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Volume 7 No. 149

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Australian Football League Women's players will receive a share of A$127,500 ($92,810) in additional prize money if their team finishes in the top four in '19 under a new collective bargaining agreement that "caps player payments across the 10 clubs" at A$4.74M ($3.45M) next year, according to Peter Ryan of THE AGE. The player payments "will be structured across four tiers," with the highest-paid players receiving A$24,600 ($17,900) and the minimum wage being set at A$13,400 ($9,750). With Geelong and North Melbourne entering the 10-team competition, the deal increases the average payment per player by 38%, with the new agreement recognizing the players' commitment as 13 hours of training per week during the preseason and 10 hours per week in the season (THE AGE, 11/15). FOX SPORTS' Sarah Olle reported players "will have the opportunity to take up ambassadorial roles," with A$100,000 ($72,800) allocated to such off-field responsibilities. An additional A$335,000 ($243,855) has been committed to education, well-being and support, as well as research to "help shape the future of the AFLW" (FOX SPORTS, 11/15).

Cricket Australia's limited-overs players "will be sacrificing millions in potential earnings after the governing body flexed its muscle over player availability" for the lucrative Indian Premier League in the lead up to next year's World Cup defense, according to Andrew Wu of THE AGE. Players like Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins and Aaron Finch could miss over a third of the Twenty20 tournament, including the finals, if picked in Australia's World Cup squad "to comply with CA's conditions released Thursday." The timing of the announcement has "caused consternation among playing quarters with some unhappy it was made on deadline day for IPL franchises to retain players." They feel it was "designed to make it more difficult for Australians to stay on a list or to be picked up," thereby minimizing disruption to CA’s World Cup plans. The governing body will not stand in the way of players participating, even if it prevents them from resting during a busy '19 int'l schedule, but CA "made it clear to them they are expected to put country before franchise when commitments clash." The players' union, which is working with CA to foster an improved relationship, has given its "qualified support" but said that it "did not want restrictions in future years." There are concerns players' "pick-ability" will be adversely affected by their absence at the start and finish of the competition. Players are paid pro rata on matches played, so players like Chris Lynn and Glenn Maxwell, with IPL contracts worth in excess of A$1.75M ($1.3M), will be "sacrificing as much as" A$500,000 ($364,120) each if picked (THE AGE, 11/15).

Pacific Island nations Fiji and Samoa were "granted seats on World Rugby's governing council" after meeting governance criteria, with the move "potentially giving them more of a say in the way the game is run," according to Greg Stutchbury of REUTERS. The two nations, whose teams have both reached the last eight at a World Cup, will join an expanded council in May, along with representatives from Georgia, Russia and the U.S. World Rugby Chair Bill Beaumont said, "The Pacific Islands are unique, immersed in rugby heritage, and I know that the unions will bring excellent insights and make strong contributions on council" (REUTERS, 11/14).

'FOREIGNERS WILL BE SHOCKED': REUTERS' Jack Tarrant reported World Rugby advised players to cover up tattoos during next year's World Cup in Japan, but "many advocates for the body art hope the arrival of the inked athletes sparks a debate in a country with a complicated relationship with tattoos." Tattoos "form a traditional part of Polynesian culture." Tattoos in Japan, however, have been "linked with criminality since the Edo Period and are now associated with members of yakuza crime syndicates." Tokyo-based artist Yugo "wanted to speak out as that was the only way it was going to bring about change and he hoped the Rugby World Cup can help further the debate in Japan." He said, "It will be a good opportunity for the foreigners to know how strict Japan is when it comes to tattoos. I think foreigners will be shocked (REUTERS, 11/15).

Formula 1 execs have admitted for the first time that they are "concerned" that an activist who protested against the Bahrain Grand Prix on Facebook was jailed for three years by the country's authorities. F1 has "traditionally been reluctant to intervene on politics and human rights cases but has made a rare exception" in the case of Najah Ahmed Yusuf, who claims she was beaten, sexually abused and imprisoned following a series of posts in April '17 that were critical of the race and the regime (London GUARDIAN, 11/14).

The Rugby League Players Association "welcomed the possibility" of a National Rugby League transfer window but "wants proof of its viability before giving it the tick of approval." The NRL on Wednesday revealed it was "looking into shaking up its player market system" with the introduction of up to two transfer periods by as early as the '20 season. A working group will be set up to sort out the details of the concept, which "could lead to NRL clubs confirming player signings only during allocated windows" (AAP, 11/16).

WADA President Craig Reedie said that he was "confident" Russia will not miss a year-end deadline to hand over data from its suspended laboratory, a condition for the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) to stay accredited. RUSADA was conditionally reinstated in September, but WADA said that "failures to release full data from the Moscow lab by Dec. 31 could result in another suspension." RUSADA Dir Yuri Ganus said last week that he was worried that Russian judicial authorities "could hinder the release" of the data (REUTERS, 11/15).

WADA said on Thursday that Nigeria's national anti-doping agency was "declared non-compliant." WADA Independent Compliance Review Committee Chair Jonathan Taylor informed the board at a meeting in Baku that the Nigerian agency did not meet int'l anti-doping standards (REUTERS, 11/15).