September 14, 2012
In our weird post of the month, it has been released on ESPN that the document signed by Pete Rose and Major League Baseball (MLB) officials 23 years ago to banish Mr. Rose from the game is up for sale.
Pete Rose was banished for baseball in 1989 after it was found that he was betting on baseball games, something that the league was clearly not happy about, as they forced him to sign this document that would effectively remove him from baseball. To this point, it has pretty much served as a life ban, though there has been discussion over whether Pete Rose should be reinstated and allowed to be part of the MLB or at least one of its franchises.
Auction officials believe that this is one of the most important documents in history, and believe that the original will fetch more than the approximate $1 million that was paid in 2005 for the contract that was signed by Babe Ruth to play baseball all the way back in 1919.
And for those interested in history, you can read the PDF version of that document on sale right here.
September 11, 2012
Thursday in a Minneapolis court room, the trial will begin in the case of Reggie White et al., vs NFL which alleges that the NFL owners were colluding to keep salary caps at a certain level, including that the owners had a secret agreement to keep the cap at $123 million a year during 2010 when the league had no salary cap. The lawsuit alleges that such behavior has existed since the early 1990’s, and argues that owners have been working together to keep salaries low in the league. The lawsuit indicates that this collusion has cost the players billions of dollars in potential lost revenue over this frame. People have been discussing that the bounty gate and concussion problems would be the things that really hurt the NFL, but this new lawsuit brings a major issue for the league from a financial standpoint.
MLB owners were found guilty of collusion during parts of the free agency era, and were thus forced to pay back players, so this is not the first time this has potentially happened in North American professional sport.
Sport site Deadspin notes:
The only way to challenge the salary cap punishments now, after they’ve gone through the collectively bargained appeals process, is to “re-interpret” the entire 1993 settlement that allowed for a salary cap in the NFL and punish the owners’ collusion to the tune of $4 billion in damages.
This could mean big problems. NFL owners are probably cringing as the Judge presiding over the trial will be David Doty, a judge who is known for having ruled in favor of the union several times in the past.
You can also read (and download) the lawsuit on another deadspin article here: http://deadspin.com/5912702/
August 3, 2012
Another day, another new controversy. Let’s see, we’ve covered Badminton, Soccer, and Boxing. There was also the fencing semi-final with a clock that was stuck on 1 second left in a match long enough for one fencer to score a point and head to the finals. People ask how an electronic clock can get stuck, well it happens when it is operated by humans, as there will always be an error factor.
The big focus has been on whether it is okay to try to not win during the Olympics. Everyone has their own opinion, but it would seem smarter for events to be organized so that there isn’t the ability for such gamesmanship. The newest issue has now come out with the Great Britain cycling team which won gold. The issue in question came in an early round when one cyclist fell to the ground, which forced the race to an automatic restart. The cyclist in question is Philip Hindes, a German-born rider for the Great Britain team, who has come out and said:
“So I crashed, I did it on purpose just to get the restart, just to have the fastest ride. It was all planned really,” said Hindes.
In track cycling the rules dictate that in the event of an early crash, teams can restart their race and the UCI, when contacted by AFP, said the result would stand.
British Cycling claims that this is not true, and that what Hindes said was as The Guardian put it: “lost in translation”.
What I see is another sport that allows people to fail in order to get a better shot at gold. And really, isn’t that what it is all about for many athletes? Trying to win the competition, no matter what the cost.
August 2, 2012
Seems like it was just yesterday that I was talking about match-fixing in Badminton and Soccer at the Olympics. For Badminton, the World Badminton Federation has cracked down hard on those who lost matches on purpose, and the Chinese coach is taking the majority of the blame for the two athletes from his country which threw a game, saying that they did so under his orders. One of those athletes, went ahead and announced her retirement from Badminton on Weibo (the Chinese version of twitter).
Japan soccer, as noted yesterday, will not face any sanctions for purposely not trying to score.
While I was writing about corruption yesterday, there was some more suspicious action going on in London. This time in Olympic boxing where Japan’s Satoshi Shimizu went into the third and final round of his boxing match against Azerbaijan’s Magomed Abdulhamidov down several points. Shimizu came out like a raging bull and proceeded to knockdown his opponent six times in the round. This is where things became fishy, as the referee Ishanguly Meretnyyazov refused to award an eight-count for any of the knockdowns. The match ended with Shimizu looking happy, thinking he would win on decision, and yet when the winner was announced, Abdulhamidov was named the winner, and the crowd began to boo and jeer.
Japan immediately filed a protest, and after careful consideration it was ruled that Shimizu was indeed the winner of the match, and was given his place back in the Olympics, additionally the referee in charge of the match was sent home. The focus on this fight grew even more as the BBC noted back in 2011 that Azerbaijan had made a payment of $9 million dollars to World Series Boxing (WSB), which some said were to buy two gold medals for the country in the 2012 Olympics. From the BBC:
The insiders said Mr Khodabakhsh told them that a secret deal had been done to secure funding from Azerbaijan in return for manipulation of the Olympic boxing tournament to guarantee gold medals for Azerbaijani fighters.
One insider told Newsnight: “Ivan boasted to a few of us that there was no need to worry about World Series Boxing having the coin to pay its bills. As long as the Azeris got their medals, WSB would have the cash.”
So now boxing may be the next big focus in the match-fixing issues that seem to be growing at the Olympics.
March 15, 2012
It has been noted that the New York Mets are not in the best of financial situations, especially in regards to their cash flow.
Things got even worse when victims of the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme filed a $303 million lawsuit against the owners of the Mets who had taken money from Madoff to help support the team. The Mets lost an important ruling in federal court today, with the judge ruling that the Mets must show that they didn’t know about Madoff’s ponzi scheme.
The above linked story notes that the Mets lost over $70 million last year, were ordered to repay $83.3 million of profit from a fictitious Madoff company, and still face another $303 million if they can’t prove they had “willful blindness” to Madoff’s financial schemes.
I’m sure Bud Selig and the MLB front offices do not like what is going on. After the Dodgers financial debacle, I’m sure the last thing they want is the Mets also having to go into bankruptcy as well.
March 2, 2012
In our newest potential match fixing scandal, the Japanese sports paper “Nikkansports” has an article noting that FIFA has declared this weeks World Cup qualifier between Bahrain and Indonesia as being “unnatural”. Coming into the final day of round 3 qualifying for Asia, Bahrain was in 3rd place, 3 points behind Qatar with a goal differential of 8. With only teams placing 2nd or higher in their group moving on to the final qualification stage, Bahrain had to win by at least 8 goals (and hope for a Qatar loss). What happened was Indonesia sat most of their starting players, and fielded a rather unknown group. What ensued was a 10-0 victory for Bahrain, which was then thwarted by Qatar drawing with Iran to get the point they needed to secure moving on to the next round.
FIFA noted that Bahrain and Indonesia have faced each other 6 times resulting in 2 wins, 2 losses, and 2 draws for both sides, and figured something didn’t add up.
So not only was Bahrain eliminated from the World Cup, but FIFA thinks that something fishy was going on. Did Bahrain payoff/convince Indonesia to take a dive?
December 20, 2011
Police in Italy have made arrests relating to a match-fixing scandal in Serie B, the second division of Italian Football (soccer). Included in the arrests are Cristiano Doni who has played for the Italian National Team and was even on the squad for the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea. While the arrests have targeted mostly Serie B players, the police are said to be investigating at least three Serie A matches. This is not the first time that such issues have surfaced in Italy, but one of the suspects arrested is claimed to have stated that match-fixing has been prevalent in the league for the last ten years. Doni’s arrest was no surprise, as he was banned for three and a half years from professional football by the Italian Federation earlier this year.
In other news, Sevilla (of Spain’s La Liga) President Jose Maria del Nido has received a seven and a half year prison sentence for his role in embezzling money from the Spanish town of Marbella. In a curious set of circumstances, the club’s vice president has said that the sentence is unfair, and that del Nido should be allowed to continue as President of the club. I wonder if anyone has ever run a football club from prison.