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Volume 10 No. 25

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Suspended Board of Control for Cricket in India President N. Srinivasan was confirmed as Int'l Cricket Council chairman in Melbourne on Thursday, giving the 69-year-old industrialist "the most powerful role in the governing body's restructured organisation," according to Amlan Chakraborty of REUTERS. Srinivasan "will assume office almost immediately" after the governing body rubber-stamped constitutional changes at its annual conference being held this week in Australia. Often described "as the most powerful man in cricket," Srinivasan became BCCI president in '11, but "was ordered to step aside in March to ensure a fair investigation into an illegal betting scandal during last year's Indian Premier League involving his son-in-law." Those controversies "have led to some criticism of his appointment with one official of a now unrecognised unit within the Indian cricket board urging the country's Supreme Court to bar Srinivasan from taking over as ICC chief" (REUTERS, 6/26). The PA reported Srinivasan "marked his controversial ascent to chairmanship" of the ICC "by protesting his innocence of any wrongdoing in the ongoing corruption case in India." Critics, "who are thick on the ground, have characterised the constitutional shift as a self-interested power grab by the three boards." However, it is Srinivasan’s elevation to the top job "that has proved the real lightning rod for indignation" (PA, 6/26).

CLEAR CONSCIENCE: The PTI reported on being reminded that since his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was facing betting charges and that "it reflected on him," Srinivasan said, “He (Meiyappan) has to defend himself in court. I mean, it’s a question of it’s going to be proved or not proved, but that’s up to him. This is a question about me. I think you have to wait until everything is clear at the end of the day. If nothing is proved, I think all this comment would have been unfair, isn’t it” (PTI, 6/26). IANS reported Srinivasan said that "he would like to see more strong teams in international cricket." Srinivasan: "I want to see more strong teams in international cricket. For this to be achieved, we all need to work hard to develop local talent in our countries. Naturally, there will be more support to those who first show they can help themselves" (IANS, 6/26). The PTI reported the BCCI "congratulated its president-in-exhile," saying that there "could not have been a better person for the position." BCCI Secretary Sanjay Patel said, "It is a proud and historic moment for Indian Cricket, and on behalf of all the members of the BCCI, we wish him all the best" (PTI, 6/26).

EXEC BOARD MOVES: The PTI reported the approval of the constitutional changes also meant that a new exec committee -- which will report to the ICC Board -- "was formed." The initial exec committee chairman will be Cricket Australia Chair Wally Edwards. The ICC’s Finance & Commercial Affairs Committee chairman "will continue to be" England & Wales Cricket Board Chair Giles Clarke. The Annual Conference also saw Mustafa Kamal "become the 11th President of the ICC." Kamal: "This is a memorable and historic day for Bangladesh cricket." From 2016, the ICC Board, which will continue to be the primary decision-making body, "will elect the ICC Chairman for a two-year term." The ICC Board also confirmed that the USA Cricket Association "is a recognised member" (PTI, 6/26).

CRICKET LOSES WICKET: In Melbourne, Chloe Saltau opined cricket "has made a fool of itself again." Srinivasan's very presence in the Olympic room at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as the ICC's newly inaugurated chairman "was a fresh attack on cricket's credibility." The fact that other members of the ICC endorsed him for the chairmanship "hardly inspires confidence in their collective desire to stamp out corruption from the sport" (THE AGE, 6/26).

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority has "granted a second extension of a deadline set for 34 players to respond to allegations of banned drug use" at Australian Football League side Essendon, according to Samantha Lane of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. In what "appears to be a strategic legal manoeuvre on the eve of the Federal Court action" launched by Essendon and suspended coach James Hird that will "challenge the validity of the entire investigation, ASADA has essentially stopped a ticking clock on the implicated footballers." Correspondence between ASADA and the "legal representatives acting for the players" erased the deadline date -- July 11 -- that had been set for the footballers to "respond to the show-cause notices they received a fortnight ago." The extension, authorized by ASADA CEO Ben McDevitt, "follows the request from players' lawyers that the anti-doping agency share the evidence it has gathered in the past 16 months" to build the case of alleged use of banned drug Thymosin Beta 4 in the Bombers' '11-12 supplements program (SMH, 6/26). Lane reported in a separate piece a "proposal for how the health of Essendon players should be monitored -- for at least the next five years -- remains unsettled." AFL Medical Dir Peter Harcourt and AFLPA legal advisers finalized in January a "formal outline" of how footballers who participated in the Bombers' '11-12 supplements program could "best be protected from any adverse effects from a regime" the ASADA believes involved at least one banned drug. That proposal -- submitted in writing to the Bombers "early this year after the matter was first broached with the club during 2013" -- recommends:

  • Annual blood testing and "general physical examinations for every former and current Essendon footballer involved" in the '11-12 supplements program.
  • Testing to start at the end of this AFL season and "continue for a minimum of five years."
  • The involvement of a "similar-sized 'control' group."
  • The appointment of a "steering committee, comprising independent experts plus representatives of the AFL, AFLPA and Essendon, to determine what participants should be monitored for and for how long" (SMH, 6/26).

The British Horseracing Authority has announced details of its "tougher policy on anabolic steroids, including a 14-month ban for any horses found to have been administered the drugs," according to the London TELEGRAPH. High-profile cases involving Mahmood Al Zarooni and Gerard Butler "hit the headlines last year, and the BHA has strengthened its stance with a zero-tolerance approach on steroids." Under the rules a horse must "not be given an anabolic steroid at any point in its life and any that are will be banned from training for 12 months and ineligible to start in any race in Britain for 14 months." All British-bred horses "must be registered with Weatherbys within 12 months of birth, a period which will be phased to six months in two years, and they must be available for testing at any time after registration" (TELEGRAPH, 6/26).

Safety car periods "will be followed by standing race restarts from the grid next season," according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. The measure, which replaces rolling restarts, "is aimed at making grands prix more exciting but has been criticised by some drivers." Mercedes' Nico Rosberg said, "I understand the start is one of the most exciting times for the fans but it sounds very extreme and I hope it's not going to be done. It's going too far with things." Other changes include measures "to reduce costs in areas such as testing and design and to make cars more attractive than the current 'ugly-nosed' ones." Three preseason tests of four days each will be scheduled in '15 and restricted to Europe, "ruling out more costly excursions to Bahrain." In '16 this will be "reduced to two tests of four days each." There "will also be two in-season tests of two days each, also in Europe, with two of the four days reserved for young drivers." Wind tunnel testing will be limited to 65 hours a week, from 80, and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) usage reduced (REUTERS, 6/26).

A new scheme from Premiership Rugby will offer children and young people in South America the opportunity to play a new sport through its TRY Rugby program. The program offers disadvantaged youth a chance to learn new skills such as leadership, social inclusion, teamwork and respect and also supports the worldwide growth of rugby as it prepares to make its Olympic debut at the 2016 Games in Rio. With just two years to go, Premiership Rugby has teamed up with the British Council and Social Services of Industry in Brazil to offer more training schemes to Brazilian schools and local clubs that will aid child development by using rugby as a tool for social change (Premiership Rugby).