Despite his "sometimes garbled grammar and controversial opinions," FIFA President SEPP BLATTER said that when he finally steps down from his post in '15 "he would like to become a match analyst on TV and radio," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. Given his "longstanding aversion to technology, it is also unclear how Blatter would fare with Sky's studio gadgetry." However, the 76-year-old said he planned to "live a dream he had when he was a young boy" and work in the media as a "radio commentator or reporter." When it was suggested he could become a Sky Sports pundit, he replied: "I would comment on the games, but I would not say 'now he passes right or left' because everybody can see that on TV, but I would make my comments on tactics or techniques" (GUARDIAN, 1/14).
People and Pop Culture
F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE said that "he is prepared to testify in a trial," which will take place at London's High Court in October concerning a $44M bribe, according to Sylt & Reid of the London TELEGRAPH. The bribe was allegedly paid to German banker GERHARD GRIBKOWSKY "to steer the sale" of F1 to current owner, private equity firm CVC. The case has been brought by former part owner of F1 Constantin Medien, which claims that Ecclestone and Gribkowsky "conspired to undervalue F1 when it was sold to CVC" in '06 for $1.7B. Ecclestone said, "I'm prepared to give evidence in court and there will be a few others [who do so] as well. I wish they would bring it forward. It's going to be amusing." Ecclestone "has not been charged with any wrongdoing in Germany," but Constantin Medien has filed a civil suit against him in the U.K. (TELEGRAPH, 1/14).
Chivas de Guadalajara and Chivas USA named DENNIS TE KLOESE sporting president. Te Kloese was general coordinator of the Mexican Soccer Federation’s national youth teams (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/14 issue). ... Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati "continues to change personnel at its MotoGP racing team." Italian media outlets report that former co-Team Manager ALESSANDRO CICOGNANI "is moving into Ducati Motor." Previously, the team's Technical Dir FILIPPO PREZIOSI "was removed from his position" and he, too, was absorbed into Ducati Motor (SPORT1, 1/13). ... Italian Football Federation (FIGC) President GIANCARLO ABETE has been re-elected to lead the organization for the next four years. The 62-year-old ran unopposed (EUROSPORT, 1/14). ... Indonesia President SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO named Democratic Party lawmaker and self-proclaimed telecom expert ROY SURYO as head of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs" (JAKARTA GLOBE, 1/11). ... Scuderia Ferrari "has appointed 27-year-old RENATO BISIGNANI as chief press officer." Bisignani, who has been with Ferrari since '10 as business development manager, replaces LUCA COLAJANNI (LA PRESSE, 1/14).
DEPARTURE UNDER PRESSURE: Cricket New South Wales CEO DAVID GILBERT has resigned after 11 years in the role. Gilbert fronted a board meeting Monday "where it is understood he faced serious pressure to fall on his sword, or risk being sacked." Gilbert claimed that it was "his decision to step down" and said that he "had not been influenced by outside pressures." Gilbert: "I am now at the point where I am ready to take on a new challenge" (AAP, 1/15). Gilbert "has been under intense scrutiny on several fronts, most notably the abysmal performance of the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League and the decision to appoint ANTHONY STUART as state coach over the highly credentialed TREVOR BAYLISS" (Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH, 1/15).
MANAGERS/COACHES: Sources close to La Liga Sevilla President JOSÉ MARIA DEL NIDO revealed that he will relieve head coach MICHEL of his duties Monday evening (AS, 1/14). ... La Liga B Villareal has let go of head coach JULIO VELAZQUEZ (L'EQUIPE, 1/14).
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England wicketkeeper SARAH TAYLOR could take a small step toward becoming the first woman to play county cricket this summer after Sussex "made an informal offer to select her for their second XI." Taylor, the world’s No. 1 batsman in women’s Twenty20 matches and No. 3 in one-day internationals, is in line to play for Sussex’s reserve side after England women’s head coach MARK LANE recommended her to the county. Taylor: "It is daunting but brilliant that he backs me to do it in men’s cricket." No date has been set for Taylor to make her second XI county debut, but "she will prepare for the challenge by playing in the men’s Birmingham and District Premier League for Walmley, in Sutton Coldfield" (LONDON TIMES, 1/14). ... Barcelona striker LIONEL MESSI will present his fourth Ballon d'Or award to Barça fans before Wednesday's home game against Malaga (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 1/14). ... Bundesliga club Hannover 96 has signed Brazilian midfielder FRANCA. The 21-year-old signed a contract until June 30, 2016 (Hannover 96). ... China's LI MAO has joined Malaysia's New Vision badminton club as coach. He "will be working with the top shuttlers from the centre," co-owned by former int'l players YEOH KAY BIN and K. YOGENDRAN (THE STAR, 1/14).
London Times' JEREMY WHITTLE: "No crocodile tears from Nicole Cooke; just real anger and justified rage - the same rage that marked her best wins"
London Telegraph's PAUL KELSO: "Say what you like about Nike McIlroy announcement, it looked nice and warm #poloshirts"
Spanish tennis player RAFAEL NADAL: "The @AustralianOpen already underway. I miss being in # Melbourne! Hope you enjoy the tournament!"
Northern Irish golfer RORY MCILORY: "So pumped to officially be a Nike athlete!!! Can't wait to do many great things in the SWOOSH! @nikegolf"
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