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Volume 7 No. 82

Leagues and Governing Bodies

The Rugby Football Union "could axe 100 jobs this month in the most brutal cost-cutting exercise the governing body has undertaken," according to Gavin Mairs of the London TELEGRAPH. Every department will "potentially be hit in the quest for multi-million-pound savings." Redundancies are "likely to reduce the staff head count from 570 to at least 500," depending on the results of a review, which is being conducted internally and overseen by CEO Steve Brown. It is understood that the budget for England's preparations for the World Cup in Japan next year, thought to be around £30M ($40.1M) per year including players' match fees and bonuses, will be "ring-fenced." Manager Eddie Jones' setup "is also unlikely to be affected." However, the consultation, which is a legal process, "will examine the professional rugby budget and resources as well as the community rugby budget." One source said, "It is going to be a tough process." Spending on professional rugby in England has soared by more than 50% since '15 to a record £63.7M last year, including £30M to the professional clubs. Investment going into the 2015 World Cup was £44.3M (TELEGRAPH, 6/11).

Britain's first national tennis academies will open in Stirling and Loughborough in '19 in a "bid to boost the number of players in the top 100." The Lawn Tennis Association is setting up the centers as the "first major step in its 10-year project to improve British tennis" (BBC, 6/12).

The National Rugby League instructed referees to stop awarding "nitpicking" penalties as its "officiating crackdown finally ends to ensure free-flowing footy returns." NRL CEO Todd Greenberg and Australian Rugby League Commission Chair Peter Beattie announced on Tuesday that players "can be sin-binned for foul play -- regardless of whether the victim is injured or not -- under a change to the game’s laws and interpretations" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/12).

Super Rugby will run uninterrupted for 21 weeks in '19, SANZAAR announced on Tuesday. A New Zealand derby hosted by the Chiefs against the Highlanders, scheduled for Feb. 15, is the competition's first game. The final will take place on July 6. The three-week int'l window that has been disrupting the Super Rugby season in June is not scheduled for '19 because of the World Cup held in Japan later in the year, SANZAAR said (STUFF, 6/12).

The Australian Football League "staged a secret trial of radical rule changes at Etihad Stadium on Saturday." Hawthorn players were reportedly invited onto the "AFL-controlled venue" to complete match simulation and training drills at the league’s request (HERALD SUN, 6/12).