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Volume 10 No. 22

People and Pop Culture

Investment banker ANTHONY FRY "will become the Premier League's first new chairman for 14 years" when he takes over from DAVE RICHARDS in June, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. Fry, whose name "was not among those who had been touted for the role," was endorsed by the 20 Premier League clubs at a meeting in London on Friday, following a recruitment process led by Chelsea Chair BRUCE BUCK, Stoke City majority shareholder PETER COATES, ManU CEO DAVID GILL and former Blackburn Rovers Chair JOHN WILLIAMS, now employed by Man City. Fry spent 18 years at the banking group Rothschild and "has chaired or sat on numerous boards across a range of business, public, charitable and academic bodies." Fry left his board position at Rothschild in '96 "to become the head of global media and European telecoms at BZW/CSFB." He then moved to Lehman Brothers as head of U.K. operations, leaving in '07 "to do an advanced management programme at Harvard Business School." Buck said: "There were a number of outstanding candidates, any of whom would have made a fine Premier League chairman, but in Anthony Fry we have appointed an individual with the correct blend of experience, skills, attitude and demeanour to represent the best interests of the Premier League" (GUARDIAN, 4/26).

RUNAWAY CHOICE: In London, Ben Rumsby reported "the 57-year-old’s heavyweight CV outside the game had made him the top choice of a nominations committee." The "comprehensive recruitment process" began almost a year ago. Such "was the secrecy surrounding the search, which involved a top headhunting firm." The names widely touted for the role "were not on the final shortlist, although several high-profile candidates had already ruled themselves out" (TELEGRAPH, 4/26). Also in London, Duncan Robinson reported Fry "is also chairman" of the U.K.'s largest listed dairy group, Dairy Crest. Fry, who has been chair since '10, "made headlines last week after it plugged part of its pension gap with 20,000 tonnes of maturing cheese" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 4/26).

RED DEVIL LINK: In London, Ashling O'Connor reported Fry "proposed the idea of BSkyB buying Manchester United." Fry pitched the idea to the BSkyB board in '98, when he was running Credit Suisse First Boston’s media practice, "only to discover that it was already working on it with Goldman Sachs, a rival bank." CSFB "was appointed broker on the deal, which was ultimately blocked by the monopolies regulator" in '99. A ManU supporter, Fry "is due to start his three-year term on June 1, about a month before the arrival at football’s top table of another former media heavyweight with links to the controversial deal." Incoming FA Chair GREG DYKE, "who is also a United fan," was the only director on the club’s board "to vote against the BSkyB takeover." The former BBC director general "takes over" for DAVID BERNSTEIN in mid-July (LONDON TIMES, 4/27). The BBC reported Fry was described by the Premier League as a "keen spectator" at matches involving ManU. His appointment means that "three of the key people who help run English football are fans of the Red Devils." The others are Dyke and FA Vice Chair Gill (BBC, 4/26).

Second Bundesliga club Erzgebirge Aue has fired head coach KARSTEN BAUMANN "despite four consecutive games without a loss." Club President LOTHAR LÄSSIG said that "staying in the league is the club's highest priority." A successor for Baumann "is expected to be introduced shortly" (DPA, 4/28). ... Second Bundesliga club 1860 Munich "has to elect a new board" after interim President HEP MONATZEDER "was not confirmed by club delegates at an extraordinary meeting." However, the board, which consists of three members including Monatzeder, "will continue until a new one is elected." Monatzeder "became the club's interim president in March" after former President DIETER SCHNEIDER stepped down. Monatzeder's failure is a triumph for investor HASAN ISMAIK (DPA, 4/26). ... TF1 Publicité, the advertising arm of French private-TV channel TF1, has appointed LAURENT-ERIC LE LAY as its CEO, effective June 1. The 46-year-old succeeds LAURENT SOLLY, who has resigned from his position. MARTINE HOLLINGER remains chairman of the TF1 Publicité (TF1). ... The Chinese Basketball Association has hired Greek PANAGIOTIS GIANNAKIS as head coach of its men's national basketball team. The former Greek team mentor "will make his first public appearance in China when the national camp opens on May 5, for which the Chinese Basketball Association has announced an initial 24-member squad." Signing a four-year contract, Giannakis' ultimate goal "will be to lift China from a last-place finish at the London Olympics to something far more respectable at the 2016 Rio Games" (CHINA DAILY, 4/28).

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Footballer JOHN TERRY "is ready to end his self-imposed retirement" from the England set-up and is "targeting a swansong at the World Cup finals in Brazil" (GUARDIAN, 4/26). ... The Singaporean businessman at the centre of a sex-for-match fixing case "has been given a fresh charge of theft for allegedly stealing evidence." ERIC DING SI YANG, who is accused of trying to rig an AFC Cup football match by procuring sex workers for three Lebanese referees, "was given seven days in custody because of the new charge" (AFP, 4/26). ... Olympic discus thrower LAWRENCE OKOYE,  who has "never played a competitive American football match," announced he had been offered a three-year deal by the NFL S.F. 49ers as an undrafted free agent (EUROSPORT, 4/28). ... Golfer GRAEME MCDOWELL wants the IOC to decide whether he plays for Great Britain or Ireland at Rio 2016. As there is no Northern Ireland team at the Olympics, McDowell joins compatriot RORY MCILROY "in the dilemma as to which nation they wish to represent." McDowell: "It's a difficult decision that Rory and I are in. It puts us in a very enviable, or even unenviable, position of being able to choose which team we might represent in the Olympics" (GOLF MAGIC, 4/26). ... WTA CEO STACEY ALLASTER said that Chinese tennis player LI NA "plays an important role in the development of tennis in the key market of Asia," Allaster: "She is the most important player of the decade for me" (DPA, 4/26). ... Title-winning Coach GRAHAM ARNOLD said that Australia's A-League "has too many foreign players and their prevalence is hurting the national team." Arnold, who guided the Central Coast Mariners to their maiden A-League championship last week, said that "he had prioritised using local players rather than imports in his side and suggested rival teams did the same" (EUROSPORT, 4/28). ... Iranian football side Esteghlal coach AMIR GHALENOEI "has dismissed rumors, which say he is returning to the Iran football team as a coach" (TEHRAN TIMES, 4/28). ... AC Milan striker MARIO BALOTELLI said he will let his girlfriend, Belgian model FANNY NEGUESHA, sleep with the entire Real Madrid football team if the club is able to avenge a 4-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund and qualify for the Champions League finals. Balotelli: "If Real Madrid comes back against Borussia Dortmund and makes it to the final of the Champions League, I will let my girlfriend sleep with all the players" (CLARIN, 4/28).

U.K.-based AP reporter ROB HARRIS: "Arsenal fan comes past press box and says: "Say it was shocking - hold nothing back. We need to spend some money""

NBC F1 reporter WILL BUXTON: "So happy for @VickyPiria. Overcoming the tricky weather to take her first podium in her second F3 race at Paul Ricard today. Bravaaaaa!!!!"

London Daily Mirror's JOHN CROSS: "Not for the first time, an Arsenal v Man United game ends in lots of talk about the post match grub. #pizzagate"

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