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Volume 6 No. 212

International Football

Serie A club Inter Milan "has decided to increase its capital by €35M ($45.5M) in order to reduce its enormous losses," according to the SID. The increase in capital "is supposed to curb the club's €77M ($100M) in losses from the '11-12 fiscal year." In the period of  '10-11, the losses were even bigger with €86.8M. Inter Milan's revenue "also has decreased from €217M to €191M." The club, which is owned by oil mogul Massimo Moratti, "has prescribed itself a plan to cut costs." The player payroll "has been reduced by €25M in comparison to the '10-11 season." The staff payroll stood at €165M during the last fiscal year. During the current season the club plans to reduce its payroll by another €45M ($58) (SID, 10/30).

Increasing interest in EPL Sunderland Association Football Club games among football fans in east and central Africa illustrates the "increasingly global perspectives" of Sunderland Association Football Club,  according to Chris Tighe of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The Invest in Africa logo on this season’s new uniform "underlines the trend." Sunderland's Invest in Africa partnership, "the first of its kind in British football, shows how it is looking outward and ahead." The company, a non-profit initiative backed by Tullow Oil, promotes Africa "as an attractive investment destination and a fast growing economy, challenging the belief that the continent is only about poverty and distress." It has become the EPL team's main partner and shirt sponsor from the '12-13 season onward, a deal that gives the Invest in Africa brand "potential exposure to the Premier League’s worldwide audience" of 4.7 billion people. For Sunderland, whose current first team includes Stephane Sessegnon from Benin, the deal brings not only sponsorship, but also "huge potential to build a fan base" in a continent of 1 billion people and "deepens the club’s affiliation with African players." Sunderland Commercial Dir Gary Hutchinson said, "We hope to become the club in Africa people want to support. We want to be an internationally known and respected brand playing in Europe" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 10/30).

FIFA "will confirm next week whether all six venues for next year's Confederations Cup in Brazil will be able to stage the event," according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. FIFA has already announced that Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Fortaleza, Recife and Brasilia "will host matches in the eight-team tournament, which is seen as a dress rehearsal for the 2014 World Cup." However, FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke voiced doubts two weeks ago that "all six stadiums would be ready for the event in June due to the slow pace of preparations" (REUTERS, 10/31).

Scottish Football League Third Division Rangers Tuesday night issued a statement "to reassure supporters that the impending tax tribunal outcome will not affect the current Ibrox regime," according to the SCOTSMAN. A ruling on the use of Employee Benefit Trusts throughout the first decade of the century at Ibrox "is believed to be imminent but, according to the newco Rangers, any sum due will only be added to the debt left when the original Rangers were consigned to liquidation." A statement on the club’s website read: "However, the club, as it now stands as part of The Rangers Football Club Ltd., has been informed by [tax authority HMRC] that any decision by the First Tier Tax Tribunal will not affect the operations of The Rangers Football Club Ltd." (SCOTSMAN, 10/31). The SCOTSMAN added that Hearts Manager John McGlynn believes that a Scottish Premier League "without either of the Old Firm sides could be more exciting because any club would have a realistic chance of winning the title." With the Rangers "consigned to the Third Division," the Celtic board has admitted that it would "consider a move to a European league in the future -- and McGlynn believes that could be a good thing for the top flight." McGlynn said, "Celtic have been the most consistent, leading by two points with a game in hand. But even looking at that, who would have thought Celtic would be only two points clear by November?" He added, "Take Celtic out of the league and what have you got? A league where nobody could predict anything because it’s so tight and so evenly balanced" (SCOTSMAN, 10/31).