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Volume 10 No. 25


Russian football club Anzhi Makhachkala, owned by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, is moving from Moscow to Dagestan’s capital Makhachkala in the North Caucasus, where it technically belongs, as part of a scheme to dramatically cut costs. Ultimately, the move will transform the top-budget, all-star squad -- which includes the world's highest-paid player Samuel Eto'o -- to a regular Russian regional club. An Anzhi spokesperson told SBD Global, "Based on the results of the club over the recent period, the management of Anzhi made the decision to develop a new, long-term strategy for the development of the club." He added, "Changes to the club’s budget are caused by UEFA’s requirements and the need to observe the regime of financial fair play,” and the changes would not lead to "substantial deformations in the life of the team and the entire structure of the club created so far."

LEAVING THE CITY: The spokesperson did not comment on the club’s relocation to Makhachkala, which was reported by the Russian media. The specific figures of the "changes to the club’s budget" have not been announced but they are to lead to a dramatic cut in the funding of the squad. Kerimov, a native of Dagestan, has reportedly pumped $500M into the club since he acquired it in Jan. '11. According to reports, most of Anzhi’s highly paid foreign and local stars, including Cameroon’s striker Eto’o, whose annual salary reportedly is €23M ($30M), could leave the squad before the summer transfer window closes on Sept. 6. On Aug. 16, the sale of three top Russian players, Yuri Zhirkov, Alexander Kokorin and Igor Denisov, to Dinamo Moscow was announced. The arrangement for the club to be based in Moscow and players to be flown to Dagestan, where terrorist attacks are not uncommon, for home games, is part of the deal with Eto’o and Anzhi’s other foreign stars. Reports claim Anzhi is renting a €80,000- ($106,000)-a-month apartment for Eto’o in Moscow.

LEAGUE NOT WORRIED: Meanwhile, the Russian Premier League said the situation at Anzhi is unlikely to have a major impact on the league overall. A spokesman said, "The squad has not pulled out of the league, although we have seen examples of that on financial grounds. Apparently, some priorities changed for the club, but it is their business."
Vladimir Kozlov is a writer in Moscow.

Tottenham Hotspur "has been accused by its own supporters of encouraging ticket touts by embarking on a three-year deal" with StubHub flogging match seats for up to £1,000 ($1,560), according to Paul Gallagher of the London INDEPENDENT. The most expensive seat for Tottenham’s first home game of the season against Swansea City was being offered last week in the lower tier for £1,000. Another pair of tickets in the upper tier was available for £977.50 ($1,530). The majority of the 100-plus tickets on sale cost between £60-£120 ($94-$188), "up to three times face value." StubHub replaces the previous ticket exchange at Spurs, which enabled seats to be re-sold with around a 25% deduction on face value to the season ticket holder "who could then choose to use the money to reduce the price of the following year’s season ticket." With the credit option gone, the only way the buyer can get more than 85% back "is if the market holds up and they charge buyers over the odds from the start." Spurs' Supporters Trust member Martin Cloake said, "There are a number of reasons to object to the club’s deal with StubHub. Some are ethical, some more practical. The principle that you don’t sell tickets to other fans for over face value is as basic as never changing your team and it’s a core part of the social solidarity that holds supporters together." Cloake added that Spurs "once shared the view that selling tickets far above face value is not right," as evidenced by its 'Out the Tout' campaign launched in '06. Cloake said that "one of the most distasteful aspects of the deal is that the club attempts to distance itself from excessive pricing." In an answer to a recent Q&A session arranged between the club and itself on its website, the club said, "While we understand that some fans might be frustrated to find prices higher than they hoped, it is the season ticket member’s prerogative to list their seats at whatever price they choose." Cloake: "This is the National Rifle Association defense -- 'we just supply the guns, if people choose to shoot each other with them, it’s nothing to do with us'" (INDEPENDENT, 8/16).