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Volume 10 No. 25

Leagues and Governing Bodies

A system requiring Spanish Basketball League (ACB) clubs to hold a certain number of roster spots for players from their youth academies "could change next season to meet European Commission regulations," according to Julián Felipo of MUNDO DEPORTIVO. Rosters with 10-12 players "will be required to feature at least four local players," while teams with eight or nine players will have to include three local players. This "was the decision reached at a meeting" attended by representatives of the ACB's players' association (ABP). The new model, "which will slightly reduce current regulations," was proposed by Spain's Superior Sports Council (CSD) in response to community demands. CSD President Miguel Cardenal "confirmed the new regulations." ABP representatives "expressed their concern with the change." A meeting "will be held to discuss implementing the new model, with the ACB" and the Spanish Basketball Federation (FEB) expected to attend. ABP reps said that "they will try to reestablish the balance broken by this regulation" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 7/16).

Australia's Medicare has "identified hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of claims by professional sports players and clubs for medical benefits it believes should not have been paid," according to Nicola Berkovic of THE AUSTRALIAN. Doctors groups and sports bodies have been sent letters warning that "professional sportsmen and women should not be claiming Medicare benefits for sporting injuries for which their employers are liable." The letter said, "As part of a recent review of Medicare claiming, the Department of Human Services has identified that claims for Medicare benefits have been made where a professional ­sportsperson's employer is liable for, or has paid for the medical ­service, or where the service was provided for purposes connected to a ­professional sportsperson's employment." Legal experts say players' medical expenses "should be covered by workers compensation, or in some cases, special sports ­injuries insurance schemes could apply." All of the major sports codes, including the Australian Football League, rugby league, rugby union, cricket, football, netball and tennis, have been claiming Medicare benefits for their players for "medical services and procedures such as X-rays and surgery." Representatives of the major sports codes have "requested a meeting with advisers to federal Health Minister Peter Dutton to discuss the issue" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/17).

England cricketer Alastair Cook "accused India of a dirty tricks campaign" by trying to engineer a ban for England cricketer James Anderson, according to Nick Hoult of the London TELEGRAPH. Cook believes that M.S. Dhoni and India have made a "mountain out of a molehill" by lodging a level three charge against Anderson that could see him banned for four matches. Anderson will face a Int'l Cricket Council judicial commission, possibly as early as the middle of next week, "to answer accusations he was involved in a physical confrontation with Ravindra Jadeja in the Trent Bridge pavilion." The incident "has cast a dark shadow" over the start of the second Test at Lord's on Thursday. Cook: "We are surprised it has become the situation it has. It is probably a tactic a little bit from India if we are being honest. We hope if the ball swings during this Test Jimmy will want his cricket to do the talking" (TELEGRAPH, 7/16). In London, Andy Wilson wrote England had issued a statement describing the incident as minor and said that in the light of the allegation, “the ECB has notified the ICC of its intention to lodge code of conduct breaches against Jadeja” for allegedly breaching the code of conduct in the same incident. Cook confirmed that "the counter charge had been levelled against India" (GUARDIAN, 7/16). Also in London, Richard Hobson wrote Cook joked that he was like Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger in that "he did not see the alleged incident himself, but he was happy to stick by Anderson’s account of events." Anderson "will be banned for up to four Tests if he is found guilty, but England may try to stretch the process so that any sanction does not take effect until after the series" (LONDON TIMES, 7/16). In London, Nick Hoult wrote the England players feel that the incident "is being pushed by senior figures within the Indian team, who have complained that England have got away with aggressive behaviour for too long." India is "believed to have listed at least three witnesses, including two of the squad not playing in the match, and one member of the backroom staff." All the England players "have been asked if they saw anything." Three or four have given statements confirming that "they witnessed the incident but that there was no physical confrontation" (TELEGRAPH, 7/16).

The first national study of homophobia in Australian sport released on Wednesday "suggests insults, jokes and discrimination based on sexuality is commonplace both on and off the field," according to NEWS 24. The study of 2,500 Australians, which "included those from professional and amateur sports," found 85% of gay and bisexual people had "witnessed or experienced discrimination in a sporting setting either playing or as a spectator." The figure was 75% for "heterosexual respondents." Gay Australian rugby union club Sydney Convicts President David Whittaker said, "The results are eye opening, but they also confirm what we have been hearing from our players for the last 10 years." The "Out on the Fields" study, which surveyed "equal numbers of gay and straight people, found 64% of lesbian, gay and bisexual athletes felt that derogatory jokes, insults or abuse were more common in sporting teams than in general society" (NEWS 24, 7/16).

The National Rugby League is "considering a salary cap for football department spending in a move that may impact on the amount of money clubs can pay big-name coaches" such as former Newcastle Knights coach Wayne Bennett, according to Brad Walter of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. NRL officials discussed the idea during the "recent salary cap review and are monitoring how the amount of money each club spends on its football department translates to on-field success." The salary cap idea has gained "renewed support within the NRL" following the Australian Football League's introduction of a "soft" cap on football department spending from next year and Bennett's decision to "put himself on the market after announcing last week that he would leave Newcastle at the end of the season." An NRL spokesperson confirmed the issue was "under consideration but said there were no immediate plans to include coaches' wages in a salary cap." The spokesperson said, "As part of the recent salary cap review, it was identified that the total football department spend of each club may need to be considered for a separate cap in future. That would potentially include the coach, head trainer, physios, trainers and other football staff" (SMH, 7/15).

Australian Football League CEO Gillon McLachlan has "publicly chided feuding club bosses" Sydney Swans Chair Andrew Pridham and Collingwood President Eddie McGuire, calling for an end to their "personal slanging match" as it was "not good for the game." But the AFL CEO has "reaffirmed his endorsement for the Swans and other clubs north of the Murray to keep their academies, though he was lukewarm on other clubs establishing their own" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 7/16). ... Players from this year's State of Origin series "will miss a staggering 69 games for their club and Origin sides because of injury and suspension." State of Origin has "never before" taken such a "dramatic toll" (Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH, 7/17). ... SANZAR has confirmed that tenders from Japan and Singapore will "vie for a licence to enter the Super Rugby competition" in '16. A decision is "slated to be reached" in September or October (AAP, 7/17).