Bundesliga Bayer Leverkusen Managing Dir WOLFGANG HOLZHÄUSER "will step down from his postion at the end of September." The 63-year-old, who has spent 15 years at the club, "will leave Bayer Leverkusen on Sept. 30." Holzhäuser will be replaced by current pharmaceutical company Bayer AG Global Communications Dir MICHAEL SCHADE (SID, 5/14). Schade, 60, said in an email, "I come from sports, I was a sports journalist. Now, at the end of my career, the circle is closing and I'll return to it. I'm very much looking forward to it" (BLOOMBERG, 5/14).
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Real Madrid midfielder SAMI KHEDIRA has been named German Football Ambassador of the year at a ceremony in Nuremburg. Khedira won the award, which was determined by the public, by receiving more votes than his teammate MESUT ÖZIL, Serie A Lazio's MIROSLAV KLOSE and EPL Arsenal's LUKAS PODOLSKI (FOOTBALL ESPAÑA, 5/14). ... British Cycling Performance Dir DAVE BRAILSFORD "believes the pieces are very much coming together" for British Cycling's assault on the 2016 Rio Games after welcoming former Jaguar Formula One team principal TONY PURNELL into his team. Purnell, also a former FIA technical adviser, arrives as the Great Britain team's head of technical development (EUROSPORT, 5/14). ... La Liga side Levante footballer SERGIO BALLESTEROS is "reportedly considering taking legal action against Levante teammate JAVIER BARKERO, after recent allegations made against him." Barkero "had accused a handful of his teammates twice, including Ballesteros, of ‘not trying hard enough’ in a 4-0 home defeat to Deportivo." The game has since been confirmed by the Spanish Football League (LFP) as having already been under investigation on the suspicion of match-fixing (FOOTBALL ESPAÑA, 5/14). ... LIONEL MESSI will travel to Qatar Monday to participate in a series of promotions for Qatari telecom firm Ooredoo, which signed Messi as its global ambassador in February. Messi: "I like to make a difference on and off the field and to make kids smile." Ooredoo will collaborate with the Leo Messi Foundation "on diverse projects focused on children" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 5/14).
ON THE OUT: Greek basketball player THEODOROS PAPALOUKAS will retire at the end of the season. The 36-year-old, who currently plays for Russian side CSKA Moscow, said, "It is a very emotional situation for me, but I try to keep myself together." Papaloukas was an intregal part of the Greek national team that won the '05 Eurobasket title (SPOX, 5/13). ... Boxer DAVID HAYE "has pulled out of his June 29 bout" against MANUEL CHARR with a hand injury. The 32-year-old was due to make his comeback to the ring in Manchester, England "with the eventual goal of taking on a Klistchko brother for a world title" (EUROSPORT, 5/14). ... Former South African national rugby team skipper JOHN SMIT has formally retired after Saracens lost the English Premiership semifinal 27-13 against the Northampton Saints. Smit is "set to take up the job" as CEO of South African Super Rugby side Durban Sharks on July 1, but he was hoping to play in one more match -- the Premiership final with the English club -- "before returning to Durban to pursue a career in the boardroom" (SOWETAN LIVE, 5/14).
Daily Telegraph's MARK OGDEN: "Ridiculous that a manager can be sacked for finishing second and getting to the Cup Final, especially having won the league 12 months ago."
BBC's PHIL MCNULTY: "CL failure. Poor title defence. Dressing room discontent. Public complaints about transfer policy. Fatal combination for Mancini."
London Guardian's OWEN GIBSON: "For a man who thought racist abuse could be settled with a handshake, Sepp's very outspoken on the subject all of a sudden. Can't think why."
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