FC Barcelona will wear the colors of the Senyera, the Catalan flag, on its away kit next season, according to Adam Shergold of the London DAILY MAIL. It comes "as political parties in favour of Catalonia becoming an independent state gain an ever greater influence in the region's parliament as they push for a referendum in '14." The gold and red striped strip for the '13-14 season "is already reportedly in mass production and will be popularly received by many supporters." Of course, the new home shirt "will be the traditional blue and red stripes." Both jerseys "feature a different corporate sponsor -- Qatar Airways -- after the club signed a five-year, £125M ($202.5M) deal with Qatar Sports Investments" (DAILY MAIL, 12/17).
Paris St. Germain's Qatari owners "are wanting to highlight the Parisian characteristics" of the club to the detriment of the Saint-Germain-en-Laye suburb, according to Arnaud Hermant of LE PARISIEN. Management is "looking to modify the logo," which has been the same since '72. The Qatari owners bought the club in '11 for one major reason: "the image of the club is attached to Paris." Since the acquisition, the management's marketing strategy has been "geared towards the city of Paris" and its most famous monument: the Eiffel tower. The project for the new logo includes getting rid of the crib and lily flower that symbolize the suburb of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, while creating a 3D effect for the Eiffel tower, which would keep its red color. There are also discussions to change the name Paris Saint-Germain to Paris SG. PSG Marketing Dir Michel Mimram previously said, "the strategy is to get away from PSG to become Paris SG. Knowing that in the Paris Saint-Germain, Paris is the important part, a lot more than Saint-Germain." Mimram added that the goal of PSG's management is to make the PSG brand "one of the top 10 sports brands on the planet." Management believes "changing the logo is one way to accomplish this" (LE PARISIEN, 12/14).
National Rugby League Newcastle Knights Members Club directors are confident Nathan Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group will "repay all creditors" and do a better job of funding the club, according to Brett Keeble of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Tinkler remains the owner of the Knights, and HSG will continue to run the city's team after Members Club directors met HSG CEO Troy Palmer in Newcastle on Monday night to "clear the air over a range of issues." Palmer said, "I think we're all on the same page and looking forward to the upcoming season. I think everyone agrees what a great job Nathan and the team has done and where the club has gone in a short period of time, and the members club are more than happy with that after they asked their questions today." Members club Chair Nick Dan said that directors asked Palmer to do a" better job of keeping the community informed about Tinkler's financial issues, and to pay their bills on time" (SMH, 12/18).
The largest fan group of Russian Premier League champions Zenit St. Petersburg "has demanded the club refrain from buying black and gay players," according to Gennady Fyodorov of REUTERS. Zenit fan club Landscrona posted a letter called "Selection 12 manifesto" on its website that said, "We're not racists but we see the absence of black players at Zenit as an important tradition. It would allow Zenit to maintain the national identity of the club, which is the symbol of St. Petersburg." Zenit has been the only top club in Russia "to have never signed an African player while the northern city of St. Petersburg is known to have a strong right-wing nationalist influence." The group also expressed its opposition to having "sexual minorities" on the team. Several prominent black players "have turned down lucrative offers from the wealthy club over the past 12 months after receiving death threats from Zenit fans." A Zenit spokesperson said on Monday that the club "would not comment on the fans' letter." Former Zenit and Russia striker Alexander Panov said, "If we don't have enough good players from St. Petersburg, then what should the club do? All clubs around the world have black players. If they are absent from Zenit -- it's Zenit's problem. I don't think fans should demand the club buy or don't buy certain players. The fans have the right to go to the stadium or stay home" (REUTERS, 12/17).
League Championship club Nottingham Forest’s Kuwaiti-based owners have been forced into a boardroom reshuffle after a "string of embarrassing off-field blunders that culminated in the club’s credit card bouncing," according to Percy & Clutton of the London TELEGRAPH. Majority shareholder Fawaz Al-Hasawi has replaced his cousin Omar as chairman following a number of "finance-related mistakes" that have increased scrutiny on the club. Forest’s players were paid a day late last month because of a "glitch in the bacs system, while it has emerged that agents and suppliers have also been paid late or are still waiting for bills to be settled." The problems "reached a head" on Friday when the team's credit card was rejected at the team’s hotel in Brighton. Although there is "no suggestion" that the Al-Hasawis have money problems, the developments are "an embarrassment to the club" (TELEGRAPH, 12/16).