Names In The News
Barcelona defender GERARD PIQUE has accused Real Madrid of "financing its signings thanks to its connection to a financing entity." Pique said, "I have read that since '02, Madrid has spent €1.2B ($1.6B). We also spend, but we do not have [Spanish bank] Bankia. That's how it is, and I regret it" (MARCA, 9/17). ... La Liga Atlético Madrid's "No. 1 fan, FRANCISCO ESPINO RODRÍGUEZ," who was a season-ticket holder since '33, has died (MARCA, 9/17). ... Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia (UCAM), a university in Murcia, Spain, has granted scholarships to a number of Spanish Olympic athletes, including swimmers TERESA PERALES, MELANI COSTA and DUANE DA ROCHA, London 2012 taekwondo Silver Medalist BRIGITTE YAGÜE, shooter FÁTIMA GÁLVEZ and canoers ALFONSO BENAVIDES and FRANCISCO CUBELOS. The scholarships "are part of an agreement that UCAM has with the Spanish Olympic Committee to help athletes prepare for life after their athletic careers" (EL CONFIDENCIAL, 9/17). ... The Bulgarian athletics federation said that European indoor sprint champion TEZDZHAN NAIMOVA has been banned for life "after testing positive for the banned steroid drostanolone." The 26-year-old "tested positive at the European indoor championships" in Gothenburg, Sweden last March (REUTERS, 9/17).
FACING LIFE BAN: British snooker player STEPHEN LEE has been found guilty of match-fixing charges in what officials have called "the worst case of snooker corruption we've seen." His penalty will be announced on Sept. 24, "with snooker's governing body expected to push for a life ban." Lee "denied the allegations," which concerned seven games in '08 and '09, including a World Championship match (BBC, 9/16). ... Japanese tennis player KEI NISHIKORI "will square off against" former U.S. tennis player JOHN MCENROE in a November charity match. The match, scheduled for Nov. 17 at Ariake Colosseum, "will be part of an event to support the rebuilding efforts following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeast Japan" (KYODO, 9/17). ... The Japanese Olympic Committee's board of directors decided on Tuesday that former Olympic Medalist SEIKO HASHIMOTO "will be Japan's chef de mission for next February's Sochi Winter Olympics." Hashimoto, a member of the Diet's upper house, was the liaison between the JOC and the IOC, the int'l federations "and the local organizing committee at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver" (KYODO, 9/17). ... Barcelona has signed nine-year-old ZICO JR. MARECALDI from Swedish fifth division club BK Olympic "after he impressed during a Barcelona recruitment camp" (EUROSPORT, 9/17). ... JOHN TOMIC has "disputed the accuracy" of 90 percent of the diary claims published this week by his son, tennis player BERNARD's former hitting partner THOMAS DROUET, claiming that the Frenchman "was motivated by money and revenge" and declaring, "I am now regretting why I really didn't punch him." John Tomic "was convicted of assaulting Drouet in Madrid on May 4 and recently handed an eight-month suspended jail sentence by a Spanish court" (THE AGE, 9/18). ... National Rugby League side North Queensland captain JOHNATHAN THURSTON won "the Rugby League Players' Association players' player award." Thurston "was voted the game's best player" ahead of TODD CARNEY, CAMERON SMITH, ANTHONY WATMOUGH and SONNY BILL WILLIAMS (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 9/18). ... The mother of former Tour de France champion MARCO PANTANI "has called for an inquest into his death to be re-opened because she suspects he was the victim of foul play." Pantani, the winner of the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia in '98, "officially died of a cocaine overdose" at "La Rose" hotel complex in Rimini, Italy on February 14, 2004 (AFP, 9/17).
CAUGHT UP IN THE MOMENT: England rugby center MANU TUILAGI is writing to British PM DAVID CAMERON to apologize "for playing a prank on him during a visit to Downing Street." Tuilagi made a "bunny" gesture with two fingers behind Cameron's head while posing for a photograph with British and Irish Lions players on Monday. Leicester Tigers coach RICHARD COCKERILL said that "there was no malice in the 22-year-old's actions." Cockerill: "He has been a bit daft. He has made an error of judgement" (BBC, 9/17). ... UEFA President MICHEL PLATINI has said that "he will make a decision on whether to run for FIFA presidency next year at the earliest." Platini told UEFA members in Dubrovnik ahead of this week's exec committee meeting, "I have not yet decided what will I do in the future, and I want to have a few additional months to think. I will take my decision during or after the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, not before" (REUTERS, 9/17). ... Former Beijing Marathon winner WANG JIALI "was banned for two years after becoming the first Chinese athlete caught via the biological passport program." Wang and her coach, LU QIANG, "were banned for two years" from Feb. 26-Feb. 25, 2015 and were each fined for 20,000 yuan ($3,300) by the Chinese Athletics Association on Tuesday (XINHUA, 9/17). ... Maharashtra Chief Minister PRITHVIRAJ CHAVAN is likely to contest the next month's election for president of Mumbai Cricket Association, "a post held in the past by top politicians from the State." If everything goes according to indications available till now, "he may be pitted against" Nationalist Congress Party Chief SHARAD PAWAR, "who too has expressed willingness to throw his hat in the ring" (PTI, 9/16).