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SBD Global/July 10, 2013/FranchisesPrint All
League One Coventry City will play its home games more than 30 miles away from the Ricoh Arena next season after the Football League "reluctantly approved" an application from the club to groundshare at Northampton Town for three years, according to James Riach of the London GUARDIAN. A "bitter feud" between prospective owner Sisu, which is set to buy the club back out of administration through Otium Entertainment Group, and Ricoh Owner Arena Coventry Limited "will see the Sky Blues will play at Sixfields for an initial period of three seasons." Otium, owned by Sisu, which took control of City in '07, "will be required to provide a performance bond" of £1M ($1.5M) to the Football League as "an assurance of the club's commitment to return to the Coventry area in the future." Football League Chair Greg Clarke said, "With no prospect of an agreement being reached between Otium and ACL, the board was placed in an unenviable position -- with the very real possibility of Coventry City being unable to fulfil its fixtures for next season." The move to Sixfields "has caused outrage among Coventry supporters who have had to endure a slide down the divisions to League One in recent years" (GUARDIAN, 7/8).
Spanish handball club Atlético Madrid "has disappeared," according to Javier Lafuente of EL PAIS. The team's economic debt -- €915,000 ($1.2M) to Spanish tax authorities -- and payments owed to players and providers has "caused the club to dissolve." The loss of Atlético Madrid "is a mortal blow to Spanish handball and the best representation of the harshness of the sport's crisis." The club's statement said, "The Atlético Madrid Handball Club communicates to all its fans and followers that before the current difficulties that our economy is experiencing, sports among them, this organization has made the decision to not continue its athletic activity." Atlético Madrid Handball President Domingo Díaz de Mera thanked Dir General Miguel Ángel Gil and Atlético Madrid President Enrique Cerezo "for opening the doors of Atlético Madrid" (EL PAIS, 7/9). In Madrid, Juan Gutiérrez reported after the disappearance of Atlético Madrid, Spain's Superior Sports Council (CSD) announced a meeting scheduled for Wednesday at 5pm local time. Representatives of the Spanish Handball Federation (RFBEM), Liga Asobal (top Spanish handball league) and the Handball Players Association (AJBM) have been invited. The "objective of the meeting is to consider the viability of handball as a national competition." A CSD spokesperson said, "The disappearance of Atlético Madrid has caused a lot of surprise in the CSD because the organization had not received any official information from the club. The Council has learned of the news from the media" (AS, 7/9).
Spanish cycling team Euskaltel-Euskadi, the third-longest surviving professional team in existence, "has 45 days to find a new sponsor or will disappear" at the end of '13, according to Alasdair Fotheringham of CYCLING NEWS. Euskaltel Exec Mikel Astorkiza said, "There are various possibilities, but nothing is actually signed." Spanish telecom company Euskaltel has been the main sponsor of the team since '97, when it "started as a self-funded, grassroots project named simply Euskadi" that was funded purely by local fans. Euskaltel has already spent €45M ($57.5M) on backing the team and it initially promised in January to "sponsor the team for a further four years." However, when the €3.5M ($4.5M) "promised by Basque public institutions" as part of a €9M ($11.5M) annual budget failed to come through -- "indirectly as a result of the austerity cuts -- Euskaltel had to meet the shortfall for 2014, doubling its original annual investment." Given the ongoing recession, coupled with the lack of new sponsors after a search in Spain and elsewhere, "Euskaltel has decided that it makes more financial sense to end its backing completely." The search continues for a new sponsor, "but time is running painfully short." Should Euskaltel-Euskadi disappear, Spain -- once a major powerhouse in cycling -- will have just one WorldTour team: Movistar, and one Professional Continental squad: Caja Rural (CYCLING NEWS, 7/9). EL PAIS reported the team released a statement that said, "The inability of institutions to to cover their part of the budget as a consequence of the economic crisis makes continuing the project in its current model unsustainable, so it is essential that we find a new sponsor to guarantee the club's sustainability. The search for new sponsorships has had fruitless results. Under the current circumstances of Euskadi's economic crisis and the sports-cycling sponsorship crisis in Europe, searching for sponsorships is an arduous and difficult task" (EL PAIS, 7/9).
Scottish businessman James Easdale "has been appointed" to Scottish Second Division Rangers board as a non-exec director, according to the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Easdale, who is described on the club's website as "an entrepreneur and a director of several businesses," has a business empire which includes McGill's Bus Service Limited. Easdale and his brother, Sandy, confirmed in May their intention to increase their Rangers shareholding and seek a significant say in the running of the club. The pair "invested in the Light Blues last year," and are in line to buy former CEO Charles Green's shares "when he is free to sell them under stock exchange rules" (DAILY RECORD, 7/9). In Edinburgh, Lisa Gray reported former Rangers Chair Malcolm Murray and fellow non-exec director Phil Cartmell "have left the board." The news "was confirmed by the club in a statement to the London Stock Exchange." Murray stepped down as chairman in May, "amid speculation of moves to oust him, but remained as a director until now" (SCOTSMAN, 7/9).