Indebted 2nd Bundesliga club FC Cologne "has already reached its planned issue volume for its fan bonds," according to the DPA. The club's fan bonds, which have been available since the start of August, "have already sold out with an issue volume of €10M ($13M)." FC Cologne President Werner Spinner said, "The result of the bond positioning after two months is impressive. The early and complete positioning of the fan bonds is a very pleasant result, even more so considering the difficult start to the season, and the overall economic situation of FC Cologne." The club will use, as announced, the money generated through the sale of its fan bonds "in major parts to restructure its debt." The bond subscribers will receive 5% interest on their investment. The duration of the paper is five years (DPA, 10/29).
An unusual "venture that marries South Korean money with North Korean labour in the Chinese city of Dandong aims to make its mark" on the world football scene, according to Ju-min Park of REUTERS. At a temporary factory, "in a village on the edge of a bustling city that serves as a bridge between China and impoverished, isolated North Korea," 20 North Koreans hand sew football boots and "dream of taking on the world." The factory, "overseen by managers sporting badges showing North Korea's founder Kim Il-sung, has sold almost 10,000 pairs of boots at $100 a piece" since it started full-scale operations in July, half of them to South Korea. North Korea itself "gets 100 pairs of boots a month from the factory as its share of payment, rather than being paid in cash." Veteran shoemaker Chung Nam-chul said, "Boots can be made by machines, but hand-sewn ones can be made to match individual preferences and they're more comfortable." Chung added, "We play soccer in our boots to test them and pick good ones." Chung and his fellow workers from the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, "are members of the April 25 Sports Club," one of the most successful North Korean football league teams, which is run by the Korean People's Army, the North's armed forces. As "in the old days in communist eastern Europe," football teams in North Korea "tend to be part of the state apparatus with businesses attached to them." The small boot factory "will not make much of a difference" to North Korea's economy, but that "doesn't stop its workers from dreaming big." North Korean Manager Oh Sung-dong said, "It would be really good if [Lionel] Messi came here and wore our shoes" (REUTERS, 10/30).
German 3rd League club Alemannia Aachen "needs money, a lot of money," according to Robert Peters of RP-ONLINE.de. The club has to scare up €2M ($2.6M) in a very short time. Aachen's fans will be reminded by those news of spring '01, "when club officials walked through the city with a collection box." Back in '01, "they accomplished to save the club, and the team went on a roll that ended with an appearance in the DFB-Pokal (German Cup) Final and its promotion to the Bundesliga." The club's plunge into the 3rd League and economic troubles "was caused by personal vanities and a nice portion of megalomania." Should the lights at the historic Tivoli not be switched off for good, "then the club has to find money, a lot of money." It appears to be very doubtful that the whole city "will once again help to correct the club's serious mistakes" (RP-ONLINE.de, 10/30).