Former Lotus F1 Team Principal ERIC BOULLIER is joining McLaren in the newly created role of racing director, with RON DENNIS "in overall control," according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. McLaren said that "the Frenchman would start work at Woking" on Monday. The team said that Boullier would report to a yet-to-be-appointed McLaren Racing CEO, "who would in turn answer to group chairman, shareholder and former principal Dennis." JONATHAN NEALE "will fill the chief executive officer role temporarily" (REUTERS, 1/29). The BBC's Andrew Benson reported Boullier "will run the McLaren team" at the race tracks, charged with making sure it returns to winning races and contends for world championships. Last year it had its "worst season" since '80. A McLaren statement described Boullier as "one of the most capable trackside leaders in F1." However, the team has "not decided who the new CEO of McLaren Racing will be." Former Mercedes Team Principal ROSS BRAWN "has already been linked to a senior role at McLaren." Dennis admitted last month that "he had discussed the future with him" (BBC, 1/29). REUTERS' Alan Baldwin wrote JENSON BUTTON, the '09 champion now in his fifth year at McLaren, "welcomed Boullier's appointment." Button said, "I think it's good to have fresh ideas. I think he does add to the team. The team will never be changed by one individual, but I think he does add something and I think when the management structure is complete we will be in good shape" (REUTERS, 1/29).
People and Pop Culture
Thailand Ladies Professional Golf Association President PATINYA KUANTRAKUL was "re-elected unopposed" for a second two-year term" (BANGKOK POST, 1/29). ... Polish FA President ZBIGNIEW BONIEK "has joined the Supervisory board of Poland's Ekstraklasa, the country's top league." The Polish FA "is one of Ekstraklasa's stakeholders and as such has a permanent position on the board." Other board places "are held by members from each of the top four clubs from the previous season, plus two others elected from the other 12 clubs" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 1/29).
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Journalists and media representatives "jumped on the 49 available seats to cover the tax evasion trial" of Bayern Munich President ULI HOENESS. The court revealed that the reserved seats "were filled within 27 seconds" on Tuesday. The trial will start on March 10 (BILD, 1/29). ... Serie A Sassuolo is "likely" to name ALBERTO MALESANI coach, Sky Sport Italia reported. The club was "turned down" by PIPPO INZAGHI (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 1/29). ... Uruguay int'l striker DIEGO FORLAN "has joined Cerezo Osaka from SC Internacional of Brazil" on an estimated $5.8M a year deal, a record for the "increasingly austere" J.League. He has previously played for ManU, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid. That will break the previous J.League record of 300M yen paid to former England striker GARY LINEKER when he joined Nagoya Grampus in '93, the J.League's inaugural year (AFP, 1/29). ... Melbourne teenage pitcher BRANDON STENHOUSE "has scored a dream move" to the MLB N.Y. Yankees after scouts flew from the U.S. "to secure his services." Stenhouse, who plays in the Victorian league for Cheltenham Rustlers, "was signed after a standout performance" at the U18 national championships in Canberra (AAP, 1/29). ... U.S. rapper PITBULL "already has his free pass to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil." The rapper’s new song, "We Are One (Ole Ola)," has been "selected as the anthem of the soccer spectacular." He will team up with U.S. pop singer JENNIFER LOPEZ and Brazilian pop star CLÀUDIA LEITTE to perform the song (Nós Somos Um in Portuguese) at the World Cup Opening Ceremony June 12 in Sao Paulo (MIAMI HERALD, 1/28). ... Spain's Supreme Court has "reduced from six years to two-and-a-half years" the sentence that former Barcelona President JOSÉ LUIS NÚÑEZ is facing for fraud. Núñez "could now avoid going to prison thanks to the reduced sentence" (EFE, 1/29). ... The European Club Association Exec Board will vote on Feb. 11 whether newly-appointed Barcelona President JOSEP MARIA BARTOMEU will "automatically replace" former Barcelona President SANDRO ROSELL in Rosell's ECA role. Rosell "is currently the second VP of the ECA Exec Committee." The ECA will decide whether Rosell will be replaced by Bartomeu or "some other director from one of the 214 clubs that form the ECA" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 1/29). ... British cyclist CHRIS FROOME's chances of defending his Tour de France title "received a potential boost" on Tuesday with confirmation from Movistar that last year's runner-up, NAIRO QUINTANA, "would skip this year's race and target the Giro d'Italia instead" (London TELEGRAPH, 1/29).
CHINESE UPSET OVER BONUS: Chinese official media and web users "poured scorn on local government officials" Wednesday after they gave tennis player LI NA an 800,000 yuan ($132,000) reward for winning the Australian Open. Chinese Internet users, angry at the additional reward given by local officials, "accused them of wasting taxpayers' money that could have been used to address the needs of the poor." The official Xinhua news agency also weighed in, carrying a commentary on Wednesday that called the event "embarrassing" and "money-worshipping." The Hubei provincial government previously gave her a 600,000 yuan bonus after her historic first Grand Slam triumph, the 2011 French Open, which "she later donated to a local nursing house" (AFP, 1/29).
SUPERMARKET SWEEP: Sainsbury's CEO JUSTIN KING's announcement that he is to stand down "is likely to stir old rumours that he could be headed for F1." King, whose son JORDAN currently races in F3, "was being linked to motorsport's top flight less than a year ago" when bribery claims against F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE "began to cast doubt on the 83-year old's long-standing reign, but speculation died off when he declared that he would be staying with Sainsbury's for the foreseeable future." King's name "has already returned to F1 speculation, amid claims that he could be primed to replace Ecclestone as the man trusted to run the sport by rights holder CVC" (CRASH, 1/29).
The AP's ROB HARRIS: "Man City made £47m selling "intellectual property" to "third parties" or "related parties". Without that would have lost more than 2011-12"
Reuters' KAROLOS GROHMANN: "eerily quiet on the @ sponsorship front. @ was way ahead with four years left in preparations. "
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