Pan Am Games Deputy Health Minister SAAD RAFI replaces TO2015 CEO IAN TROOP on Jan. 6 “as the organization begins to move from the planning stage to the operation stage in advance of the Games,” said a statement released by the committee Friday. Former premier and current TO2015 board Chair DAVID PETERSON -- who will act as interim CEO -- said that the group "opted for Rafi because of his skill set." They "replaced Troop because they are now moving into a crucial stage with the Games and the long-time bureaucrat can do the job" (TORONTO SUN, 12/13). ... Wales rugby coach WARREN GATLAND "has signed a long-term contract to remain as the head coach" until after the 2019 World Cup. The new deal "will take Gatland's Wales tenure to 12 years, extending what is already a record stint in the role in Wales' history" (PA, 12/16). ... Denmark coach MORTEN OLSEN "has signed a two-year contract extension," keeping him in the job until June '16. Olsen, 64, "has been in charge of the European nation for 13 years, guiding them to two World Cups and two European Championships" (ESPN, 12/12). ... Argentine first division side River Plate "has a new president" after RODOLFO D'ONOFRIO won the election "in a record vote with more than 17 thousand members." D'Onofrio will "lead the club for the next four years" (CLARIN, 12/15). ... La Liga side Valencia fired coach MIROSLAV DJUKIC on Monday following a 3-0 loss to Atlético Madrid. Valencia President AMADEO SALVO announced that Djukic would "not complete the contract he signed last offseason" to guide the team through June" (AP, 12/16). ... Super League rugby side Salford Red Devils “have continued their back-room re-organisation” with the appointment of MARTIN VICKERS as new CEO. Vickers takes over for DAVE MATTHEWS, who will become the CFO as part of Owner MARWAN KOUKASH’s “ambitious plans” to turn the Red Devils into “potential champions” (SKY SPORTS, 12/13).
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