Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey said that he does not want to negotiate a new Concorde Agreement with the teams when the current one expires in '20 -- and would prefer to set up a new form of open-ended "partnership," according to Adam Cooper of MOTORSPORT. All efforts by the sport's owner, Liberty Media, will be "constrained by the current agreement for the next three years, but Carey is keen to replace it with a system that is less contentious." Carey said, "We have the infamous document called the Concorde Agreement. ... I think our goal is to create much more of a long-term partnership, not a partnership that sort of has a point in time that you go out and renegotiate the next eight-year partnership, that there's a continuum." Carey said that always having a "looming deadline" for the next agreement "creates issues" as the various parties "fight to get the best deal for themselves." He said, "It creates gamesmanship" (MOTORSPORT, 5/18).
RED BULL QUITTING?: GMM reported Red Bull Racing could quit F1 "if the next set of engine regulations is not significantly better." That is the "warning shot fired" by Red Bull F1 Dir Helmut Marko. He said, "The idea is very simple. We want an engine that is 1,000hp, with a single standard KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) and battery, and development does not cost more than $15 million to $20 million." If those conditions cannot be met, Marko "hinted that Red Bull might quit F1." Marko: "We want to have an equal situation where we are not blackmailed by a manufacturer" (GMM, 5/17).
Australian coach Darren Lehmann said that cricket's warring parties "will settle their pay dispute amicably and remains convinced" a player boycott will not throw this year's Ashes series into "unprecedented turmoil," according to Phil Lutton of THE AGE. Lehmann spoke as he prepared to depart for England for the Int'l Cricket Council Champions Trophy tournament, which will bring Australian cricket's leading male players together "for the first time since the pay dispute escalated." Cricket Australia wants to "move away from the revenue-sharing model." Australian national team vice-captain David Warner said, "If it gets to the extreme they might not have a team for the Ashes." Lehmann believes that is "a bridge too far" and while he believes negotiations will "go down to the wire," he has "no doubt that Test cricket's showpiece series will go ahead as planned." He said, "No, I wouldn't think so (that a boycott would happen). And I'd hope not as a fan. I'm sure that won't happen" (THE AGE, 5/18). The AAP reported Lehmann said that he would address the matter "once the entire squad for the Champions Trophy had got together." Lehmann: "You have to do that. You have to keep it open and communicate so we know what direction everyone's going. It is going to be a bit of a distraction, there's no doubt about that." Lehmann declined to share "his view on the merits of the revenue-sharing arrangement" (AAP, 5/17).
NOT ABOUT MONEY: In Sydney, Carly Adno reported former cricketer Ed Cowan said that money "is not the issue" as the pay dispute turns "increasingly ugly." He said that players "would be willing to take a pay cut if it means they will continue to be considered partners, and not simply employees," of the game. Cowan said that if money is "all the players are after they would have accepted CA’s new offer," which enables Test players to earn more, while domestic players "stand to lose out." Cowan: "This whole situation is not even close to being about money. It's about wanting to be a partner, as the players have been, and enjoying promoting the growth of the game" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5/18).
FIGHTING FUND: In Sydney, Andrew Faulkner wrote as cricket's "Mexican standoff drags on without any prospect of dialogue," let alone resolution, the Australian Cricketers' Association "has set up a fighting fund to help any players out of pocket" when their contracts expire at the end of next month. The "player support fund" will be open to female and domestic cricketers "who need additional financial support if they are out of contract" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 5/19).
Premiership Rugby "has had a booming year" in '16-17 with average attendances up 10.1% to 12,875 and average occupancy up 4.5% to 79.6%, according to Ian Field of ATOMIC SPORT. Wasps has "shown the biggest uplift in average occupancy this season," which is "doubly impressive" as it has the biggest stadium to fill, the 32,609-capacity Ricoh Arena. Average occupancy is up 11.1% from 46.2% to 57.2%. The team's average attendance is up 3,611 from 15,051 to 18,662, "representing an uplift of 24% from last season." Wasps also "smashed" last season's best attendance by 6,062, "with the visit of Saracens filling the Ricoh Arena to 30,115" -- 92% of capacity. Of the 12 teams in the Premiership, five "boast an average occupancy of over 90%." Harlequins has had the highest stadium utilization rate of 98%. Saracens leads a "pack of teams including Northampton Saints and Bath Rugby" with 95%, with Exeter Chiefs at 91.2%, followed by Leicester Tigers and Gloucester with 89% and 88%, respectively. Leicester Tigers "actually boast the highest average attendance" with 22,899 (ATOMIC SPORT, 5/17).
|Source: ATOMIC SPORT
Women are "under-represented in the most prominent areas of British horse racing," a report into gender diversity in the sport revealed, according to Joe Wilson of the BBC. Nearly 400 people at all levels of racing "took part in the study." It found that "more women are entering racing from college courses," outnumbering men by a ratio of nearly 7:3. But the report identified what is being described as "career stagnation" once women try to make progress. Among the key findings are:
- Some areas "remain male-dominated," and women from across the industry report being "patronised, not being taken seriously or being denied opportunities because of their gender."
- Some report an "old boys' network" with practices which exclude women. Many held a "centre ground" view that, on the whole, the industry is a meritocracy which welcomes dedication and hard workers, but some had experienced "entrenched prejudice and discrimination."
- A number of women had been made to "feel unwelcome when considering applying for more senior roles."
Despite the high number of women employed at racing yards around the country, the report "highlights the failure of many women to make progress in high-profile roles as trainers or jockeys" (BBC, 5/17
Rugby Union Players' Association CEO Ross Xenos "welcomed the idea of an earlier meeting between the Australian Rugby Union and stakeholders to get further clarity on the ongoing Super Rugby saga and hinted that an emergency general meeting was not necessarily called to try and remove ARU CEO Bill Pulver and the rest of the board." The ARU spent Thursday "trying to organise two potential dates" for a preliminary meeting between itself and key stakeholders. Xenos said, "Any meeting between the ARU and the stakeholders that are involved is a positive thing but it does not alleviate our motivation to move forward with a general meeting" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5/18).
The Int'l Centre for Sport Security "announced the creation of a dedicated Special Investigations Unit." Led by ICSS Group CEO Michael Hershman, the unit "will offer investigation services, specialised training and independent integrity advice." This will "help support governing bodies, law enforcement and athletes while investigations into alleged misconduct and integrity violations are ongoing" (INSIDE THE GAMES, 5/17).
Britain's National Crime Agency "provided the initial intelligence that helped uncover a major spot-fixing scandal in the Pakistan Super League," an official from the Int'l Cricket Council said on Thursday. ICC Anti-Corruption Unit Head Ronnie Flanagan said, "The inquiry was absolutely led by the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) throughout and our role was simply that before the PSL match we received intelligence that was passed to us by the British National Crime Agency" (AFP, 5/18).
A study found a "specific 20-minute exercise programme can reduce injuries in teenage rugby players by more than 70%." Experts from the University of Bath said that "they are excited by the dramatic findings," which are to set to be implemented across all levels of the community game by the Rugby Football Union before next season. According to the study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found "overall injuries fell by 72% when players completed the newly devised exercise session at least three times a week, either just before a match or before training" (London GUARDIAN, 5/17).