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Volume 6 No. 214


National Rugby Leagues side South Sydney Rabbitohs CEO Shane Richardson said that "the imminent departure of Russell Crowe as a co-owner of the club would not have a detrimental impact," on the club, according to Daniel Lane of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Crowe's star power has been widely acknowledged "as a reason the club had obtained an enviable list of sponsors and world-class players." Richardson said that "no sponsors had clauses in their contracts and all their major backers were on board for another two years." Under Crowe's reign, Souths "formed alliances with a veritable who's who of Australia's corporate and business world." Richardson said that "none of the club's sponsorships were tied into Crowe being an owner, and the deals had time running on them." And while Crowe might have put a "for sale" sign on his share of the club, he was "still keeping a close eye on the front office." Richardson said, "Russell might be selling [his share] but he's not going to quit being involved in the club, he's still going to have an interest in it; he'll continue his support for Souths [as a fan]" (SMH, 11/25).

The Scottish Football League could reach a decision as early as Tuesday on "how to deal with" Third Division Elgin City, after the club’s match with Rangers was called off because too many tickets had been sold, according to Stuart Bathgate of the SCOTSMAN. SFL CEO David Longmuir reiterated that the postponement had been made "in the interests of public safety," and said that he was optimistic other clubs "would avoid actions similar to Elgin’s." Longmuir will announce any disciplinary action after he receives reports from his own staff and from Elgin. Longmuir: "We’ll make a judgment on Elgin once we see a full report." The SFL also plans to warn clubs about "drastic increases of prices for the visit of Rangers" (SCOTSMAN, 11/26).

MAKING AN EXAMPLE: In Glasgow, Gavin Berry reported Elgin had raised its ticket prices by 50% for Sunday’s "ill-fated clash" at Borough Briggs, and now Queen’s Park is "inflating the fees" for its match with Rangers next month. The most expensive adult ticket is usually £12 ($19), so Rangers fans "were angry" to see tickets selling for £15 ($24) and £20 ($32). Longmuir said: "I'll be taking steps to remind clubs of recommended minimum prices that we have always applied in Division Three. I will make that reminder as forceful as I can. I agree it’s profiteering." Longmuir refused to discuss the severity of the sanctions available, but believes that whatever punishment is delivered, the "fallout from this shambles has already made an example of Elgin" (DAILY RECORD, 11/26).

Reaction to National Rugby League club Parramatta Eel's "bold plan to circumvent the A$5M ($5.2M) salary cap next season to accommodate Israel Folau was predictable but emphatic: the Eels' rivals would only welcome such a move if they were afforded the same concessions," according to Glenn Jackson of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Additionally, some felt that the proposal -- to raise the Eels' payment ceiling by A$400,000 for next year but lower their cap by the same figure the following year -- "might encourage NRL stars to look outside the code if a precedent is set that rules would be bent to allow a code-jumper back." The Eels' plan "appears doomed." Melbourne Storm CEO Ron Gauci maintained the Australian Rugby League Commission would be opening up a "can of worms" by allowing the move. Other CEOs maintained it would have to be "one-in, all-in." South Sydney Rabbitohs CEO Shane Richardson said, "Whatever rules apply for one club need to be applied for all clubs" (SMH, 11/27). In Sydney, Stuart Honeysett noted in '04 the NRL "facilitated talks with its sponsors" to help keep Andrew Johns away from rugby union, and in '10 St. George Illawarra was able to sign Mark Gasnier for only A$100,000 "as part of a massive back-ended deal." Yet, Parramatta's attempts to sign Folau at a cut-price rate next season "continue to be thwarted by the ARLC" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 11/27). Also in Sydney, Dean Ritchie reported the Rabbitohs "have expressed a private interest in signing Folau if the NRL cannot register the Eels deal." Sources close to Folau's management team said their clients were "open" to the idea of representing the club next season. The interest comes "despite his first preference being Parramatta" (TELEGRAPH, 11/27).

The group leading the fans' bid to buy Scottish Premier League club Heart of Midlothian "face a make-or-break meeting with Tynecastle Dir Sergejus Fedotovas at the start of next month," according to Euan McLean of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Supporters Direct Scotland Head Paul Goodwin insisted that "he has high hopes that Owner Vladimir Romanov is serious about transferring his stake" to the group. However, he "is refusing to give the Lithuanian owner a valuation at this stage until he gets an agreement in principal for the business model he is proposing to the Tynecastle club" (DAILY RECORD, 11/26). In Edinburgh, Stuart Bathgate reported Goodwin said that "he had been encouraged by talks he has already had with Hearts Managing Dir David Southern and believes that the club could develop into a model example of how supporter ownership can benefit Scottish football." Goodwin believes that there "is a growing acceptance that single benefactors are no longer a feasible option for clubs, and that community control is the most secure way of running a club." Goodwin said, "We all know there are no white knights out there who are willing to, not invest -- that’s the wrong word -- throw their money away into football" (SCOTSMAN, 11/26).