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Volume 6 No. 212

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Australian Football League CEO Andrew Demetriou has admitted that the league "must go back to the drawing board in a bid to rebrand and simplify its complex and wildly unpopular variable ticketing system," according to Caroline Wilson of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Conceding the league "had failed to adequately explain the new three-tiered system," Demetriou said Tuesday’s head office review of round-five had resulted in AFL bosses "admitting they had some work to do in redefining variable ticketing." Demetriou "listened to angry fans" block the lines on 3AW during Easter Monday’s pregame program. He said that "he had become increasingly aware that attempts to explain the new system to football supporters had not worked." Demetriou: ''Maybe we’re better off not calling it variable ticketing. I think we should just go back to what we had previously termed it, which was reserved seat ticketing. I’m not saying we are reviewing the entire system -- we just need to make it simpler and better explain it.'' Demetriou’s vow to simplify the selling of variable ticketing -- which in essence "has meant the AFL has lifted prices significantly for big games" -- along with Monday’s fan outrage, "could stall" AFL Commercial Operations GM Darren Birch’s plans "to further trial the American sports-style dynamic ticketing" (SMH, 4/22).

National Rugby League Head of Football Todd Greenberg said that "players and coaches should not be confused by the obstruction rule, even after the league admitted another ­crucial refereeing mistake" on Tuesday -- its third in a week, according to Margie McDonald of THE AUSTRALIAN. This time "it was the obstruction rule." Greenberg said that "video referee Bernard Sutton had made the wrong call in awarding Kieran Foran a try for Manly in the win over North Queensland." Greenberg said that "the obstruction rule had remained the same for 12 months." If the referee "believes a defending player is impeded from making a tackle and or the defensive line is disadvantaged then a penalty should be awarded." Greenberg said, “Naturally, when referees use their discretion there will be debate from time to time" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 4/23). In Melbourne, Adrian Proszenko wrote referees' boss Tony Archer said he had "real questions" over the decision on Saturday and a full review of the match confirmed his suspicions. The obstruction rule, and its interpretations, "threatened to overshadow an Easter weekend of football which drew record crowds for the Bulldogs-Rabbitohs and Eels-Tigers blockbusters" (THE AGE, 4/22).

Former Australian rugby player Greg Martin said that SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australia Rugby) is hindering Super Rugby side ACT Brumbies by failing to guarantee it a permanent Anzac Day fixture and has labeled its decision "to ban the national anthems as ridiculous," according to David Polkinghorne of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The Brumbies want to make Anzac Day "a permanent part of the rugby landscape in the nation's capital by playing a New Zealand team every year." Martin said that it is "a no-brainer," but Super Rugby controlling body SANZAR is refusing to guarantee it, saying that "scheduling is too complicated to ensure it happens every season." That is "despite rugby sitting in a precarious financial position in Australia and needing all the help it can get." His thoughts on its decision to prevent the Brumbies from playing the Australian and New Zealand national anthems before the game "were equally damning." Martin: "The two on Friday should both have the national anthems, that's just ridiculous" (SMH, 4/21).

In a new turn in the Indian Premier League betting and match-fixing probe, the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee "may conduct the inquiry" against suspended Board of Control for Cricket in India President N. Srinivasan and 12 others, "including some prominent cricketers," after the Supreme Court on Tuesday ignored a BCCI panel for the job. Justice Mudgal said, "We have given our consent. It is subject to the Supreme Court approval on Tuesday (April 29)." Mudgal said that once the court accepts its consent, the committee "would sit and finalise the procedures of how to move forward and also decide whether any new member should be included" (PTI, 4/22). A member of the federal government-appointed panel responsible for reviewing anti-doping cases "will take no part in any deliberations involving the use of peptides" at Australian Football League and National Rugby League clubs "because of his previous dealings with sports scientist Stephen Dank." Peter Fricker, an "experienced and highly respected sports physician" and former director of the Australian Institute of Sport, ­"declared his potential conflict" to Minister for Sport Peter Dutton prior to his appointment to the Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel three weeks ago (THE AUSTRALIAN, 4/23).