The Spanish Basketball League (ACB) "will feature 17 teams after the ACB decided on Friday to drop Bilbao Basket from the league for economic reasons and not fill its place with a club from the LEB [second division]," according to Roger Pascual of EL PERIODICO. Without sponsors and with a debt of approximately €6M ($8M), Bilbao "seems condemned to bankruptcy." This means "every game day will see one team have a day off." The ACB also confirmed Andorra's promotion. Bilbao President Xabier Jon Davalillo said, "We have done everything in our power to take this forward, the institutions have supported us until the last minute to look for a solution. It wasn't to be, but we will continue working to keep top-level basketball in Bilbao." Davalillo added, "We have asked for extra time to reach the amount of money that we almost had and they told us no" (EL PERIODICO, 7/19).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
Newly elected German Hockey Federation (DEB) President Franz Reindl "has set high goals for his term in office," according to the DPA. Despite the recent downhill trend of the men's national team, Reindl expects the team "to consistently compete for world championship medals starting in '26 at the latest." Reindl: "The other nations are laughing themselves silly about us, that we, with our 80 million people and our organizational skills, are not capable of producing a competitive team." In '13, the national team, for the first time, failed to qualify for Olympic Games. At the 2014 world championship, the DEB squad finished in 14th place. Reindl's first move at the helm of the federation will end the double-duty of Pat Cortina as national team head coach and sports director. However, Reindl's biggest challenge will be resolving the federation's financial issues. Reindl: "The biggest construction site is getting on top of the economic situation." The DEB currently calculates with an annual loss of €250,000 ($338,000) (DPA, 7/20).
Motorsports governing body FIA President Jean Todt has backed Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo's call for Formula 1 to "hold a summit meeting to discuss the future of the sport," according to AUTOSPORT. Di Montezemolo suggested in a letter to F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone last month that "key parties from the sport should be brought together to try to work on ways to improve." Todt said that he "planned to do just that, and hoped to act on the best proposals that came out of the meeting." Todt: "I'll call around a table sponsors, journalists, new media, organizers, current and past racing drivers, and the constructors. I will welcome the most interesting proposals." Although F1 has faced "major criticisms this year -- especially from Ecclestone and di Montezemolo -- Todt does not believe that the sport is facing as big a crisis as some have suggested under the new rules." Todt said, "Hybrid is the right way, but we haven't been able to communicate it well. But the future of motoring goes in this direction." Todt also believed that "falling television audiences did not automatically mean that F1 was getting things wrong." Todt: "These days there are other means of communications besides TV. Also, the public's mentality can change, as do interests in this society" (AUTOSPORT, 7/17). In Hong Kong, Unus Alladin reported China's "top racer," Ma Qinghua, believes his country will have to wait "a bit longer" to produce a Formula One driver, but said things were "moving ahead." Ma said, "Motor sport started in Europe about 150 years ago and I think Formula One has 10 years of history in China [with the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai]. The gap is quite clear" (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 7/18).
Int'l Cricket Council CEO Dave Richardson has admitted India indulged in "gamesmanship" and "bemoaned the power the nation had when it came to negotiating a restructure of the sport’s governing body," according to Tom Vickers of the LONDON TIMES. Earlier this year the national boards of India, England and Australia proposed a "radical overhaul of the ICC -- including increased shares of global revenue for all three" -- which were "voted through in modified form at the annual conference." It has been "suggested India, the overwhelming driver in broadcast and commercial revenue in the world game, had threatened to walk away from the ICC and its tournaments." Richardson "did not confirm that speculation but did admit the Board of Control for Cricket in India had played a forceful hand at the negotiating table." Richardson: "India were saying, 'We need to have more of a say, we need more money.' So it was a negotiation; it turned into a negotiation. ... Certainly India are in the driving seat when it comes to being in a good position at the negotiating table, bearing in mind their tours of every country are the extreme revenue generators." He also confirmed that the ICC board, "comprising all ten full members and three associate representatives, remained the primary decision-making body, not the new executive committee" (LONDON TIMES, 7/18). In London, Richard Hobson reported it "has been revealed" that umpires were told to "be stricter in clamping down on poor behaviour on the field after the winter Ashes series." Richardson said that instructions "went out to the officials with the image of the overall game in mind." He spoke "in the context of the spat between James Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja at Trent Bridge during the first Test between England and India" (LONDON TIMES, 7/19).
Japanese Olympic hammer throw champion Koji Murofushi "is teaming up with the Tokyo Medical and Dental University to provide medical and scientific support to athletes and eventually produce more Olympic medalists in the future." The TMDU "will organize a new institute for sports science in October to support athletes in both sports medicine and sports science, and Murofushi will be in charge of the sports science division in the institute as a part-time professor at TMDU" (JAPAN TIMES, 7/17). ... Australia's Victoria state police said that "six men have been arrested over an alleged international tennis match-fixing syndicate." The Victoria Police said in a statement that "detectives from the Purana organized crime taskforce arrested the men following an investigation into an alleged betting syndicate based in Victoria with alleged links to national and international tennis matches." A police spokesperson said that "the allegations do not relate to matches on the ATP World Tour or at the Australian Open" (AP, 7/18). ... National Rugby League supporters donated more than A$1.1M ($1M) for injured Newcastle forward Alex McKinnon, "after a bucket appeal and the sale of wristbands at Hunter Stadium on Sunday" raised A$30,000 alone. The fund-raising effort "comes as NRL players consider whether to endorse a proposed insurance policy that may not pay them as big a sum if they were to suffer such a catastrophic injury" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 7/20).