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Volume 6 No. 194

People and Pop Culture

Australian F1 driver MARK WEBBER's father said that teammate SEBASTIAN VETTEL’s disobeyance of Red Bull team orders "will not force Mark Webber into an early retirement," according to Mark Cue of the LONDON TIMES. Webber "has flown to Australia to consider his future after Vettel ignored instructions and overtook the 36-year-old to snatch victory in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix." ALAN WEBBER believes that Vettel’s credibility with Red Bull "will have suffered as he dismissed the notion that his son might not be on the grid for the next race, the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, on April 14." Alan Webber said, "I think it will take a while to earn the respect and trust again. Sebastian disobeyed team orders and most, if not all the team, are disappointed with him. Up and down the pit lane Mark has not lost any credibility at all. It’s probably Sebastian who has lost an awful lot" (LONDON TIMES, 3/26).

SANCTIONS UNLIKELY: The AAP reported Red Bull Team Principal CHRISTIAN HORNER said that "he was angry with Vettel for his defiance at Sepang, but it was unlikely the three-time and defending world champion would receive any sanction." Horner and, more surprisingly, Vettel's influential backer HELMUT MARKO conceded that the German "had broken the team's code by passing Webber for victory." Ex-F1 driver MARTIN BRUNDLE said, "Red Bull have got a huge problem because the next time they're in that situation, if they're one-two and they want to call off the fight with a few laps to go, he (Webber) is not going to trust anybody" (AAP, 3/26).

ECCLESTONE CRITICAL: In London, Oliver Brown reported F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE "has criticised Red Bull" for imposing team orders on Vettel and Webber. Ecclestone said, "At this stage of the championship, I do not believe there should be any team orders. It does not matter who it is." Ecclestone warned that "the incident could return to haunt the reigning constructors' champions." He said, "Let’s assume that these two guys are in a position to win the championship at the end of the year, then there is no way that Mark is going to help Sebastian. So Sebastian has to think about that. Maybe there will be a stage when he would like Mark to help him, but I don’t think Mark is going to come up front and do it." Ecclestone’s "greater concern was for team orders themselves," and the fact that all four of the top places in Malaysia were decided in this manner after Mercedes’ refusal to allow NICO ROSBERG to pass LEWIS HAMILTON for third. Ecclestone said, "You shouldn’t have that, should you? It’s no good. The team principals know what is right and wrong" (TELEGRAPH, 3/25).

QUESTIONS LINGER: The AAP reported former F1 driver JOHN WATSON said that Vettel "should be forced to sit out next month's Chinese Grand Prix for ignoring team orders." Watson said, "The question is, what are the team going to do to sanction Sebastian Vettel? And the only solution I would find is suspending him for the next grand prix. You can't take the points away from him and give them to Mark Webber, a fine would be irrelevant, so the only purposeful way to bring him to book is to say 'you will stand out one race'" (AAP, 3/26).

Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) club BBC Bayreuth has appointed PREDRAG KRUNIC as its head coach. The 45-year-old Bosnian replaces former head coach MARCO VAN DEN BERG, who was realeased by the club last week (SID, 3/25). ... The Lotus F1 team has appointed to its board property investor ANDREW RUHAN "in a bid to fuel" its '13 title challenge. Ruhan became a director of the Oxfordshire-based Lotus F1 team in February and "although he has not yet invested in it he is in pole position to do so" (London TELEGRAPH, 3/24). ... Former UEFA Head of Media Relations & Corporate PR ROB FAULKNER has joined Nyon-based communications consultancy Leidar. Faulkner headed-up the int'l media relations function and communications team at European football’s governing body for nearly 12 years. He joins Leidar to build a dedicated sports offering and to strengthen the corporate communications team (Leidar).

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DIEGO MARADONA is a "likely inclusion" in the Dubai Sports Council squad as the hosts seek a place in the knockout stages of the Over-38 category of the 7Up Dubai Government Entities Football League being held at the Dubai Police Officers Club this Thursday (GULF NEWS, 3/26). ... Olympic Gold Medalist CHRIS HOY was announced as a Glasgow 2018 bid champion (Team GB). ... The Tokyo District Court said that the Japan Sumo Association’s dismissal of former makuuchi division wrestler SOKOKURAI in '11 was invalid because its match-fixing allegations "left room for doubt" (KYODO, 3/26). ... BBC horse racing commentator PETER O'SULLEVAN suffered a mild stroke on Sunday evening (DAILY MIRROR, 3/26).  ... Former St. Johnstone boss DEREK MCINNES was Monday night unveiled as new Scottish Premier League club Aberdeen manager -- "but he won't be able to take charge of the squad for a fortnight." McInnes and his assistant TONY DOCHERTY signed two-year deals but they won’t succeed the retiring CRAIG BROWN until after the SPL split on April 8 (DAILY RECORD, 3/26). ... Canadian ice hockey player BROCK RADUNSKE, who has played in Korea for five years, received Korean citizenship Monday, "paving the way for him to represent Korea in the upcoming world championships." He is the first Western athlete with no Korean heritage to become a Korean (JOONGANG DAILY, 3/27).

U.S. sprint and long jump legend CARL LEWIS said that Asians badly needed "heroes" in track and field in their countries to become a world-class force in the high-profile sport. Lewis: "We had heroes (in the United States) when I was growing up. I saw athletes I wanted to emulate. I think that's important. Look how many Asians there are (in the world). You can't get one fast one? There are almost two billion. It defies logic" (AFP, 3/25). ... ... An adviser of Olympique Lyon President JEAN-MICHEL AULAS "has angered the coach of the club's successful women's team by telling a French radio show that he would not discuss soccer with women." During a talk show on RMC on Monday, a female listener called in and criticized France striker KARIM BENZEMA and Aulas' adviser BENARD LACOMBE replied: "I do not discuss football with women, that's how I see it. They should get back to cooking." French women's team Coach PATRICE LAIR said, "He has no right to say that. It's not going to help the development of women football. It's a lack of respect for the president's work and the girls' efforts" (REUTERS, 3/26).

Reuters' KAROLOS GROHMANN: "#Lacombe comment as bad as #Hoeness, who when asked aboutt 2011 womens' WCup in Germany, said: "I thought we would talk about football.""

Russian tennis player MARIA KIRILENKO: "❤Two couples had a dinner❤... Dmitriy Orlov with his girlfriend Varya...and of course @ovi8 and I💏"

Atlético Mineiro's RONALDINHO: "Quero parabenizar o Atlético pelos seus 105 anos. É um prazer enorme fazer parte dessa torcida apaixonada e desse clube maravilhoso." ... ("I want to congratulate Atlético for its 105 years. It's an enormous pleasure being a part of these awesome fans and this great club.")

BBC's PHIL MCNULTY: "Currently enduring high-volume torture by Europop inside Podgorica's City Stadium."

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