welfare first, admitting the Raiders saved him." His teammate, Raiders prop Dane Tilse, said that the game's new concussion policy "would face its biggest test when it comes to key players being dazed during finals football at the end of the year." Tilse: "If you get to a semifinal and one of your key players -- like a half or a fullback who you're paying big money to win you the game -- goes down, it's going to be a talking point at the back end of the year" (CANBERRA TIMES, 4/10).
Sports scientist Stephen Dank's "judgment day with anti-doping authorities has been stalled after a seven-member expert panel that had been preparing to make the critical next call on the central figure in Australian sport's most scandalous drugs case did not sit as planned," according to Lane & Masters of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel, "which was a seven-member body as of late February, was effectively rendered dysfunctional by the recent departure of four former members." Three members of the ADRVP can assess "any matter referred to it by the ASADA, but the expert panel, which can be a body of up to nine, must have four members in total to be considered valid." Dank was "furious following ASADA’s latest embarrassment." Dank: "It shows a complete lack of respect towards me and now this will only resolve us to accelerate all appropriate legal action." Dank and his team have "actions pending" against ASADA, the Australian Football League, National Rugby League and numerous media outlets for a "myriad of claims including wrongful dismissal, loss of income and defamation" (SMH, 4/10). In Sydney, Margie McDonald reported former ASADA CEO Richard Ings said that the "ministerial oversight was a 'roadblock' and 'an embarrassment' but that the probe into Dank's activities would continue." Ings: "If the ADRVP does not have a functioning quorum of members, it is embarrassing. But it does not derail any investigation" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 4/11).
The Chinese Taipei Baseball Association "announced the creation of a new semi-professional summer baseball league named the Popcorn League," according to Paul Huang of the TAIPEI TIMES. Top amateur teams Taiwan Cooperative Bank, Topco Scientific, Veetime, National Sports Training Center and Chii Lih Coral of Taitung are to "take part in the inaugural season for reportedly 150 games that will run from late next month to early September." In addition to the CTBA, the main sponsor of the league will be local sports broadcaster Videoland Sports, "which recently lost the bid" to carry Chinese Professional Baseball League games on its local cable network "for the first time in 18 years." The move by Videoland Sports is "undoubtedly a way for the broadcaster to keep its foothold in the business, with other broadcasters, such as Fox Sports Network and to a lesser extent, Formosa Television, aggressively looking to expand their market share" (TAIPEI TIMES, 4/10).
Mercedes has "described as absurd the possibility of changes being made" to the latest F1 regulations, according to the PA. Despite the "criticism of the 1.6-litre V6 turbo-charged power unit" following the opening two grands prix, the "race in Bahrain halted negative comments in their tracks." In the buildup to the event there were "suggestions of shortening the races or increasing the amount of fuel being used to guard against 'taxi driving'" as declared by Ferrari President Luca Di Montezemolo. Motorsports governing body FIA President Jean Todt has "made it clear there will be no quick fixes for this season, other than -- for entertainment purposes -- the likelihood of raising the decibel levels of the cars, given that they are far quieter." Ferrari and Red Bull could "attempt to push for changes next season," but Mercedes Exec Dir Paddy Lowe "believes that would be a backward step." Lowe: "There were things being talked about in the last weeks and days that were just completely unrealistic. The first suggestion was we need 110kg [of fuel]. Has anyone realized you couldn't fit 110kg into these cars. Then there was talk of making the races shorter. Can you imagine selling that concept to the public? It would be like saying: 'We've decided people aren't fit enough these days and marathons are only going to be 25 miles, not 26'" (PA, 4/10).
The Int'l Cricket Council on Thursday introduced the "ICC Test Challenge," which will take place "every four years" between the lowest-ranked Test team and the winner of the ICC Intercontinental Cup. The decision will "effectively mean that one among Bangladesh and Zimbabwe" -- the two lowest-ranked Test teams in ICC rankings -- will have to "fight it out with the likes of the Netherlands, Ireland or UAE for Test status" (PTI, 4/10). ... A new one-year coaching program for "retired sports people in Shanghai" offers the city's former athletes the "opportunity to comprehensively study sports-related core courses." These "full-time students receive the same salary as when they were serving on their teams." The program is in its first year and has 90 students taking the classes (GLOBAL TIMES, 4/10).