League One Doncaster Rovers has "pulled off the biggest name signing of the summer" in the form of One Direction member LOUIS TOMLINSON, according to Luke Edwards of the London TELEGRAPH. Tomlinson, a free agent football wise, "has signed on a non-contract basis for his local club and will be given a first team shirt number which would enable him to play in Doncaster's Championship fixtures." Whether he gets a place in the first team squad remains to be seen, "but Doncaster will be aware of the huge crowds likely to turn up even if he is just sitting on the bench" (TELEGRAPH, 8/1). In London, Simon Rice wrote the signing appears to be a "shameless publicity stunt" for Sky Sports' program of visiting all 92 Football League clubs in one day ahead of the new season. Sky Sports revealed the news live on air -- with Tomlinson filmed signing a contract -- the yellow "ticker tape" of Sky Sports News announced -- "One Direction's Louis Tomlinson signs for Doncaster" before adding, "Tomlinson will remain with the band" (INDEPENDENT, 8/1). In London, John Drayton wrote Tomlinson was given the No. 28 jersey by Manager Paul Dickov, and Chair John Ryan said the singer will help "raise money for Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice." Tomlinson used to work for the club on match days "before finding musical fame and success by appearing on the X Factor" (DAILY MAIL, 8/1).
People and Pop Culture
Among athletes, CRISTIANO RONALDO "is the undisputed king of Twitter," according to Óscar García of AS. Ronaldo has surpassed 20 million followers on Twitter, giving him a substantial lead over Real Madrid's KAKA, who has 16.2 million followers. Of the top 10 most-followed athletes on Twitter, "eight are footballers and six play in La Liga." In addition to Ronaldo and Kaka, NEYMAR, ANDRES INIESTA, GERARD PIQUE, and CESC FABREGAS are also among the top 10 (AS, 7/31).
JUST A LITTLE BIT OUTSIDE: In London, Adam Shergold reported Ronaldo "was given the honour of throwing the first pitch" as the MLB L.A. Dodgers hosted the N.Y. Yankees on Wednesday. Ronaldo's effort was "high, wide and not very handsome" (DAILY MAIL, 8/1).
The Int'l Equestrian Federation (FEI) has appointed LISA LAZARUS as its chief of business development and strategy. Lazarus joined the FEI as general counsel in '09. She has been involved in the sports world for several years and, prior to joining the FEI, was NFL Int'l senior director of partner development from '06-09 (HORSETALK, 8/1). ... Scotland rugby side Edinburgh on Tuesday appointed ALAN SOLOMONS as head coach with little more than a month left before the club's first RaboDirect PRO12 fixture of the new season. Solomons "had been widely tipped for some time to get the job but sealing the deal seems to have been a drawn out process and he will not arrive at Murrayfield until the end of the week" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 7/31). ... Kenya Rugby has resigned England int'l MIKE FRIDAY as its sevens head coach. Friday "had a year to run after he signed a two-year contract in 2012." Friday was appointed Kenya coach in May '12, taking over from Kenyan BENJAMIN AYIMBA (XINHUA, 8/1). ... HASHEM HAIDAR was elected to his fourth term as head of the Lebanese Football Federation on Wednesday, winning votes from 49 of the 50 clubs attending (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 8/1). ... League One club Notts County has made STEVE PRESCOTT the club's new head of commercial. Prescott arrives after leaving his post at Lincoln City, where he was CEO for the past two years. Prescott has previously held senior commercial positions at Sincil Bank and with English Football League club Nottingham Forest (Notts County). ... South African Vodacom League Baroka FC coach SELLO CHOKOE "has been rewarded with a three-year contract after finally guiding Baroka FC into the National First Division" (SOWETANLIVE, 8/1).
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Ecuadorean footballer CHRISTIAN BENITEZ, who died on Sunday after making his debut for Qatari side El Jaish, passed away as a result of heart failure, according to El Jaish. Following the game, Benitez was "admitted to hospital with severe stomach problems" and died hours later. His club confirmed that "official medical reports stated that the sudden death was caused by heart failure" (BBC, 7/31). ... Motorcyclist RATTHAPARK WILAIROT announced his retirement from the sport Wednesday and "will become a coach." Ratthapark, who took part in the world championships this year for Thai Honda PTT Gresini Racing, is replaced by THITIPONG WAROKOM (BANGKOK POST, 8/1). ... PELE, the only person to win three World Cups, said that there will be "no problem" playing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar during the summer. Temperatures can reach as high as 50 degrees Celsius (122F) in the summer in Qatar. Pele: "Of course you can play, no problem" (BLOOMBERG, 8/1). ... Former cyclist JAN ULRICH said that LANCE ARMSTRONG should "have his seven Tour de France victories reinstated because of the prevalence of doping at the time." Ulrich: "Give Armstrong the tour victories back. ... That's how it was back then" (London TELEGRAPH, 8/1). ... India's first F1 driver NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN has appealed to the government to support the organizers of the Indian Grand Prix, which is "huge" for the image of any country. Karthikeyan: "I have been racing all around the world for almost two decades, but people started asking me about India only after we hosted the F1 race here" (IANS, 8/1). ... Former FIFA VP JACK WARNER, who quit football over the '11 cash-for-votes scandal during FIFA President SEPP BLATTER's re-election campaign, "has staged a political comeback after winning back his parliamentary seat in his native Trinidad and Tobago" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 8/1). ... Australian Football League Essendon coach JAMES HIRD has engaged human rights barrister JULIAN BURNSIDE to protect his interests, as the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority "prepares to hand down the findings of its six-month investigation into drug use" at Essendon Football Club (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/2).
Golfweek's ALISTAIR TAIT: "Irish men can hold their heads high in professional golf, but where are the Irish women? No Irish in #WomensBritishOpen Why?"
Autosport's JON NOBLE: "Russia has missed the deadline to submit its application to FIA to host 2014 grand prix"
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