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Volume 10 No. 22


Former Barcelona President Joan Laporta "aspires to return as Barcelona president," according to Ramon Besa of EL PAIS. Laporta feels "prepared, motivated and more excited every day" to run for election in '16, when current Barcelona President Sandro Rosell's term will end (EL PAIS, 6/11). The EFE reported Barcelona spokesperson Toni Freixa confirmed that, although "it can't be guaranteed," the club's current leadership's goal is to complete its term through '16, an intention that "does not change" after Laporta's announcement. Freixa said, "Guaranteeing what can happen in the future, nobody can do that. What I can say is that we are the leaders of our fans, who have granted us the responsibility to manage the club for six years and our goal is to complete this responsibility until '16" (EFE, 6/11).

: The EP reported the referendum to decide the property project for Camp Nou Stadium, to choose between remodeling and building a new stadium, will be carried out in the first trimester of '14, and will include conversations with the Barcelona town council and the search for financing. Freixa revealed Tuesday that Barcelona will share in the next few days the conclusions of the market study to learn the technical possibilities that are possible, an essential phase before the referendum. Freixa also announced that the club has agreed to improve Camp Nou's gates 9 and 14. This will be carried out between July and November and will cost €1.1M ($1.5M) (AS, 6/11).

Ricoh Arena owners said on Tuesday that League One Coventry City "can stay at its Ricoh Arena home rent-free next season while the English third-tier club try to sort out their debts," according to Clare Fallon of REUTERS. The company said, "Arena Coventry Limited (ACL) has agreed to allow the club to play its home games free of any rental fee, therefore removing the need for the supporters to travel outside the city to watch home games." ACL said the rent-free season "would allow Coventry to fulfil their league commitments." Expenses such as stewarding and lighting "would be charged to the club at cost price" (REUTERS, 6/11). The COVENTRY TELEGRAPH reported it remains to be seen how hedge fund Sisu-owned Coventry City Football Club (Holdings) Ltd. -- "which has been continuing to operate the club" -- will respond to Tuesday's statement. It has been drawing up plans to build a new stadium in "the Coventry area" within three years -- "and play outside the city in the meantime, possibly at Walsall's Banks's stadium." Holdings CEO Tim Fisher has said that "it would not go back to the Ricoh, as ACL had made it clear negotiations over a rent legal dispute were at an end" (COVENTRY TELEGRAPH, 6/11).

UP FOR SALE: The BBC wrote Coventry City "is the subject of bids from six potential buyers." It is not yet clear whether the offer would still apply if one of those bids is accepted by Administrator Paul Appleton, after Thursday's final deadline, "and the club subsequently comes out of administration" (BBC, 6/11). The COVENTRY TELEGRAPH also reported three parties have confirmed that "they have officially bid to buy Coventry City out of administration." Among them is what is believed to be an entity related to hedge fund Sisu, which owns Coventry City Football Club (Holdings) Limited, "the company still running the club and Warwickshire-based quantity surveyor Michael Byng." Speaking from Dubai, where he is meeting the Chinese financiers interested in buying the club, Ricoh Arena, and investing in the Coventry and Warwickshire region's rail network, he said, "An indicative bid was submitted before the administrator's deadline of Friday" (COVENTRY TELEGRAPH, 6/11).

Scottish Premier League side Heart of Midlothian "has paid the majority" of the £100,000 ($156,000) it owes U.K. tax authority HMRC in unpaid PAYE, according to the BBC. The club expects to "pay the remainder in the near future." The Tynecastle outfit had until 5pm BST on Tuesday to settle the bill "to avoid being issued with a winding-up order." Hearts paid HMRC £450,000 ($701,000) in December, and negotiated a repayment plan for a separate £1.5M ($2.3M) tax bill, "the first instalment of which has been met" (BBC, 6/11).

La Liga side Málaga "will not be able to take a place in next season's Europa League after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) rejected" the club's appeal against a UEFA ban from continental competition, according to REUTERS. UEFA, "which is getting tough on teams that live beyond their means," initially banned Málaga for two years in December because of overdue payments to rival clubs and Spanish tax authorities. That was later reduced to a year after the club "regularised its overdue payables" by a March 31 deadline and appealed to CAS asking for the UEFA decision to be "annulled or replaced with less severe sanctions." CAS announced Tuesday it had rejected the appeal and ruled Málaga will also have to pay the original fine of €300,000 ($398,000). Málaga's Europa League berth will "now be taken by Rayo Vallecano" (REUTERS, 6/11).

MÁLAGA OUTRAGED: REUTERS' Iain Rogers reported the club "expressed outrage and cast themselves as 'sacrificial lambs' after their appeal against a UEFA ban from continental competition" was rejected. Málaga Dir General Vicente Casado said that the club's finances "were in much better shape than some other Spanish clubs and he feared others may fall afoul of UEFA rules." Casado added that "the CAS decision will not affect the Málaga project and there will be some important announcements about the future later this week." Casado: "They wanted a scapegoat, a sacrificial lamb, and they found it, I can't see it any other way. We cannot lose our heads in the heat of the moment but it seems this decision was not based in law but was political" (REUTERS, 6/11).

La Liga side Espanyol President Joan Collet led a delegation of club officials that on Tuesday traveled to Brazil to look for investors and strengthen connections with Brazilian clubs. The group is currently pursuing the support of an investor to improve the team before next season. On the athletic front, the delegation will visit the club's football academies in Brazil thanks to its agreement with the OX Group (EFE, 6/11). ... Australian Football League Melbourne Demons President Don McLardy had a stinging rebuke for former premier and Hawthorn President Jeff Kennett, "who publicly declared he had been lobbied by influential Melbourne supporters to lead the club." McLardy said that "the Demons had 'no interest' in any involvement from Kennett." McLardy: "Jeff, there was a very good reason the Victorian people threw you out of office despite your record. From your performance last week, it would seem that you're the only one who still doesn't know what that reason was" (THE AGE, 6/11). ... The Williams F1 Team announced that Williams Advanced Engineering, the division of the Williams group that commercializes F1-based technologies, is to partner with Spark Racing Technology to design and assemble a battery system for the 42 cars that will be used in the FIA Formula E Championship (Williams F1).