The BBC has named former London Times Editor JAMES HARDING as Director of BBC News and Current Affairs. The appointment of Harding "is the first senior appointment" by new BBC Dir General TONY HALL (MEDIA WEEK, 4/16). ... Rugby player JOHN SMIT will take over as CEO of South African Super Rugby club the Sharks. Smit's appointment on Tuesday signaled the end of his long playing career and will take him back to the team he played with for 13 years (EUROSPORT, 4/16). ... Australian Ladies Professional Golf President SHANI WAUGH announced on Tuesday that ALPG CEO WARREN SEVIL will step down "after nearly fifteen years at the helm." Waugh: "We certainly wouldn't be in the position that we are in today without Warren and on behalf of our members want to thank him for his sustained efforts in the role" (ALPG). ... Plazamedia has appointed UEFA Head of Broadcaster Servicing JOACHIM WILDT "as its executive board chairman." The 44-year-old "will start his new position on July 1" (DWDL, 4/16). ... The England Cricket Board "have regained the services" of Dir of Communications COLIN GIBSON after three years working for the Int'l Cricket Council in Dubai. Gibson's return "will strengthen the ECB's strategic and PR hand in all the contentious issues sure to surround back-to-back Ashes series" (DAILY MAIL, 4/15).
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Great Britain heptathlon Gold Medalist JESSICA ENNIS will "take part in the London 2012 Anniversary Games" at London's Olympic Stadium July 26-28. Ennis will appear along with fellow British Gold Medalists GREG RUTHERFORD and MO FARAH (BBC, 4/16). ... Former Queensland Rugby League CEO ROSS LIVERMORE "passed away unexpectedly" Tuesday morning. He was 68 (BRISBANE TIMES, 4/16). ... Chinese 1984 Olympic volleyball Gold Medalist LANG PING "is among four candidates vying to take charge of the national women's team." The others are former Chinese national head coach CAI BIN, New Zealand men's team coach JIANG JIE and LIU CHANGCHENG (XINHUA, 4/16). ... Former Pakistan cricket player DANISH KANERIA hopes to revive his int'l career "following an appeal of his life ban before a disciplinary committee of the England and Wales Cricket Board" next Monday (AP, 4/16). ... The Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) has given out its annual awards for the '12-13 season. Ratiopharm Ulm center JOHN BRYANT has won the awards for the league's Most Valuable Player and Best Offensive Player. EWE Baskets Oldenburg coach SEBASTIAN MACHOWSKI has won the Coach of the Year award. New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig guard DENNIS SCHRÖDER has won the award as Most Imporoved Player and Best German Youth Player (U24). The award for the Best Defensive Player was given to Brose Baskets guard ANTON GAVEL (BBL). ... Indian Olympic medalist boxer VIJENDER SINGH can "heave a sigh of relief" after the sports ministry announced Tuesday that his samples tested negative for drugs (IANS, 4/16).
FOOTBALL FODDER: Argentine striker LIONEL MESSI "is continuing an initiative started last summer by arranging a summer friendly" to raise money for the Lionel Messi Foundation. Stars including Argentine striker SERGIO AGUERO, Argentine midfielder PABLO AIMAR, Brazil striker ROBINHO, Italian striker ANTONIO CASSANO and French defender ERIC ABIDAL "will all take part in next summer's Lionel Messi and Friends friendly" (FOOTBALL ESPANA, 4/16). ... Cuba's former President and revolutionary leader FIDEL CASTRO had a "fraternal meeting" with DIEGO MARADONA. The official daily Granma reported Monday the interaction was a "lively and fruitful exchange" between two old friends (IANS, 4/16). ... Former Premier League side Newcastle United manager SAM ALLARDYCE "is sure he will stay on as West Ham manager," but isn't optimistic that West Ham Striker ANDY CARROLL will remain with the club as well. Allardyce said Monday that the new Financial Fair Play rules in the Premier League next season could "blow the whole deal" for signing Carroll (ESPN, 4/15). ... Football Manager PEP GUARDIOLA, who will soon take over Bayern Munich, is scheduled to give a speech at the Gran Rex theatre in Buenos Aires. The talk, which will feature "a theme of passion, leadership and teamwork," is set to take place May 2 (OLE, 4/16).
ON THE COURSE: Tournament organizers said on Monday that Chinese golfer GUAN TIANLANG, "fresh off his Masters debut at the record-setting age of 14, accepted a sponsor's exemption" to next week's Zurich Classic in New Orleans (REUTERS, 4/16). ... New Zealand golf caddie STEVE WILLIAMS "may have carried his last bag at Augusta National," after guiding Australian ADAM SCOTT to the Green Jacket at the US Masters tournament. The 49-year-old Williams said he was told on Monday, "I have the longest stretch of caddying of all the caddies at this tournament, 26 or 27 straight years of caddying at the Masters, something like that. I've caddied for 35 years now, so yeah, my time is definitely coming to an end" (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 4/16).
The BBC's JAKE HUMPHREY: "Love all the talk of #LondonMarathon runners putting #handsoverhearts as they cross the finish line as a tribute to our friends in #Boston."
The London Guardian's DAVID CONN: "Slightly uneasy that the 5:15pm FA Cup final kick-off time knocks out the trains north, and National Express coaches are the FA's sponsor..."
BBC Radio Wales' STEVE AUSTINS: "Who'd have thought straight at the 2008 FA Cup Final that within 5 years Pompey would be three divisions below Cardiff #funnyoldgame"
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