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Volume 7 No. 126

Leagues and Governing Bodies

A "mooted" future Australian Football League draft "would see clubs trade listed players as well as live picks, moving ultimately" toward a U.S. sport model, according to Sam McClure of THE AGE. Though "still years away," the league's plan is to "streamline the three forms of player movement -- free agency, trade and draft -- into one." It would be "likely to transform draft night into a drama-filled spectacle absorbing the entire football industry." The AFL's player movement working group will meet next Thursday, and "its first priority will be the implementation of live trading of picks during this year's draft." The mechanics "appear complex," but there is "widespread approval" at league HQ, the players' association and all 18 clubs for live picks trading to be introduced in the draft in November. That "would be seen as phase one." Phase two would be to allow a club to trade any listed player during the draft, similar to the NBA. Phase two is "far from being implemented and is sure to cause issues with the players' association," which "almost certainly would seek a reduction in years before a player becomes a free agent." Players would also want -- as in the NBA -- the right to include "no-trade" clauses in their contracts. One difficulty will be "alteration of the players' collective bargaining agreement, which was only agreed to midway through last year" (THE AGE, 2/14).

Rugby Football Union Council execs have been "urged not to address female Twickenham staff as sweetheart, love, gorgeous or girl." The plea came from Lucinda Pullinger, the RFU’s head of human resources. Pullinger called it a "specific ask" for the majority male council to change their behavior and cease using "inappropriate" language when talking to the RFU’s female workforce, who had made "a number of complaints about lack of respect" (London DAILY MAIL, 2/13).

Scotland Rugby U20 assistant coach Nikki Walker is "one of several backroom staff suspended pending an investigation." The suspensions "follow a dispute in a bar in Llandudno, North Wales." One of the Scotland physios was taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries. Assistant coaches Ben Fisher and Walker and team Manager Andy Miller are among those suspended. The incident involved a disagreement with another group in the bar. No members of the Scotland party were arrested (BBC, 2/13).

Uruguayan club Nacional was fined $80,000 and its fans were banned for three games after "some taunted Chapecoense about the plane crash which killed 19 players and staff." During a Copa Libertadores match in January, some Nacional fans made gestures referring to the '16 crash involving the Brazilian side. Nacional said that the "horrendous" incident brought a "deep sense of shame" (BBC, 2/14). 

Formula 1 fans will have the chance to be driven around race circuits "in supercars this season" by the likes of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. The "Pirelli hot laps" program, announced on Wednesday, will start at the Bahrain Grand Prix in early April and be featured at nine other rounds of the 21-race championship. McLaren, which is "owned largely by Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat," and Red Bull’s new title sponsor, Aston Martin, "have signed up already with other manufacturers to be announced soon" (REUTERS, 2/14).

Chris Froome said that he is "prepared to race the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France even if the investigation into his adverse drugs test is unresolved." Froome "competes in the Ruta del Sol this week in his first race since the case became public in December." He said, "I hope it doesn't get that far but I'm still allowed to race now and I don't see why not" (BBC, 2/14).