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≡ THE 5-RING CIRCUS ≡
1. U.S. Soccer, NWSL failed to curb abuse in women’s pro soccer
2. Irish Athletic Boxing Association calls out IBA suspension of Ukraine
3. Ukraine to join 2030 FIFA World Cup bid by Spain and Portugal
4. Jackson led all Diamond League prize earners at $99,500
5. African sport slowed again, as Guinea loses 2025 Africa Cup of Nations
A massive report delivered Monday detailed abuse on multiple levels within the National Women’s Soccer League and ineffectively dealt with by the league and the U.S. Soccer Federation, which was – at the time – deeply involved in the league’s operations. The national boxing federation in Ireland spoke out about the International Boxing Association’s suspension of Ukraine and said the IBA “appears to be choosing a path away from Olympic boxing.” The IBA, in the meantime, is allowing Ukrainian junior boxers to compete while their federation is suspended, with flags and anthems, and is calling for the same situation for currently-banned Russian and Belarusian boxers. It was reported that Ukraine will join with the already-potent Spain-Portugal bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup, contending against two other multi-country host projects. A new study shows that Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson won the most money in the Wanda Diamond League in 2022, but that 71% of the 669 athletes who won prize money received less than $10,000 for the season. The push for an Olympic Games or World Athletics Championship in Africa is a challenge, as shown by the removal of the important 2025 Africa Cup of Nations in football from Guinea for lack of progress on infrastructure, the seventh straight time that a new host had to be found.
U.S. Soccer, NWSL failed to curb abuse in women’s pro soccer
A 172-page report commissioned by the U.S. Soccer Federation on “Allegations of Abusive Behavior and Sexual Misconduct in Women’s Professional Soccer” detailed abusive behavior by multiple male coaches against female players in the National Women’s Soccer League, with insufficient responses from both the league and the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Reports of abuse caused the USSF to hire former Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates of the King & Spalding law firm in October 2021 and more than 200 interviews were conducted, significantly concerning three coaching situations:
● Christy Holly (NIR) of Racing Louisville
● Paul Riley (ENG) of the Portland Thorns and North Carolina Courage
● Rory Dames (USA) of the Chicago Red Stars
The inquiry led to clear conclusions:
“Our investigation has revealed a league in which abuse and misconduct – verbal and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct – had become systemic, spanning multiple teams, coaches, and victims. Abuse in the NWSL is rooted in a deeper culture in women’s soccer, beginning in youth leagues, that normalizes verbally abusive coaching and blurs boundaries between coaches and players. The verbal and emotional abuse players describe in the NWSL is not merely “tough” coaching. And the players affected are not shrinking violets. They are among the best athletes in the world. …
“In well over 200 interviews, we heard report after report of relentless, degrading tirades; manipulation that was about power, not improving performance; and retaliation against those who attempted to come forward. Even more disturbing were the stories of sexual misconduct. Players described a pattern of sexually charged comments, unwanted sexual advances and sexual touching, and coercive sexual intercourse.
“Teams, the League, and the Federation not only repeatedly failed to respond appropriately when confronted with player reports and evidence of abuse, they also failed to institute basic measures to prevent and address it, even as some leaders privately acknowledged the need for workplace protections. As a result, abusive coaches moved from team to team, laundered by press releases thanking them for their service, and positive references from teams that minimized or even concealed misconduct. Those at the NWSL and USSF in a position to correct the record stayed silent. And no one at the teams, the League, or the Federation demanded better of coaches.”
Multiple recommendations were made, but the culture of abuse was called out for special consideration:
“The culture of tolerating verbal abuse of players goes beyond the NWSL. While the scope of our investigation was limited to allegations of misconduct in the League, some of the coaches whose conduct we examined had significant connections to youth soccer, and, in Dames’s case, were also reported to have been abusive as youth coaches. During the course of our investigation, we confronted multiple historical reports of verbal and sexual abuse of youth soccer players. Players also told us that their experiences of verbal abuse and blurred relationships with coaches in youth soccer impacted their ability to discern what was out of bounds in the NWSL.”
The leadership of the NWSL has turned over since the abuse stories broke, and there is speculation that the team ownership, especially of the franchises which hired these coaches, could change. The USSF committed to immediate changes:
● “Establish a new Office of Participant Safety to oversee U.S. Soccer’s conduct policies and reporting mechanisms;
● “Publish soccer records from SafeSport’s Centralized Disciplinary Database to publicly identify individuals in our sport who have been disciplined, suspended or banned; and
● “Mandate a uniform minimum standard for background checks for all U.S. Soccer members at every level of the game, including youth soccer, to comport with the USOPC standards.”
A further plan of action is due before 31 January 2023 to install further changes, based on the report’s recommendations.
Irish Athletic Boxing Association calls out IBA suspension of Ukraine
“The IBA appears to be choosing a path away from Olympic boxing. As a result, the IABA calls for fresh IBA presidential elections at the earliest opportunity.”
That’s from a two-screen screed on Twitter posted by the Irish Athletic Boxing Association on Saturday (1st), criticizing the leadership of the International Boxing Association (IBA) for its suspension of the Ukrainian Boxing Federation.
“The Irish Athletic Boxing Association condemns, utterly and without reservation, the illegal suspension of the Ukrainian Boxing Federation from the world governing body, the IBA.
“The fact that the IBA has suspended the Ukrainian Boxing Federation for alleged government interference shows the continued vulnerability of boxing’s world governing body to external forces and influence. It is the latest in a series of acts and decisions by the IBA which do not align with boxing’s core values and which show that the legacy of its predecessor, AIBA, lingers.”
The IABA called for the immediate restoration of the Ukrainian federation, and lays the Olympic jeopardy boxing faces for the Los Angeles 2028 Games at the feet of the IBA itself:
“The unethical imposition of this illegal suspension by the IBA and its decision not to lay that suspension before the IBA Congress on September 25th is surpassed in gravity only by the IBA’s decision at that Congress not to permit a free and fair Presidential election to take place. Holding a vote to hold [a] vote when the previous ballot was miss-run doesn’t stand up to even the most glancing of scrutiny.”
A reply from the Ukrainian federation included:
“@IBA_Boxing you are an utter disgrace for this amazing sport, you must remove [President Umar] Kremlev [RUS] and make amends before your reputation is gone out of the window!”
In the meantime, the IBA announced that even though the Ukrainian federation is suspended, it is allowing Ukrainian boxers to compete in the European Junior Championships in Italy, in national uniforms, with flags and anthems: “IBA strongly believes that athletes should not suffer, no matter of circumstances, and should be able to represent their country with pride.”
The corollary, of course – in the IBA’s view – is that Russian and Belarusian boxers should be able to compete without restrictions in international events. The International Olympic Committee asked in February, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, that no athletes from those two countries be allowed to compete.
Ukraine to join 2030 FIFA World Cup bid by Spain and Portugal
The Ukrainians continue in the news with a report that it will join the already-strong bid by Spain and Portugal to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.
A formal confirmation is expected on Wednesday from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, expanding the three multi-partner bids on the table. Already, bid conglomerations have been announced for Egypt, Greece and Saudi Arabia, and from South America that includes Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and Chile.
The inaugural World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930 and so it is proposing a return for the centennial of the event. Of benefit to the Spanish and Portuguese bid is that Ukraine previously co-hosted the 2012 European Championships with Poland, at four venues with 16 total matches, including the final in Kyiv (won by Spain over Italy, 4-0), before 63,170.
Jackson led all Diamond League prize earners at $99,500
The irrepressible George Perry, coach and founder of Texas-based NAL Athletics, input all of the Diamond League prize winnings into a comprehensive table and sorted it to reveal who won how much during 2022.
There were 13 meets in 2022, one less than expected since the two meets in China did not take place, with one replaced by a meet in Chorzow (POL). Prize money for all but the final was $10,000-6,000-3,500-2,000-1,250-1,000-750-500 with extra money in distance races down to 12th place, and double the amounts for the final, except for $30,000 for the winner.
Perry’s compilation shows 669 athletes won money in 2022; the leaders:
1. $99,500: Shericka Jackson (JAM/sprints: 10 meets)
2. $90,000: Alison Dos Santos (BRA/hurdles: 7)
3. $80,000: Femke Bol (NED/400 m-hurdles: 6)
4. $77,250: Yaroslava Mahuchikh (UKR/high jump: 7)
5. $76,000: Mondo Duplantis (SWE/vault: 6)
6. $70,000: Chase Ealey (USA/shot: 5)
6. $70,000: Kristjian Ceh (SLO/discus: 5)
8. $66,000: Joe Kovacs (USA/shot: 5)
8. $66,000: Miltiadis Tentoglu (GRE/long jump: 5)
8. $66,000: Valarie Allman (USA/discus: 5)
Of equal interest is the distribution of the prize money among the 669 athletes listed as winning anything:
● 22 won $50,000 or more (of 669 prize winners)
● 13 won $40,000-49,999 (total: 35)
● 14 won $30,000-39,999 (total: 49)
● 46 won $20,000-29,999 (total: 95)
● 97 won $10,000-19,999 (total 192)
● 477 (71%) won less than $10,000
In fact, 182 athletes won from $1,000-2,000, and 141 won less than $1,000; that’s 323 in all or 48% of all prize winners.
That’s some good money for the top earners, but not much for most. Making a living in track & field remains pretty tough.
African sport slowed again, as Guinea loses 2025
Africa Cup of Nations
There is great interest from the International Olympic Committee, World Athletics and many other major governing bodies to hold future major events in Africa. But it isn’t easy.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) removed the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations – a major event on the continent – from Guinea last Friday “due to the infrastructure and facilities in Guinea not being ready to host a world class AFCON competition.”
The Guinean government hardly agreed. Spokesman Ousmane Gaoual Diallo told Agenbce France Presse, “We are almost three years away from the deadline. The biggest stadiums that we build today are built in 24 months. The idea of saying that it is not possible to build all these infrastructures in 24 months is a prejudice. Unfortunately, that’s how football is run. It’s not just sporting, there are other realities that go into the decisions.”
The CAF Executive Committee announced on Saturday that bidding for 2025 event is re-opened. The Associated Press noted that this is hardly a new occurrence:
“The decision means every African Cup since 2013 has been moved because of problems with the original host country.
“South Africa stepped in as host for civil war-torn Libya in 2013, Equatorial Guinea was a replacement for Morocco in 2015, Gabon replaced Libya, which still wasn’t ready in 2017, Egypt took over for an under-prepared Cameroon in 2019 and Cameroon hosted its tournament three years later than originally planned in 2022, when there was also a one-year delay because of the coronavirus pandemic.”
The Cote d’Ivoire was slated to host the event in 2021, but their edition will now be held in 2024, with the new, 2025 bid winner following immediately.
The International Olympic Committee placed the Youth Olympic Games in Dakar (SEN) in 2026 as a first edition of an Olympic project on the continent. World Athletics considered Nairobi (KEN) for its 2025 World Athletics Championships, but chose Tokyo (JPN) instead due to superior facilities built for the 2020 (2021) Olympic Games.
≡ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ≡
● Volleyball ● The second round of pool play at the FIVB Women’s World Championship in The Netherlands and Poland has begun, with the U.S. scoring a win over the Dominican Republic in Lodz (POL).
The U.S. defeated the Dominicans, 21-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-14 to go to 5-1 overall, with matches left against Poland (3-2), Turkey (5-1) and Thailand (4-2). The top four teams in this pool, which also includes 5-0 Serbia and 4-2 Canada, will advance to the playoffs.
In the other pool, Brazil dealt Italy its first loss, three sets to set and both squads are now 5-1, tied with Japan at 5-1 at the top of the standings. Pool play continues through 9 October.
≡ PANORAMA ≡
● Olympic Games 2020: Tokyo ● More arrests in the sponsorship bribery cases, as three executives of Kadokawa Publishing were charged. According to Kyodo News:
“Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, 79, was indicted for giving 69 million yen ($477,000) in bribes to the former [Tokyo 2020 Executive Board member], Haruyuki Takahashi, 78, in return for the company being selected as a sponsor of the Games.”
Kadokawa has stated he is innocent and intends to clear his name at trial. Two other Kadokawa executives were also charged. The indictment specifies the ¥69 million was paid in nine installments between September 2019 and January 2021; in return, Kadokawa’s sponsorship fee was not to exceed ¥380 million (about $2.64 million U.S.).
● Athletics ● More tales of abuse, this time reported by David Woods of the Indianapolis Star, with the headline (subscription required):
“Christian college coach created a culture of doping and sex, star runners allege
“Athletes say there was a dark side to the amazing success of the women’s distance running program at Huntington University”
Tweeted Woods: “EXCLUSIVE: ‘I wanted to be dead.’ Former Huntington University runners allege track program was a cult of sex and drugs.”
Former Huntington star runners Emma Wilson and Hannah Stoffel filed a civil suit against the school and former cross country coach Nick Johnson on 30 September, stating:
“The following is the Complaint of two former student athletes at Huntington University who were victims of a coach and his supporters that gave Larry Nassaresque massages all the while acting like Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France pharmacist injecting unknown substances into their bodies. His name is Nicholas Johnson and he should be in prison. Nicholas Johnson and his co- defendants have been destroying the lives of young students and runners in Northern Indiana for years, today Plaintiffs take a stand to stop him and his enablers.”
The complaint specifies multiple counts of battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, violation of Title IX and asks for compensatory and punitive damages. A criminal inquiry is also underway.
Statistician Phil Minshull of Spain Sports Services noted that Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele’s fifth-place, 2:05.53 finish at the London Marathon was actually a record-setter:
“To be fair to Bekele, he did add another accolade to his quite considerable resume which includes 20 world and Olympic titles on all surfaces and four world records (three outdoors, one indoor) as he ran a world over-40 best for the classic distance, taking 32 seconds off the previous best (2:06:25) set by Spain’s Ayad Lamdassem at the Seville Marathon on 20 February this year.”
Also in London, 1984 Olympic champ Joan Benoit Samuelson (USA) – now 65 – ran and finished in 3:20:20 to win the women’s 65-69 age group. She was preceded across the line by her daughter Abby Samuelson, who finished in 2:58:19.
Benoit Samuelson plans to complete the World Marathon Majors circuit, with only the Tokyo Marathon remaining on her list.
● Badminton ● Very few international sporting events are being held in China, but the Badminton Word Federation confirmed that the $1.5 million BWF World Tour Finals will be held in Guangzhou from 14-18 December.
Other BWF events have been canceled and only the ITTF World Team Championships – now ongoing in Chengdu – have been allowed to take place so far, in a “bubble” environment.
● Basketball ● Two-time Olympic champ Britney Griner is due back in a Moscow-area court for her appeal on a heavy sentence of nine years for “drug smuggling” on 25 October. She has been in detention since mid-February and negotiations continue between the U.S. and Russian governments for her release.
For our updated, 620-event International Sports Calendar for 2022 and beyond, by date and by sport, click here!