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Volume 6 No. 215

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The Premier League has confirmed that it is "considering introducing the vanishing spray that has been one of the successes of this summer's World Cup," according to Mark Cue of the LONDON TIMES. The EPL said that the "possible introduction is to be discussed by the 20 top-flight clubs at their next shareholders' meeting." However, it is "unlikely to take place in time for the big kick-off" on Aug. 16 as no meeting is scheduled until at least next month, while clubs "step up their preparations for the new season." The views of the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) "will also need to be canvassed." The spray has been "praised widely by referees on the grounds that it has a clear preventative effect and means they do not end up having to hand out yellow cards to players who fail to respect the distance" (LONDON TIMES, 7/8).

MOVING FORWARD: SKY SPORTS reported vanishing spray "will be adopted in next season's Champions League." The man who invented it, Heine Allemagne, would "like to see the game's major associations use it for their own competitions -- including the Premier League." Allemagne worked with a company to "concoct the spray from vegetable oil derivatives." He has now obtained the int'l patent for the firm, "with the spray already widely used for matches in Brazil and Argentina." Allemagne said, "It's already been agreed that UEFA will use this in their championships" (SKY SPORTS, 7/8). REUTERS reported Allemagne, 43, has given FIFA "free use of his invention at the finals." He said that he is "driven by a love of the game and helping referees keep discipline rather than becoming a multi-millionaire." Allemagne: "I had no commercial ambition, I wanted to develop the product. Perhaps there will be some financial side but that can come later, I wanted to get the product perfect for football" (REUTERS, 7/8).

Sports scientist Stephen Dank "rubbished claims" that Australian Football League side Essendon players "did not know what drugs they had taken during the club’s 2012 supplement program," according to Lalor & Honeysett of THE AUSTRALIAN. Dank: “I would say it would be very unusual for the players to say they didn’t know what they were taking. I think that in my personal opinion they not only knew what they were taking but they understood what they were taking. The reasons I say that, again, will be discussed in the appropriate forum. As I have said all along, none of us have done anything wrong." AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan "came out in support of AFL medical officer Peter Harcourt after it was revealed in The Australian he told an American medical conference the players were at risk of contracting cancer because of the supplement program." Essendon and the AFL PA "are furious with Harcourt over the comments." McLachlan said that he "did not believe claims from Essendon that Harcourt’s speech had breached a non-disparagement clause." McLachlan: “My personal view is no, my legal advice is absolutely, definitively no” (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/9). In Melbourne, Jon Pierik reported Dank, who said that he would not do anything differently if he had his time again, "would not reveal what substances he had given the players." Dank: ‘‘Obviously, I can’t because of impending court action.’’ Players "were warned about the possible side-effects of the 16 drugs listed in the AFL charge sheet that they may have been administered during interviews" with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and the AFL last year. Dank: ‘‘With all due respect, they [ASADA] don’t have categoric evidence." Dank said that "he was not the only person at the club at the time to know what had been administered to the players." He "would not say whether former Essendon fitness boss Dean Robinson, who is suing the Bombers for unfair dismissal, knew what was on the injecting list" (THE AGE, 7/8). In Melbourne, Pierik also reported Dank said that he is "seriously considering legal action" against Harcourt. Dank later "revealed he had been unimpressed by Harcourt's remarks." Dank: "I didn't receive it very, very well and my barristers received it even less well. Let's just say that obviously my barristers are reviewing our position on his public comments very, very strongly as we speak" (THE AGE, 7/8).

AFL EXPOSED IN TV SHOW: The AAP reported Brownlow Medallist Michael Voss said that his new reality show "The Recruit" exposes how the AFL system "overlooks mature-aged players to its own detriment." The Foxtel production "features Voss as the coach of a group of 20-something footballers trying to win a place on an AFL list." Brisbane’s triple premiership captain said that the series "underlines that there are AFL quality players competing in country leagues who have been overlooked for one reason or another." Voss: "I was left wondering across the program, how many of these are we missing" (AAP, 7/8).

National Rugby League CEO Dave Smith said that he hoped "seven-time premiership winning coach Wayne Bennett would remain at Newcastle to help the club evolve post Nathan Tinkler," according to Margie McDonald of NEWS LIMITED. Smith said he had been in "constant contact with Bennett as the club moved from under the shadow of Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group into a new entity and a revamped board of directors." But Bennett "has stated he will not decide his future" until he sees the "make-up of the new board." The NRL is formulating a "new board of seven: one community representative nominated by the Members Club, two shareholder representatives initially from the NRL and four independent directors" (NEWS LIMTED, 7/9). In Sydney, Brad Walter reported Smith has backed Cronulla's decision to "sack Todd Carney and placed players 'on notice' that there would be 'consequences' if they damaged the reputation of the code." A spokesperson confirmed that NRL Appeals Committee Chairman Ian Callinan would "consider an application by Carney for leave to appeal the termination" of his A$3.5M ($3.3M), five-year contract. Smith: "I am right behind the process that has taken place so far" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 7/8). In Canberra, Jon Tuxworth reported the Canberra Raiders want to become "just the second NRL team with two female board members as the NRL takes steps to make female representation on club boards compulsory to help clean up the game's image." Canberra Raiders Chair Allan Hawke confirmed the club is "investigating suitable female candidates" to join Raiders Group CFO Yvonne Gillett, who was elected onto an eight-person board this year. The Raiders have one board spot vacant and Hawke confirmed they have "identified a number of female candidates worthy of filling the position" (CANBERRA TIMES, 7/8).

Rugby League "has been rocked by a betting scandal," according to Phil Rothfield of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. The National Rugby League is "on the verge of banning a star player for betting on rugby league games." A "big-name player from a Sydney club will be suspended for six weeks for breaking the code's strict gambling guidelines." A "number of other players will be fined for betting in smaller amounts, all caught in an integrity unit audit of TAB and sports bookmaker betting records." The NRL has delayed the announcement "until after Origin to protect sponsors and ensure a scandal-free build-up to Wednesday night's third game in the series at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane." The NRL will call a press conference to "announce the betting sanctions on Thursday." Officials "refused to reveal the identity of the player who has been suspended" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 7/8). In Sydney, Adrian Proszenko reported the "majority of officials and players caught betting on rugby league games are unlikely to be named and shamed when the NRL hands down sanctions this week." Players from Manly and the Gold Coast were "among those investigated by the game's integrity unit, which found no evidence of widespread abuse of betting rules." Most wagers "were small" -- mostly A$5 ($4.70) or less -- and there is "no suggestion of match fixing." There is no evidence of spot or match-fixing but the NRL, which has not had an "official betting partner since it severed ties with Tabcorp in 2012, still wants to send a message the behaviour will not be tolerated" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 7/8).

Super Rugby side New South Wales Waratahs second-rower Kane Douglas has backed the Australian Rugby Union's "tough stance on Test eligibility" as he and Nick Cummins of Super Rugby side Western Force "prepare to leave Australia at the end of the season." Douglas said, "I think they have to be strong on their stance and encourage boys to stay and play in Australia, to play for Australia. I'd love to [go to the World Cup] but I knew my decision would not allow that and I've come to grips with that" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 7/8). ... The Australian Football League's "interchange cap will remain in place for at least one more season," with the AFL not "planning any changes until at least" '16. The league introduced the cap of 120 rotations this year "intending to wait two seasons before reviewing it," and AFL Football Operations Manager Mark Evans said that plan "had not changed despite the ongoing debate" (SMH, 7/8).