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Volume 10 No. 25

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Brian Cookson "suffered a crushing defeat" in his efforts to be re-elected as president of the Int'l Cycling Union (UCI), according to Martyn Ziegler of the LONDON TIMES. The Englishman was beaten by David Lappartient, who "promised to ban corticosteroids from the sport." Cookson lost by a vote of 37-8 in the election in Bergen, Norway, in "what was almost certainly the biggest election defeat of an incumbent president" of an int'l sporting federation. The 44-year-old Lappartient promised "radical changes" including banning the out-of-competition use of corticosteroids, the drug taken by Bradley Wiggins under a therapeutic use exemption to treat a pollen allergy. Lappartient also said that he will ban the use of tramadol, the "powerful but legal painkiller" that British cyclist Jonathan Tiernan-Locke claimed was offered “freely around” at the '12 world championships by a team doctor. The Frenchman also promised to "introduce thermal imaging sensors and X-ray scanners to test bikes for hidden motors, and to crack down on possible race-fixing" (LONDON TIMES, 9/21). In London, Sean Ingle reported Lappartient vowed to rid the sport of the "corruption" that he said had left the UCI with a "disastrous reputation." Cookson was "left licking his wounds." In a speech to delegates before the vote, he "promised to double the UCI’s investment in women’s cycling and appealed to be allowed to continue the work he had started." Yet he "failed to win them over." Reports suggested he "did not get a single vote from the 15 European delegates." Afterward, he "fiercely defended his presidency, insisting he had lifted cycling out of the gutter" during his reign and had changed the UCI for the better since replacing Irishman Pat McQuaid. Cookson: "The UCI I leave behind is unrecognizable from the organization I took over in 2013 and I depart with my head held high." He added that he was "most proud of his work in promoting gender equality and supporting nations," which he claimed "inspired and excited millions more around the world" (GUARDIAN, 9/21). 

OUTPLAYED: In London, Tom Cary reported Cookson's camp had become "increasingly nervous" in the final few days of campaigning that its man had been "outmanoeuvred politically." McQuaid's presence in Norway "lent the election an air of intrigue," with rumors that Lappartient had promised the Irishman an honorary role if he helped to get him elected. Whether "that happens, time will tell." But either way, the result "was overwhelming." Lappartient, a man who had been a supporter of Cookson's campaign four years ago and was a UCI VP under Cookson, "proved by far the more popular candidate." Lappartient announced his intention to run in June, "arguing that Cookson had been weak and ineffective" as president and possessed neither "ambition" nor "vision" (TELEGRAPH, 9/21).

Leading execs at County Championship sides have backed Durham County Cricket Club Chair Ian Botham's call for English cricket to introduce "a transfer or similar system of compensation" for counties losing their young players, according to Scyld Berry of the London TELEGRAPH. Botham made his plea after Durham lost all-rounder Paul Coughlin to Nottinghamshire for next season. Middlesex CEO Richard Goatley said, "Counties need to be protected from losing their young players. A level of financial compensation is appropriate, but not a transfer battle with fees and windows and agents getting involved." That call "has been echoed by Surrey," which did not receive any compensation when its 21-year-old batsman, Dominic Sibley, moved to Warwickshire earlier this season. On that basis, the club wrote to the other 17 first-class counties proposing the following formula: "Any home developed player below the age of 24 who chooses to move to a new county, despite being offered a new and improved contract by his home county, would attract a compensation fee payable by the new county of 2 x the final salary offer by the home county." Other ideas "are also being considered." Gloucestershire CEO Will Brown said that he would "be quite supportive of a football-style transfer window" where deals could be done, while Yorkshire CEO Mark Arthur favors "keeping and extending the system of loans" (TELEGRAPH, 9/20).

EuroLeague Basketball presented a calendar proposal to its stakeholders -- clubs, domestic leagues, coaches, players and officials -- and to FIBA on Thursday, with the aim of finding a solution to the current FIBA 2017 calendar and the interference of the "FIBA windows" with the club competitions, both domestic and int'l, in Europe and beyond. The calendar proposal principles have previously been presented to the clubs and have also been shared with all EuroLeague players through those present at the latest EuroLeague team captains meeting. The proposal is based on the following principles:

  • National federations need their national teams to have the best players available for all official games.
  • National federations need their national teams to play official qualification games on home soil.
  • The national team calendar should occupy four weeks per season, in addition to a two-week preparation period.
  • The club calendar should occupy 38 weeks per season. 
  • Professional basketball players need at least four weeks of complete rest from official activity per season (EuroLeague).

Wednesday "saw the launch of the inaugural edition of The Super 8 basketball tournament at Studio City Macau" as part of a government initiative to "diversify the entertainment on offer with high-level sports," according to Nicolas Atkin of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. Macau Sports Bureau VP Christine Lam said, "Let the youth in Macau experience the beauty of the basketball games here so that other than gambling, Macau is more like a diversified city. We're trying to do this more. People always think of Macau only for gaming, but we want to expand more for development." The Super 8 has brought together two top teams from each of the premier leagues of China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan to Studio City for five days of competition. Lam: "We want to support big international organizations to host events in Macau just like The Super 8. It helps to promote Macau, and helps youth sports development." The organizers have TV broadcast deals with all the countries represented and "have their own live stream on Facebook." The Super 8 CEO Matt Beyer said, "We had a great turnout for the press conference and incredible broadcast ratings for day one for a brand new basketball property, which is proof the concept is solid" (SCMP, 9/21).

Underperforming sides in the revamped Super Rugby competition were told they "need to show tangible improvement to help win back fans" as the draw for next year's tournament was released on Thursday. One of those teams, Japan's Sunwolves, had its "governance moved away from the Japan Rugby Football Union to an independent body that will work more closely" with tournament organizer SANZAAR, CEO Andy Marinos said (REUTERS, 9/21).

A "small contingent" of athletes from Oceania nations will be allowed to compete at the 2022 Asian Games in China "so long as their qualification paths for the 2024 Paris Olympics go through Asia," the Australian Olympic Committee said. The Olympic Council of Asia will allow "around 300 athletes and 150 support staff from Oceania nations" to compete at the Hangzhou Games. The AOC's statement came two days after OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah said that the Asian Games "was already too big to accommodate Oceania athletes" (REUTERS, 9/21).

Former Open champion Paul Lawrie said that the expense of playing golf is "driving away the next generation of talent." A recent study showed Scotland lost more registered golfers in '15-16 than any other country in Europe. While Scotsman Lawrie identifies "a number of reasons for the drop in numbers," he sees cost as "one of the biggest factors." Lawrie: "If two of your family want to take up golf, it's not cheap. It's not like buying a football and a pair of boots" (BBC, 9/20).

Australia's Department of Agriculture & Water Resources "will suspend direct movement of horses" between the country and Hong Kong from Oct. 2 "over concerns about equine disease from China" -- a move the Hong Kong Jockey Club called "highly prejudicial." Although the ban "does not prevent permanent export of horses to Hong Kong for racing purposes," it will stop Hong Kong horses from competing in Australia's int'l races "unless they first submit to a 180-day quarantine in another country" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 9/20).

A payment made by former IAAF SVP Sergey Bubka to the body's banned former treasurer is "under investigation." Bubka made a $45,000 payment to Valentin Balakhnichev, according to French newspaper Le Monde. The Athletics Integrity Unit will "look at the case, though ex-pole vaulter Bubka denies any wrongdoing" (BBC, 9/21).

The Indian Supreme Court on Thursday "rebuked" three top BCCI officials for "blocking the implementation of the proposals" made by the Justice R.M. Lodha panel last year. BCCI acting President C.K. Khanna, acting Secretary Amitabh Choudhary and Treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry were reprimanded for their "obstinate behaviour" that prevented the BCCI and its units "from accepting the Lodha Committee proposals in totality" (HINDUSTAN TIMES, 9/21).