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Volume 7 No. 108

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Aston Martin believes Formula 1 "can use its intention to become an engine supplier" in '21 as a "bargaining chip against Ferrari's threats to quit the championship," according to Ben Anderson of MOTORSPORT. F1's owners recently revealed their blueprint for the future of grand prix racing, "including plans for simpler, cheaper, louder and more powerful engines than the current V6 hybrid turbos." Aston Martin said that it would consider adding "building an engine to the new rules should the technology be simplified and costs reduced sufficiently," while Ferrari "has threatened to quit F1 should this simplification process go too far." Aston Martin President & CEO Andy Palmer suggested Aston's status as a competitor to Ferrari in the supercar automotive market "could strengthen F1's hand in negotiations with the famous Italian marque and mitigate the damage should Ferrari walk away." Palmer: "Liberty obviously want a new engine [for 2021]. They want to move the sport on. The incumbent teams don't want to change the engine very much. In the old world, they would have won, wouldn't they? ... But now they've got someone sitting behind them saying, 'If you write the rules like this, we might be interested in providing an engine.' Now there's an alternative" (MOTORSPORT, 4/26).

County cricketers "have expressed fears about signing contracts" beyond the '19 season as part of "wider concerns about the structure of the domestic game," according to the BBC. A new competition featuring eight city-based teams will begin in '20. The Professional Cricketers' Association said that the major concern of players was "a lack of information and clarity regarding the new tournament." The views of players from all 18 counties were taken into account at meetings attended by 85% of professional players in England and Wales (BBC, 4/25). In London, Nick Hoult reported players are concerned over the makeup of the tournament and are "angry they have been kept in the dark." Worcestershire batsman Daryl Mitchell, the co-chair of the PCA, said, "We are the ones who have to deliver this competition if it happens. We need detail such as how things are going to work. Two years sounds like a long time but it will come around quickly. ... The consultation is the biggest issue. The players would like to have had more of a say" (TELEGRAPH, 4/25).

KEEP IT SIMPLE: In London, Elizabeth Ammon reported scoreboards for cricket’s new 100-ball competition "could be stripped of all information other than the total, number of wickets and number of balls left." The format, announced last week, "is designed to make games shorter and more attractive to a fresh audience." ECB Dir of Women's Cricket Clare Connor said, "What we are talking about is simplifying the game. The question is how we get to that simplified point where we can put on a cricket match that is more easily understood." The new tournament, which has the working title "The Hundred," will try to complete its matches in about two-and-a-half hours (LONDON TIMES, 4/26).

'CULTURE OF RESPECT': REUTERS' Amlan Chakraborty reported the Int'l Cricket Council "asked an internal panel to suggest harsher punishment" for ball-tampering and other misbehavior by players in its bid to establish a "culture of respect," CEO Dave Richardson said on Thursday. The game's image "was sullied in Cape Town last month when Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera tampering with the ball." Richardson said that the punishments under its code of conduct for such misbehavior "were inadequate." Richardson: "We want to move towards stricter and heavier sanction for ball-tampering and all other offenses that are indicative of a lack of respect for your opponent, for the game, for the umpire, for fans, for the media, et cetera" (REUTERS, 4/26).

The Australian Football League commissioned a major study on the use of helmets in football which "could have far-reaching ramifications at junior and senior levels." The study will "also involve introducing AFL standards for headgear used in all football." The league’s official position is that it does not recommend helmets -- the pliable headgear used commonly in rugby union. But a Monash University study commissioned by the AFL "seeks to better understand whether head knocks could be lessened by head gear" (HERALD SUN, 4/26).

The head of a global probe into match-fixing in tennis criticized the Australian judiciary for being "too lenient when it comes to dealing with players convicted of corrupting the sport." But sports law expert Adam Lewis, who chaired a 27-month, multimillion-dollar probe reviewing allegations of corrupt behavior in the sport, "praised the Australian police forces pursuing the scourge." The English lawyer said that "greater deterrence and harsher penalties were needed in criminal jurisdictions when it came to dealing with match-fixers" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 4/27).

The British & Irish Lions will award ceremonial caps for the first time. A total of 419 living Lions players and next of kin of 416 deceased Lions "will receive a one-off, hand-stitched cap that bears a unique playing number awarded only to players who have played competitively in the red shirt" (London TELEGRAPH, 4/26).

The GAA's Club Players Association will "push for next year’s Congress to draft a mandatory closed period for inter-county activity" into its rule book. It is understood that the CPA will "up the ante" and look for four consecutive weekends annually, during the period from April 1 to May 20, to be officially documented into Gaelic Athletic Association rules. Last year, the GAA took the "landmark decision" to free up April to give clubs access to county players to play fixtures throughout the month (LONDON TIMES, 4/26).