Embattled Bayern Munich President ULI HOENEß "has refused to comment on an ongoing tax evasion probe involving a Swiss bank account but plans to defend himself against what he said were 'excesses in some media coverage' of the high-profile case," according to Karolos Grohmann of REUTERS. Hoeneß said that "he would let the dust settle before discussing the issue." He said, "I will let a few weeks go by before I say anything. But I will legally defend myself against the excesses in some media coverage. It will be really expensive for them." The prosecutor's office in Munich "confirmed the probe, which has made the front pages in the media across the country for the past two days and triggered mixed reactions from politicians across all major parties" (REUTERS, 4/22). BILD reported Hoeneß "will attend Tuesday's Champions League semifinal between his Bayern and FC Barcelona." He said, "I will be back in the stadium against Barcelona." Hoeneß's tax evasion probe "is a sensitive topic at the club," which explains why club spokesperson MARKUS HÖRWICK said before Monday's press conference, "One question about Hoeneß -- and we cancel the press conference." Former Bayern striker LUKAS PODOLSKI is on the side of his former boss. The Arsenal player said on his Facebook page: "I think it's not okay that many judge so early about a person who does and did so many good things for others and historic clubs. We all make mistakes, just as I do and also you do!" (BILD, 4/22).
People and Pop Culture
Surrey Chair RICHARD THOMPSON and Somerset Chair ANDY NASH have been elected to English & Wales Cricket Board’s management board for a three-year term of office until '16. Nash was elected unopposed as the Non-Category A first-class county clubs’ appointee to the management board. This position was previously held by Essex Chair NIGEL HILLIARD who chose not to stand for reelection at the end of his three-year term of office. Thompson was elected as the Category A first-class county clubs’ appointee after defeating Warwickshire Chair NORMAN GASCOIGNE by 10 votes to seven in a ballot which was conducted by the Electoral Reform Society. This position was previously held by Yorkshire Chair COLIN GRAVES, who was recently elected as the ECB's new deputy chairman in succession to DENNIS AMISS. JOHN PICKUP will also continue to serve on the ECB management board for a further three year-term after his nomination as the recreational assembly's appointee to the board was unopposed (ECB). ... The Austrian Ski Federation (ÖSV) has appointed STEFAN BÜRGLER as new tech coach of the women's alpine team. The 41-year-old will be in charge of the group slalom/giant slalom. Bürgler replaces GÜNTER OBKIRCHER (KURIER, 4/19). ... Bundesliga club SC Freiburg "has fired" Sports Dir DIRK DUFNER. The 45-year-old "is expected to join league rival Hannover 96" and replace its Sports Dir JÖRG SCHMADTKE, who left the club Saturday by mutal agreement (SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, 4/22).
COACHES/MANAGERS: Former Ligue 1 coach of the year JEAN FERNANDEZ "is to take charge at Montpellier next season." Montpellier added that the 59-year-old "would sign a two-year deal" (REUTERS, 4/22). ... Handball coach VALERO RIVERA, who helped host Spain win the 2013 Int'l Handball Federation World Championship title, "will train Qatar from this season onwards." Rivera "agreed to a minimum two-year deal with the Qatar Handball Association, until the ’15 IHF World Championship, which the country will host" (SPORTS FEATURES, 4/21).
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Former Barcelona and Real Madrid footballer RONALDO was featured in a 1 1/2-hour-long special Monday night on Spanish TV show Fiebre Maldini (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 4/22). ... Two-time Olympic medal winner ARKADY VYATCHANIN "has decided to quit swimming for Russia and represent another country." Vyatchanin said, "I believe that I can offer nothing else to Russian swimming. ... I will decide which county's team to join in the near future" (AFP, 4/22). ... Former F1 driver TAKUMA SATO made IndyCar history Sunday "after becoming the first Japanese driver to win a race in the U.S. series" (THE NATIONAL, 4/22). ... Petronas Asia Road Racing Championship motorcycle rider AZLAN SHAH KAMARUZAMAN became "the first Malaysian to win the SuperSports 600cc category" at the Sepang Int'l Circuit Sunday (THE STAR, 4/22). ... Serie A Inter Milan Owner MASSIMO MORATTI "has confirmed that he will not be replacing" head coach ANDREA STRAMACCIONI over the summer. The tactician's job "was believed to be on the line." However, speaking outside his Saras offices on Monday, the oil baron insisted that Stramaccioni "would remain on the bench" (EUROSPORT, 4/22). ... American Ryder Cup golfers DUSTIN JOHNSON and ZACH JOHNSON "have pulled out of the Ballantine's Championship in South Korea this week because of the political tension in the region" (REUTERS, 4/22).
MIKE TYSON has become a follower of footballer LUIS SUÁREZ on Twitter after Suárez bit Chelsea's BRANISLAV IVANOVIC during a 2-2 draw between Liverpool and Chelsea on Sunday. Suárez was banned seven games in '10 after biting the shoulder of OTMAN BAKKAL. Tyson drew a great deal of media attention when he bit the ear of EVANDER HOLYFIELD during a heavyweight bout in '97 (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 4/22).
An official hashtag, #FCBFCB, has been created for the Champions League semifinal match between Barcelona and Bayern Munich, which will start at 2:45pm Tuesday (SPORT.ES, 4/22).
INFINITI GP: "Seb at the Sochi Olympic Park today, home to the 2014 Russian Grand Prix, with @therealdcf1 @redbullracing" (see picture)
Pitch PR Associate Dir DREW BARRAND: "You can always tell when Manchester United win something cos London goes mental."
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