Former Bosnian footballer MILOMIR SESLIJA has returned to Malaysia's M-League as coach of Premier League side Sabah (THE STAR, 7/23). Former Basketball Super League team Barak Netanya coach DANNY FRANCO was announced as the new coach of reigning BSL champion Maccabi Haifa. Franco "guided Barak Netanya to the BSL quarterfinals last season in his second year with the club." Franco's promotion to a bigger club on Monday leaves him with "big shoes to fill in Haifa" after Hapoel Jerusalem coach BRAD GREENBERG guided the Greens to their first ever championship last season. Greenberg joined Hapoel Jerusalem on Saturday "after failing to reach an agreement with Haifa on a contract extension" (JERUSALEM POST, 7/22). ... Malaysian Super League side Johor Darul Takzim head coach FANDI AHMAD "lost his job" of on Saturday. The club announced via a Facebook posting from club President TUNKU ISMAIL IDRIS "that the Singapore great had been redesignated to assistant coach after less than a season in charge" (STRAITS TIMES, 7/23).
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Australian cyclist STUART O'GRADY, who won a Gold Medal at the 2004 Athens Games, has retired after a 19-year professional career. O'Grady: "I have always wanted to end my career with something really special and this year's Tour de France has given me this" (EP, 7/23). ... Chilean footballer DAVID PIZARRO, who currently plays for Serie A Fiorentina, "is very close to realizing a big dream: building a first-rate athletic center for at-risk youth in Valparaíso, Chile." Valparaíso Mayor JORGE CASTRO said, "The meetings have been held quietly because the player does not want to boast about what he is trying to do. We are talking with David because he maintains an interest in being part of a project that aims to build an athletic complex that the children of Valparaíso can access, with the highest possible level of infrastructure" (EMOL, 7/23). ... The Australian Rugby League Commission is searching for a new commissioner after GARY PEMBERTON announced he will retire from his role on Oct. 31. Pemberton, a former chair of Qantas, Billabong and Racing NSW, was one of seven commissioners "appointed to the newly-formed ARLC" in Feb. '12 (AAP, 7/23). ... The Public Interest Corporate Commission on Tuesday urged "embattled" All Judo Federation Chair HARUKI UEMURA to "step down to take responsibility for scandal involving the federation's misappropriation of funds" (KYODO, 7/23). ... Five-time Olympic Gold Medalist IAN THORPE said that he is "still not ready to close the book on his Olympic career and has not ruled out a tilt at the 2016 Games in Rio despite turning 30 last October." Thorpe, who is back in regular training in Switzerland under Russian coach GENNARD TOURETSKI, admitted he "may yet still have another Games up his sleeve" (Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH, 7/23). … Premier League side Aston Villa claimed "the coup every club in the country wanted: the football loyalty of the newest member of the royal family." The club's statement read, "The Duke is a huge Villa fan and it is hoped that his new son will be brought up in the claret and blue tradition. As a birthday present, Villa chiefs have sent the 8lbs 6oz baby a new kit with the appropriate letters 'HRH' and the number '1' on the back" (EUROSPORT, 7/23). … Former Basketball Super League team Barak Netanya coach DANNY FRANCO was announced as the new coach of reigning BSL champion Maccabi Haifa. Franco "guided Barak Netanya to the BSL quarterfinals last season in his second year with the club." Franco's promotion to a bigger club on Monday leaves him with "big shoes to fill in Haifa" after Hapoel Jerusalem coach BRAD GREENBERG guided the Greens to their first ever championship last season. Greenberg joined Hapoel Jerusalem on Saturday "after failing to reach an agreement with Haifa on a contract extension" (JERUSALEM POST, 7/22).
IN THE U.K.: Polish tennis player AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA "is upset and surprised about the negative reaction in her home country" after posing nude for ESPN The Magazine's “Body Issue.” Photographed naked while sitting beside a swimming pool filled with tennis balls, Radwanska "came under fire in her largely Catholic country with priests and a Catholic youth group calling her behaviour immoral." Radwanska: "I was really surprised about everything that happened afterward. The Catholics reacted like I did a photo shoot for a men's magazine. I was surprised because they didn't even know what exactly the photo shoot was" (INDEPENDENT, 7/23). ... British heptathlete JESSICA ENNIS-HILL "will make her long-awaited comeback from an ankle injury at a low-key meeting in Loughborough." Organizers for the Loughborough European Athletics Permit meeting "confirmed the Olympic heptathlon champion would compete in the event as scheduled." The 27-year-old, who has not competed yet this summer because of the injury, "will do so in the javelin and the long jump" (TELEGRAPH, 7/23). ... Six-time Olympian CHRIS HOY feels "momentum has built towards the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow since last summer's London Olympics." Hoy: "There's so much interest in sport just now, there's definitely this feeling of momentum since London. Everybody can't believe it's only a year to go, time just flies by. We can't wait" (BBC, 7/23).
Caterham F1 Team Head of Communications TOM WEBB: "40c on race day in Hungary? Brilliant. My freckles are already retreating to a safe place to prepare for the guaranteed 1st degree sunburn."
Payne Sports Media Strategies CEO & Chair MICHAEL PAYNE: "Did Rio2016 leadeship fall into the trap of losing sense of reality & become greedy after great marketing start - losing shoe in partners?"
London Guardian's OWEN GIBSON: "I have to say, this FFP idea really does seem to be cooling the madness in the transfer market. PSG, Monaco, Cavani, Rooney, Suarez..."
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