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Volume 7 No. 149

Events and Attractions

The "sensitive issue of America's Cup spying has reared its head in Environment Court hearings into the planned bases at Wynyard Point," according to the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. The court is hearing a resource consent application from Auckland Council's development arm, Panuku Developments, for the NZ$200M ($131M) bases project for the '21 event. While the majority of issues have reportedly been agreed, "two remain in dispute -- building design and minimum requirements for clear glazing." In previous America's Cups, "secrecy has been paramount in teams getting an edge over opponents, so syndicates are uneasy" if the public, and "potentially spies from other teams," will be able to see what is going on inside. The original requirement was for glazing of 60% of one of the sides of Luna Rossa's Hobson Wharf and 100% of the western side of the other bases. The size of the glazing has been reduced to 30% for Luna Rossa and 33% for the other bases, "but the public and opponents will be able to watch and photograph what is going on behind the glass" (NZ HERALD, 9/12).

Todd Greenberg
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

National Rugby League CEO Todd Greenberg "defended the game's decision to hold next week's preliminary final at Allianz Stadium, predicting the game would only draw a crowd of up to 50,000," according to Matt Encarnacion of the AAP. Greenberg confirmed that, under the NRL finals policy, the location of the grand final qualifier "is at the behest of the governing body" and that the league "wanted to reward the minor premiers." He said, "The discretion is for us to play it at the right stadium. We think we're playing in the right stadium. If we put a house-full sign up, that's a good thing for the game. We think, in a forecast number, that looks maybe somewhere between 40,000-50,000 crowd. And that's why we're playing at Allianz." The capacity at Allianz Stadium is 45,500 and Greenberg believes the NRL would be criticized "no matter which way" it went. He said, "If we get 45,000 and we play it at ANZ, I know there'll be criticism: 'Why aren't we playing it at Allianz?' If there's 55,000, there'll be criticism saying, 'You could've got more'" (AAP, 9/12).

Carlos Ramos said that he was content with his performance despite criticism.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The umpire accused of "sexism" by Serena Williams in the US Open final revealed that he "stayed inside his hotel the following day to avoid any potential confrontations on the streets" of N.Y., according to Stuart Fraser of the LONDON TIMES. Speaking for the first time since Saturday's match, Carlos Ramos said that he was "content with his performance despite criticism from high-profile figures such as Billie Jean King." The rulebook "clearly shows that all three code violations issued to Williams were correct" and the Portuguese official pointed out that umpiring is "not a case of pick and choose." According to Portuguese outlet Tribuna Expresso, Ramos "received hundreds of supportive messages" from his family, colleagues and players, both active and retired. Ramos said, "I'm fine, given the circumstances. It's a delicate situation. But umpiring à la carte is something that does not exist" (LONDON TIMES, 9/12). NEWS.com.au reported the ITF has shown its "support" of Ramos by putting him in charge of the Davis Cup semifinal between the U.S. and Croatia, which will be played this weekend in Zadar. It comes after a source said that "some umpires are considering refusing to officiate matches involving Williams." Australian former umpire Richard Ings also reported "feelings of unrest." He said, "The umpiring fraternity is thoroughly disturbed at being abandoned by the WTA" (NEWS.com.au, 9/12). In Sydney, Matt Bungard reported while USTA President Katrina Adams said that both Williams and Ramos "bore some responsibility" for a situation that spiraled "out of control," she believes "there is a double standard at play when it comes to how male and female tennis players are treated." Adams said, "There is no equality when it comes to what the men are doing to the chair umpires and what the women are doing, and there has to be some consistency across the board at every level of officiating" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 9/12).

'OUT OF LINE': In Melbourne, Leo Schlink reported King "renewed her attack on Ramos -- while belatedly acknowledging sulking Williams was at fault." King said, "Serena was out of line, there's no question. No one was saying she was a good sport. If they are, they're crazy. She was totally out of line, she knows it." King's assessment of Ramos and claims of sexism were "blasted" by Croatian tennis player Ivo Karlovic. He tweeted, "How about [Fabio] Fognini (a male) was disqualified from US open just last year. That's a repercussion. Bad behavior is bad behavior. No matter who it is." Williams claimed male players "get away with more on court in the way they speak to officials." But men received "almost" twice as many fines as women -- 85-43 -- at the four grand slam tournaments in '18 (HERALD SUN, 9/12).

NOT BACKING DOWN: REUTERS' Colin Packham reported the Herald Sun "defied international criticism and allegations of racism" on Wednesday when it reprinted a "controversial" cartoon on its front page depicting Williams having a "temper tantrum" at the US Open. The image "triggered widespread allegations of racism" against illustrator Mark Knight. The Herald Sun and Knight deny the cartoon is racist. Despite the "outrage," the paper reprinted the cartoon alongside "unflattering caricatures" of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, "attempting to portray the controversy as an effort to curtail free speech." The paper wrote in an editorial, "If the self-appointed censors of Mark Knight get their way on his Serena Williams cartoon, our new politically correct life will be very dull indeed" (REUTERS, 9/11).