A major "shake-up is on the cards," but the Australian Football League's captains are not "convinced," according to Beveridge & Morris of FOX SPORTS. The league is pushing to introduce a "wildcard weekend" as part of a "dramatic fixture overhaul, which will see the AFL replicate what occurs overseas in competitions like the NFL." It is planning to use the idea to "fill the pre-finals bye weekend." The "most likely" proposal would see the top six guaranteed a finals berth, "with seventh to play tenth and eighth to play ninth during the wildcard weekend to determine the finalists." Eight of 18 captains polled on Thursday were "definitively in favour of the wildcard weekend," with Richmond player Jack Riewoldt "sceptical." He said, "I'm all for trialing new things. But sometimes if it ain't broke, don't fix it" (FOX SPORTS, 3/15).
'BIG ON THAT': In Melbourne, Gleeson & Ryan reported AFL captains are "yet to be convinced about the need for a mid-year trade or draft period that has been mooted" by the league. Many of the captains expressed concern at the "potential damage the disruption to the playing group caused by mid-year changes could cause." Adelaide captain Taylor Walker said, "I am not a big advocate for the mid-season draft. I am big on creating a culture that allows people to stay and give that year of service. I am big on that" (THE AGE, 3/15).
Former British Equestrian Federation CEO Clare Salmon was the the "victim of bullying and elitism while in the role," an investigation found, according to Patrick Nathanson of the BBC. Salmon raised "serious concerns" over "culture and governance" at the BEF in her resignation letter in July. An independent investigation was then launched by the organization. She said, "The report has vindicated the concerns I raised about bullying, about elitism and about a toxic culture within the equestrian world." The Sport Resolutions UK investigation, chaired by lawyer John Mehrzad, concluded that "certain actions can, in the panel's opinion, be objectively viewed as bullying, elitist and arising from self-interest but not corruption." The report makes recommendations that center on three key areas: the "identification of the role and responsibilities of the BEF; the establishment of strong leadership within the BEF; and the maintenance of good governance" (BBC, 3/15).
A decision to "drastically overhaul" the Davis Cup has "created a power struggle" between two of the sport’s governing bodies, with Tennis Australia "in the thick of the battle," according to Courtney Walsh of THE AUSTRALIAN. The Int'l Tennis Federation’s proposal to turn the historic competition into a week-long event played in a neutral city each November "shocked the tennis world when it was announced last month." But the "radical concept is not the only reason many were shocked," with Australian officials among those "blindsided" when the ITF made its announcement. Tennis Australia has been working with the ATP over the past 18 months to "resurrect a separate event called the World Team Cup." The ITF development "threatened to scuttle the resurrection of the WTC," given the similarities between the two team competitions, but ATP CEO Chris Kermode is "adamant" the association will "press ahead" with its plans. Should the ITF win approval for its Davis Cup proposal from voting nations at a meeting in August, a "conflict between the two bodies looms." It seems "extremely unlikely" the calendar or market could accommodate two team competitions played within six weeks of each other, let alone that the players "would have the appetite to compete in both" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/16).