The World Anti-Doping Agency executive committee banned Russia from major international sporting events for four years and blocked it from bidding for the 2032 Olympic Games for anti-doping violations. WADA took action after the Russia’s Anti-Doping Agency was declared non-compliant over manipulated data, said to be linked to positive tests, handed over to global investigators. The ban covers participation at events, including Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.
A federal judge in Brazil ruled to close down the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, citing a lack of safety and security as the main reason for the decision. The park, located in the west of Rio, housed the 2016 Olympic Games’ aquatic complex, as well as the tennis courts, velodrome and three arenas used for sports including fencing, handball and basketball. However, Judge Eugenio Araujo said since then, it has only been used occasionally for entertainment events and the city’s authorities had “abandoned” the park’s safety.
Amazon, the online retail giant, made its first big move in Germany, acquiring live broadcasting rights to the Uefa Champions League. It will show Tuesday matches for three years starting with the 2021-22 season. DAZN, the international OTT streaming platform, picked up Wednesday matches, leaving Sky Deutschland, the country’s leading pay-TV operator, out of the picture.
The ATP, the governing body for men’s professional tennis, appointed Italians Andrea Gaudenzi (pictured) and Massimo Calvelli as its chairman and chief executive, respectively. The two were hired in quick succession following the decision to split the role of executive chairman and president after Chris Kermode left in December 2019.
Lagardere, the French media giant, agreed to sell a 75 per cent stake in its Lagardere Sports division to H.I.G Capital, US-based private equity and alternative assets investment firm. The transaction values Lagardere Sports at around $122 million and the Lagadere Sports and Entertainment division as a whole at around $167 million. The valuation did not include compensation it may gain from its arbitration case against the Confederation of African Football over the cancellation of its commercial rights deal, which included the distribution of media and sponsorship rights to African national teams and club competitions, including the Africa Cup of Nations.
A group of UK betting firms said they were willing to give up exclusive live coverage of English FA Cup soccer matches on their streaming platforms after facing criticism over the fact that some games were only available to viewers who placed a bet or opened an account with the firms. The rights deal was secured with IMG, the international sports agency which holds UK betting rights to the FA Cup, back in 2017.
The Nigerian government banned broadcasters in the country from acquiring exclusive rights to international sports events in a bid to prevent monopolies being formed. The National Broadcasting Commission, Nigeria’s broadcasters regular, was directed to immediately implement a new regulation mandating broadcasters and exclusive licensees to share such rights with other broadcasters.
AIG, the US-based insurance giant, decided against renewing its major sponsorship agreement with New Zealand Rugby when its partnership ends in 2021. AIG has been a sponsor for the All Blacks since 2012 in an initial five-year deal reportedly worth $80 million. NZR’s chief executive Mark Robinson said the early timing of the announcement meant NZR is “very well placed to attract new sponsors.”
The Africa Cup of Nations, the continent’s national team competition, was switched back to the northern hemisphere winter for the 2021 edition in Cameroon. The competition was moved from January and February to June and July for the 2019 competition in Egypt to avoid clashing with the top European leagues. However, Fecafoot, the Cameroon soccer federation, said the competition was moved back at its request because of the “unfavourable” weather in Cameroon at that time of the year.
A number of major sports were moved out of China amid concerns over the deadly coronavirus outbreak. The World Athletics Indoor Championships was the highest profile casualty, and has been delayed to 2021. Olympic qualifiers in soccer, boxing and basketball were all moved out of the country. The International Tennis Federation moved the regional Fed Cup qualifying event to Kazakhstan, while action sport’s X Games and the Formula E ePrix were also postponed.