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SBD Global/March 28, 2013/FranchisesPrint All
League One Coventry City is "facing an automatic 10-point deduction" from the Football League after being ruled to be "in administration" following Tuesday's High Court hearing in London, according to the BBC. Solicitors Walker Morris consultant James Powell, acting on behalf of Arena Coventry Limited, said, "An administrator has been appointed. That never sounds great. But it is probably good as it will provide stability for the club." Coventry City had been "taken to court to face an administration order from ACL, their Ricoh Arena landlords, over a year's unpaid rent" of £1.3M ($1.9M) (BBC, 3/26). In Coventry, Les Reid reported Justice Proudman heard the football club owed £60M ($91M) to creditors. Some £8.45M ($8.77M) of that "is owed to Cayman Island hedge fund Arvo." The "bulk of the rest is believed to be owed to funds related to Sky Blues owners Sisu" (COVENTRY TELEGRAPH, 3/27).
Scottish First Division club Dunfermline has been "granted an interim order" to place the club into administration, according to the SCOTSMAN. Lord Hodge granted the order at the Court of Session Wednesday afternoon, and will sit again on April 11 to decide on "whether to grant full administration to the troubled club." The judge was told by Dunfermline’s legal team that majority shareholder Gavin Masterton is "willing to sell his stake in the club, and that a buyer is waiting." U.K. tax authority HMRC did not lodge a winding-up order at court, "as had been feared." Dunfermline’s fixture at home to Falkirk Wednesday night went ahead as scheduled (SCOTSMAN, 3/27).
Bahrain’s stock exchange said that the Gulf-based owner of League Championship side Leeds United "hasn’t explained conflicting statements made about a possible sale" of the club, according to Tariq Panja of BLOOMBERG. Dubai-based GFH Capital, which bought Leeds less than four months ago, said on the club website last week it was seeking “investment in part of its share,” although not a full sale. GFH’s parent, Gulf Finance House EC (GFH), said in its '12 financial statement released in February it was looking to sell the club within 12 months after securing it as a “bargain purchase.” Bahrain Bourse Trading and Members Affairs Superintendent Shaikha Al Zayani said that the exchange "has been seeking clarification from Gulf Finance House’s compliance officer about the contradicting statements since last week." GFH Capital said in a statement it "remains committed to retaining a substantial part of its investment in Leeds United Football Club. It’s always been a part of the group’s plan to bring on board a group of like-minded investors." Leeds spokesperson Paul Dews said that "he had no immediate comment on the exchange’s observations" (BLOOMBERG, 3/27).
Former Renault Team Principal Flavio Briatore, who said he had spoken to the Australian in the aftermath of Sunday's controversial Malaysian Grand Prix and been told that the relationship was fractured beyond repair, said that F1 teammates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber "will not stay together at Red Bull beyond the end of this season," according to Oliver Brown of THE AGE. Briatore said, "I don't think it can be sewn back together again." Asked if he expected either Vettel or Webber to leave Red Bull at the end of this year's campaign, the Italian replied: "For sure. Last year already there were problems" (THE AGE, 3/28). The AAP reported it could be Webber's F1 "swan song based on his stated position he will not move down the grid purely to stay in F1." Briatore said that "the team's chances of winning a fourth title could be doomed following the Malaysian Grand Prix controversy." He said, "They are two professionals, they will win races and so on, but it's unthinkable that Mark may help Vettel in the future and I don't think Vettel will help Mark. So we'll have two enemies inside a single team, and this will (probably) advantage Ferrari." Briatore also accused Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner of being "weak" for refusing to sanction Vettel. He said, "Their car is very competitive so drivers want to stay there, but (Sepang) was proof that no one is in charge at Red Bull" (AAP, 3/28).