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Volume 10 No. 25

People and Pop Culture

Former F1 Team Principal EDDIE JORDAN said that British F1 driver LEWIS HAMILTON "is on the verge of leaving McLaren to drive for Mercedes next season," according to Andrew Benson of the BBC.  Jordan said that Hamilton will replace MICHAEL SCHUMACHER, who "will retire from driving for a second time at the end of the year." Jordan said, "I believe Hamilton and Mercedes have already agreed to personal terms and a deal could be imminent." In a statement, Mercedes said that they did not comment on rumors, but they added: "Until we are in a position to confirm our full driver line-up for next season, it is inevitable that there will be speculation around this topic" (BBC, 9/5). In London, Tom Cary reported Hamilton's management team Tuesday night denied suggestions from former team Owner Jordan that the 27-year-old has "already agreed terms" with Mercedes, but the Daily Telegraph understands that "discussions have taken place." A spokesperson for Simon Fuller's XIX Management played down that story, saying Hamilton remained in "advanced negotiations" with McLaren. The spokesperson said, “As mentioned in the past by all parties, we are in advanced discussions with McLaren about a new deal. More importantly, at the moment, Lewis is focused on Monza [where this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix takes place] and competing strongly for the championship” (TELEGRAPH, 9/5).

BARGAINING CHIP: Also in London, Simon Cass wrote that their rivals' offer provides Hamilton with a significant bargaining chip. Questions of "team loyalty would also need to be considered by the Briton, especially when it comes to leaving a team he joined aged 13." However, Hamilton retains a strong bond with Mercedes Motorsport Division Chief NORBERT HAUG, whom he worked with during his early years at McLaren (DAILY MAIL, 9/5). The London GUARDIAN's Paul Weaver wrote that "at first glance, the move is implausible." Why should Hamiltion, 27, who spent more than half his life with the Woking, England-based marque, leave a team that has won the past two races? Hamilton himself won in Hungary, while JENSON BUTTON won in Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps last weekend. Hamilton's "heart yearns for more world titles to add to the one he won" in '08, and McLaren is a considerably more competitive car than Mercedes. One "cynical rumour" doing the rounds on Wednesday night was that the story "may have come from Hamilton's camp." With Red Bull and Ferrari not interested in signing the driver the story that "Mercedes were keen might be used as a bargaining chip" (GUARDIAN, 9/5).

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: The London INDEPENDENT's Ian Parkes reported that "all eyes will be on" Hamilton when he walks into the Monza paddock Thursday after Jordan "threw the cat among the pigeons" Wednesday. McLaren issued a "cleverly worded but unequivocal statement, passing the buck on to XIX Entertainment" that looks after the 27-year-old's business interests. A McLaren spokesperson said, "We have been told by Lewis Hamilton's management team the story is untrue" (INDEPENDENT, 9/6). In London, Paul Weaver wrote that there was only one topic of conversation, "Will Lewis Hamilton join Mercedes or stay at McLaren?" There has been so little movement among the drivers in the past two years -- at least, at the sharp end of the grid -- that "when a big name like Hamilton is linked with a monolith like Mercedes it will dominate all other gossip." And, appropriately for a world, which "is part sport and part showbiz, there is an awful lot of gossip" in F1. Mercedes is the only other gig in town for Hamilton, and if Schumacher "does decide to quit," the British driver would join up with NICO ROSBERG. The pair were pals way back in their karting days at Mercedes, and the team "could give Hamilton both the money and the love for which he craves" (GUARDIAN, 9/6).

The IOC announced that the Commission to evaluate the candidatures for the 2020 Olympic Games (Istanbul, Tokyo and Madrid) will be chaired by IOC VP and an IOC member in Great Britain CRAIG REEDIE. Reedie was also a member of the '04 and '08 IOC Coordination Commissions and the '08 and '16 IOC Evaluation Commissions. Also appointed to the Commision were:

Name Country Position
Guy Drut France IOC Member
Frank Fredericks Namibia IOC Member
Nat Indrapana Thailand IOC Member
Claudia Bokel Germany IOC Member and
Rep. of the IOC Athletes' Commission
Eduardo Palomo El Salvador Rep. of the Association of National Olympic Committees
Pat McQuaid Ireland IOC Member and
Rep. of the Association of Summer Olympic Int'l Federation
Andrew Parsons Brazil Rep. of the Int'l Paralympic Committee
Gilbert Felli Switzerland IOC Olympic Games Exec Dir

Joining the Commission will be IOC Sports Dir CHRISTOPHE DUBI and IOC Head of Bid City Relations JACQUELINE BARRETT (IOC).

OUTSIDE THE IOC: The World Air Sports Federation (FAI) appointed GIANCARLO SERGI as CEO of its recently formed marketing and events company FAI Air Sports Marketing and Events SA (FAME). Sergi is the President of management consultancy firm SINERGI Ltd, based in Switzerland and active in the sports industry. The primary objective of FAME, a shareholder company based in Switzerland, is to promote air sports and create commercial value for the FAI (FAI). ... Former Sauber F1 Technical Dir JAMES KEY has been appointed by rivals Toro Rosso to replace departed GIORGIO ASCANELLI in the role. Toro Rosso announced Ascanelli's resignation on Wednesday and said that Key had "started work at the Faenza factory last Monday ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix" (REUTERS, 9/5). ... British Minister responsible for the London Games HUGH ROBERTSON "has been promoted within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport but will retain his position as the man in charge of the nation's sports." Robertson has been promoted to minister of state for sports, from his previous job as parliamentary under-secretary of state (London GUARDIAN, 9/6). ... Brasileiro club Coritiba has let go of Head Coach MARCELO OLIVEIRA. The club cited the team’s poor performance in the league as the reason for his dismissal. MARQUINHOS SANTOS has been hired to take over the coaching duties. Santos was coaching the Coritiba U-20 and Brazilian U-17 sides before his promotion (, 9/6). ... Japan's Central League baseball club Hanshin Tigers named former Manager KATSUHIRO NAKAMURA the club's first GM. The 63-year-old was an infielder for the Tigers after being drafted out of Waseda University. He managed Hanshin from '90-'95 (KYODO, 9/6).

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Belgian F1 driver JEROME D'AMBROSIO "will replace suspended Lotus driver ROMAIN GROSJEAN at this week's Italian Grand Prix." Grosjean was suspended for one race "after causing a multiple car accident in the first corner of the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday" (SID, 9/4). ... Serbian tennis player DAVID SAVIC's life-long ban for match-fixing "was upheld by the Int'l Sports Court (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland." The court rejected the appeal of the 27-year-old Serb but overturned the $100,000 fine of the previous court ruling" (, 9/6). ... ManU defender RIO FERDINAND is "in the clear over the controversial choc-ice comment he made on Twitter." The 33-year-old will not face any criminal charges over the Twitter comment where he claimed Chelsea's ASHLEY COLE was a ‘choc-ice’ for backing his teammate JOHN TERRY after the former England captain was acquitted in a race trial (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 9/6). ... Four South Korean badminton players "sent home in disgrace" from the London Games for deliberately throwing matches have had their six-month domestic bans lifted by the Korean Olympic Committee. However, JUNG KYUNG-EUN, KIM HA-NA, HA JUNG-EUN and KIM MIN-JUNG remain suspended from the Korean national team for one year, but they are now free to compete in domestic tournaments (REUTERS, 9/6). ... The top court in int'l sports "expects to take about four months" to rule on Japanese hammer thrower KOJI MUROFUSHI's disputed bid to become and IOC member (AP, 9/6).

CRICKET NEWS: Former England off-spinner ROBERT CROFT will “retire from first-class cricket” after he plays for Glamorgan in next week’s County Championship match against Kent in Cardiff. The 42-year old “is expected to stay” with Glamorgan in a coaching and marketing role (London TELEGRAPH, 9/5). ... Pakistan off-spinner SAEED AJMAL has moved up two places to replace teammate MOHAMMAD HAFEEZ as the number-one ranked bowler in the Reliance Int'l Cricket Council Player Rankings for One Day Int'l bowlers (ICC).

Bloomberg's Tariq Panja: "Premier League meeting on financial fair play taking place in the same hotel as a seminar called: 'Rich Dad Education - Learn to be Rich'"

Pitch Associate Dir Drew Barrand: "Mildly irritating that the Paralympic medal table never seems to make the papers or the BBC homepage? Is it not the most important bit?!!"

Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl: "Would be fun if Man United wannabe Usain Bolt played for Jamaica vs US on Friday. Couldn't be a big drop-off from Dane Richards, could it?"

The BBC presenter Gary Lineker: "Best quote from insurance dinner 'I don't find football terribly interesting'. Guess when you're in insurance nothing compares. #gocompare"

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