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Volume 6 No. 211


Australian Football League club Essendon "expects to be charged" by the AFL Monday or Tuesday for "governance issues arising from a 12-month period of supplements scandals," according to Greg Denham of THE AUSTRALIAN. An Essendon spokesperson said Sunday that the club "had not been officially notified of any charges by the AFL." The spokesperson said, "But no doubt they will come. We're expecting something early in the week. We're expecting to be notified of the next stage in the process, and if it's charges, then the club will respond at the appropriate time." Essendon also "maintained their stand that they were not expecting to be deducted premiership points by the league" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/12). In Sydney, Roy Masters reported the recently released Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority report on the Essendon investigation "provides the AFL with enough evidence to charge the Bombers as a club, and their officials, leading to bans, loss of draft choices and fines" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 8/12).

CLUB MAINTAINS STANCE: In Melbourne, Matt Murnane reported Essendon "remains steadfast its players did not take any illegal or performance-enhancing drugs last season and is likely to challenge any findings to the contrary as the AFL prepares to announce charges against the club." Essendon Chair Paul Little said on Sunday in his pre-game address that the club "would get the chance to tell its side of the story should the AFL bring charges." Little: "According to the weekend press, charges are expected to be laid against the club and some of our club employees in the next few days. Should this be the case, we will then be in a position to carefully examine the charges, understanding the evidence that the AFL has relied upon to lay the charges, and then, after due consideration and deliberation, [we will] determine our response" (THE AGE, 8/12).

The Premier League is "refusing to endorse Hull City’s controversial name change which has caused outrage among the club’s supporters," according to Colin Young of the London DAILY MAIL. A week before the season's kickoff, and Hull’s return to the top flight, the Tigers Owner & Chair Assem Allam has announced that "he has ditched 'City’ and the 'Association Football Club’ from the official club title and re-registered it as 'Hull City Tigers Ltd.'" Allam, an Egypt-born businessman who has lived, studied and worked in Hull for more than 40 years, "has dropped the City moniker after more than 100 years because he says it is 'common, redundant and irrelevant’ and associated with other clubs in the country." Although he claims his club "will be known as Hull City Tigers for the forthcoming season, which starts with a visit to Chelsea, that is news to Premier League bosses who insist the name Hull City will remain in use." A Premier League spokesperson said, "We have not been informed of a change in the name of the actual club, it is the company name that has changed. They will still be known as Hull City as far as the Premier League is concerned when results or fixtures are published. We understand the move is more to do with their international reputation. If any club wanted to change the club name we would talk to them and see what processes of consultation [with supporters] they had gone through" (DAILY MAIL, 8/9).

BRANDING CHANGE: The BBC reported any references to AFC on club branding "will be phased out, but will remain on the shirt crest during their first season back in the Premier League." Allam "wants to market the club as Hull City Tigers locally and Hull Tigers to national and international audiences." Allam said, "In the commercial world, the shorter the name, the better. The more it can spread quickly. My dislike for the word 'City' is because it is common. I want the club to be special. It is about identity. 'City' is a lousy identity. Hull City Association Football Club is so long" (BBC, 8/9).

MIXED REACTION: The LONDON TIMES wrote Allam bought Hull in '10 following its relegation from the top flight and his investment "is credited with saving the club from a significant financial crisis." Hull City Official Supporters' Club member Bernard Noble said that "he had mixed feelings about the decision." Noble: "My personal opinion is I'm disappointed because I'm a bit of a traditionalist. But this guy saved us from liquidation and administration and it's his club. I will still say 'I'm going to watch City,' 'I'm going to watch the Tigers,' 'I'm going to watch Hull.' I will say that and so will many other people. As far as Hull City Tigers is concerned, the fans -- the 25,000 people who will be there for the first home game against Norwich -- they'll say 'I'm off down to watch City'" (LONDON TIMES, 8/9). In London, Louise Taylor reported Vice Chair Ehab Allam "defended his father's decision." He said, "The identity of the club is the Tigers, the stripes and the colour scheme of amber and black. People still have the right to call it what they want, it's their club -- but we are doing this for commercial reasons" (GUARDIAN, 8/9).

Scottish Second Division Rangers Manager Ally McCoist has said that "he would consider taking a wage cut as concerns continue to surround the financial future of Rangers," according to Andrew Smith of the SCOTSMAN. The Ibrox manager is "understood to draw" a salary of £760,000 ($1.2M). It is an "eye-catching sum for a team playing in the third tier of the Scottish game, particularly as worries are growing over Rangers’ cost base and the rapid reduction in cash reserves." Despite taking in £22M ($34.1M) from a share issue, and £13M ($20M) in season ticket sales over the past year, Rangers Finance Dir Brian Stockbridge admitted on Thursday that only £10M ($15.5M) remained in the bank. When "asked if any Rangers executives had ever said his wages were too high, or asked him to take a drop," McCoist said, "No." When then "asked if he would consider a pay cut," McCoist said, "Yes." McCoist insisted that "administration had never been mentioned by board members or in board meetings he had attended." McCoist: "I certainly believe Craig Mather would tell me if we were heading down a road we didn't want to be going down" (SCOTSMAN, 8/11).

GREEN WANTS DEBATE: In Glasgow, Derek Alexander reported former Rangers CEO Charles Green "challenged rivals for Rangers to a TV debate in front of fans to reveal who should run Ibrox." Green "insists a US presidential-style showdown would torpedo bidders vying to oust directors and take charge." Green "threw down the gauntlet" to former Dir Paul Murray, former Chair Malcolm Murry and minority shareholder Jim McColl. Green also "invited financial expert Frank Blin to attend the TV debate." Green said, "I think we need a televised debate and get myself, Paul Murray, Jim McColl and Frank Blin to ask each other questions in front of fans and give their vision for the club. I'll be London next week to meet investors and institutions to see what their mood is. Next week is going to be huge. By a week on Monday, the lines will be clearly drawn and everyone will know who's supporting who" (Scotland DAILY RECORD, 8/11).

FANS PROTEST: Also in Glasgow, Wilson & Harrison reported Rangers supporters "staged a series of protests against Charles Green and the club's board" during Saturday's victory over Brechin City at Ibrox. Chanting songs and "waving banners throughout the game, they made clear their anger at the former chief executive and the directors." Three banners "were unfurled before kick-off at Ibrox. There were two in the Govan Stand, one reading 'Green & co it's time to go,' and the other saying, 'In Walter we trust, this board is the worst in our history.'" Just before the final whistle, "the same group of fans yelled at the director's box, 'You greedy b******s, get out of our club'" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 8/11).