Former Indian Olympic Association President SURESH KALMADI pleaded not guilty in court on Monday to "an array of corruption charges related to his handling of the chaotic Delhi Commonwealth Games" in '10, according to the AFP. Kalmadi, a lawmaker for the ruling Congress party, "faces charges of criminal conspiracy, forgery, abuse of office and intimidation over a contract awarded to Swiss Timing, which is part of the Swatch luxury goods empire." Swiss Timing won a 1.1B rupee ($21M) contract to serve as the official timekeeper and results provider of the Games. Kalmadi signed a statement to "declare his innocence of all charges and did not address the court." In the police report detailing their evidence against Kalmadi, Swiss Timing is "accused of paying money to companies as kickbacks to Kalmadi" and others via its local partner Gem Int'l (AFP, 2/4).
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Broadcasters CLARE BALDING and STAN COLLYMORE "have led the tributes" to commentator DAVID OATES, who has died after a short illness at the age of 50, according to Mike Dawes of the London DAILY MAIL. Former Liverpool striker Collymore wrote on his Twitter account: "Sincere condolences to Lotty & Family at hearing the sad news of the death of David Oates. Worked with him many times, devastating news." Balding tweeted: "So shocked that BBC friend & colleague David Oates has died. He was a loveable Eeyore." Rugby Football League CEO NIGEL WOOD added: "David was not just a friend to the sport, he was a friend to many people at the RFL and we are shocked and saddened by his untimely death. As a broadcaster he was the consummate professional" (DAILY MAIL, 2/4). Head of radio sport RICHARD BURGESS said, "Everyone at BBC Radio Sport is in shock at this terrible news. David was a trusted and much-loved colleague who provided many years of loyal service to the BBC." Acting controller of BBC Radio 5 live JONATHAN WALL said, "No one ever had a bad word to say about David." Fellow TV and radio broadcaster NICKY CAMPBELL tweeted, "RIP David Oates. Wonderful pro. Lovely human being" (BBC, 2/3).
FA of Moldova President PAVEL CEBANU has been re-elected and will serve a fifth term at the helm of the organization. The vote took place at the association's congress in the capital, Chisinau (UEFA). ... Essex County Cricket Club named DEREK BOWDEN its CEO, taking up the role early in the '13 season. Bowden will succeed DAVID EAST, who ended 12 years in the post at the end of last year to take the same role at Abu Dhabi Cricket Club and the Emirates Cricket Board (Essex CCC).
COACHES/MANAGERS: Former Real Madrid midfielder MÌCHEL has been named coach of Greek side Olympiacos FC. He succeeds LEONARDO JARDIM, who was relieved of his duties on Jan.19, the same day Míchel was fired by Sevilla FC. Míchel has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Piraeus side (UEFA).
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Tennis world No. 6 TOMAS BERDYCH has pulled out of the Open Sud de France in Montpellier (L'EQUIPE, 2/4). ... Korean Olympic Committee President PARK YONG-SUNG revealed that "he will not seek another term in the office" (KOREA JOONGANG DAILY, 2/5). ... South Korean figure skater KIM YU-NA will perform with American MICHELLE KWAN in the Closing Ceremony of the Special Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Kim and Kwan, who have won six world championships between them, "will put on an ice dance performance." Canadian choreographer DAVID WILSON, who has worked with Kim for several seasons, "handled the choreography" for the ceremony (YONHAP, 2/4). ... The man who threw a plastic beer bottle at competitors at the start of the London Olympic men's 100m final, ASHLEY GILL-WEBB, "has been sentenced to an eight-week community order" (PA, 2/4).
AND THE AWARD GOES TO...: Daily Mail Exec Sports Editor MATT LAWTON has won an award from the FA "for his unrivalled coverage of the England football team over the past year." The Brian Woolnough Award celebrates "journalistic excellence for England coverage" (London DAILY MAIL, 2/3). ... The FA revealed that Liverpool midfielder STEVEN GERRARD "has won his second England player of the year award." Gerrard beat ManU striker DANNY WELBECK and Chelsea defender ASHLEY COLE "to become only the third player to be given the honour twice" (ESPN, 2/3). ... England blind team captain DAVID CLARKE was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by FA Chair DAVID BERNSTEIN. Clarke, who has appeared at three Paralympic Games for Great Britain, retired from playing after the London Games, but as a coach of Harpenden Colts' U7s, he will still be heavily involved in the game (FA).
London Times reporter KEVIN EASON: "The Formula 1 season officially started with a 03.20 alarm call. Jerez bound for pre season test"
Swiss sports journalist FLORIAN BOLLI: "Superpoweroutagebowl. Und wieso gibts keine NHL-Spiele? Ja, blöde Frage, I know..." ... (Superpoweroutagebowl. And why aren't there NHL games? Yes, stupid question, I know...)
Jaypee Sports Int'l Ltd. MD & CEO SAMEER GAUR: "Amazing atmosphere yesterday at MajDhyanChand stadium, had a good time watching my team @jaypeewarriors play against #Delhiwaveriders!!"
WILD EAST FOOTBALL blog: "#Drogba has not been paid for three months. #shenhua are lying."
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