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Volume 10 No. 24

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Formula 1 is "working on a microphone that can be attached to a car's exhaust system" to make the sport louder and more "visceral" for TV viewers, according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. Engine noise "has been a talking point since the quieter, more fuel-efficient 1.6 liter V6 turbo hybrid power units were introduced" in '14 in place of the "raspier and less sophisticated" V8 engines. F1 Managing Dir, Commercial Operations Sean Bratches said that "more needed to be done for the worldwide audience." He added, "One of the things that we want to amplify going forward are the sounds of the sport, because they are viscerally moving to fans and critically important in all the research that we do." Bratches said that Australian producer David Hill, a man with a "stellar reputation" in sports TV and broadcast innovation, was involved in that. Bratches: "He's working with a German concern to develop a ceramic microphone that we can actually adhere to the exhaust pipe to get the true amplification of sound for fans" (REUTERS, 9/22).

RULES TWEAKS: Baldwin also reported F1 "tweaked its sporting regulations so that teams can run current cars at demonstration events" organized by owner Liberty Media. The change concerning the use of cars outside of a grand prix event and official test sessions allows teams to take part in "demonstration events organized by the commercial rights holder." Teams were previously allowed only two limited mileage demonstration days -- "often used by teams celebrating their title success with staff, fans and sponsors" -- using current cars between the last race of the season and end of that year (REUTERS, 9/22).

The traditional five-day Test, which has been a feature of the English summer for nearly 70 years, will end in '20 "if the England & Wales Cricket Board successfully argues for the introduction of four-day matches," according to Nick Hoult of the London TELEGRAPH. The ECB is "leading the push" for Test matches to be reduced to four days after the '19 Ashes summer, believing it is the "best way to breathe new life into the game's oldest format," and is "confident it has the support of broadcasters and host grounds." A four-day Test would start in England half an hour earlier at 10:30am to "give teams more time to bowl the increased number of overs in a day and with all venues now having floodlights, play would be extended where possible." Sources said that the ECB will "put its weight behind the switch to four-day Tests at the next board meeting" of the Int'l Cricket Council in October. The ECB's support for four-day Test cricket "will alarm traditionalists," who already feel the game is being "squeezed by too much Twenty20 with the introduction of a new league in England in two years' time." It is understood the ECB’s new broadcast deal does not guarantee Test matches will be scheduled for five days, "removing one potential obstacle for change." A shift to four-day Tests would enable the ECB to guarantee Thursday starts for each match, "which is the preferred option for Test match grounds as it allows them to maximise corporate income" (TELEGRAPH, 9/23).

The Int'l Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption Unit "launched an investigation in Sri Lanka," the ICC said, according to Greg Stutchbury of REUTERS. The ICC "did not give any details" as to what the nature of its investigation entailed, only that ACU officers had recently visited the country. ACU GM Alex Marshall said, "There is currently an ICC (ACU) investigation underway in Sri Lanka. Naturally as part of this we are talking to a number of people. We will not comment any further on an ongoing investigation" (REUTERS, 9/24). The PTI reported the ICC statement came a day after Sri Lanka Cricket said that 40 of its contracted players called for an immediate inquiry into certain "shocking" allegations made by former player and selector Pramodya Wickramasinghe "insinuating unnatural and mysterious match patterns." According to SLC sources, at least three members of the ACU arrived in Sri Lanka to meet with its cricket officials. Wickramasinghe, however, claimed that he never leveled any allegations against Sri Lankan players and only wanted a probe into "floating rumours" of corruption following the team's "string of poor performances" (PTI, 9/24). The AFP reported SLC's board on Sunday asked all national players and its employees to "cooperate fully" with an ICC investigation following allegations by former players of "match-fixing and other forms of corruption." SLC said, "We request all those who have any information to come forward and help with this inquiry by declaring all their information and evidence" (AFP, 9/24).

Cricket Wellington is "trumpeting a new dawn" for the game in the region but will not say how many jobs will be lost in its major restructure. CEO Cam Mitchell and board Chair Sally Morrison confirmed on Thursday ambitious plans for "a new operating model and culture for the organisation and cricket in our region." Former Black Cap Chris Nevin, Dir of Cricket Robbie Kerr and coaches Mark Borthwick and Ivan Tissera were "among those told their roles were going." Staff was "stunned" and "word quickly spread in cricket circles" (STUFF, 9/22).

FIBA's national member federations of Germany, Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain and Turkey on Friday signed a joint statement whereby they: confirmed that they will invite Euroleague players to represent their national teams for all 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers; called for Euroleague Commercial Assets to reschedule Euroleague gamedays to avoid clashes with World Cup qualifiers; and urged the European Commission to hold ECA accountable for breaching its earlier commitment to accommodate FIBA's new calendar (FIBA). 

The Pakistan Hockey Federation on Friday "threatened to pull out of next year's World Cup in India" unless it is assured of "easy procurement" of visas and "top security" for its players at the event. PHF President Khalid Khokar claimed to have raised these issues during his recent meetings with Indian Hockey Federation President Narinder Batra in Dubai. The World Cup is scheduled to be held in November-December next year (PTI, 9/22).