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Volume 7 No. 149

Events and Attractions

Lewis Hamilton won this year's Brazilian GP.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The long-term future of the Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix "remains uncertain," according to Marcelo Teixeira of REUTERS. The existing contract expires in '20 and negotiations, which were "difficult in the past due to demands for costly improvements" of the São Paulo circuit, "may not prove to be straightforward." The local government said that it intends to privatize the facility "as part of plans to reduce public expenditures for the city." São Paulo Mayor Bruno Covas attended Sunday's race and said that the city plans to "push ahead" with privatization and "secure the race's future." Covas said, "The race is important for the city, we have all the interest to keep it." The final privatization model, which has "concerned some in Brazilian motor racing" with a proposal for residential buildings on part of the site, is "considered a key to the extension talks." Interlagos is the only South American race on the calendar but Brazil no longer has any drivers competing in F1. An F1 spokesperson said that there is "no rush to secure a contract extension for Brazil" and there is "still plenty of time." He added, "Brazil is an important country for F1" (REUTERS, 11/12).

A Great Britain tour to the southern hemisphere in '19 was "given the go-ahead" by the Rugby League Int'l Federation, according to the AAP. The tour, which the RLIF board says is "subject to consultation with the major playing leagues and the players’ representatives," is part of an eight-year rolling contract approved in principle at the end of a four-day summit in York. The Lions will not meet Australia, which will tour England in '20, but will play matches against New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Rugby Football League CEO Ralph Rimmer said, "There is still some discussion to complete on 2019 but everything looks to be moving in a positive direction" (AAP, 11/11). STUFF reported int'l rugby league will have "quite the shake-up" in '19, with New Zealand taking part in an Oceania Cup competition and a proposed Lions tour of the southern hemisphere. The RLIF board said that it approved "major changes" to the int'l calendar, rolling out matches for the next eight years following a meeting of the governing body's congress, with the Kiwis confirmed to play Australia and Tonga next year. The new int'l schedule is slated to start in '19, featuring World Cups in '21 (England) and '25 (U.S. and Canada) as well as Oceania Cups in '20 and '22, while "there is scope for games and tours between rival nations in other years." The inaugural Oceania Cup will be held next year with plans for two groups -- one featuring Australia, New Zealand and Tonga; the other Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea -- and New Zealand Rugby League CEO Greg Peters confirmed that "a number of games" will be hosted in New Zealand, although he did not specify how many (STUFF, 11/11).

Robert Kraft and Chelsea's Abramovich would both donate $1M to the fight against antisemitism.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Chelsea is "in discussions about playing a friendly match" against Major League Soccer side New England Revolution next summer as part of the EPL club's "antisemitism initiative," according to Liam Twomey of ESPN.com. Revolution Owner Robert Kraft last week at a World Jewish Congress event in N.Y. said that he had spoken to Chelsea Owner Roman Abramovich about a game that would see both men donate $1M to the "fight against antisemitism, with all money from ticket sales going to the cause." Sources said that the match is "set to take place in New England." Kraft indicated that the game "could be played in the spring, but Chelsea's packed schedule means the only available date at that time would be the March international break." The fight against antisemitism has been "championed by Abramovich," and in January, he announced the launch of the "Say No To Antisemitism campaign in the matchday program (ESPN.com, 11/12).

Despite the challenges that the Tour de France faced in '18, there are "signs that the race is stronger than at any point in its history," according to Andrew Hood of VELO NEWS. Journalist Francois Thomazeau, who has covered nearly 30 Tours, said, "Thirty years ago, the Tour was a very big French race in France. Since then, it has truly become a global event that draws in millions of people every day." The 2018 Tour de France "may be remembered for the controversy which swirled around Team Sky," and for the smaller crowds and "dip in TV ratings." But by nearly ever metric -- fom those same TV ratings and crowds, to sponsor engagement and the quality of the field -- the Tour "still towers above every other cycling race on the calendar." Cyclist Jonathan Vaughters, who has "long fought to change cycling’s business model," said that when he pitches potential sponsors, he "promotes his team’s media metrics from the Tour de France." He said, "From a media impressions standpoint, the Tour dwarfs everything by a huge order of magnitude. [Other races] are not even close." Teams "still grumble" about the Tour’s dominion over the sport and "unwillingness to share in the riches it generates" from TV revenue. Critics say that "as popular and profitable as the Tour is now," it could be "even more so" if race organizer Amaury Sport Organisation "embraced a more integrated business arrangement with the larger cycling community." Until Madame Marie-Odile, widow of ASO Founder Émilien Amaury, decides to sell the privately-held media company, that likely will not change (VELO NEWS, 11/12).

Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa, was announced as the host of the Nelson Mandela Challenge. A source close to the South African FA said that Mabhida will host the spectacle next week. Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth was identified as the "suitable venue" to host the match but failed to agree to terms with the SAFA (IOL, 11/12).

The Int'l Cricket Council decided against relocating the remaining matches in Group A of the Women's World T20 from St. Lucia to Antigua "because of poor weather." England's first match of the tournament against Sri Lanka on Saturday in St. Lucia was abandoned "without a ball bowled." Further storms and torrential rain are forecast until Thursday (BBC, 11/11).