Inside Lines: It's game, set and Max but the PR guru is far from snookered

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Top publicist Max Clifford has been called out by the Lawn Tennis Association. Sources there confirm his six-month contract to overhaul the game's image is not being renewed and that discussions are taking place with other PR agencies to handle promotion across all areas of the sport. Clifford, 65, was hired last year to promote the Tennis Foundation, the LTA's charitable arm, using his celebrity contacts to endorse the sport at grass-roots level and push the schools and parks programmes. But the feeling at the LTA is that the £250,000 deal has not worked out. Part of Clifford's brief was to get "good news" stories about tennis in the papers, but Andy Murray now seems to be doing that for him. Never one to be fazed, the redoubtable Clifford is now offering his services to snooker for a similar fee, claiming he can help rescue the ailing sport from what Ronnie O'Sullivan claims is a "downward spiral". "It should be easy for me to potentially achieve positive coverage because of the variety of clients I represent," he tells 'PRWeek'. Cue for Simon Cowell and Rebecca Loos to be seen potting a few balls together?

Sport England expects

Job-seeking former Tory treasurer Lord Marland, now trying to oust Giles Clarke as chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board after failing to plonk his backside on the chair at the Football Association, can take heart if he doesn't land this one. There's a vacancy desperately waiting to be filled at Sport England. The top post has been curiously vacant for over a year, although the former Davis Cup player Richard Lewis, now Rugby League chief, remains the odds-on favourite.

Don't mention the war

As you can read on page 23, the giant heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury is a puncher with promise, as Germany's Marcel Zeller will testify. As if getting a belting from the fists of Fury last week wasn't enough, the ITV4 audience overheard these words of encouragement bellowed at him by his English cornerman at the end of the second round: "Your lot lost the war and you're fucking losing this one!" Zeller said auf wiedersehen in the next round.

Few crumbs of comfort

The government agency UK Sport, who disappointingly failed to back the axed GB Olympic boxing coach Terry Edwards – despite savouring the success of what he helped to achieve in Beijing and awarding amateur boxing a 60 per cent funding boost on the strength of it – are not noted for ruffling the feathers of governing bodies. But a few will fly this week when those less fortunate than the ABA and others with swelled coffers are allocated their credit-crunched handouts. It may be a case of not how many but how few crumbs, if any, sports such as table tennis, handball, volleyball and weightlifting can manage to scrape from the table. For them, the London 2012 outlook is hardly golden.

Put a spoke in it

The French sports newspaper 'L'Equipe', which first revealed doping allegations surrounding Lance Armstrong, are unlikely to mention them on his return to the Tour de France. Amaury Sport Organisation, the paper's owners, are reportedly "discouraging" concentration on doping stories. By coincidence, Amaury also happen toown rights to Le Tour.

insidelines@independent.co.uk

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