Manchester City CEO Ferran Soriano is "embroiled in controversial allegations that he spied on his former colleagues at Barcelona in a plot to quash leaks that could destabilise" the Spanish club's former President and close ally Joan Laporta, according to James Ducker of the LONDON TIMES. Soriano and another former Barcelona exec are accused of overseeing "an order to monitor the internal e-mails of fellow staff at the club over a three-year period between 2005 and 2008." The allegations came to light yesterday and are thought to have come out of "a wider, recently concluded three-year fact-finding investigation by the public prosecutor’s office of Catalonia centring mainly on Laporta." Sources close to Soriano, who joined City last August, fear that he and former Barcelona Sporting Dir Txiki Begiristain, who joined Man City two months after his compatriot, "may be the subject of a smear campaign by figures in the present regime at the Nou Camp." Soriano and Begiristain left Barcelona when Laporta was succeeded as president by Sandro Rosell. It is suggested that when Soriano was VP at Barcelona he and former Manading Dir Joan Oliver used technology that allowed them "to monitor internal staff e-mails, including those of managers and directors" (LONDON TIMES, 2/20).
People and Pop Culture
Former Ipswich Town CEO SIMON CLEGG has joined Madrid's 2020 Olympic bid as a consultant. Clegg was previously CEO of the British Olympic Association from 1997-2008. He led the six year political and PR campaigns to secure a bid by London for the 2012 Games (BBC, 2/19). Int'l Rowing Federation President (FISA) DENIS OSWALD will remain in charge of the organization only for a temporary basis. Oswald revealed he would seek re-election Sept. 2 at the FISA Ordinary Congress, but only for a transitional period of six to eight months (INSIDE THE GAMES, 2/18).
COACHES/MANAGERS: La Liga Atletico Madrid coach DIEGO SIMEONE will sign a new four-year deal with the club. The Argentinian's extension will see him coach the team through June '17 (AS, 2/19). ... French men's professional basketball team ASVEL Basket has agreed to extend the contract of head coach PIERRE VINCENT. The Frenchman will be in charge of the club through '16 (L'EQUIPE, 2/19).
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Former F1 driver RALF SCHUMACHER "has signed a new one-year contract with Mercedes and will continue to drive in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM)" (SPORT1, 2/19). ... Luge athlete and two-time Asian Championships gold medalist SHIVA KESHAVAN "has been given the Olympic Solidarity scholarship" by the IOC "in his bid to qualify and compete" in Sochi '14 (THE HINDU, 2/18). ... Former Sri Lankan World Cup captain ARJUNA RANATUNGA on Tuesday said that "he will decide by next week if he will contest for president of the Cricket Board or not." The former champion said that, "he has been approached by former cricketers and some cricket clubs asking him to run for president of the board" (XINHUA, 2/19). ... JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE and JAY-Z are the first artists confirmed to headline concerts at London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The two will "top the bill" on separate nights of the Wireless festival on July 12 and 13 (BBC, 2/19).
CNN Host PIERS MORGAN: "Bayern look like Wenger's old trophy-winning Arsenal teams - tall, powerful, fast, skilful, aggressive, focused."
The Age's SAMANTHA LANE: "Remain utterly bewildered by AFL findings on Melb/non tanking today."
Spiegel Online's CHRISTIAN GÖDECKE: "Österreichische Stürmer sind wie englische Torhüter #Maierhofer" ... ("Austrian strikers are like English goalkeepers #Maierhofer")
iG Esporte's MARCELO LAGUNA: "E o caso Pistorius fica cada vez mais surreal" ... ("This Pistorius case keeps getting more surreal")
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