NBA Commissioner DAVID STERN Friday announced that NBA Exec Counsel for Business & Finance HARVEY BENJAMIN is retiring from his full-time position after 20 years with the league. Benjamin will remain as a consultant for the NBA and its teams, and for other sports properties. Upon joining the NBA in '92, his first responsibility was the creation of the tax structure for the league's int'l business, including its regional offices. Prior to joining the NBA as VP/int'l business affairs, Benjamin was a partner at Proskauer Rose (NBA).
MANAGERS/COACHES: League Championship club Barnsley sacked Manager KEITH HILL after being beaten 3-1 at home by Blackburn, making it the club's seventh home defeat of the season. Barnsley, in search for its fourth manager in three and a half years, claims it is in talks with several "very experienced" managers about their vacancy. Meanwhile, Blackburn Global Advisor SHEBBY SINGH revealed that "he has met several potential candidates" to replace former Manager HENNING BERG, who was sacked on Thursday after only 57 days on the job (PA, 12/29). ... The Liberia FA has dismissed coach KAETU SMITH and his assistants "after poor results during their seven months" on the job. LFA President MUSA BILITY said that Liberia legend GEORGE WEAH "would head the committee to find a replacement." Bility: "Someone has to take responsibility for the team's dismal showing and in this case, it is the coach" (BBC, 12/29).
QUICK TURNAROUND: League Championship club Nottingham Forest has appointed ALEX MCLEISH as its manager, just one day after sacking SEAN O'DRISCOLL. McLeish, who has also had spells in charge of Rangers and the Scotland national team, had been out of work since being dismissed by Aston Villa in May (PA, 12/27). ... The Iraqi FA has promoted HAKEEM SHAKIR to head coach, "ending speculations of a possible appointment" of Argentinian DIEGO MARADONA for the job. Shakir had been in temporary charge of the national team since Brazilian ZICO resigned in November (REUTERS, 12/30). ... Premiership rugby club Sale Sharks coach JOHN MITCHELL has quit to return to South Africa. The former All Blacks coach "had only been in charge of the team for one month after taking over until the end of the season." The club said in a statement: "STEVE DIAMOND, BRYAN REDPATH and PETE ANGLESEA will continue to coach the side" (BBC, 12/29). ... Russian Premier League FC Rubin Kazan head coach KURBAN BERDYEV ended speculation about his future by signing a new two-and-a-half year contract with the club just hours before his old deal ran out (UEFA).
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