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Volume 7 No. 149

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Australian sport supporters have the "strongest emotional connection" with their national women’s teams, with new research showing they fill the top four spots in a new survey, "while frustrated cricket fans" voted the men’s test team "all the way down in 62nd and last place," according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The Australian women’s rugby sevens team took the top spot in the 2018 Benchmark Report, for which a total of 4,299 men and women were surveyed as part of the study by True North Research to "gauge the emotional connection fans have with their teams." Based on a number of indices -- including respect, brand, pride, enjoyment and trust -- the Pearls beat the Australian women’s football team, the Matildas, for the "top spot." It "continues the public's love affair with the Pearls" after they claimed the Gold Medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The Australian netball team, the Diamonds, came third ahead of Australia's "consistently successful" female national basketball side, the Opals. The highest-ranked men's national team is the rugby league Kangaroos, ahead of the Boomers and Socceroos. True North Research Dir Georgie Maynard said, "Once you are familiar with a women's team, then you are invested in it and become an advocate for it and strongly emotionally connected." The research "paints a bleak picture" for some of Australia’s national men’s sporting teams and how they are perceived by the public. The Wallabies came in 16th. Perhaps "surprisingly," National Rugby League side Melbourne Storm "came out on top" out of all the football codes in terms of emotional connection, beating even the Australian Football League franchises in Victoria (SMH, 11/27).

The Labour Party will adopt as policy a common standards requirement for concussion protocol.

The U.K. Labour Party is "calling for sports governing bodies to introduce a single unified concussion protocol," including substitutions for head injuries, after its deputy leader, Tom Watson, accused football of "turning a blind eye to the brain injury ­epidemic," according to Jeremy Wilson of the London TELEGRAPH. Watson, who is also the shadow culture secretary, will adopt as Labour policy at the next general election "the requirement that common standards are implemented" across the U.K., including a minimum time frame in which participants can return to play following a concussion. In football, this ranges from 19 days for an amateur player down to just six for a professional in an "enhanced care setting." Other sports also have different guidelines and doctors have "questioned the medical logic behind such divergence." University of East Anglia neurologist Michael Grey said, "Brains aren't different depending on what sports are being played." It all follows "a series of alarming incidents at the World Cup," when FIFA's concussion protocols were "sometimes not followed," and a new report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Injury which revealed that someone in the U.K. is taken to the hospital with an "acquired brain injury" every 90 ­seconds. Watson said, "It's simply pot luck how safe your sport is in the U.K." (TELEGRAPH, 11/26).

The Jockey Club is the first organization in British sport to give disabled people and carers Detailed Accessibility Guides on its facilities via AccessAble, the U.K.'s leading provider of access information. The initiative follows site visits to all 15 of the Jockey Club's racecourses and the Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket. The online guides are available via the Jockey Club and AccessAble's websites (The Jockey Club).

Indian former women's cricketer Mithali Raj's letter to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri and GM, Cricket Operations Saba Karim was "leaked to the media on Tuesday." Mithali in the letter accused BCCI Committee of Administrators member Diana Edulji of using "her position against" the cricketer and went on to say that coach Ramesh Powar "humiliated" her. The entire episode has led to BCCI Secretary Amitabh Choudhary writing to Johri and Karim inquiring "how the leak happened" (HINDUSTAN TIMES, 11/27).

The PGA of America announced a multi-year partnership with China's Mission Hills Group and PacificPine Sports Group to launch three PGA Golf Academies in China. Two academies will be established at the Mission Hills Shenzhen resort in southern China and a third will be at the Mission Hills Haikou resort on Hainan Island (PGA of America).