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MIKE HOOPER is the CEO of the Commonwealth Games Federation. Hooper, from New Zealand, was appointed the CGF's first full-time CEO in '00. In his tenure, he has overseen the 2002 Manchester Games, the 2006 Melbourne Games and the 2010 Delhi Games. In January, Hooper announced that he would step down from his role following the 2014 Glasgow Games, set to be held from July 23 through Aug. 3.
On what one accomplishment he is most proud of during his tenure...
Hooper: I’ve been very fortunate to have worked with some very talented people both at board and CGA [Commonwealth Games Association] level as well as within respective Organizing Committees and their Games delivery partners. Together we have seen the Games and the Games Movement grow both in size and statute on the world’s sporting stage and I am proud to have been part of this. As an organization over the last 14 years we have been able to substantially enhance the level of support provided to not only Games hosts but importantly to our members across the Commonwealth. As I leave the federation post-Glasgow, it will be in a lot stronger position to that which it was in when I joined back in 2000 and I am equally proud of my contribution in delivering this.
On what makes the city of Glasgow a unique host for this year's event...
Hooper: For me, what is perhaps unique is the way in which the people of Scotland have embraced the Games. The Games, whenever they are held, have commanded substantial support, but in Glasgow and Scotland, this support manifested itself right from the bid stage and has continued to grow. This is evident through the more than 50,000 applications for just 15,000 volunteer positions and the massive demand for tickets across all 17 sports and this with the Games still five months away.
On the importance of bringing big-name athletes, like Bradley Wiggins, to the Games...
Hooper: This is an interesting one not just for the Commonwealth Games, but all major multi-sport events. Whilst it is important that we showcase the best competition the Commonwealth has to offer, history shows, as does indeed Glasgow 2014’s very successful ticketing program to date, that there is strong support across all sports for a Games where sports come together in a multi-sport environment. So, of course, we want the Commonwealth’s top athletes to be part of what is going to be a tremendous celebration of Commonwealth sport in Glasgow, but equally, it is clear that the broader Games experience resonates strongly with the public and other stakeholders.
On the biggest challenge, or issue, facing the next CEO of the Commonwealth Games...
Hooper: Probably managing expectations, be they internal or external. The Commonwealth Games is very much of, and for, the Commonwealth. It does not have the resources of some other major international events and at times this can give rise to unrealistic expectations, particularly from a delivery point of view.
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KAZI SALAHUDDIN was "re-elected as the president of South Asian Football Federation" in the Congress of the ruling body of South Asian Football. Salahuddin was elected unopposed as the SAFF president in '09 and "he was unanimously retained for another four year term at the office by the delegates." The three VPs that were elected were DASHO UGYEN TSECHUP DORJI, of Bhutan, SYED KHADIM ALI SHAH, of Pakistan, and W. RANJIT RODRIGO, of Sri Lanka (DHAKA TRIBUNE, 3/5). ... Second Bundesliga club VfL Bochum revealed that Managing Dir ANSGAR SCHWENKEN "will step down from his position at the end of the season." The 44-year-old, who is also a member of the league association, "has declined to extend his contract, which is set to expire on June 30" (SID, 3/5). ... Former England all-rounder and national selector GEOFF MILLER "has been elected as Derbyshire's new president." Derbyshire's supervisory board "unanimously supported the nomination" (PA, 3/6). ... RAZVAN BURLEANU "was elected president of the Romanian football federation (FRF) on Wednesday," a day after former defender GHEORGHE POPESCU, one of the favorites for the post, "was jailed for tax evasion and money laundering." Popescu "was sentenced to three years and one month in prison." Burleanu succeeds MIRCEA SANDU, who was the FRF's president since '90 (REUTERS, 3/6).
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YAO MING called Spain one of the favorites for this year's FIBA World Cup and said that he considers the Spanish Basketball League (ACB) the second-best basketball league in the world. Yao said, "The ACB is very powerful. After the NBA, it is the most developed. But at the World Cup, in addition to the U.S. and Spain, we cannot forget countries like Lithuania or Greece" (EFE, 3/6). ... Former Kuala Lumpur footballer HAFIZI ROSLEE, who was banned for life by the Football Association of Malaysia because of his alleged involvement in match-fixing and bribery, "has filed a suit against the FAM." Hafizi alleged that the FAM’s action "was unconstitutional as it breached the rules of natural justice and public policy as the FAM had heard his case on Dec. 20 without him present" (BERNAMA, 3/6). ... F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE said that fans want to see four-time world champion SEBASTIAN VETTEL "lose to make Grand Prix races more appealing." Ecclestone: “Many people want to see Vettel lose because it would finally make it (the World Drivers’ Championship) more exciting again’’ (AFP, 3/6). ... An "emotional" BILL VLAHOS, a bookmaker, "has declared he is not a conman in his first interview since the collapse of his multimillion-dollar punting club." The mastermind of The Edge gambling syndicate said, “I haven’t robbed or conned anybody. Absolutely not.” Vlahos’s punting club owes creditors at least A$144M ($131M). But investors claim unpaid winnings total more than A$500M (HERALD SUN, 3/6).
WHO DOMINATES RUSSIAN MEDIA? MARIA SHARAPOVA "was the most popular female Russian athlete over the last year in the domestic press, a media ratings study ordered by R-Sport showed." Sharapova was mentioned 17,977 times in a 12-month period beginning March '13 in all Russian media outlets. Second was 15-year-old figure skating prodigy JULIA LIPNITSKAIA, who was followed by fellow Olympic figure skating champion TATIANA VOLOSOZHAR. Other noted athletes in the list are pole vaulter YELENA ISINBAYEVA and figure skater ADELINA SOTNIKOVA, who "dramatically dethroned" South Korea's KIM YUNA in the women's individual competition at the Sochi Olympics (R-SPORT, 3/6).
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London Guardian's OWEN GIBSON: "As I said at time of Suarez/Terry, there's something odd about equating no of times offensive word/gesture is used with size of punishment"
The BBC's DAVID CONN: "We don't say it often so here it is re Anelka: Credit to the FA. Heartening, determined work by the governing body"
London Telegraph's PAUL HAYWARD: "Anelka didn't admit the offence, of course. But the Commission are saying the FA's crackdown on racism is full of legal holes."
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