Millionaire Chelsea players PETR CECH and PAULO FERREIRA "popped into a Starbucks for coffee after training at the Club World Cup in Japan on Tuesday and were mobbed as they waited in line," according to Alastair Himmer of REUTERS. Picking up a small size coffee, Cech asked his teammate: "Do you want to drink here or go back (to the hotel)?" Closely watched by team security, the players "patiently signed autographs and posed for photos with fans as they waited" before Ferreira nervously replied: "Go back" (RETUERS, 12/11). In London, Richard Sharpe reported Chelsea Manager RAFA BENITEZ "may be struggling to win over the Chelsea fans back in England, but over in Japan the Blues’ faithful can’t get enough of their interim boss." He "was not the only one to receive a warm welcome from the Japanese fans." The Spaniard "was greeted by fans wanting his autograph, which was a far cry from the boos and jeers that welcomed him at Stamford Bridge when he was unveiled as manager last month against Manchester City" (DAILY MAIL, 12/11).
People and Pop Culture
It was Australian football's "marriage made in heaven," but the ALESSANDRO DEL PIERO-Sydney FC union "may not see another season despite the Italian legend indicating he would like to activate the second year of a A$4M ($4.2M) contract," according to Ray Gatt of THE AUSTRALIAN. Del Piero said that "discussions had taken place between his management and the club about playing on next season but that the situation had turned into a waiting game." Del Piero: "We have been talking. We are waiting (for) what it (the club) decide ... they wait (for) me. Everybody is waiting." Although "he was diplomatic about the situation," sources close to the Italian's camp suggested that he had become "frustrated by the lack of action" from his new team. The club "won plaudits for its initiative and ambition in Del Piero, but poor results have pushed the club to the bottom of the table and home crowds have fallen dramatically." And that, in turn, "has affected the Sky Blues' bottom line" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 12/12).
Former Williams team Chair ADAM PARR said that the "European Commission should examine terms F1 has promised top-ranked teams Ferrari and Red Bull to see if the payments are anti-competitive," according to Alex Duff of BLOOMBERG. Parr said, "There’s a strong case that an unequal division of power and money to a subset of teams is unlawful." He is not convinced F1 "is organized with the right principles of fair competition." Parr, a former lawyer, first made such comments in a comic book called “The Art of War,” which was published Nov. 29 and is about his five years in Formula One. He said he quit Williams because "rightly or wrongly" he felt that F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE "was withholding an offer of new terms to the nine-time champion while he was managing its affairs." Parr said that "teams are unwilling to complain to the 27-nation European Union’s exec arm about preferential treatment" because they are "highly dependent on goodwill" from the commercial rights holder (BLOOMBERG, 12/11).
EPL West Ham United has had its fair share of "D'oh" moments over the years, but now it is "the latest Premier League club to be immortalised in the award-winning cartoon, The Simpsons," according to Matt Lawless of the London DAILY MAIL. The newly-promoted Hammers "have made a promising start to the season." And it seems that the efforts of Manager SAM ALLARDYCE's side has "not gone unnoticed across the pond" after the club was "given a surprise mention on the legendary comedy show." In the seventh episode of the current -- and 24th -- series, titled The Day The Earth Stood Cool, BART and LISA "are amazed to discover a 'West Ham United' banner as they enter the Bohemian bedroom of new neighbour, T-REX." The club was thrilled by the appearance and tweeted: "West Ham United were delighted to be featured in The Simpsons episode "The Day The Earth Stood Cool"!" Although "there are no posters of the likes of CARLTON COLE, MARK NOBLE and KEVIN NOLAN in T-Rex's room," West Ham can consider itself "among an elite list of celebrity guest stars on the show." TONY BLAIR, SIMON COWELL, RICKY GERVAIS, GORDON RAMSEY and STING "are some of the notable British A-listers to have appeared in Springfield, along with other sporting greats including SERENA and VENUS WILLIAMS, LEBRON JAMES and OSCAR DE LA HOYA" (DAILY MAIL, 12/11).
CHRIS TOWNSEND, the former marketer who raised £2.4M to stage the London Games, "will look to replicate the feat for a new Paramount Pictures theme park in Kent," England. Townsend, who was commercial Dir at LOCOG, "has been appointed in the same role at the company creating the Paramount Pictures entertainment park" (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 12/11). ... U.S.-based service company Aramark’s VAL CARTER and French-based catering company Sodexo’s THOMAS JELLEY "have been named ‘game changers’ by Business in the Community." Carter, Aramark’s corporate responsibility and training director, "has played a part in initiatives such as the global Aramark Building Community volunteering programme and lead sponsorship of City Year in London." Jelley, corporate citizenship manager for Sodexo’s U.K. and Ireland business, "is co-author of the contract caterer’s global sustainability strategy to '20" (CATERER SEARCH, 12/5). ... Confederation of African Football President ISSA HAYATOU has been nominated uncontested for another four-year term. The news sets up Cameroon's Hayatou to lengthen his tenure at the helm of African football to almost 30 years since his election to the post in '88, "but there is still a chance he may face a rival in the elections next year" (REUTERS, 12/11).
A BIG GOODBYE: Germany-based Constantin Medien AG COO of Sports THILO PROFF, who is also the managing director of Constantin Medien subsidiaries Sport1, Constantin Sport and PLAZAMEDIA, resigned from the group "for personal reasons." Constantin Medien AG CEO BERNHARD BURGENER "now bears the operating responsibility for Sport1 and the entire sports segment with immediate effect." ANTONIO ARRIGONI "assumes the managing director position of PLAZAMEDIA and Constantin Sport Medien in addition to his function as CFO of Constantin Medien AG." The positions of the present commercial director of the sports companies, MARKUS MAXIMILIAN STURM, "will be assumed by LEIF ARNE ANDERS for Sport1 and Constantin Sport Marketing, and by MARKUS PIEPER for PLAZAMEDIA and Constantin Sport Medien." Proff had held his position at Constantin Medien AG since March 1 (4 TRADERS, 12/10). Proff "has reportedly been on sick leave for a long period of time" (DIGITAL FERNSEHEN, 12/11).
COACHES/MANAGERS: Slovenia national football coach SLAVIŠA STOJANOVIČ has resigned with his side having taken just three points from its first four FIFA World Cup Group E games. The FA of Slovenia has yet to announce his replacement, but has until March 22 before the national team has its next competitive fixture, at home against Iceland (UEFA).
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DAVID BECKHAM "is in line for a role at the FA after Chair DAVID BERNSTEIN hailed the former England captain as a unique sporting figure." Bernstein "also recognises the star quality that surrounds Beckham," and he is keen for the midfielder "to become involved within the FA in some capacity." Bernstein said, "He is an asset that English football should treasure, and I hope at some stage that perhaps the FA and David Beckham can get close together" (London DAILY MAIL, 12/11). ... EPL West Ham United’s fine start to the season "suffered unexpected disruption" Tuesday night when it was reported that Manager WALLY DOWNES had left the club. The 51-year-old had been a member of the coaching staff for two years but he was said to have departed by "mutual consent." There had been "no indication" of any disharmony at the club (LONDON TIMES, 12/12). .... German Hockey League (DEL) club Adler Mannheim "has signed NHL Buffalo Sabres forward JOCHEN HECHT during the league's lockout." The 35-year-old German native said, "As soon as all the formalities are resolved, I'll once again wear the Mannheim jersey." Hecht played from '94-98 and again during the '04-05 season for the Adler (SID, 12/10).
BEST OF THE YEAR: The Int'l Tennis Federation named NOVAK DJOKOVIC of Serbia and American SERENA WILLIAMS the 2012 ITF World Champions. Americans BOB and MIKE BRYAN were named Men's Doubles World Champions for the ninth time in 10 years, while SARA ERRANI and ROBERTA VINCI of Italy became Women's Doubles World Champions for the first time. Canada's FILIP PELIWO and TAYLOR TOWNSEND of the U.S. were named ITF Junior World Champions, while the ITF Wheelchair World Champions were ESTHER VERGEER of the Netherlands and France's STEPHANE HOUDET (ITF). ... The UAE's Abu Dhabi Cricket Council is preparing to "play a benefit match" for former batsman MOHAMMED ISHAQ. A car crash in '09 left Ishaq "paralysed below the waist" (THE NATIONAL, 12/10).
TIME TO SPARE: Brasileiro Santos striker NEYMAR is spending his vacation in Disneyland (FOLHA DE S. PAULO, 12/11). ... LANCE ARMSTRONG "has been given three weeks to appeal a decision by cycling's governing body to strip him of all the titles he has won in the past 14 years." The 41-year-old "has been officially informed that his results dating back to Aug. 1, 1998 have been nullified" (BLOOMBERG, 12/11).
FIFA President SEPP BLATTER: "Impressive #DohaGOALS presentation by Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee on preparations including stadia, transport, legacy and more. Congrats"
Triple jump world record holder JONATHAN EDWARDS: "Sports participation a pyramid structure. Sports economics an inverted pyramid #dohagoals"
London Daily Mirror's OLIVER HOLT: "When @McIlroyRory had to rush to Medinah to make his tee time on final day, what make of car took him there. Book for 1st right answer" ... "Bet even @McIlroyRory doesn't know the answer to that one"
London Times' GEORGE CAULKIN: "Finally getting round to doing Euro 2012 expenses. Favourite submission so far: sleeping on park bench - £0.00."
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