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Volume 10 No. 24


National Rugby League side Canterbury could be "heading for a legal stoush" with Des Hasler after the Bulldogs "sacked the two-time premiership-winning coach just five months after announcing his contract extension," according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Canberra assistant coach Dean Pay is the "early favourite to take over" at Canterbury, while current assistant Jim Dymock has also "indicated he is keen on the role." Former South Sydney coach Michael Maguire is also "likely to come into contention." After a contract negotiation that "dragged on for over a year," Canterbury announced that Hasler would remain with the team on a two-year extension in April. The Canterbury board is "up for re-election" early in '18 and "there was a feeling" that if Hasler was not "moved on, the incumbent directors would be." Hasler reportedly "believes he is entitled to a payout" of over A$1M ($801,610) after having his contract "terminated prematurely." But Canterbury Chair Ray Dib claimed the decision to extend him was a "non-binding" one (SMH, 9/19). In Sydney, Dean Ritchie reported sources claimed Hasler was "strung along" as "fan unrest grew over the team’s performance and the role of the Canterbury board this season." Canterbury is "officially in turmoil." The head coach "has been sacked, CEO Raelene Castle is gone, captain James Graham has been moved along due to the club’s salary cap mess, while the Bulldogs’ favourite son, Josh Reynolds, has also left." Many at Canterbury believe the decision to dump Hasler is "grandstanding" from Dib, who is "facing a backlash at football club and leagues club elections early next year" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/19).

ManU has been asked to stop its supporters from "singing a song about Romelu Lukaku's manhood," according to Paul Hirst of the LONDON TIMES. Football anti-discrimination campaign group Kick It Out claims that the chant is "offensive, discriminatory and reinforces racist stereotypes." Video emerged of ManU fans singing the song about Lukaku, who signed from EPL side Everton in a £90M ($121.7M) deal in July, during the club's 3-0 win at home to Basel in the Champions League last week. The song, to the tune of the Stone Roses' "Made of Stone," makes reference to the size of the striker's penis. Kick It Out said that the song "should be banned because it reinforced the stereotype that black men are better endowed than others." A Kick It Out spokesperson added, "The lyrics used in the chant are offensive and discriminatory. Racist stereotypes are never acceptable in football or wider society, irrespective of any intention to show support for a player" (LONDON TIMES, 9/19).

'UNACCEPTABLE CONDUCT': The PA reported Premier League side Leicester City issued stadium bans to three people for their "unacceptable conduct" during Brighton & Hove Albion's visit on Aug. 19. The trio's exclusions "range from two to 12 months and two of those banned have also been subject to criminal proceedings" -- one resulting in a conditional police caution and another a "significant fine" (PA, 9/19).

Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen launched a "supported season ticket scheme which the club's directors have kick-started" with a £50,000 ($67,600) donation. The initiative -- branded "Aberdeen for All" -- will allow the club's fans to contribute to a fund which will be used to "help supporters from deprived areas attend home matches." Team execs "have thrown their weight behind the fundraising drive by handing over cash to fund an initial 200 tickets" (Scotland DAILY RECORD, 9/19).

Everton and Sunderland players "will wear shirts promoting the Bradley Lowery Foundation" when they meet in the English Football League Cup on Wednesday. Sunderland fan Bradley "died after a long illness in July," aged 6. SportPesa and Dafabet, the official shirt sponsors of Everton and Sunderland, respectively, "agreed to the idea" (BBC, 9/18).

As part of the U.S. State Department's Sports Envoy program, the Harlem Globetrotters will visit Lithuania and Estonia this week to promote the value of teamwork. These programs help bolster the U.S.'s cultural and social ties with the governments and people of two long-standing partners and strong NATO allies (Harlem Globetrotters).