POSTED: Thursday December 9th 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SPAIN WORLD CUP TEAM, L.A.LAKERS AND EUROPEAN RYDER CUP TEAM HEAD STRONG LIST OF CONTENDERS FOR LAUREUS WORLD TEAM OF THE YEAR AWARD

•New Orleans Saints, San Francisco Giants and Chicago Blackhawks join Lakers in powerful US challenge for prestigious Laureus Award •Inter Milan lead Italian bid for Laureus Team Award after historic treble

•World’s media vote for six Nominees for Laureus Team category
•Laureus World Sports Awards to be held in Abu Dhabi on February 7

LONDON, December 9, 2010 - An emotional victory by the Spanish Football Team in the FIFA World Cup is setting the pace in the race for Nomination for the Laureus World Team of the Year Award. Despite being a major force in international football, Spain had never won the World Cup before their success in South Africa in July.

In a particularly strong year for team sport, among the challengers to Spain will be the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team, who won the NBA Finals for the 16th time, and the European Ryder Cup golf team, who won a thrilling encounter with the United States in October.

The Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognise sporting achievement during 2010, are the premier honours on the international sporting calendar.

The names of the six Nominees for the Laureus World Team of the Year Award, as voted by the Laureus Media Selection Panel, will be announced in early January.

The eventual winner will then be chosen from that list of Nominees by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 46 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, and will be unveiled during a televised Awards Ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Monday, February 7.

The Spain Football Team won their first ever FIFA World Cup after defeating the Netherlands 1-0 in the final in South Africa with a headed goal by Andres Iniesta in extra time. They are also current European Champions. Following the victory in South Africa, seven Spanish players were nominated for the FIFA World Player of the Year Award - Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, David Villa and Xavi. Spain won the World Cup conceding just two goals, the lowest by any World Cup winner. They also became the only team that has won the World Cup after losing its opening game and the first European team to win a World Cup outside its continent.

The Los Angeles Lakers beat arch rivals Boston Celtics in the final for their 16th NBA title, just one behind the Celtics’ record of 17. In the final, Lakers rallied from 3-2 down and 13 points down in the seventh and deciding game to beat Boston 4-3. Kobe Bryant won the Most Valuable Player award for the second year.

The European Ryder Cup Team won a dramatic contest against the United States at Celtic Manor, South Wales, in October. The biennial golf match was weather affected, but that only seemed to add to the drama as the European team, captained by Colin Montgomerie beat the Americans, captained by Corey Pavin, by 14½-13½. The result came down to the final match between Europe’s Graeme McDowell and Hunter Mahan from the United States, with McDowell winning on the 17th green.

In addition to Spain, football also provides another strong contender in Inter Milan. Under coach Jose Mourinho, now with Real Madrid, they became the first winners of the Italian treble, capturing the Champions League, Serie A (Italian League) and the Coppa Italia (Italian Cup). It was the fifth successive year Inter Milan have won Serie A, equalling the all-time record. In the Champions League, Inter’s best performance was the semi-final win over 2009 champions Barcelona in Milan, coming from behind to win 3-1. In the final they beat Bayern Munich 2-0 with Diego Milito scoring both goals. Argentinian Milito scored 30 goals in all competitions and was voted European Player of the Year.

As well as the Los Angeles Lakers, the United States produced three more outstanding team performances. The San Francisco Giants won their first World Series in over 50 years with a 4-1, best of seven, win over Texas Rangers. It was the first World Series win by the Giants since the franchise moved from New York in 1954. Colombian shortstop Edgar Renteria, who hit the crucial home run in the seventh innings, was named the Most Valuable Player of the series.

The New Orleans Saints produced one of the most memorable Super Bowl moments with a 31-17 victory over Indianapolis Colts back in February to win the trophy for the first time. The post-match celebrations spread from the bars of Bourbon Street to the long-suffering households of the Lower Ninth Ward, badly affected by Hurricane Katrina, as the city exploded in joy. Hero on the field was quarterback Drew Brees, who has played a major role in the city’s relief efforts and who completed 32 of 39 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns and was named Most Valuable Player.

Chicago Blackhawks clinched ice hockey’s Stanley Cup for the fourth time, beating the Philadelphia Flyers in Game Six when Patrick Kane scored the decisive goal in overtime. It was the Blackhawks' first Cup win since 1961. Also on April 6 they won their 50th game of the season against Dallas Stars, setting a new franchise record for wins in a season.

Red Bull won the Formula One World Constructors Championship in only their sixth year of competition in 2010. They also won the individual drivers’ title through Sebastian Vettel with Mark Webber finishing third. Although the team is based in the United Kingdom and uses a French Renault engine, it is registered in Austria and so became the first Austrian team to win the title. During the year, Vettel won five Grand Prix - Malaysia, European, Japan, Brazil and Abu Dhabi - while Webber won in Spain, Monaco, Britain and Hungary.

The India Cricket Team confirmed their undisputed status as world No 1 with a series win over Australia. The current team contains many of the world's leading players, including Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, who have all played in over 100 Tests. In 2010, Tendulkar became the first man to score 14,000 runs in Test cricket.

The All Blacks New Zealand rugby team showed their dominance in 2010 when they won the Tri-Nations series against Australia and South Africa, going through the event unbeaten, and won all three games in the Steinlager Series against Ireland and Wales. Their excellent run only came to an end when they lost 26-24 to Australia in Hong Kong in October.

Laureus World Sports Academy Member and former French World Cup winner Marcel Desailly said: “I was delighted to see Spain win the World Cup and I am sure the Media Selection Panel will nominate them. The only surprise about their victory in South Africa was that it was their first. The Spanish League is one of the best in the world and Spanish players are some of the most talented, so it did not surprise me they did so well especially after winning the European Championship two years earlier.”

Double Olympic gold medallist Edwin Moses, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, said: “We have never had an American winner of the Laureus Team of the Year Award, so as an American I hope to see several of these great American teams nominated. If I had to single one out it would be the New Orleans Saints. Their Louisiana Superdome, which became a haven for so many people, was one of the most memorable images of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, and it just seems that their Super Bowl win marks the re-emergence of the city from such a tragedy. I’m a big basketball fan, so it’s good to see the Lakers could be in the final mix as well. It’s certainly going to be a great competition this year, as I also expect to see Spain nominated after winning the World Cup. We’ll have to wait to see who has been nominated, but it’s going to be a very tough decision for the Academy to find the winners.”

The 2011 Laureus World Sports Awards is returning to Abu Dhabi thanks to the support of Aabar Investments PJS, who will once again be Host Partner for the event. His Excellency Khadem Al Qubaisi, Chairman of Aabar, said: "The Laureus World Sports Awards is a unique event. It was magnificent, a great success for Abu Dhabi when it was held here last March. The whole event was really superb. We will certainly try to do something special when we bring the Awards back next year."

Last year double Oscar-winning Hollywood star Kevin Spacey hosted a glittering Awards Ceremony attended by leading sportsmen and women from around the world. Also in the audience at a packed auditorium at the Emirates Palace were Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow, British film stars Hugh Grant and Clive Owen and American actors Kyle MacLachlan and Michelle Rodriguez.

Among the names of the winners of the 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards announced in Abu Dhabi last March were Usain Bolt, Serena Williams, Jenson Button, Kim Clijsters, Natalie du Toit and Stephanie Gilmore.

Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, offers a fascinating combination of the old and the new; a blend of Arabic hospitality and mystique where a mixture of culture and tradition come together against a backdrop of the most modern world-class infrastructure. Abu Dhabi is developing a reputation as a great sporting venue as host city for the FIFA Club World Cup, the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix and the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, all highlights of the sporting calendar in the city.

Aabar Investments PJS is an investment company headquartered in Abu Dhabi. It invests in various sectors including aerospace, real estate, automotive and financial services. Its largest stakeholder is the International Petroleum Investment Company, which is wholly owned by the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation which supports almost 80 community sports projects around the world which have helped to improve the lives of more than one million young people.

There is a two-part voting process to find the winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards. Firstly, a Selection Panel of the world’s leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters from over 150 countries votes to create a shortlist of six nominations in various categories including Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year, Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year and Laureus World Comeback of the Year. Then the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy vote by secret ballot to select the Award winners.

The Laureus Academy Members also vote for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability and the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year, the Nominations for which are made by specialist panels.

For further information please contact:
Laureus Global Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 2863
Fax: +44 (0)20 7514 2837
Email: publicrelations@laureus.com
Website: www.laureus.com
For photos of Laureus events please visit www.laureusarchive.com
NOTES TO EDITORS

The Patron of Laureus is Nelson Mandela. At the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, President Mandela said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.” This has become the philosophy of Laureus; the driving force behind its work.

Laureus is a universal movement that celebrates the power of sport to bring people together as a force for good. Laureus is composed of three core elements - the Laureus World Sports Academy, the Laureus World Sports Awards and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation - which collectively celebrate sporting excellence and harness the power of sport to promote social change.

The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy are: Giacomo Agostini, Marcus Allen, Severiano Ballesteros, Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sergey Bubka, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe, Nadia Comaneci, Yaping Deng, Marcel Desailly, Kapil Dev, David Douillet, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sean Fitzpatrick, Dawn Fraser, Cathy Freeman, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Mika Häkkinen, Tony Hawk, Mike Horn, Miguel Indurain, Michael Johnson, Kip Keino, Franz Klammer, Dan Marino, John McEnroe, Edwin Moses (Chairman), Nawal El Moutawakel, Robby Naish, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Alexey Nemov, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Morné du Plessis, Hugo Porta, Vivian Richards, Monica Seles, Mark Spitz, Daley Thompson, Alberto Tomba, Steve Waugh and Katarina Witt.

The Laureus Academy members volunteer their services as global ambassadors for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which was set up to promote the use of sport as a tool for social change. The Foundation addresses social challenges through a worldwide programme of sports related community development initiatives. Since its inception Laureus has raised €35 million for projects which have helped improve the lives of more than one million young people. The Foundation addresses issues in particular involving, but not limited to, young people impacted by social exclusion, gun and gang violence, discrimination, community integration, peace and reconciliation, and education.

The Laureus World Sports Awards is the premier global sports awards honouring the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports each year. The winners are selected by the ultimate sports jury - the 46 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the great athletes of today. The Awards are presented at an annual Awards Ceremony, attended by global figures from sport and entertainment, which is broadcast to 100 countries and territories.

Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation which supports almost 80 community sports projects around the world.

There is a two-part voting process to find the winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards. Firstly, a Selection Panel of the world’s leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters have been voting to create a shortlist of six nominations in five categories - Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year, Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year and Laureus World Comeback of the Year. The nominations for two additional categories - the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year and the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability are produced by Specialist Panels. The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy then vote by secret ballot to select the Award winners in all seven categories.

Laureus was founded by its Patrons Daimler and Richemont and is supported by its Global Partners Mercedes-Benz, IWC Schaffhausen and Vodafone.

Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz, the world’s oldest automaker, can look back on a unique tradition. It is the most valuable automotive premium brand which stands for quality, safety, comfort, fascinating design and sustainable mobility. Mercedes-Benz enjoys an excellent reputation, particularly in the area of safety technology. Many pioneering technical innovations that are standard automotive features today were first seen in a Mercedes-Benz car. The Mercedes-Benz engineers will in future consistently reinvent the automobile - with the same enthusiasm and innovation like Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz in 1886. Mercedes-Benz is a Global Partner of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. Since the beginning of the Foundations’ operations in 2000, Mercedes-Benz has shared and supported the goals and values of this worldwide charity programme where sports play the core role in the fight against social issues - Laureus has become a vital element of the corporate social responsibility programme of Mercedes-Benz.

IWC Schaffhausen
For more than 140 years, IWC Schaffhausen has been producing precision products of complex functionality and outstanding user-friendliness for watch connoisseurs who expect more from their watch than an accurate display. Since its foundation in 1868, the International Watch Company has built up a reputation as a long-established Swiss watchmaking firm with a passion for inventions, innovative solutions and technical refinements. Today the brand is more successful than at any time in its history. IWC uses this strength in a programme of corporate social responsibility initiatives at home and abroad. In 2005, IWC entered into a long-term commitment to become a Global Partner of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

Vodafone
Vodafone is one of the world's largest mobile communications companies by revenue with approximately 343 million controlled and jointly controlled customers, as at 30 September 2010. Vodafone has currently equity interests in over 30 countries across five continents and a further 40 partner networks worldwide, and is supporting Laureus as a Global Partner, with a five year agreement which began in 2008 and concludes in 2012. Vodafone is a long-standing supporter of sport sponsorship and is pleased to be part of an organisation that celebrates sporting excellence both at a grass roots level through the humanitarian work worldwide of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and at elite level through the annual Laureus World Sports Awards, which honours the achievements of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen.

Aabar Investments PJS
Aabar Investments PJS is an investment company headquartered in Abu Dhabi. It invests in various sectors including aerospace, real estate, automotive and financial services. Its largest stakeholder is the International Petroleum Investment Company, which is wholly owned by the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi emirate is a destination with a unique blend of Arabian hospitality and mystique. It brings together a mix of culture and tradition against a backdrop of modern, world-class infrastructure. Abu Dhabi is a diverse destination with dramatic desertscapes, 400 kilometres of pristine coastline, 200 offshore islands, cooling oases settlements and the modern capital of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi is developing a reputation as a leading international sports destination through the staging, and hosting, of flagship sporting events including the F1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the FIFA Club World Cup and the European Tour-backed Abu Dhabi Golf Championship. This dynamic destination is the proud host of the 2011 Laureus World Sports Awards.

# # #


Keywords · Laureus World Sports Academy · Spain · United States · FIFA World Cup · NBA · Ryder Cup


Name: Keir Radnedge
Organization: sfc
Email:


Please refer all questions to the company listed above issuing the press release. SFC will not be able to assist you with any inquiries and disclaims any content in these press releases.