IPL to Open in UAE



The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced that the 2014 Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 competition will open in the United Arab Emirates, with the prospect of further games being staged in Bangladesh.

The BCCI today confirmed the 2014 IPL season will run from April 16 to June 1 and outlined its scheduling plans to address the issue of the competition clashing with India’s general election. The announcement came after it was confirmed last month that the first half of the IPL would need to be staged outside India after the country’s government said that it could not provide security for the event amid the election.

At least 16 matches will be held in the UAE between April 16 and April 30. For the period from May 1 to May 12, the governing body has approached India’s Ministry of Home Affairs seeking permission to play IPL matches in Indian cities where polling has concluded in the respective state. If it is not possible to return to India during this period, games will be held in Bangladesh.

The BCCI said in a statement: “BCCI is extremely conscious of the various complexities involved but hopes for a favourable consideration. BCCI will abide by the decision of the authorities in this regard.”

Once polling has concluded in all states, the remaining league matches plus the playoffs will be played in India from May 13. However, the BCCI said no matches will be scheduled on the counting day of May 16.

The BCCI was said to be considering the UAE, Bangladesh and South Africa for staging games outside India. South Africa had experience of hosting the IPL after the 2009 tournament was moved to the country, also because of security concerns arising from a general election that year.

“Sochi 2014 the most successful commercial winter games ever!”

Sochi 2014 has announced that it has raised total revenue of over $95m (€68.8m) from its Paralympic marketing programme, marking a new record for the winter edition of the Paralympic Games.

A total of 28 international and Russian companies have signed up to the partner and supplier roster for the ongoing winter Paralympics. International Paralympic Committee (IPC) TOP Partners that have signed agreements with the 2014 Games in Sochi are Atos, Samsung and Visa.

General partners of the Paralympic winter Games are Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical, General Electric, Aeroflot, Bosco Sport, MegaFon, Russian Railways, Rosneft, Volkswagen Group Rus, Omega, Panasonic, RBC, Rostelecom and Sberbank.

Partners of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee are Ingosstrakh, PricewaterhouseCoopers Russia, McDonald’s, Sportloto, Procter & Gamble and Uralsky Zavod Protivogololodnych Materialov.

In addition, Sochi 2014 said that since its marketing programme began in 2009, the organising committee has secured total financial investment of more than $1.3bn, over three times the obligations set out in its bid book.

An organising committee statement added: “In this regard, the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee has become the most successful winter Games Organising Committee in the history of the Olympic Movement.”

BT Sport helps rise in profits of Company.

BT, the UK telecoms giant, has today posted a 6-per-cent rise in profits for the last three months of 2013 to £617 million ($1 billion), driven by record broadband demand and its new television sports service.

Revenue increased by 2 per cent year on year to £4.6 billion.

Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT, said: “Our direct BT Sport customer base passed 2.5 million in the quarter and helped to support 6% revenue growth in our Consumer business. We achieved some particularly strong audience figures in December and the exclusive rights to the Uefa Champions League and Uefa Europa League that we have won will further strengthen the appeal of our proposition.”

BT Sport has snapped up various rights since officially launching in the UK last August, notably ousting rival British Sky Broadcasting, the pay-television operator, as the main home of the Uefa Champions League, European soccer’s top clubs competition, from 2015 in a three-year deal worth £897 million ($1.4 billion), which also includes the second-tier Europa League.

BT Sport is already showing 38 live games per season from England’s Premier League in a three-year deal worth £738 million that came into effect at the start of the 2013-14 campaign, although BSkyB retains rights to 115 per season in a similar length £2.28-billion agreement. 

BT said in a statement that it had been a record quarter for fibre broadband demand, with 1.9 million customers now taking the faster and more expensive service, out of its 7.1 million broadband customer base.


More Concerns over Preparations for 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Arena da Baixada, Curitiba, 16 Dec 13

Curitiba has been warned that it will be dropped as a host venue for the 2014 Fifa World Cup national team football tournament unless there is significant progress in the Brazilian city’s stadium construction project.

Jérôme Valcke, the secretary general of football’s world governing body Fifa, warned that the situation had reached a “critical point” in Curitiba, which is due to host four group matches during the tournament.

“We cannot organise a match without a stadium,” Valcke said. “What is there to say? It is a delicate question, but let us be frank and direct about it. As you must know the present situation at the stadium is not to our liking. Not only is it very behind in its construction, but it has failed to meet any of the deadlines set by Fifa.”

Fifa dropped an initial deadline of December 31, 2013, for all World Cup stadia to be ready following numerous delays at several venues. In Curitiba, workers walked off site in December due to a dispute over pay, while there have been fatal accidents during the construction projects at stadia in Brasilia, Manaus and São Paulo.

“It is not that we want the stadium to be ready by February 18, but simply that we want to see progress made (by the time of the next Fifa evaluation committee visit),” Valcke added. “A lot of people want to come here, the World Cup holders have to play here. We hope therefore that the conversations we have had with the state government and the Curitiba city council will produce the desired results, which will not see the city excluded from the Cup.”

Earlier in the day it emerged that Brazil’s aviation authority had decided to delay major renovations at the local airport in Fortaleza, which is due to stage four group matches during the competition, and opted instead to put up a tent terminal during the World Cup.

Ecclestone Steps Down from F1 Board

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has stepped down from the F1 board after it was confirmed on Wednesday that he will face trial in Germany for bribery charges later this year.

The 83-year-old, who been in charge of F1 for the last four decades, will continue however to run the sport on a day-to-day basis ‘subject to increased monitoring’.

Ecclestone has been has been indicted by Munich’s state court on charges of bribery and incitement to breach of trust. They are connected to the alleged payment of a $44 million bribe to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky.

Ecclestone has insisted he is innocent of the charges made against him and has vowed to ‘vigorously defend the case’.

Ecclestone has, however, stepped down from the board of the holding company which effectively controls F1 with immediate effect.

In a statement released by holding company Delta Topco Limited, it was confirmed: ‘After discussion with the Board, Mr Ecclestone has proposed and the Board has agreed that until the case has been concluded, he will step down as a director with immediate effect, thereby relinquishing his board duties and responsibilities until the case has been resolved.

‘It is in the best interests of both the F1 business and the sport that Mr Ecclestone should continue to run the business on a day to day basis, but subject to increased monitoring and control by the Board. Mr Ecclestone has agreed to these arrangements.’


Football fixing claims: Police continue to question six people

Sam Sodje

Former Nigerian international Sam Sodje was filmed by an undercover reporter

Police are continuing to question six people arrested after an ex-Portsmouth player told a reporter he was involved in fixing football matches.

Sam Sodje was secretly filmed by the Sun on Sunday describing how he punched an opponent in a League One game to get a red card in exchange for £70,000.

He also said he arranged for another player to be paid £30,000 for getting a yellow card in a Championship match.

Portsmouth Football Club said it was “shocked and saddened” by the claims.

The six people being held have not been named.

In the video, Mr Sodje also claimed he could rig Premier League games and was prepared to fix matches at next year’s World Cup.

Sending off

In a statement from Portsmouth Football Club, spokesman Colin Farmery said: “If these serious allegations are true then we are extremely shocked and saddened by them, as match-fixing of any type goes to the heart of the integrity of the game.

“The player in question no longer plays for the club and we have not been contacted by the authorities, but of course we would co-operate fully with any inquiry.”

Mr Sodje was sent off in the 50th minute of a League One match while playing for Portsmouth against Oldham Athletic on 23 February.

In a game against Oldham last season, Sam Sodje twice lashed out at another player – once in the midriff, and a second time even lower than that. Not surprisingly, he got a red card.

Now Sodje has told the Sun on Sunday he was paid £70,000 to get that red card. Today the Portsmouth manager at the time, Guy Whittingham, told the BBC that nobody could fathom out why he did what he did.

This is the second football-related investigation being carried out by the National Crime Agency. The first involves Conference football – a much lower level of the game.

This is potentially a much more serious investigation involving Championship and League One matches – the second and third tiers of football in England.

The Sun on Sunday also reported that an Oldham player, Cristian Montano, apologised to Mr Sodje after failing to get a yellow card in the first half of a match against Wolves on 22 October.

And it reported that Mr Sodje’s brother Akpo, a striker at Tranmere Rovers, had said he would be prepared to be paid to be booked.

Oldham Athletic said in a statement: “Oldham Athletic Football Club has been made aware of the incident and allegation surrounding one of its players, Cristian Montano. The club will commence an immediate internal investigation to establish all the relevant facts of the case.

“The club is co-operating with other agencies in this matter and cannot comment on specific facts at this stage. The club will not be issuing any further statements at this time.”

Tranmere Rovers FC said: “Tranmere Rovers Football Club are aware of Sunday newspaper allegations regarding Akpo Sodje. As this is an ongoing investigation the club will make no further comment at this time.”

The National Crime Agency, which is investigating the claims, said: “We can confirm that the Sun on Sunday has passed material from its own investigation to the NCA.

“An active NCA investigation is now under way and we are working closely with the Football Association and the Gambling Commission. Six people are in custody and are being questioned by NCA officers. We cannot comment further at this stage.”

The Football League said it took claims of criminal activity “extremely seriously” and would assist police.

Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey encouraged anyone with any evidence to report it to the police.

Mr Harvey added: “We treat any allegations of criminal activity in our competitions with the utmost seriousness. We will be giving our full assistance to the police during their investigation.”

The Gambling Commission and the Football Association both said they were aware of the investigation and were working with the NCA.

The Professional Footballers’ Association said in a statement: “The PFA is aware of the reports in today’s media regarding allegations of ‘match fixing’ and other related activity.

“These allegations, if proven, unfortunately demonstrate the real issue football faces in terms of corruption and highlights the necessity of the work carried out by the PFA and other stakeholders in the game in educating players of these risks.

“We take the issue of integrity very seriously and will continue in our efforts to eradicate this evil from our game.”

In a separate NCA investigation into an alleged international betting syndicate, two non-league footballers were earlier this week charged with conspiracy to defraud.

Michael Boateng and Hakeem Adelakun, both 22, play for Whitehawk FC, based in Brighton, in the Conference South.

Two other men, Singapore national Chann Sankaran, 33, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, 43, who has dual UK and Singapore nationality, were charged with conspiracy to defraud in November.

The pair have been bailed and are due to appear at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on 11 December.

BT Sports new Deal excites Manchester United

Manchester United have announced record quarterly revenues for the first quarter of the financial year with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward admitting his “excitement” for the future due to BT Sport’s new deal for exclusive Champions League football rights.

United saw their revenue rise to £98m – an increase of 29.1 per cent – with new sponsorship deals and the Premier League TV rights to thank for the financial boost.

With news coming last weekend that BT Sport had committed nearly £900m to show three-years’ of European football from 2015 onwards, Woodward feels the deal will only benefit clubs further and admits that it has him and the club excited about the future.

“We are excited by the continuing rise in the value of sports content, evidenced, amongst other things, by the recently-announced BT deal for the UK rights to broadcast the Champions League and Europa League matches for three seasons from 2015-16,” Woodward said.

“This deal represents a meaningful increase over the current arrangement, which should translate into higher broadcasting revenues for the participating clubs.”

BT Sport managed to swoop in for the TV rights after both ITV and Sky Sports thought they had the deal agreed to continue their long-running coverage of Europe’s showpiece club tournament, only to see the recently formed sports broadcaster announce the surprising deal.

This comes after the major increase in the cost of Premier League viewing rights which has significantly boosted clubs in the top flight financially, although even that sum of money can’t compete with United’s commercial income.

A broadcasting income rise 40.9 per cent was dwarfed by the club’s growth in commercial income which stands at 62.6 per cent, thanks to 12 new sponsorship deals which includes a global contract with Russian airline Aeroflot



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