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A senior MLS official said Galaxy MF David Beckham’s potential move to Italian Serie A club AC Milan is still at an "exploratory" stage and insisted that Beckham "will need to return for the start of the 2009 MLS season," according to Simon Evans of REUTERS. MLS Deputy Commissioner Ivan Gazidis, who has “final say on all player transactions,” said that the deal “will not go ahead unless the Galaxy are sure that Beckham will return for the opening of the season in March.” Gazidis: “We are in exploratory talks to look at whether the opportunity makes sense for the Galaxy and David. If it does -- and only if it does -- then things will go forward.” Gazidis added Beckham “would need to be back (for the MLS start), we are talking about a short term loan.” AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani said, “The deal isn’t completed yet. We have to decide on it all with his lawyers and with [the] Galaxy” (REUTERS, 10/23).
GALAXY QUEST: In London, Nick Harris cites sources as saying that AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke has "given his blessing" to Beckham's loan to AC Milan, "if only because he hopes it will increase Beckham's chance of fulfilling his Galaxy contract." Sources said that Leiweke "has always accepted Beckham's England ambitions take precedence over the Galaxy." Harris writes Leiweke "would rather give Beckham leeway and increase his chances of keeping his most marketable asset than stand in Beckham's way, provoke conflict and maybe lose the player." Beckham "knows he is in a no-lose situation," and if the Galaxy "try to prevent his loan move -- and curtail Beckham's dream, as he sees it -- they face the prospect he might seek a permanent transfer." Harris notes the loan will be officially announced "when certain 'lawyer points' have been agreed," including AC Milan "paying Beckham's [US$129,500]-a-week wages during the loan period, and agreeing to specific and limited exploitation of Beckham's name and image rights" (London INDEPENDENT, 10/24).
Many Feel Beckham Has Failed
To Live Up To Hype In MLS
Lions Unable To Sell Out Game
For First Time In Ford Field History
FANS LOSING HOPE: In Detroit, Nicholas Cotsonika writes while "times are tough, especially in the Detroit area," if the Lions showed something, fans "would pay the high prices for tickets, parking, food and everything else that goes with going to an NFL game." Cotsonika: "It isn't apathy, either. ... There isn't declining interest in the Lions; there's declining interest in spending time and money to watch them in person. It isn't even the losing itself. ... The problem is hope" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 10/24). Lions QB Dan Orlovsky said of the team's failure to sell out Ford Field, "The economic situation's probably not helping it. We haven't done enough on our end to make these fans come out and watch games. And that's a reality." Lions OT Jeff Backus: "Fans come to the game to see a good product, to enjoy themselves and have fun watching a good football game. And we haven't been getting it done" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 10/24). ESPN’s Trevor Matich said of the Lions, “There has only been one constant the entire time and that’s been the owner and at some point, they have got to look at themselves and say, ‘You know, we’re the only constant in decades of futility. Maybe we’re doing something wrong.’ I’m not saying they should sell the team. They want to win, that’s why they make the changes that they do. I respect the fact that they want to win, but somehow some way they’ve got to turn it over to somebody else for the operations because right now they have not found that guy” (“Washington Post Live,” Comcast SportsNet, 10/23).
Ashley (c) Reportedly Nearing Deal
To Sell Newcastle United For $468M
CHARLTON: The LONDON TIMES reports Dubai-based Zabeel Investments "has decided against pursuing its takeover" of English Coca-Cola Championship League club Charlton Athletic. Charlton Thursday in a statement confirmed the news, saying that Zabeel would instead "concentrate on domestic business opportunities." The news "will come as a blow to Charlton, who had reported debts" of US$31.2M. Zabeel, which also has been "linked with a takeover of Newcastle United," reportedly has "turned their attentions" to EPL club Everton. But Zabeel insisted that it is "no longer in the market for an English club" (TIMESONLINE.co.uk, 10/23).
ARSENAL: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Tariq Panja reported EPL club Arsenal "remains confident of profit projections from a housing development at its old soccer stadium," and the club said that it "can withstand a 'pretty difficult time' as the U.K. faces recession." Arsenal "expects [US$564M] in profit" from the Highbury Square project, where "most of the 655 apartments marketed have been pre-sold, and 90 purchases completed have generated sales of [US$60.9M]." Arsenal in September announced that its debt rose to US$496.5M after the costs of converting Highbury. The Highbury debt "stands at [US$208.5M]." Arsenal Chair Peter Hill-Wood: "We are in constant talks with our bankers and any sale proceeds from now onwards will go towards paying our debt." Hill-Wood added that the "debt is 'ring-fenced' and not leveraged against Arsenal Holdings PLC's soccer assets." Hill-Wood said that Arsenal is "well placed to withstand the expected economic downturn" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 10/23).
Seattle Unveils Plan To Divert Hotel-Tax
Money To Help Remodel KeyArena