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Volume 6 No. 212

People and Pop Culture

A solid gold replica of footballer LIONEL MESSI's left foot, "complete with blood vessels and the swirls of skin on the bottom of the toes," is to go on sale in Japan, according to the AFP. The 25kg (55-pound) statue, worth $5.25M, "was created from a mould of the star striker's foot by Tokyo-based jeweler Ginza Tanaka to mark Messi's record-breaking fourth consecutive Ballon d'Or award (AFP, 3/6). In London, Andy James wrote Tanaka has also made 50 "Golden Foot Plates" and 100 "Golden Foot Minis," on sale for £62,700 ($94,500) and £27,850 ($42,000), respectively (DAILY MAIL, 3/6). Also in London, Simon Rice wrote Messi had his foot cast in Spain at the end of last year. In a video message, Messi said: "I'm honored to have my foot recreated in pure gold." Messi’s brother, RODRIGO, who attended the unveiling, said, “It’s exceptional. You can see each line in the foot.” The foot goes on sale Thursday with "part of the proceeds going to Messi’s foundation, which supports children around the world" (INDEPENDENT, 3/6)

DR. IBRAHIM KOESE has been appointed to the newly-created role of Head of Consumer Insights at sports marketing research agency REPUCOM America. Koese will transfer from REPUCOM's European base in Cologne, Germany and be tasked with leading extensive development of REPUCOM's market research capabilities in the U.S. Prior to joining REPUCOM, Koese spent three years in healthcare research (REPUCOM). ... League One Swindon Town CEO NICK WATKINS has leave his role with the club at the end of March. Watkins joined the Robins in Jan. '08 (Swindon Town). ... The British Judo Association announced ANDREW SCOULAR as its new CEO. Scoular joined the organization in Oct. '11 as COO before taking the role of acting CEO in Oct. '12 (BJA).

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The BBC has appointed former F1 driver ALLAN MCNISH "to become its broadcast analyst for BBC Radio 5 Live's coverage of the '13 F1 season." The Scotsman will replace Spaniard JAIME ALGUERSUARI (MOTORSPORT TOTAL, 3/6). ... Chelsea CEO RON GOURLAY has emphasized that the club intends RAFAEL BENITEZ "to be in place as interim manager until the end of the season" (PA, 3/6). ... Shooting victim Sri Lankan batsman THILAN SAMARAWEERA retires from int'l cricket. Samaraweera will, however, player for Worcestershire in English county cricket this year. Samaraweera "was hit by a bullet in the left thigh when militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus, which was on way to the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore for a Test match." The attack left eight people dead (AFP, 3/7). ... Italian rubby captain SERGIO PARISSE "will be available for his country's Six Nations encounter against England at Twickenham on Sunday." Italy's Team Manager LUIGI TROIANI has confirmed that Parisse's "suspension for insulting the referee in a French league game last month had been reduced to 20 days on appeal" (PA, 3/6). ... Former Tour de France cyclist MICHAEL BOOGERD "has admitted using performance-enhancing drug for a decade." The 40-year-old admitted using the banned blood-booster erythropoietin (EPO), cortisone, as well as receiving blood transfusions" (AFP, 3/6).

Real Madrid's SERGIO RAMOS: "Orgulloso y contento por el pase a cuartos de final eliminando a un gran equipo como el Manchester United." ... ("Proud and happy to make it through to the quarters eliminating a great team like Manchester United") (see picture).

BBC's LEE MCKENZIE: "Back from #BBCF1 launch and now popping to @Marussia_F1Team where they make a mean cup of tea!"

AS' PATRICIA CAZON: "10,6 millones de espectadores el United-Madrid (La 1/TV3) Lo mas visto de la temporada y del año... Grandísimo dato" ... ("10.6 million viewers for United-Madrid (La1/TV3) The most watched of the season and year... Impressive data")

Former ManU captain GARY NEVILLE: "Morning all. Been going to OT since age of 5 and I've never seen the whole ground as in disbelief as they were last night at a decision!"

NBC's WILL BUXTON: "Mallory Park has held motor races since 1956. If you moved to the village after 1955 you have no right to complain about noise. @SaveMallory"

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