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Volume 10 No. 25


F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said that "he expects BMW to follow Honda in making a return to Formula One," according to ESPN. Ecclestone said he thinks the timing "makes sense" for BMW to return. Ecclestone: "I would be surprised if we don't see BMW again. I think they could come in. The amount of money they spent was not significant in the grand scheme of things. It makes sense for them to return" (ESPN, 5/20). YALLA F1 reported BMW "has hit back" at Ecclestone’s widely reported claim that it "might be looking to return" to F1. But the Munich carmaker's Motorsport Dir Jens Marquardt said on Monday, "We are pleased with our current program. We have no intention of looking into other areas. We withdrew from Formula 1 deliberately" (YALLA F1, 5/20).

Second Bundesliga club MSV Duisburg "has agreed to change its club constitution in order to ease its troubling financial situation," according to the DPA. Five months after Duisburg "was able to avoid a financial collapse, the club is again threatened with bankruptcy." MSV Duisburg Managing Dir Roland Kentsch said, "I can't promise that we will make it." The club has to close a reported financial gap of up to €2.5M ($3.2M) by Thursday in order to comply with the license requirements of the German Football League (DFL). Kentsch said, "If we are unable to [come up with the money], bankruptcy would be unavoidable." However, club members "have after a four-hour discussion agreed to change the club's constitution to provide investors with more voting rights." The club hopes that "this modernization will help to come up with the money in time" (DPA, 5/17).

EPL Wigan Athletic "stunned" the football world by winning the FA Cup final against Man City on May 11, capturing the club’s first major trophy in its 81-year existence, according to Sam Borden of the N.Y. TIMES. Men "wept" and children "shrieked." Just 72 hours after its shocker at Wembley, though, Wigan "lost to Arsenal in a league game on a chilly Tuesday night," a defeat that "ensured the club would finish 18th in the 20-team Premier League." In England’s promotion-and-relegation system, that meant Wigan "had become the first team" in the FA Cup’s 142-year history to win the world’s oldest knockout tournament and also be relegated from the top division in the same season. Fan Ceri Cahill said, "Is it a roller coaster? That might not be descriptive enough. The up was simply and truly glorious, and the down was absolutely, completely, totally brutal." Other fans "offered more colorful -- but less printable -- descriptions of the emotional swing." With such a division in place among the fans, questions "understandably abounded, and debates at DW Stadium ranged from the monumental (was the season a success or failure?) to the hypothetical (would you trade the Cup win for staying up?) to the philosophical (is it better to succeed or simply not to fail?)." Although those factors made Wigan "a charming Cup champion, the lucre of the Premier League was seen as more critical to many fans." Dropping out of the Premier League means "missing out" on as much as $150M in revenue, "a crucial infusion for smaller clubs like Wigan." Playing in the more-modest second tier "will also lead to an even tighter budget -- the club’s staff is especially worried about potential cuts -- as well as an inevitable decline in exposure" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/19).

Scottish Premier League Heart of Midlothian "will not be relegated from Scotland's top flight" despite the club's parent company requesting to be declared insolvent, according to Angus Howarth of the SCOTSMAN. The SPL board met Monday at Hampden to discuss the financial status of Ukio Banko Investicine Grupe and whether it equated to an "insolvency event," as outlined in the league's rules on "group undertakings." An SPL statement said, "The board are not satisfied, on the basis of information currently avaiable to it, that an Insolvency Event (a defined by SPL rules) occurred in respect of Ubig during season 2012/13" (SCOTSMAN, 5/20). The HERALD SCOTLAND reported the SPL "had been consulting with its lawyers over whether UBIG's situation breaches its rules." Issues under discussion included whether UBIG "had officially suffered an insolvency event in the Lithuanian courts." There "is no evidence that has happened." Hearts "could still face action if the situation develops in Lithuania," but the points deduction "would take effect next season unless new information emerges about what happened last week, which appears highly unlikely" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 5/20).