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Volume 6 No. 214

People and Pop Culture

National Rugby League CEO DAVE SMITH's crusade to clean up the game continued last night after New South Wales winger BLAKE FERGUSON "was dumped from the State of Origin team and had his registration suspended following an indecent assault charge for allegedly groping a woman," according to Honeysett & McDonald of THE AUSTRALIAN. Ferguson's punishment capped a tumultuous day for the code, "which started when the Blues headed into camp amid whispers he had been involved in an incident" with NSW teammate JOSH DUGAN (THE AUSTRALIAN, 6/18). In Sydney, Brad Walter wrote Smith announced the disciplinary action against Ferguson after he was charged by police, and said that "no decision would be made on when the Canberra star could play again until more details were known." Smith: "The fans do not want to see the game tarnished and neither do the players. It's time for people to understand that the game isn't going to accept this sort of behavior" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/18). In a separate article, Walter wrote one member of the NSW coaching staff, reading the back page of Monday's Herald at the team hotel said, "From booze brothers to Blues brothers. I suppose tomorrow's headline will say 'And back to booze brothers again.'" The good news stories about the redemption of Dugan and Ferguson "after their well-documented roof-top drinking session in Canberra at the start of the season have been put on hold -- possibly forever" (SMH, 6/18).

Premier League side Liverpool has named former Hilton Hotels exec ANDY HUGHES as its new CFO. Hughes, who will take up his role on July 8, will be responsible for overseeing the club's worldwide financial operations (ESPN, 6/17). ... League One Notts County CEO JIM RODWELL has been appointed to the Football League Board as the representative for League One for the coming season (Notts County). ... Badminton Europe President POUL-ERIK HØYER announded his resignation, after having been in charge since Aug. '10. Høyer, who replaced South Korean Dr. KAND YOUNG JOONG as Badminton World Federation President in May, "stepped down with immediate effect" (Badminton Europe).

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Former Dutch footballer JOHAN CRUYFF warned that there "might be conflict between" LIONEL MESSI and NEYMAR. Cruyff: "It is not the boys. It is Nike and adidas. If you think about it a bit, you can see the problems that might arise, although I hope they won't." In the tax evasion affair, Cruyff declared that Messi "was innocent." Cruyff: "Do you really think that Messi knows even 2 percent of what there is to know about fiscal matters? He knows what I know, zero percent. Messi is not to blame. It is the people who do his tax, what he pays them for" (MARCA, 6/16). ... F1 driver MARK WEBBER thinks that F1's more experienced drivers "are struggling to get much satisfaction from the state of racing at the moment." With tires becoming "such a dominant factor" in '13, Webber believes that the way that degradation has to be managed through a race has "taken away some of the pleasure of battling wheel-to-wheel." Webber "I think as a group, especially for the guys north of 100 grands prix, we've seen a different make-up of how grands prix are run these days" (AUTOSPORT, 6/17). ... A 50-year-old Dutchman and six youths "were jailed for manslaughter" after they kicked and beat a football linesman to death during a match outside Amsterdam. The man got a six-year sentence and the teenagers "were sent to youth detention for up to 24 months" (BLOOMBERG, 6/17). ... Jordan King ABDULLAH II and UEFA President MICHEL PLATINI discussed "cooperation between Jordan and the UEFA." King Abdullah "highlighted opportunities available for strengthening cooperation between Jordan and the UEFA and FIFA in various fields of sports" (PETRA, 6/17). ... The FA of Singapore (FAS) announced that SHAKIR HAMZAH "has been suspended from all football activities" after the LionsXII defender "was charged for going absent without leave from his National Service duties" (STRAITS TIMES, 6/15). ... Barcelona President SANDRO ROSELL on Sunday traveled to Israel to participate in a commemorative celebration of Israeli President SHIMON PERES' 90th birthday. BILL CLINTON, HILLARY CLINTON and TONY BLAIR will also be present at the celebration (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 6/17).

DEATHS: Russian judo champion ELENA IVASHCHENKO "committed suicide last Saturday because of her failure during the London Olympics" (XINHUA, 6/17). ... Former Spanish basketball coach MANEL COMAS died at age 67 from lung cancer. In 30 years coaching basketball in Spain, Comas led 12 different teams, coaching more than 700 games from '79-08 (EL MUNDO, 6/17).

The Australian's NICOLE JEFFERY: "I couldn't be happier for @JustinRose99. He was a real gent at the Aust Open last year. #niceguysfinishfirst"

Sydney Morning Herald's RICHARD HINDS: "Says something about the prevailing mentality of NRL that the first thought about Ferguson case is who takes his place for NSW."

Italian footballer MARIO BALOTELLI: "this gol is for my bro @Drake !!! STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM NOW WE HERE!!"

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