PAUL ELLIOTT resigned as a trustee of the Professional Footballers’ Association charity "in a sudden move that raises further questions over the governance of the crisis-hit union." The former Chelsea defender ended his involvement with the charity on Friday as a result of a personal financial matter, "which he feared placed him in breach of Charity Commission regulations." Elliott, 54, who is an adviser to the FA, is understood to have an individual voluntary arrangement with a creditor over debt repayment, which is one of the grounds for disqualification as a charity trustee (LONDON TIMES, 12/1). ... WAYNE BENNETT's long career as National Rugby League side Brisbane Broncos is over. After 25 seasons, six premierships, countless highlights and "being a foundation stone of the game's benchmark club," Bennett was sacked via voicemail. Nobody at the Broncos had reached Bennett by the time of Sunday's extraordinary press conference at the club's Brisbane base, in which CEO PAUL WHITE and Chair KARL MORRIS confirmed the news that Bennett's contract for the '19 season had been terminated (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 12/2).
People and Pop Culture
DANIEL STURRIDGE was given until February to "respond to a misconduct charge following nine alleged breaches of betting rules" relating to his loan move to League Championship side West Bromwich Albion last January. The extension was granted by an independent judicial panel following a request from Sturridge's legal team, with the Liverpool striker having initially eight days to answer the FA charge (LONDON TIMES, 11/30). ...China's YU DELU was "handed one of the heaviest punishments" for match-fixing after the player was banned from snooker for 10 years and nine months. He was banned by the Int'l Billiards & Snooker Federation after the result of a two-year investigation into match-fixing. Fellow Chinese player CAO YUPENG received a six-year ban after he plead guilty to fixing (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 12/1). ... Former Spain int'l striker DAVID VILLA will join old teammate ANDRES INIESTA at J.League side Vissel Kobe next season. Villa watched Vissel's 3-2 win over Vegalta Sendai at Noevir Stadium before signing the contract alongside Chair HIROSHI MIKITANI. The length and terms of the deal were not disclosed (KYODO, 12/1). ... ZINEDINE ZIDANE's son ENZO FERNANDEZ believes the former Real Madrid coach will "return to management soon." The Frenchman led Madrid to "an unprecedented" three consecutive Champions League titles ('16-18) as well as winning La Liga ('17) before "surprisingly walking away in May." Enzo said, "We all know that my father loves football and he loves to be a coach. For sure, he will be back soon" (REUTERS, 11/30). ... Former Grand Slam tennis doubles champion JUSTIN GIMELSTOB, "seen as a leading contender to become the most influential figure in men's tennis," is "fighting to save his career" amid claims of violent behavior dating back several years. He will appear in an L.A. court next month over an alleged assault. Gimelstob, now a broadcaster, is a member of the six-man ATP board, and is regarded as "well-placed to succeed" ATP President CHRIS KERMODE when he steps down (London TELEGRAPH, 11/30). ... RICAHRD BOWKER's future as the chair of UK Athletics will be on the agenda when the governing body holds its AGM in a fortnight. A dispute between Bowker and senior figures on the UKA members council has "put his position in serious jeopardy." The political crisis has escalated to such an extent that earlier this month Scottish Athletics wrote to the head of European Athletics "seeking independence" (London DAILY MAIL, 11/29).