FIFA Ethics Adjudicatory Chamber Deputy Chair SUNDRA RAJOO resigned just "days after he was arrested and temporarily suspended." Rajoo was detained following a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission probe and FIFA said "in the briefest of statements" that his resignation from the panel is effective immediately (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 11/29). ... Rugby Championship side Widnes Vikings CEO JAMES RULE will resign before the '19 season. Rule was appointed to the role in '12, "becoming a part-owner and joining the board of directors a year later" (BBC, 11/28). ... Asics named Under Armour GM & Senior Dir of Sales SEAN MANNION VP/Sales. Mannion will lead and oversee all commerce functions for the brand in the U.S. Mannion also previously worked at Nike and Saucony (Asics). ... MUSTAPHA BERRAF was elected president of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa, ending a year of “leadership limbo” for the organization. Berraf, president of the Algerian NOC and ANOCA VP, won in the second round of voting at the ANOCA Extraordinary Assembly in Tokyo (AROUND THE RINGS, 11/29).
COACHES/MANAGERS: K League side Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors hired Portuguese JOSÉ MORAIS as head coach. The club said on Thursday that Morais will replace outgoing Manager CHOI KANG-HEE, who will leave for Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian after this season. Morais previously served as an assistant to JOSÉ MOURINHO at Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea and managed six different clubs (YONHAP, 11/29).
MICHAEL CLARKE "doubled down on his spray" at sports journalist GERARD WHATELEY after the former Australian test captain "refuted criticism of his leadership," saying that he would "relish the opportunity to express his feelings to Whateley face-to-face." Clarke "unleashed a social media rant" on Wednesday, labeling the broadcaster a "headline chasing coward" for insinuating he had a hand in the cultural failings that led to the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town. On Thursday, Clarke was "not willing to take a backward step." Clarke: "That's 100% how I feel. ... When somebody questions or insults my integrity and my credibility that's not for sale" (London GUARDIAN, 11/28). ... Former Japan captain MAKOTO HASEBE was named Asian Int'l Player of the Year on Wednesday at the Asian Football Confederation Annual Awards. Also at the ceremony, J.League side Kashima Antlers Manager GO OIWA was named men's Coach of the Year (KYODO, 11/28). ... Spain int'l DAVID VILLA "is being heavily linked with a move" to J.League side Yokohama F. Marinos (AP, 11/28). ... Bangladesh Premier League side Comilla Victorians on Tuesday signed former Australian captain STEVE SMITH for the upcoming edition of the Twenty20 tournament. Victorians coach MOHAMMAD SALAHUDDIN said that Smith would join the team mid-January for the second phase of the BPL as a replacement for Pakistani SHOAIB MALIK (AFP, 11/29). ... EPL side Southampton held talks with former Leicester City Manager PAULO SOUSA about replacing "under-fire" Manager MARK HUGHES. The Portuguese coach is understood to have attended Southampton's 3-2 defeat at Fulham last weekend and emerged as the club's "preferred successor" should it sack Hughes (LONDON TIMES, 11/28). ... CONOR MCGREGOR told reports outside Naas District Court, "You gotta drive safe, lads," after he was disqualified from driving for six months and fined €1,000 ($1,140) for speeding. The MMA fighter pleaded guilty to traveling at "over one and half times the speed limit" on October 11, 2017 (LONDON TIMES, 11/29). ... Chelsea Owner ROMAN ABRAMOVICH is launching Russia's largest private film fund, which "could potentially challenge the monopoly of the state-run cinema fund for film financing." Abramovich's fund will administer $15M a year, industry journal ProfiCinema reported. For comparison, the annual budget of the cinema fund, "which is responsible for the lion's share of Russian film financing," is about $90M. As most local producers "heavily rely on state cash for funding," the arrival of a major private player in the segment "looks unprecedented" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 11/29).
FOOTBALL TRAINING: VALENTINE HOLMES turned to former National Rugby League side Cronulla strength & conditioning coach TRENT ELKIN to "prepare him physically for his tilt at an NFL contract." Holmes' management is in the process of "putting together a team of local experts to get him in top shape" before he heads to the IMG Academy in Florida in January (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 11/30).