Former English basketball player JOHN AMAECHI said that it "is easier for a gay sportsman to come out in the NBA than it would be in the Premier League," according to Sarah Ebner of the LONDON TIMES. Amaechi, who had two spells in the NBA between '95 and '03, "revealed that he had been in contact" with NBA player JASON COLLINS prior to his decision to come out this week and he criticized those who run football for their attitude toward gay rights. Amaechi, who was awarded an OBE in '11 for services to sport and the voluntary sector said, "These dinosaurs think you can become gay by shaking the hands of a gay person. The Premiership board and executive and the FA are the example, but they're not doing anything. When powerful people don't do something to make changes, then they're saying it's OK as it is." Amaechi, who came out in '07, claimed that those who run English football would not talk to him or seek his advice, "but said that he knew of a number of homosexual football players in this country." Amaechi: "Both [the FA and Premier League] think I'm evil and won't talk to me. I know that through people who work there. I take it as a badge of honor, but it is short-sighted of them. There are lots of professional athletes who are gay, some in the Premiership who are out to some of their teammates, to their mum and dad and who have a partner, even though that person might be called their manager or personal assistant" (LONDON TIMES, 5/1).
People and Pop Culture
Tour de France Race Dir CHRISTIAN PRUDHOMME said that cycling will not scrub drug cheat LANCE ARMSTRONG out of history, "but will leave his disgraced name in record books as a reminder for vigilance against doping," according to Iain Payten of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. Prudhomme's view came Wednesday "as he insisted biological passports had radically cleaned up cycling since the dark Armstrong era." Prudhomme also encouraged the National Rugby League and other Australian sports to fight drugs with a similar "Big Brother" strategy. Prudhomme: "The biological passport has really changed everything." Though Armstrong has been stripped of his titles, Prudhomme said that "the years of the tarnished victories will still bear the American's name, albeit with a black line through the middle." Prudhomme: "You can't pretend he didn't exist. He did exist. If we forget it we will see it start again. We must remember Armstrong, and remember well." Asked if Armstrong's downfall was ultimately good or bad for the integrity of the Tour, Prudhomme said: "When people admit to something finally, it is always good. But it took a while" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5/2).
Bayern Munich President ULI HOENEß, who is under investigation for suspected tax evasion, "has shown remorse in an interview with Germany's weekly newspaper Die Zeit," according to the HANDELSBLATT. Hoeneß said that a Swiss bank account held by him and at the center of the tax evasion investigation "is unrelated to the Bundesliga record champions." For the first time, the 61-year-old revealed that his Swiss account was only used for stock market gambling and financed by fomer adidas CEO ROBERT-LOUIS DREYFUS. Hoeneß: "From 2002 to 2006 I was really gambling (with stocks). I sometimes traded day and night with sums that are now difficult to comprehend. Some of those amounts were extreme. This gave me a kick, pure adrenaline." Asked how he deals with the situation, Hoeneß said, "It is an almost unbearable situation. I don't sleep well." He continued, "I made a huge mistake, but I'm not a bad person." He said he wants to correct his mistake "as good as possible." Hoeneß said he has a "big problem" with his sudden role as a bad person. Hoeneß: "These days, I feel like I'm on the other side of society, I not part of it anymore" (HANDELSBLATT, 5/1).
The Marylebone Cricket Club announced that former Middlesex and England captain MIKE GATTING will take over as president Oct. 1, succeeding MIKE GRIFFITH (GUARDIAN, 5/1). ... Outgoing Leeds Chair KEN BATES will take up a three-year presidency at Elland Road starting July 1, club owner GFH Capital has announced. Bates, 81, who sold the club to the Bahrain-based finance group in December, will take up his new role a day after his chairmanship ends, although he will have no say in the running of the club (EUROSPORT, 5/1). ... ANDREW MILLS has resigned from his position as CEO of Football League Two Aldershot Town with immediate effect (FC BUSINESS, 5/1).
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The PGA Tour has cleared VIJAY SINGH, a three-time major winner, of doping offenses after the World Anti-Doping Agency confirmed the deer antler spray Singh admitted to using was not "prohibited unless a positive test results" (THE NATIONAL, 5/1). ... Boxer AUDLEY HARRISON has announced his retirement at the age of 41 (EUROSPORT, 5/1). ... Toyota Motor Corp. President AKIO TOYODA "will take the wheel in the Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race" May 19-20 (JAPAN TIMES, 5/2). ... Former Terengganu football player YAHYA JUSOH, 61, died due to prostate cancer (THE STAR, 5/1).
FOOTBALL NAMES: Retired French footballer ZINEDINE ZIDANE has reflected that while EPL Tottenham midfielder GARETH BALE could command as much as €60M ($79.2M) as a transfer fee, "four or five clubs" will not be put off. Zidane: "Tottenham could command €40M ($52.8M), €50M ($66M), maybe even €60M for him. It is a lot of money -- but there are maybe three or four teams in the world that can pay that sort of transfer fee -- and it won't put them off" (FOOTBALL ESPAÑA, 5/1). ... Borussia Dortmund CEO HANS-JOACHIM WATZKE revealed how he coped with the final few minutes against Real Madrid. Dortmund endured a nervous end to its Champions League semifinal second leg against Real Madrid. Dortmund lost 2-0, but advanced thanks to a 4-3 aggregate. Watzke: "It seems like we only can do it with drama. I went to the toilet for the last minutes, locked myself in, covered my ears and looked at my watch" (FOOTBALL ESPAÑA, 5/1). ... Former Barcelona and newly hired Bayern Munich coach PEP GUARDIOLA will lead a sold-out conference Thursday on "leadership, motivation, passion and teamwork" in Buenos Aires (ESPN, 4/30). ... Former Barcelona midfielder DECO tested positive for a banned diuretic in Brazil and says he will appeal the result, saying it likely stemmed from contaminated vitamins (AP, 4/30).
MISSING TIME: Six-time Olympic Gold Medalist USAIN BOLT has been ruled out of Saturday's Jamaica Int'l Invitational meeting "because of a slight hamstring strain" (REUTERS, 5/1). ... National Rugby League Penrith front-rower SAM MCKENDRY played 14 minutes of Monday night's match against division rival Parramatta with a broken neck (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5/2).
London Times' ASHLING O'CONNOR: "So Hans-Joachim Eckert closes the ISL case cos all the bad guys have resigned and the rules weren't in place at time. That's ok then"
German NHL Buffalo Sabres player CHRISTIAN EHRHOFF: "Way to exciting game at the end though, was worried there for a minute #ChampionsLeague"
London Evening Standard's MIHIR BOSE: "Germany won Euro 96 at Wembley. But this Champions League Final will be an even greater German moment #UCL"
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