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Press Digest-canada-sept 25

Martin MacMahon: Canada snubbed from FIFA video game once again

Despite being extremely well funded, mainly because of the profits handed down from Wimbledon, British tennis has little top-level talent outside Andy Murray, who this year became Britain’s first men’s singles winner at the All England Club since 1936. The 38th-ranked Laura Robson is the only Briton in the women’s top 50. ”The opportunity that Andy Murray is now a Wimbledon champion, two-time grand slam champion, is immense for tennis in Britain,” said Downey, who was formerly the regional president for Canada’s largest brewery, Molson Canada. ”Andy Murray’s biggest contribution to tennis in Britain is winning. That’s when you want to write about him, that’s when people want to follow him, that’s when kids are going to go out, pick up racquets and want to be Andy Murray. And I believe there’s a bevy of young talent that’s coming up in Great Britain that is going to follow Andy Murray to the podium.” Downey will take up his new role on Jan. 6 as the replacement for Roger Draper, who announced in March that he was stepping down. In 2012, the LTA invested $109 million but with little tangible reward. Murray, who has been brought through largely outside the LTA structure, is the only British man in the top 150 in the rankings. The LTA said that Canadian tennis enjoyed significant growth at the grassroots and elite level under Downey, with more than 1.2 million people playing tennis at least twice a month. ”This sport has far more importance in Britain than in Canada,” Downey said. ”The expectation will be higher of myself in this position.” LTA chairman David Gregson said Downey’s annual salary will be $480,000 less than half of what Draper was earning. ”We set out to recruit a CEO with true success in business, with exceptional leadership credentials and ideally with significant knowledge of tennis,” Gregson said. ”Michael demonstrably fits the bill perfectly and was the unanimous choice of our recruitment panel.”

THE GLOBE AND MAIL * A Stanley Cup rioter whom a provincial court judge called “the most serious of any case heard so far” has been sentenced to eight months in jail. Vasilios George Makris, 29, pleaded guilty to participating in a riot and assaulting another person in the June 15, 2011, Stanley Cup riot in downtown Vancouver. () * One day after Toronto Mayor Rob Ford celebrated C$660 million ($640.81 million) in federal funding for a Scarborough subway extension, another council battle is brewing over how Toronto will pay for transit expansion. Toronto City Council will be asked next month to decide how to fill a funding gap estimated to be more than C$900 million if it wishes to follow the underground route from Kennedy Station to Sheppard Avenue favored by the TTC and city council. () * The Alberta government plans to prohibit building in so-called floodways – designated areas close to rivers – to mitigate damages from future floods. Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths, charged with leading Alberta’s flood recovery effort, said the Progressive Conservatives will introduce legislation this fall forcing municipalities to block development in the most flood-prone zones. () Reports in the business section: * The federal government has launched a public relations campaign to beat back criticism of its wireless policy by the Big Three industry players – even as the telecom companies face gag orders that limit what they can say on the topic. () * China has bought a chunk of one of the world’s largest potash producers, giving the Asian country more control over what price it should pay for the fertilizer – a move that could drag down prices of the mineral and eat into profits of Canada’s potash companies. () * After 10 years as the lead advertising agency for the Bank of Montreal, Cossette is resigning the account. The decision, announced on Tuesday, comes amid a tumultuous time in bank marketing in Canada. () NATIONAL POST * New Democrat member of Parliament Pat Martin accepted a personal loan from the New Democratic Party and numerous donations from labor unions to help pay down debt incurred in a defamation lawsuit over the robocalls case. Documents filed with the federal ethics commissioner by the Manitoba MP earlier this month show he accepted contributions to a legal defense fund from the Canadian Labour Congress, the United Steelworkers and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, and 14 other unions or locals. () * The British Columbia New Democratic Party (NDP), shell-shocked by the May election debacle and leader Adrian Dix’s intention to resign, got a welcome dose of enthusiasm on Tuesday when four federal members of Parliament from British Columbia said they would consider bids to lead the provincial party.

A spokesperson from the company sent this e-mail to Goal when asked for further details on Canada’s continued exclusion from the game: [U]nfortunately Canada is not in the game. The FIFA team would love to be able to include every club, league and tournament on earth but sometimes thats not possible. Licensing teams and leagues is a business decision based on market size and limited resources. Including Canada is something we would certainly look at in the future. The company did not reply by deadline to an e-mail requesting clarification on what specific barriers blocked Canada’s inclusion. Specifically, did the Canadian Soccer Association hold out for too much money, or did the association not want involvement in the game at all for some reason? Perhaps it’s a world ranking issue, or perhaps the fact that Canada hasn’t competed in the World Cup in nearly three decades means they haven’t earned the nod. If any of this information was provided as the reason for this nation’s exclusion from the game, while still a bit irritating for those who want to represent the red and white virtually, at least we would know the thinking behind the snub. This article isn’t meant to be an attack on EA Sports or its FIFA franchise, which consistently deliver excellent products which entertain and seem to improve year on year. But as a company with a significant Canadian presence, it can play a role in helping grow the game in this country. As stupid as it sounds, when kids play a game and are forced to represent another country rather than Canada when playing internationally, it could loosen their feeling of attachment to the national team. Video games, for better or worse, are a big part of children’s lives. For anyone who follows the trials and tribulations of the national program trying to convince elite players with mixed loyalties and multiple international options to play for Canada, quite frankly this country needs every edge it can get. And besides, who wouldn’t want to relive some of Canada’s recent glorious matches in recent times?