SPAIN TO HONOR ARAGONÉS: In Madrid, Miguel Ángel Lara reported the Spanish national team will wear "an all-black strip for the first time in its history" on March 5. This date "had been pencilled in" for Spain's launch of its new away kit ahead of the World Cup. The script "could not be more perfect." Cloaked in black, a Spain side "still mourning Aragonés' death will take on Italy at none other than" Atlético's Vicente Calderón stadium. The Spanish FA is "determined to make the most of the occasion to celebrate the life of Aragonés at the ground where he attained legendary status as a player and coach" (MARCA, 2/2). INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL's Tom Conn reported Madrid Mayor ANA BOTELLA announced that "at the next city hall meeting, she will put forth a proposal to rename one of the city's streets" in honor of Aragonés. Botella said that the proposal would name a street adjacent to Atlético's new stadium, La Peineta, after "one of the most important athletes Spain has ever had" (INSIDE SPANISH FOOTBALL, 2/2). In Madrid, Óscar Jiménez reported Marca will create a new honor within the publication's football awards: the Luis Aragonés Award. It will be a tribute to Aragonés that will recognize the most valuable player in the Spanish team each season (MARCA, 2/2).
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The England & Wales Cricket Board will have to at least double coach ANDY FLOWER's salary of £300,000 ($492,000) plus bonuses if it is to appoint former South African cricketer GARY KIRSTEN as England's next head coach, according to Berry & Hoult of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Kirsten now coaches the Indian Premier League franchise Delhi Daredevils and is "so well settled, both domestically and financially, that it would take a far higher sum than has been paid to an England coach to lure him from Cape Town," where he was born and lives. The contract with Delhi Daredevils is thought to be worth more than A$500,000 ($437,000) a year for what is little more than two months' work (SMH, 2/3). The BBC reported England limited-overs coach ASHLEY GILES is a "strong candidate" for the job. ECB Chair GILES CLARKE confirmed that Giles was a candidate. Clarke: "We would agree [Giles] is a strong candidate. He's a valued employee of the ECB, a man of great integrity and ability" (BBC, 2/1). SKY SPORTS reported the decision will be made by ECB Managing Dir PAUL DOWNTON and "time is on his side." England does not have another Test until June. Clarke: "Paul will conduct a proper process. There may well be other outstanding candidates that emerge." Clarke expects Test and ODI captain ALASTAIR COOK to stay "as Test and ODI captain, whoever takes over as the new charge" (SKY SPORTS, 2/1).
Former Barcelona President SANDRO ROSELL "has been forced to relinquish all his roles within the European Club Association following his decision to quit the Catalan giants." Rosell was both a vice-chairman of the ECA and one of its four nominated representatives on UEFA's Professional Football Strategy Council as well as heading its marketing working group (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 2/2). ... Australian Football League General Counsel ANDREW DILLON announced the apointment of GERARD RYAN to the role of senior investigator in the AFL's Integrity Department. Ryan will report to AFL Manager of Competition Integrity BRETT CLOTHIER and will lead the AFL's investigation team (AFL).
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Dutch Eredivisie side Feyenoord coach RONALD KOEMAN announced "he will step down at the end of the season." Koeman, 50, was hired in '11 and has "opted not to extend his contract with the Dutch club" (EFE, 1/2). ... Australian Olympic swimmer IAN THORPE is "reportedly considering cutting short his visit to Sydney and returning home to Switzerland, after intense public scrutiny over his health." Thorpe "was injured in a fall and admitted to hospital on Wednesday night." But Thorpe's mother, MARGARET, said that reports he had been admitted to rehab "were overblown." She said, "We're very, very angry at the moment. You can imagine how you would feel if you'd gone in for something simple and it's portrayed that he's in rehab for depression and alcohol" (WEST AUSTRALIAN, 2/2).
Yahoo!'s CHARLES ROBINSON: "Apparently Sochi is indeed poisoning stray dogs and that's what I stumbled upon this morning. A pretty disturbing scene. Large dogs, too."
Daily Mirror's OLIVER HOLT: "More than five hours until game time but about to head off to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. Super Bowl's all about excess"
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