Last Updated: April 16, 2017
Select Category:  

Weekly Brief

June 13, 2008

The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.

Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives".

* Americas *                                                  June 13, 2008

Spanish Agree Record Fee for American
Villarreal CF,who finished second to Real Madrid in La Liga, this week confirmed they’ve signed American Jozy Altidore for a record $10m, though he is yet to agree personal terms and undergo a medical. The 18-year-old, who scored 18 goals in 36 starts for the New York Red Bulls, is seen by many as the best player produced by MLS. Source: Sky Sports

Development of MLS Fan-Culture has Negatives
Along with the positive developments in supporter culture in MLS, concern has been expressed in some quarters relating to a growing number of fan incidents at recent games. During a match in Columbus, Revolution midfielder Steve Ralston was pelted with coins, beer cups and batteries while a fan invaded the field during the Galaxy/Toronto FC game in Toronto. Most recently, MLS was forced to release a statement condemning a racist comment aired at game at Crew Stadium. Source: Soccer365

Cooper Expects Investment to be Lined Up by Summer
Chairman of St Louis Soccer United, Jeff Cooper, indicated that St Louis hopes to secure the funding needed to become MLS’s 17th franchise sometime this summer. “We're very close. There are several individuals we've been in contact with about becoming investors and there is some real promise there.” Cooper said. Source: The Alton Telegraph

New American Owners Leave Their Mark
Liverpool Manager Rafael Benítez has been assured that his transfer budget will not be affected by the $66m losses incurred by Americans Tom Hicks' and George Gillett's takeover of the club. The first set of accounts released by Kop Holdings Limited, the company formed to facilitate the purchase of the club in February last year also revealed Gillett and Hicks reclaimed $2.4m in personal expenses and wrote off over $20m when they abandoned the original plans for the new club stadium in favour of their own design. Source: The Guardian

* Europe *

EURO 2008 Generating Huge Revenues and TV Ratings
The European Championship will generate a record income of about $2b, which is about 50% higher than EURO 2004 generated. Most of the revenue will come from TV deals and sponsorships. According to Uefa, television viewing figures for the first 8 matches of the European Championship have been ‘absolutely extraordinary’, far higher than for EURO 2004. Viewership in countries involved in matches has sometimes exceeded 80% of the market share. Sources: Reuters &Yahoo! Sports

Uefa Eyes End to Free TV Monopoly
British fans may not get to watch EURO 2012 entirely on free-to-air TV. Uefa is challenging the British list of ‘crown jewel’ sporting events — on the grounds that not all 31 games are of national importance, particularly given the 2008 tournament has no British participants. Uefa would still allow future games featuring British home nations to be shown on terrestrial TV, as well as the final and opening games, but BBC and ITV, who have divided this year's match schedule between them, would face competition from pay TV broadcasters Sky and Setanta. Source: BBC

Ukraine Struggles Towards Euro 2012!
The delays in the redevelopment of Kiev’s 80,000 seat Olympic stadium may result in Ukraine losing the right to co-host the event. Taiwanese company Archaisa Design Group won the $300m contract for the work but “…appears incapable of finishing the project and building work in time because of a lack of appropriate materials and building resources” according to Boris Voskresensky, a deputy head of Ukraine's Soccer Federation. UEFA President Michel Platini will visit the country in early July to check on progress. Poland is the co-host. Source: The Guardian

Transfer Market Breaking Records?
Real Madrid are believed to have offered Cristiano Ronaldo a $19m a year salary, equating to nearly $400,000/week after tax, upping the Champions League winners reputed $300,000 a week offer to the Portuguese star. Meanwhile, though United have reported Real to Fifa over their attempts to lure Ronaldo, they themselves have signed 16 year old Davide Petrucci, star of AS Roma’s youth team, for about $400,000, with the player earning about $200,000 in wages. “It is a nightmare” said Il Romanista, a newspaper dedicated to Roma, “Manchester United have dealt us another low blow, stealing Petrucci from under our noses, probably the best product of our youth system. In 3 to 4 years, he will be worth 100 times as much.” Sources: The Daily Telegraph & The Daily Telegraph

EPL Chairman Alleges the League Is Undermining  the National Team
EPL chairman Sir David Richards alleged that his own member clubs have damaged the England team by signing too many ‘foreign players’ and not giving 1st-team chances to the graduates from their own academies. He also argued that the EPL should be cut-back to 18 teams to reduce fixture congestion. Richards subsequently claimed that what he had said was not quite what he had meant and the EPL made it clear that his comments ‘do not represent the collective view of the Premier League.’ Source: The Guardian

Former Newcastle Boss Considers Spanish Bid
Former Newcastle United chairman Freddy Shepherd may make an $80m bid to buy Spanish team Real Mallorca. The Spanish club president Vicenc Grande has put his 93% stake up for sale with an asking price of around $60m but has warned that a foreign buyer will have to pay more because he would prefer the club to remain under Spanish control. Source: The Daily Mirror

Italian Fines
Current Serie A champions Inter Milan, 7-times European champions AC Milan, Sampdoria, Genoa, Udinese and Reggina have all been fined for false accounting. The Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio (Italian Federation) reported that the fines, ranging from $140,000 to $30,000, were payable by the clubs and some club directors, as a result of financial irregularities between 2003 and 2005. Source: Stuff.co.nz

Former Chelsea Employee Files Suit
Paul Smith, Chelsea FC's former group business affairs director, who was sacked in August after returning from Chelsea's lucrative pre-season US tour, has rejected the $120k offered by the club to settle his unfair dismissal claim. Instead, he is bringing an  action to an employment tribunal for loss of pay and bonus under the Wages Act for an estimated  $1m. He also plans to sue Chelsea FC in the High Court for breach of contract, perhaps for an additional $1m. The club maintains Smith was made redundant as a result of a management restructuring. It is speculated that Smith’s lawyers may call on Chelsea’s reclusive Russian owner as a witness. Source: The Daily Telegraph

Portuguese FA Suspends 26 Referees
The Portuguese FA have suspended 26 referees, for between 1 and 9 years, as part of the 'Golden Whistle' match-fixing scandal. Last season’s champions Porto were docked 6 points and barred from next season’s Champions League, while Boavista were relegated and handed a $280k fine, and already-relegated Uniao de Leiria were docked 3 points. Source: ESPNsoccernet

Everton’s Stadium Plan Moves Forward
Plans for a new 50,000-seat stadium for Everton, as well as an adjoining Tesco superstore, have been approved by Knowsley council, but the government office may still decide to send the proposal for a public enquiry. Opposition has been led by the Kirkby Residents Action Group, which claims the scheme is too big for the size of the town, and that the combination of the stadium and superstore would cause traffic chaos, especially on match days. Kirkby is about 6 miles north-east of the centre of Liverpool and has a population of about 40,000. Source: BBC

New Investors Sought!
Newly promoted West Bromwich Albion is seeking major new investment in order to compete in the EPL next season. “To be successful a club of our size needs significantly more financial backing” said chairman and majority shareholder Jeremy Peace. “We will listen to any substantive and sensible proposals, which are in the best long-term interests of the club.” Source: BBC

Blades Still Seek Compensation Over Tevez-gate
Sheffield United have taken West Ham to an arbitration hearing before the FA, and are seeking between $60 and $100m in compensation, on the grounds that the Hammers caused their relegation by playing Carlos Tevez, who they claim was ineligible. West Ham contend that they had provided all the relevant information about Tevez to the EPL, who then declared the striker eligible after the Hammers had paid an $11m fine for breaching rules on 3rd-party ownership of players. Source: The Independent

EPL Delays Decision on 39th-Game Proposal
EPL clubs have delayed a final decision on the controversial ‘39th game’ proposal after discussions at their summer meeting. Three clubs, including Liverpool and Manchester United, are fiercely opposed, but the proposal has not been ruled out. Officials are also exploring the possibility of holding pre-season tournaments abroad instead. In a related story, chief executive Richard Scudamore recently met with Mohamed bin Hammam, the influential president of the Asian Football Confederation, in the hope of improving the league's international relations in the wake of the row over the proposal. Sources: BBC & The Guardian

Strasbourg Unveil Ambitious Stadium Plans
Despite being relegated to Ligue 2, Racing Club Strasbourg has announced plans to spend $385m on a new 42,000 capacity stadium. The club have tentatively suggested that the new multi-sports facility could be ready for the start of the 2013-14 season. Source: Goal.com

EURO 2008 Sponsors Move Beyond Product Placement
Not only are sponsors paying up to $29m each for rights to Euro 2008 - about 40% more than 8 years ago - they will likely spend twice that on promotions via ancillary events and exposure. They have moved beyond the ‘one-dimensional’ product placements, putting increased emphasis on online games and promotions as well as providing live experiences at the games or offline promotions to fans across Europe. Source: Spiegel

Website Attracts Record Traffic
Manchester United’s climactic 2007-08 season was reflected in the fact that a record 5.4 million unique users accessed the club’s official website in May. Traffic on the site is currently trebling every 2 years, and this season’s figures were also boosted by the launch of Chinese, Japanese and Korean versions. Source: SportBusiness

* Rest of the World *

Construction Costs for 2010 World Cup Soar
South Africa’s World Cup organising committee chief executive officer Danny Jordaan told Reuters he expected the final cost for the construction and renovation of 10 venues to finish well above the current budget of $1.24b. “It will probably be over 10 billion rand ($1.25b). We are dealing with now with final costs of the stadiums, which are soaring as a result of the downturn in the world economy and rising fuel prices.” Source: ESPNsoccernet

More Countries Consider Hosting Competitions
Oil-rich Qatar, whose bid to host the 2016 Olympics was recently rejected, may now turn their attention to bidding to host the 2018 World Cup. “They are deadly serious about bringing a major event to Qatar and after the Olympics, the World Cup was always next on their list,” said an insider who is close to the Emir. Meanwhile, the possibility of Wales and Scotland submitting a joint bid to host the European Championships in 2016 moved a step closer after Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan confirmed he will discuss the possibility with his Scottish counterpart. Sources: The Guardian & The Daily Post

Ferdinand Makes African Pledge
After completing a 2-day tour of Lagos, Nigeria, Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand pledged to use his status to build an academy and help promote Nigerian soccer. “I want to help attract wealthy business people to put money in all these charities and schemes just to give these kids a chance. With what I have seen, I can help build an academy here that will see the best of Nigerian talent realise their dreams of being a professional footballer.” Source: BBC

Chelsea Schedule Earthquake Relief Match
Chelsea will play the Chengdu Blades from the devastated Sichuan province in a special game July 26th at the Macau national stadium to raise funds for Chinese earthquake relief. The Chengdu Blades are 90% owned by Championship side Sheffield United. Chelsea we also play matches in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and against Guangzhou Pharmaceutical at the Olympic Stadium in Guangzhou as part of an Asian tour. Source: The Sheffield Telegraph

* Comment: The People's Game Should be Televised, for Free *

Uefa, and Fifa, for that matter, may be well within their legal rights to allow pay TV channels to bid for international competitions, but is doing so in the best interest of the game? Pay TV companies such as Sky and Setanta would certainly raise the bidding for the European Championships and the World Cup, with more revenue potentially boosting grassroots development, but exposure of the game could suffer if free to air broadcasters lose matches with the next Ronaldinho, Maradona or Gascoigne might be deprived of the inspirational greatest feasts soccer offers. And many would argue that any extra money will just end up fuelling player wage inflation. A balance must be struck between profits and viewer access.


* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2008-05-18

May 18, 2008

The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.

Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives".

* Americas *                                                  May 16, 2008

Spanish Giant Signs 5-Year Agreement with MLS
FC Barcelona will tour the US later this year as part of a 5-year commercial agreement with MLS. No details of the tour were disclosed, but officials of MLS' marketing arm, Soccer United Marketing, revealed that the contract also included the soccer league negotiating the club's sponsorship rights and handling the PR and marketing in the US. “If you want to be a global brand, you have to be in the United States” said a club marketing executive. “We want to have a permanent presence here, and maybe that permanent presence will mean a team here someday.” Source: the Toronto Star

Texas Southern University Offers Help with Dynamo Stadium
Texas Southern University athletic director Charles McClelland said the university is interested in investing in the Houston Dynamo’s stadium in exchange for the rights to use it as a home to Tigers Athletics. The Dynamo, who are still negotiating with the city of Houston, were quick to point out that any such stadium would not have a track around it or those football lines soccer fans can't seem to stand. “We definitely understand the issue and I think we will be sensitive to it if the deal is done” said Dynamo president Oliver Luck. “We understand that football lines are something the soccer community isn't really interested about.” Source: the Houston Chronicle

AEG Buy Stake in De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions
AEG, owners of the LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo among other properties, has become the 2nd-largest shareholder in Golden Boy Promotions - behind De La Hoya. Golden Boy, which was founded by the former Olympic champion in 2001, will use the deal to put boxing events in many of AEG's arenas, probably starting later this year. Source: ESPN

ESPN and Coldplay Strike EURO 2008 Deal
Coldplay and ESPN have signed a marketing deal that will see Coldplay's music used in promotions for ESPN's coverage of Euro 2008. ESPN, which has the broadcast rights for the tournament in the US, Canada, Mexico, South America and India, will also incorporate music from Coldplay's new release, ‘Viva La Vida,’ due out 12 June, into game and studio production. Source: ESPNsoccernet

* Europe *

Manchester United Seeing More Red
Accounts released this week by Red Football Joint Venture Ltd show that Manchester United posted a nearly $115m loss in the financial year ending 30 June, 2007. While this figure represents a significant improvement on the $160m loss recorded in the previous year, figures suggest that the club is being adversely affected by the global credit crunch. The club still owes almost $300m to hedge funds, at an annual rate of interest of 14.25%, and it paid off only $80m of the $160m in interest due on their debts last year. The figures also revealed that the club had borrowings of nearly $1.3b, up from less than $1.2b in the previous year, which took the total owed to all creditors to just under $1.5b, including approximately $110m in transfer fee instalments. Source: the Daily Mail

Gunners Chairman Reverses Stance on American Bidder
Chairman Peter Hill-Wood softened his stance against American Stan Kroenke eventually purchasing a controlling interest in Arsenal FC. “Contrary to what I said before, I now believe he may well have a vital contribution to make to the future of this football club.” Kroenke, who currently owns a 12% stake, might soon be invited to join the board. Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has amassed a 25% stake, but he is seen as a less palatable candidate. Source: the Daily Telegraph

Hicks Reportedly Approaches Hedge Funds to End Dispute
Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks is seeking help from hedge funds to end his acrimonious relationship with partner George Gillett. Hicks has approached several hedge funds about financing his buyout of Gillett, including some that helped finance fellow American Malcolm Glazer’s purchase of Manchester United in 2005. But, according to the Daily Telegraph, at least one of those funds has balked at Hick’s request. “It was turned down because the investment case for Liverpool is not the same as Manchester United.” Source: FINalternatives

Financial Figures for Juve Show Improvement
Juventus, which returned to Serie A this season, announced a net loss of approximately $1.25m in its 3rd-quarter, significantly less than the $7m loss it reported a year earlier. The rise is attributed to higher sales of TV rights, which rose to from $40m to around $59m, and sponsorship sales, which grew from $11.5 to nearly $16m. The club said that operating results in the three months to March saw profit of just over $3.5m, down from around $4.2 the previous year, while sales rose to $84m, up from $60m. Source: SportBusiness.com

EURO 2008 Predicted to Boost Austrian Economy
Austrian economists estimate that the EURO 2008 will generate $490m, equal to about 0.15% of annual GDP. In addition, net spending of more than $400m and the creation of the equivalent of 6,000 jobs are predicted for the duration of the tournament, which Austria is jointly hosting with Switzerland. Source: Reuters

The Fourth Most Watched Soccer League
Only being beaten by the EPL, Germany’s Bundesliga and Spain’s La Liga, the English Football League has announced that the Coca-Cola Championship is the fourth most watched league in Europe, with an average of over 17,000 visiting games this past season Source: The Scotsman

Porto Escape Severe Punishment in Corruption Scandal
FC Porto was deducted 6 points Friday for trying to bribe referees in 2 games during the 2003-04 season, but the punishment will not affect its ability to collect a 3rd consecutive title this weekend. Other clubs involved in the biggest scandal in Portuguese soccer history were not so fortunate. Cross-city rivals Boavista dropped to the 2nd division and Leiria lost points. All three clubs denied the charges, but 5 referees also were found guilty and drew suspensions ranging from 2½ to 6 years. Source: ESPNsoccernet

Relegated Derby Earn $56m Windfall
Despite the fact that Derby County secured only 11 points in the worst ever EPL campaign, they banked around $56m in prize money and TV revenue. All 20 clubs receive an equal payment of about $26m from the domestic TV package, plus an extra $18m from the overseas deal. They also receive extra money each time one of their games is screened live or ‘near live’. This explains why Manchester United, which had 25 such matches, earned just short of $100m. Source: the Daily Mail

Wembley Could Stage 2011 Champions League Final
Wembley Stadium could stage the 2011 Champions League final after the British Treasury announced that foreign players involved in the match would be exempt from a law stipulating that even sportspeople based overseas are liable to pay tax on earnings from bonuses and endorsements if they appear at UK events. Uefa had indicated that Wembley would not be given the lucrative game unless the tax was waived. Source: the Times

Cup Finalists Turn Down Offer
The major sponsors of Cardiff City, who play Portsmouth in tomorrow’s FA Cup Final, have turned down an offer of $1m from an Asian gambling company to buy their advertising rights for the game. The value of current sponsors CommsDirect’s 2-year deal is believed to be in the order of $0.5m per year – and expires after the match. Source: SportBusiness.com

* Rest of the World *

UAE Seeks Club World Championship
The United Arab Emirates FA wants to stage the 2009 and 2010 Club World Championship, which has been held in Japan up until now. UAE FA president Mohammed Khalfan al Rumaithi expressed confidence: “We have sufficient experience of hosting events of this kind. The most important was the Fifa World Youth Cup in 2003, which according to the participants and observers was a great success in more than just organisational terms.” Source: Goal.com

* Comment: ESPN's Coldplay *

The news that ESPN has struck a partnership with Coldplay could signify an important step (depending on your musical taste) for US soccer broadcasting. The last 2 European Championships were only available on pay-per-view via Setanta, which meant that the event passed virtually unnoticed in the US, but ESPN is clearly committed to promoting it more heavily. Not only did they sign Coldplay, but they indicated that matches will be shown in HD on ESPN and ESPN2 too. It will be interesting to see if the network promotes the event during other broadcasts and whether SportsCenter will show more than goal highlights. Still, it’s another step forward.


* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2008-05-09

May 9, 2008

 The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.

Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives".

* Americas *                                                  May 9, 2008

VW Signs Partnership with MLS and DC UnitedVolkswagen will be the official automotive partner of MLS and also partner with DC United. VW’s logo will be on DC United’s jerseys and prominently featured through a variety of other club and in-stadium marketing components. In addition, fans attending games at RFK Stadium can visit Volkswagen's Garage, which will serve as a hospitality area and vehicle showroom with space for 1,000 people. Source: MLSnet

MLS Sees Big Future for Seattle
MLS commissioner Don Garber expressed excitement about the 14,700 season ticket deposits sold by the Seattle Sounders, even though their 1st match will not be until 2009, and suggested that they might emulate the success enjoyed by Toronto FC, who averaged 20,127 fans in its 20,522-seat stadium in 2007. “We're very excited about Seattle. (Part owner) Joe Roth is very passionate about the game, he's very engaged in the team. He's got great ideas and he's deeply involved in strategic areas of the league. I'm anxiously awaiting '09. I think we got lightning in a bottle in the Pacific Northwest. I'm looking forward to the cork coming out of that bottle and the magic coming out.” Source: the Seattle PI

Reports Link Canadian Corp with Sheffield Wednesday Purchase
The Canadian Press reports that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), which owns most of the major sports franchises in Toronto, may be interested in adding Sheffield Wednesday to its stable. The Championship club announced it is looking for the investment needed to regain promotion to the EPL and last month executives from MLSE met club officials during a fact-finding mission to England. Source: the Canadian Press

Brazil Schedule Friendly in US
For the 2nd consecutive year Brazil will be playing in Foxboro (near Boston), this time against Venezuela as part of an 8 June doubleheader that will also include a match between the New England Revolution and FC Dallas. Last year, an area record 67,584 came to Gillette Stadium to see their team edge Mexico, 3-1. Source: O Journal

Vancouver Sets-up Youth Development Program
The USL’s Vancouver Whitecaps FC, in conjunction with the Delta School District, have set up 2 youth programs focused on education and soccer skill development. The Whitecaps Delta Prospects Academy is for boys in grades 11 and 12, and the Whitecaps Delta School Academy is for boys grades 8 to 10. Both programs will start September 2008, and the partnership will be extended to include a girls’ academy a year later. Source: Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Comment: MLS Should Keep Future Stadium Options Open
The news that Seattle, which will not even begin to compete in MLS until next season, has already sold 14,700 season ticket deposits raises an interesting issue. Unlike most MLS franchises, which covet stadiums with capacities of around 20,000 seats, Seattle will play at Qwest Field, a state-of-the-art facility accommodating up to 72,000. Can Seattle do this capacity justice? While this is not necessarily a suitable approach for other franchises, at least for the foreseeable future, it might be wise to consider building stadiums that can be easily expanded. If the Sounders average more than 30,000 per match, MLS may have to reconsider some basic assumptions about its potential.

* Europe *

EPL Promotion worth $120m for Clubs
According to accountants Deloitte, promotion to the EPL can be worth up to $120m to a club. The promoted Championship teams who win a place get $60m from TV rights, as well as $10m from extra sponsorship and merchandising deals each season. Even those who are relegated after 1 season receive $47m over the next 2 years. By comparison, participation in the Champions League can net clubs from England around $60m. Source: Sky News

European Parliament Rejects Blatter’s ‘6+5 Proposal’
The European Parliament this week called on governments and sports associations to block Fifa plans aimed at promoting the use of home-grown players because it would discriminate against players on the basis of their nationality. The EP's vote came just 1 day after Fifa president Sepp Blatter said he did not foresee a conflict with the European Union over his plans to force professional clubs to field at least 6 players from the club's nation and no more than 5 foreigners. Source: International Herald Tribune

Liverpool Gets Green Light for New Stadium, but Everton Face Problems
The city council has given Liverpool the go-ahead to build their redesigned $780m stadium in Stanley Park. The new ground will initially hold 60,000 fans but further applications to add seats may up the capacity to 76,000. Meanwhile, plans for Everton’s new stadium in Kirkby could be ‘killed off’ if the scheme is called in for a public inquiry, which could come on the heels of Sefton council’s planning committee’s formal objection to the plan. Any substantial delay might be fatal because the money assembled for this scheme, both by Everton and Tesco, will not be available indefinitely. Sources: the Daily Mail and icLiverpool

Scudamore Worried Europe Suffers from ‘EPL-Envy’
EPL chief executive Richard Scudamore claimed that the rest of Europe may take ill-advised steps to weaken the English league: “Another worry is European colleagues in other leagues getting jealous or envious. I'm sure the legislators and regulators in Europe would like to see us levelled down or dumbed down. We would never say to the French that we like their wine but can't make it as good. Would you mind making yours worse so ours can compete? It's the same the other way around.” Source: TeamTalk

Russia Waves Visa Requirement for Champions League Final
UEFA president Michel Platini successfully petitioned Russian President Vladimir Putin to allow all fans travelling to the Champions League final in Moscow on May 21 to use their match tickets as visas. The tickets will be valid as visas for a 72-hour period between May 19 and 23, and must be kept after the match to be shown on leaving the country. Meanwhile, Russia has alleged that Zenit St Petersburg supporters, hoping to travel to the Uefa Cup final at the City of Manchester stadium on 14 May, were being held up by the insistence that they undergo a biometric test and personal interviews. Source: CNN and the Independent

Spurs on Verge of New Stadium?
Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy is reportedly close to confirming plans for a new 50,000-capacity stadium to be built next to White Hart Lane. According to Sportsmail, work will start before the end of the year and the $585m project bears ‘more than a passing resemblance to Arsenal's Emirates home.’ Source: Goal.com

More Funding for Football Foundation
The Football Foundation, a partnership among the EPL, the Football Association and British government, announced that it will invest $260m in grass roots sport over a 3-year period. Since it was launched in July of 2000, the Foundation has invested in over 5,000 projects worth $1.25b, with the goal being to rebuild the infrastructure of community sports facilities across the country. Source: the Premier League

Consortium to Bid for Southampton?
A source has told BBC Radio Solent that, after several months of discussions, a consortium led by barrister Jonathan Fulthorpe is close to tabling a full offer for Southampton's parent company. If the bid stalls, former Saints chairmen Michael Wilde and Rupert Lowe are poised to take control of the club ahead of a planned Extraordinary General Meeting on 16 May. Source: BBC

MP Pushes for Alcohol Ban
A ban on alcohol advertising at sporting events is being demanded by a Labour MP Dr. Howard Stoate in an attempt to tackle binge drinking among young people. “Watch any top-flight football match these days on television and you'll see dozens of references to alcohol products. You see drinks firms' logos on team shirts, drinks commercials at half-time and bottles of champagne for the 'man of the match'– the list is endless. We need a more radical measure that will prevent alcohol companies from associating themselves with the excitement and glamour of professional sport and using it to boost their sales among the young in particular.” Both Merseyside teams, Liverpool and Everton, currently have brewers as their main club sponsor. Source: the Independent

* Rest of the World *

Hyundai Extends Partnership in Australia
Football Federation Australia (FFA) and Hyundai Motor Company Australia announced that the naming rights partnership of the Hyundai A-League football competition will continue for an additional 4 years to the end of the 2011-2012 season. The S Korean conglomerate also sponsored the Hyundai Club Challenge last November that saw an Australian record crowd (for a match between club teams) of 80,295 watch Sydney FC face LA Galaxy at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Source: Hyundai official website

German Government Funds Liberia Tour
The German government will pay $75k to fund Liberia's 2-week training tour of the European country later this month, as part of the Lone Star’s preparation for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers in June. “We feel a special commitment to football in Africa and this is part of our assistance to the continent's preparation for the 2010 World Cup,” explained German ambassador to Liberia, “moreover, many Germans like African football because players from the continent play with passion and fun.” Source: BBC


* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2008-04-25

The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.

Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives".

* Americas *                                                  April 25, 2008

Negotiations Between Dynamo And Houston Get BoostThe Houston Dynamo's efforts to partner with the City of Houston on a downtown stadium received a boost when Texas Southern University expressed interest in playing its college football games there. The additional funds this would generate might help the Dynamo and the City who are in the midst of negotiations on a project estimated to cost $110m. The City has already purchased the land for around $15m, but Mayor Bill White claims the property can be used for a variety of projects should the stadium deal not be consummated. Source: My Fox Houston

German Club Announces US Tour
In the wake of a marketing and cooperation agreement between the Bundesliga and MLS that was reached 13 months ago, Borussia Moenchengladbach, which leads Germany's 2nd division by 6 points with 5 games left, will play exhibition games at FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids in July during a 10-day preseason training camp in the United States. Source: Sports Illustrated

EC Clears US Company’s 30% Purchase Of PSG
The European Commission said it has cleared US-based private equity group Colony Capital's proposed acquisition of a 30% stake in Paris Saint-Germain's holding company Colfilm. The purchase was cleared under the EU's ‘simplified’ merger review procedure for cases the commission believes do not pose competition concerns. Source: Forbes

WPS Owner Tries To Work Around Media Apathy
Peter Wilt, the 1st president and general manager of the MLS’s Chicago Fire and currently the CEO of Chicago’s Women’s Professional Soccer’s franchise, which will begin play in 2009, argued that American teams should make extensive use of the internet and blogs to keep fans informed: “Soccer in general, and women’s soccer in particular, still doesn’t generate the amount of traditional media coverage that allows other major league teams to inform their fan base so easily. We will need to be proactive to keep our fans informed and engaged. That is the motivation behind my blog. I believe the transparency of our organization through my posts gives our fans, and potential fans, a clear window into our team, clarifies misunderstandings, explains important (and not so important) decisions. This helps connect fans emotionally and helps them care more about the team. Source: Soccer Science

US Soccer Development Academy Receives Assessment
The Associated Press’s David Mercer wrote a lengthy piece examining the strengths and weaknesses of the evolving American youth system, focusing on the US Soccer Development Academy programs set up over the past year by the USSF to train the 2,500 or so American players. John Hackworth, technical director of the national academies, wants to bridge the vast gap between the kind of training US players receive and the no-nonsense grooming players get elsewhere. He claimed American players lack technical expertise and tend to develop bad habits playing for club teams that often emphasize winning over developing skills and games over practice. However, former Liverpool player Steve Nicol, who now coaches the New England Revolution, warned against too much practice: “You can have all this organization. The one thing you have to make sure when the players come into it, whether it's 2 days a week or it's 7 days week, is that the players enjoy it." Source: the Charlotte News & Observer

* Europe *

EC Officials Warn Against Foreign Player QuotasThe European Commission has warned Fifa not to seek "gentleman's agreements" to limit foreign players at soccer clubs. "EU laws are superior to any such gentleman's agreements," said one official at the EU executive. Another added, "Footballers are treated as workers and will always be treated as such, therefore must be allowed access to work in all member states by national authorities." Source: The International Herald Tribune

Report: Wembley Suffers Large 1st Year Losses
According to the Guardian, next month Wembley National Stadium Limited is expected to declare losses of more than $40m for its 1st year of operation, with a pre-tax deficit closer to $80m. The board is also expected to receive an update on refinancing negotiations with a consortium of banks, led by WestLB and Barclays, which will see the interest on the stadium's outstanding loan of $685m reduce from 8% to 7%. Sources claim the loss is a result of increased start-up costs in the 1st year of operation, the rush to be open in time for the FA Cup final last year, as well as increased security, stewarding and staffing costs. Source: The Guardian

England FA Moves Forward With World Cup Bid
According to a 63-page report given to FA board members, England's bid for the 2018 World Cup will focus on producing “a legacy which enriches the opportunities for football to flourish in all parts of the world,” and cost an estimated $30m. The board will now start the hunt for a chairman and chief executive and will set up a bid company similar to the one that achieved success with the London 2012 Olympics. Source: ESPNsoccernet

May Day Beckons For Leeds
The arbitration hearing into Leeds United's 15-point penalty has confirmed will be decided by 1 May, before the final game of the season, in order to avoid the complication a delay could cause with the League One play-offs.  The Football League docked Leeds 15 points for going into administration (bankruptcy), but the club maintains that the sanction was unlawful. Source: BBC

MPs To Investigate Power Struggle At Liverpool
The All Party Parliamentary Football Group is to launch a new inquiry into the governance of English soccer, and the ownership crisis at Liverpool is one of the areas it will target. Alan Keen MP, chairman of the group, said, “English club football is enjoying great success in Europe at the moment. Yet many questions remain about the standard of corporate governance and whether it is best equipped to deal, at every level, with the long-term challenges of the game's future. This is the focus of the group's new inquiry. The group will examine case studies on governance, including Liverpool FC where the role of the owners has raised significant public concerns and overshadowed achievements on the field.” Source: ESPNsoccernet

Berlusconi Supports Possible Roma Takeover
The recently re-elected Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi announced that he is stepping down as president of AC Milan, and also that he has cleared the way for George Soros to mount a takeover of Roma. "Roma fans want a winning team, so if someone comes in who can put in the resources to build a winning team who will be protagonists in Italy and Europe, they will be enthusiastic and I hope things develop as they want them to. I don't see how I could get in the way of something like this." Source: The Guardian

England-Scotland Discussions Revived
Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith said that discussions about reviving internationals between England and Scotland are at an advanced stage. “I've had discussions with Brian Barwick about resurrecting the Scotland v England games and it's definitely back on. It might be 2010 before we get a game. The idea would be to establish some sort of relationship for one-off games or even have them biannually.” Source: ESPNsoccernet

Rotherham Takeover Candidate Withdraws Bid
A billionaire Russian businessman has withdrawn his offer to buy League 2 Rotherham due to failure to agree a deal to lease Millmoor. The bid was 1 of the 2 shortlisted, out of 5 received, for preferred bidder status by administrator Jeremy Bleazard. Source: BBC

Portsmouth To Submit Plans For New Training Ground
Portsmouth are to submit plans for a new 35-acre training ground in Gosport, which will cost $16m and be ready for the 2009/10 season. It will include 10 full-size pitches, with 2 set aside for use by the community, an indoor pitch available to local schools and a dedicated goalkeeping area. Source: BBC

Rovers Deny Takeover Rumours
Reports have surfaced that Chris Ronnie, the chief executive of JJB Sports, has put together a team of foreign and domestic investors, to negotiate with Blackburn Rovers about a possible $50m buy-out. But, while a well-placed Rovers source confirmed the trustees' advisers, Rothschild, ARE still in active talks with a number of parties in regard to a possible takeover, those discussions have not involved Ronnie. Source: The Citizen

Unnamed Club Sought Genetic Testing 
According to Aberdeen University's Dr Henning Wackerhage, for the 1st known time an unnamed football club have approached a leading sports scientist in an effort to apply genetic research to their players. The club wanted to discern through a genetic test whether players had been born with the ACTN3 gene that is common to all top-class sprinters. Wackerhage refused to carry out the test, which is commercially available in Australia, and informed them that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s ethical stance against such testing should be binding. "My advice was that there are questions of legality, with an employer doing genetic tests on its employees," said Wackerhage, who also expressed concerns about maintaining confidentiality. Separately, after a series of tragedies in which players suffered heart failure during matches, Uefa has ordered every international player taking part in the European Championship in June to undergo cardiac screening and now hopes to extend the policy to club level. Sources: The Guardian and Fox Sports

* Comment: Blatter's Determination *

Given that genetic testing is already commercially available, it is a matter of time before clubs make extensive use of it. Some may have done so already. However unethical, the focus will likely be on testing children rather than adults. Clubs may be inclined to spend their resources developing top-class sprinters at the expense of those who lack that yard of pace. This may not be good for the evolution of soccer. There is an increasing emphasis on speed, work-rate, physical challenges and organization, all of which tend towards defensive caution. The powers that be should ask whether this in the best interest of the sport—aesthetically or commercially. Do we want to make it more or less impossible for a player like the Argentine Juan Roman Riquelme—consummately skilled and adroit but slow—to prosper?


* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2008-04-18

The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.

Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives".

* Americas *                                                  April 18, 2008

Impasse between Dynamo and Houston Goes Public
Houston mayor Bill White complained that one of the Houston Dynamo’s owners recently showed him a letter from MLS commissioner Don Garber hinting at the possibility of moving the team if a stadium deal is not reached with the city soon. During a subsequent news conference, team officials said the price tag on a new stadium had climbed to $105m, up from the $80 to $90m previously estimated, which could make it even harder for both sides to come to an agreement. In a related story, Colorado-based ICON Venue Group began interviewing 5 architectural firms that submitted bids to design the stadium. Sources: the Houston Chronicle; the Houston Business Journal

San Jose Reach Tentative Agreement for New Stadium
Terms of the deal must still be formally approved by the city council next month, but the city of San Jose and the Earthquakes have agreed to a $132m deal that sets the stage for a stadium near the airport as early as 2010. Owner Leo Wolff and his partners would pay $132m for 66 acres of the former FMC manufacturing plant. Of that, about 18 acres will be set aside for the 18,000-seat stadium. Source: the San Jose Mercury News

MLS Increasingly Connected to Argentina
18 Argentines are now playing in MLS and more are in the pipeline as part of a Latin infusion into the league. Part of the reason is that Argentines speak Spanish, which allows them to assimilate more easily than Brazilians, but MLS’s connection with a player agent named Alejandro Taraciuk, who worked with the league before returning to his home in Buenos Aires, has also been a factor. Source: the Sun-Sentinel

Huge Crowd Attends friendly In Seattle
The 4th-largest crowd in Seattle soccer history, 56,416, ‘showed up ready for fun’ on Wednesday at Qwest Field to watch Mexico beat China 1-0. The only bigger soccer crowds turned out for Real Madrid v D.C. United in 2006, Manchester United v Celtic in 2003, and the Seattle Sounders v New York Cosmos NASL match in the Kingdome in 1976. Source: the Olympian

* Europe *

Blatter will Press for Foreign Player Quota Plan
Fifa president Sepp Blatter is pressing on with plans to implement a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ to limit the number of foreign players in the starting XI at clubs to 5, despite Uefa and the European Union’s insistence that the plan violates laws on free movement of labour and could lead to widespread legal action. Blatter would need 75% of the 208 member associations to vote in favour of his proposal at a congress in Sydney in May. Source: the BBC

Leeds Go to Court to Overturn Penalty
Leeds United started their court challenge against the 15-point penalty imposed on the club for entering ‘administration’ (UK chapter 11 equivalent) on the grounds that the Coca-Cola League One acted outside its jurisdiction by docking the points at the start of this season. If the sanction is overturned, Leeds would be thrust into the 2nd automatic promotion place at the expense of Carlisle United with 3 matches left this season. Source: The Times

EPL Goes to Court Over Foreign Satellite Feeds
The EPL filed suit in the high court in order to stop companies supplying equipment that enables British viewers to receive games via a foreign broadcaster rather than BSkyB. QC Leisure and AV Station, which stand accused of supplying domestic decoding cards from Greece and North Africa, claim European law allows the free movement of goods throughout the community and if the cards are available on the market then they can be sold anywhere within the EU. Source: The Guardian

Four Nations Tournament will Begin in 2011
Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland- but not England - are set to play in a Four Nations Tournament beginning 2011. The annual tournament will be hosted by a single country and rotate among the nations, with 2 matches being played on each match-day. Source: The Times

Poland Struggling to Prepare for EURO 2012
Ukraine’s preparation to host EURO 2012 is proceeding well, but Poland’s effort has been beset with problems. The entire governing board of the Polish Football Federation have announced that they will resign because of a corruption and match-fixing scandal; Poland and Uefa have not even settled on which 4 venues will be used; construction of the 65,000 seat stadium in Warsaw has not begun; and the government has agreed to pay 1/3 of the costs towards the stadia in Wroclaw, Gdansk and Poznan (assuming they will be the venues), but the sources for the remaining funding are unclear. Source: The Guardian

Bournemouth’s Takeover Bid Collapses
AFC Bournemouth's administrator Gerald Krasner has revealed that preferred bidders EU UK Ltd have withdrawn their bid to buy the League One club. Krasner told BBC Radio Solent: “The bidder was due to lodge the money by 1700 BST today (Monday) which they haven't. Over the weekend they asked for an extension - I said if they lodged the money even if it was to their order, and released me enough to do some funding, they could have the extension until 22 April. They seemed to be upset at this and have withdrawn their offer.” Source: the BBC

Benitez Still Committed to Liverpool
As the ownership saga at Liverpool rumbles on, manager Rafael Benitez cast doubts about his long-term future after a row over exactly who attended meetings before Christmas with prospective replacement Jurgen Klinsmann, yet Benitez said “At this moment I have 2 years of my contract still to go, I am really pleased and really happy here. And I want to stay. And I want to stay for a long time.” Source: ESPNsoccernet

FA Schedules Meeting with Foreign Owners
FA chairman Lord Triesman will meet with overseas owners of EPL clubs, and their managers, to encourage them to invest more in youth development and also guarantee that players are released for England duty. Source: The Telegraph

FA Back Cardiff for Uefa Cup
Under current Football Association rules, Cardiff City would not qualify for the Uefa Cup even if they beat Portsmouth in the FA Cup Final next month, as Welsh clubs can only qualify through their own competitions. But the FA's professional game board voted to approve their entry at a meeting, with their recommendation expected to be approved by the FA's executive board and subsequently Uefa. (The 3 largest Welsh clubs –Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham - all play in the English League system) Source: The Independent

English Players Lead Man City to FA Youth Cup Triumph
Manchester City secured their 1st FA Youth Cup since 1986 completing 4-2 aggregate victory over Chelsea this week. Only 9 of the 22 players who started are eligible to play for England, and 8 of those 9 lined-up for City. It was also revealed that City’s Youth Academy had cost £20m to run since 1998, but had made the club over $65m from the sale of players. Source: The Telegraph

EPL Clubs to Adopt Rovers’ Business Training Program
Blackburn Rovers' football business training scheme, which teaches 13 and 14-year-olds about business planning and finance of a football club, has proved so successful that it will be extended across the country and adopted by all EPL clubs. Source: Lancashire Evening Telegraph

Big Guns head East
For the 1st time since Roman Abramovich’s purchase, Chelsea will travel to Russia to compete against Lokomotiv Moscow, AC Milan and Sevilla in a cup knockout tournament in August. Chelsea will also play pre-season matches in Guangzhou, China and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in July. Manchester City and Juventus announced that they will travel to Hong Kong to face 2 teams from South China in the summer also. Sources: CNN and the Press Association

Irish Property Developer Buys 50% of Livingston
Irish property developer Anthony McMullen, who was recently linked with financially troubled SPL side Gretna, has purchased a 50% stake in Scottish First Division club Livingston. The McMullen Group will invest about $4m over the next 3 years, adding to an investment from West Lothian businessman Ged Nixon. Source: the BBC

* Comment: Blatter's Determination *

Fifa president Sepp Blatter’s determination to push for foreign player quotas is almost certain to lead to a protracted political and legal battle. He may be able to garner the necessary 75% of the 208 votes at the Fifa congress in May, but he will struggle to gain the support of the major clubs, the major domestic leagues, and he has already lost the support of Uefa president Michel Platini, normally a staunch ally. Platini has shared Blatter’s belief that soccer needs to ‘return to its roots’, but seems to have conceded that EU regulations are insurmountable and that a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ is unworkable.

* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2008-04-11

The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.

Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives".

* Americas *                                                  April 11, 2008

Players Pay Figures Released
Figures released by the MLS Players Union revealed that, while the league does feature 5 players who earn more than $1m, the vast majority of players earn minimal salaries. More than 40 senior roster players earn the $33k minimum, while about 70 players earn less than $20k per season as ‘developmental players’. Commissioner Don Garber indicated that paying players more money is a priority, especially since so many Americans are moving abroad, but cautioned: “The league is doing better, but don't forget that there has been massive amounts of money invested in this league to get to this point. One good year does not a future make. We've got to ensure that we've got a good year this year and ensure that some of the teams we have that have struggled at the gate are able to pick it up.” Source: PE.com

Seattle Fans Sound Off!
After drawing 82% of fans votes, Seattle's fledgling MLS franchise announced that its team name would be Seattle Sounders FC, rather than one of the other ‘finalists’; Seattle Alliance, Seattle Republic and Seattle FC. In 1973, fans also voted to name the original NASL team the Sounders. Source: Seattle PI

Becks Tops Players Earnings List
According to France Football magazine, David Beckham is once again soccer's highest-paid player, with earnings from salary and endorsements totalling $49m. That figure, which represents an 82% increase over what he earned the previous year, lifted him above Barcelona's Ronaldinho, whose income was unchanged at $38m. Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo rose to third and fourth, with incomes of $36m and $31m respectively. Jose Mourinho was the top-paid coach ($46m), followed by Fabio Capello ($22m) and Alex Ferguson ($12m). Source: The Independent

Garber Applauds Travelling Supporters
MLS commissioner Don Garber expressed his delight about the fact that over 2,000 Toronto FC fans travelled to the club’s recent season opener in Columbus, Ohio. “It is absolutely incredible up there. We knew it would happen eventually, but we never expected a situation like Toronto. That is not something we thought would happen in this (league). There is a new energy in some of these new franchises and hopefully that can take some of these teams who have been struggling for a while and show them new ways of doing things. It is not just because the market is a soccer market. They are doing things differently, and it is something we are really looking into.” Source: Yahoo! Sports

USL-1 Kicks Off!
The USL-1 season starts this weekend with several notable changes in the teams lining-up. The California Victory folded after just one season when Spanish parent club Deportivo Alaves withdrew its support. The Seattle Sounders will play their last season in the league after MLS awarded the city a franchise. And although the Rochester Rhinos averaged between 10,000 and11,000 fans during the 2006 and 2007 seasons, the club was threatened with insolvency until new owner Rob Clark emerged. Source: ESPNsoccernet 

* Europe *

English FA Seeks Crackdown on Dangerous Tackles
The English FA may propose banning players who launch into dangerous challenges by up to 6 matches and also plans to approach Fifa to remove a restriction that prevents the sanctioning of players who escape red cards for violent conduct. The two clean-up measures will be discussed at a summer review of the FA's penal procedures, along with a move to clear players who incur wrongful yellow cards. The Guardian reports that this is a part of ‘a new resolve within the English game to challenge Fifa president Sepp Blatter's edict that ‘a game cannot be refereed twice’’. Source: The Guardian

Soros Stalks AS Roma?
Despite losing this week to Manchester United in the Uefa Champions League, there is mounting speculation that billionaire financier George Soros is considering a takeover of the Italian giants AS Roma. The controlling Sensi family have denied that they are looking to sell the club but the parent company is known to have accumulated debt approaching $600m so may be forced into a sale. Source: Reuters

Birmingham Execs Arrested in Corruption Probe
Trading in shares of Birmingham City’s was temporarily suspended on Thursday morning after managing director Karren Brady and co-owner David Sullivan were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting. “We answered every single question they put to us,” Sullivan said. “We have absolutely nothing to hide. We have done nothing wrong, and we think in due course this will be proven.” The club also released an official statement: “The City of London Police investigation is focusing on payments to a football agent and two players dating back to 2002/2003.There is absolutely no allegation that any director of the company or the club itself has benefited financially from any of this activity.” Source: ESPNsoccernet

Gillett Defends Parry Against Hicks
Liverpool co-owner George Gillett publicly backed chief executive Rick Parry after partner Tom Hicks sent Parry a letter demanding he ends his tenure at the club. “Rick Parry retains our full support. Any decision to remove him would need the approval of the full Liverpool board which, it should be remembered, consists of 6 people – myself, Foster, David Moores, Rick himself, Tom Hicks and Tom junior. Parry was appointed Liverpool chief executive at Liverpool in July 1998, having held a similar position at the EPL since 1992. Source: the Liverpool Echo

cid:image001.gif@01C88600.567613C0

Derby go Dutch
Though bottom of the EPL, Derby County today announced a link-up with Dutch Eredivisie team FC Utrecht.  The club’s pre-seaosn tour will now be to Holland as opposed to the U.S, where the clubs owners are based. Source: Derby Evening Telegraph

German and Spanish Leagues Support39th Game Plan
The EPL’s controversial 39th game concept was backed by leading officials from the Spanish and German leagues this week. Speaking at Soccerex, Francisco Roca Perez, CEO of the Spanish league, said: “I was really surprised by the reaction and many of the criticisms were misunderstandings of what the objectives are. I think this first step has reached a mass opposition but eventually it will become normal as this league and these teams are so well liked all over the world.” Tom Bender, director of marketing for the Bundesliga, added, “I think it was very good example of how a good idea can be ruined in 3 seconds. It was not sold very well. I think it's a great idea, commercially fantastic, but the repercussion was tremendous and they (the EPL) did not fight back.” Source: the International Herald Tribune

Setanta Calls Off Possible Sale
After potential buyers balked at the prospective $2b asking price Setanta Sports, which broadcasts EPL and Scottish PL matches, has abandoned plans to sell itself. Existing shareholders, which include Balderton Capital, Doughty Hanson and Goldman Sachs may be asked for more funds to secure additional sports rights, and some analysts estimate that the company may need another $300m to break-even. Source: The Times

Portsmouth Announce Huge Losses
English FA Cup Finalists Portsmouth FC have recorded a loss of over $46m for the financial year ending 31 May 2007, after showing a 10% increase in revenue to over $80m. Source: The News

Ajax Extends Sponsorship
Ajax and adidas have agreed to extend their technical supplier deal until July 2019. This contract earns Ajax $110m over 10 years which can be increased by a performance-related bonus. Source: footballshirts.co.uk

Stan Kroenke Buys Arsenal Broadband Stake
American tycoon Stan Kroenke, who already owns 9.9% of Arsenal, has agreed to buy broadcaster ITV's 50% share in Arsenal Broadband, the operator of the side's website, in a deal worth $45m. ITV has now received a total of $130m for its interests in Arsenal. ITV will pay the north London club $2m for certain rights, while the broadcaster will cease to be the commercial agent for Arsenal and will no longer represent the licensing activities at Arsenal. Source: The Daily Telegraph

Milan Star Seeks ‘Investments for His Country’
AC Milan star Kakha Kaladze and 2 former members of the Georgian government, including a former Prime Minister, announced plans to raise $1.5b to invest in projects ranging from property development to hydropower in their country. Situated in eastern Europe, Georgia has seen economic growth averaging 9.3% a year since 2004. Source: Bloomberg

New Owners for Bournemouth
Marc Jackson’s consortium was declared victorious in the race to buy financially troubled AFC Bournemouth and he has until Monday to deposit the money. Jackson originally appeared to have lost out to the rival bid fronted by Cherries chairman Jeff Mostyn, but reports claim that administrators Begbies Traynor let his bid lapse because further financial clarification was needed. Source: the Dorset Daily Echo

Spurs Still Mulling Over Expansion Options
Tottenham Hotspur are exploring the possibility of building a new 55,000 seat stadium on the Wingate estate adjacent to White Hart Lane, but the global credit crunch has made fundraising for major capital projects difficult. The club's other option is to expand White Hart Lane, which presently holdd 36,310 fans, but expansion plans are complicated because the ground is boxed-in on all sides. An announcement is expected by the club this summer. Source: the Guardian

Millwall Board Refuse Meeting Call
League 1 club Millwall's board have rejected a call for an Extraordinary General Meeting by their largest single shareholder. Graham Ferguson Lacey, who owns a 28.9% stake in the club, wants shareholders to have a greater say in the board's plans to regenerate their New Den stadium. “We are involved in a range of discussions with regeneration plans for the area and when we look to form different views and decide on our approach these resolutions seem to suggest that we would have to go and consult shareholders,” said Lions chief executive Heather Rabbatts. “The reason we have a board is to enable the board to carry out the strategy on behalf of all the shareholders and in the best interests of the company.” Source: BBC  

* The Rest of the World *

Fifa Evaluate Win in India Plan
A delegation from India, headed by the President of the All India Football Federation, Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, met with FIFA president Sepp Blatter and other officials to discuss FIFA's Win in India with India initiative, one year after its launch on 14 April 2007. It was decided that the program ‘would concentrate on developing Indian football at elite level, namely the top 2 divisions in India. The initiative will most notably focus on helping to develop infrastructure for clubs and on providing support in management and club licensing. The initiative will also support the development of national teams, particularly with regard to infrastructure. Training coaches, referees and technical directors will be another cornerstone of the initiative.’. Source: Noticias Info

Argentina Still Top!
Argentina retained their narrow lead over Brazil in the most recent Fifa world rankings. A 2-0 friendly win over Egypt last month helped Argentina hold the top spot for the 7th consecutive month, though Brazil narrowed the gap with a 1-0 victory against higher-ranked Sweden. There was no movement among the top 7, but Greece climbed above Portugal into 8th after beating Luiz Felipe Scolari's men 2-1. England remains 11th and the U.S rose to 21st. Source: The Guardian


* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2008-04-04

4The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.

Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives".

* Americas *                                                  April 04, 2008

Real Salt Lake Secure Stadium Sponsorships
Real Salt Lake has agreed long-term ‘founding partner’ sponsorship deals with 5 companies for its soon-to-be opened stadium in Sandy, Utah. The deals are estimated to be worth more than $3m per year over the next 5 years. The companies (America First Credit Union, Anheuser-Busch, FIJI Water, Pepsi-Cola and Sony Electronics) will receive prominent display of their logos and advertising throughout the stadium, as well as use of their products. Source: the Deseret Morning News

West Ham to Play MLS All-Star Team
EPL side West Ham United will face the MLS All-Stars in the 2008 Pepsi MLS All-Star Game at Toronto FC’s BMO Field on July 24. The MLS All-Star team has won all 4 previous All-Star Games against international opponents. Source: ussoccerplayers.com

MLS Match Draws Droves of Visiting Supporters
In what is believed to be a record, last weekend some 2,300 Toronto fans, wearing the team ‘colours’ filled an entire stand behind one of the goals at Crew Stadium. The vocal support of the travelling fans also led the home supporters to, as one report put it, ‘crank up the volume.’ The Crew won the match 2-0. Source: ESPNsoccernet

Blanco Signs with Best Buy
Best Buy announced an exclusive agreement with Cuauhtémoc Blanco, making the Chicago Fire Soccer and Mexico star the first ever brand ambassador for North America’s largest consumer electronics retailer. He will work with Best Buy in the U.S as the brand ambassador for the company’s new Hispanic shopping experience and work closely with Best Buy’s 45 Chicagoland stores to encourage learning through technology among young people. Source: Hispanic Tips                                            

* Europe *

FA to Investigate Match-Fixing Allegation
The English FA will investigate a newspaper report that a player with a serious gambling debt accepted a $100k bribe to fix a match played in Britain within the last 2 years by getting himself sent-off and persuading 3 teammates to get booked. Source: The Times

Porto Accused ff Match-Fixing
FC Porto face possible demotion to the 2nd division and a heavy fine after they were formally accused by the Portuguese league (LPFP) of match-fixing 2 games during the 2003-4 season. A source said the allegations ‘referred to possible corruption of referees’ but there was no mention of in the report of Jose Mourinho, who guided the club to triumphs in both the domestic league and Champions League that season. Source: The Daily Telegraph

AFC Bournemouth on the Verge of Extinction
Administrator Gerald Krasner confirmed that Bournemouth, who are $8m in debt, are facing possible extinction after the collapse of a $2m deal by a consortium led by chairman Jeff Mostyn to buy the Cherries. “If people in the area do not wish to support the football club by making a bid, one of the options is to close the club down” said Krasner. Source: BBC

Becks Helps Cause Real Madrid Cash Crisis
According to Spanish newspaper reports, Real Madrid has been forced to take out a loan of $49m to cover day-to-day costs, in part because of David Beckham's departure. Beckham's transfer to the LA Galaxy is estimated to have cost Real between $57m and $75m in annual revenue. Officials would not confirm any part of this story, but reports also claim that club directors have been asked to raise more money because the amount provided by La Caixa bank might not be sufficient. Source: The Independent

English FA Plans Crackdown On Religious Abuse By Fans
English football clubs could be docked points from their league campaigns as part of a new zero-tolerance policy against fans who engage in anti-Semitic or Islamophobic abuse. The FA is also thinking about forcing them to play behind closed doors in extreme cases. Lucy Faulkner, equality manager at the FA, said: “We now have a 5-point action plan that will look at how stewards manage incidents, the way grounds are policed, how the FA monitors incidents, strengthening reporting mechanisms and the role of referees.” Source: The Guardian

French League Launches Investigation into Racial Incident
The French football league (LFP) has launched an inquiry after Paris St Germain supporters unfolded a racist banner during the French League Cup final against Lens at the Stade de France last Saturday. “A great party about football, fraternity and solidarity in the fight against racism was partly spoiled by a handful of idiots full of hatred” said LFP president Frederic Thiriez. Source: The Guardian

Chelsea Offer Fans Free Away Tickets
Chelsea are giving 2,900 free tickets to their fans and also plan to pay for train or bus tickets, for this month's away match at Everton because the match has been moved back 2 days to accommodate TV broadcast. “We've continued to make very strong representations for the date of the Everton away game to be changed” the club said in a statement. “This now seems unlikely. Under these circumstances, Chelsea believes it would be inappropriate to profit from the television fee for this match as per normal.” Source: ESPNsocernet

Ronaldo…the 8th Best Paid Player
According to new figures published in a blog called Iain Dale's Diary, Christiano Ronaldo is currently only the 8th highest paid player, making $245k per week, or $12.7m per year. AC Milan's Kaka tops the list at $285k per week, or just under $15m a year. Source: The Daily Telegraph

President Labels English Clubs ‘Pirates’
Palermo President Maurizio Zamparini attacked English clubs calling them ‘pirates’ due to their practice of poaching Italy’s best youngsters. “They are like pirates taking treasure. It’s a shame that they opt for the youngsters when they have the means to buy them when they are fully developed.” Chelsea recently snapped up Reggina’s 15-year-old prospect Vincenzo Camilleri and Atalanta’s Fabio Zamblera, while a few years back Parma-duo Giuseppe Rossi and Arturo Lupoli were signed by Manchester United and Arsenal respectively. Source: Goal.com

Rotherham Takeover Talks Progressing, Slowly
Although several different parties have expressed an interest taking over League Two side Rotherham United, some of the 8 candidates have already been discounted for failing to meet the criteria set down by the Administrator Jeremy Bleazard. Discussions with the remaining candidates are at an ‘early, informal stage’. Source: BBC

Reports Claim Southampton Will Settle for Early Walcott Payment
Championship strugglers Southampton refused to confirm reports claiming that, in order to ease immediate financial problems, they have accepted an early payment from Arsenal for Theo Walcott. Walcott moved to Arsenal in January 2006 for an initial $10m fee, which could rise to $24m based upon his progress, but the Saints have allegedly accepted a total payment of $18m for the England striker. The club has reduced its financial losses but still face an uncertain future, according to their latest half-year report. In the 6 months ending 31 December 2007, Saints' loss after tax was $1.4m, with a drop in revenue of more than $10m. Source: The Independent

* The Rest of the World *

Concerns over South Africa 2010 Grow
FIFA has been forced to build an $800m contingency fund in case the 2010 World Cup collapses, and insurers are holding-off on a decision to provide coverage for the event in South Africa amid fears about security, transport infrastructure, the local political climate, and most glaringly the lack of progress in stadium construction. While FIFA is prepared to cover its commercial obligations for the 2010 tournament, future bids must provide evidence of adequate insurance support. Source: The Guardian

Spurs Consider Playing Friendly in India
Tottenham Hotspur could become the first English team to play a friendly match in India after holding discussions about a game against Kingfisher East Bengal in Kolkata on May 18, but their financial demands of about $1.3m could be a stumbling block. East Bengal director Amit Sen said that United Breweries, the club sponsor, is interested but needs to be persuaded of its worth, adding that a club such as Tottenham would ordinarily be paid about half that sum to play an exhibition match in South-East Asia. Meanwhile, Subhankar Mondal reports in Goal.com that ‘soccermania’ is sweeping through India. Few hard facts are provided, but Mondal uses a series of anecdotes to argue that Indians, especially younger ones, regularly watch European matches and play soccer instead of cricket. Source: The Times & Goal.com


* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2008-03-30

March 30, 2008

The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.

Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives".

* Americas *                                                  March 30, 2008

MLS Commissioner Sees More Expansion, with St. Louis Probably Next
MLS Commissioner Don Garber implied that the 17th MLS’s team will be St. Louis. "The 18th team will either be a second team in New York, it could be Montreal, it could be Vancouver, it could be Atlanta, it could be Las Vegas," Garber said, adding that there are other possibilities as well. He also commented to suggestions that the league could expand to 24 in the foreseeable future. "It certainly will be more than 18. The question is when and how do we insure that player quality continues to remain strong and we're able to manage it." Source: the LA Times

MLS Defends Trend Toward Signing Foreigners
MLS deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis attempted to allay fears that the league-wide trend toward signing foreign players, especially South Americans. is going to hamper the development of American players. He pointed out that the league has invested heavily in youth academies, and added, "If we feel that (the league) is not developing U.S. players the way that we want … we would look at that. I don't think we see that yet. There are more jobs for U.S. players than ever before and more opportunities for them to compete." As of Monday, U.S.-born players still account for more than 64% of MLS players, not counting those who were born elsewhere but have lived in the U.S. since high school, and the number is more than 75% if Canada, Central America and the Caribbean are added. South America accounts for more than 11%, far more than the 6% from Europe. The league has almost as many players born in Argentina (19) as it has players born in Europe (21). Source: USA Today

Philly Season Ticket Sales Booming
Philadelphia's has taken deposits for 3,400 season tickets in just 1 month, even though the MLS expansion team is still 2 years away from playing its 1st game and has not spent a dime on advertising. CEO and co-owner Nick Sakiewicz predicted the expansion club would become the 2nd club to sell out its home games. Last-placed Toronto FC accomplished that feat last season and expects to do this season as well. Source: the Philadelphia Inquirer

MLS Urges DC United to Consider Leaving DC
MLS commissioner Don Garber used the occasion of DC United’s kickoff luncheon to express dissatisfaction about the lack of progress in negotiations between the club and the city regarding a new soccer stadium. “We either resolve it here, or we’re going to push this ownership group to move out of the District. I say that with a heavy heart because this is a community that has really supported this team.” Garber also said he has toured two potential stadium sites in Prince George’s County, Maryland, calling them “great” and “accessible.” On a more positive note, the club announced that its non-profit arm, United for D.C. will partner with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to expand United Soccer Club over the next three years to 7, 10 and 12 sites successively, in the hope of promoting youth soccer in economically disadvantaged urban communities. Source: the Washington Examiner

Dick’s Sporting Goods Strengthens Ties With MLS
Dick's Sporting Goods signed new 5-year deal with Soccer United Marketing, making it the official sporting goods retailer of MLS as well as of 10 of the league's 14 teams, and the deal will cover all MLS teams by 2011. The American retailer will also serve in that role for U.S. Soccer, including the men's and women's national teams. Dick's already sponsors televised soccer coverage and has its name on the complex where the Colorado Rapids play. Source: the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Fans Will Choose Name for New MLS Franchise
MLS’s expansion franchise in Seattle is allowing fans to vote online to name the team. The winning name will be revealed at an April 7 news conference, and the club's logo may also be unveiled at that time. The listed choices are Seattle FC, Seattle Alliance and Seattle Republic, but there will also be a write-in option, opening up the possibility that the fans will choose Seattle Sounders, which is what the USL franchise is named. Source: Seattle PI

Red Bulls Secure Sponsorship with eMazzanti Technologies
eMazzanti Technologies, which specializes in developing computer technology to drive business growth, announced that it will sponsor MLS’s New York Red Bulls for the 2008 MLS season. As part of the agreement, eMazzanti will utilize Red Bull matches for customer events, eMazzanti company information will be included in the GameDay Magazine alongside a prominent Red Bull player, and an on-field presentation of a signed Red Bull player jersey will be presented to an eMazzanti at a customer event. Source: eMediaWire

Gillett Acknowledges Rift with Hicks
Co-owner George Gillett claimed that he would not sell his share of Liverpool to partner Tom Hicks, and added that, "This partnership has been unworkable for some time. We were very fair. We gave our partner a long period of time to try to make arrangements to buy us out. We didn't put pressure on him but he ultimately did not get to the finish line. In the meantime, because of the things he said, the fans' reaction has been so negative towards him - and towards us if we sold to him - that has now made that an untenable alternative for us. When your public persona is more important than the facts, it's tough to have a rational relationship." Source: BBC                                                

* Europe *

Gretna Releases Players And is on Verge Of Extinction
Gretna moved a step closer to extinction after the club's administrators issued redundancy notices to 9 1st-team players, 13 youth players, 1 scout and the 6-strong community coaching team. The administrators took the dramatic course of action to keep the Scottish Premier League club alive but the players only have until Monday to find new clubs or face unemployment until the summer. Administrators announced last week that finance had been secured from the SPL club to fulfil their remaining fixtures, but this announcement leaves the club with a skeleton staff as they prepare for a match against St Mirren that could confirm relegation. Source: the Herald

PFA Chief Claims Players and Managers Must Clean-Up Behaviour
In the wake of last week’s incidents involving Chelsea defender Ashley Cole's and Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano, Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor believes referees have to become a `no-go area' in order for the game to clean up its act. “As a general rule we should treat referees as no-go areas and learn from other sports. It is time managers and players did accept a responsibility because what happens at the top level happens lower down. It is the bad points that get highlighted and the game has to be very much aware and do all it can to eradicate it.” Source: ESPNsoccernet

ITV Renew Champions League Rights Contract
British broadcaster ITV has retained the rights to show Uefa Champions League matches for 2009-2012 seasons. They will broadcast the 1st pick of Wednesday night games, including the final and Uefa Super Cup Final, and BSkyB will cover live matches and highlights on a Tuesday, plus matches other than the 1st choice on Wednesdays. Contrary to previous reports, the BBC announced that they did not bid for live Champions League rights. Source: BBC

QPR Sign Huge Kit Deal
Mid-table Championship team Queen Park Rangers' announcement that Lotto Sport Italia would become their kit supplier in a deal worth $40m. The west London side attracted attention in November when it was taken over by Flavio Briatore, owner of the Renault F1 team, and Bernie Ecclestone, Formula 1 Management's chief executive. After clearing a $26m debt, they attracted investment from Lakshmi Mittal, the billionaire steel magnate, and have now persuaded one of Italy's biggest sports clothing retailers to sign on. Source: the Financial Times

West Ham To Play Host To American Prospects
The 12 players selected from the USL’s American Super Y-League Olympic Development Project National Camps, held earlier this year, embarked on a 9-day visit to West Ham Youth Academy today. The 10 field players and 2 goalkeepers will watch an EPL match, train at West Ham’s youth academy, be formally evaluated, and they will join the West Ham Academy as they travel to Leicester, England to face Leicester City and face the Under-14 and Under-15 from Ipswich Town 2 days later. Source: USLsoccer.com

Norwegian Club Director Convicted Of Forging Mikel Contract
Morgan Andersen, former director of the Norwegian club Lyn, has been convicted of forging a contract with Jon Obi Mikel, the player who became embroiled in a transfer row between Manchester United and Chelsea. The court case has attracted a lot of attention in Norway because it shines a light on the often mysterious ways in which young African players end up in Europe, but very little in England despite the fact that it included testimony by Rune Hauge, the well-known Norwegian agent, who claimed Chelsea were behind the placing of four young Nigerians, including Mikel, in Norway waiting for them to turn 18. Source: BBC 

* Comment: Simple Solutions to Address Player Conduct *

The unseemly incidents that occurred last week involving Chelsea’s Ashley Cole and Liverpool’s Javier Mascherano could easily be avoided in the future.  Rules could be instituted that prohibit any player who is not directly involved in an incident, besides the captain, from even speaking to an official.  Or the referee could be given the right to force a team to substitute a player, as already happens in non-competitive matches. Giving the referee an option between tolerating intolerable dissent or severely damaging the match by forcing a team play shorthanded could easily be explored.
* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2008-02-01

The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.

Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives".

* Americas *                                                  February 1, 2008

CONCACAF Unveils Champions League
CONCACAF is launching its own ‘Champions League’ to replace the CONCACAF Champions Cup, which has determined the region's champion since 1962. The US and Mexico will have 4 teams each in the tournament, and the Caribbean region 3, along with 2 sides each from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama. 1 team each will come from Belize, Canada and Nicaragua. Source: SFGate.com

MLS Expresses Preference for Orange Bowl Site
Pete Garcia, the athletic director at Florida International University, indicated that an MLS team could play rent-free at new 18,000-seat stadium, which is expected to open in September. But, after an inspection of FIU’s facilities, league representative Dan Courtemanche said they are still hopeful a deal will be worked out with the city of Miami, “Our focus right now is working with the mayor of Miami and the city officials on the potential stadium at the Orange Bowl site.” Source: the Miami Herald

USL’s Rhinos Negotiating with New Investor
In the wake of months of complaints from Rochester Rhinos’ creditors and at least 2 lawsuits, including one by a bank for $10.8m, businessman Dan Williams confirmed that he has been in negotiations to invest in the Rhinos and its unfinished soccer-specific stadium, PAETEC Park: “There are some short-term challenges for sure, but...if we were to go ahead and say Rochester will be our first choice of investment in U.S. soccer, there’s absolutely nothing I can foresee that would stop that from happening.” Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Pennsylvania Agrees to Fund Stadium
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell unveiled a $47m funding package to aid in the construction of a soccer stadium on the Chester waterfront as part of a $414m project named ‘Rivertown’ - the latest step in an effort to attract a MLS franchise to the Philadelphia area. The project also calls for a convention centre, offices, apartments and townhouses, retail space as well as parks and play areas in the struggling waterfront city. Meanwhile, St Louis owner Jeff Cooper downplayed the competition between the 2 cities, “I think people are putting too much emphasis on Philadelphia versus St Louis and who's to get the next team. We're very confident that we'll get a MLS team that will play here in the near future. I don't know if that's '09 or '10.” Source: The Associated Press and the Collinsville Herald

DC United Renegotiating Advertising Contract with RFK
DC United is negotiating with the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission on a new lease and seeking a revenue-sharing deal that will allow it to reap some additional money from advertising at RFK stadium now the that the club is the only tenant. In the past, United has earned revenue from field-level advertising boards, but all other advertising revenue has gone to the commission. Source: the Washington Times                                                  

* Europe *

Major Court Ruling Favours Players
In a hugely significant ruling, Andy Webster has been ordered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to pay Scottish Premier League team Hearts $300k for breaking his contract to join Wigan in August 2006, rather than pay the $1.25m FIFA mandated, let alone the $9.2m Hearts sought. The CAS decided Webster should only pay up the remainder of his contract with Hearts, which had less than a year to run, as compensation for his departure. Webster became the 1st player to invoke article 17 of FIFA's regulations, which enable a player under 28 to terminate his contract after 3 years, and older players to leave after 2. Source BBC

Fans Aim to Takeover Liverpool
Share Liverpool FC announced plans to create a ‘member-share’ scheme whereby 100,000 people invest $10K and use $1b, to oust co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, and build a new stadium. “It is time to answer the concerns that football fans have about the patterns of ownership developing at our major football clubs” said Rogan Taylor, spokesman for Share Liverpool FC. “Large amounts of debt are often laden on to newly-bought clubs and the fans know that in the end, it will be them who will have to pay it off through increased ticket prices and other schemes. In such a case, why not simply buy the club yourselves?” Meanwhile, the owner of the New England Patriots and the MLS’s Revolution Robert Kraft admitted interest in taking over Liverpool. “We haven't ruled it out completely, but I'm worried a little bit. I want to be able to win whatever we do. But there are no rules in terms of spending on players. We would never want to be in a business where we couldn't compete and right now some of the structure doesn't allow you to compete on a level playing field.” Source: The Guardian and Sky Sports

Court Rules Clubs Should Not Pay Players’ Agents
The Association of Football Agents has stated its intention to sue the English Football Association over the rules introduced this month forbidding clubs paying players' representatives. But legal precedents are piling up in the FA's favour. The latest came January 11, when agent Mike Berry sued Gillingham’s Kelvin Jack, claiming that Jack had refused to pay agreed fees after learning of a secret $6k payment Berry had received from Dundee. The judge found in favour of the player because the agent ‘put himself in a position where his own interests and his duty to the defendant conflicted, or at least may have conflicted.’ Source: The Guardian

Platini Will Not Fight EU for Quotas
UEFA president Michel Platini said that while he agreed in principle with imposing limits on the number of foreign players in a team, he would not fight against European law to have quotas imposed: “Even though I share the view that there should be restrictions, it is very difficult for me as the president of UEFA to go and fight against the European Union and the laws of Europe. I cannot take on headlong the EU.” In response to the fact that there is no quota system, FA chief executive Brian Barwick claimed that EPL clubs are taking steps to meet their ‘responsibility’ to field a strong England team, “The clubs are intellectually and financially committed to producing homegrown players. Over £40million ($80m) a year is invested by Premier League clubs in youth development, but also it's about standards of coaching, it's about grass-roots as well”. Sources: The Guardian and the BBC

JJB Supports Nike Takeover of Umbro
Nike’s $565m takeover bid for Umbro PLC moved a step closer after Umbro shareholder JJB Sports PLC said it would back the offer. The commitment from JJB, the UK largest sports goods retailer and which holds a 10.1 percent stake in Umbro, removes another hurdle just weeks after British regulators cleared the deal. But JJB cautioned its agreement would lapse if a competing offer is announced at a price above $4.17 per share. Source: Yahoo! Finance

* Rest of the World *

EPL Teams Keep a Close Eye on African Cup of Nations
During the last tournament in Mali in 2002 there were just 8 English-based players competing in the tournament; this has risen to 35 in the current competition. Unsurprising, therefore, that the BBC reports that all but 5 EPL teams have scouts in Ghana looking at possible recruits. Chelsea's chief scout and head of youth development Frank Arnesen said “We are monitoring for the future.” Source BBC

Globo TV Sings Broadcast Deal with Europe
Brazilian group Globo TV Sports will distribute a package of Brazilian football programming via the Internet and mobile to 51 countries throughout Europe.  82 of the best games of the 2008 season from the Brazilian and São Paulo championships will be transmitted in English and in other local languages. Source: WorldScreen.com

Chinese Team to Play in Singapore League
Chinese Super League team Dalian Shide will send a team to participate in this season's Singapore League. Dalian champions eight times in the past 14 years, will replace fellow Chinese club Liaoning Guangyuan, which has been evicted after their alleged involvement in match-fixing. Like Japanese side Albirex Niigata, Dalian will field 25 players with an average age will be about 19 years old. Source: Xinhuanet.com
 * The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2008-01-25

The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.

Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives".

* Americas *                                                  January 25, 2008

DC United Still Searching for Stadium
With negotiations to build a stadium for DC United in Washington stalled, the Maryland Stadium Authority has decided to spend $75,000 on a feasibility study to look at the economic impact and potential tax benefits of constructing a home for the soccer team in Prince George's County. Source: The Washington Post

MLS Postpones Decision on Naming New Franchise
MLS announced that it has again pushed back the timetable for naming its 16th expansion team, presumed to be either St Louis or Philadelphia, to as late as March 1st. Source: STLtoday.com

Chicago Secure Shirt Sponsor
The Chicago Fire announced that the international electronics retail chain Best Buy will pay between $2.5 million and $4 million per season for sponsorship rights on its jerseys. Some experts are now claiming that the revenue MLS is generating from such sponsorships will lead the major American sports leagues to follow suit. “Only time will tell if this works, but we'll know in the next few years if this is something other sports will look at” said Marc Ganis, president of Sportscorp Ltd., a Chicago-based sports consultancy firm. “But MLS could prove to be a fairly safe test market for American sports.” Source: the Chicago Sun-Times

McClaren Claims MLS Hurting Beckham Game
Former England manager Steve McClaren claimed that the low standard of play in MLS is damaging David Beckham’s international career, “David has gone from Real Madrid to a club in America where the sport is still at its beginnings. The MLS is developing but it’s not of the standard required for international football. I know David will keep himself fit, but it’s going to be very difficult for him to continue playing for England.” Meanwhile, the LA Galaxy will play a friendly match against FC Seoul in March 1st and Chinese 2nd division side East Asia in Shanghai on March 5, though Beckham’s participation will be limited to no ore than 45 minutes, if he plays at all. Source: Goal.com; Soccernet

USL Awards Franchise to Austin
The USL announced that Austin, Texas will be home to a USL First Division soccer franchise beginning in the 2009 season and that the Austin Aztex will be affiliated with English Championship side Stoke City FC. Source: Soccernet

Top USL Youths Will Train in England
The USL announced that 12 elite-level Super Y-League players from their 2008 Olympic Development Program will train with the Academy of West Ham United for10 ten days, with 10 outfield players and 2 goalkeepers will train within their corresponding West Ham Academy age group and attend EPL matches. Source: USLsoccer.com

American Tentatively Agrees to Purchase Troubled Irish Club
Irish-American businessman Jack MCarthy has agreed ‘in principal’ to take over Limerick 37 and thus save the fledgling Eircom League club from financial ruin. The takeover is expected to take place before the club accounts go before the FAI's First Instance Committee, which will deliberate on Limerick 37's application to participate in the Eircom League in early February. Source: Limerick Leader 

* Europe *

FIFA and UEFA Reach $250m Agreement with Clubs
Football clubs will receive $250m from FIFA and UEFA for letting their players appear in the final stages of the next European Championships and World Cup. Beginning with Euro 2008, UEFA pay clubs $3,800 for each day a player is involved in the latter stages, and the money will be shared among any clubs a player has been with in the 2 years prior to the tournament. Source: Soccenet

Liverpool Stadium Deal Finalized
Liverpool finally completed their $685m refinancing deal and revealed the latest design for their new 71,000 capacity stadium, scheduled to open for the 2011-12 season. A statement from Kop Football Holdings (Ltd), the American duo's holding company, confirmed that of the refinancing package, $210m will be debt tied to the club. Of that, $90m will be used for future player transfers and to meet the club's working capital needs, while $120m will provide the start-up money for the new ground. The package is expected to help Tom Hicks and George Gillett repay money borrowed for their $435m takeover in March 2007. Source: BBC

United Boss Defends Saudi Arabia Trip
Manchester United’s CEO David Gill defended the club’s decision to travel to Saudi Arabia for a lucrative mid-season match right after last weekend’s EPL encounter with Reading: “People don’t understand how the decisions are taken at Manchester United. We understand, quite rightly, that what happens on the pitch is the main driver of all our success, so we never make any decision that, in our opinion, will harm the push for honours.” Source: The Times

Colchester Stadium to Be Sold, Cardiff Stadium on Schedule
With Colchester set to move into the 10,000-capacity Colchester Community Stadium by next season, the local Council have confirmed that the current Layer Road ground is set to be put up for sale, and that it will be replaced a residential community. And although there were fears that court action taken against Cardiff City by the Langston Corporation might cause delays or cancellation, the Bluebirds claim their new stadium will be ready by the start of the 2009/10 season. Source: BBC

Fans’ Website Approves Club Takeover
Members of fans' website MyFootballClub.co.uk have approved the takeover of Blue Square Premier side Ebbsfleet United, with more than 18,000 members, out of a possible 27,000, casting their votes on the $1.25m takeover and 95.8% deciding on the purchase of the Kent club. Source: BBC 

* Rest of the World *

Board Will Discuss Future after New Zealand Football Reports Huge Losses
New Zealand football's 7 regional confederations agreed not to comment publicly until at least after an upcoming board meeting the end of the month on the fact that the national governing body, New Zealand Football, is about to record a $650,000 loss for the 2007 year. Source: TVNZ.co.nz

 * The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2008-01-18

The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.

Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives".

* Americas *                                                  January 18, 2008

New American Women’s Soccer League Unveiled
The founders of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS), which will start in 2009 expressed optimism that this league would succeed where WUSA failed. The President of the league’s Chicago franchise, Peter Wilt claimed WPS would have ‘a different business model,’ including more conservative budgets, that it would take advantage of ‘synergies’ with SUM and MLS, sharing stadiums with Chicago, LA, DC, and possibly Dallas. On top of that, ‘teams are integrating themselves much more in their local soccer communities’ through partnerships with youth teams and local leagues, and Wilt also said that another problem with WUSA was that ‘the owners were disengaged.’ Meanwhile, Hellenic, LLC has announced the formation of the Tampa Bay Hellenic. The club, which is joining the USL’s W-League, will begin playing in 2008 as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. Source: USsoccerplayers.com & USL

Released Letter Reveals Pennsylvania’s Commitment To MLS Franchise
In response to requests made by the Capitolwire news service, Pennsylvania’s Governor’s office released a ‘funding commitment letter’ dated February 27th, 2007 identifying the various grants and low-interest loans that could be obtained from nine government sources to raise $50m to lure an MLS franchise. Governor Ed Rendell's offer included: $20m in savings achieved through low-interest, long-term loans from the Pennsylvania Economic Development Funding Authority; $15m from the state capital budget, contingent upon approval by the legislature; and $10m in a grant from the Delaware River Port Authority. Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer

Rumours Linking Zidane and MLS Surface, Again
Zinedine Zidane has admitted that he is keen for a return to top-level soccer, and Yahoo! reports that sources close to him have indicated that were he to come back as a player - as opposed to a coaching, ambassadorial or administrative role - then a move to MLS and specifically the Red Bulls would be his number 1 option. Source: Yahoo! Sports

MLS Stadium For Miami Could Be Ready By Fall
The city of Miami’s proposal for a new sports and entertainment complex on the historical Orange Bowl site, which includes a $100 million, 25,000-seat home for a new MLS team, faces competition from Florida International University.  “We're willing to do whatever it takes to get MLS in our stadium,” said Pete Garcia, athletic director at FIU, which is opening an 18,000-seat field in September on its main West Dade County campus. The stadium will have 19 luxury suites, 1,400 club seats - and a design that could be expanded to 45,000 seats. Source: The Miami Herald

JumpTV Acquires North American Rights To WC Qualifiers
JumpTV acquired the exclusive North American online and mobile rights for the 70 remaining 2010 South American World Cup qualifying matches and up to 40 associated friendlies from SCP Worldwide.  JumpTV also acquired an unspecified equity stake in SCP's overall broadcast rights for this content, and indicated that it and SCP have secured distribution deals for this content with ESPN and other entities. Source: sportbusiness.com

MLS Rejects Preston Transfer Offer
Preston North End's pursuit of New England Revolution’s Taylor Twellman ended after MLS rejected a transfer deal worth more than $2m. A frustrated Twellman claimed the deal would have been worth more than $2.5 million with incentives and Preston had offered an annual salary worth more than $1 million; triple what he is now making. Source: Boston.com
 

* Europe *

G14 Disbands After Achieving Primary Goal
The G14 group of Europe's most powerful clubs has disbanded after FIFA and UEFA agreed to listen to them on key issues and compensate clubs when players take part in the European Championships and the World Cup. The details have not yet been finalised but it is going to be a daily rate irrespective of what the player’s salary is. G14 will be replaced by the European Club Association, which will have more than 100 members, including one from each of Europe's 53 national associations. Source: BBC

Dispute Between Owners and Board May Lead To Liverpool Sale
Despite official denials, the Independent reports that Liverpool's American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, have agreed in principle to sell the club for $700m because they and the club's board could not resolve a dispute over whether to laden the club with massive debt to build a new stadium. The potential buyers most consistently linked with Liverpool in recent months are Dubai International Capital, an investment vehicle ultimately controlled by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, one of the world's richest men. Source: The Independent

EPL Derides Blatter And Platini
EPL CEO Richard Scudamore renewed his criticism of UEFA president Michel Platini and FIFA’s Sepp Blatter plans to limit the number of foreign players per team. "The problem with Blatter's logic is that you can get yourself into a difficult, jingoistic, almost racist debate about who can and who cannot play for your country. Why are Blatter and Platini wasting their energy and huge influence on this issue when they know that European law will not budge?” Source: The Independent

UEFA Launch Media Rights Sale
UEFA announced the launch of the media content rights sales process for the 2009 -12 cycle of the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and the UEFA Cup. The sale, which will be conducted by TEAM Marketing AG, includes an increase in the total number of matches and content rights on a platform neutral basis, meaning that successful bidders for live match rights will benefit from exclusivity across all media platforms (including television, Internet and mobile) throughout the entire live match. Source: UEFA

Capello Assures FA He’s Innocent Of Tax Evasion
England manager Fabio Capello told the FA that his tax payments are in order, after reports from Italy that his financial affairs while he was coaching Roma and Juventus are being investigated. “I have assured The FA today that my finances are in order and that I am not aware of any matters which would be of concern.” Source: CNN

Argentina-Scotland Friendly Canceled
The Herald reports that negotiations between Argentina and Scotland over a proposed March 26 friendly at Hampden Park have formally ended after failure to agree on a suitable date and income guarantees. Poland are now favourites to visit Hampden, with the SFA mindful of the large influx of workers from Eastern Europe. Meanwhile, Brazil are slated to play a friendly match against Sweden this March…in London. Source: The Herald

Blades Owner’s Bid To Buy Hungarian Club Bloacked
Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe’s Scarborough Holdings company will not be buying the famous but financially troubled Hungarian club Ferencvaros. There were no other bidders and McCabe has already set-up a working association between Ferencvaros and The Blades, but, according to Hungarian sources, there are political reasons why the takeover has not been pushed through. Source: Sky Sports

Polish Giants Sentenced To Relegation
Polish top-flight club Widzew Łódź were sentenced to relegation at the end of the season after being found guilty of bribing referees on 12 occasions in 2004 and 2005. Widzew president Boguslaw Sosnowski responded, “We see the penalty as excessive and we will appeal.” Source: Soccerrnet

Coventry And Swindon Permitted To Make Transfers
Coventry was given the go-ahead to re-enter the transfer market after a Football League embargo, that was placed on the club in October last year following non-payment of an instalment of Leon Best's transfer fee to Southampton, was lifted. In a similar story, Swindon Town have had their total transfer embargo downgraded to a flexible embargo, which means they can only sign and loan players with approval from the Football League, following Tuesday's successful takeover by Andrew Fitton's consortium. And Bottom of the Football League Bournemouth, which has debts of around $8m, are seeking advice from Accountants BDO Stoy Hayward in a bid to stave off the threat of administration. But chairman Jeff Mostyn stressed in a club statement that “the club is not in administration and it is not a foregone conclusion that it will be.”  Source: BBC 

* Rest of the World *

Everton Sign Asian Deals
Everton has agreed in principle to a 3-year deal with the Indian Football Association to deliver a grassroots football programme in the state of Bengal. The club also signed the most lucrative sponsorship deal in its history, $16m, with Thai-based Chang Beer, an extension to the current deal that expires at the end of the season. Source: official Everton website

Blatter Proposes That ANC Begin In June And July
In an attempt to unify the international calendar and appease European clubs, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has told the BBC that the African Nations Cup must be held in June and July by 2016.  However, the Confederation of African Football insisted that the competition will continue to kick off in January when the weather in most of Africa is more suitable. Source: BBC

 * The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2008-01-11

The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.

Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives".

* Americas *                                                  January 11, 2008

Dynamo Closer To New Stadium
Negotiations between the Dynamo and city of Houston on a proposed soccer stadium are still not completed, but the city of Houston has signed letters of intent to buy parcels of land just east of U.S. 59 and the downtown business district.  Both parties indicated that discussions are proceeding, but the city insists that owners AEG finance the construction of the stadium, expected to cost $70 to $80m. Source: The Houston Chronicle

Crew Building Concert Stage
No concerts have been scheduled, but the Columbus Crew announced that a stage will be completed in the north end of the club’s stadium by late April or early May at a cost of more than $2m. VP of stadium operations Scott DeBolt indicated the club would not tie itself to a single concert promoter: "We're going to be basically independent and have separate agreements with both AEG and Live Nation and whoever else wants to bring a show to us. We didn't want to limit our options." Source: The Columbus Dispatch

Liverpool FC Delay Decision on Stadium Design
Owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett ordered Dallas-based HKS to scale down their plans, which overshot the budget for the new 70,000-seat arena by $100m, and asked Manchester firm AFL to come up with their own designs. Hicks and Gillett also cannot choose a final design until they have a clearer picture of how they are to finance the development, while considering implications of the $540 m in loans taken out last February to acquire the club. Source: The Daily Telegraph 

* Europe *

Record Profits and Turnover For Man United
Manchester United have moved to the top of the UK's football financial rich list after reporting record revenue of $481m for 2006/7; a 27% rise. That puts them ahead of the $393m Arsenal reported for the same season, but behind Real Madrid, whose turnover was $515m. Pre-tax profits rose 93% to $117m for United, who last season won the EPL, reached the final of the FA Cup, and the semifinal of the Champions League. Source: BBC

Inter on Verge of Record Kit Deal
Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport claims Inter Milan are on the verge kit agreement with Nike reputed to be worth upto $200m. The club's current contract with Nike, which previously ran until June 2009 was worth around $9m a season, but the new 10 year deal will likely be worth more than any other contract agreed between the American sports brand and a football club (excluding the Brazilian national team). Source: footballshirtculture.com

UEFA Consider Expanding European Championships
UEFA have commissioned a report on whether to expand the European Championships from 16 teams to up to 24, which will be discussed at a meeting in Croatia later in the month. Communications director William Gaillard confirmed that the externally-prepared report would be submitted but also expressed some doubts: "They have looked at different numbers and the overall effect of making such changes, including the possible effect on the qualifying round.  By expanding the number of teams in the final competition you could actually make the qualifying tournament less interesting." Source: Goal.com

Scottish Executives Debate Merits Of Winter Break
Scottish FA CEO Gordon Smith believes that Scottish football should look at reintroducing a winter break because, "We should be playing in the best of the weather as most games that are called off have been in January and February." But SPL secretary Iain Blair countered: "We're hoping to see more success for Scottish clubs in Europe and that uses up a lot of midweeks. The clubs and fans tell us that they prefer the games to be on the weekend." Source: BBC Scotland

Trezeguet Agrees to Testify At GEA Trial
On January 29th, Juventus striker David Trezeguet will testify at the trial of several men connected with the alleged illegal practices of sports management agency GEA. Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi, also at the centre of Italy's match-fixing scandal, his son Alessandro, who ran GEA, and Marcello Lippi's son Davide, among others, are accused of securing ‘unfair competition through threats or violence.’ Several top players and coaches, including England coach Fabio Capello, are also expected to give evidence at the trial. Source: Reuters UK

Money Dispute Jeopardizes Scotland-Argentina Friendly
Scotland's friendly against Argentina, provisionally arranged for March 26th at Hampden Park, may be cancelled because the respective associations cannot agree financial terms. The Daily Telegraph reports that the Argentinean FA have demanded guaranteed gate money, television revenue, and that the Scottish FA should also pay them a lump sum on top of that to bring Lionel Messi, Carlos Tevez and the rest to Glasgow. Source: The Daily Telegraph

TV Celebrity Fronts Bid for Troubled Luton
Television presenter and lifelong Luton fan Nick Owen is fronting a consortium bidding to buy the League One club, which entered administration
and received a 10-point deduction on November 22nd. "I cannot wait for us to get the go-ahead, I'm very hopeful," Owen told BBC Three Counties Radio. But club administrator Brendan Guilfoyle says ‘more than one’ bid has been received and that they hope for exclusive talks with the winning bidder within a week. The crisis has led manager Kevin Blackwell and key coaching staff to resign, as the administrator agreed to sell key players without consulting the coaching team. Source: BBC

JJB Agree to Refund Overcharged Fans
JJB Sports are to part-refund customers who were overcharged for replica football shirts. Consumer’s Group Which? said the UK’s leading sportswear retailer would pay up to $40 each for shirts bought between 2000 and 2001, following legal action on behalf of fans who bought nearly 1,000 football shirts. Customers who joined the group's case will get $40 from JJB Sports for each affected England and Manchester United shirt purchased during 2000 and 2001, and those who did not join the case can still claim $20 provided they present proof of purchase or the shirts themselves. Source: The Guardian

* Rest of the World *

Stadium Building Boom Coming for Morocco
Casablanca’s mayor Mohamed Sajid announced plans to build a $260m 80,000-seater football stadium by 2013, which will replace the 70,000-seater Mohammed VI Stadium. Moroccan Sports and Youth minister Nawal Moutawakil also promised further investment in sporting infrastructure, including the building of 3 other football stadiums in Agadir, Marrakesh and Tangier. Source: BBC

African Cup of Nations Broadcasts in Jeopardy
The Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) have rejected paying $4.4m for TV rights for the African Cup of Nations, throwing local broadcasting into jeopardy with the tournament set to start in just 10 days. BON chairman Abubakar Jijwa, who claimed that Nigerians account for 30% of the tournament’s viewers, commented, "They said our offer was not acceptable, so we said, 'Fine, you can go and set up a TV channel in two weeks, we won't deal with you.  If you want to ignore Nigeria, good luck to you’." Source: Goal.com

Man United Announce Second South Africa Tour
Manchester United confirmed yesterday that they will tour South Africa this summer from July 19-26. Although details were not announced, it is believed United will repeat their successful trip of 2006, when they took on Kaizer Chiefs and the Orlando Pirates, playing in Durban, Cape Town and Pretoria. Source: Yahoo! Sports


 

* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2007-12-22

The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.

Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives - 2007".  
  

 

* Americas *                                                 December 21 2007

MLS Increases Foreign Quota
MLS teams will be granted one additional roster spot for foreign players next season and also will have the option of trading those slots, enabling a club to field an entire roster of non-Americans. The changes, which MLS is implementing because of fears that expansion will dilute the talent pool, insures that foreigners without nonresident alien status will be limited to 112 of the 392 players in the league, “We believe we need to dip into the international market in the short term” said deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis, who added that MLS's recently created youth development program will provide players in the medium-to-long term. “Americans are and will be the backbone of league. But I don't think I'm saying anything controversial when I say we don't believe the domestic talent pool is limitless.”  Source: CBS Sports

Veron Turns Down DC
D.C. United's pursuit of Argentine Juan Veron came to a disappointing end after the former World Cup midfielder announced that he would remain with his boyhood club, Estudiantes. In recent weeks, reports in Argentina indicated that Veron was set to join United and become its first signing under MLS's year-old designated player rule, but he declined what he termed an ‘incredible’ offer in part because he wanted to play in the Copa Libertadores. Source: The Miami Herald

 

Canadian Purchases Maccabi Tel Aviv
Israeli Premier League team Maccabi Tel Aviv, who have won the league championship a record 18 times but struggled in recent years, have been sold to Canadian metal trader Alex Schneider. Ukraine-born Schneider, who owns Midland Resources paid $20m for an 80% stake, while the remaining 20% will remain with the club. Source: Boston Herald

Bolivian President Lambastes FIFA Altitude Ban
Bolivian President Evo Morales criticised FIFA's recent decision to introduce a ban on international playing matches over 2,750 metres above sea level without acclimatisation. “I want to express my surprise at this decision by FIFA. It's discrimination…against people who live at high altitude. It's not right that they don't understand the situation of Potosi, Oruro or La Paz” he said, referring to his nation’s capitol and two other Andean cities. Source: Reuters

* Europe *

Man U Will Report Record Profits and Turnover
According to press reports, next month Manchester United will announce record profits of at least $120m and a record annual turnover in excess of $400m for the year to June 30. The figures, which are largely accounted for by increases in the club’s match-day and commercial revenue, would be far better than last January's totals, when the club announced a turnover of $335m and a profit of $92m, and suggest that the club may realize ambitious target to make $215m in annual profits by 2011. Source: The Times

Liverpool Delay Loan But Continue Work On New Stadium
Despite the fact that Liverpool’s American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have had to postpone borrowing the $600m needed to build a new stadium until 2009 due to the global credit crunch, club sources said plans are proceeding according to schedule in terms of the planning, design and initial construction of the Stanley Park ground. Hicks and Gillett are expected to re-finance the $440m loan used to buy the club in February in favor of a new $700m one with the Royal Bank of Scotland, which would include $120m to begin work on the new stadium and $50m to cover the cost of last summer's signings. Source: The Daily Telegraph

New Investors For QPR and Ipswich
Bottom of the English Championship Queens Park Rangers have been given a cash boost after the family of Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, reportedly worth $100b, bought a 20% stake in the club. “This investment is a great stepping stone towards the future development of the club” said a club statement. “It supports the ambition of the current shareholders to reach the Premier League in the near future.” Meanwhile, businessman Marcus Evans has completed his takeover of Ipswich after shareholders approved his purchase of the club. Evans, who now owns 87.5% of its shares, has made changes to the board of directors and will take-on Ipswich's $64m debt while also giving manager Jim Magilton funds to spend on new players. Sources: BBC

Birmingham End Yeung Takeover Talks
Birmingham City have ended discussions with Carson Yeung's investment company, Grandtop International Holdings, which had already bought a 29.9% stake in July, regarding a possible takeover. The club also ruled out the prospect of being bought by anyone else before next summer. Source: BBC

The FA Approve National Training Centre
The English Football Association have given the go-ahead for a national football centre, with its ‘preferred option’ being in Burton, Staffordshire, though it has not ruled out basing it closer to London. The Burton option would be linked to a hotel and conference facility and FA officials will now undertake ‘a detailed exploration of the business and funding plans’ before making a final decision. The centre will serve as a training base for all England national and junior teams, and also house medical, exercise, science, coaching, video analysis and education departments. Source: the Daily Mail

Italian Chief Claims Serie A and B Should Be Reduced
The head Italian soccer Antonio Matarrese argued that the number of teams in Serie A should be cut to 18 from 20, and that Serie B should be reduced to 20 from 22, to make sure the remaining clubs can survive amid battles for television revenues and falling attendances. “It seems to me important that we start reasoning over a real and proper reform of football. We don't have a choice. We can argue for months on the division of resources. The truth is there are too many of us.” Source: Soccernet

* Rest of the World *

Asian Confederation Seeks Growth In India
Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam, who said India was crucial to the development of the game in Asia, held meetings in Kuala Lumpur with Indian officials to explore ways to stimulate interest in the sport. The country, dubbed a ‘sleeping giant’ by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, launched a professional league last month and organisers of the Portuguese league recently signed an agreement with the Indian soccer federation to provide support for a more professional structure. Source: Reuters India

Socceroos Boss Favours Expansion
 New Australia coach Pim Verbeek spoke in favour of Football Federation Australia’s proposal to add 2 new Queensland sides, from the Gold Coast and Townsville, to the A-League next year. He argued that domestically based players need as much football as they can get if they are to lift local standards and improve the national team. “The Korean league is bigger, spread out over 10 or 11 months. I cannot imagine that the league here is only for six months. I saw the schedule for the A-League and I thought ‘What are we going to do between March and June’?” Source: Sydney Morning Herald

* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2007-12-15

The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.

Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives - 2007".  
  

 

* Americas *                                                 December 14 2007

Funding For Philly Stadium Still In Doubt
Although the Pennsylvania Senate adjourned without approving funding for an MLS stadium in Chester, Republican Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi expressed optimism the state would put together a $45m stadium-financing package in time to secure an expansion franchise. But moments later, Democratic Govenor Rendell chided Senate Republicans, saying they had hampered the stadium financing as a deadline loomed. "It seems to me there is this mania about borrowing that has gripped the Senate Republican caucus." Source: the Philadelphia Inquirer

Stadium Funding Shortfall For RSL?
Real Salt Lake celebrated the ‘topping out’ of its 20,000-seat soccer stadium Monday, but public funds for the $110m facility located in Sandy soon could bottom out. The team has spent nearly all the $35m of Salt Lake County hotel taxes allotted by the Legislature earlier this year, but the additional $10m Sandy pledged to RSL could fall short if - as expected - the Salt Lake County Council declines to forfeit its share of the increased property taxes that will be generated by the stadium's development. Source: Salt Lake Tribune

Seattle Season Ticket Sales Top 10,000
Even though they will not begin play until 2009, MLS’s Seattle franchise has sold more than 10,000 season ticket memberships since November 13th. “We set very lofty goals when we announced the team less than a month ago,” said owner Joe Roth. “The response from the local community continues to energize and strengthen our commitment to create a team and fan experience unlike any other.” Source: Seattlesounders.net

Kansas City Stadium Funding Nearly In Place
Though not fully out of the woods, the Kansas City, Mo. city council voted unanimously to approve a development project that paves the way for the 18,500-seat stadium in south Kansas City. Government officials in attendance vowed their support to help get the state funding, which includes about $31m in state tax increment financing and tax credits, approved before Jan. 31, 2008. Source: MLSnet

Miami Unveils Stadium Plans
The City of Miami has unveiled tentative plans to build a soccer stadium, which would seat 25,000 and cost $100m, half of which would reportedly come ‘from MLS’.  The proposal is a part of a larger project to build a new baseball stadium and as well as stores and restaurants in Little Havana after the Orange Bowl is demolished. Source: the Miami Herald

DC Sign Veron, FC Dallas Drops Denilson
According to Sports Illustrated, Juan Veron and D.C. United have agreed to a $3-4 million a year deal that will be signed and officially announced next week. The 32-year-old Argentinean midfielder, who has played for Manchester United and Chelsea, led his current club Estudiantes de la Platato to the Argentinean championship a year ago. Meanwhile, Denilson, Brazilian World Cup-winning midfielder, brought to FC Dallas as a designated player in August, was one of 3 players who did not have their contracts renewed for 2008.  Head coach Steve Morrow did not rule out his return next season, albeit at a lower salary. Sources: Sports Illustrated and MLSnet

MLS and SUM Name Executives
MLS and Soccer United Marketing (SUM) announced that Nelson Rodriguez has been named Senior VP of Strategic Business Development and William Wilson has been named Executive VP of International Business & Special Events. A long-time MLS and SUM employee with extensive experience, Rodriguez will work closely with Garber and MLS President Mark Abbott in areas such as strategic planning, new business development and alliance development. Wilson, who has 16 years of experience including executive positions with the NFL, Champ Car World Series and Arena Football, will manage international partnerships and properties and oversee the special events group. Source: Soccer America

* Europe *

Blatter Sees Opening For Foreign Quotas
FIFA president Sepp Blatter believes that the European Union's Lisbon Treaty, which was signed by all 27 nations that comprise the EU in the Portuguese capital this week, will allow the game's governing body to cap foreign players in domestic leagues. “We have to maintain, if not the local idea of a club then at least the national identity of a club. It does not look good if you have a club in a country and there are no national players on the team.” Source: the Guardian

ESPN Interested In UK EPL Rights
ABC/ESPN president George Bodenheimer told the Financial Times that his all-sports network is “absolutely interested” in acquiring UK broadcast rights to the EPL to boost its European audience. “We're going to work on getting as local as we can. We want to deliver product that is relevant in each country. It's a country-by-country approach. We want to be investors wherever the top sports product is." Source: BBC

Magnusson Steps Down 
Eggert Magnusson has stepped down as chairman of West Ham United and sold his 5% stake in EPL club. Magnusson, who was part of the Icelandic consortium that bought the Hammers a year ago, had already resigned as executive chairman in September. Owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, who purchased Magnusson’s shares, has become chairman and executive chairman. Source: The Guardian

Coventry Agree To Sale, Derby Move Closer To Investment
Coventry City have accepted the takeover bid by Ray Ranson's group SISU Capital, preventing them from entering Administration (equivalent to Chapter 11 in the US). If the Sky Blues had not completed a deal and proven their solvency by 1600 GMT Friday, they could have faced a 10-point deduction in the Championship. “The successful conclusion of this transaction ensures the club's future is secure,” said a Coventry statement. Meanwhile Derby County chairman Adam Pearson is in discussions with American investors over a deal that could clear the club's $50m debts and leave manager Paul Jewell with funds to spend during the up-coming January transfer window. Pearson revealed that the matter will be discussed at a board meeting Monday. “They are a very good potential partner.” said Pearson. Source: BBC

France To Bid For EURO 2016
France plan to submit a bid to host the 2016 European championship by early 2009, Sports Minister Bernard Laporte told French sports daily L'Equipe after French Football Federation officials met last week to present the project. “We wish France to be a candidate. We want Euro 2016.” Source: Yahoo! Sport

Everton Affiliate With Facebook
Everton has become the first EPL club to officially affiliate itself with Facebook.  The Everton Application allows users to view the very latest news and information on ticketing. Head of Communications Mark Rowan said: “Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites on the web. As The People's Club, we felt it was only right that Everton provide supporters with the opportunity to interact directly with the Club via their own Facebook page.” Source: Evertonfc.com

* Rest of the World *

President Concedes Asian Cup Disappointment
Despite Iraq’s inspirational triumph, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohamed Bin Hammam conceded that July's Asian Cup did not meet expectations. “In terms of organization, media attention, how it was received outside and technical standards, the Asian Cup showed good progress, probably better than in 2004 (in China). But, it was far away from what we believe a good Asian Cup should be.” Attendance was poor and in the run-up to the finals, the AFC faced numerous challenges, such as being forced to prod countries who failed to promote the event, juggling different national associations with their own agendas, and accommodating competing countries that refused to play at certain venues. Source: Shanghai Daily

* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2007-12-07

The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.

Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives - 2007".  
  

* Americas *                                                                  December 7 2007

 

Whitecaps Propose Land Swap
The Vancouver Whitecaps and the Vancouver Port Authority are considering swapping land to make way for a $75m waterfront stadium. It could, however, take months to determine whether the land exchange proposed by the soccer team is of ‘comparable market value’ and to determine whether land obtained by the authority can be used for shipping and navigation purposes. Source: Canada.com

Prospective Owner Positive About Philly’s Chances
James Nevels, one of the financial backers of Philadelphia’s MLS expansion bid, said that he was “incredibly optimistic” that the Pennsylvania state legislature would commit $45m to help build a new stadium in Chester. “It isn't brain surgery. The numbers are there. We've got the market.” The numbers include the Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association, which represents 200,000 players, and the ‘Sons of Ben’, a 1,000-member fan club, that has gathered 6,200 signatures on petitions and nearly 2,000 pledges to buy season tickets. Source: the Philadelphia Inquirer

Are The Rochester Rhinos In Trouble?
Although Rochester Rhino owner Steve Donner claims, “I've never been more confident about our long term future,” minority owner Christopher Wilmot resigned from the board because he no longer has confidence in the way the franchise is being run, and the city wants the Rhinos to do several things before they get a $4m state grant to finish building PAETEC Park. They must account for how the $19m in tax dollars already invested in the stadium have been spent, show how the $4m will be spent, and prove the Rhinos are financially stable. Source: 13wham.com

NJ Rangers Join USL
NJ Rangers FC officially announced that they will join the USL in 2008 with a franchise in the Premier Development League (PDL) as well as teams in the Super Y-League and USL Super-20 League. “We are excited about this opportunity to be a part of a well respected and organized entity in the USL,” said club President Aaron Balber. “The PDL showcases some of the best young talent in the country today and serves as a stepping-stone to the highest levels of soccer. Many of the players in the PDL will move on to fill the professional rosters of Major League Soccer, the USL 1st Division and beyond.” Source: Soccer 365 

* Europe *

UEFA Investigates Match-Fixing Allegations
Although no clubs or dates were specified, UEFA confirmed that they are investigating match-fixing allegations in 15 UEFA games. The German magazine Der Spiegel reported that matches may have included qualifiers for Euro 2008, the Champions League, UEFA Cup and Intertoto Cup, and alleged that most of the clubs involved come from countries in eastern and south-eastern Europe, including Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Georgia. Source: Channel 4

Real Proposes Modified Version Of G-14
Although Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon expressed “confidence in the current governors of UEFA” and maintained that, “If this new climate continues...we don't think the existence of an organisation like the G14 will be necessary”, he nonetheless advocated the formation of UEFA-sanctioned body consisting of 50 or so members that would address issues such as calendar coordination and the release of players for international duty. Source: official Real Madrid website.

Format Changes For Champions League
UEFA announced that the format of the Champions League will be changed to allow 3 more teams from England, Spain, and Italy to qualify automatically for the group stage of the competition. The major change, however, is a split in the qualifying competition to ensure that five champions from 40 lower-ranked nations will reach the Champions League competition. UEFA also said that the Final will be played on Saturday, rather than on Wednesday, beginning with the 2009 match in Rome. Source: Soccernet

Cardiff’s Court Case Postponed
Championship team Cardiff City's High Court case brought by creditors Langston, originally scheduled for December 7th, has been postponed until at least January 18th. Langston, who requested the postponement, is owed $49m, which it wants repaid now, but team officials insist the sum is not due until 2016. Source: BBC

Ipswich Board To Approve Takeover
The board at English Championship team Ipswich Town will formally approve Marcus Evans’ takeover at an EGM of shareholders on 17 December. Evans is set to take an 87.5% stake in the club, clear its $65m debts and inject an additional $25m. In a letter to shareholders, Ipswich chairman David Sheepshanks described the deal as “an extremely good outcome. We wanted to find someone who would maintain Ipswich Town's culture and values.” Source: BBC

Coventry Hope To Avoid Going Into Administration
Coventry City's board announced its intention to take the cash-strapped club, with debts totaling $75m, into administration. This would entail a 10-point deduction in the Championship, but the Sky Blues remain hopeful that a takeover by entrepreneur Ray Ranson and Sisu Capital will be completed before then. “This legal notice gives Coventry a 10-day window to complete the takeover talks” said the board's statement. Source: BBC

EURO 2008 To Generate More Than $2.1b
Even without England and its 40,000+ travelling fans, an 11-page report commissioned by MasterCard claims that the European Championship will boost the European economy by $2.1b. Euro 2008's impact will “include a rise in ticket sales, travel, food and beverage sales, merchandising, sponsorship revenue, advertising and use of telecommunications and new media services.” Source: International Herald Tribune

Everton Owner Defends New Stadium Plan
Everton owner Bill Kenwright defended himself against a barrage of criticisms over plans to move to a new stadium in Kirkby, just outside Liverpool’s city limits, rather than exploring other options: “Often as a chairman you get conspiracy theories thrown at you and you have to say, 'guys, I'm not an idiot, I'm also one of you. Don't you think if there was a possibility of XYZ, that I would be jumping at it’?” He indicated that the club is still considering renovating its Goodison Park stadium, but the cost is projected to be $200m more than relocating to Kirkby. Source: BBC

Takeover Rumours At Spurs
There have been official denials, but the Daily Mail reported that Tottenham are the target of an $800m takeover bid. Two consortia, one in Russia and the other in the Far East, have shown interest in trying to buy out Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and his fellow shareholders, and hope to put a deal forward that will be announced to the London Stock Exchange within 2 weeks. Source: The Daily Mail

Timing Of Mascherano Purchase Causes Rift At Liverpool
The Times (of London) reported that the question of when to purchase Javier Mascherano, who is presently on loan to Liverpool, has led to a rift between manager Rafael Benitez and American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett. The club and the Argentine have already agreed to personal terms, but the Spanish manager wants to finalize the deal now while the owners are not in a hurry because they have until May to exercise their option. Source: The Times 

* Rest of the World *

Becks Draws Over a Top Crowd Down Under
Nearly 32,000 fans, the highest total in New Zealand since their men’s team qualified for the 1982 World Cup, paid to see David Beckham - and the LA Galaxy - play a friendly against the Wellington Phoenix. Beckham scored a penalty and had an assist in the Galaxy’s 4-1 win in a match that saw the 2 sides field 18 reserves. Source: the New Zealand Herald

Brazil Giants Relegated
Corinthians, the 2nd most popular team in Brazil, was relegated after drawing 1-1 with Gremio on Sunday. The demotion marked the end of a disastrous year that saw the team lose 14 games and win only 10, ending 17th in Brazil's 20-team Serie A, while two former Corinthians directors were accused of money laundering and tax evasion relating to a 2004 deal between the club and UK-based investment group MSI. Source: Xinhua.net
 

* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2007-11-16

November 16, 2007 â€“ 07:23 AM
The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.
 
Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives - 2007".

* Americas *                                                              November 16, 2007              

Seattle Awarded MLS Franchise
MLS announced that Seattle will become the league's 15th team and begin play at Qwest Field, which will be downsized to accommodate 24,500 fans, in 2009. The team will be owned by Hollywood movie studio executive Joe Roth, Seattle Sounders Managing Partner Adrian Hanauer, actor Drew Carey and Vulcan Sports and Entertainment (VSE), the owner of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. The Pennsylvania Senate Appropriations Committee authorized spending $45m on a stadium in Chester and other area projects, which means that most of the funding is in place for the $115m project that could prompt MLS to award Philadelphia a franchise. Finally, commissioner Don Garber indicated that MLS will not seriously consider Vancouver for expansion until a plan to build a new stadium is in place. Sources: ESPNsoccernet, the Philadelphia Daily News, and the Vancouver Sun.

CONCACAF Appoints New Deputy General Secretary
CONCACAF announced that Italo Zanzi will replace Jason Hughes as Deputy General Secretary. Hughes will return to his native England after 4 years of service, and Zanzi, who was vice president of International Broadcast Sales & Latin America/US Hispanic Marketing at Major League Baseball, will have responsibility for a range of activities including CONCACAF’s commercial program and communications. Source: CONCACAF

Becks Signs Deal With Armani
David Beckham has signed a 3-year endorsement deal with Giorgio Armani, worth an estimated $41m, to promote the fashion designer's new Emporio SS08 line of underwear. The advertisements will begin running on billboards and in fashion magazines in January. Source: Los Angeles Business

MLS Receives Mixed Diversity Grade
Major League Soccer ranks among the most racially diverse leagues in American professional sports but lags behind its peers in gender diversity, according to a report authored by Richard Lapchick, director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.  MLS earned an A grade for racial diversity, behind only the NBA, but ranked last in gender with a D-plus.  MLS commissioner Don Garber claimed that the league's relatively small number of employees means that a few departures can lead to a wide fluctuation in percentages and expressed confidence that effective initiatives are in place. Source; Sporting News

Boca Announces Stadium Expansion
Boca Junior's board has approved redevelopment work at its stadium that will take the capacity of the Estadio Alberto J. Armando, better known as La Bombonera, beyond 60,000 from its current 57,395. Plans call for 5,000 new seats, with 2,800 of those in private boxes and the remainder in the stands, the extension the bathroom and restaurant facilities, and the construction a new section to exhibit the club's trophies. Source: SoccerEx

* Europe *

FA Denies Rumours Of Revising Home Internationals
The English Football Association denied that there have been discussions with other British countries about resuming the Home International tournament for the 1st time since 1984. The statement, which did not dismiss the possibility of future talks, came in response to rumours that there would be interest because of the likelihood that no British country would qualify for EURO 2008. Source: Irish Examiner



Benelux Countries Will Bid For 2018 World Cup

Although president Sepp Blatter has stated that FIFA prefer that the World Cup be hosted by one nation, the Benelux countries announced they will bid for the 2018 event. Belgium and Holland successfully staged Euro 2000, and organizers have announced that there will be “one candidate and not with two separate organizing committees," which they hope will assuage Blatter’s fears, and argued that, “Belgium and the Netherlands can be a good example to smaller football associations."  Source: Guardian



Platini Addresses Controversial Issues

UEFA president Michel Platini spoke out on a number of issues this week. Although he was unable to convince Europe's five biggest football associations of the merits of his plan to hand domestic cup winners one of the spots awarded to the top placed domestic sides, he claimed that, “We can do that in three years.” He refused to throw his support behind any of the European countries bidding to host the 2018 World Cup: “If there are two or three European countries going to bid, they all have to convince me.” And he criticized the youth policies at Arsenal and Manchester United, argued that players need to be nurtured in their country of origin until they turn 20 or 21, and noted that England has regulations preventing clubs poaching young players from each other. Source: ESPNsoccernet



Spurs Win Approval For New Facility

Tottenham Hotspur has overcome vigorous opposition and won approval to build a $62M training ground on Enfield's Green Belt, north east of London. The project will see the construction of a two-story training facility, the demolition of a sports club and the appropriation of 11 hectares of agricultural land, which is part of the Forty Hall estate and currently used by Capel Manor College. Source: Enfield Independent

Man City Partners To Expand Globally
Manchester City owner Thaksin Shinawatra this week revealed plans to make the club a global power, starting with academies in Thailand and China and link-ups with a host of clubs around the world - China's Shanghai Shenhua, Thailand's Chonburi FC, Australian A-league outfit Perth Glory, Grasshoppers Club Zurich of Switzerland, Thanda Royal Zulu FC of Durban and Russian side  FC Moscow. The clubs will exchange coaches, hold youth tournaments, strengthen commercial ties, and seek out joint marketing opportunities and initiatives. City, which already has China's Sun Jihai on its books, also handed trials to three Chinese as part of the link-up with Shenhua. They also signed a 3-year 7-figure sponsorship deal with Thai beer Singha where Singha will have “extensive stadium branding, advertising and promotional rights both in the UK and overseas,” and that the beer will be on sale at the City of Manchester Stadium. Source: Manchester City FCand Yahoo.com

Website Takes Over Club
MyFootballClub, a 20,000-member website-based consortium, has agreed to take over Blue Square Premier (formerly the Conference) club Ebbsfleet United  ionthe fifth tier of English football.  The first of its kind purchase was made possible by $72 contributions by each member, who now own equals share of the club, entitling them to vote on transfers and other issues.  Source: Tech.co.uk

Record Financial Figures For Watford
Watford FC announced a record turnover of $61m for the year ending June 30 2007. This increase, $44m on the previous year, was driven primarily by increased TV income from being in the EPL together with higher income generated from ticket sales and corporate hospitality. The profit on ordinary activities before taxation was $16.4m compared to an $11.5m the previous year. Source: Watford Observe

Prominent English Figures Express Concern About Foreign Influx
Although British Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe stopped short of backing the quota system proposed by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, he called for an independent inquiry into whether the number of foreign players in the EPL is having a detrimental effect on the England team. “I understand the complexities of the issues around freedom of movement and competition issues, but it just doesn't feel we have got the balance right at the moment and that we need to look at what is possible.” In a similar vain, Reading manager Steve Coppell has called on the EPL to limit the number of foreigners in the English game in the hope a quota of English players in each team's matchday squad will encourage clubs to develop homegrown talent and protect the league's identity. "We have to protect our own development. I think it's a necessity that over the course of the next couple of years, even if it starts with one English player per 16, we protect our identity by having a limited number of English players within our own environment.” Sources: ESPNsoccernet and Yahoo! Sport

Hicks Claims No Interest In Roma
AS Roma's controlling shareholder Italpetroli released a statement on the team’s official website saying the company had "been informed by a third party of the possible interest of an American businessman wanting to invest in AS Roma's capital," but Roy Winnick, a spokesman for Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks, denied he has any interest in acquiring the Serie A giant. "There is absolutely no truth whatsoever in the rumor that Mr. Hicks is even considering investing in Roma football club" Source: Yahoo! Sport

* Rest of World *

Problems With Stadium Construction In South Africa
Although World Cup organizers insist there is no threat to South Africa hosting the 2010 tournament, they have admitted that the deadline for completing two of the five stadia being built is “very, very tight.”  Plans to hold Confederations Cup matches at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth a year before the World Cup may have to be shelved due to construction delays.  Source: Graphic Online

Chelsea To Attend Conference in India
In the hope of developing cultural, business and sporting links between India and London, Chelsea announced that they will represent London next week at a conference in Delhi as part of the Indian capital's build-up to hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2010. The party will include lifelong Chelsea fan Sebastian Coe, the head of the London Olympic Games body, Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon, former Chelsea player Graeme Le Saux and London mayor Ken Livingston. Source: Xinhua.net


* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.


Weekly Brief - 2007-11-30

The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.
 
Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives - 2007". 

* Americas *                                                                  November 30 2007

 MLS Looks To South America
Despite the fact that MLS commissioner Don Garber claimed that David Beckham should make $250m during his 5-year contract, deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis insists his transfer wasn't the biggest event in the league this year. “The actual story has been looking to South America and importing players from South America who are very significant performers in our league.” Gazidis also indicated that this would be the market “we are mining internationally in the short term” and that in the wake of the US’s poor performance in the 2006 World Cup, MLS has been studying player development in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Source: Sports Illustrated and Reuters

Red Bulls Begin Stadium Construction
14 months after the formal groundbreaking, construction on Red Bull Park in Harrison, New Jersey will begin next week. The announcement comes less than 2 weeks after Red Bull, which owns the New York MLS franchise, bought out AEG's 50% stake in the facility. The final design has been modified to become a soccer-specific facility, which will seat 25,189. Gone are the concert stage and the supports that would have obstructed views from some seats, and the number of luxury suites have been reduced from 50 to 30. Perhaps the biggest change is that a translucent polycarbonate and aluminum structure will cover every seat, as opposed to the cantilevered roof that would have left several thousand fans exposed to the elements. Source: the Star Ledger

Lalas Claims Galaxy Plan On Being Superclub
Despite all the measures that MLS has put in place to promote parity, GM Alexi Lalas still has grand plans for the LA Galaxy: “Make no mistake, we are hell-bent with the vision of being the first MLS soccer team to emerge as a Superclub. I think what we've done in the past year has certainly established ourselves as a global brand in that there are people now that wake up and, when they think about American soccer, they think about the Galaxy.” In a related story, Commissioner Don Garber announced that the Home Depot Center in Carson, California will host the MLS Cup on November 23, 2008. Source: Yahoo! Sports and Goal.com

Pan-Pacific Cup Announced
David Beckham and the LA Galaxy will lead a 4-team field in the inaugural Pan-Pacific Championship exhibition tournament in Hawaii next February. The event also will include Japanese league cup champion Gamba Osaka, the MLS Cup champion Houston Dynamo and a team from the Australian A-League Final Series. The tournament will consist of doubleheaders February 20 and 23, with winners of the 1st matches playing for the title and the losers for 3rd place. Source: Yahoo! Sports

Bundesliga Reaching Out To MLS
There have been few tangible results from the strategic partnership between the Bundesliga and MLS announced last spring, but Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert indicated that some German clubs may conduct preseason training in the US, which would allow them to compete against MLS clubs, possibly in the All-Star game. “Right now we have 12 teams that do preseason training in Spain, which is not a big help for us because we see the U.S. as one of our strategic markets with Russia, China and India. We want to put out our message that the Bundesliga is entertaining and exciting, we do our own TV production in high-definition, and we want to share our expertise.” Source: the New York Times

* Europe *

Nike And Football Foundation Form Partnership
Nike and the Football Foundation* have agreed to run a number of initiatives aiming to boost community sport, including the ‘Nike Player Panel’, beginning next year. The scheme will see 4 soccer players, based in 4 regions, become ‘Football Foundation Ambassadors’ charged with helping community sports projects get funding. Clubs and schools will also be able to apply for football strips on the Junior Kit Scheme, via the Football Foundation’s website, and the Foundation will also be helping to promote Nike’s global competition ‘Sport for a better world.’ Source: Leisure Opportunities * The Football Foundation is the UK's largest sports charity funded by the EPL, The Football Association, Sport England and the Government. Its mission is to ‘improve facilities, create opportunities and build communities throughout England’.

Five Arrested In Bung Probe
City of London police arrested 5 men - including Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp, the club's CEO Peter Storrie and its former chairman Milan Mandaric - on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting after launching a series of raids across England. Redknapp, who said he was "bitterly disappointed" at the way police have handled an inquiry, and three others have since been released on police bail, though a 30-year-old remains in custody. Source: BBC

FIFA Considers Olympic-Style Bidding Process
President Sepp Blatter said that FIFA may adopt an Olympic-style bidding process to cut down the number of countries applying to host the 2018 World Cup finals. “If there is actually as many candidates as there appears to be then we will have to do what the IOC does and have a preliminary elimination and only go with those who have given the right guarantees.” During the week Spain and Portugal stated that they are considering a joint bid for the tournament. Although Portugal staged EURO 2004 and Spain hosted the tournament as recently as 1982, a combined bid will make it difficult for England to win support in Latin America. Source: World Soccer & The Daily Telegraph

Celtic Cup Launched
Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have agreed ‘in principle’ to play a series of three biennial ‘Celtic Cup’ tournaments beginning in 2009. England, who like other four failed to qualify for EURO 2008, have not ruled out participating, but the FA might be able to generate more income from summer tours and high-profile friendlies. Source: BBC

Boardroom Maneuvering At Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday
Birmingham chairman David Gold may buy back Carson Yeung's 29.9% stake in the club if the Hong Kong businessman's prospective takeover of the club collapses this week. Yeung has until Friday to convince the Blues board he can come up with the $72m he needs to become the club's new owner by December 20th. Despite the resignation of Chairman David Allen and debts exceeding $55m, Sheffield Wednesday's board has insisted “the club's finances are not in any way threatened.” Millionaire casino owner Allen, the club's second largest creditor after loaning them $5.5m, quit his post last Friday, citing a breakdown of trust in his fellow directors as the reason for his sudden departure. Coventry City are also believed to be in negotiations as they look to fight-off Administration. Sources: BBC and The Daily Mail

Le Mans Sets Naming Rights Precedent
Le Mans has become the 1st French club to sign a contract for commercial naming of its stadium, with the insurance company MMA agreeing to pay nearly $15m over 10 years to be associated with the club’s new 25,000-seat stadium beginning in 2009. In a related story, Espanyol have hired Mediapro to find a sponsor willing to pay approximately $6.5m for the naming rights to its new Cornella-El Prat stadium. Mediapro will also be in charge of the club’s commercialization in Spain and internationally, including the emerging Asian markets.  Sources: FrenchLeague.com & Soccer Investor 

* Rest of World *

FIFA Makes Investment In African Infrastructure
FIFA pledged to spend $70m to develop soccer infrastructure throughout Africa. An important part of the ‘Win in Africa with Africa’ campaign will be the construction of artificial pitches across the continent. Danny Jordaan CEO of the 2010 World Cup Organizing Committee said, “This is a truly momentous moment for African football. The 20 centers for 2010 Campaign reflects our goal to make a difference for all of Africa. This campaign is a very concrete step towards giving thousands of African youngsters the chance of a better future.” Source: sagoodnews.co.za

Indian Corporation Becomes WC Sponsor
India’s Satyam Computer Services announced that it signed up as one of the 4 sponsors of the FIFA World Cup and has become an official IT services provider. The relationship, the 1st FIFA have inked with a corporation from India, will cover the next 2 World Cups and Confederation Cup tournaments. Source: The Hindu


* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2007-11-09

November 9, 2007
The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.
 
Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives - 2007".

* Americas *                                                              November 9, 2007              

Wizards Leave Arrowhead
Kansas City Wizards will play home games for the next two seasons at Community America Ballpark in Kansas City, Kan, home to the T-Bones minor-league baseball team, while Arrowhead Stadium is being refurbished. The Ballpark will be renovated, upping the seating capacity to 10,000, but the clubs long-term plan is to secure $143m in funding to build a stadium with 12 adjacent soccer fields at the site of the former Bannister Mall in southeast Kansas City. Source: Kansas City Star

Becks Tops Player Rich List
David Beckham was the highest placed player in FourFourTwo’s annual ‘British Football Rich List’, with his $183m in assets nearly triple that of 2nd placed player Michael Owen’s $67m. Club owners dominated the list, with Beckham ranking just 34th, but its interesting note that players occupied 21 of the top 100 spots compared to just nine in 2004. Source: FourFourTwo

Maracana Renovation Requires Joint Administration
A study ordered by Rio's state government, done by the US consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, concluded that a “joint administration” comprising two local clubs and the Brazilian football confederation (CBF) would be the best management choice for renovating the Maracana in advance of the 2014 World Cup. Flamengo announced a consortium with the Bonham Group and AEG Worldwide to fight for exclusive rights to manage the historic stadium, but Booz Allen Hamilton also stated that the joint administration would only be economically viable to “at least two big clubs in Rio -- Flamengo and Fluminense.” Source: BigNewsNetwork.com

Sheffield Wednesday Explore Partnership With US Club
Sheffield Wednesday are negotiating with a US soccer club in Michigan as part an ambition to establish a soccer network across the Americas. The Owls, who already have partnerships with clubs in Vancouver and Argentina, hope that these 3 clubs will send their best young players to England for trials, while Wednesday could send over their youngsters to play in the American leagues, or even use the link-up to help injured players recuperate as the US season is played in the summer. Source: Yorkshire Post

 

* Europe *

Platini and G14 Reportedly Compromise
In a development that could have major implications, the G14 abandoned immediate plans to expand to 40 clubs and cancelled its annual conference, scheduled to take place next week in Brussels. The move came as Peter Kenyon, Chelsea's chief executive, said the club would exert influence from within UEFA, through its Strategy Forum, rather than join the organization of elite clubs. The Guardian reports that this decision, which could spell the end of G14 in its present form, represents a victory for UEFA president Michel Platini. Platini has allegedly withdrawn his proposal to have domestic cup winners enter the Champions League and will instead allow national associations to decide whether entrants should come from league or cup competitions. And the top 3 teams in England, Italy, and Spain will go directly into the group stage and the 4th-placed one will play two qualifying rounds. Source: The Guardian

EC Scuttles Blatter Quota Plan
FIFA president Sepp Blatter's proposal to reduce the number of foreign players competing in European leagues was dealt a crippling blow by the European Commission, which announced that imposing quotas on EU nationals is “direct discrimination,” The EC will consider imposing a quota on clubs to ensure they employ a minimum number of “home-grown” players, but provided these players are permitted to work in the European Union, their nationality will be irrelevant. Source: BBC Sport

Sheffield United Seek Compensation For Relegation
Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe announced that the club’s case for compensation following relegation from the EPL will be heard by a Football Association tribunal in 2008. Although last July the High Court refused to reverse the EPL arbitration panel's decision over ‘Tevezgate’, the clubs hopes to be compensated for what they claim was their unjust demotion. “If you say that the Championship play-off game is worth GBP60m ($126m) and Sheffield United's attendance last year was 31,000, with full hospitality boxes and restaurants and broadcasting income,” McKabe reasoned, “you would say compensation is around GBP50m ($105m)." Source: BBC Sport

Spurs, West Ham, and Liverpool Update Stadium Expansion Options
Tottenham stated this week that they will unveil specific plans to expand White Hart Lane ground 52,000 within the 1st 6 months of 2008. The project, which is projected to cost $630m, with half the finance being borrowed, will require the club to relocate, perhaps to West Ham’s Upton Park, though the club has not ruled building a new stadium on land just north of the present one. Spurs plans could be further complicated by the fact that West Ham announced that they have signed a contract with the London Development Agency to build a possible 60,000-seat stadium by 2012. Meanwhile, Liverpool’s revised plans for a new $1.7b stadium, scheduled to open in 2011, have been unanimously approved by Liverpool City Council planning committee. The plans, which were resubmitted because American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks were unhappy with the originals, include 114 executive boxes, twice the number in the original design, and will regenerate public land which stands between Anfield and Everton's Goodison Park. Source: BBC Sport

BBC and Sky Acquire Rights To Championship and Carling Cup
The BBC and Sky Sports haves secured the broadcast rights Football League and Carling Cup matches for $185m per season, which represents a 135% percent increase for the Championship, from the 2009 to 2012. Ten Championship matches will be aired live on the BBC every season, and the Carling Cup final will be simulcast live with Sky, and two semi-final legs shown exclusively live on the BBC. The BBC Sport website will also show goals from all Football League clubs. Source: BBC

 

* Rest of World *

Australian League Sponsor Negotiations Stall\
The Australian A-League faces a cash crisis because major sponsor Hyundai is reportedly baulking at Football Federation Australia's $18m asking price for a contract extension. News of the impasse hit just 24 hours after it was revealed the FFA has recorded a $10m loss for the past financial year. On a more positive note, Football Federation Australia announced that it plans to spend $9m to make Australia a “world leader in the world game” by overhauling its youth system. Plans include a national youth league, a woman’s A-league, an emphasis on having youth players participate in small-sided games and futsal, a unified national curriculum, and a greater effort to develop talent from country areas. Sources: FourFourTwo; Fox Sports

ESPN STAR Renews Contract With English FA
Figures were not released, but Asian sports broadcaster ESPN STAR Sports has renewed a multi-year exclusive agreement with England’s FA for broadcast rights to the FA Cup, England internationals and the FA Community Shield on multimedia platforms for three seasons from 2008/9. Broadcasts will be to 20 markets across Asia including China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea as well as Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Macau, Myanmar, North Korea, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. Source: Live Soccer TV

African Star Urges CAF To Reschedule Nations Cup
Senegal captain El Hadji Diouf has urged the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to reschedule the Nations Cup so that it does not conflict with the European season. CAF maintains that the tournament cannot be moved to summer because that is Africa’s rainy season, but Diouf warned that players feel conflicted: “We are keen to defend the colors of our country and we are conscious of the importance of our national jerseys, but people must not forget that players have duties to their employers who pay big salaries. All our matches are important now if we are to save our place among the elite.” Source: BBC
* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2007-10-05

October 5, 2007
The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.
 
Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives - 2007".
-----------------
* Americas *
Earthquake Introduce New General Manager
The new San Jose Earthquake franchise, which will rejoin MLS next season, unveiled a redesigned uniform and logo, and announced that former player and assistant coach John Doyle would be the GM. Michael Crowley, who is president of the Oakland A’s as well as the Earthquake, indicated that Doyle’s deep passion for soccer and ties to the local community stood out. Source: San Jose Mercury News
 
Seattle Sounders Reportedly MLS Bound
Although MLS will only concede that it plans to award 2 more franchises by the 1st quarter of 2008, the Herald News of New Jersey and Sports Illustrated both reported that the Seattle Sounders, who will leave the USL as champions, will be one of them. The team, which will be the first located in the Northwest, will reportedly join the league for the 2009 season and play at Qwest Field. Philadelphia, St. Louis, and, to a lesser extent, Portland are reported to be in the running for the final allocation. Sources: the Herald News of New Jersey; Sports Illustrated

Lalas Assesses Hispanic Fans
Although LA Galaxy GM Alexi Lalas expressed excitement about the possibility of courting second and third generation Hispanic soccer fans, who are open to supporting different teams than their parents because they “look at themselves as Americans,” he warned that they are soccer savvy. "You could have a big-name player come over (from a Latin American country), but if the player is poor or the team is poor, the Hispanic fans quickly turn off." Source: HispanicBusiness.com

GolTV Hires Prominent Consultant
Kevan Pipe, who was head of the Canadian Soccer Association for 21 years, and continues to represent CONCACAF and FIFA internationally, has been hired by Insight Sport’s GolTV as a consultant. Pipe will assist with the strategic business development in the areas of events, sales, marketing and programming. Source: Sports Features Communications

Makita Sponsors Cup Competition
Makita, who sponsors tools for MLS, will hold a cup competition for contractors in Dallas from October 6-11. The aim of the Copa Makita is to reach out to Hispanic contractors, who account for 25% of that workforce, and their families, who can attend the Fiesta Makita, which will feature food, music, merchandise, and games. Sponsors include Monster Energy Drink, Chevy, Western Union, and Dr. Pepper. Source: PR Newswire

Dynamo Form Elite Youth Academy
The Houston Dynamo, in conjunction with the McAllen Youth Soccer Association, announced the formation of the Dynamo South Texas Academy, consisting of U-17 and U-15 teams. "The South Texas region is an absolute hot bed of talent for soccer," said Dynamo Director of Youth Development James Clarkson. "We've established this academy not only to further the awareness of soccer in the South Texas region, but also to identify talent that is looking for the future opportunity to play professionally with the Houston Dynamo or in Major League Soccer." Source: Our Sports Central

New Sponsor Deals
Banco Santander of Spain has become the title sponsor of the Copa Libertadores, CONMEBOL’s premier club competition. They replace Toyota. Separately, The Columbus Crew this week announced the signing of ICI Paints brand Glidden as the clubs ‘Presenting Sponsor’. Glidden branding will feature on the team jerseys as part of the deal: Sources: Yahoo Finance & MLS.net

More Fallout At Corinthians
Brazilian club Corinthians are at the centre of controversy once again centering around former presidents use of the word ‘robbed’ in relation to the clubs 2005 title win. Brazil’s top sports tribunal is looking into the context of the comment which was made during a telephone conversation recorded by federal police. Source: The Guardian
 
* Europe *
New Sponsorship Deals
Chelsea has signed a 3 year deal with Gatorade that will see PepsiCo International brand become their official sports drink. Meanwhile Möbel Kraft, a furnishings vendor, has penned a deal that sees them become a ‘co-sponsor’ of Bundesliga side Hertha BSC. Source: Sportfive.com & Chelseafc.com

Usmanov To Ditch Dein?
While Arsenal managing director Keith Edelman earlier declared himself ‘relaxed’ about businessman Alisher Usmanov increased stake in the club, media reports suggest the Russian billionaire has held talks with the Arsenal board that have resulted in David Dein, former vice-chairman and ‘persona non grata’ effectively being sidelined. Meanwhile, following a meeting with the Arsenal board, Stan Kroenke has been urged by the club to join the ‘lockdown’ and agree not to sell his shares in the club. Source: Various
 
Battle For Control Of Championship Team
Local press are reporting that West Bromwich Albion’s second largest shareholder Geoff Hale has bettered Chairman Jeremy Peace’s offer to club shareholders. Peace is trying to take full control of the club but Hale believes his intention is to sell the club on at a massive profit and hopes his move will block this. Source: Express & Star

Chelsea Tie Up With NFL
Chelsea have agreed a partnership with NFL ahead of the Dolphins v Giants game at Wembley later this month. John Terry and Didier Drogba have been appointed honorary captains of the Giants as part of the partnership and New York team will base at Chelsea’s training centre as part of the arrangement. Source: Chelsefc.com
 
Roman Clubs Face Action
AS Roma and Lazio could face fines of $680,400 in a false accounting case according to the Italian media. Franco Sensi, the President of AS Roma and Sergio Cragnotti, the former Lazio president are currently standing trial in relation to the case. Source: The Guardian
 
EPL Team Announce Stadium Development Plans
EPL side Fulham FC plan to add 4,000 seats to their Craven Cottage stadium. The team has outlined the plans to the local authority which is now consulting with local residents. Fulham hope the plans will secure their long term future at Craven Cottage, which has one of the smallest capacities in the EPL at little over 22,000. Source: The Guardian

Luton Town Continuing Losses
League One strugglers Luton Town are losing $6m per year according to their Chairman David Pinkney. The blame is laid at the door of unsustainably high (football) operating costs inherited from the previous ownership and Pinkney concedes the situation is unlikely to stabilize until current player contracts have expired. This summer the team announced plans to build a new 22,000 seat stadium. Source: Bedford Today
 

* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2007-09-14

September 14, 2007
The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.
 
Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives - 2007".
-----------------
* Americas *
 

Group closer to MLS Franchise
By a vote of 4-1, the City Council of Collinsville, Illinois, adjacent to St. Louis, agreed to enter into formal negotiations with St. Louis Soccer United’s Jeff Cooper to secure the farmland and subsidies that will facilitate the construction of a $573m soccer complex. The plans include an 18,500-seat stadium, 240 hotel rooms, several youth soccer fields and nearly 500,000 square feet of office and retail space. Cooper said he was ‘very confident’ that MLS would grant St. Louis an expansion franchise in November, and believed that they could begin playing in 2009. Source: St. Louis Post Dispatch

CFL Franchise Explores Move to MLS Stadium
The Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts are investigating the feasibility of moving to FC Toronto’s 25,000-seat BMO Field. Argos’ co-owner David Cynamon told Rogers Sportsnet that the process was just beginning, and doubts have been raised because it might take years to reconstruct one end of the soccer-specific stadium. The CFL franchise has until early next year to exercise their option for an additional 5-year lease with the Rogers Centre, which they share with Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays. Source: Toronto Globe and Mail

Beckham Injury Forces Postponement of Exhibition Match
David Beckham’s knee injury has forced the postponement of an exhibition match between the LA Galaxy and the USL’s Vancouver Whitecaps that was scheduled to be played in Vancouver on October 3rd until November. 45,000 tickets were sold but the agreement between the two clubs stipulated that Beckham must play at least 45 minutes. The specific date will not be finalized until the Galaxy know whether they will qualify for MLS’s playoffs, which run until mid November. Source: The Vancouver Sun

MLS Franchise For Philly gets high level endorsement
On September 7th, MLS commissioner Don Garber said that Philadelphia is almost certain to be granted a franchise ("It's not an 'if' question; it's a 'when' question."). Although he indicated that the public and private financing must be formally sorted out by December if the team wants to begin playing in the 2010 season, he expressed confidence in the ownership group, which is led by Jay Sugarman, chief executive of New York-based iStar Financial, and in the ongoing negotiations with Chester City, Delaware over the financing to build a stadium projected to cost $120m. Source: The Philadelphia Daily News

EPL Team Set Up Academy With US Club
Everton have reached an agreement with the FC Revolution to set up a training academy in Eastern Pennsylvania. Everton will provide the curriculum, training videos, and technical advisers over the next 3 years. Everton announced a similar partnership in western Pennsylvania with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds less than a month ago. Source: Evertonfc.com

Chivas USA Name New CEO
Chivas USA hired Shawn Hunter to be their new president and CEO. The club, which is averaging just over 12,000 fans per match, hopes that the former AEG Sports chairman can raise those figures like he did during previous jobs with the National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche and Phoenix Coyotes. Source: LA Times
 
* Europe *
Glazers Deny that Man U’s Debts Have Increased
The Glazer family, which owns Manchester United, has denied claims made by the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) that the club’s debts have increased by approximately $57m. The report issued by MUST also alleges that the debts are being paid by using income from the club’s TV and shirt sponsorship agreement with AIG. A spokesperson for the Glazers categorically denied the allegations: “Nothing has changed. The debts continue to be comfortably serviced by the business, which is performing better than ever.” Source: Soccernet

EPL Star Arrested In Corruption Probe
Tottenham Hotspur defender Pascal Chimbonda was arrested this week as part of Operation Apprentice, the UK’s long-standing investigation into corruption in soccer. It was reported that detectives questioned Chimbonda with regards to ‘suspicion of conspiracy to defraud,’ with focus on his $700,000 transfer from French club Bastia to Wigan in 2005. Both Wigan and Tottenham declined to comment, citing the sensitive nature of the ongoing investigation. Source: Daily Telegraph

Mixed Views On Platini Plans
Manchester United and Liverpool’s chief executives, David Gill and Rick Parry, voiced opposition to UEFA president Michel Platini’s proposal to give a place in the Champions League to winners of domestic cup competitions from 2009 at a meeting of the 102 members of the European Club Forum in Switzerland this week. Italian clubs are generally in favor of the proposal as they hope it will revitalize the Coppa Italia, Spanish and French clubs believe the decision should be taken by individual FA’s while the German clubs could not reach a consensus. Source: The Press Association.

Coventry Deny Threat
Championship club Coventry City has denied they face administration and that a U.S consortium has pulled-out of talks to takeover the club. Managing Director Paul Fletcher has stated the club is still in talks with Manhattan Sports Capital Partners and that the club has attracted interest from 3 additional groups. Coventry City has debt at around $56m and does not own the Ricoh Arena, where it plays home matches. Source: Sky Sports

G-14 Announces Proposals
The G-14, the 18-member group representing Europe’s top professional clubs, has announced plans to expand to 50 members by the end of the year in the hope of resolving a dispute with UEFA. The group, which has been criticized by UEFA and FIFA for pursuing the interests of only the elite clubs, plans on changing its name and rewriting its constitution. Source: Soccernet

Bates Claims Leeds Not For Sale
Leeds United chairman Ken Bates admits that he is seeking investors but insisted that the club is not for sale. Rumors surfaced that ex-Newcastle chairman Freddie Shepherd was an interested buyer, but Bates said that discussions between the pair had not advanced and claims he is ‘in it for the long haul.’ Source: The Bradford Telegraph & Argus

UEFA Convenes Meeting To Discuss Safety
Last week UEFA, in conjunction with the Dutch National Football Information Point (CIV), convened a meeting in Amsterdam to discuss safety and security at international soccer matches, especially forthcoming Champions League matches. Attendees shared information, coordinated security, and worked on implementing UEFA President Michel Platini’s plan for zero tolerance. Source: UEFA.com
 

* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2007-08-14

August 24, 2007
The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.
 
Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives - 2007".
-----------------
* Americas *
Beckham attracting more stars?
FC Dallas this week announced the signing of 29 year old Brazilian World Cup winner Denilson, who joins from Al-Nasr of Saudi Arabia. Denison was famously sold by São Paulo to Spain’s Real Betis for $40 million in 1998.
 
Semi-Finals on the road
With the New England Revolution’s Foxborough home stadium unavailable on September 4th the MLS team will host USL’s Carolina RailHawks in the Open Cup semi-final at the 8,500 capacity Veteran's Memorial Stadium in the city of New Britain, Connecticut - some 100 miles away.
 
World Cup bidder tells cities to shape-up
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) has asked its 18 candidate cities to prove to FIFA that they are suitable venues to host the competition. Despite being the only country bidding to host the 2014 competition, dilapidated stadiums and a strained public transport system, allied to social and economic issues have put the bid under scrutiny in Brazil.
 
Stadium finance go-ahead
The Deseret News reported this week that The Sandy City Council has signed-off the $35 million in bonds for Real Salt Lake's new stadium project, putting in place the final city approvals to build the $110 million, 20,000-seat stadium.
 
New PDL franchise
USL announced that Juan Carlos Hernandez has acquired the Premier Development League (PDL) franchise rights for the greater Houston area with Houston Leones, slated to start playing at the 17-acre facility Soccer World Center, Richmond, TX in the 2008 season. The PDL focuses on developing young players with rules dictating a maximum of 8 players in each team's 26-man roster can be over 23 years old, while at least 3 players must be 18 or younger.
 
* Europe *
Italian soccer channel launched
SerieA.tv, a dedicated Serie A broadband internet channel is to be launched this week. The channel, run by Infront Advanced Media Solutions, will offer live and delayed matches along with magazine content to fans in Asia and the Americas.
 
EPL side dismiss (more) takeover rumours
Newcastle United have denied the club is about to change hands for the second time this year. Growing speculation had linked the club, which was taken over by English sportswear magnate Mike Ashley less than 2 months ago, with a bid from Icelandic businessmen Jon Asgeir Johannesson and Palmi Haroldsson.
 
Possible takeover?
West London based Championship team Queens Park Rangers has confirmed it is talking to various parties about a takeover. Italian Flavio Briatore, principal of Renault’s Formula 1 racing team, has confirmed he is interested in the team but has denied making a bid.
 
Doubtful takeover?
Portuguese businessman Joe Berardo is finding it difficult to acquire shares for his takeover of Benfica. Having launched a bid for an 85% holding in the club last month, the Lisbon Stock Exchange announced this week that he’d only acquired 1% of the club's stock. Berardo remains bullish and is expected to maintain his interest in a takeover.
 
Impressive figures in Scotland
Current Scottish Premier League champions Celtic FC announced record profits of $30m for the last 12 months, due largely to reaching the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League - which was thought to have produced up to $24m. Revenue for the period stood at $150 million.
 
EPL price cuts taking effect
EPL team Blackburn Rovers has seen their ticket price-cutting strategy reap rewards with a 15% increase in season ticket sales. Rovers cut the cost of the average ticket by 25% passing on to fans some of the benefits of the record EPL TV deal. The club now has around 14,500 season ticket holders.
 
Development plans in Edinburgh
Heart of Midlothian, the Scottish Premier League team based in the Scottish capital announced plans for a $100m development of their Tynecastle stadium. The plans centre on the building of a new 10,000 capacity stand that will incorporate a hotel and leisure facilities and will raise the capacity to 23,000.

* The Rest of the World *
European giants continue to look east
Following on from Bayern Munich’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with The Cong Viettel in Vietnam, Spanish giants Barcelona confirmed that they are looking at a possible link with rival V-League club Dong Thap.
 

* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2007-08-11

August 11, 2007
The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.
 
Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives - 2007".
-----------------
* Americas *
International matches announced
Mexico will play China at the LA Coliseum on October 17 in the final match of its 5-game 2007 tour. They will also play Brazil at Foxborough, Mass. on September 12 as well as Colombia on August 22 in Denver.
 
Beckham presence being felt
DC United sold out nearly 47,000 (triple its season average) for Thursday's game with the Galaxy which saw Beckham make his MLS debut. New York Red Bulls have sold more than 50,000 seats at Giants Stadium for their August 18 match - at double their usual prices.
 
Canadian teams on MLS horizon
With Toronto FC having made a positive impression on the MLS this season, other Canadian cities are looking at the MLS and receiving encouraging signs from the League, with both Montréal and Vancouver – home to successful USL-1 teams - being touted as future expansion cities.
 
Stadia plans
The Deseret Morning News reports that negotiations between Real Salt Lake and the city of Sandy on the new soccer specific stadium are nearing conclusion. Sandy officials have received copies of the agreement outlining the conditions under which RSL will receive $35m from the state for its stadium. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Star reports that the Wizards will propose an 18-22,000 capacity stadium on the Bannister Mall, to include between 12 to 18 soccer fields and more than a million square feet of mixed-use space as well as a further million square feet of retail.
 
WSF signs another team
Rio-based Flamengo has become the first non-European club to sign-up to the World Superleague Formula (WSF), which sees team branded F1-type cars compete in a racing series. They join European giants AC Milan, FC Porto, PSV Eindhoven, Olympiacos, Borussia Dortmund and Anderlecht to commit to the project. For more information on WSF please contact FMMI.
 
Red Bull Park opening changed again but training centre plans announced
With two dates already proposed, a letter to Red Bulls season-ticket holders this week from MD Marc de Grandpre said, "… we now anticipate that the opening of RBP will take place in (April) 2009 due to a lengthier cleanup phase..." Meanwhile, the Red Bulls will build their new training facility in Hanover NJ. The facility will consist of 6 soccer fields, a 50,000 sqft office building/training center and a field house. Completion is expected in December 2008.
 
Concacaf President speaks his mind
Jack Warner said he will battle to stop England hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Speaking to the BBC World Service, Warner said "Nobody in Europe likes England. England invented the sport but has never made any impact on world football. It will be Italy, Spain, or even France who will get the World Cup if it goes to Europe”. All 3 countries have hosted the tournament since England hosted it in 1966.

 
* Europe *
Boss says he will not tolerate interference
Steve Bruce, manger of EPL side Birmingham City has warned that he will quit his post if Carson Yeung (the club’s biggest shareholder with 29.9%) meddles in team affairs. Yeung was known for exerting influence over team selection when he owned Hong Kong Rangers.
 
$20 takeover completed
Property magnate Steve Morgan this week completed his $20 takeover of Championship club Wolverhampton Wanderers. Former owner Sir Jack Haywood agreed to sell to Morgan for the token sum on the condition the new owner pumped $60m into the club to revive it.
 
Leeds penalty upheld
Leeds United, relegated to the third tier of English professional soccer for their first time in their history, will start the season with a 15 point deficit after Football League members voted not to overturn the penalty. Leeds described the decision to uphold the punishment for breaching insolvency rules as ‘perverse’.
 
Another team ties with UNICEF
Argentinean giants Boca Juniors will display the UNICEF logo on their shirts as a result of a deal between the team, UNICEF and Nike. Nike will donate a portion of revenues generated from Boca shirt sales and the club will collaborate with UNICEF on Argentina-based initiatives. Barcelona last year signed a similar arrangement with UNICEF. 
 
The ‘Old Lady’ cuts losses
Serie A club Juventus announced its net loses were down in the 4th quarter of the financial year - $16.m from $50.m the previous year. The improvement was due to a 10.5% increase in revenue coupled with a 27.1% fall in operating expenditure.
 
Real debt levels
Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon disclosed that the club had a debt of $370m when he took over last year. Calderon maintains the club is in good financial shape; Real generated $400m in 2005/06.
 
Changes in player ownership regulations
The EPL is expected to pass new regulations on third party ownership of players at a board meeting next week. The new guidelines will also cover loans and ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ on the availability of loaned or transferred players. ‘Tevezgate’ and the revelation that Manchester United made gentlemen’s agreements over the availability of 2 of their loaned keepers have driven the changes. 
 
Gambling loses out
Following government pressure, the gambling industry has agreed to restrictions that include the removal of betting companies logos from children's replica football shirts. EPL teams Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough, Blackburn and Sunderland have main-partner agreements with gaming/gambling companies. Tottenham though are resisting attempts to remove their sponsor Mansion from their replica shirts, arguing that children want exact replicas of the shirts the team are wearing.
 

* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2007-08-04

The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.
 
Current and past issues of the Weekly Brief can be found in our News/Information section under the "Weekly Brief Archives - 2007".
-----------------
* Americas *
Another trans-Atlantic partnership announced
West Ham United of the EPL have announced a ‘development partnership’ with USL, covering areas such as ‘player identification, player exchange, coaching and club development initiatives’. One component will see West Ham identifying up to 20 youth players from the USL Super Y-League and Super-20 League to attend the club’s Youth Academy for training and evaluation.
 
Battle for MLS franchise in Pacific north-west hots up
A potential rival to the Keston Family has emerged in the quest to bring MLS to the Seattle area. Atletico Seattle Management Co. LLC - a consortium of Los Angeles-based Investors led by Nevin Sanli and including real estate developer Larry Kosmont and former player Frank Leboeuf, are proposing a 25,000-seat soccer stadium in the Puget Sound region. Separately, a group in Portland led by Timbers’ owner Merritt Paulson is trying to win an expansion franchise for the city.
 
European broadcaster continues to push on in North America
Irish based broadcaster Setanta has agreed a deal with EchoStar Communications Dish Network in the US to distribute its 24-hour digital sports channel. Setanta has US rights for live European football including EPL matches as well as rugby and other sports. In addition, Setanta will launch a Canadian soccer channel with extensive rights to live EPL matches in partnership with Rogers Communications.
 
South America to get even more international tournaments?
Positive remarks from FIFA President Sepp Blatter indicate the possibility of Venezuela hosting a future FIFA World Youth Championships following its successful hosting of the Copa America. Also this week, the Brazilian Football Federation formally submitted its proposals to host the FIFA 2014 World Cup.
 
MLS group suggest novel stadium proposal
Press in Milwaukee report that local real estate and sports lawyer Marty Greenberg, who is trying to bring an MLS franchise to the city, is looking into the viability of having a $40m pitch built on a tray that could be moved when motor sports events are being held at the Milwaukee Mile NASCAR track (similar to the Arizona Cardinals' field in Phoenix).
 
US player makes move to Europe!
While all the publicity has been on players moving in the opposite direction, Freddy Adu completed his transfer to Portuguese giants Benfica this week. In addition to the transfer fee between MLS and Benfica, it is believed that through a sell-on clause, the league could receive a percentage of any future transfer if Adu subsequently moves to another team.
 
* Europe *
Scotland takes on the cheats
Scottish football is to launch a groundbreaking scheme to punish diving (simulation) using video evidence. Referees will review matches they have officiated and will be able to hand out yellow cards retrospectively. Testing will start from the beginning of this season with the system ‘going live’ from January 1st 2008.
 
Tevez saga finally at an end
Reports in the UK suggest that the Carlos Tevez dispute between MSI/Just Sports and West Ham has been resolved and the player completed a move to Manchester United, after the parties reached an out-of-court agreement.
 
Champions League qualification affects financial figures
Failure to qualify for last seasons Champions League has had a marked effect on the latest annual financial results of Scottish giants Rangers FC. The club made an operating loss of $10m to June 30, 2007 compared to a $9m profit the previous year. Revenue at the club was also down by 4% to $82m compared to $87m in 2006, though net operating expenses fell by 22% to $86m mainly due to outsourcing the club’s retail and merchandising operations.
 
EPL defend their Fit and Proper Persons Test
Responding to criticism from Human Rights Watch this week relating to Thaksin Shinawatra purchase of Manchester City, the EPL defended their Fit and Proper Persons test stating the controls ‘go above and beyond any requirement by company law and are some of the sternest in any UK industry’.
 
Real Asian Academy
Today Real Madrid made a formal announcement that agreement had been reached to launch a Real Madrid Academy in Bali, Indonesia – the club’s first in Asia. The Academy will “offer youngsters between the ages of 9 and 18 from Indonesia and the rest of Asia-Pacific, the opportunity to enrol for professional football training under the guidance of International Real Madrid coaching staff while continuing their top level academic studies.” A new facility is slated to open in August 2008.
 
More stadia plans
Atletico Madrid have agreed a deal to move to La Peineta stadium – planned for the city’s unsuccessful 2012 Olympic bid. The facility will be redeveloped at a cost of $220m for a possible 2016 Olympic bid and the club is expected to move in 2010. Meanwhile EPL team Derby County unveiled plans for a $40m redevelopment of their wider Pride Park stadium complex. A hotel, office space and bars/restaurants are planned in the scheme which Derby hope will commence in 2008.
 
German backs England bid!
Franz Beckenbauer has backed England to secure the 2018 World Cup. Beckenbauer, who helped deliver a successful tournament in Germany, has said that England is the only serious candidate to host the event. "The Premier League at the moment is the best league in Europe and the stadiums are outstanding.” he told the BBC.
 
Ownership and boardroom changes
Polish born contact lens tycoon Waldemar Kita has acquired French club Nantes in a deal believed to be worth close to $14m. Nantes have won the French Championship on 8 occasions but were relegated to Ligue 2 last season. Separately, major Everton shareholder Robert Earl - founder of the Planet Hollywood restaurant chain – has been appointed to the board of the EPL club.
 
“Clubs spending too much” says club Chairman Sunderland Chairman Niall Quinn has blasted EPL clubs for inflating prices in the transfer market by spending too much on average players. Quinn’s Sunderland recently paid $10m for Manchester United’s Kieran Richardson.
 

* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2007-07-20

July 20, 2007
July 20, 2007
The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.
-----------------
MLS teams develop new training options
Linked to MLS’s ‘Home Grown Talent’ initiative, the Chicago Fire have opened an Academy which will field teams at U-16 and U-18 age levels. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Wizards have formally opened their new $3m purpose built training facility at Swope Park.

MLS makes a come back
MLS confirmed this week that the San Jose Earthquakes will return to the League in 2008. Under the franchise ownership of Lew Wolff and John Fisher the team plans to play at a soccer specific stadium near Mineta San Jose International Airport.

Real and Real announce partnership
Dave Checketts’ SCP Worldwide – owners of Real Salt Lake - announced a 2 year agreement with Real Madrid to include the creation of elite soccer academies and camps, managing the broadcasting rights the Spanish team’s content and managing Real Madrid’s tours to the US.

USL well represented in Lamar Hunt US Open Cup
The quarter-finals of the premier knock-out competition for US teams will see 5 USL sides - including 2 from USL-2 (Harrisburg City Islanders and Richmond Kickers) - compete with 3 from MLS for places in the semi-finals. Matches are slated for August 7th and 8th.

* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.

Weekly Brief - 2007-07-20

July 20, 2007
The Weely Brief,  highlighting recent soccer industry stories from around the World is provided to San Francisco Seals Fans courtesy of  FMMInternational See below for more information regarding FMMInternational.
-----------------
* Americas *
South American team to break into MLS?
Argentinean giants Boca Juniors have confirmed they are looking at the possibility of a ‘Boca team’ playing in the MLS. Any deal may involve a franchise in Arizona, Miami, Los Angeles or New York. Boca would lend its name to a local franchise, in return for a reported 10-15% equity in the new team.
 
MLS in PA?
A group of investors led by Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is talking to MLS officials and local state lawmakers about bringing a professional team to Philadelphia. The deal would involve a $100m soccer specific stadium being built in the town of Chester, a suburb south of the city.
 
Joorabchian in the headlines again
British-Iranian businessman Kia Joorabchian is involved in further controversy after the partnership between Brazilian club Corinthians and MSI was terminated by the club. Joorabchian, who has a warrant out for his arrest on money-laundering charges in Brazil, is threatening to take legal action to recover $25m compensation for the company. In England, Joorabchian has started legal proceedings against West Ham as part of the Tevez transfer saga.
 
Red Bull Park stake sold?
In a deal that could be worth around $50m, AEG is reported to be selling its 50% stake in Red Bull Park to Red Bull GmbH, according to a report in the New Jersey Herald News. AEG sold the then NY/NJ Metrostars franchise to Red Bull in March 2006.
 
U20 World Cup closes
With Argentina winning the competition for the sixth time by beating the Czech Republic in the final, and despite the poor showing from the host country, the FIFA U20 World Cup in Canada was deemed a great success. FIFA announced that the tournament officially set the record for the highest cumulative attendance in FIFA U-20 World Cup history with more than 1.2m spectators at 52 matches, surpassing the previous record set in Mexico in 1983. It was also the largest single-sport event ever held in Canada.
 
* Europe *
US owners look at naming rights
Tom Hicks and George Gillett, the new American owners of EPL team Liverpool FC, are reportedly keen to sign a naming rights deal for the club’s proposed new stadium according to the Liverpool Daily Post. In the same week that the club presented plans for its new 60,000 capacity stadium there is speculation that the club will look to raise $200m for the naming rights. The team has played at its current stadium, Anfield, since its foundation in 1892.
 
Takeover warning!
As reports continue to link Stan Kroenke with a bid for EPL giants Arsenal, the club MD Keith Edelman has gone public to warn fans that overseas investors will look to make money from EPL clubs - and will not necessarily invest significant amounts into the squad. There was speculation earlier in the week that F1 racing supremo Bernie Ecclestone was considering investing in the Gunners.
 
Latest English team takeover news
The failed takeover of Championship club Sheffield Wednesday by Paul Gregg has been blamed on the supporters trust group, ‘Wednesdayite’, for not agreeing to sell its shares without conditions. Meanwhile Coventry City’s proposed takeover by Manhattan Sports Capital Partners continues to move forward, albeit slowly according to the club’s MD Paul Fletcher.
 

* The Weekly Brief is published every Friday and delivered free via e-mail to registered users.
* FMMInternational is a London-based soccer consultancy with offices in New York and Beijing. For more information about our business, click here
* Interested in using the Weekly Brief for Press/Media Releases, then please contact us via info@fmminternational
* The information contained herein is believed to be correct, but should not be relied upon as such. All financial figures should be seen as indicative only as they may have been converted from another currency.