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Volume 10 No. 22

People and Pop Culture

In a recent interview with F1 Racing magazine, former F1 manager FLAVIO BRIATORE discussed the current state of the sport, according to Begoña Villarrubia of MUNDO DEPORTIVO. Since leaving F1 team Renault in '09, Briatore has kept his distance from the sport, "but his voice is always heard from the distance." Addressing rumors of his possible return to F1, Briatore said, "I am very happy and I have a good family life. I was there for eight years, I won seven titles and I discovered two stars after AYRTON SENNA, MICHAEL SCHUMACHER and FERNANDO ALONSO." Briatore also said that F1 is no longer the millionaire business it was before. Briatore: "I know everything that is happening in Formula 1 and I know that to have a team in these times doesn't make sense financially, so there are no reasons to return." Briatore continued, "I speak a lot with F1 CEO BERNIE (ECCLESTONE), I stay permanently in contact and I don't miss anything. The cost of a team is astronomical, whatever money the teams receive from Ecclestone, they spend it. It doesn't matter what they receive, and even though revenue increases, they spend it" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 4/29).

EPL club Tottenham midfielder GARETH BALE "has been named the Professional Football Association's player and young player of the year" for '12-13, becoming only the third person to clinch the double accolade in the same season, according to James Raich of the London GUARDIAN. Bale was shortlisted for the award along with ManU striker ROBIN VAN PERSIE, Liverpool striker LUIS SUÁREZ, Chelsea midfielders EDEN HAZARD and JUAN MATA and ManU midfielder MICHAEL CARRICK. Suárez "came second and Van Persie third." Bale beat Hazard, Arsenal midfielder JACK WILSHERE, ManU forward DANNY WELBECK, West Brom striker ROMELU LUKAKU and Aston Villa striker CHRISTIAN BENTEKE "to the young player of the year award." The following players were named to the Premier League Team of the Year: ManU goalkeeper DAVID DE GEA, Man City right-back PABLO ZABALETA, Tottenham Hotspur defender JAN VERTONGHEN, ManU defender RIO FERDINAND, Everton defender LEIGHTON BAINES, Carrick, Mata, Bale, Hazard, Suárez and Van Persie (GUARDIAN, 4/28).

SUÁREZ BOOED: The PA reported Suárez's name "was booed twice" at the PFA Player of the Year awards. The PFA "came under fire" last week for its refusal to withdraw Suárez from the Player of the Year shortlist." Suárez was "booed on two separate occasions." The first time came "when he was named in the team of the year, and secondly when his name was read out on the shortlist for Player of the Year" (PA, 4/29).

SPECIAL TALENT: The BBC's Phil McNulty opined "it takes a special talent to win the vote of his fellow players" ahead of Van Persie. Bale's achievement "is further emphasised by the illustrious company he now keeps as one of the few who have claimed the award twice," joining players such as former Welsh forward MARK HUGHES, French striker THIERRY HENRY, Real Madrid striker CRISTIANO RONALDO and former English striker ALAN SHEARER. He "is also only the third player to win the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year award in the same season," after former Scottish striker ANDY GRAY and Ronaldo (BBC, 4/28).

CONTROVERSIAL PERFORMANCE: In London, Sarah Ebner wrote PFA Chair CLARK CARLISLE has apologized unreservedly for the "gross error of judgment" that led to the hiring of REGINALD D. HUNTER for its awards night. Several guests "complained about the after-dinner routine from the American comedian, who is known for his provocative style, after he repeatedly used the N-word at the event at the Grosvenor Hotel, London." Carlisle: "As chairman I am embarrassed. I apologize unreservedly, and it won't happen again on my watch" (LONDON TIMES, 4/29). Also in London, Ben Rumsby wrote Kick It Out Chair HERMAN OUSLEY "has demanded an explanation" from the PFA over its decision to book Hunter. Ousley said, "I'm surprised there wasn't a mass walkout. It almost begs the question, 'Why does Kick It Out bother?'" Ouseley all but accused Kick It Out's critics of hypocrisy, adding, "All these people can protest when they don't want to wear a T-shirt but they're prepared to listen to a racially-offensive comedian" (TELEGRAPH, 4/29). In London, Ashton & Cass wrote PFA CEO GORDON TAYLOR "tried to play down the furore surrounding Hunter's choice of language." When asked whether it was a mistake to allow Hunter to perform, Taylor replied, "No, no, don't be silly. Are you serious? I think there were a few raised eyebrows over the comedian, but that is the sort of thing you can't control. It was unfortunate." The PFA's official Twitter account also "released a sarcastic message over criticism of the act, which Hunter himself then retweeted." It read: "We've checked all our social media guidelines & still don't know whether we were allowed to enjoy that set!" (DAILY MAIL, 4/28). Also in London, Rory Smith opined "Taylor was abundantly clear on this issue." Taylor: "It is never right to make reference to a person's skin color or nationality." That, "it had been presumed, was now de facto FA -- and PFA -- policy." That, after all, is why former English defender PAUL ELLIOT, "who has worked tirelessly to combat discrimination in football," was sacked after it emerged he had used the N-word in a private text to former Charlton defender RICHARD RUFUS. This "had become a zero-tolerance issue." And then the PFA goes and books Hunter, and Taylor defends his act with the words, "Well, he's a comedian." This "would appear to contradict its cant." This would appear to suggest that there are contexts in which making "reference to a person's skin colour" is, if not right, then certainly acceptable (LONDON TIMES, 4/29).

League Two Crawley Town Chair VIC MARLEY has "stood down" after six years on the job. Club Dir DAVE POTTINGER "has been announced as his replacement" (THIS IS SUSSEX, 4/29).

Second Bundesliga club Erzgebirge Aue has appointed FALKO GÖTZ as its head coach. The club "presented its new head coach just one day after it fired" former head coach KARSTEN BAUMANN. Götz, 51, "has signed a two-year contract with Aue." Club President LOTHAR LÄSSIG said, "In case we get relegated, which we don't think of, we will renegotiate with Götz" (BILD, 4/29). ... Ireland appointed JOE SCHMIDT as its new head rugby coach. Schmidt succeeds DECLAN KIDNEY, who was removed on April 2 after presiding over a fifth-place finish in the Six Nations (PA, 4/29).

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On Sunday, Argentinian boxing journalist JULIO ERNESTO VILA died at the age of 74. Vila, who covered boxing for KO Mundial, Codex Deportiva and El Grafico for more than three decades, "leaves behind a legacy of quality boxing analysis and commentary" (CLARIN, 4/28). ... Former Australian Football League player DAVID SCHWARZ "has slammed the AFL for being seduced by corporate bookmakers 'grooming' children into gambling." Schwarz: "I believe the AFL is drunk on the revenue they receive from gambling agencies and until that goes, we're in trouble" (HERALD SUN, 4/29). ... National Rugby League North Queensland Cowboys player ALEX ELISALA "is dead after a mystery incident that left him in intensive care." Elisala, 20, "died in Mackay District Hospital on Monday afternoon where he had been on life support" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 4/29). ... Mercedes said that Retired F1 driver and seven-time world champion MICHAEL SCHUMACHER "will drive his old Formula One car again next month in a demonstration run around the daunting Nürburgring Nordschleife track." The German manufacturer said the drive in a '11 car around the old 20km track, before the start of a 24-hour race on May 19, "would be a 'thank you' to his fans for their years of support" (REUTERS, 4/26). ... Birmingham City Football Club owner CARSON YEUNG  pleaded "not guilty to money-laundering charges as he went on trial in Hong Kong." Yeung is facing five charges of moving HK$720M ($92.9M) "illicitly through bank accounts controlled by himself and his father." His defence team "moved to have the much-delayed proceedings against him thrown out" (BBC, 4/29). ... Spanish road racing cyclist JUAN JOSE COBO is the headline name in the Movistar team for the Giro d'Italia. The nine-man team also features British time trial champion ALEX DOWSETT. Cobo will be supported by Basque rider BENAT INTXAUSTI, "who won the Vuelta a Asturias and finished 10th overall in the Vuelta a España last year." Spaniards JOSE HERRADA, PABLO LASTRAS and FRAN VENTOSO plus Russia's VLADIMIR KARPETS and Italians EROS CAPECCHI and GIOVANNI VISCONTI "complete the line-up" (EUROSPORT, 4/29). ... Australian field hockey player KARL BERRY has died. Berry, 26, "was at Marrara Hockey Centre in Darwin on Tuesday evening when he picked up a snake, thinking it was a python, and threw it into bushes." The snake bit him on the hand, "but he did not seek medical help." He then went for a two-kilometer run and "collapsed when he returned" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 4/26).

The Manchester Evening News' STUART MATHIESON: "Not sure Paul Ince and Carlos Tevez would agree with Fergie that Utd give ex-players a warm welcome back! #fb #mufc"

Octagon U.K. Strategy VP JOEL SEYMOUR-HYDE: "Client meeting in Geneva airport at 6pm: above and beyond or new low?!"

ESPN's ADRIAN HEALEY: "How the blazes did Michu not make the #EPL best XI? 17goals, artistry, lethal on ground & in air. Only thing he didn't do was cost 20m.."

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