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Volume 6 No. 213

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Following almost a year of negotiations, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone Monday insisted that "his Formula One Management company had agreed to terms with organisers" to stage the Singapore Grand Prix for another five years, according to Ian De Cotta of Singapore TODAY. Ecclestone said that "all obstacles preventing the deal from going through have been resolved" and that the timing of the official announcement of the contract renewal will be decided by the Singapore government. First held in '08, the rights to stage the Singapore Grand Prix "is believed to have cost" Singapore organizers $35M initially, and after yearly increases, peaked at about $42M last year. It costs another S$150M ($118M) to prepare for each race, and 60% -- or S$90M ($71M) -- of that amount is footed by the Singapore Government. A study to review the benefits of continuing the race was conducted by authorities after the '10 edition. It revealed that in the first three years, the night race "raked in a total of more than S$420M ($332M) in tourism receipts." It also "attracted an average of more than 110,000" int'l visitors. In terms of global reach, the race also attracted a total of 300 million TV viewers worldwide (Singapore TODAY, 7/11). REUTERS reported that Singapore "denied on Wednesday that a deal had been agreed" with F1 to extend the country's grand prix contract for five years after September's race. Organizers Singapore GP said in a statement that "negotiations on the terms" of a second five-year contract were continuing. SGP said, "What is presently on offer from Formula One Administration is insufficient for us to commit to a full five-year extension. We remain hopeful at reaching an outcome that is mutually beneficial to all parties" (REUTERS, 7/11).

LONDON NO JOKE: In London, Christian Sylt reported that Ecclestone has revealed that work on a London Grand Prix "is progressing." Ecclestone last month unveiled plans for a track that would "snake past some of the capital's most famous landmarks." Ecclestone confirmed "for the first time that he is indeed working on a race in the capital." Ecclestone said, "We are getting on with it. It is no joke, 100% completely no joke" (GUARDIAN, 7/11).

Ex-FIFA President João Havelange and his former son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira "received millions of dollars" from the collapsed marketing agency ISL, according to Panja & Bandel of BLOOMBERG. The Swiss Federal Court "ordered the release of the documents," Wednesday which relate to a corruption investigation involving the two men. They had "sought to block  publication" after journalists requested the court papers, and Zurich-based FIFA published them on its website after the ruling (BLOOMBERG, 7/11). In London, Roger Blitz wrote the Swiss prosecutor's report revealed "FIFA knew about millions of dollars paid in kickbacks to Havelange and Teixeira." The 41-page document said another group, of which the two were beneficial owners, received payments of CHF21.9M between June '99-May '00 (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/11). In Zurich, Jean-François Tanda reported that "the reason for the investigation were bribery payments" from ISL to FIFA officials. ISL "received in return for its payments" to Havelange and Teixeira "profitable marketing and TV rights" to FIFA World Cups. ISL went bankrupt in May '01 and the previously secret payments leaked to the public. According to prosecutors, Teixeira received CHF12.7M from ISL. In addition to that "a list of ISL-payment recipients" included Renford Investments Ltd., which was owned by Teixeira. The company received more than CHF5M between March '98 and May '00. Havelange, who was also involved in Renford Investments Ltd., received an additional payment of CHF1.5M in March '97 (HANDELSZEITUNG, 7/11). FIFA said in a press release that it is pleased that the ISL non-prosecution order can now be made public, following the decision by the Swiss Federal Court to allow the publication of the document by the Prosecutor of Zug. This decision by the Federal Court is in line with what FIFA and the FIFA president have been advocating since '11, when world football's governing body announced its commitment to the publication of the ISL non-prosecution order (FIFA). 

The Korea Baseball Organization's BOD will review information "regarding the establishment of a 10th team" that has recently been denied, according to Robert Lee of the KOREA HERALD. The previous ruling "to postpone the discussion" by the governing body came on June 19. The decision to reconsider is thought to be a result of the "increasing pressure of fans, local governments and players." The Korea Professional Baseball Players Association had announced that its players would boycott the All-Star Game and World Baseball Classic. KBO Secretary General Yang Hae-young said, "The club heads agreed that it is not appropriate to show fans a negative image, and that we must continue to hold the All-Star Games." In an effort to "promote the sport within the country and widen the talent pool," the board also decided to fund the creation of clubs at elementary, middle and high school levels. The KBO will provide up to 30M won ($26,000) to new elementary school teams, 150M won ($131,000) for middle school teams and 400M won ($350,000) for high school teams over the course of three years (KOREA HERALD, 7/10). In Seoul, Moon Gwang-lip reported Yang will meet with the players "to try to resolve the boycott issue" ahead of the All-Star Game this month. Current regulations state that players who are selected as All-Stars but refuse to play are subject to a 10-game suspension at the start of the second half of the season. The KBO has said that it "would have no other choice but to apply the regulation." The KPBPA has responded by threatening to boycott all games for the rest of the season" if suspended (KOREA JOONGANG DAILY, 7/11).