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Volume 10 No. 25

People and Pop Culture

Former NBA player YAO MING "has been enjoying his transition into charity organizer," according to Sun Xiaochen of CHINA DAILY. As the initiator of the Yao Foundation Charity Game, Yao's participation in the program "has changed hugely since his retirement from basketball" in '11. What used to be just shooting hoops to entertain the fans in the gala game "now involves inviting other NBA stars, maintaining sponsor relations and even bargaining for the best venue rents." Yao: "I've already eaten a couple of take-away box meals with our staff members and am more aware of how tough it is to organize an event like this." Chicago Bulls player JOAKIM NOAH said, "We are very privileged to be able to play basketball and help the kids in China. I just started my foundation and it's a great learning opportunity from guys like Yao. Obviously, Yao is more than just a basketball player, he is an ambassador of the sport." All proceeds from ticket revenue for the charity game themed "All For Children" will go to the Yao Foundation Hope Primary School Basketball Season, which "aims to provide a better future for children in poor areas by improving public welfare and sports programs" (CHINA DAILY, 7/1).

Former England Manager STEVE MCCLAREN "has joined the backroom team" at relegated Queens Park Rangers. QPR finished at the bottom of the EPL last season (REUTERS, 7/2). ... Lebanon has named former Roma and Italy player GIUSEPPE GIANNINI coach of its national team. Known by Giallorossi fans as "Il Principe," Giannini "put pen to paper on a two-year contract with the side that is 131st in the FIFA World rankings" (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 7/2). ... The 2nd Basketball Bundesliga has appointed DANIEL MÜLLER as its new managing director. The 28-year-old will replace NICOLAS GRUNDMANN on Aug. 1 (2nd Basketball Bundesliga). ... JESÚS GARCÍA PITARCH  has been named director general of Spanish second division side Real Zaragoza. He will "sign on for three years" (MARCA, 7/1).

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Brazil President DILMA ROUSSEFF explained her absence from Sunday's Confederations Cup final between Spain and Brazil, assuring that "she does not follow the lead of FIFA, but that she follows Brazil national football team coach Felipe Scolari." Rousseff: "I did not go because I did not go. I did not go because my presence wasn't scheduled" (EFE, 7/2). ... A BBC broadcaster "was told to quieten down by a player at Wimbledon when his on-air segment interrupted her fourth-round match." Belgium's KIRSTEN FLIPKENS stopped play to complain that a journalist standing on a roof overlooking Court 18 "was speaking too loudly." Flipkens gestured angrily up toward JOHN WATSON, who was presenting a segment on BBC World News (AP, 7/2). ... Sport England CEO JENNIE PRICE, who recently warned the Lawn Tennis Association that its plan to get more people playing "simply wasn't good enough" is likely to get the chance to do something about it. Price is "believed to be the favourite to replace" LTA CEO ROGER DRAPER. An announcement "is expected next week" (London GUARDIAN 7/1). ... Premiership rugby side Leicester Dir of Rugby RICHARD COCKERILL "has been suspended for nine games" by a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel after he was found guilty of using words that were "obscene, inappropriate and unprofessional" during the Premiership final. Cockerill pleaded not guilty to the charge, but the RFU panel decided he had acted in an "inappropriate and unprofessional" manner and banned him until Nov. 3. He has the right to appeal (PA, 7/1). ... Former England cricketer DARREN MADDY "will retire at the end of the season." The 39-year-old, currently at Warwickshire, made his first-class debut for Leicestershire in '94 and "went on to appear in three Tests and eight one-day internationals for England" between '98 and '00 (PA, 7/2). ... Pakistan-born leg-spinner FAWAD AHMED was named an Australian citizen on Tuesday, "clearing the final procedural hurdle for his selection for the Ashes series against England" starting on July 10 (REUTERS, 7/2). ... EPL Chelsea Owner ROMAN ABRAMOVICH "has left Russian politics because of a new law banning officials from keeping their money abroad, authorities in the region where he was a lawmaker said Tuesday." For 14 years, the tycoon "has held various political offices in the remote region of Chutokta." Until Tuesday, he was speaker of the regional parliament, after spending eight years as governor until '08 (MOSCOW TIMES, 7/2). ... Nippon Professional Baseball Commissioner RYOZO KATO, who has come under fire after the league secretly altered its baseball, "insisted anew on Monday he has no plans of stepping down in the wake of the scandal." Kato: "Let history be the ultimate judge in evaluating me" (JAPAN TIMES, 7/2). ... SPORTFIVE has named HARTMUT BARTELS CFO, Finance & Administration. Bartels, 54, worked in business administration for more than 10 years at Stage Entertainment GmbH (SPORTFIVE).

The BBC's JOHN WATSON: "You'll be pleased to know I apologised to @FlipperKF in person. Apologies again for the interruption and congratulations on the win!"

London Times' KEVIN EASON: "You couldn't make it up, could you? Formula One, bloody hell, as a Scotsman once almost said"

Tennis player LAURA ROBSON: Was kinda mobbed after doubles today. #intense" (see picture, left).

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