5-POINT FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6th, 2020
Here is this week's dose of “5-Point Friday”. A weekly round-up of the sports news and stories that I find most interesting and enjoyable.
Rugby league story I'm interested in -
Toronto Wolfpack have failed in their bid to be readmitted to Super League in 2021, after clubs overwhelmingly rejected their proposal to return to the top-flight next season. After withdrawing from their debut season in Super League midway through this year due to financial difficulties, the Wolfpack laid out their case to be reinstated next year.
However, eight of the 13 votes, which consisted of the 11 remaining top-flight clubs, the Rugby Football League and Super League, went against Toronto’s proposal. Leeds Rhinos, Catalans Dragons and St Helens were the clubs who voted in favour of the Wolfpack rejoining Super League, while the RFL also used their vote to lend their support. The remaining votes, including Super League themselves, were against, with the exception of Warrington Wolves, who abstained from voting.
“Every opportunity has been given to Toronto Wolfpack to provide the assurances our clubs need,” Robert Elstone, the Super League chairman, said. “As part of our comprehensive investigation into this whole subject, Super League appointed an independent committee of sports industry experts, with representation from the RFL, to examine commercial opportunities for rugby league in Canada.
“Its findings were unanimous: that operating a team in a fiercely competitive North American sports market was non-strategic and added no material incremental revenue to Super League in the short or medium term.”
Toronto must now consider whether to apply to rejoin the sport in the lower leagues.
Motorsport story I am excited to see -
Formula E has bought a minority stake in the new all-electric off-road series Extreme E.
With Formula E’s investment comes a seat on the Extreme E Board of Directors, which will be held by Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle.
“Formula E and Extreme E stand out as sports founded with purpose,” said Reigle. “As we both race for better futures, a strategic partnership with Extreme E is a natural progression for Formula E. We are joining forces in our fight against climate change, while each continuing on our independent and complementary sporting paths. It’s an honor for me to be invited to join Extreme E’s Board of Directors, and I’m committed to delivering the greatest impact for both businesses as we light up the world with the transformative power of electric racing.”
While Formula E and Extreme E remain independent, the deal will provide for even closer collaboration, as Extreme E CEO and Formula E Founder Alejandro Agag also retains the role of Formula E Chairman.
“It has always been my intention to have Formula E and Extreme E working closely together, spreading the message of electrification, environment and equality,” Agag said.
“The two series are very different but have a shared purpose as they fight alongside one another to counteract climate change. I’d like to welcome Jamie to the Board of Extreme E and look forward to continuing our work together, this time to capture the momentum and maximize the potential of Extreme E.”
New football league I am paying attention to -
SEH Sports & Entertainment Holding has unveiled plans for the European League of Football (ELF) in a bid to capitalise on the growing popularity of the sport in Central Europe.
The company, which was set up by Zeljko Karajica, the former managing director of German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, is looking to launch the new eight-team competition June 2021.
Franchises in the German cities of Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Ingolstadt and Stuttgart have so far been confirmed, as well as Poland’s Wroclaw Panthers. A further team is set to be added.
Following its inaugural 2021 season, SEH plans to expand the ELF by inviting teams from other nations, eventually leading to 20 teams competing from ten countries.
Soccer news I am following -
FIFA is set to diminish the influence of so-called super-agents with regulations that limit the ability of individuals to represent more than one party in a transfer.
According to a first draft of regulations expected to come into effect next year, an agent will only be able to represent a player or a selling or buying club in conducting a transfer.
In a further move to clamp down on the practices that generated an estimated $653m in commissions in 2019 (a 19.3% increase compared to 2018) agents would also have their fees capped by Fifa. Depending on their role in a transfer, an agent would be limited to taking a one-off sum equal to 3% of a player’s annual salary or 10% of the transfer fee to a selling club.
“The easiest thing for us to do would be nothing, but we would like to be a little bit brave in this area,” said Fifa’s chief legal and compliance officer, Emilio García Silvero (@GarciaSilvero). “We are very aware that there are some groups that are not happy with some part of the drafts, but we need to protect football from abuses and speculative practices.
“We have evaluated that by introducing these rules, the minimum standards and ethical standards will rise. The activity of agents might be impacted, due to the cap on commissions, but we don’t see a potential financial impact on the transfer market. Agents add an important value for players and for clubs, I don’t have doubts about this.”
The move comes in the face of concerns over the increasingly complex role of agents in transfers, with the possibility of an individual representing clubs and players and also acting as intermediaries in deals.
The rules will also bar family members from acting for a player in transfer deals unless the family member is a licensed agent.
Cycling news I am learning about -
This week cycling's governing body, UCI, unveiled their new event series. The UCI Track Champions League will feature the world’s best male and female sprint and endurance riders competing in four events: individual sprint, the Keirin, a scratch race and an elimination race. The series is expected to help expand track cycling’s global TV fanbase outside of its traditional following.
“From November to December 2021, the UCI Track Champions League will bring together the world’s best sprinters and endurance specialists over six closely spaced weekends in short formats,” UCI President David Lappartient said in a statement.
“The new track competition promises to bring a breath of fresh air to a historic discipline of our sport and the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Athletes will be kitted out in jerseys inspired by their national flags, while the reigning world champions for the events will wear rainbow jerseys.
“The vision is an exciting one: to create a race that is not only going to be an amazing sporting spectacle, but that will draw track cyclists from across over the world to take on the ultimate high stakes challenge,” two-time Olympic champion Kristina Vogel said.
Have a wonderful weekend, all!