With three months remaining until the Int'l Tennis Federation's proposal to "radically revamp" the Davis Cup is put to a vote, "work is afoot to tone down the most controversial element of the scheme," according to Simon Briggs of the London TELEGRAPH. Fans across the world "have been outraged by the proposed abolition of home-and-away ties." In order to placate the critics, one initial eliminator round is reportedly "likely to be retained in the first week of February." This will mean that "most nations play a home Davis Cup tie every two years." The teams that "survive the February showdown" will then continue on to the World Cup of Tennis concept: "a week-long team tournament in November, which is still intended to involve 18 countries." This amendment "should improve" the ITF's "chances of earning a two-thirds majority from its members" when the new Davis Cup model is put to a vote at August's annual general meeting. Another "stumbling block could disappear" if tennis bodies manage to convince the investors behind the new model that the November finals "should be held in Europe rather than a far-flung Asian venue such as Singapore or Beijing" (TELEGRAPH, 5/15).
Events and Attractions
Euroleague Basketball announced the '19 edition of the EuroLeague Final Four will be held at Buesa Arena in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. The 15,000-seat arena, which will be hosting the event for the first time, is home to Spanish Basketball League (ACB) club Baskonia, whose president, Josean Querejeta, said, "It's a dream that we have chased for many years and now it is coming true. The 2019 Final Four will put Vitoria-Gasteiz, Alava and the Basque Country on the world map" (EuroLeague).
India aims to launch a women's version of its "hugely popular" Indian Premier League cricket tournament in the next three years, a senior official said Tuesday. As part of the build-up, top int'l women players "will take part in a Twenty20 game at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium next week." BCCI administrator Vinod Rai said, "We are planning to get a women's IPL in place in two to three years" (AFP, 5/15).
Russia "qualified automatically for next year's Rugby World Cup" after World Rugby imposed points deductions to Romania, Spain and Belgium for "fielding ineligible players during qualification matches." Romania had previously qualified as "Europe 1" for next year's tournament, having finished above Spain in the Rugby Europe Championship following Spain's "controversial defeat against Belgium" on the final weekend of the competition. The points deductions mean that Germany has replaced Spain "as the second-ranked side in Rugby Europe Championship" (London TELEGRAPH, 5/15).
The presentation of the route of the 2019 Dakar Rally scheduled for Monday was postponed by organizer Amaury Sport Organisation after the "last-minute withdrawal of Chile from the event." Initial plans for the 41st edition of the Dakar included a new country -- Ecuador -- in a route that would "cross the South American continent from south to north, incorporating Chile and Peru." Peru is currently "the only country officially confirmed" for '19 (MOTORSPORT, 5/15).