September 30 Football Business Round-Up


Platini urges European countries to introduce new match-fixing laws
In a speech to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg this week, UEFA President Michel Platini urged European countries to introduce tougher laws to curb match-fixing. Platini, who has described match-fixing orchestrated by gambling rings as the biggest threat to the sport, said a few countries had introduced laws but others needed to follow suit.

Saudi prince to buy stake in Panathinaikos
Saudi Prince Sultan bin Naser Al-Farhan Al-Saud is seeking to buy a majority stake in financially-troubled Greek Super League club Panathinaikos, a representative of the prince said this week. Vlassis Tsakas released a letter from the 26-year-old prince, owner of one of the largest construction firms in Saudi Arabia, stating his interest in a 54.7% stake in Panathinaikos and that the prince will close the deal next week.

FIFA Looks at Investment Fund
FIFA is examining an investment fund set-up by former Chelsea Chief Executive Officer Peter Kenyon to see if it violates the sport’s rules, reports Bloomberg. The fund, which has invested in the future transfer value of about 15 players, is a joint venture between Kenyon’s employer Creative Artists Agency Inc. and Gestifute SA. Some of the players are managed by Gestifute, including Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barca members give green light to Qatar sponsorship
Barcelona has approved the contested shirt sponsorship deal with the non-profit Qatar Foundation. The club signed the £148m five-and-a-half year deal, touted as the largest shirt sponsorship deal in football history, last December. The decision to take money for the first time in its history was not universally popular though members voted unanimously to accept the deal.

Craig Whyte seeking to leave the SPL to secure Rangers’ financial future
Scottish giants Rangers, under threat of administration because of a £50m claim from the UK tax authorities, retain an ambition to gain entry to the English Premier League as will reconsidering proposals for an ‘Atlantic League’, according to new owner and chairman Craig Whyte, reports The Daily Telegraph.

Liverpool granted stadium extension as former owners pursue action
Liverpool FC have been granted a further extension by the City Council as they continue to assess their stadium options. A deadline of the end of September set for Liverpool to take up the 999-year lease on nearby Stanley Park, for which planning permission for a new stadium has already been granted. Meanwhile The Guardian reports that former owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are still seeking damages from Liverpool’s present owners, former directors and the Royal Bank of Scotland, almost one year after New England Sports Ventures gained control of the club in the high court.

Neuchatel reported over missing documentation
Neuchatel Xamax, where Chechen owner Bulat Chagaev has fired four coaches since his takeover in May, have been reported for failing to supply information to the league about the club’s finances. The Swiss league said it had asked the disciplinary committee to take action against the club over the missing documentation. It said the club’s licence application for the current season had been made by the previous administration before the takeover.

Head of Romanian Referee Commission arrested in bribes investigation
Vasile Avram, the head of the Romanian Referees Commission (CCA) has been arrested on suspicion of taking bribes from a businessman close to a first division football club, anti-corruption prosecutors said this week. Avram, whose CCA is part of the Romanian Soccer Federation, is accused of receiving £16,000 from businessman Sorin-Ioan Terbea in exchange for appointing referees favourable to soccer/football team FCM Targu Mures.

MP calls for ‘transparency’ over Coventry City ownership
A Conservative MP Damian Collins has written to Sports Minister Hugh Robertson expressing concern about the ownership of Coventry City FC. Collins, who is part of a government committee looking into how football in England is run, wants to know more about owners Sisu Capital. “In the case of Coventry City it didn’t seem to be clear who the ultimate owners of the club were,” he said, though a spokesperson for Sisu said the club is managed by private equity ownership.

Spurs offered White Hart Lane deal
Tottenham Hotspur FC has been offered a deal which could save £17m in stadium development costs if it stays in north London. The Greater London Authority (GLA) and Haringey Council have offered to relieve the club of all community infrastructure payments in relation to the project. Meanwhile, Spurs are demanding a government guarantee that stops West Ham from ever being able to remove the Olympic running track in Stratford finishing with a stadium superior to their own.

Millions on hold in youth football feud
The Premier League and Football League are embroiled in a multi-million pound funding battle over youth development reports The Daily Mail. The Premier League has stopped their £5.5m-a-year academy funding to the lower divisions, saying there has been no agreement in place this season.

Barnet’s Chairman says club’s Underhill home is ‘under threat’
Barnet FC’s chairman Tony Kleanthous has released a statement saying a lack of assurances from Barnet Council mean the Bees might not be able to play at Underhill for the whole 2012/13 season. There’s been an extensive spat between the club, the local Council and Saracens rugby club who are poised to move into the nearby Copthall athletics stadium site and spend £18m redeveloping it.

Plymouth Argyle sale agreed
Plymouth’s joint administrators have agreed a deal in principle to sell the club to the Akkeron Group, headed by local businessman James Brent.

Talks continue over Cheltenham Town racecourse stadium move
Discussions over a possible new stadium development for Cheltenham Town football at the town’s famous racecourse are ‘moving forward’ according to the BBC. Directors of both parties have showed interest in a venture and are now exploring the financial implications.

Port Vale Secures Further Investment
League Two club Port Vale has announced new investment, with Peter Miller purchasing £250,000 in club shares. Mr Miller will also seek election to the club’s board, subject to shareholders’ approval. The new shares are part of the deal for new investment negotiated in the US by Perry Deakin and Chairman Mike Lloyd. Blue Sky International purchased £150,000 of new shares this week, taking the overall total by both parties to £400,000.

Wrexham FC sale agreed
Wrexham Supporters’ Trust, which has been the preferred bidder for Wrexham FC, said it would take over the day-to-day running of the club this week. Earlier, one of the club’s owners Geoff Moss threatened to talk to a rival unless he received a deposit, but a joint statement said a ‘suitable financial agreement has been reached’.


San Jose Earthquakes stadium seeking final public approval
While the City of San Jose and the San Jose Earthquakes have in effect reached an agreement on the team’s new soccer-specific stadium, local residents living in close proximity to the site were given a final opportunity to express any concerns about the project to the city’s Department of Planning at a community meeting last Monday night.

New lead for Women’s Professional Soccer
WPS has recruited Jennifer O’Sullivan as its new CEO. O’Sullivan comes from an American football background and was previously the vice president of legal and labor/labour affairs for the Arena Football League.

Traffic to market Mexican soccer rights
Sao Paolo-based agencyTraffic has acquired the broadcast rights to the Mexican domestic soccer/football league and the Mexican national team. The deal will see Traffic market and distribute the rights to the Mexican league soccer/football outside the Americas until the 2014 World Cup. Traffic will distribute Mexican national team home games to all territories except Mexico, USA and Puerto Rico until the Brazil World Cup.

American officially named as Roma’s new President
American Thomas Di Benedetto was officially named as AS Roma’s new President this week after being voted in by the club’s board. Di Benedetto acquired a controlling 67% share in the club this summer.

Police raid River Plate in investigation
Police searched the offices of Buenos Aires club River Plate and the Argentinean FA this week looking for evidence of fraud and money laundering in the running of one of Argentina’s most popular clubs. A federal judge issued the order, which was sought by lawyer Alejandro Sanchez, after River Plate was demoted in June to the second division of Argentine football for the first time in its 110-year history.

Blackburn reschedule India trip
Blackburn Rovers, owned by Indian poultry giants Venky’s, will visit India early next month, having cancelled their July trip at the last minute following bomb blasts in Mumbai that killed 20 people. The club will become the first Premier League side to tour the country during a break in the English fixtures, for a friendly in Pune, about 200km from Mumbai, where the owners are based.

CAF confirms Africa Cup of Nations swap
Amid continued conflict in Libya, CAF confirmed this week that a swap deal would take place between Libya and South Africa that will see the 2013 tournament held in South Africa and the 2017 tournament in Libya.

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