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Volume 6 No. 215

People and Pop Culture

F1 driver LEWIS HAMILTON "walked out of the McLaren headquarters on Friday after delivering a heartfelt and candid farewell speech to the workforce who supported his journey to F1 stardom," according to Malcolm Folley of the London DAILY MAIL. Hamilton was "granted a dignified departure by McLaren, a rare privilege in a sport renowned for being heartless when drivers switch allegiance." He said, "It was the hardest decision I've ever made." He added, "It is to do with the process of growing up, of leaving home. That's why I am taking the next step, to grow as a driver and as a human being." Hamilton "has been lured from McLaren to Mercedes by more than the simple economics of a three-year contract worth £60M ($92.6M)." He "is attracted by the challenge of attempting to become the catalyst for the Mercedes team's development" -- and future success -- under Englishman and Mercedes F1 Team Principal ROSS BRAWN (DAILY MAIL, 12/8).

Man City has formally apologized to RIO FERDINAND after the ManU defender "appeared to be hit by a coin as he celebrated his side's third goal in their 3-2 victory at the Etihad Stadium Sunday afternoon," according to the MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS. Ferdinand "sustained a cut just above the eye in the incident, which is now being investigated by Greater Manchester Police." A Man City spokesperson said, "We apologise to Rio. We condemn the actions of the individual concerned." Ferdinand was able to complete the game and afterwards on Twitter said: "Whoever threw that coin, what a shot! Can't believe it was a copper 2p....could have at least been a £1 coin!" (MEN, 12/9).  MEN also reported "police are trawling through CCTV coverage to identify the fan who threw a coin" at Ferdinand. United Manager ALEX FERGUSON said, "It's just unfortunate towards the end a City fan runs on, and then they throw coins at our players and that. I don't think you need that" (MEN, 12/9).

Basketball Bundesliga Bayern Munich Managing Dir THOMAS OEHLER "has resigned from his position." A successor "has not been determined yet" (SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, 12/6). ... The Indian Olympic Association has created a five-member panel, which will be headed by VIJAY KUMAR MALHOTRA, "to take important decisions in its day-to-day functioning." The panel will be made up of the newly-elected principal office-bearers: ABHAY SINGH CAHUTALA, LALIT BHANOT, VIRENDRA NANAVATI and N. RAMACHANDRAN (THE HINDU, 12/7). ... The Ladies European Tour named IVAN KHODABAKHSH CEO beginning in January. Khodabakhsh is currently CEO of World Series Boxing based in Switzerland and prior to that was event director at the European Athletic Association. He will succeed ALEXANDRA ARMAS who is stepping down after nearly eight years at the helm (LET).

ELECTION RESULTS: Billionaire ALISHER USMANOV, an investor in businesses from Facebook to Arsenal, "was re-elected president of the Int'l Fencing Federation before its 100th anniversary next year." Usmanov "was elected for a second term" (BLOOMBERG, 12/8). ... SIMON POTTER has taken over the leadership of ESPN’s Programming and Production group in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA), and CHARLY CLASSEN has added the oversight and day-to-day management of ESPN’s leading digital media portfolio across the region. The moves were announced by ESPN EMEA Managing Dir ROSS HAIR. As Senior Dir, Digital Media, Commercial and Marketing, Classen adds the leadership and management of ESPN’s digital media business in the EMEA region (ESPN). ... NOEL JEFFS, the stadium director who oversaw the difficult transition from the old Wembley Stadium to the new Wembley Stadium, has been named the president of the U.K. Venue Managers Association. The association provides a platform for managers of multi-purpose venues, including major sports, music events, conferences and exhibitions, to meet and discuss solutions to real and potential problems (U.K. Venue Managers Association).

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Nippon Professional Baseball team Yomiuri Giants infielder MICHIHIRO OGASAWARA agreed to a ¥360M ($4.4M) pay cut when he signed a deal for ¥70M ($848,000) on Wednesday, "the biggest cut in Japanese baseball history." The 39-year-old played in 34 games, his fewest since his rookie season in '97, and batted .152, also a career low. Ogasawara was in the final year of a two-year deal worth ¥430M ($5.2M) a year (KYODO, 12/6). ... KATIE TAYLOR "has been named the Int'l Boxing Association ambassador for women's boxing worldwide" ahead of the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games (RTE, 12/8).

German field hockey player MORITZ FUERSTE won the Int'l Hockey Federation's (FIH) Player of the Year award. Fuerste was the captain of the German national team that won the Gold Medal at the London Games. Fuerste's teammate FLORIAN FUCHS was selected as the Young Player of the Year (FIH). ... The celebration of female industry input "honored BBC Presenter CLARE BALDING, Dir of Sport BARBARA SLATER and Olympics Opening Ceremony Producer TRACEY SEAWARD" at this year's Women in Film and TV Awards. Balding "picked up the ITV Studios Achievement of the Year award for her presenting duties during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games over the summer." Seaward, who produced the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony "was presented the ENVY producer award by Dir DANNY BOYLE" while Slater "picked up the Creative Skillset inspirational woman award for overseeing coverage of the London Olympics and her ongoing work promoting women’s sport" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 12/7).

ManU player RIO FERDINAND: "Respect to Joe Hart for protecting that idiot who ran on!! Love the banter between fans but there is a point when it goes too far...calm it!"

Manchester Evening News' MIKE KEEGAN: "Not too sure what clubs can do to stop coin throwing other than hand out life bans which you'd think would happen here anyway."

CNN host PIERS MORGAN: "God almighty - what's just happened to @rioferdy5 is outrageous."

Olympic sprinter USAIN BOLT: "Blood..Sweat..Determination...True Champions.. Great win @WayneRooney @rioferdy5"

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