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Volume 6 No. 211

People and Pop Culture

Former pro cyclist JÖRGE JAKSCHE told a Madrid court that Spanish blood doctor EUFEMIANO FUENTES would charge €4,000 ($5,365) for "transfusing one bag of blood, but offered a discount for two bags," according to Jacquelin Magnay of the London TELEGRAPH. The evidence "may prove devastating" for Fuentes and former Liberty Seguros Team Manager MANOLO SAIZ, both of whom face two years in jail for "health malpractice charges." Jaksche, the first of a number of int'l cyclists to give evidence, explained "how he became involved in an extensive doping programme." Jakschke told the court that the marked points on a map of France were "locations where Saiz and Fuentes had decided where the transfusions and injections of drugs would take place." The locations were uncovered during the '06 Civil Guard raids on Fuentes' premises (TELEGRAPH, 2/11). BLOOMBERG's Alex Duff reported Jaksche said there were so many points on the map "you could hardly see France." Fuentes is among five defendants on trial for a "crime against public health" by overseeing a doping ring that was uncovered in a '06 Spanish police investigation called "Operacion Puerto," or "Operation Mountain Pass." Prosecutors are "seeking a two-year prison sentence for each." Police initially linked as many as 58 pro cyclists to the ring, based on "wire taps, training notes and other evidence found in raids on apartments in Madrid" (BLOOMBERG, 2/11).

French pay-TV broadcaster Canal+ has appointed deputy COO JACQUES DU PUY chairman and CEO of Canal+ Overseas. Du Puy succeeds GUY LAFARGE, who worked for the group for almost 10 years (Canal+). ... In the wake of Australian Football League club Essendon's scandal over performance enhancing drugs, CEO IAN ROBSON is "standing down from a recently convened AFL working party on illicit drugs" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/11). ... Athletics Australia has appointed former UK Athletics Head of Performance Operations SIMON NATHAN to fill the newly created position of high performance director. Nathan is expected to start in mid-March in Melbourne (Athletics Australia). ... Sri Lanka Cricket appointed MICHAEL DE ZOYSA as the manager of the national cricket team. De Zoysa replaces CHARITH SENANAYAKE (PTI, 2/11).

COACHES/MANAGERS: La Liga Deportivo de la Coruña has appointed former Celta Vigo coach FERNANDO VAZQUEZ as head coach. Vazquez will replace DOMINGOS PACIENCIA who resigned after the team's 3-0 loss to Granada (MARCA, 2/11). ... A-League Perth Glory Owner TONY SAGE announced that coach IAN FERGUSON has become the latest "coaching casualty." Ferguson joins IAN CROOK (Sydney FC), RADO VIDOSIC (Brisbane Roar) and JOHN KOSMINA (Adelaide United) "as coaches who have left their roles during the season." Former Socceroo ALISTAIR EDWARDS "will take over" as interim coach for the rest of the season (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/11). ... National Rugby League club Melbourne Storm coach CRAIG BELLAMY said that "his bond with the players and the team that he has helped build" was the reason for re-signing with the club until at least the end of '16. Bellamy fronted a press conference with Storm CEO RON GAUCI to confirm he had "turned down at least two other NRL clubs to stay put" (THE AGE, 2/12).

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F1 team Scuderia Ferrari has "brought back Formula 1 design legend RORY BYRNE to work on the car" it will race in '14. Byrne, 69, "was the chief designer on the cars with which MICHAEL SCHUMACHER won all seven of his world titles, two with Benetton and five with Ferrari" (BBC, 2/11). ... Barcelona goalkeeper JOSE MANUEL PINTO has extended his contract with the club through June 30, 2014 (MARCA, 2/11). ... Chinese sailor GUO CHUAN "crossed the zero meridian" on Sunday, which was also the Lunar New Year Day, in his non-stop solo sailing expedition around the world. Guo celebrated the Chinese New Year with his wife and two sons through online video (XINHUA, 2/11). ... Football Association of Albania (FShF) Exec Committee Member & Futsal Organisation of Albania President ALFRED ZIJAI has died at the age of 52. Zijai was one of the most popular players with KS Flamurtari in the '80s, spending his entire career with his hometown club (UEFA). ... A Romanian court said that FC Steaua Bucharest Owner GIGI BECALI "has been handed a suspended three-year prison sentence for illegally detaining three people" (REUTERS, 2/11).

SIDE EFFECTS: Russian figure skater EVGENY PLUSCHENKO "is planning to sue a TV commentator, who called reports about the athlete’s spine surgery fake." While commentating on the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships for the Eurosport 2 channel on Saturday ANDREY ZHURNAKOV said: "That surgery never took place. The way it was reported in the media, with only Channel One making a story on it … all this reminds me of the strategy used to make PR-moves in show business." Pluschenko said, "I will defend my honor and dignity because it was an insult not only to me personally but to my whole family" (RUSSIA TODAY, 2/11). ... Bath and former England hooker LEE MEARS "has been forced to retire from rugby because of a heart problem." The 33-year-old "has spent 16 years at The Rec, making 268 appearances, and has been capped 42 times for his country" (BBC, 2/11).

Sydney Morning Herald's BRAD WALTER: "I am prepared to give the Warriors benefit of doubt due to time difference - we know the other 6 but I was told 7 Nrl clubs & 9 AFL clubs"

Sky F1 pit reporter TANJA BAUER: "#F1Sky ferrari holt rory byrne zurück! ist zwar schon 69 aber hat 7 wm autos für michael gebaut. ob sich adrian newey warm anziehen muss-:)?" ... ("#F1Sky ferrari rehires rory byrne! already 69 but built 7 world championship cars for michael. should adrian newey be afraid:-)?")

Former sports business exec PATRICK NALLY: "Instead of dropping one Olympic sport how about dropping them all and have them present their case to be reinstated? A regular health check"

Bloomberg's TARIQ PANJA: "Revealing comments from John Henry that some FSG partners weren't keen on LFC. That said he's by far the biggest partner"

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