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Volume 7 No. 129

People and Pop Culture

League Championship side Middlesbrough appointed former FA exec ADRIAN BEVINGTON as head of recruitment operations. Bevington was managing director of Club England from '10-14 and spent 17 years at the FA. He has been on the Aston Villa board and was understood to have applied to be CEO at the Scottish FA in March (BBC, 5/22). ... Black Caps cricket coach MIKE HESSON was appointed to the Int'l Cricket Council Cricket Committee. Hesson replaces former Australian cricket coach DARREN LEHMANN as its coaching representative. Lehmann became ineligible to serve on the committee after his resignation from the Australian job "in March in the wake of the team's ball tampering scandal." Other newcomers to the committee are former Australia women's captain BELINDA CLARK and Scotland captain KYLE COETZER (STUFF, 5/23). ... STEVE HARMAN will step down as chair of the British Horseracing Authority in November to "take up a consultancy role." Harman’s departure eight months before his term is officially due to finish will "bring to an end a period of rancour at the sport’s governing body after an investigation into his conduct." He was accused of a conflict of interest after meeting at the Cheltenham Festival in March with a businessman who is investing in the Tote (LONDON TIMES, 5/23). ... West Bromwich Albion appointed club Dir LI PIYUE as its new chair following its relegation from the Premier League. Li's elevation to the role is part of West Brom's plans to ensure a "closer working relationship" with its controlling shareholder, Chinese businessman GUOCHUAN LAI (REUTERS, 5/23).

COACHES/MANAGERS: Deportivo de la Coruña confirmed CLARENCE DEEDORF will leave following the club's relegation from La Liga. Seedorf was appointed in February but the former Netherlands int'l "only led the team to two league victories during his time in charge" (GOAL, 5/23). ... Belgian First Division A side Standard Liège announced MICHEL PREUD’HOMME as manager. He was a member of the club’s youth team from ’69-77 before joining the first team from ’77-86 (Standard Liège). ... Saudi Arabian football club Al-Ittihad hired RAMÓN DIAZ as its coach, replacing JOSÉ LUIS SIERRA (OLÉ, 5/23). ... CARLO ANCELOTTI agreed to replace MAURIZIO SARRI as Serie A side Napoli's manager. Ancelotti, who was sacked by Bayern Munich last September, signed a two-year deal with the club on a reported salary of €6M ($7M) per season (London GUARDIAN, 5/23). … League Championship side Stoke City appointed former Derby County Manager GARY ROWETT as its manager on a three-year deal. Rowett, 44, replaces PAUL LAMBERT, who left Stoke following its relegation from the Premier League (BBC, 5/22).

Chelsea Owner ROMAN ABRAMOVICH denied he was "ordered to explain the origin of his wealth as part of his visa renewal application." He is at the center of the "latest spat" between Britain and Russia after it emerged his latest U.K. visa has not yet been approved. A source insisted that Abramovich's finances "were not being inspected and the visa renewal was simply taking longer than usual" (London DAILY MAIL, 5/23). ... South Korean Olympic speed skating champion LEE SEUNG-HOON is "facing allegations that he assaulted two teammates on multiple occasions." In announcing the findings of its probe into the Korea Skating Union on Wednesday, the Korean Sports Ministry said, without naming names, that a skater is "believed to have struck two younger teammates during overseas competitions" in '11, '13 and '16 (YONHAP, 5/23). ... EVONNE GOOLAGONG CAWLEY will be presented with the Int'l Tennis Federation's highest accolade, the Philippe Chatrier Award, for contributions to tennis in her on-court career and "dedicated public service after it" (HERALD SUN, 5/23). ... Australian Cricketers' Association CEO ALISTAIR NICHOLSON "could be on the move" to the Australian Football League after emerging as a contender for the Melbourne Demons' top job. He has been "sounded out" by the Demons to replace outgoing CEO PETER JACKSON, who announced earlier this month that he would step down at the end of the year (THE AGE, 5/23). ... Eurosport announced KIM CLIJSTERS will join its team of experts for the network's coverage of the French Open (Eurosport).

INIESTA FINDS 'NEW HOME': ANDRÉS INIESTA reportedly agreed to join J.League club Vissel Kobe on Wednesday. He won four Champions League titles with Barcelona and was a "key part" of Spain's first World Cup title in '10 (KYODO, 5/23). 

SHOCK RETIREMENT: South African cricketer A.B. DE VILLIERS announced his "shock retirement" from all forms of int'l cricket with immediate effect. The 34-year-old has been a "titanic figure" in the Proteas' middle order for more than a decade and "will go down as one of their greatest ever batsman." De Villiers starred in the recent test series victory over Australia, but "admitted his efforts have left him fatigued." De Villiers: "I’ve had my turn and, to be honest, I’m tired" (London TELEGRAPH, 5/23).