Arsenal confirmed IVAN GAZIDIS decided to leave his role as CEO to join AC Milan at the start of December. RAUL SANLLEHI will take over Gazidis' work on the playing side as head of football. Chief Commercial Officer VINAI VENKATESHAM will transition to the role of managing director and oversee the non-football side and business operations (LONDON TIMES, 9/18). ... Durham County Cricket Club Dir of Cricket GEOFF COOK will leave his post at the end of the season "as part of a club restructure." The 66-year-old led Durham to County Championship titles in '08, '09 and '13 (BBC, 9/18). ... Sports communications agency Macesport announced Account Dir BEN THOMPSON was promoted to CEO. A former rugby and cricket player, Thompson takes over with plans to amplify the agency's existing portfolio (Macesport).
People and Pop Culture
BEN STOKES and ALEX HALES were charged with "bringing the game into disrepute" by the England & Wales Cricket Board following a "late-night altercation" in Bristol last year. An independent Cricket Discipline Commission was tasked with leading an internal disciplinary review of last September's incident after Stokes was found not guilty of affray following a seven-day trial last month. The CDC "has the remit to impose penalties including an unlimited fine or suspension and termination of registration" (London TELEGRAPH, 9/18). ... ROGER FEDERER broke his silence on the SERENA WILLIAMS' US Open "sexism saga," suggesting the game "could use the incident as a catalyst for change." Federer said, "It's interesting but I think it's important to look at it. Every umpire has their own style, it's just how it is in any sport" (HERALD SUN, 9/18). ... Spain's tax authority dropped accusations that Colombia int'l JAMES RODRÍGUEZ "evaded millions of euros in taxes" when he played at Real Madrid, El Mundo reported (AFP, 9/18). ... A man was charged with murder hours after "prominent" Spanish golfer CELIA BARQUÍN AROZAMENA was found dead on an Iowa golf course. Barquín, 22, won the European Ladies' Amateur Championship in July and was a "leading student athlete at Iowa State University" (BBC, 9/18). ... Olympic swimmer JUNYA KOGA is set to be issued a four-year ban by a FINA doping panel "for violating anti-doping rules," sources familiar with the matter said on Monday. The 31-year-old Koga said in a hearing last month that the positive test "resulted from taking dietary supplements" (KYODO, 9/17). ... SONNY BILL WILLIAMS will fight Australian pub owner STU LAUNDY "in what should be a gentle return to the boxing ring." In an announcement which confirmed "the charitable nature of the fight," All Black Williams will "trade blows" with Laundy, a prominent reality TV celebrity. It is the headline event of the "Banger under the Hanger" promotion in Sydney on Dec. 1 (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 9/18). ... JOHN MITCHELL was "finally" appointed as England's defense coach after the Rugby Football Union agreed to a compensation package of £200,000 ($263,000) with South African side Blue Bulls. SCOTT WISEMANTEL will continue as England's attack coach. Mitchell "will be in position for England's mini-training camp in Bristol that starts on Sunday" (London GUARDIAN, 9/18).