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Everything posted by gotosy

  1. Valtteri Bottas to partner Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes in 2017 season Valtteri Bottas has succeeded world champion Nico Rosberg as Lewis Hamilton's team-mate at Mercedes. The move, expected since December, also sees Brazilian Felipe Massa come out of retirement to replace the 27-year-old Finn at Williams. Mercedes' young driver Pascal Wehrlein, passed over in favour of Bottas, joins the Swiss Sauber team. Massa, 35, said he was "extremely motivated to be coming back" and Bottas had been given a "great opportunity". 'It felt like the right thing to do' Massa announced his retirement at the end of last season but quit F1 only because he knew he was not wanted at Williams and there was no other good seat available to him. A winner of 11 grands prix, he said: "Given the turn of events over the winter, I wish Valtteri all the best at Mercedes. "In turn, when I was offered the chance to help Williams with their 2017 F1 campaign, it felt like the right thing to do." Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams said: "With Valtteri having a unique opportunity to join the constructors' champions, we have been working hard to ensure that an agreement could be made with Mercedes. "Felipe has always been a much-loved member of the Williams family, and having the opportunity to work with him again is something we all look forward to. "He was always going to race somewhere in 2017, as he has not lost that competitive spirit, and it was important that we had a strong replacement in order for us to let Valtteri go. "Felipe rejoining us provides stability, experience and talent to help lead us forward. He is a great asset for us." Massa, who has signed a one-year deal, is an experienced and known quantity for Williams, who needed a driver over 25 to partner the 18-year-old Canadian rookie Lance Stroll as a result of their title sponsor, drinks giant Martini. ... BBC http://www.bbc.com/sport/formula1/38489054
  2. FIFA set to approve bigger, richer World Cup on Tuesday FIFA is set to make the World Cup bigger and richer, even if the price to pay is lower quality soccer. FIFA President Gianni Infantino hopes his ruling Council will agree Tuesday to expand the 2026 World Cup to 48 nations, playing in 16 groups of three teams. A decision could be delayed if some Council members demand to know exactly how many qualifying places each continent will get before agreeing to scrap the 32-team format. It has been successful, popular and profitable since 1998 and is locked in for the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar. The prize of 16 extra places, and the biggest increases to Africa and Asia, has “overwhelming” support from FIFA’s 211 member federations, Infantino has said. Their promise of extra funding from Zurich could also be secured by FIFA's forecast 20 per cent rise in rights fees paid by broadcasters and sponsors. "Financially, the 48-team format is the most appealing or successful simply because the sporting element is prevailing and every match is important," Infantino said two weeks ago. "The decision should not be financially driven, neither in terms of revenue or costs ... but the driver should really be the development of football and boosting football all over the world." World Cup champion Germany is not in favour. It argued that diluting the number of European and South American teams — which won all 20 titles since 1930 — could "strengthen the imbalance" seen at some tournaments. "The (German soccer federation) fundamentally believe that the current 32-team format is the best option," its president Reinhard Grindel said last week. Germany has no delegate at Tuesday's meeting though Grindel is set to join the FIFA Council in May. FIFA acknowledged the risk of lower standards in a research document sent to members last month, as first reported by The Associated Press. The "absolute quality" of soccer, defined by high-ranked teams playing each other most often, is achieved by 32 teams, FIFA said, citing 10,000 tournament simulations made to reach that conclusion. Still, Infantino promised voters more World Cup places and funding raises before his election last February. FIFA expects $5.5 billion income tied to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, though 25 of 34 sponsorship slots are unsold. The research document predicted the equivalent of $6.5 billion revenue from a 48-team tournament in the "16x3" format, which would send two teams from each group to a new Round of 32 knockout bracket. All 80 matches would play in an exclusive time slot. Currently, 64 World Cup matches have 56 broadcast slots because the eight four-team groups play their last matches simultaneously. FIFA predicts organizing costs for "16x3" rising from $2 billion to $2.3 billion, giving a potential profit rise of $640 million. Though a "16x3" World Cup would still need a maximum of 12 stadiums, the demand for 16 more top-quality training camps and hotels suggests FIFA would look for 2026 hosts with existing capacity. A North American bid from two or three of the United States, Canada and Mexico is currently favoured in a contest that could start within weeks. Five options are open Tuesday, including staying with 32 teams. Infantino campaigned last year on a 40-team promise, in either eight groups of five teams or 10 groups of four teams. Neither impressed voters in recent regional meetings of FIFA member federations. When the FIFA leader first proposed 48 teams, it included an opening playoff round. The 16 winners would join 16 seeded teams in a traditional 32-team group stage. FIFA members disliked "one-and-done" teams going home before the "real" World Cup kicks off. It would also stretch to a 39-day event with more short-notice travel for fans. Africa and Asia could be the big winners, and FIFA hopes new teams would include another Iceland, Wales and Costa Rica — over-achieving teams and feelgood stories at recent tournaments. Still, hapless Tahiti was outclassed at the 2013 Confederations Cup, conceding 24 goals in three games. "The goal of expanding the FIFA World Cup," it has told members, "is to further advance the vision to promote the game of football, protect its integrity and bring the game to all." ___ AP http://www.sportsnet.ca/soccer/fifa-set-approve-bigger-richer-world-cup-tuesday/
  3. Manor Racing enter administration and are on brink of collapse Manor Racing have gone into administration and will collapse without new investment. Staff were informed of the development on Friday by chief executive officer Thomas Mayer, a source told BBC Sport. Administrators FRP said there was "a very limited window of opportunity" to save the team before the start of the 2017 season in Australia on 26 March. FRP said it was "assessing options" and that the process affected Manor's operating company Just Racing Services. Manor Grand Prix Racing, which owns the rights to the team's participation in F1, is not in administration. Team owner Stephen Fitzpatrick said in a note to staff: "It was imperative that the team finish in 10th place or better in 2016." Manor, who finished 11th and last in the championship last season, have been in talks with new investors but so far no deal has been concluded. Administrator Geoff Rowley said: "The team has made significant progress since the start of 2015, but the position remains that operating a F1 team requires significant ongoing investment. "The senior management team has worked tirelessly to bring new investment, but regrettably has been unable to do so within the time available. "Therefore, they have been left with no alternative but to place [Manor Racing] into administration." A source said several buyers had been lined up over the past few weeks and two had gone as far as conducting a due diligence process. But none of them provided the funds necessary to buy the team, nor was there any proof they had the money to run it. Fitzpatrick, the boss of the energy company Ovo, decided to put the team into administration on Thursday night. ... BBC http://www.bbc.com/sport/formula1/38530855
  4. Brazil sees record number of tourists in 2016, boosted by Olympics Brazil saw a record number of international tourists in 2016, boosted by the first Olympic Games held in South America, official data showed on Wednesday. A total 6.6 million international travellers visited Brazil last year, the tourism ministry said, 4.8 percent higher than the year before. They injected $6.2 billion into the Brazilian economy, compared to $5.84 billion in 2015. Brazil is the most popular destination in Latin America but lags far behind the world's top 10 popular destinations, according to United Nations figures for 2015. France was the world's most popular tourist destination in the world with 84.5 million visitors in 2015, the United Nations said. "We still have a lot to do to benefit in an efficient manner from the image legacy of the Olympic Games," Brazil's Tourism Minister Marx Beltrão said in a statement. Of those who visited Brazil last year, 95 percent intended to return, according to a tourism ministry survey. Reuters http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-brazil-tourism-idUKKBN14O29Z?il=0
  5. Sauber agrees Wehrlein deal for F1 2017 Sauber has reached agreement for Pascal Wehrlein to line up alongside Marcus Ericsson this year, sources have revealed, paving the way for Valtteri Bottas to take the vacant seat at Mercedes. After weeks of speculation about who would replace Nico Rosberg at Mercedes – with Wehrlein and Bottas the clear favourites from the start – it appears that the final steps are now being made to get everything signed off formally. Although Wehrlein had been a contender for the Mercedes seat, it is understood that his lack of experience meant the team felt he was too much or a risk to be promoted to its works team just yet – especially going up against a driver as tough as Lewis Hamilton. According to sources with good knowledge of the situation, Mercedes has instead now agreed terms with Sauber for it to take its junior driver Wehrlein for 2017. The final details of the contract are still to be finalised, but that should be done in the next few days. Mercedes has settled on landing Bottas – whose exit from Williams has now been assured, with Felipe Massa having agreed to delay his retirement by another season to ensure that the Grove-based team has an experienced driver on hand alongside rookie Lance Stroll. The announcements of Bottas, Wehrlein and Massa may well be co-ordinated to ensure that no teams risks being left in an awkward position. The confirmation of the plans for Mercedes, Sauber and Williams means that the only vacancies left on the grid are now at Manor, which is currently in takeover talks with interested investors. Esteban Gutierrez is a front-runner for one of the seats, while Felipe Nasr and Rio Haryanto have also been linked with the outfit. http://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/sauber-agrees-wehrlein-deal-for-f1-2017-862405/
  6. Wishing you a Happy New Year !

  7. Wishing a very Merry Christmas to all!
  8. Brazil gov't takes over Olympic Park after Rio fails to woo private bidder Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes on Friday handed over management of the Olympic Park to Brazil's federal Sports Ministry after a failed effort to attract a private bidder to operate the sporting facilities. The mayor's office had pledged to award the rights to manage the Olympic facilities to a private company for 25 years to ensure public funds would not be used to cover high maintenance costs. But due to a lack of interest, the Brazilian government has taken over management of facilities including the Carioca Arena 1 and 2 indoor stadiums, the Velodrome, the Olympic Tennis Center, and the Aquatics Stadium, although the latter will be dismantled because another Olympic-sized pool is located very nearby. Sports Minister Leonardo Picciani said at a ceremony Friday that the entire Olympic Park would be transformed into a sports/recreation area, as well as a training ground for elite athletes. A view of the Wall of Champions at the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro. That facility was turned over the federal government on Dec. 23, 2016, after a failed effort to find a private bidder to manage the facilities for 25 years. EFE A young skateboarder tests his skills at the Olympic Park, which was opened for the first time since the Olympics on Dec. 23, 2016. The park was turned over to the Brazilian federal government after the city of Rio de Janeiro failed to attract a private bidder to manage the facilities. EFE Youths play volleyball on Dec. 23, 2016, at Rio's Olympic Park, which has been handed over to Brazil's federal government after the city was unable to attract a private bidder to manage the facilities for 25 years. EFE/Marcelo Sayão http://www.efe.com/efe/english/destacada/brazil-gov-t-takes-over-olympic-park-after-rio-fails-to-woo-private-bidder/50000261-3133163?utm_source=wwwefecom&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss
  9. Olympics: 2020 organizers estimate total cost at 1.6-1.8 tril. yen http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161217/p2g/00m/0sp/057000c December 17, 2016 (Mainichi Japan) TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee estimates the total cost of hosting the 2020 Games at between 1.6 trillion yen and 1.8 trillion yen ($13.6 billion and $15.3 billion), sources close to the matter said Saturday. The Japanese, Tokyo metropolitan and local governments will be asked to put up a total between 1.11 and 1.34 trillion yen, with the new estimate to be presented to a four-party working group conference scheduled Wednesday. Last month, games organizers proposed slashing a budget now estimated at 3 trillion yen to under 2 trillion yen. But the IOC, having recently met with cities abandoning bids to host summer and winter games due to concerns over costs, has called for further cuts, with vice president John Coates stating the organizing committee "can do much better" and the IOC "has not agreed to that amount of money (2 trillion yen)." Coates said prospective Olympic host cities are watching what goes on in Tokyo and must not get the wrong impression of the costs involved. An informed source said games operation costs will be 820 billion yen, with the organizing committee covering half of that. Organizers will also foot 90 billion yen of the 330 billion yen bill for temporary facilities. The original budget estimates during the 2013 bidding process totaled 734 billion yen, but excluded transport and security costs to be covered by the state and metropolitan governments -- as those were not required by the IOC then. A metropolitan government investigation has since figured the actual cost of hosting the event could swell to 3 trillion yen. ニュースサイトで読む: http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161217/p2g/00m/0sp/057000c#csidx3b6601a6bde967eac55fa55fbbfbd0e Copyright 毎日新聞
  10. Koike now looking to build Ariake Arena for Olympic volleyball at lower cost JIJI Dec 15, 2016 Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike is considering building a new facility called Ariake Arena in Tokyo’s Koto Ward, as initially planned, as a venue for volleyball matches for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, sources said Wednesday. An alternative idea of using Yokohama Arena, an existing facility in Yokohama, for volleyball for the quadrennial event is likely to be dropped after failing to win support from related athletic organizations in and outside Japan and from the Yokohama Municipal Government, the sources said. Koike is expected to announce her decision shortly, before a meeting expected to be held on Dec. 21 among the International Olympic Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the Japanese government, the sources said. At a meeting on Nov. 29, the four parties put off the choice between Ariake Arena and Yokohama Arena for volleyball until around Dec. 25 as Koike has been in favor of using existing facilities as competition venues for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. Koike is now aiming to reduce the costs to set up Ariake Arena from the current ¥40.4 billion to ¥33.9 billion and enable the new facility to continue making profits after the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including through selling the rights to operate it to the private sector. She is also expected to highlight her policy of further curbing the costs for the 2020 Games from the maximum estimated ¥2 trillion. At the Nov. 29 meeting, the four parties decided to build new facilities as initially planned for rowing and canoe sprint events, and swimming for the 2020 Games, while trimming costs. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/12/15/national/koike-now-looking-build-ariake-arena-olympic-volleyball-lower-cost/#.WFJbHX35bC8
  11. The IOC’s Gunilla Lindberg, who is chair of the PyeongChang 2018 Coordination Commission added: “I congratulate everyone involved in the construction of this venue for their hard work. I also wish good fortune to those that will operate this venue until the Games and beyond. Most of all, I wish good luck to all the athletes who will grace the ice in this stadium for the coming weekend and during the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.” The weekend’s event is expected to be a sell-out, so the athletes can expect an electric atmosphere as they race their way around the 111.12m track. The programme includes 10 events - four individual competitions and men’s and women’s relays. A total of 104 male and 80 female athletes from 31 countries will be competing, with Japan, Canada, China, Netherlands, and Russia all especially well represented. PyeongChang 2018 Among the athletes set to compete are Canadian siblings Charles and François Hamelin, Shim Suk-hee of the Republic of Korea and Wu Daijing of China. Charles Hamelin is a four-time Olympic medalist with three gold and one silvers, while Shim Suk-hee is the reigning world record holder in the women’s 1,000m. https://www.olympic.org/news/pyeongchang-2018-opens-first-new-venue-in-gangneung
  12. Tokyo breaks ground on new 2020 Olympics National Stadium TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo held a groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday for a $1.5 billion National Stadium to host the 2020 Olympic Games. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike and other dignitaries launched the construction at the site of the demolished National Stadium, which was used during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, by putting their hands on a glass sphere that rotated through pastels of the colors of the Olympic logo. The ceremony ended with a video replete with computer graphics showing how the stadium is expected to look and function once completed by November 2019. Work on the stadium in the center of the city fell behind schedule because the government abandoned the original design amid spiraling costs and complaints over its scale and appearance. Koike, Tokyo's first female governor, took office in July pledging to use her platform to host a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly 2020 Olympics. She has lambasted organizers of the 2020 games for failing to keep costs under control. An expert panel she appointed put the price tag of the 2020 Games at over $30 billion, barring drastic cost-cutting measures, a more than a four-fold increase from the initial estimate when the city was awarded the games in 2013. Fans of the old stadium, built in the late 1950s, had lobbied to keep and renovate it. But in the end the government opted to replace it with a more modern facility. Kengo Kuma, the architect of the new, open-air stadium, chose a wooden lattice design that echoes traditional styles seen in Japanese shrines and pagodas. It is intended to blend in with surrounding parkland and will be structured to minimize costs for heating and cooling. The structure will use Japanese-grown larch in its wood and steel composite roof and prefabricated panels to help speed the work along and contain costs. AP https://apnews.com/ffe82151144b4ce5b360a71aac8d9d58
  13. Mercedes F1 posted this advert in motorsport magazine Autosport in their search for Nico Rosberg's replacement http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/10687501/wanted-one-mercedes-driver-for-2017-formula-1-season
  14. Fifa president Gianni Infantino to propose 48-team World Cup with 16 groups Fifa president Gianni Infantino backed the expansion of the World Cup to include 48 teams, featuring 16 groups of three. Infantino, who replaced disgraced predecessor Sepp Blatter earlier this year, had proposed the expanded competition but had originally suggested that although the event would feature 48 countries, only the traditional 32 would advance to the finals. However, he appears to have changed his stance and will submit his latest proposal at a Fifa council meeting at their headquarters in Zurich on January 9th and 10th with view of making the changes for the 2026 World Cup. His new proposition would divide the 48 teams into 16 groups, with one side from each group being eliminated to whittle the competition back down to 32, with the tournament turning into a straight knock-out format from then on. Initially brought up in October, Infantino rejected suggestions that expanding the event would not necessarily make it a weaker tournament. “Whether it will be 40 or 48, it was a positive discussion. I don't agree it will dilute the quality,” Infantino said at the time. “I would like to remind you that in the last World Cup, England and Italy were eliminated by Costa Rica. The level of football is increasing all over the world. “In a 48-team format, the quality would be higher because the 32 teams would have a play off. The quality would improve and not decrease in any way.” If the expansion did occur, it would follow the lead of the European Championships which saw traditionally smaller nations benefit with the likes of Wales, Northern Ireland and Iceland all reaching the knockout stages. The last expansion of the World Cup was for the 1998 showpiece in France, when it increased to 32 teams from the 24 that was introduced in 1982. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/international/fifa-president-gianni-infantino-propose-48-team-world-cup-16-groups-a7461571.html
  15. Tokyo to start 2020 games volunteer recruitment in fiscal 2017 The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will ramp up recruitment for some volunteers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics starting in fiscal 2017, it was revealed in a Dec. 6 meeting of the Metropolitan Assembly's special committee on the games. 【Related】Tokyo 2020 organizers plan to hire at least 90,000 Olympic volunteers The metro government and the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games had earlier announced a plan to begin asking for volunteers in around summer 2018. Under the plan, some 90,000 total volunteers are to be recruited in two categories: "Games volunteers" to manage event venues, and "city volunteers" to help visitors at airports, train stations and the like. Metro Tokyo is responsible for recruiting the latter category. However, with the Rugby World Cup 2019 set for Ajinomoto Stadium in Chofu, Tokyo, the metro government believed it was a good idea to have some Olympic and Paralympic volunteers gain experience at the rugby tournament ahead of the 2020 games. "We will have the volunteers play an active part at the Rugby World Cup, and use the skills they acquire for the 2020 games," the official in charge of the volunteer program told the Tokyo assembly's special committee, adding that officials would also make use of their Rugby World Cup experience in training and management methods. ニュースサイトで読む: http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161207/p2a/00m/0sp/004000c#csidxe04b160ee579b5796b1644463832231 Copyright 毎日新聞 http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161207/p2a/00m/0sp/004000c
  16. Rio Olympics 2016 was not perfect, but organisers exceeded expectations, says IOC Dec 7, 2016 09:50 IST By Reuters Lausanne: The Rio de Janeiro Olympics may not have been perfect but organisers exceeded expectations given the political and economic situation in the South American country, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Tuesday. Rio, the first Olympic host city on the continent, had to grapple with a protracted political crisis, the worst recession in more than 80 years and a string of organisational problems due to a lack of cash. The run-up to the Games was an obstacle course for local organisers and the IOC had to put up hundreds of millions of dollars of its eventual contribution before the start of the Olympics to help out. Representational Image. Reuters The Games' anti-doping programme was also affected by a lack of funding amid a widening Russian drugs scandal while venues were hit by problems including water quality in pools and a virtual absence of branding around the Olympic park due to issues with banner suppliers. "From an operational point of view everything worked," the IOC's Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi told reporters. "Were they perfect? No. "But with the results we can really take our hat off (to Rio organisers). It is amazing what they delivered considering their standpoint," he said. Dubi said the IOC was satisfied with the Rio Games especially with athletes' performances that yielded 100 world and Olympic records and brought several countries their first medals and with global coverage which beat past records. "We are right on target when you consider the money that was spent for these Games," Dubi said. Rio was awarded the Games in 2009 amid Brazil's booming economy at the time and a different set of expectations by the IOC before the political crisis and the sharp financial downturn changed organisers' plans. They then had to deal with a daily barrage of questions and criticism regarding organisation, with empty seats in venues and unsold tickets marring the start of the Olympics. A lack of spectators was evident in even the most iconic venues during the 16-day event in August, including the Copacabana beach volleyball stadium on the famed Rio beach. "Someone called them the most perfect imperfect Games," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. "It's actually quite a good characterisation." Reuters http://www.firstpost.com/sports/rio-olympics-2016-was-not-perfect-but-organisers-exceeded-expectations-says-ioc-3143508.html
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