Golf course operators Braemar Golf announced the appointment of KEN COOPER as a new chair following the retirement of the company's founder DAVID DEAN. Cooper will take up the position for a period of 2 years (Braemar Golf). ... Another "member of the old guard that ruled Australian rugby" MATT CARROLL is leaving the Australian Rugby Union. Carroll, the long-time deputy to JOHN O'NEILL and the interim CEO following O'Neill's exit late last year, is to follow his former CEO "out the door at the end of next month." The ARU also parted company recently with its long-time high performance Dir DAVID NUCIFORA (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/26). ... Super League rugby club Castleford Tigers have named STEVE GILL as CEO on an interim basis following the resignation of STEVE FERRES. Gill has been head of the club's youth development department since '08 (Castleford Tigers). ... Scripps Networks Interactive has appointed former DirecTV Exec VP of Content Strategy and Development DEREK CHANG as managing director of Asia Pacific operations. Chang will report to Scripps Networks Interactive Int'l President JIM SAMPLES. Before joining DirecTV in '06, Chang held an exec position in finance with the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (YES Network) (INDIAN TELEVISION, 2/25).
COACHES/MANAGER: Former AC Milan midfielder GENNARO GATTUSO has been promoted to player-coach at Swiss side FC Sion, with incumbent manager VICTOR MUNOZ "demoted within the club." Munoz was demoted after fourth-placed Sion "were thrashed 4-0 by FC Thun in the Swiss Super League on Sunday." Club President CHRISTIAN CONSTANTIN was seen talking on his cell phone during the second half and "Swiss media speculated that had already decided to sack Munoz before the final whistle"(REUTERS, 2/25).
Spanish tennis player DAVID FERRER beat Switzerland's STANISLAS WAWRINKA in the final of the Buenos Aires on Sunday (EFE, 2/25). ... Brazilian footballer RONALDINHO "thought about abandoning football last year" and only changed his mind because of fans at Atlético-MG. Ronaldinho's mom, MIGUELINA, was fighting cancer and the player wanted to spend all the time he could with her "but the support of the fans made him reconsider" (IG, 2/25). ... Tennis player ANDY MURRAY has bought the £1.8M ($2.7M) Cromlix House Hotel close to his home town of Dunblane in Stirlingshire. Murray plans to transform the Victorian mansion "into a five-star venue." The refurbished hotel is scheduled to re-open next spring ahead of the 2014 Ryder Cup, "which is being staged a short drive away at Gleneagles" (London DAILY MAIL, 2/25).
AND THE OSCAR GOES...: Hollywood royalty MICHAEL DOUGLAS "delivered a congratulatory message to victorious Swansea City from the Oscars last night." Douglas, who is married to Swansea-born actress CATHERINE ZETA-JONES, "was clearly enjoying himself and revelling in the Swans' famous win." Douglas said, "Swansea won. Very happy about that" (DAILY MAIL, 2/25). ... Four time European Tour winner last season BRANDEN GRACE has joined fellow South Africans ERNIE ELS and RETIEF GOOSEN at IMG (REUTERS, 2/25). ... The Badminton World Federation announced three candidates are vying to become the next president while two people are standing for the post of deputy president. DATO SRI MOHD NADZMI MOHD SALLEH (Malaysia), Dr. JUSTIAN SUHANDINATA (Indonesia) and POUL-ERIK HOYER LARSEN (Denmark) were the nominees for the world-governing body’s top post for the next four years (BWF). ... ROGER FEDERER will take a near two-month break from competitive tennis following the Indian Wells tournament in March as he "opts to spend more time with his young family and prepare for the clay-court season." Federer said, "The last few years have been really tricky in terms of my practice schedule, especially through an Olympic year [in 2012]. This year is totally different. Family is very important, so I also want to spend quality time with them" (REUTERS, 2/24).
KEEPING HIS HEAD: AC Milan striker MARIO BALOTELLI has been praised by his coach MASSIMILIANO ALLEGRI for the "resolve he showed in the face of racist insults" from Inter Milan fans during Sunday’s Milan derby. Allegri said, "He’s a 22-year-old playing against his old team in a very tense situation. He did well not to respond [to the provocation]. I don’t think we can criticize him" (LONDON TIMES, 2/25). ... ROBERT JONES has quit as JOSEPH PARKER's manager after "clashing with promoters Duco Events over the suitability of the heavyweight boxing prodigy's opponents." Duco's attempt to pit Parker against South African veteran FRANCOIS BOTHA whose last bout against SONNY BILL WILLIAMS "resulted in accusations of fight fixing, failed drug tests and a farcical early finish" was the "last straw" in an uneasy relationship between manager and promoter (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 2/26).
Sky Sports' DAVID CROFT: "So Paddy Lowe to leave Mclaren in 2014 and Tim Goss to replace him as of now. Big implications for more than one team & more than two men."
Ruhr Nachrichten's MATTHIAS DERSCH: "Die #BVB-Geschäftszahlen vom 1. Halbjahr: 17,5 Mio € Gewinn v. St., Konzerngewinn: 14,2 Mio € v. St., Umsatz: 124,1 Mio € (+22,4%)." ... ("The #BVB-financial numbers for the 1st half of the year: 17,5 Mio € profits before taxes, company profits: 14,2 Mio € before taxes, revenue: 124,1 Mio € (+22,4%)")
Sports Investment Partners' MICHAEL BROUGHTON: "So ESPN will officially leave our shores when BT take over in August, definitly called that wrong when they arrived then #cantalwaysberight"
Canal+ Sports Dir CYRIL LINETTE: "2,9 millions d'abonnés pour #PSGOM. Record absolu pour @canalplus. 2 millions de telespectateurs pour le #cfc. Quelle soirée sur #Canal!" ... ("2.9 million subscribers for #PSGOM. Absolut record for @canalplus. 2 million spectators for the #cfc. What a night on #Canal!")