Real Madrid winger GARETH BALE joins LIONEL MESSI and CRISTIANO RONALDO among "leading contenders" for FIFA's Ballon d'Or award, according to SKY SPORTS. The 23-man shortlist for "the prestigious world player of the year award" was unveiled Tuesday, and the winner -- voted for by coaches, captains and journalists -- will be announced on Jan. 13. Bale faces tough competition from his Madrid teammate Ronaldo -- the winner in '08 -- and Barcelona forward Messi, who has won the last four years. Three Paris St. Germain players -- ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC, EDINSON CAVANI and THIAGO SILVA -- were on the shortlist. Fellow Ligue 1 big-spender Monaco has a contender of its own in RADAMEL FALCAO. Former ManU Manager ALEX FERGUSON "headlines a 10-man coach of the year shortlist" along with JOSE MOURINHO, CARLO ANCELOTTI and Spain boss VICENTE DEL BOSQUE (SKY SPORTS, 10/29).
ENGLISH PLAYERS MISSING: In London, Sam Munnery wrote after "managing a single nomination" in each of the last two years, English football was "left on the outside looking in" when the shortlist was announced. WAYNE ROONEY has "kept the flag of St George flying in the past two years but today’s shortlist was again shorn of English involvement" as it had been in '10. Even the Premier League "had to make do with only five nominations for its foreign legion." Chelsea's EDEN HAZARD, ManU's ROBIN VAN PERSIE, Arsenal's MESUT ÖZIL, Liverpool's LUIS SUAREZ and Man City's YAYA TOURE provide "the Premier League representation" (LONDON TIMES, 10/29). In London, Alan Smith wrote "for those arguing that the Bundesliga has now overtaken the Premier League in terms of quality," the Ballon D'Or shortlist fails to "offer overwhelming proof." The list features seven German players, as "opposed to five from these shores." It "would have been six had Gareth Bale stayed at Tottenham." So "those figures alone don't point to a significant shift in power." The more "telling fact, though, is the fact that not one Englishman makes the cut." Potential nominees such as Rooney, Man City's JOE HART and Arsenal's JACK WILSHERE were also left off. Not "surprisingly, the shortlist is dominated by" Bayern Munich. Alongside goalkeeper MANUEL NEUER, "another five Bayern players jostle for position having conquered all in their path in formidable style" (TELEGRAPH, 10/29).
British tournament director CHRIS KERMODE, "who has helped transform" the London ATP finals into one of the "success stories of recent tennis history, has emerged as a leading candidate to become head of the ATP," according to Neil Harman of the LONDON TIMES. The succession to BRAD DREWETT, the Australian who "died in April from motor neurone disease, has been stalled in recent months as argument has gone back and forth between the tournaments and the players -- who own a 50-50 share in the ATP -- as to who possessed the right credentials." There are "four principal hopefuls, Kermode and three Americans:" ATP Americas CEO MARK YOUNG, BNP Paribas Open Tournament Dir STEVE SIMON and former WTA President DAVID SHOEMAKER, who became the NBA's China operation CEO two years ago. Next week in London, "the ATP Board is scheduled to deliberate and Drewett’s successor will be named by the end of the year" (LONDON TIMES, 10/29).
Handball Bundesliga (HBL) HSV Hamburg President MATTHIAS RUDOLPH "has resigned from his position." Rudolph's resignation "will increase the financial worries of the defending Champions League champion." The reason for his resignation "seems to be of a personal nature." Rudolph had been the club's president since '12 (HAMBURGER ABENDBLATT, 10/28). ... Scottish Professional Football League CEO NEIL DONCASTER was appointed to the Board of the European Professional Football Leagues for a three-year period from '13-16 (SPFL).
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Spanish businessman CONSTANTINO FERNÁNDEZ has "confirmed that he will be a candidate for the presidency" of Spanish second division side Deportivo La Coruña when elections are held at the end of the year. Fernandez becomes the fifth candidate, joining PACO ZAS, GERMÁN RODRÍGUEZ, MANUEL LÓPEZ CASCALLAR and current Deportivo President AUGUSTO CÉSAR LENDOIRO (EFE, 10/29). ... Between LIONEL MESSI and CRISTIANO RONALDO, FIFA President SEPP BLATTER admitted that he "'prefers' the Barcelona man." Blatter: "They are both exceptional players but are totally different. ... One has more expenses for the hairdresser than the other, but that doesn't matter. I cannot say who is the best, there will be a contest this year and then January next year it will be announced. I like both of them, but I prefer Messi" (FOOTBALL ESPANA, 10/29). ... Argentine football manager ANTONIO MOHAMED, the former coach of Liga MX side Tijuana, "is preparing to return to Mexican football in December." Mohamed did not say which team he would join, "but admitted that he has received calls from clubs interested in hiring him" (LA AFICION, 10/28). ... French rugby side Bayonne scrum-half MIKE PHILLIPS "has started legal action" against the club, which fired him for "allegedly turning up to a team meeting drunk, but his hopes of returning to Wales appear remote even if he signs a contract with the Welsh Rugby Union." Phillips was "suspended by Bayonne after he and two other players faced an internal inquiry for turning up to a video analysis session under the influence of alcohol." Phillips said that he "first found out about the termination of his contract on Monday morning in a French newspaper" (London GUARDIAN, 10/28). ... Italian Football Federation President GIANCARLO ABETE "is hoping to extend the contract" of Italy coach CESARE PRANDELLI. Prandelli, who was appointed in '10, "is expected to return to club management after the 2014 World Cup" (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 10/29). ... Malaysia World Cup field hockey player R. UTHAMARAJAH died Tuesday at the age of 61 after "suffering a heart attack." He was only the second player after his older brother PATMARAJAH "from the east coast to represent Malaysia in the World Cup" (THE STAR, 10/29). ... French tennis player JO-WILFRIED TSONGA "has appointed the duo" of THIERRY ASCIONE and NICOLAS ESCUDE "as his new coaches" (EUROSPORT, 10/28). ... Ferrari Team Principal STEFANO DOMENICALI "has dismissed suggestions that there is any lingering friction between his outfit" and FERNANDO ALONSO. When asked in India if everything was okay between Alonso and the team, Domenicali replied, "Why do you keep asking me? I don't know if you want to see shadows around or something, but it is time to stop with these things of saying there is something with Fernando" (AUTOSPORT, 10/29). ... Australian coach STEVE RIXON has emerged as the favorite to fill the post of Sri Lanka cricket coach -- "which will be vacated following the departure" of GRAHAM FORD (SRI LANKA MIRROR, 10/28). ... The legal tussle rocking the Pakistan Cricket Board "took another dramatic twist Tuesday" as interim Chair NAJAM SETHI was suspended by a court order, "only to be reinstated two hours later." A judge at Islamabad High Court suspended Sethi "for not obeying a legal order to elect a permanent chairman for the Pakistan Cricket Board" by Oct. 18. But, just two hours later, "an appeals bench at the same court granted a stay order on the ruling" until Nov. 4, following an application from the PCB legal team (AFP, 10/29). ... World Champion and four-time Olympic Gold Medalist ALLYSON FELIX "will be in Singapore for the first time" on Saturday "to flag off more than 20,000 runners at the F1 Pit Building" on Sunday (ASIA ONE, 10/29).
Bloomberg's TARIQ PANJA: "Ronaldo has been wounded by missing out on world player crown to Messi in recent years. May explain language in his response to Blatter"
London Times' KEVIN EASON: "For those reading BBC report that Ross Brawn is leaving Mercedes, u might want to read The Times tomorrow"
Reuters' KAROLOS GROHMANN: "Oct. 29, 1960, 53 years to the day Ali fights first professional bout v Tunney Hunsaker"
Formula Money's CAROLINE REID: "Contrary to paddock gossip it was revealed in court today that Ecclestone won't be testifying in Munich on 6 Nov - he's testifying in London"
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