The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority’s inquiry into the use of prohibited substances in two football codes "is on the cusp of a staggering climax" as 17 players from National Rugby League side Cronulla’s '11 squad and as many as 40 from Australian Football League side Essendon face possible sanctions, according to Chris Barrett of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. In a precursor "to a potential doomsday scenario for the two clubs at the centre of the more than year-long investigation, both stand to be decimated if the alleged breaches go on to result in two-year bans for dozens of their players." It is believed ASADA, whose new CEO Ben McDevitt begins in the post on Monday, "is ready to issue show-cause letters as early as this week." The NRL and AFL "have been eagerly awaiting news from Canberra" about whether their seasons would be turned upside down 15 months after the infamous "darkest day in Australian sport" news conference in the capital that sparked the investigation (SMH, 5/12). In Sydney, Nicole Jeffery wrote any athlete-support personnel convicted of doping offenses out of the Essendon-Cronulla supplements scandal "will become persona non grata in elite sport for at least six years under the new World Anti-Doping Agency code to be introduced next year." Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates warned the national sports federations at the AOC’s annual general meeting over the weekend that from next year, any athlete or organization that associated with a "prohibited person" would also face sanctions. Coates said that all sports that were signed up to the WADA code "needed to be aware of the new rules." One of the key features of the new code is a crackdown on the "athlete entourage" -- coaches, managers, trainers, sports scientists or medical staff who facilitate athletes taking banned substances (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/12).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The Australian National Basketball League "is set to step away from its grand plan to play a Las Vegas summer league alongside the NBA's own off-season showcase of its emerging talent," according to Marc Hinton of the SUNDAY NEWS. The ANBL announced amid much fanfare it was "heading to Vegas for a summer initiative" it hoped "would not only align them closer with the NBA, but also unveil a rich vein of talent for the league to mine." The idea "had been that the ANBL's own summer league, held simultaneously with the NBA's, would trial American players keen to earn jobs in the Australasian league." But Breakers CEO Richard Clarke, who also serves on the ANBL's board, confirmed Saturday that the Vegas venture was being "reviewed" and "was unlikely to go ahead this year." The ANBL board "will make a final decision this week" (SUNDAY NEWS, 5/11).
The first leg of the inaugural Int'l Premier Tennis League "has been shifted from Bangkok to Manila because of the political unrest in Thailand," according to REUTERS. League founder Mahesh Bhupathi said, “We had to divert from the original franchise owner in Bangkok as the political unrest forced us to look for an alternative city to ensure the safety of all stakeholders." Singapore, Dubai and Mumbai "are home to the other three franchises of the competition styled on cricket’s Indian Premier League" (REUTERS, 5/10). The PTI reported the Manila team, represented by Andy Murray, Victoria Azarenka, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, Carlos Moya, Kirsten Flipkens, Daniel Nestor, and Treat Huey, will face off against the Singapore "Lions," the Indian "Aces" and the UAE "Falcons." The best players in the world "have committed to play in the league" (PTI, 5/10). In Singapore, Lin Xinyi wrote just weeks after casting doubt over participation in the IPTL, Andre Agassi said he would "absolutely" be in Singapore for the inaugural event. Agassi "was drafted into the Singapore team." At the time, the Singapore leg was scheduled for Nov. 28-30, "to kick-start the off-season league with subsequent legs in Dubai, Bangkok and Mumbai." With the opening leg now slated to take place in Bangkok on Nov. 28-30, Singapore will host the second leg from Dec. 2-4 and Agassi "is committed to making a trip to the Republic" (STRAITS TIMES, 5/10).
Newly promoted 2nd Bundesliga club RB Leipzig "continues to fight the license requirements it received from the German Football League (DFL)," according to Saskia Aleythe of the SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG. The DFL rejected Leipzig's "complaint against the license requirement on Thursday." Club President and Red Bull Founder Dietrich Mateschitz "was outraged about the decision." While the license requirements "are not publicly accessible, it has been reported that the DFL took issue with three points:" the high obstacle of becoming a club member, the club logo that strongly resembles the Red Bull logo and the club's dependency on money from Red Bull. RB Leipzig "has the opportunity to file another complaint within five days." The new complaint, if filed by the club, "would be decided on May 15." The final deadline regarding licensing issues is May 28. A DFL spokesperson said, "We won't communicate anything before May 28 when the licensing committee holds its final meeting" (SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, 5/9).