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Volume 6 No. 234


Serie A side Inter Milan President Massimo Moratti has played down reports that "he is about to sell a majority stake in the club" to Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir, according to the AFP. Reports suggested that Moratti was pondering selling a majority stake in the club to Thohir, "a sale that would allow new coach Walter Mazzarri to buy players and give the club an option on a new stadium." After meeting reporters on Monday morning, however, Moratti played down the reports, suggesting that "talks were now focused elsewhere." Moratti, who reportedly wants the guarantee of a new stadium written into any future sale or partial sale of the club, said, "No, no, we're discussing something entirely different." Reports claimed that Thohir "had given Inter a one-week deadline to decide how much they were willing to relinquish, or the offer would be removed." Thohir has tabled an offer of €260M-€300M ($340M-$390M) -- as well as a further €100M ($130M) "to invest immediately in players -- to acquire a commanding stake in the club" (AFP, 6/3). FORZA ITALIAN FOOTBALL's Drew Farmer reported Serie A club Napoli Owner Aurelio De Laurentiis "will buy a second football club as a farm team and feeder club for the Partenopei." The system "will help the club cultivate talent from other countries and allow players to gain significant first team action before being brought to Napoli or sold to other clubs for a profit" (FORZA ITALIAN FOOTBALL, 6/2).

A proposed move by Australian Football League Melbourne Football Club board to remove coach Mark Neeld and temporarily replace him with former Adelaide coach Neil Craig "was derailed at Monday's lengthy board meeting" by the Demons' new CEO, Peter Jackson, according to Caroline Wilson of THE AGE. To sack Neeld now would cost the Demons an estimated A$600,000 ($586,000), and the club "does not have that amount at its disposal." However, the prevailing view on Monday was that timing, and not the club's ailing bank balance, "handed Neeld what can only be described as a reprieve." The board "remains virtually united that Neeld must go," but Monday's meeting "saw support for the coach from Craig, who was clearly not pushing to step in." The reality is that Neeld's sacking "is no longer a decision but a negotiation." Jackson, who outlined his vision to redesign the club's "dysfunctional football operation" with a clear priority to appoint a new football operations boss, "was also cautious about a move on the coach" (THE AGE, 6/4).

A group of "entrepreneurs, qualified professionals and cultural representatives of Zaragoza" has announced its intention to present a project to acquire a majority shareholder package from Second Division side Real Zaragoza Owner Agapito Iglesias, according to the EFE. Lawyer José Antonio Visús, who is leading the initiative, has requested a meeting with Iglesias to "determine the conditions" and present the "Strategic and Athletic Strategy for the acquisition of stock in the Real Zaragoza entity." In Visús' message to Iglesias, he reminded the owner of the offer the group presented on April 17, 2012 which did not receive a response. The project the group is "presenting to make the club viable is offering the possibility of acquiring 'corporate participation quotas' for fans" (EFE, 6/3).