League Notes: Underperforming Super Rugby Sides Urged To Improve
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).