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Volume 6 No. 234

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The National Rugby League will have a proposal on player payments "to take to Thursday’s crunch meeting with the clubs," according to Paul Malone of the Brisbane COURIER-MAIL. NRL and Rugby League Players Association negotiators "wrapped up three days of talks about previous sticking points" in the collective bargaining agreement for the players. The NRL's recommendation from those talks must be approved by 75% of the 16 clubs -- "that is, five must not vote against it" -- for the NRL to "have authority to clinch a CBA agreement with the RLPA." The RLPA "was hopeful last week that agreement could loosely be achieved" because of the progress made toward the wages and conditions, but Wednesday’s developments "lent further optimism that a resolution to the pay dispute is near." The NRL did not respond "when asked if the salary cap amount to be taken to the clubs" was A$9.2M ($7.3M), a figure it "had indicated to clubs in April" (COURIER-MAIL, 8/16).

STIFF TEST: In Sydney, Brent Read reported the negotiating skills of NRL CEO Todd Greenberg "are about to face their sternest examination as club bosses prepare to wage war over the salary cap." The clubs "are split over the proposed cap" of A$9.2M for '18 and Greenberg was expected to "use a meeting of club powerbrokers in Sydney" on Thursday to "table a revised offer." The game "appears split down the middle over the issue, with a handful of clubs likely to hold the balance of power." As of Wednesday night, Canterbury reportedly "had the numbers to block a cap" of A$9.2M but "was short of the numbers required to endorse a higher figure." Similarly, the clubs "opposed to a significant increase in the cap had the numbers to block a change" in the A$9.2M figure, "but not the numbers to get that figure over the line." Hence, "the challenge facing Greenberg." One chair "summed up the feeling of those who are against an increase," saying, "I just have to say run the business properly and live or die by the sword of your decisions. They want to take A$4.8 million ($3.8M) a year -- nearly A$25 million ($19.8M) out of the game (over the next five years) -- because they can't run their businesses properly. I don't think so" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/17). In Sydney, Adrian Proszenko reported Melbourne Chair Bart Campbell "led the clubs in their battle" for funding equaling 130% of total player payments, "hailed as the stimulus required to ensure the financial future of all franchises." However, several clubs "are pushing for a cap increase that will effectively erode the margin between the money coming in and going out" at a time when the Brisbane Broncos "are the only business turning a profit." Campbell: "The cumulative losses of the NRL clubs last year was A$60 million, up from A$46 million the year before. Sixteen times A$3 million ($2.4M) is where the game breaks even. If clubs are not viable, they won't exist. Who will be left to employ the players?" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/16).

Revolutionary new helmets, custom-built for Australian Football League players, are "being designed as the game ramps up its efforts to fight concussion," according to Sam McClure of THE AGE. The helmets, "whose design is being funded by the AFL," come as AFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Peter Harcourt "declares the competition has barely scratched the surface in understanding concussion." According to AFL researcher Dr. Andrew McIntosh, helmets being worn in football codes are "less effective than those used more than 15 years ago." Harcourt said, "If you were thinking in terms of our understanding of concussion, if it's a 100-kilometer journey, we're probably 15 kilometers down the road. So, we've got a long way to go." Two different helmet specifications are reportedly "in the process of being developed," the "basic" and the "advanced," with the former having already been presented to AFL representatives (THE AGE, 8/16).

The Int'l Cricket Council hired a security company on a three-year term "to aid the resumption of international cricket in Pakistan," Pakistan Cricket Board Chair Najam Sethi said on Tuesday. The company will visit the country "during either the last week of August or the first week of September." Sethi said that the security team will visit the country each year and the ICC will pay it $400,000 for every visit (DAWN, 8/16).

The Committee of Administrators has sought the removal of BCCI "office-bearers," including acting President C.K. Khanna and Secretary Amitabh Choudhary, "for non-compliance of Lodha Panel reforms." In a "scathing report" submitted in the Indian Supreme Court, the two-member COA -- comprising Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji -- asked that "governance, management and administration" of the board be handed over to them along with a professional group headed by BCCI CEO Rahul Johri until the elections are held (PTI, 8/16).

China "plans to launch an ice hockey league" in '18 to prepare for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. According to Chinese Ice Hockey Association General Secretary Fang Xuefeng, the men's ice hockey league will be launched with six Chinese clubs in Aug. or Sept. '18. The CIHA is" still considering regulations to allow foreign players in the league." Every club will be "required to partner with one university ice hockey team to train university players for the league" (YUTANG SPORTS, 8/15).

The British Horseracing Authority announced "a series of measures aimed at reducing the number of non-runners." There was a near-8% rise in the number of non-runners in '16. The BHA will hand out punishments to those whom it considers repeat offenders. As such, league tables will be produced quarterly, "giving details of the rate of non-runners from individual trainers" (SKY SPORTS, 8/16).