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Volume 6 No. 211

International Football

Former EPL club QPR Chair Gianni Paladini has challenged Championship club Birmingham City Chair Peter Pannu "to allow the Italian consortium attempting to buy Birmingham City to prove they have the funds to back up their £30M ($48M) offer," according to Ian Edwards of ESPN SOCCERNET. Paladini has reacted angrily to comments made by Pannu "expressing doubts over whether he has the financial clout to follow through with his bid." Paladini "wants an opportunity to prove his group" is serious, after its £30M offer, which includes an immediate £17M ($27.2M) down-payment. He said: "Mr. Pannu has insulted me and our backers by saying we don't have the money. Now, prove me wrong, Mr. Pannu, by providing us exclusivity for two weeks to finalise the deal at the original price that was offered and agreed" (ESPN, 11/26).

MAKING ACCUSATIONS: In Hong Kong, John Carney noted Pannu has accused Paladini of running a media campaign so that he can "get it on the cheap." The Italian told the British press last week that "he wanted to get a deal done very soon because he didn't want the club to lose any players in the January transfer window." Pannu said he had had enough of Paladini's "antics." Pannu: "I have instructed the club to send out a statement on our website to categorically deny all this. We need to put a stop to this nonsense. He's just trying to get the club on the cheap. If people don't have the money, they should just shut up" (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 11/25).

NEGOTIATING NEW OWNERS: ISPORTCONNECT noted the club "may have new owners soon" after its parent company confirmed it was "locked in negotiations with a potential buyer in Hong Kong." The news comes "as a further blow to the U.K. consortium led by" Paladini. The company said, "The negotiation with one of the parties in Hong Kong is at an advanced stage, although no conditional binding agreement had been entered into between the parties" (ISPORTCONNECT, 11/25).

Newly appointed EPL club Queens Park Rangers Manager Harry Redknapp said that "he is optimistic" he can keep the club in the league when he detailed "plans for a great escape" Monday, according to Mark Cue of the LONDON TIMES. Redknapp has "accepted that he faces his toughest challenge as a manager," but said there will be no “wholesale spending” when the transfer window reopens in January after a busy summer of arrivals under former Manager Mark Hughes. QPR Owner Tony Fernandes "will be hoping that Redknapp can revive the West London club’s fortunes" as he did four years ago when he took over at Tottenham Hotspur. Redknapp also "plotted a similar rescue job" at Champions League Portsmouth in '05. Redknapp: "We mustn’t kid ourselves. This is much tougher that those two jobs in my opinion, but I’m optimistic we can pull it off." Redknapp confirmed that a deal was being done to bring in his long-time assistants, Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond. Redknapp has been linked with bringing David Beckham to Loftus Road, but said that "nothing had been done," as of yet. Redknapp: "To have him at any football club would be a great influence on the club, but we’ve not discussed anything" (LONDON TIMES, 11/26). The PA reported that Redknapp "warned his QPR players that laziness would not be tolerated." Redknapp: "If they don't [put in the effort], they're not going to play to start with and I'll find another 11 who will run about and work hard. I've got no time for people losing ball and throwing their arms up in air, and standing around with their hands on their hips" (PA, 11/26).

MORE BECKHAM TALK: In Sydney, Ray Gatt reported A-League clubs "could face a battle" to sign Beckham following indications that Redknapp will make a bid to lure him to QPR. Beckham, who will become a free agent when his contract expires on Dec. 31, is on record saying he wants "one last challenge" before retiring from the game (THE AUSTRALIAN, 11/27).

Second Bundesliga club 1860 Munich, which recently fired head coach Reiner Maurer, "is going after former England national team coach Sven Göran Eriksson and David Beckham," according to Christof Kneer in an op-ed piece for the SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG. Certain is that Beckham "will leave L.A. and that he will not end his career." Beckham's management revealed that its client "is currently sorting the offers." Beckham, 37, could join 1860 and play in the system of great strategist Eriksson, so is "the wish of Jordan club investor Hasan Ismaik." Eriksson, 64, who recently coached the Mexican and Ivory Coast national teams as well as Leicester City and Tero Sasana in Thailand "with striking failure, was seen in the stands at 1860's last two games and is seriously regarded as the desired candidate of Ismaik." The only reason both names "will most-likely not end up in Munich's borough of Giesing is Germany's 50+1 regulation, which prohibits investors to own more than 49% of a club's voting shares." Knowing that in the end, an investor's spending "somehow always falls back to the club" in the form of a loan, we can say that the 50+1 rule "is a clear winner" (SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, 11/26).

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that hooligan fans "could be banned from entering sports stadiums" for the rest of their life, according to XINHUA. Medvedev said, "Perhaps, for those who commit crimes directly in a stadium, the ban could be fore life." Medvedev stressed that the government "must toughen punishments for sports-related crimes," as Russia is hosting several int'l sports events in the next few years, such as the World University Games in '13, Winter Olympics in '14 and World Cup in '18. The government "proposed to introduce" a ban of up to one year for fans who break stadium rules (XINHUA, 11/26).