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Richardson does not have contract with Panama

LITTLE ROCK -- Panama's top basketball official says former
Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson does not have a contract to coach
that country's national team, according to Panamanian reports.

In an e-mail to The Associated Press on Tuesday, the secretary
general of the Panamanian Basketball Federation said federation
president Miguel Sanchiz' position on Richardson's hiring was
contained in an article in Tuesday's edition of Panama's Critica en
Linea.

In that report, Sanchiz said in Spanish: "There have been
conversations [with Richardson], but nothing official yet."

He went on to say that the federation's governing board still
needs to discuss the Richardson situation and it's still possible
for the former NCAA champion coach at Arkansas to lead the
Panamanian squad.

Richardson's lawyer, John Walker, said last week that Richardson
was on his way to Panama to coach the team in the Bolivarian Games
and the FIBA Americas championship tournaments this month. Hernan
Hernandez, the secretary general of the sport's governing body in
Panama, told The Associated Press at the time that he didn't have
details about Richardson's employment.

Walker was not immediately available for comment Tuesday, his
office said.

Sanchiz returned Monday night from a tournament in Venezuela and
addressed U.S. reports of Richardson's hiring. He said that for
now, Enrique Grenald is running the team.

In the newspaper report, Sanchiz also said the federation
doesn't have enough money to pay Richardson. Walker has said
Richardson was expecting to receive only living expenses.

The Panamanian team begins practicing Wednesday for the Aug.
12-21 Bolivarian Games in Colombia. The Tournament of the Americas
begins Aug. 24 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Panama is in
the same group as the United States, Canada and Brazil in that
qualifying tournament for the 2006 World Championships.