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The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) announced that it renewed the contract for coach PAULO BENTO for two more years. Bento has coached the Portuguese national team since '10. His contract was set to expire after this summer's World Cup (EFE, 4/9). ... J.League club Vegalta Sendai Manager GRAHAM ARNOLD has left by “mutual consent,” becoming the J. League’s first coaching casualty of the season. Assistant SUSUMU WATANABE "has replaced" Arnold (KYODO, 4/9). ... Int'l Ski Federation President GIAN-FRANCO KASPER "has been elected head of the association of Olympic winter sports bodies." The 70-year-old Kasper was elected Tuesday, succeeding Int'l Ice Hockey Federation President and fellow Swiss RENE FASEL. Fasel had served as president of the Association of Int'l Olympic Winter Sports Federations since '02 (AP, 4/8).
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Triple Olympic champion STEPHANIE RICE "has officially announced her retirement from competitive swimming." The 25-year-old Beijing Gold Medalist "confirmed the news via a video posted on her website on Wednesday." The injury-plagued Rice "has not raced competitively since her unsuccessful 2012 London Games campaign, having undergone three shoulder operations" (BRISBANE TIMES, 4/9). ... FIFA Ambassador for Fair Play SIMONE FARINA has been appointed an athlete role model for the upcoming Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. The athlete role models will offer support, mentoring and advice to the 3,800 young athletes who will be participating in the Games, with all 28 sports providing a representative (FIFA). ... Rugby league player GREG INGLIS said that he would "support any gay" National Rugby League player who came out and believes that "it would be an enormous burden removed for someone who did." Inglis on Wednesday "joined a cast of high-profile athletes and administrators from Australia's four football codes and cricket in speaking out against homophobia in sport" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 4/9). ... Belgian first division club AA Ghent sacked Romanian coach MIRCEA REDNIC on Wednesday after a third consecutive defeat "all but ended their chances of European football next season." Rednic's assistant, PETER BALETTE, "will take charge until the end of the season," helped by former Ghent player BERND THIJS (REUTERS, 4/9).
FANS THREATEN PLAYER: Brazil striker FRED warns there could be "another tragedy" in Brazilian football if fan groups follow through with their threats against his club this week. Fred said that a group of about 20 fans "swarmed his car to threaten him as he left practice this weekend, complaining about the team's recent struggles and demanding a good result" (AAP, 4/9). ... Pakistan’s former Test captain RASHID LATIF "has refused to take over as chief selector just nine days after he was supposed to join the Pakistan Cricket Board." Latif said he doesn’t want to “come into controversy” and will not join the PCB as chief selector (AP, 4/9). ... Japan FA VP KOZO TASHIMA said on Wednesday that "he will run for a seat" on FIFA's exec committee from Asia. The 56-year-old Tashima announced his candidacy at JFA House following a meeting among officials from the East Asian Football Federation and ASEAN nations (KYODO, 4/9). ... Former Rangers Owner CRAIG WHYTE "was up to his old asset-stripping tricks" on Tuesday as he was "finally hounded out of Scotland." Whyte "even took the heating oil with him" as he fled his country seat, which is about to be repossessed by the bank "after he failed to pay the mortgage." They also "stripped out French chandeliers," chosen by Whyte's ex-wife, KIM, and "other fittings from the house" (Scotland DAILY RECORD, 4/8).
JOIN THE CLUB: Augusta National Chair BILLY PAYNE said he would be voting for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club to abolish its men-only policy. Augusta admitted its first women members in '12. In September, R&A members will hold their own vote. Payne, an R&A member, said, "As I’ve said before, we readily and joyously welcomed our lady members when that happened a couple years ago, and it remains a very good decision on our part. I’m proud to be a member of the R&A, and I bet you can guess how I’m going to vote” (LONDON TIMES, 4/10).
COVER BOY: Cricketer SACHIN TENDULKAR "adorned the covers" of the 151st edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. Tendulkar "is the first Indian to feature on the cover of the Almanack'' (PTI, 4/9). Defending champions Mumbai Indians named Tendulkar as their "ICON" ahead of the seventh Indian Premier League (POST, 4/9).
AP's ROB HARRIS: "At the same time as the FA clamping down on betting in football, one of its official sponsors is ... William Hill "
AP's STEVE WILSON: "Federations are piling in one after the other to complain about problems in Rio in meeting with IOC exec board. 18 sports weighed in"
London Independent's SAM WALLACE: "Playing Bayern's 'Stern des Südens' at the Allianz Arena, a German soft-rock -ahem- 'classic' which you can't stop humming for days after"
London Guardian's BARNEY RONAY: "The biggest flaw with Twitter is you can't retweet yourself. I've found this has held me back quite a lot"
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