Cricketer KEVIN PIETERSEN "turned down a four-month contract with England" only hours before it was announced he would not be touring India, as both sides failed to find common ground despite weeks of protracted negotiations, according to Nick Hoult of the London TELEGRAPH. Pietersen’s return to the England fold was dependent on agreeing a set of conditions, which included "waiving his rights to any future legal action in employment disputes with the England and Wales Cricket Board, issuing another public apology for sending text messages to the South African side and pulling out at the last minute from a contract to provide studio analysis from the World Twenty20 for Asian-based broadcaster ESPN" (TELEGRAPH, 9/18).
INTO THE BOOTH: Also in London, Derek Pringle wrote that seated alongside SOURAV GANGULY and WASIM AKRAM in ESPN’s studio in Colombo, Sri Lanka, ahead of the opening match in the World Twenty20, Pietersen "was the opposite of the man that has upset the England dressing-room" -- being calm, measured and thoughtful in the points he made. There was "no extravagance or hyperbole, just sensible comments made in that sotto voce voice he does when on best behaviour." It was "mostly eloquent and, unusually for one just starting out, to the point, but then he was hardly grilled about his current predicament following Tuesday's decision by England's selectors to drop him for the foreseeable future." The only reference he did make regarding his current lot was to say he "was disappointed not to be playing in this tournament" but that he had the next best thing, which was to be in the studio and commentary box talking about it (TELEGRAPH, 9/18). The LONDON TIMES' Richard Hobson wrote that like "any batsman, Pietersen became most passionate when he spoke about pitches." What the public want, he suggested, are "true surfaces enabling players to hit balls into stands. If the tournament follows his wishes, totals of about 180 will be the norm." He stuttered only once, when asked about Zimbabwe’s pace attack, but his nerves "disappeared" and he began to unclench his hands. He spoke "more slowly and emphasised key words." He raised the level of discussion, though the producer may ask him to stop waving his pen as he speaks in the fashion of a conductor encouraging the trumpets (LONDON TIMES, 9/19).
L.A. Kings forward ANZE KOPITAR "will play for the Swedish second-tier hockey club Mora IK." The 2012 Stanley Cup champion "wants to play together with his younger brother GASPER during the NHL lockout" (BLICK.ch, 9/19). ... More L.A. Kings players could come to Europe and play for German Hockey League club Hamburg Freezers. The club's Sports Dir STEPHANE RICHER said, "It's true. We got the OK from AEG to acquire players." AEG owns both clubs, Freezers and Kings. Possible candidates are DWIGHT KING, TREVOR LEWIS and JORDAN NOLAN (BILD, 9/18). ... Swiss hockey club Lugano "will welcome Anaheim Ducks defenceman LUCA SBISA," and Ottawa Senators forward JASON SPEZZA "will join Swiss National League A club Rapperswil-Jona Lakers" (BLICK.ch, 9/19).
German football player TIM BOROWSKI retired from professional football due to prolonged ankle problems. The 32-year-old played for Bundesliga clubs Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich and was also part of the 2006 German World Cup team (DPA, 9/19). ... English Musician LIAM GALLAGHER "was expelled by Spanish police" during the Manchester City vs. Real Madrid match at the Bernabéu stadium. He had been warned over his "rowdy behavior" in the home section of the stadium (MARCA, 9/19). ... Radio DJ CHRIS EVANS purchased Donington Park race track's famous Dunlop bridge in England. The 30-year-old structure was sold for about £300 ($487) during a memorabilia auction "in aid of a Leicestershire charity" (London INDEPENDENT, 9/18). ... Veteran rider IAN MILLAR and the late show jumping horse Hickstead will be inducted into the Jump Canada Hall of Fame in November. The Perth, Ontario native "became the first athlete from any country to compete in the Olympic Games 10 times" when he and Star Power contested the individual and team events in London last month (CP, 9/18). ... Cambodia Prime Minister HUN SEN "has honoured his pledge to reward" the country's 2012 Olympians and their coaches. National Olympic Committee of Cambodia President THONG KHON gave $300 "on behalf of the Premier" to each of the five home-based athletes who competed in London: swimmers HEM THON PONLEU and HEM THON VITINY, track athletes KIENG SAMORN and CHAN SEYHA and taekwondo ace SORN DAVIN (PHNOM PENH POST, 9/19). ... New Zealand rugby player SONNY BILL WILLIAMS' ripped All Blacks jersey has raised $10,000 at an auction. The bid event took place at the Sky City Grand Hotel in Auckland on Friday and helped raise $55,000 for baseball (APNZ, 9/19).
LOOKING FOR AN ACE: Malaysian badminton will "finally have its supremo." Those in the running for the position are: former National Coach KWAN YOKE MENG, National Sports Institute Officer WONG AH JIT, former Coach CHEAH SOON KIT, former Chief Coach YAP KIM HOCK and Japanese Head Coach PARK JOO-BONG (THESTAR.com, 9/19). ... Malaysian authorities have arrested TONY KANG "on suspicion of theft of documents" from AFC offices in the capital of Kuala Lumpur. Kang is an associate of suspended Asian Football Confederation and FIFA VP MOHAMMED BIN HAMMAM, who was dismissed following allegations of financial misconduct. Kang has surrendered himself to Malaysian police "and is expected to be charged in court" (MIDDLE-EAST-ONLINE.com, 9/19).