Names In The News
WAYNE ROONEY's £70M ($116M) ManU deal "is being held up by ongoing negotiations over his image rights, although the club remain convinced the striker will sign a new four and a-half year contract in the next week." While the football part of the deal "has been agreed," the off-field payments and incentives built into the terms "are yet to be agreed by United and the Rooney camp" (London GUARDIAN, 2/20). ... The Indian National Anti-Doping Appeal Panel "has upheld an 18-month suspension" on boxer AMIT KUMAR "for testing positive for anabolic steroid methandienone" (THE HINDU, 2/19). ... MotoGP world champion MARC MARQUEZ "fractured his right leg during dirt track practice in Spain," his team announced Thursday, but he "hopes to be fit in time for the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix." The 21-year-old Spaniard "was injured on Wednesday and could be out for three to four weeks" (AFP, 2/21). ... Sporting goods retailer Sports Direct Founder MIKE ASHLEY saw the value of his stake rise by about £200M ($333M) on Wednesday, "despite a slowdown in sales growth." The shares rose 7% to 767 pence after Sports Direct, "which last month swooped on shares in Debebhams," said sales in the three months to Jan. 26 rose 11.2% to £655.4M, while gross profit increased 14.6% to £280.7M. Ashley has a 62% stake (FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/19).
PUTIN'S NEW ALLY: Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN "has found himself an ally" in F1 CEO BERNIE ECCLESTONE. Anti-gay legislation "has been a focal point of critics." Ecclestone: "He hasn't said he doesn't agree (with homosexuality) just that he doesn't want these things publicized to an audience under the age of 18. I completely agree with those sentiments and if you took a world census you'd find 90% of the world agree with it as well" (CNN, 2/20).