League Championship club Cardiff City Chair DATO CHAN TIEN GHEE has "stepped down from his role with immediate effect." The Malaysian, who has been chairman since '10, is "leaving to pursue other business opportunities" (DAILY MAIL, 3/1). ... League Two Aldershot Town Football Club announced that SHAHID AZEEM will replace KRIS MACHALA as club chairman. Machala has been chairman since July '10 and will remain a majority shareholder and a board director (Aldershot Town). ... Long-time Int'l Table Tennis Federation President, ADHAM SHARARA "has revealed he will run for another four years." The Canadian was president for the past 14 years and "announced this week at a meeting of the ITTF Executive Committee in Qatar he will stand again at the AGM" scheduled for May in Paris (ISPORTCONNECT, 3/1). ... Former LOCOG Chair SEBASTIAN COE "is to chair of the newly formed sports development charity" Int'l Inspiration, charged with delivering the legacy of London 2012 (Tennis Industry Association UK).
COACHES/MANAGERS: English Rugby League club Salford City Reds have sacked coach PHIL VEIVERS. The team had won just one game since July and conceded 196 points in its opening five games of the season. Salford has appointed head of youth development ALAN HUNTE as caretaker coach (THE SUNDAY TIMES, 3/3). ... Iranian football club Damash has sacked coach HAMID DERAKHSHAN. Former Gahar coach MEHDI TARTAR "will likely replace" him (TEHRAN TIMES, 3/3).
ESPN analyst JALEN ROSE mentioned on his podcast that two-time NBA champion DWYANE WADE has "promised to play for a year in China after retiring from the NBA." Wade signed "a massive contract" with Chinese sportswear company Li Ning last year. Wade's promise to play in China, while likely not specified in writing, is "thought to be linked to the Li Ning agreement" (GLOBAL TIMES, 3/3). ... ManU Manager ALEX FERGUSON has clarified comments he made about taking a director role at ManU, stressing any move into the Old Trafford boardroom is "still some way off." Ferguson said: "There's no getting rid of me. I will probably become a director. Nobody knows. Neither do I. It won't be a doctor that tells me to quit" (GUARDIAN, 3/1). ... Bulgarian wrestling coach and two-time Olympic champion ARMEN NAZARYAN has "started a hunger strike to protest the sport being dumped from the 2020 Olympics'' (AFP, 3/3). ... Retired French and Arsenal midfielder ROBERT PIRÈS met with Jakarta officials on Thursday to "discuss a plan to nurture" future Indonesian football players. During the meeting, Pirès discussed a plan "for a coaching clinic for school students in the city" (JAKARTA POST, 3/1). ... ManU's SHINJI KAGAWA "became the first Asian player to score a Premier League hat-trick" when the Japan midfielder scored three goals in the club's 4-0 win over Norwich City on Saturday (REUTERS, 3/3).
NOT STICKING AROUND: Acting Asian Football Confederation head ZHANG JILONG, of China, "will not run for the AFC presidency in its upcoming election." The AFC has been without a permanent president since Qatari MOHAMED BIN HAMMAM was banned for life by FIFA for corruption and bribery. Zhang said, "I made this decision totally out of my own will and with careful thinking" (REUTERS, 3/3). ... Ligue 1 Montpellier President LOUIS NICOLLIN has announced coach RENE GIRARD will not return to the team after this season (L'EQUIPE, 3/3).
ON THE ROAD: FIFA President SEPP BLATTER said that he is going to visit Iran in July to "know about the country's infrastructural preparedness." Blatter said he would pay an official visit to Iran during the 2013 FIFA U20 World Cup, which will be held June 21-July 13 in Turkey (TEHRAN TIMES, 3/2). ... The Bombay High Court asked the Union government to help shuttler PRAJAKTA SAWANT get a visa to "enable her to participate in the All England Badminton Championships" beginning March 5 (TNN, 3/1). ... Singapore President TONY TAN KENG YAM and his wife hosted Special Olympians, "officials and coaches who represented the nation at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games," held in Pyeongchang, South Korea last month (CHANNEL NEWS ASIA, 3/2).
L'Equipe's RAPHAEL RAYMOND: "Leonardo a demandé qu'on joue l'hymne de la ligue des champions avant le prochain PSG Nancy au Parc." ... ("Leonardo has asked for the Champions League anthem to be played before PSG Nancy at the Parc")
CNN's PIERS MORGAN: "Biggest Arsenal-Spurs derby I can ever remember. So much at stake. COYGs."
The London Times' KEVIN EASON: "So Merc top the timesheets at winter testing. Does it mean anything come Australia?"
British Olympian JESSICA ENNIS: "So sad to lose Don Valley Stadium! Where it all started for me. Great memories."