The coach of La Liga side Espanyol's second team, MANOLO MÁRQUEZ, "stepped down on Tuesday." Espanyol has promoted Márquez's assistant, SERGIO GONZÁLEZ, to "coach the team through the end of the season" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 1/21). ... Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) club Bayern Munich has extended the contract of GM MARKO PESIC until '17. Pesic's contract "was set to expired in the summer" (DPA, 1/20). ... Bundesliga club Hamburg SV Exec Chair MANFRED ERTEL announced that he "will resign from his position." The favorite to replace Ertel is current Exec Vice-Chair JENS MEIER (DIE WELT, 1/21). ... Serie A Livorno has confirmed that it has appointed DOMENICO DI CARLO as coach, replacing ATTILIO PEROTTI "in the position after just a week" (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 1/21). ... Former table tennis world champion CAI ZHENHUA "has been appointed the new president" of the Chinese FA.
A "well-decorated paddler who achieved greater success as coach," Cai, also China's vice sports minister, will replace the 75-year-old YUAN WEIMIN "following the first reshuffle of the CFA executive board in a decade" (REUTERS, 1/21). ... NBA China announced Friday that RAYMOND TAO has been appointed senior VP of global marketing partnerships.
Tao "will oversee league sponsorship and media revenue generation, new business development and partnership management throughout Greater China." He will report to NBA China CEO DAVID SHOEMAKER (CHINA DAILY, 1/17). ... KIOOMARS HASHEMI was elected as the 10th President of Iran’s National Olympic Committee on Monday.
Hashemi succeeds MOHAMMAD ALIABADI, who replaced REZA GHARAKHANLOO in Oct. '08. SHAHROKH SHAHNAZI "was elected as Iran’s NOC's secretary general" (TEHRAN TIMES, 1/20). ... KASEY BROWN has been elected president of a new board of directors of the Women's Squash Association. The new WSA Board, elected by the membership, includes ASHLEY BERNHARD (U.S.), KASEY BROWN (President, Australia), NATHAN DUGAN (Secretary, U.S.), JENNY DUNCALF (England), MARJOLEIN HOUTSMA (Netherlands), LATASHA KHAN (Chairman, U.S.) and LAURA MASSARO (England) (WSA).
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League Championship side Blackpool will announce that former Scottish League 1 Rangers and Scotland captain BARRY FERGUSON "is to become their manager," after PAUL INCE "paid the price" for nine defeats in 10 matches and was sacked. Ince’s assistant, ALEX RAE, "will also be leaving the club" (London INDEPENDENT, 1/21). ... Japan's KAMUI KOBAYASHI "has returned" to F1 after agreeing a deal with Caterham to race for no salary and pay the team more than $1M raised from fans through online donations. Kobayashi, whose comeback was announced by the tail-end team on Tuesday, said that he met Owner TONY FERNANDES at a Queens Park Rangers match in London in December and said that "he just wanted to drive" (REUTERS, 1/21). ... Retired footballer DAVID BECKHAM is off to the Peckham district in London -- "as a guest in a special Only Fools And Horses sketch" reuniting DEL BOY and RODNEY "for the first time in a decade." Beckham "will appear in the film, to be screened as part of BBC1's 'Sport Relief' night in March" (London GUARDIAN, 1/21). ... Spanish second division side Deportivo de La Coruña President AUGUSTO CÉSAR LENDOIRO's 25-year tenure with Deportivo "officially ended on Tuesday" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 1/21). ... Valencia Provincial Council President ALFONSO RUS said that if he receives an offer to become president of La Liga Valencia, "he will consider it." Rus: "With Valencia, or any sports team, it is important to help it economically but at the same time, the level of the players also has to improve" (EFE, 1/21).
FIRST PITCH: MLB Boston Red Sox pitchers KOJI UEHARA and JUNICHI TAZAWA met Tuesday with U.S. Ambassador to Japan CAROLINE KENNEDY during a tour to share the 2013 World Series trophy with baseball fans in in the country. Earlier in the day, the two pitchers presented PM SHINZO ABE with a Red Sox jersey and "talked baseball with the Japanese leader" (AP, 1/21).
BBC's JENNIE GOW: "Great way to start 2014 season as @ welcomed us rabble to meet new drivers, see Factory & chat to @ - thank you!"
Manchester Evening News' MIKE KEEGAN: "They paid £23.5m for Mata. Mourinho comes in & doesn't fancy him. How on earth is he now worth £40m?"
BBC's DAVID BOND: "While FA charge Anelka for quenelle, mood in France is confused. One Jewish leader tells BBC it's not anti Semitic on a football pitch"
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