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Multi-millionaire racehorse owner Marwan Koukash has confirmed his takeover of the cash-strapped Super League club Salford City Reds "could be completed as early as Monday," according to Neil Barker of the MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS. Once done, former Australian National Rugby League finance chief Ed Farish "will become the CEO." Koukash, who met the Reds players before and after their 34-16 friendly defeat by Wigan Warriors at the Salford City Stadium Thursday night, revealed that "he has already begun work on recruiting new players." Koukash said, "We are almost there with my takeover but with complex deals like this one nothing is certain until we cross the line. We still have things to sort out, but I have recruited a very good team to help me" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 1/18). The BBC reported Koukash "has held talks with the Rugby Football League, as well as Salford City Council and Peel Holdings, the co-owners of the Salford City Stadium." Koukash said, "I'm not doing this for financial gains because it's going to cost me money. The opportunity of lifting a trophy with the Reds is what will drive me on" (BBC, 1/18). The SALFORD STAR reported "in an indirect criticism of all parties involved" -- Peel Holdings, Salford Council and Salford City Reds -- Koukash said, "The problem Salford would face is that it has no home, it's a tenant in a stadium…So Salford must look at ways of generating extra income from other commercial ventures. Around this stadium there are many opportunities to develop such ventures, and part of the deal we're looking at is for Salford to have a share in the stadium as well as to be able to develop some of the surrounding lands" (SALFORD STAR, 1/18).
A player auction for a new golf tournament inspired by "cricket's hugely successful Indian Premier League" has seen former U.S. Open winner Michael Campbell attract the highest bid, according to the AFP. Eight franchises hired four players each, with Campbell "winning the highest bid of $61,000 and two other Major winners, Darren Clarke and Angel Cabrera, both picked up for $55,000." Asian tour stars Thaworn Wiratchant and Chapchai Nirat went for $37,000 each at the auction in Mumbai, India. Indian golfer Shiv Kapur, who is also one of the event organizers, said that the teams, made up of both foreign and Indian golfers, will play three 14-hole rounds. Kapur said, "It is the slow and steady build-up to the dream that I have had for a franchise-based event in golf, and now we are up and running" (AFP, 1/20).