Tag Archives: board

Brad Drewett named ATP"s new executive chairman and president

Former Australian pro Drewett named as ATP”s new executive chairman and president

Brad Drewett has been named as the ATP”s new executive chairman and president.

Australian Drewett, a former tour professional, steps up from his role as ATP senior executive after being voted in by the organisation”s board of directors for a three-year term.

New role: Drewett

New role: Drewett

The 53-year-old, who reached 34 in the world and represented his country in Davis Cup, said: “I am honoured to have this opportunity to lead the ATP, an organisation that I am proud to have been a part of since the beginning of my professional playing career.

“The ATP World Tour and men”s tennis are stronger than ever and it is my intention to continue to lead the organisation on this successful path, working hand in hand with our players and tournaments. I am very excited about the opportunities ahead.”

ATP Player Council president and 16-time grand slam winner Roger Federer said:

“Brad is a very experienced executive and has been an effective leader within the ATP for many years.

“He understands the global nature of the business as well as the complexities of dealing with all of the Tour”s stakeholders. I am confident that Brad”s work ethic and leadership will help contribute to the continued success of the ATP World Tour.”

Drewett takes up his post at the start of 2012 and replaces Adam Helfant.

Rugby in the summer just won"t work, warns Fran Cotton

Rugby in the summer just won”t work, warns Cotton

Fran Cotton, whose mud-caked face became one of the defining images of rugby as a winter pursuit, last night kicked plans to convert the game in England into a summer sport into touch.

Cotton, the former England, Coventry and Sale prop who is now a powerful voice within the game, insisted thatinstead of trying to rearrange the global calendar and play English domestic rugby primarily during the summer months, the Aviva Premiershipclubs should instead be focusing on trying to get their own house in order.

Winter sport: Fran Cotton believes he has a solution to keeping the Aviva Premiership on a more sound footing

Winter sport: Fran Cotton believes he has a solution to keeping the Aviva Premiership on a more sound footing

Cotton”s intervention follows the revelation that Bath”s millionaire owner, Bruce Craig, has begun talks with fellow club owners in England and France in an attempt to introduce a more structured, global season and create a new world club championship.

“The issue of a global calendar has been going for as long as I”ve been involved in rugby,” said Cotton, until recently chairman of Club England and a significant member of the RFU”s Management Board.

“Facilities and conditions have improved beyond recognition since that famous photograph of me was taken when I was playing for the Lions in New Zealand on the 1977 tour. It is extremely rare to see rugby played in those conditions any more because the quality of venues is so much better.

“Besides, it would be impossible to rearrange a whole new global calendar with World Cups and Lions tours to accommodate as well, let alone introduce extra rugby into the schedule.

Clear as mud: Fran Cotton

Clear as mud: Fran Cotton

“At a push, I”d have no problem with a one-off world club cup between the winners of the Heineken Cup and the Super 15, possibly at a venue like Hong Kong before the sevens, but to have a full-blown competition in an already over-packed calendar is madness.

“I”d also do away with the LV Cup completely on the basis that players today play too many games and nobody wants to play in the LV at all, or at least until it reaches the semi-final stages.”

Cotton”s argument is geared more towards a radical restructuring of domestic rugby in England, pushing for a franchise system, no relegation and a greater emphasis on play-offs.

“There”s no successful team sport in the world that doesn”t now have a franchise system, and that includes the majority of rugby,” said Cotton.

“Only England and France have a club system and the French can afford to do so. We cannot. What worries me is that there is a great danger, with Sale”s owner trying to sell the club but struggling to find a buyer, Newcastle suffering low gates and Leeds out of the Premiership, that there will not be a significant union force in the north.

“Wasps are in so much trouble that their owner, Steve Hayes, is trying to sell the club for 1 with all the liabilities taken on, and even the more successful clubs recently, such as Saracens, are entirely dependent on a rich benefactor who has lost millions.”

Cotton points to rugby league as a way forward in the business of English club rugby union, even if the game in the north turned to summer rugby.

“In the Super League they have blocked relegation and promotion and allowed the teams to build on their business. This is how it has to be in England.

“If you look at the Championship now, few clubs have the infrastructure to meet the demands of the Premiership in any case. A franchise system would create a new Cornish force, for example, which would placate Pirates fans who are dreaming of promotion to the top flight.

“The franchises would be given a three or five-year safety net without relegation to create a successful business model.

Model: Leicester Tigers are in solid financial shape, but they are one of the few

Model: Leicester Tigers are in solid financial shape, but they are one of the few

“Right now, save for possibly Leicester and Harlequins, the clubs do not have a business model, just a dependence on benefactors.”

A revamp of the play-offs, rugby league style, would maintain interest lost by the lack of relegation and promotion.

“More emphasis should be placed on the play-offs, which should go on for longer and involve more teams,” said Cotton.

“There should be a play-off in the bottom six, for example, with the prize a place in the play-offs for the Premiership title.

“The clubs have got to focus more on turning themselves into solvent businesses because come the day when the owners leave, they could, like Wasps, be facing extinction.”

Summer rugby may well happen in England, however, at least in the summer of 2015 before the World Cup gets under way.

Under IRB rules the host country cannot stage their main domestic leagues during the tournament, so talks are currently ongoing, with the favoured solution starting the Premiership in August and staging four or five games before the World Cup begins.

Johann Cruyff wins court battle to keep Louis Van Gaal out of Ajax

First round, Cruyff! Holland legend wins court battle to keep Van Gaal out of Ajax

Johann Cruyff’s bid to block Louis van Gaal”s move to become director at Ajax has received a boost after a Dutch judge temporarily suspended the appointment.

The ruling to block Van Gaal”s appointment was given in order to allow shareholders at the four-time European champion a chance to vote on the move.

Four members of Ajax”s five-strong supervisory board appointed Van Gaal and other directors in November without consulting the fifth board member, Ajax legend Johan Cruyff.

Media scrum: Cruyff

Media scrum: Cruyff”s battle to block Van Gaal”s appointment has been boosted

Cruyff sought an injunction, arguing that the appointments clashed with his plan to rejuvenate Ajax”s storied youth academy, known as The Future, by installing former star players like Dennis Bergkamp and Wim Jonk as trainers.

Cruyff is an integral member on the board that controls the day-to-day running of the club. He drew up a plan this year to revitalize the famous Ajax youth training program by staffing it with respected former players.

The injunction hearing at a court in the city of Haarlem was also attended by former players including Wim Jonk, Marc Overmars and Jaap Stam, who support Cruyff and work as youth trainers at Ajax.

“The plan we have drawn up can be implemented, so it”s ideal for everybody that supports football and Ajax,” Cruyff said after the ruling.

The court in Haarlem ruled that Van Gaal”s appointment was legal, but suspended it until shareholders can vote on whether to back Cruyff or the remaining four board members.

Fans united: Ajax supporters air their views in demonstrations at the ground

Fans united: Ajax supporters air their views in demonstrations at the ground

Fans united: Ajax supporters air their views in demonstrations at the ground

“The judge believes these steps are necessary to allow shareholders to decide on the Cruyff line or the Van Gaal line, the court said in a summary of the ruling.

Shareholders were meeting Monday afternoon, but were not scheduled to vote on whether to support Cruyff or the remaining boardmembers.

A council made up of members of the club has called on all five to step down, but so far none has done so.

All key decisions about the running of the club must be ratified at a shareholders” meeting.

Ajax last won the Champions League in 1995 with a Van Gaal-coached team of young players, many of whom were trained at the Ajax academy, including Patrick Kluivert, Edgar Davids and Clarence Seedorf.

The team reached the Champions League final the following season, losing to Juventus on penalties, but since then has lost touch with big-spending European superpowers.

Last week Ajax crashed out of the Champions League after a 3-0 defeat by Real Madrid.

FAW to hold meeting on future following Gary Speed death

FAW hold meeting to discuss future of Wales following tragic loss of Speed

The FA of Wales are holding a board meeting on Monday to discuss the future of the national team following the death of Gary Speed.

The football world was stunned two weeks ago when Speed apparently committed suicide.

Wales don”t play a competitive match until next autumn, and the start of their 2014 World Cup qualification campaign.

Tragedy: Speed died two weeks ago

Tragedy: Speed died two weeks ago

Bill Beaumont hopes to win IRB chairman vote on Monday

Beaumont”s bid to be IRB chairman will go to the vote in LA

Bill Beaumont”s bid to replace Bernard Lapasset as chairman of the International Rugby Board will finally go to the vote in Los Angeles on Monday.

The election for rugby”s top administrator was due to have taken place in Auckland ahead of the World Cup final in October, but the meeting broke up in acrimony. A vote was taken to delay the election until Monday.

After some sustained lobbying in recent days the early indications are that Lapasset may just have the edge over Beaumont, the current vice-chairman, but the vote is expected to be tight.

Top job: Bill Beaumont wants to be IRB chairman

Top job: Bill Beaumont wants to be IRB chairman

Both men have a great deal on the line.

Lapasset has ambitions of becoming a member of the International Olympic Committee, having been instrumental in rugby”s successful bid for a place in the 2016 Rio Games, which has led to increased funding for smaller nations.

Lapasset, who speaks three languages, has focused his policies on building upon that Olympic effect, by expanding rugby”s reach and growing the game in new areas.

The man in charge: Bernard Lapasset is in the hot seat at the moment

The man in charge: Bernard Lapasset is in the hot seat at the moment

Beaumont”s focus is top down, strengthening the core Tier One unions who generate the majority of the money. He is the quintessential rugby man against the rugby politician.

If Beaumont loses, he faces being voted off the IRB executive.

Beaumont could stand again as vice-chairman but there are already two candidates for that role, in Graham Mourie from New Zealand and Oregon Hoskins from South Africa.

With both candidates for the chairmanship coming from Europe, the vote is not expected to be split along the north-south divide but on policy and which man delivers the best leadership for the IRB.

Beaumont is thought to have strong backing from the home unions and he could also be supported by New Zealand and Australia.

Lapasset”s power base is expected to come from France and Italy, but mainly the unions who would benefit more from global expansion.

Much of the IRB”s policies for the next decade are already mapped out.

The IRB is already committed to a review of World Cup finances, as called for by New Zealand and Australia during the last tournament, and there is a 10-year tours agreement in place.

The venues for the 2015 and 2019 World Cups have already been decided.

Royal Portrush and Royal County Down review

County Down and Portrush are back on the golfing map (just ask Rory and Darren)

At the recent Grand Slam of Golf held on the paradise island of Bermuda, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke were asked to name their favourite course in the world.

They could have gone for the joys of Augusta or the resplendent beauty of Pebble Beach. They could have plumed for an idyllic hideaway or a hidden gem.

Instead, for all the courses they have seen on their considerable travels, they stayed very close to home. Both, in fact, almost literally chose courses on their doorstep.

Home sweet home: Darren Clarke relaxes in Portrush

Home sweet home: Darren Clarke relaxes in Portrush”s locker room

Major success: Rory McIlroy

Major success: Rory McIlroy”s win at the US Open has brought new attention to golf in Northern Ireland

When it comes to recognition among an American audience or indeed much of the wider golfing world, Royal County Down near Belfast (Rory”s choice) and Royal Portrush (Darren”s selection) on the gorgeous Antrim coast lag behind the great Scottish and Irish links courses like St Andrews, Muirfield and Ballybunion.

But that might all change now that the Northern Irish pair have followed in the footsteps of Portrush native Graeme McDowell and won majors to put the province firmly on the golfing map. A development that ought to be greeted by the rest of us with the thought: thank the Lord for that.

It had been a decade since I”d been to County Down and even longer since I”d played Portrush. So an invitation from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to play both on consecutive days There”s no turning down an invitation like that, is there

Both have reported a large increase in interest among visitors since Rory”s win at the U.S Open and Darren”s triumph at The Open this summer. Clarke believes it is time the Claret Jug returned to Portrush for the first time since 1951 and there”s no question the golf course is good enough.

Every cloud has a silver lining: The spectacular links at Royal County Down

Every cloud has a silver lining: The spectacular links at Royal County Down

Good luck: The

Good luck: The “Big Nellie” bunker awaits on the 17th hole at Royal Portrush

Thanks to support from the Northern Irish parliament, there will be a European Tour event there next year and no doubt officials from the Royal and Ancient Golf Club will be watching very carefully to see how it copes in logistical terms.

Clarke, for one, can hardly wait. “I just hope we get a good date so all the top guys on tour can come here and see why myself, Rory, G-Mac, Padraig (Harrington) and the rest of the Irish guys rave about the place,” he said.

Clarke loves the place so much he had a home built overlooking the best bits, laid out in sight of the shoreline. If you”re lucky enough to play there on a day like the one I had, with the sun shining and the links protected by a decent breeze, the overwhelming emotion is one of gratitude.

Fantastic Max: Faulkner won The Open on its only visit to Portrush in 1951

Fantastic Max: Faulkner won The Open on its only visit to Portrush in 1951

I even hit the green in one at Calamity Corner, the treacherous and very aptly named long par three 14th, and the course”s signature hole.

My only criticism would be the final two holes, which are plain in comparison to the bountiful riches to be found to that point. But it”s a small quibble.

County Down might even edge Portrush in terms of natural beauty. Stand on the 9th tee and, as the poem says, the Mountains of Mourne really do sweep down to the sea.

Clarke”s one criticism in comparison to his beloved Portrush is the amount of “blind” shots that are required.

“There must be six or seven holes where you have to hit the ball in the air and that”s not really what you”re supposed to do on links courses,” he said. It is a very fair point when you”re such a brilliant exponent of this form of the game.

For the rest of us, it seems just about perfect to me. Asked to choose between the pair, I”m going to sit on the fence and settle for an honourable half. They”re both so exquisite it is like being asked who is your favourite child.

*Challenge yourself on Ireland”s world class golf courses and experience great value green fees. To explore everything Ireland has to offer on and off the course, visit: www.discoverireland.com/golf