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Volume 6 No. 217


Serie A side Inter Milan "is edging closer" to a deal with businessman Erick Thohir that would see the Indonesian tycoon "acquire a majority share in the Serie A giants," according to the AFP. Thohir "has been linked with a takeover of the Italian club since last season." Inter President Massimo Moratti and Thohir met twice, in May and June, but "failed to reach agreement." However, reports in La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper on Thursday said that the pair "had held talks in Paris this week" and had made "significant progress" toward signing a deal that would see Thohir acquire a majority 70% stake. Moratti, "who made his fortune in the oil industry," and Thohir were not quoted in the report (AFP, 9/19). REUTERS' Massimo Gaia reported Moratti said on Thursday that "no binding agreement had yet been reached to sell a stake" in the club. Italian media have said that Thohir might be willing to pay up to €350M ($474M) for 75% of the cash-strapped Serie A club. Moratti said, "No, absolutely not." He said that "another month of talks would be needed." Moratti: "There are no major problems to reach an eventual agreement." Moratti "does not expect to remain at the club as chairman after the deal." He said, "I don't know. With this situation... no, I don't think so" (REUTERS, 9/19).

F1 driver Kimi Räikkönen "could leave his Lotus team with a bill for millions of pounds in outstanding wages after revealing he has not been paid by the team," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. The depth of the financial crisis in F1 "despite the vast wealth pouring into the sport has been laid bare by Räikkönen’s departure to Ferrari for next season." It seems "unimaginable that Lotus could outbid Ferrari in any department but going unpaid clearly did not help relationships." Räikkönen is thought to have "been given his basic salary but is a victim of his own success." Performance bonuses "were built into the deal that brought the Finn back from two years out of the sport," but Lotus "probably had no idea that they were hiring the most consistent driver in the history of F1," scoring a record 27 consecutive points finishes. The Lotus accountants "have simply been unable to keep up with Räikkönen’s remarkable high-scoring" as he finished third in the championship last season, while he is fourth this year and won the first grand prix of this season (LONDON TIMES, 9/19).

MOTIVATING FACTOR: In London, Tom Cary reported Räikkönen described it as "unfortunate" and admitted that the state of affairs was "largely behind his move" to Ferrari. Räikkönen, who had been open in recent weeks about the "assurances" he would have needed to stay at Lotus, admitted that "money was a major motivating factor." Räikkönen: "The reasons why I left from the team are purely on the money side, and the things I haven't got, my salary. That is an unfortunate thing." Lotus' "parlous financial position is symptomatic of a wider issue" in F1, with many of the smaller teams "struggling to keep their heads above water" (TELEGRAPH, 9/19).

National Rugby League side Canberra Raiders has "revived talks to take a home game to Perth next season as the NRL looks to cash in on the city's growing thirst for rugby league," according to Jon Tuxworth of the CANBERRA TIMES. While discussions are "only preliminary at this stage, a guaranteed profit" of about A$250,000 ($236,075) and NRL side "South Sydney's recent success in staging games there have not gone unnoticed by the Raiders." Canberra looked at taking a home game to Perth this year, but "withdrew interest after Channel Nine indicated it had no interest in a late-season match" against either Manly or Canterbury. Western Australia Rugby League CEO John Sackson said, "There has been conversations with Don [Furner, Raiders CEO] exploring possibilities, but there's nothing concrete at this stage. There's obviously a lot of discussions which have taken place and will continue" (CANBERRA TIMES, 9/20).

Bundesliga club Hamburg SV, which recently fired its head coach and is currently 15th in the standings, "has received an offer from businessman Klaus-Michael Kühne," according to BILD. Kühne, who is the majority owner of logistics company Kühne + Nagel, said that he will provide the HSV with €25M ($34M) if it hires Felix Magath as new club boss. Kühne: "An investment of €25 million isn't impossible." However, the club's professional football department "would have first to be converted into a public holding company." Kühne added, "I think the fact that currently nobody wants to listen to me and talk to Magath is a huge mistake. It is unfortunate that the club doesn't want to build a relationship with me because we could achieve more together" (BILD, 9/19).

Hamburg "wants to return to the Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) next year after a 13-year hiatus," according to FOCUS ONLINE. The club, called Hamburg Towers, however, "still needs a wild card for the '14-15 season." Club Chairs Pascal Roller and Marvin Willoughby "will apply for such a wild card to Germany's top flight basketball league." Roller: "The question is not if, but when Bundesliga basketball will be played in Hamburg." The club already has fulfilled the BBL's license requirements. The team currently has a budget of €1M ($1.35M) that is expected to increase to €4M ($5.4M) "in case the club gets the wild card." However, the Towers "have not found a title sponsor yet." The league already revealed that it would welcome a team from Hamburg. BBL CEO Jan Pommer said, "Hamburg is the gateway to the world and offers a huge potential. The league would profit from this creative, young and open-minded city." The decision on a possible wild card is not expected before May (FOCUS ONLINE, 9/19).