Squash Showcases Change
CEO Andrew Shelley tells Around the Rings
the World Squash Federation will show IOC inspectors several recent innovations to the sport at this week’s Hong Kong Open.
Hong Kong's show court. (WSF)
Program Commission member Walter Sieber and Hannah Burns of the IOC Sports Department are visiting the event to evaluate WSF’s bid for the 2020 Olympics. Squash is the last of the seven shortlisted sports to welcome the IOC ahead of presentations to the Program Commission scheduled for Dec. 19 in Lausanne.
Shelley says both broadcast and staging innovations will be on display, including semi-finals and finals to be played on all-glass show court erected on the waterfront at Tsim Sha Tsui.
"The Hong Kong Open is an event that squash cherishes and we are delighted that the IOC have chosen to come to it to evaluate our sport," WSF President N Ramachandran said in a statement. "It shows off so much of the essence of professional squash and what we mean by the ability to showcase host cities.
Glass floors with LED underlighting, which debuted in February and can display game statistics as well as sponsor banners, will not be used this week.
“The next viewing possibility for the IOC for that feature will be next year,” Shelley tells ATR.
After the December presentations and a subsequent report to the IOC Executive Board, a decision on the seven sports is scheduled for May 2013 on the sidelines of SportAccord in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Rugby Stresses Women’s Growth
The International Rugby Union is underlining its commitment to the women’s game ahead of this weekend’s launch of the IRB’s inaugural Women's Sevens World Series.
New Zealand's women perform the haka prior to a Nov. 23 test match against England. (Getty Images)
Brazil, China, France, Russia, Spain and South Africa will join core teams Australia, Canada, England, the Netherlands, New Zealand and USA in Dubai for the first of four stops spanning the next six months.
“We'd like to go to six or eight tournaments over time,” IRB head of development and performance Mark Egan said Tuesday.
“We think four is a sensible number to start with, but there's no question: this is going to grow, and I think it's probably the most exciting thing that's happening in the world game at the moment.”
Women's rugby sevens will make its Olympics debut at Rio 2016.
Also this week, the IRB convened a three-day workshop in London dedicated to the growth of 15-a-side women’s rugby.
"This workshop provided the opportunity to take a temperature test and discuss with Unions their aims and needs regarding the international Fifteens schedule,” said IRB women’s development manager Susan Carty.
“It was great to hear their commitment to the ongoing success of Women's Rugby World Cup and the Women's Fifteens calendar and the next step is for the IRB to consider a blueprint to enhance the competition schedule and attract more women and girls to the Game."
In other rugby news, United Arab Emirates became a full member of the IRB this week.
Platini’s Euro 2020 Plan Boasts Strong Support, Says DFB No. 2
The general secretary of the German Football Association says Michel Platini’s proposal to stage an expanded Euro 2020 across a dozen countries boasts strong support among UEFA’s membership.
UEFA president Michel Platini at the Euro 2012 trophy presentation in July. (Getty Images)
"We were surprised when we first heard the idea," Helmut Sandrock told ZDF public television on Tuesday, according to a Reuters report.
"But I myself had discussions to learn more about this idea and we know that there have been two strategy discussions with national federations already and there is a lot of support for such a Euro tournament," he added.
Sandrock was speaking ahead of two days of UEFA meetings in Brussels, where Platini’s idea is expected to be a hot topic among delegates.
When Turkey turned out to be the only traditional 2020 bidder earlier this year, the UEFA president reopened the process to member FAs and has since floated his plan to stage a 24-team tournament across 12 separate European cities to mark the 60th anniversary of the first European finals.
The Football Association has already told UEFA it’s keen to stage the Euro 2020 final at Wembley, while Scotland, Wales and Ireland are also expressing interest.
The 12 qualified teams with the highest UEFA rankings would do the hosting.
Platini has said his idea is a one-off for 2020 and would only be considered if UEFA’s 53 member associations are in favor.
The UEFA Ex-Co will publish its detailed bid regulations next month and is expected to make a decision early next year.
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Written by Matthew Grayson.
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