The future of Italian rugby clubs Benetton and Zebre in the Pro14 was "secured for another five years," according to Duncan Smith of the SCOTSMAN. It was announced on Monday that the Italian Rugby Federation "agreed in principle" to become a shareholder of Celtic Rugby, the body which runs the cross-border competition, in the coming year. A statement from the Pro14 said that the deal will "secure Italian representation in the competition" until '23 and provide commitments "around increased funding and upgrading of facilities for the clubs." Italian clubs were introduced to the Celtic competition of Irish, Welsh and Scottish clubs in '10, with Treviso, which is now named Benetton, and Aironi the first representatives. The introduction of two South African sides, Cheetahs and Southern Kings, to the new Pro14 last season and talk of further expansion "had increased doubt about the Italians' future," but the organization has backed the teams, which have shown "notable improvement" this season (SCOTSMAN, 10/9).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
The U.K. government has been urged to "step up" and unify critical concussion protocol across sports after an "alarming parliamentary report" found that schools, colleges, universities and healthcare professionals "lack understanding of sports-related brain injuries." The All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Acquired Brain Injury published a report that outlines a "poor awareness" and "lack of knowledge" in managing sports concussions as well as "insufficient" provision within the National Health Service (London TELEGRAPH, 10/9).
Kazakh Int'l Boxing Association (AIBA) VP Serik Konakbayev filed an "urgent appeal" with the Court of Arbitration for Sport against his exclusion as a presidential candidate. Konakbayev, who also heads the Asian Boxing Confederation, had planned to run against interim President Gafur Rahimov -- currently the only candidate -- at AIBA's elections next month. It is "unclear on what grounds Konakbayev is appealing" (REUTERS, 10/9).
The New Zealand Cricket Players Association revamped its players' handbook to include notes on "how to deal with various risk areas" covered in its personal development program, including affirmative sexual consent. The program has been in action for "about seven years," covering "several risk factors including anti-doping, life after professional cricket and sexual consent" (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 10/10).
British Paralympic weightlifter Ali Jawad proposed "far-reaching reform" of WADA "on behalf of global athletes." Apart from structural changes, Jawad wants future presidents to be selected as "independents." His proposed reorganization includes an overhauled 15-person exec committee, consisting of 12 members "entirely independent from government or sport" and three athlete members (BBC, 10/9).
The Int'l Cricket Council will discuss "ways to tighten up how various Twenty20 and T10 leagues are sanctioned in the future" when it meets next week, a top official said. Since the inception of the Indian Premier League, many ICC member countries have launched their own leagues "in what is seen by some as a threat" to five-day test cricket and int'l cricket fixtures (PTI, 10/10).