Bundesliga club 1899 Hoffenheim has released head coach MARCO KURZ and GM ANDREAS MÜLLER. Kurz and Müller joined the club only recently in winter and fall, respectively. Hoffenheim "has already found a replacement for Kurz," the club confirmed MARKUS GISDOL "will take over as head coach" (SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, 4/2). ... The Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) "has cut ties with national goaltender coach" OTTO KONRAD. The ÖFB and Konrad "have reached a mutual agreement and stated his political involvement as the reason." The federation "has made no decision on a successor" (KURIER, 4/2). ... National Rugby League Cronulla Sharks have signed former Roosters and Tigers CEO STEVE NOYCE "to head their football operations." The "highly regarded administrator" will start next week as football manager, one of the roles that became vacant when four staff members were recently sacked. He is "one of the most experienced administrators in Australian sport, having also worked for the Sydney Turf Club in a senior marketing role." He also "recently represented the NRL in negotiations with the Players Association for the new collective bargaining agreement" (Syndey DAILY TELEGRAPH, 4/3).
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Former New York Yankees player HIDEKI MATSUI and former Yomiuri Giants player and Manager SHIGEO NAGASHIMA, "who is to Japanese baseball what Pele is to Brazilian soccer" will receive the "People's Honour Award" (BANGKOK POST, 4/2). ... Lacking fan support and under pressure from the media after a poor start to Serbia's World Cup qualifying campaign, the Balkan country's coach SINISA MIHAJLOVIC "appears set to step down in October." Mihajlovic vowed to qualify for next year's finals in Brazil when he took over last May, but having collected only seven points from the opening six games in Group A, "acknowledged Serbia had only a theoretical chance of advancing" (REUTERS, 4/2). ... Greek Super League club Panathinaikos announced Sunday that it has fired Spanish coach FABRI GONZALEZ "as the financially-troubled Athens club is suffering one of its worst seasons in the domestic league" (STRAITS TIMES, 4/1). ... Former South African swimmer KAREN MUIR, "the youngest-ever world record holder in any sport," has died of breast cancer aged 60" (REUTERS, 4/2).
The Sun's BEN HUNT: "Remember when April Fool's Day jokes were funny and original?"
The BBC's SUZI PERRY: "Just won a day, seems I'm off to China on Tuesday not Monday, looking forward to more #F1chat"
BBC presenter GARY LINEKER: "Big question is, who will get the most TV cutaways? Messi on the pitch or Beckham on the bench?"
British Cycling's SCOTT DOUGAL: "Seeing Di Canio debate cast as freedom of speech. Rubbish - he can think/say what he likes. But I'm free to think what I like in turn."
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