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Officials from UAE Pro-League football club Al Nasr presented PELE "with a framed photo of him playing against the team" for his former club Santos in 1973, on the sidelines of a function that saw him announced as a global ambassador for Emirates airline in Dubai, according to Ashley Hammond of GULF NEWS. Al Nasr Team Manager MOHAMMAD AL QAHOOR said, "This generation probably doesn’t know who Pele was. But we know him as a good friend of the club from a time when we brought all the big teams out to the UAE, including Liverpool and Aston Villa" (GULF NEWS, 1/16). GULF NEWS' Euan Reedie reported journalists in Dubai "tend to be blase about top sport stars visiting the emirate." But the revelation that "The King of Football," Pele, was to be in town on Thursday for an Emirates airline announcement -- only the third time he has visited the city -- "created an unprecedented buzz among the Dubai sports journalism fraternity" (GULF NEWS, 1/16).
AC Milan has appointed former Holland midfielder CLARENCE SEEDORF as its new coach on a two-and-a-half-year contract. Seedorf, who spent 10 years playing for Milan and was this season on the books of Brazilian club Botafogo, "announced his retirement from football on Tuesday in order to accept an offer to guide the Rossoneri" (London TELEGRAPH, 1/16). ... Williams Grand Prix announced the appointment of Lotus IT/IS Dir GRAEME HACKLAND to IT director. Hackland will have technical, operational and delivery responsibility for all IT projects within the Williams Group, encompassing the Williams F1 Team and Williams Advanced Engineering. Hackland will also join the group's exec committee (Williams). ... Serie A side Catania "made official the news" that coach LUIGI DE CANIO "has been removed from his position." Catania "have yet to comment on reports" that ROLANDO MARAN "has been brought back in" (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 1/16). ... ONE World Sports announced the appointment of distribution veteran RANDY BROWN as exec VP of distribution. Brown, who most recently led affiliate sales & marketing at Outdoor Channel, will report to ONE World Sports President & CEO ALEXANDER "SANDY" BROWN. He will be based in L.A. and N.Y. (ONE World Sports).
IN GERMANY: Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund promoted DENNIS THOM to the role of head of marketing. Thom will replace MARKUS REJEK, "the newly appointed managing director of TSV 1860 Munich," who left the club in September after 14 years of service (SOCCEREX, 1/15). ... German 3rd League football club Rot-Weiß Erfurt Managing Dir THOMAS KALT "has resigned from his position." The 52-year-old, who has been the club's managing director since Dec. 18, 2012, cited job-related reasons for his resignation (THÜRINGER ALLGEMEINE, 1/15).
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NBA Cleveland Cavaliers player LUOL DENG has "confirmed he plans to return to play for Great Britain in the EuroBasket qualifiers this summer." Deng's commitment "will be subject to his contract situation in the United States" (BBC, 1/15). ... UAE cricket captain KHURRAM KHAN has been fined and reprimanded for twice breaching the Int'l Cricket Council Code of Conduct during his side's 80 runs victory over Canda on day three of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier New Zealand 2014 (ICC). ... English-Language Learning Institute TutorGroup has signed a partnership agreement with former NBA All-Star YAO MING. Yao "will endorse TutorGroup's suite of English and Chinese language learning products" (REUTERS, 1/15).
DUBAI DUTY FREE LINEUP: Organizers for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship announced the men's lineup on Thursday, "with five of the world's top-10 ranked players headlining the field." World No. 2 NOVAK DJOKOVIC will "return to defend his championship," with world No. 6 ROGER FEDERER the "most highly-decorated competitor in his way." JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO (No. 5), TOMAS BERDYCH (No. 7) and JO-WILFRIED TSONGA (No. 10) "round out the top-10 ranked participants" (THE NATIONAL, 1/16).
GREAT SCOTT: Golfer ADAM SCOTT is hoping that as well as drawing thousands of spectators, the HSBC golf tournament "will also be a great place to showcase the villa he is selling" on Saadiyat Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi. And "to drum up interest," he is "offering to play a round of 18 holes with whoever stumps up the cash to buy the property." Scott said that he is selling the Dh22.9M ($6.2M) villa next to Saadiyat golf course because due to his schedule on the U.S. and Australian PGA circuits, he is not "able to spend enough time in it" (THE NATIONAL, 1/16).
PAPIS JOINS WHELEN SERIES: NASCAR driver MAX PAPIS announced he will field a team in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for fellow Italian KEVIN GILARDONI, with hopes of developing the 21-year-old driver to compete in the NASCAR ranks in the U.S. soon. Gilardoni is expected to come to the team's North Carolina headquarters in mid-February to get acquainted with the cars and team members before the Euro Series begins April 12 in Spain. Papis plans to have Gilardoni compete in a handful of late model races in the U.S. during down times in the Euro schedule, including races at Germany's Nürburgring and in Valencia, Spain (NASCAR).
AP's ROB HARRIS: ''Sounds like many Premier League players at O2 for the NBA game. Sure they'll take note of the access NBA teams give media to players"
BBC's DAVID BOND: "#Ecclestone Has to be asked how many big companies would remove a director from board but allow them to continue to run the company"
Daily Mirror's OLIVER HOLT: "Just had Robert Pires and his partner on KissCam at the 02. They kissed very elegantly, obviously"
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