EPL Stoke City announced on Wednesday that U.S. football club Orlando City President PHIL RAWLINS "had sold his stake in the club and was resigning as director and a member of its board," according to Paul Tenorio of the ORLANDO SENTINEL. Rawlins said that his "commitment to building Orlando City SC and its transition to Major League Soccer made it increasingly difficult to effectively help overseas." Rawlins sold his shares to Stoke Holdings, the company "controlled by the Coates family, the majority shareholder at Stoke City." Rawlins: "When it’s your hometown club and your passion, it certainly wasn't an easy decision or one I took lightly. Really it came down to my time commitment" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/6).
People and Pop Culture
Iran National Paralympic Committeee President MAHMOUD KHOSRAVIVAFA "has been reelected" after "running unopposed." Khosravivafa won 47 of the 48 votes after GHAFFUR KAREGARI "withdrew his candidacy." He "will serve" until '18 (TEHRAN TIMES, 2/5). ... Argentine four-time "Olympic medal winner in sailing" CARLOS ESPINOLA was "appointed new sports minister Wednesday" by Argentina President CRISTINA FERNANDEZ. As sports secretary, Espinola "took over" from former footballer CLAUDIO MORESI, "who held the post since July 2004." Moresi was appointed "secretary of the National Sports & Physical Activity Committee, a new agency that's part of the Argentine presidency" (XINHUA, 2/6).
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Italian newspaper II Sole 24 Ore said that Indonesian businessman and Serie A Inter Milan Owner ERICK THOHIR "is considering selling off his stake" in MLS D.C. United "to cover the debts of his new Italian plaything" (BLACK AND RED UNITED, 2/6). ... Japan men's volleyball coach GARY SATO "will be replaced after a year on the job." Sato, the first foreign coach of a Japanese national volleyball team, was hired last February. However, Japan "lost all five of its FIVB World Grand Champions Cup matches last year" (KYODO 2/5). ... Former EPL Swansea City Manager MICHAEL LAUDRUP said that he is "considering taking legal action" after being sacked as manager on Tuesday. In a statement issued by the League Managers' Association, he claimed that "he is still waiting to hear the reasons why he was dismissed." Laudrup: "I am, of course, taking legal advice" (BBC, 2/6). ... He is the player around whom Australian rugby sevens coach MICHAEL O'CONNOR believes "could construct a 2016 Olympic gold medal-winning team." Now, ADAM ASHLEY-COOPER "is thinking seriously of changing all his plans to give it a shot." When told of O'Connor's high estimation of him as a possible key member of the 12-man Olympic sevens squad, Ashley-Cooper "found himself re-examining all his plans" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/7).
TWO-SPORT STAR? Jamaica Olympic bobsled pilot WINSTON WATTS said that USAIN BOLT "told him he might join the country’s Winter Olympic program one day." Watts: "We are underdogs here. But we [Jamaicans] have the fastest guy in the world -- Usain Bolt. He is with us all the time, he’s standing behind us just like the rest of the world is standing behind us. He could be a very good pusher but there’s one thing about him -- he doesn’t like cold" (FANATIX, 2/6).
The most-read stories today on SportsBusinessDaily.com
1) CBS Hoping New Thursday Night NFL Package Will Be Prelude To Lengthier Deal
2) Beckham, MLS' Garber Announce Miami Expansion Club, Leave Stadium Unanswered
3) Coyotes' Name Change To "Arizona" Could Face Trademark Battle With Local Man
4) Pelicans Ink 10-Year Arena Naming-Rights Deal With Louisiana-Based Smoothie King
5) MLB Rangers' Naming-Rights Deal With Globe Life Reportedly Worth $50M Over 10 Years
Bloomberg's TARIQ PANJA: "If you can prove you're obese (medical note required) you can get this special seat at World Cup stadiums, and get 50% discount on tickets"
Reuters' KAROLOS GROHMANN: "now that competitions have started in @Sochi2014 hope the number of dirty water pix posted by journalists will dry up. #nomoredirtywaterpixp"
BBC's DAVID BOND: "Despite Chernyshenko's reassurances no doubt jitters around security have grown here after US toothpaste bomb warning"
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