The British Basketball Federation and British Basketball League agreed to terms for a "landmark" ten-year license agreement, according to Sam Neter of HOOPS FIX. The organizations hope the deal "paves the way" for the long-term development of the professional men's game in the U.K. The deal is "designed to allow the BBL's clubs the security to build for a long-term future, whilst setting demanding performance standards in commercial, financial, player pathway, coaching and other areas, that the league will be held accountable to." Some of the new performance standards include:
- Minimum salary levels for players.
- Clubs having to invest at least £75,000 ($96,500) into their "player pathway."
- Having four junior teams as well as a "partnership with a local university and academy."
- Teams needing to be "long-term anchor tenants at their chosen venue."
- Playing on "clean wooden floors."
- Enhanced player welfare (HOOPS FIX, 8/18).
MVP247's Mark Woods reported the agreement will run from the start of the new campaign and see the 12 teams pay an annual fee to the governing body that will contribute toward "running the various national sides as well as plotting a more coherent structure from top to bottom." An independent board will reportedly be established with representatives from the BBF, BBL and non-affiliated members with the power to impose sanctions, including expulsion, on clubs or individuals who "fall foul of the tougher rules." A source said, "No longer will teams be judge and jury on themselves. It will control accountability with targets set over periods of four, seven and ten years" (MVP247, 8/18).
The National Rugby League players have been "asked to sacrifice some of their privacy in return for the richest deal in rugby league history," according to Brent Read of THE AUSTRALIAN. The offer document sent to the Rugby League Players Association on Friday "included provisions for the NRL to gain access to financial records and phone accounts in the event that there was a reasonable suspicion of an integrity issue." In return for nearly A$1B ($792.8M) in pay and entitlements over the next five years, the players "will be asked to become more transparent than at any other point in the game’s history." The NRL "already has the right to demand personal information as part of salary cap investigations." The NRL "wants to widen those powers" to give the integrity unit the "ability to do the same whenever there is a sense of something untoward." The RLPA’s "reluctance to hastily accept the NRL offer has attracted criticism in some quarters" but it is understood integrity is one of the areas where the union is "searching for more detail before taking the offer to the players." The union held a board meeting on Sunday but it "appears unlikely it will take the NRL pay deal to a mass meeting of players" in Sydney on Monday. The "more likely scenario" is that the RLPA will vote to continue negotiations with the NRL as it "looks to reach a deal more palatable for the players over coming weeks" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/21).
World Rugby reaffirmed its support for the Women’s Rugby World Cup with Women's Rugby GM Katie Sadleir "speaking of the detailed review process that will take place upon the tournament’s conclusion," according to Kate Rowan of the London TELEGRAPH. U.S. national women's rugby team head coach Pete Steinberg accused the global governing body of "discrimination" toward the Women's Rugby World Cup. This is something World Rugby "strongly refutes" as it and Women’s World Cup 2017 host the Irish Rugby Football Union is investing almost £7M ($9M) in the tournament. World Rugby is investing an additional £13.5M ($17.4M) into the women’s game for the '15-19 cycle. A World Rugby spokesperson said, "The USA coach’s remark that women are being discriminated against is entirely false. The model that is operational at Women’s RWC 2017 is the same one that is employed at elite men’s competitions. ... As Mr. Steinberg knows, there will be a full review of Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 after the tournament has concluded and all views will be taken into account when considering how we continue to develop this tournament and build on recent success" (TELEGRAPH, 8/18).
Pro Rugby Wales CEO Mark Davies said that the new Pro14 "could expand further" after two South African sides were added to the tournament. Davies believes the league "must improve to match English and French tournaments." He said, "We can contemplate further geographical expansion, why wouldn't we? It's not on the back-burner. We can't afford to take our foot off the gas" (BBC, 8/18).
A motion to change the U21 hurling championship into a U20 competition is "likely to appear on the agenda" at the Gaelic Athletic Association's Special Congress on hurling at the end of September. A Tipperary motion to that effect was defeated at annual congress in February but it is understood that it has been "revived by a work group that was established to explore what other issues the special congress could address" (SUNDAY TIMES, 8/20).
The Indian women's cricket team has no int'l commitments until the second edition of the Int'l Cricket Council Women's Championship, and captain Mithali Raj said that her side "could do with more fixtures." Mithali also "called for a longer domestic season." She said, "The domestic games go on for only about two months. This should be extended, which will encourage more girls to take up the sport" (THE HINDU, 8/20).