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Volume 10 No. 22

People and Pop Culture

UK Athletics has confirmed that head coach PETER ERIKSSON "is to quit just five months in the job, threatening to undermine an expansive restructuring of the sport at elite level following the London Olympics," according to Owen Gibson of the London Guardian. Eriksson will leave his British Athletics post at the end of June, "having asked to be released from his contract in order to return to Canada to be with his family." Performance Dir NEIL BLACK "will double up as head coach for the world championships in Moscow." The 60-year-old Swede said, "Words cannot describe how disappointed I am to take this step. There is no bigger job in athletics anywhere in the world" (GUARDIAN, 5/15). In London, Rick Broadbent wrote it is a "hugely embarrassing blow" to UK Athletics as it tries to build on the success of last year's Olympics and Paralympics. Black had described the Swede as "a rare talent" when he moved over from his role with the Paralympics program last October. Now the team will go to the World Championships in Moscow in August "without a head coach." UK Athletics CEO NIELS DE VOS said, "This is very much about the human face of performance sport. It is easy to talk about what it means for us but this is a personal issue and whilst we would love for him to stay, we can only be supportive and wish him the best" (LONDON TIMES, 5/15). Also in London, Simon Hart wrote Black said, "This is a big disappointment, but it could not have been foreseen six months ago, and Peter has been open with us on the personal challenges he faces" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5/15).

Munich prosecutors "filed charges" against F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE at the Munich district court on Wednesday. Investigators "accuse Ecclestone of two crimes: bribery of an official in a particularly serious case and incitement to embezzlement, also in a particularly serious case." The bribery charges "could lead to Ecclestone losing his job as F1 CEO." Influential figures in the racing scence "are working on the resignation of the 82-year-old Brit" (SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, 5/15). Asked about the reported charges, a spokesperson for Ecclestone said, "Mr. Ecclestone has not received any charges for any indictment" (HJ Mai, SBD Global). In London, Kevin Eason reported Ecclestone has openly said that "he would be forced to resign if he is charged and the world now waits to see whether the man who has guided Formula One from a collection of unruly enthusiasts into a global phenomenon will go on." Ecclestone will be 83 in October and CVC, which bought F1 in '06, "is known to have drawn up a list of potential replacements" (LONDON TIMES, 5/15).

Former London & Partners Senior Project Manager ALEXANDRA GOLDSCHMIDT has joined the National Football League's U.K. office as sponsorship manager. Goldschmidt joins the team headed up by U.K. Commercial Dir BEN DUNN as the NFL looks to continues its expansion in the U.K. (SPORTS PRO, 5/15). ... Touring Club Belgium CEO THIERRY WILLEMARCK was elected the FIA Region I President on Wednesday.  He replaces out-going President WERNER KRAUS after serving eight years in the role (FIA).

COACHES: The FA of Singapore said that former Belarus Manager BERND STANGE "will take over as the head coach of Singapore on a two-year contract." Stange will replace RADOJKO AVRAMOVIC, "who retired after Singapore lifted Southeast Asia's Suzuki Cup in December" (REUTERS, 5/15). ... Serie A club UC Sampdoria "have extended the contracts" of coach DELIO ROSSI and Sporting Dir CARLO OSTI until June '15 (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 5/15). ... Bundesliga club Werder Bremen has fired head coach THOMAS SCHAAF "after 14 years at the helm of the club." The club said that "it has reached a mutual agreement with Schaaf after talks on Tuesday." Schaaf has had "the longest tenure in the Bundesliga" (WESER KURIER, 5/15).

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Newly hired Bayern Munich coach PEP GUARDIOLA has had conferences in México, Colombia and Argentina. Now he has been contacted by former Chilean Football President HAROLD MAYNE-NICHOLLS. Mayne-Nicholls said on Twitter, "Yesterday in New York after spending time with him, I invited Pep Guardiola to Chile. I will use his leadership concepts in my speech" (SPORT, 5/15). ... ManU defender RIO FERDINAND "has announced his retirement" from int'l football after 81 caps for England. The 34-year-old made his debut in '97, and has "represented his country at three World Cups" (EUROSPORT, 5/15). ... Swedish PM FREDRIK REINFELDT, heptathlete CAROLINA KLÜFT, ice hockey goalie VLADISLAV TRETIAK and IOC President JACQUES ROGGE are among the VIPs who will take part in Sunday's IIHF Hall of Fame induction at the Globe Arena in Stockholm (IIHF). ... ZELJKO PAVLICEVIC "is leaving the Shimane Susanoo Magic" to coach a National Basketball League (rebranded Japan Basketball League) team this season (JAPAN TIMES, 5/15). ... EPL side Queens Park Rangers striker LOIC REMY "has been arrested on suspicion of rape." The 26-year-old France int'l was in custody at a police station in west London "after being arrested by Scotland Yard's specialist sexual crimes squad" (LONDON TIMES, 5/15). ... The UCI said that French cyclist SYLVAIN GEORGES "tested positive for a banned stimulant at the Giro d'Italia." The 29-year-old, "who is on the AG2R-La Mondiale team, tested for the drug heptaminol." Separately, the UCI said that it suspended Venezuelan cyclist MIGUEL UBETO "after he tested positive for metabolic modulator GW1516 in an out-of-competition test last month" (BLOOMBERG, 5/15). ... NBA L.A. Lakers forward PAU GASOL will not play for Spain at the Eurobasket 2013 in Slovenia due to recent knee surgery (EL MUNDO, 5/15). ... Russian mountain climber ALEXEY BOLOTOV died Wednesday after falling from a camp site on Mount Everest (EXAMINER, 5/15). On Wednesday, the new FIFPro headquarters in Amsterdam was inaugurated with the presence of Barcelona players XAVI HERNÁNDEZ, GERARD PIQUÉ, CESC FÁBREGAS, MARC BARTRA and CARLES PUYOL. The Spanish players participated in a press conference to support the int'l professional football players association, then boarded a return flight to Barcelona to train with teammates (MARCA, 5/15).

Reuters' KAROLOS GROHMANN: "@werderbremen and long-time coach #ThomasSchaaf part ways after 14 years. #bundesliga #werder"

London Daily Mirror's OLIVER HOLT: "Gazing out over pitch at Amsterdam Arena now. Stadium looks magnficent. Steep sides, seats close to the pitch. Should be great atmosphere"

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