EPL biggest earner in shirt sponsorship

* Premier League has leapfrogged Germany's Bundesliga as the biggest earner from shirt sponsorship, according to a study by consulting firm Sport+Markt published on Thursday.
Despite tough times for the British economy, endorsement deals for the 20 Premier League clubs totalled 128 million euros ($177 million) in 2010/11, compared with 118.5 million for the 18 sides in Germany's top league, the study showed.

English clubs, who also earn the most from television deals, increased their revenue from 83.5 million euros the previous year while income for their German counterparts was up from 108.6 million. Italy's Serie A was third in the latest ranking on 65.9 million euros, followed by France's Ligue 1 on 58.8 million and Spain's La Liga with 57.5 million. Netherlands was sixth on 42 million. Serie A was the only league of the top five to record a decline from the previous year.

Mansiz ditches football for a pair of ice skates

* A soccer player who shot to fame playing for Turkey's national team in the 2002 World Cup, has ditched his football boots for ice skates and is now hoping to cover himself in glory at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Ilhan Mansiz showed great promise as a striker in 2002, when he scored three goals, helping his side to a best-ever third place finish in the World Cup. But injury forced him to retire in 2006 and he became a television presenter. In 2008, at age 32, German-born Mansiz took to the ice for the first time in his life -- as part of a Turkish television show in which celebrities are paired up with professional ice-skaters for a competition lasting several weeks.

Athens cashing in on 2,500-year annivesary

* Greece is gripped by economic strife but Athens Classic Marathon (ACM) organisers are using a poignant anniversary to lift morale and net the Greek capital an estimated cash bonanza of 25 million euros ($34.70 million).

This year is the 2,500th anniversary of the fabled 490 BC run of Athenian messenger Pheidippidis, who is said to have run from Marathon to Athens to announce victory over the invading Persian army. There will be a record 12,500 runners -- more than three times the usual figure -- and a record total of 3,000 Greeks taking part in the 28th edition of the race on Sunday.

‘Clown’ reporter fails to amuse Big Phil

* Former Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari told a reporter he was a clown and suggested the referee had used television replays to change a decision after his Palmeiras team were held 1-1 by Atletico Mineiro.

'Big Phil' lost his cool during the post-match media conference, broadcast on Brazilian television, when he was asked why he had fielded midfielder Jorge Valdivia.
The Chile international has been plagued with muscular problems recently and was substituted after only 18 minutes of the game.“No, no, no, no,” said Scolari, grimacing and shaking his head when reporters suggested he had made the wrong decision.

“You lot really are a pain,” he said, screwing up his face. “He played for 18 minutes, that's good for me.”“Go you and interview the doctor,” added Scolari, his eyes rolling menacingly. “You lot are just clowning around and you're one of the biggest clowns,” he said, gesturing towards one television reporter.

No wives, girlfriends for cricketers during Ashes

* England cricket team’s director Andy Flower has barred the players from seeing their wives and girlfriends for the first five weeks of the Ashes tour in Australia. The Daily Mail reported Tuesday that Flower showed his willingness to make unpopular decisions in pursuit of a first Ashes triumph in Australia for 24 years.

The first Test starts November 25 but the squad will not be allowed to see their families until after the second Test in Perth, scheduled to finish December 7.

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