The Australian federal government "remains unapologetic about its insistence that all athletes and officials must obtain visas to attend next year's Commonwealth Games," according to Nicole Jeffery of THE AUSTRALIAN. Games officials regard the move as the "biggest threat to the success of the Gold Coast event." The government is "defying" decades of int'l sports convention by insisting that accredited Games attendees must obtain a "temporary activity" visa via an online application. Olympic and Commonwealth Games host nations "traditionally waive visas for accredited athletes and officials" and that system was in place for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. However, a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said on Wednesday that the government "makes no apologies" for the system put in place, arguing that it protected the Australian community and its visitors. She said that those who could not apply online could "provide a hard copy of the required visa information to GOLDOC [2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Corp.], who will then make an online application on behalf of that individual." GOLDOC CEO Mark Peters conceded Wednesday that he "did not expect the government to waive the visa requirement," with 175 days to go until the opening ceremony on April 4 (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/12).
Events and Attractions
Racing NSW and Racing Victoria "might have had all the goodwill in the world to change the race times for The Everest and Caulfield Guineas meetings but once again neither would blink to make it happen," according to Chris Roots of THE AGE. Instead, punters will have "only 15 minutes" between the A$10M ($7.8M) Everest and A$2M ($1.5M) Caulfield Guineas on Saturday, "when the eyes of the sporting public are almost exclusively on racing." It is a "disappointing result for a sport that remains divided along state lines." It might "affect the bottom line for the day," which the TAB is "expecting to break records" and be behind only Melbourne Cup day in terms of turnover. It took free-to-air provider Channel Seven to "make the two regulators aware of the packed schedule last Friday and it took until Tuesday afternoon for any changes to be made certain." An offer and counter-offer were made, but no agreement could be struck and the times, "which had been in place for many months," stand. Racing NSW CEO Peter V'landys said, "Unfortunately they wouldn't change their times. We tried and they were set on what they wanted and we couldn't accommodate it." Racing NSW GM Scott Kennedy worked on the schedule, which "would have changed several meeting times to secure The Everest clear air in the lead-up, but it was rejected by Racing Victoria" (THE AGE, 10/11).
For the third consecutive year, the Mexican Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in front of a sold-out crowd. The organizer of the event tweeted, "Thanks to you, for the third consecutive year, tickets for the #MexicoGP are totally sold out" (LA AFICIÓN, 10/10).Brisbane COURIER-MAIL, 10/11).
Twenty virtual racers secured their slots for Formula 1's inaugural esports series final on Tuesday. The 40 hopefuls on stage at London's Gfinity Arena "won through from 63,827 entrants worldwide" competing on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC platforms. The semifinals, around virtual Silverstone and Interlagos circuits, were livestreamed through social media and f1esports.com (REUTERS, 10/10).
The Brisbane Int'l is "at match point in bids to bring Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic, winners of 35 Grand Slam titles between them, back to Queensland this summer." Sources said that Djokovic is "strongly considering playing the Brisbane event," which starts on Dec. 31 (COURIER-MAIL, 10/11).
From next season, the Women's Tennis Association Ladies Open will take place on clay courts in southern Switzerland. The second edition of the tournament will be held from April 9-15 at the tennis court of TC Lido Lugano. InfrontRingier Sports & Entertainment Switzerland is responsible for the entire organization as well as the worldwide marketing rights, national media rights and the exclusive hospitality area of the competition (Infront).
A rock was thrown at the Australian national cricket team's bus, "smashing a window," after its T20 int'l win against India in Guwahati. Players and staff were traveling to the hotel from the Barsapara Stadium when the bus was hit. Cricket Australia said that no one was injured, but the players were "shaken up by the incident" (BBC, 10/11).