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Volume 6 No. 212


Australian Football League side Essendon "has comforted the former players who will be interviewed by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority as part of its investigation into the club, with many feeling better informed and more involved than they were two weeks ago," according to Emma Quayle of THE AGE. The ex-players' parents "have been invited to a second briefing by the club next week -- as they were to an initial meeting last week -- with the players feeling more sure of how the investigation will unfold and what it will require of them." No Essendon player "has returned a positive drug test, but the 'no-fault or negligence' clause could apply to them should the investigation find they were given banned substances without their knowledge or consent" (THE AGE, 2/22). In Melbourne, Matt Murnane reported Fairfax Media's investigative team revealed in an online report on Wednesday that the Bombers' sports science team "is understood to have engaged the services of at least one, and possibly two, external Melbourne doctors with limited sports medicine expertise to participate in the players' supplements regimen" between late '11 and mid '12. Medical sources aware of the arrangement "have alleged that one of the external doctors involved may have written prescriptions for the players to be issued with supplements." Essendon's long-standing club doctor, Bruce Reid, "is understood to have been unaware that the supplements regime involved doctors from outside the club" (THE AGE, 2/22).

League One side Portsmouth's future will be resolved by April 19 after the high court "granted an order for the club's case to be heard, but the ownership saga could yet take another twist after it was claimed Football League has 'softened' its stance" toward another bidder, according to James Riach of the London GUARDIAN. The administrators for Portsmouth, PKF, informed Justice Sales that "correspondence has been exchanged between the Football League and Portpin, which seems to lead to some ambiguity with the League's previous statements that no other bid would be considered at this late stage." Portpin, the former owners of the club led by Balram Chainrai, are battling against the PST, which is "attempting to force a sale of the club through the court." The valuation of the stadium "will be decided in court by April 19, when PST hopes to secure a landmark takeover, but matters could yet be complicated by a rival" bid from football financier Keith Harris (GUARDIAN, 2/21). In London, Ben Rumsby reported this week "marked the first anniversary of Portsmouth's latest plunge into administration." The club faces being kicked out of the League if it is not solvent before next season's fixtures are compiled. A Football League spokesperson said: "As stated after its most recent meeting, the Board of The Football League is not considering alternative applications for the transfer of Portsmouth's share in The Football League. Instead, it remains focused on a successful transfer of share to the preferred bidder, the Pompey Supporters Trust" (TELEGRAPH, 2/21).

Scottish Third Division Club Rangers have been "warned to fix their boardroom split quickly before spooked investors cause the share price to fall," according to Euan McLean of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Alarm bells "have been ringing among the club’s supporters and shareholders" since news broke of a fall-out between Ibrox Chair Malcolm Murray and club Owner Charles Green. Ernst & Young Financial Expert Neil Patey has "warned the uncertainty threatens to have a negative impact on the club’s stock market value -- unless swift and decisive action is taken." Patey said, "Investors and shareholders don’t want uncertainty and indecision -- they want a clear strategy and a board in full agreement" (DAILY RECORD, 2/21).

Super League club Salford City Reds have said they" intend to repay all old creditors in full after revealing they are applying for a Company Voluntary Arrangement," according to the BBC. The club was "in danger of administration" before Dr Marwan Koukash completed his takeover on Jan. 31. If the CVA is approved, all previous creditors "will receive any outstanding monies over the next five years." Salford City Council and Peel Holdings, who co-own the Salford City Stadium, "will be repaid over a longer period" (BBC, 2/21).

English fifth-tier football club Swindon's takeover by a local consortium "has been completed after the deal was approved by the Football League days after Paolo Di Canio's resignation as manager," according to the PA. The approval brings to an end weeks of uncertainty at The County Ground and means Seebeck 87 Ltd., a company backed by a consortium headed by Jed McCrory, "are now in full control of the club," which remain managerless following Di Canio's departure. Club Chair McCrory said, "This is a tremendously exciting time to be taking charge. We are aware of the responsibilities we face taking custody of a club with the heritage of Swindon and we take these responsibilities very seriously" (PA, 2/21).