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SBD Global/February 4, 2014/FranchisesPrint All
Real estate group Greenland Group has officially announced the completion of its takeover of Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua and has "signed an agreement to acquire all the club’s assets," according to Cameron Wilson of WILD EAST FOOTBALL. Due to the timing of the announcement on Chinese New Year’s eve, Greenland Group "did not release any details of the deal, stating only that more information would be forthcoming in due course." A deal brings to an end Shanghai Shenhua Owner Zhu Jun’s "chaotic and shambolic seven year reign." According to media reports, however, the five state-owned enterprises paid Zhu Jun around 200M RMB ($32.5M) for his 28.5% stake in the club and his operational rights. Greenland "will now become Shenhua’s holding company" (WILD EAST FOOTBALL, 1/30).
Caterham F1 Team "is one of the F1 teams with the fewest economic resources," according to Javier Estepa of MARCA. One of the team's drivers, Kamui Kobayashi, will "race for no salary." Caterham said in a statement, "This is incredible. It surprised us and we appreciate it. Imagine if Cristiano Ronaldo did this and told the club to invest the money from his salary in a youth program. He would be a god to all the fans. For us, it means the same. In the modern era, for an F1 driver not to charge a salary is incredible." Caterham has "just 350 employees." All the club's limits "have a clear explanation: money." For Caterham, "the help of sponsors is very important -- sponsors like mobile operator Truphone cover the club's communications needs, and thanks to this, the employees can travel the world without worrying about a subject as important in F1 as communication." These types of sponsors "make the club a little bit better -- it all adds up." The club "is 100% focused on competing." Caterham Owner Tony Fernandes recently said of the importance of being competitive, "After years without earning points in Formula 1, patience is running out. This year we have better infrastructure and better drivers. If we're at the back I don't think I'm going to carry on. There is a limit to one's patience, money and motivation so it's an important year" (MARCA, 2/3).
Administrators for UBIG have confirmed that they "are set to transfer" all of their 78.97% shareholding in Scottish Premiership side Heart of Midlothian to the Foundation of Hearts-backed company Bidco, "which will see the conclusion of the club's CVA agreement," according to THE SCOTSMAN. The transfer to Bidco, agreed upon for an undisclosed sum, is expected to be completed within a timescale of "eight to ten weeks," subject to ratification by Lithuanian creditors and courts. The deal "will see Hearts exit administration and come under the control of Foundation of Hearts after a lengthy process of negotiation" (THE SCOTSMAN, 2/3).
Reinstated League Championship side Leeds United Manager Brian McDermott "has vowed not to walk away from the club following a weekend of uncertainty over his future," according to the BBC. On Friday, prospective new Owner Massimo Cellino attempted to dismiss McDermott, only for the club to insist that "he would remain as boss." McDermott, 52, "reported for duty at the club's training ground on Monday." McDermott: "Some people in the game said to not go back, but there's no way I could leave the staff and supporters. This situation should never happen to a football manager and let's hope it never happens again." Cellino "has agreed to buy a 75% stake in Leeds but has yet to gain the approval of the Football League." McDermott: "As far as I'm concerned, I spoke to GFH, who are the owners of the football club, and I've had certain reassurances about my future. The running of the football club is down to me" (BBC, 2/3). In London, Nick Harris wrote "as his players blitzed Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town," the name of McDermott -- sacked on Friday but then "unsacked" on Saturday, as if it had never happened -- was sung all afternoon. Banners implored "Bring Back Brian" and "Cellino No!" and the club's current owners, GFH Capital, were vilified in chants. Fans took off their shoes and waved them in the air in response to the refrain "Shoes off if you hate GFH," and when play got under way a chorus of "You don't know what you're doing" echoed round the ground. Sources said that Cellino "was so stung by social media anger towards him on Friday that he subsequently made efforts to persuade McDermott to go back." The League Managers' Association released a statement saying that "McDermott had been told his sacking had been made without authority and was awaiting clarification." But McDermott "is understood to have no intention of staying at the club under Cellino, not least because the Italian, who owns Serie A club Cagliari, has already tried to impose his wishes, McDermott refusing to accept that a Cellino employee, former Middlesbrough and Portsmouth defender Gianluca Festa, could sit with him in the dugout" (DAILY MAIL, 2/1).