Italian striker MARIO BALOTELLI’s broken relationship with Man City has reached the stage where the club has "eschewed disciplinary guidelines agreed with the Professional Footballers’ Association and Premier League to punish the forward for repeated on-field transgressions," according to Mark Ogden of the London TELEGRAPH. With the player "likely to continue his action against the club should a Premier League tribunal find in City’s favour on Wednesday, the lack of potential buyers emerging for Balotelli next month has raised the prospect of a divisive legal battle between the two parties running into the new year." Balotelli "has been fined a total of two weeks’ wages, (£340,000, $552,6000) for missing more than 20% of City’s fixtures last season due to suspension." Man City has "applied the sanction and issued an internal charge of misconduct, on the basis that Balotelli has breached his contract" (TELEGARPH, 12/17).
People and Pop Culture
Cyclist BRADLEY WIGGINS "will lead an unprecedented list of sporting knights and dames in the New Year Honours list, with the new BBC Sports Personality of the Year one of four athletes likely to receive the highest recognition given to active sportsmen and women" in the U.K, according to Paul Kelso of the London TELEGRAPH. Wiggins and four-time Olympic sailing Gold Medalist BEN AINSLIE "have been recommended for knighthoods in the list, which will be published on Dec 29." Cyclist SARAH STOREY will also be "recommended for a damehood." It is understood that four-time London 2012 Paralympic champion DAVID WEIR "has also been considered for a knighthood." DAVE BRAILSFORD "will receive a knighthood for his work as performance director of British Cycling and Team Sky, as will PAUL DEIGHTON, the CEO of LOCOG." Other leading stars of '12, including JESSICA ENNIS and MO FARAH "can expect to receive honours, but given their relative youth, and the fact this was their first Olympic Games, they were not considered for the highest recognition" (TELEGRAPH, 12/17).
Former Sauber F1 driver KAMUI KOBAYASHI "has given up hope to get one of the few remaining F1 cockpits," according to BLICK. Kobayashi wrote on his website, "Unfortunately, the time was not long enough, and I couldn't acquire a cockpit for 2013 in a competitive team. It is very sad, and I'm very sorry for my fans and the Japanese companies that have supported me." Kobayashi also told his fans "to stop donating money." The fans of the 26-year-old "have donated almost CHF 9.5M ($10.4M) in the past several weeks to keep him in F1" (BLICK, 12/18).
|F1 Driver Lineup for '13
||Red Bull Racing
||Red Bull Racing
||Paul di Resta
Williams F1 team Chief Engineer MARK GILLAN will step down "with immediate effect." A Williams spokesperson said that Gillian "is voluntarily leaving his position to spend more time with his family." A successor for Gillian has not been announced yet (AUTO BILD, 12/17). ... Nike revealed Tuesday that ROGER WYETT, president of its affiliates, will become the company's VP of action sports "with responsibility for the Nike brand's skateboarding and snow businesses, as well as Hurley International LLC." Actions Sports VP SANDY BODECKER "will now work on special projects involving long-term product innovation." In addition, Nike revealed that CEO of Converse Inc. JIM CALHOUN "will report directly" to company CEO MARK PARKER (Portland OREGONIAN, 12/18).
COACHES/MANAGERS: Bundesliga club 1899 Hoffenheim has appointed MARCO KURZ as head coach. The former head coach of 2nd Bundesliga club Kaiserslautern "will take over the team from interim coach FRANK KRAMER." Kurz reportedly "will sign a contract until '14 with Hoffenheim" (SPIEGEL, 12/18). ... Bulgarian top-flight football team PFC Cherno More Varna "has sacked coach ADALBERT ZAFIROV and seven players on Monday after a bad run of results" left them 10th in the top flight and out of the domestic cup. Local media outlets speculate that "former national team player GEORGI IVANOV is the top candidate for the vacant position" (SID, 12/17). ... RADO VIDOSIC "has become the second A-League coaching casualty this season after he was sensationally dumped by Brisbane Roar" Tuesday night. In a shock move, the club said that Vidosic "had been moved to a different role as technical director and replaced by former Gold Coast United coach MIKE MULVEY." In announcing the move via a statement late Tuesday, the Roar confirmed it had "restructured" the football department (THE AUSTRALIAN, 12/19). .. Chinese Super League club Guizhou Renhe revealed that GAO HONGBO "has resigned as the club’s manager." Guizhou said that Gao "wants to go abroad to further his coaching knowledge, leading him to come to this decision." Assistant Manager GONG LEI will take over the team (WILD EAST FOOTBALL, 12/18).
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The Lotus F1 team extended its contract with French driver ROMAIN GROSJEAN for the '13 season. The appointment of Grosjean, who has been with the team since '11, and Finnish driver KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN completes the team's diver lineup for '13 (MOTORSPORT MAGAZIN, 12/17). ... German NBA Dallas Mavericks player DIRK NOWITZKI, who is currently injured, "will not play for the German national basketball team at the EuroBasket 2013 in Slovenia." Mavericks Owner MARK CUBAN has said, even ahead of Nowitzki's injury, that he "would not allow him to play for his national team." Cuban said, "I'd rather shoot myself in the foot before allowing him that. I know how important it is for him to represent his country. However, in such cases it is about business. It is only about the money" (KICKER, 12/17). ... F1 driver BRUNO SENNA "continues to negotiate" a ride with the Force India team for next season (FOLHA DE S. PAULO, 12/18). ... Liverpool midfielder SUSO "has been fined £10,000 ($16,000) and warned about his future conduct by the FA after he called teammate JOSE ENRIQUE 'gay' in November." Enrique later took to Twitter to express his surprise at Suso's punishment. He tweeted, "Is amazing how FA can fine my friend Suso Fernandez for a banter thing. Was just a joke!!!" (London MIRROR, 12/18). ... Paralympic coach JENNI BANKS has been appointed as UK Athletics’ wheelchair racing coach in the latest coaching appointment by UKA Performance Dir NEIL BLACK. UKA has also confirmed that UKA physician Dr. ROBIN CHAKRAVERTY has been appointed as chief medical officer, following the departure of Dr. PAUL DIJKSTRA who leaves UK Athletics in January following a successful seven-year stint with the governing body (UKA). ... Four-time Melbourne Cup winner HARRY WHITE "donated all his racing memorabilia to the Victoria Racing Club to be displayed at Flemington." White decided to donate his 35 years of racing treasures because he "felt that being able to keep this collection together is best, and Flemington is where I had the most success" (HERALD SUN, 12/19).
AWARDS & HONORS: The most successful Ryder Cup Captain in history, TONY JACKLIN, was honored at the 12th annual Int'l Association of Golf Tour Operators awards ceremony, marking the conclusion of the Int'l Golf Travel Market 2012. Jacklin was guest of honor at the gala dinner, staged at the Tivoli Marina Hotel, Vilamoura, Portugal, which brought the curtain down on the most successful IGTM to date, which saw almost 13,000 delegates from 47 countries in attendance (IGTM). ... COLIN MONTGOMERIE and KEN SCHOFIELD will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum. They will be honored along with fellow '13 inductees FRED COUPLES, WILLIE PARK JR. and KEN VENTURI at the Induction Ceremony on May 6 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, U.S. The ceremony will once again kick off The Players Championship week (World Golf Hall of Fame).
AP's STEVE WILSON: "Sad commentary on the state of #basketball in Britain: The sport will get ZERO funding for 2013-17 Olympic cycle. #olympics"
ManU's RIO FERDINAND: "Just been to the disabled supporters xmas party with the team, loads of photos+signings etc,always a pleasure for the lads. Great supporters"
Man City's VINCENT KOMPANY: "Would have liked Mo Farah to at least make the podium but nevertheless, a Britt/Belgian and a legend won the #SPOTY2012 Congratulations!"
FC Barcelona's GERARD PIQUE: "Contento por la victoria ante un gran equipo y por cumplir 200 partidos con la camiseta del FCBarcelona! Espero que puedan ser muchos más!" ("Happy about the victory against a good team and for having played 200 games with the FCBarcelona jersey! I hope it can be much more!")
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