Former Formula 1 driver FELIPE MASSA was named president of the FIA Int'l Karting Commission (CIK-FIA). Massa "cut his teeth in Brazil behind the wheel of a kart before turning his attention to single seat formula racing." He is a "noted advocate for the discipline." He will take over as head of the CIK-FIA from SHAIKH ABDULLA BIN ISA AL KHALIFA, who served from '05-14, and will serve alongside new CIK-FIA VP KEES VAN DE GRINT (AUTOWEEK, 12/11). ... JIM MALLINDER was sacked by Premiership Rugby side Northampton Saints after more than 10 years as the club’s director of rugby. The 51-year-old was appointed in June ’07 (BBC, 12/12). ... Under Armour named strategic communications agency SKDKnickerbocker Managing Dir KELLEY MCCORMICK to the newly-created position of senior VP/corporate communications. UA also named int'l sportswear distributor Oberlap Group CEO MASSIMO BARATTO VP & managing director of European business (BALTIMORE SUN, 12/11).
COACHES/MANAGERS: JESÚS NÚÑEZ was sacked as coach of Real Madrid's women's team, which is in second-to-last place with 12 points through 13 games. Although the club "did not officially announce the decision," the team's players were informed that Núñez was sacked on Monday (EFE, 12/12). ... Spanish second division side Sporting Gijón named RUBÉN BARAJA its coach. He replaces PACO HERRERA "and will look to end the club's recent streak of poor results" (MARCA, 12/12). ... Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG named VITOR PEREIRA manager. The 49-year-old has been out of football since leaving 1860 Munich following the club's relegation to the German third tier in May (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 12/12). ... Former Portugal coach PAUL BENTO has taken over as head coach of CSL side Chongqing Lifan. Bento, who led Portugal to the 2014 World Cup, replaced South Korea’s CHANG WOE-RYONG and has been “tasked with keeping Chongqing in China’s top flight while bringing players from the academy into the first team” (REUTERS, 12/11).