McCarthy given new contract up to 2000

Mick McCarthy can breathe more easily after being given a two-year extension to his contract as manager of the Republic of Ireland, taking him up to the Euro 2000 finals in the Netherlands and Belgium.

McCarthy was given overwhelming support by a Football Association of Ireland board meeting in Athlone, with 19 delegates providing their support, none against and two abstentions. The original deal for McCarthy, who was appointed in February last year as successor to Jack Charlton, was due to expire at the end of the World Cup in France.

The Polish national coach, Antoni Piechniczek, has resigned a week after his side lost 2-0 to England, ending their chances of qualifying for next year's World Cup finals. Deputy coach Krzysztof Pawlak will take over for the time being.

Another coach to go over the weekend was Claudio Ranieri, who has left Fiorentina after a disappointing season in which the club finished ninth in Serie A and therefore failed to win a spot in the Uefa Cup. Reports suggest that Alberto Malesani, the coach of Second Division side Chievo, was likely to take over from Ranieri.

Lothar Matthaus was dropped as the captain of the German champions Bayern Munich on Saturday following the newspaper publication of his "Secret Diaries", an insight into the club's turbulent season. The Bayern chairman, Franz Beckenbauer, said that the defender Thomas Helmer would take over as captain.

"There are serious problems for Lothar," said Bayern's business manager, Uli Honess. "The diary was taken very badly by the board."

The diary appeared on Friday and included details of a 10,000 marks (pounds 3,600) bet Matthaus made against the Bayern striker Jurgen Klinsmann scoring 15 goals in the season. Matthaus lost the wager, made with Honess last winter, as Klinsmann scored precisely 15 goals, helping Bayern win a record 14th title. The Sampdoria-bound Klinsmann was shocked by the bet and said he could no longer take his former team-mate seriously.

Middlesbrough's Brazilian international Juninho, who is believed to be leaving the club, has won the North-East Football Writers' Player of the Year award. The 24-year-old midfielder was a clear winner, with the Newcastle United and England striker Alan Shearer runner-up.

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