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Volume 10 No. 24

People and Pop Culture

The Dubai Sports Council is set to renew the contract of DIEGO MARADONA as Dubai’s honorary sports ambassador for another year, according to Alaric Gomes of GULF NEWS. Details of "the terms of agreement and contract will be announced at a press conference at the Raffles Hotel in Oud Metha." DSC General Secretary Dr. AHMAD AL SHARIF said that there was "absolutely no grounds why the contract should not be renewed." Maradona "has been a huge hit throughout his time in Dubai." Since becoming an ambassador, Maradona has "made his presence felt at most major events held in the emirate" (GULF NEWS, 7/8). In a separate piece, Gomes reported the DSC has "insisted that Maradona's ambassadorial role more than pays for itself by way of raising the profile of Dubai." Al Sharif: "He has played a pivotal role in the success of the DSC. He has always held a state of openness with us and this has helped tourism between Argentina and the UAE. His presence among us means a lot. We do not deal with him only as a source of funding. He participates with us in any activity that we organize" (GULF NEWS, 7/9).

German prosecutors will reportedly charge Bayern Munich President ULI HOENEß with tax evasion in the summer, according to BILD. In January, the 61-year-old "filed a voluntary disclosure that showed he did not pay tax on a Swiss bank account." On March 20, the prosecution "searched Hoeneß's home." If he is found guilty, he "could face imprisonment." Under German law, tax evasion of more than €1M ($1.3M) is punished by a prison sentence (BILD, 7/9).

EWEN MCKENZIE was named as the new coach of the Australian rugby team on Tuesday after the Australian Rugby Union decided to part ways with ROBBIE DEANS. McKenzie, "a popular local choice" who guided the Queensland Reds to a Super Rugby title in '11, "will take the reins six weeks before they play in the opening match of the Rugby Championship against bitter rivals New Zealand" (REUTERS, 7/9). ARU CEO BILL PULVER said that "McKenzie was conclusively the stand-out applicant for the role." Pulver identified team discipline as a key issue which needed to be addressed. Pulver said that "he and McKenzie would be drafting a set of principles of behaviour that were acceptable at the Wallaby level" (BRISBANE TIMES, 7/9).

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India's field hockey chiefs sacked national coach MICHAEL NOBBS "due to the team's poor performances," making the Australian the fourth foreign mentor to be axed in the past decade. Hockey India Secretary General NARINDER BATRA said, "Nobbs will not be working with the national team." Hockey India High Performance Dir Dutchman ROELANT OLTMANS "would step in as a temporary replacement for Nobbs before the next coach was appointed" (THE AGE, 7/10). ... Former boxer ENOCH NHLAPO "has died." The former South African "non-white lightweight, junior-welterweight and welterweight champion passed away on Sunday night after a short illness." He was 80 years old (SOWETAN LIVE, 7/9). ... Bookmaker William Hill has signed England cricketer ANDREW FLINTOFF "as its newest sporting ambassador as the betting brand seeks to capitalise on two Ashes series in a year." Flintoff "will help punters with cricket tips via William Hill's podcast service and promote the betting firm through a range of in-store and other brand activity" (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 7/8). ... UEFA has announced the shortlist of 10 players who will run in the second round of voting for the '12-13 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award. Click here to view the list (UEFA). ... MLB Chicago White Sox scout JOHN TUMMINIA emailed Monday afternoon to report that "he and his group have raised enough money to support their trip to bring baseball to 500 children in Kenya" (CBS, 7/8). ... Wasserman Media Group has signed ManU's RYAN GIGGS. Giggs, who has won 13 EPL titles, four FA Cups and two Champions League titles, will be represented by RHODRI BURGESS (Wasserman Media Group).

U.K.-based AP reporter ROB HARRIS: "In Nigerian football: Plateau Utd 79 Akurba 0, Police Machine 67 Babayaro 0. Called a "mind-boggling show of shame""

ESPN's DARREN ROVELL: "It’s a mess in Chicago where people who paid $2,500 to meet Messi in person are exhibition were stiffed."'s DANNY ECKER: "Update on Messi mess. Event promoter says all $2,500 VIP tix will be refunded after Messi didn't show for meet/greet:"

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