SBD/Issue 36/Franchises

Gillett "Embarrassed" By Response To Liverpool Financial Woes

Gillett Not Proud Of Handling 
Of Liverpool Financial Woes
English Premier League (EPL) club Liverpool FC co-Owner George Gillett said that he "has been embarrassed by the way he and [co-Owner] Tom Hicks have coped with the club's financial difficulties," according to the LONDON TIMES. Gillett: "You feel a responsibility and an embarrassment on occasions when you haven't provided all you might have. There's a level of embarrassment and you want to correct it quickly." Though Gillett has refused to say how long he will remain at Liverpool, he admitted that the financial crisis "had affected his sporting interests." Gillett, who also owns the Canadiens, said, "All the sports teams I know of are re-examining all of their futures. We now have (clubs) that will be successful in the long run, that can compete for the championship every year and don't depend on buying high-priced players every year" (LONDON TIMES, 11/4). The AP's Rob Harris as part of a profile of Gillett noted Indian sports are on Gillett's "radar after several trips to the subcontinent" (AP, 11/1). In London, Ian Herbert adds India is "seemingly now a source of interest to him" (London INDEPENDENT, 11/4).

SETTING SAIL? In London, Jonathan Wilson reported Ukraine club Shakhtar Donetsk President Rinat Akhmetov, "Europe's richest man," has "turned down the opportunity to buy" EPL club Portsmouth FC. An intermediary "acting for the club last month approach representatives of System Capital Management, the holding company that controls Akhmetov's other businesses, with a prospectus, but was rebuffed immediately." Portsmouth Exec Chair Peter Storrie "has repeatedly dismissed reports of a financial crisis." Storrie last month said, "We've said all we're going to say about finances. It's getting boring now. It's a boring, boring subject. The club is fine, move on. The owner continues to put money into the club" (London OBSERVER, 11/2).

COST-CUTTING APPROACH: ESPN SOCCERNET reported EPL club Chelsea Owner Roman Abramovich has fired 15 members of the club's staff, including "over half of the club's 25-man scouting department," in a bid to "cut the Londoners' massive costs." A Chelsea spokesperson: "With a total debt of more than [US$1.17B], sacking the [US$158,550]-a-year scouts will only scratch the surface in balancing the books -- something Abramovich wants to see done by 2010" (ESPNSOCCERNET.com, 11/3).

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