Names In The News
Two-time Olympic Gold Medal-winning swimmer SUN YANG "is at the centre of a national scandal in China after becoming a night-time party boy, skipping training sessions and posting pictures of his secret girlfriend online." The Huashang newspaper in Xi'an said Sun must realize he is classified as a "son of the country" and must adhere to the sport's rules (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/7). ... Somalia President HASSAN SHEIKH MOHAMUD said that Olympian MO FARAH "could play a leading role in a small army of Britons recruited to unite and inspire their native Somalia" after 22 years of civil war. Mohamud said Farah is an "ideal choice to help rebuild the 'new Somalia' as it emerged from violent anarchy." Mohamud: "I intend to approach him" (LONDON TIMES, 2/6).
FIGHTING THE TAX MAN: Former Argentinian footballer DIEGO MARADONA claimed that "he was no fraudster in a video put out by his lawyer," disputing a claim that "he owes Italian tax authorities millions of euros." Maradona was convicted in '05 and ordered to pay €37.2M, including €23.5M in interest for late payments. A court in November, however, said that there had been "procedural errors and ordered a new investigation" (AFP, 2/6). ... French Cyclist Federation President DAVID LAPPARTIENT revealed he will run for the presidency of the European Cycling Union (DIRECT VELO, 2/6). ... Brazilian singer ROBERTO CARLOS is "negotiating his participation" in the 2014 World Cup celebrations. "The King," as he is known in Brazil, has sold more than 110 million albums worldwide in his career (BBC Brasil, 2/6). ... FIFA President SEPP BLATTER began a six-day trip to Africa that will take him to Mauritania, Guinea, Botswana and South Africa, where he will attend the finals of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (AFRIQUE JET, 2/6).
IN THE U.K.: League Championship Birmingham City winger PETER LOVENKRANDS was "mugged outside his home last week," with the thieves escaping with a diamond-encrusted watch worth £30,000 ($46,962) (London INDEPENDENT, 2/6). ... UEFA President MICHEL PLATINI has "offered an olive branch" to Scottish Premier League club Celtic by announcing he plans to attend the club's Champions League clash with Juventus. Platini "enraged Celtic fans" when he dismissed the club's chances shortly after the draw was made (SCOTSMAN, 2/6). ... AC Milan VP PAOLO BERLUSCONI has "sparked outrage for a racist remark" about new striker MARIO BALOTELLI. Berlusconi was "filmed speaking at a rally" for his brother's right-wing People of Freedom party, where he described Balotelli as "the family's little n****" (EUROSPORT, 2/6).
ALL DRESSED UP: Six Nations players CHRIS ROBSHAW (England), JAMIE ROBERTS (Wales), JAMIE HEASLIP (Ireland) and KELLY BROWN (Scotland) "swapped fly-halves for fly boys as they donned airline pilot costumes and posed with some air stewardesses to promote a Guinness competition" (London DAILY MAIL, 2/6). ... England and Wales Cricket Board's Association of Cricket Officials announced that Surrey ACO Chair & ECB ACO honorary life member DAVID EDWARDS "collapsed and died" Monday morning. Edwards had served as Surrey's secretary of appointments officer for 29 years, and he most recently held the role of secretary for the Surrey Championship (ECB ACO). ... A new play tackling the issue of homosexuality in Premier League football, alongside the complexity of the modern family will run at The Courtyard Theatre in London. "Love thy Brother" is a new play that does not pull any punches and is bound to stir up controversy. It is GEORGE MCLEAN's debut as a writer on the fringe, working with Director SEAN TURNER (The Courtyard Theatre).