Weekly Brief - 2008-04-04

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* 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

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* 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.