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Volume 6 No. 215

People and Pop Culture

BBC "Match of the Day" presenter GARY LINEKER got an early start to his football career. At age 16, Lineker left school to play for Leicester City, later moving to Everton and Barcelona. He joined Tottenham in '89 before finishing his career with Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight. Lineker, 52, who lives in southwest London with his wife, Danielle, recently talked about his career, charities and football salaries with Natalie Graham of the FINANCIAL TIMES.

FT: Do you want to carry on until you drop?
LINEKER: I will certainly try to carry on for as long as I am fit and healthy. I feel fortunate that because of what I have achieved in my professional life I am in a position where I can make a difference, either through raising funds or raising awareness. I enjoy what I do, so I don’t see it as onerous. It is a great thing to be paid to watch football, which is something that I would do anyway, even when retirement is forced upon me.

FT: What is your commitment to charity?
LINEKER: Probably not enough. I don’t think you can ever do enough really. One of my sons was treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital for leukaemia. I will always feel I have some debt towards the hospital for their brilliance, and the way they got him through it. George was just a couple of months old when he was taken ill, but he is 21 now and he is fine. I am the patron of the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity Tick Tock Club, a major donor club. Members pledge £25,000 ($39,500) a year for three years, and we have a number of get-togethers a year that I host. Overall we have raised £20.6M ($32.6M) in the past six years. It’s amazing to see that the work has come to fruition. The facilities are so much better than they were a couple of years ago.

FT: Do you think Premier League footballers are overpaid?
LINEKER: Yes, footballers have always been overpaid. You cannot justify their salary to someone who does a real job, like a nurse or firefighter, but it is the entertainment business. Top musicians and actors don’t really deserve what they get either. Top players today are getting between £100,000 ($158,000) and £200,000 ($316,000) a week, which really is quite remarkable (FINANCIAL TIMES, 1/25).

Triathlon England has appointed four new members to its Management Board, following the organization's Annual General Meeting at the end of '12. GEMMA HERBERTSON has been appointed as the director of membership services, BILL JAMES to independent director for business, JOHN MILLS as director for England talent and SALLY LOCKYER as the organization's first director for communications and marketing (Triathlon England).

COACHES/MANAGERS: Scottish Premier League club Motherwell Manager STUART MCCALL has been appointed as assistant national coach. The former Scotland midfielder will work with Manager GORDON STRACHAN and Assistant Manager MARK MCGHEE, who were appointed last week (London TELEGRAPH, 1/24). ... Indian Premier League team Mumbai Indians appointed former India coach JOHN WRIGHT as its head coach ahead of the season, which begins on April 3. The former New Zealand opening batsman "had a successful stint as coach of the Indian team" from '00-05 and then "guided his home country" from Dec. '10 - July '12 (PTI, 1/27). ... Indian Premier League team Rajasthan Royals have appointed former Indian national cricket team mental conditioning coach PADDY UPTON as its head coach. He instructed the Indian national team "that went on to win" the 2011 Int'l Cricket Council World Cup (PTI, 1/25).

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Former French football int'l NICOLAS ANELKA has agreed to a deal with Juventus. The 33-year-old will move to the club on a five-month loan from Chinese team Shanghai Shenua (LE PARISIEN, 1/26). ... Olympic Silver Medal-winning cox and double boat race winner ACER NETHERCOTT "has died at the age of 35." The cause of his death "has not yet been announced." Nethercott, who was from Essex, coxed the British men's eight to Olympic Silver in Beijing in '08 (SUNDAY TIMES, 1/27). ... World leaders, including Myanmar’s democracy leader AUNG SAN SUU KYI and athletes such as former NBA player YAO MING of China and U.S. figure skater MICHELLE KWAN will visit South Korea "for the Special Olympics Global Development Summit on Wednesday." They join Malawi President JOYCE BANDA, Jamaican PM PORTIA SIMPSON MILLER and Bangladesh PM SHEIKH HASINA at the meeting (KOREA TIMES, 1/27). ... Indonesian football club Persebaya coach MIROSLAV JANU passed away at the Jemursari Islamic Hospital on Thursday at the age of 53, "reportedly due to a heart attack" (JAKARTA POST, 1/25).

talkSPORT's IAN ABRAHAMS: "UEFA confirm Euro 2020 will be held in 13 Cities - dont know about you but I think this is bonkers"

Tennis journalist MATT CRONIN: "Djokovic off to Belgium in a few hours for DC, but first handed out chocolates to the media. He says new ATP tradition after titles"

Limelight Sports Dir of Strategy CHARLIE GREENWOOD: "Great finish to the @MiamiHEAT & @celtics game. #NBAonSky starting to become a fixture on Sunday nights" ... "Kind of unusual to watch an @espn feed on sky sports though, especially when @ESPNUK have the rights to the other nba games in the uk"

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