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Volume 10 No. 22


L.A.-based Dragon Racing "will compete against IndyCar rivals Andretti Autosport in electric racing next year" after being announced on Wednesday as the fourth team to enter the new Formula E championship, according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. Organizers said Dragon, owned by media and publishing entrepreneur Jay Penske, whose father Roger owns the Penske Racing NASCAR and IndyCar teams, "had signed up for the FIA-sanctioned series due to start next September." Andretti Autosport, Britain's Drayson Racing and China Racing "have already announced their participation in the planned championship of 10 teams and 20 drivers racing in 10 city centers around the world." Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said having an L.A.-based team "was of special significance." Agag: "California has become the 'land of electric cars,' an example that we want to spread to the rest of the world." Agag said that the full list of teams "would be completed by the end of November" (REUTERS, 9/25). FORBES' Chris Smith wrote Formula E "seemed like something of a pipe dream a year ago." Yet by June, circuit organizers "had made great strides toward success, picking up Beijing as a race location, Michelin as a tire supplier, Renault as a technical partner and TAG Heuer as a global sponsor." One of the remaining roadblocks "was finding owners willing to pony up for one of Formula E’s 10 teams." Penske "is now Formula E’s fourth team owner" (FORBES, 9/25).

FC Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeneß said that "he would welcome it if Borussia Dortmund would join the Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) with a team," according to Oliver Völkl of FOCUS ONLINE. Hoeneß "knows that competition is good for business" from his experience in the football Bundesliga, where Bayern Munich "was pushed to world-class level by Borussia Dortmund after two seasons without winning any titles." Therefore, Hoeneß "would welcome a team from Dortmund in the BBL." Hoeneß: "I would be very happy if a lot of other clubs would get the idea. I would like to talk to [Dortmund Managing Dir Hans-Joachim] Watzke about basketball every once in a while, if he would start doing something in that area. It would help the sport tremendously." The new BBL season starts on Oct. 2 (FOCUS ONLINE, 9/24).

NEW ARENA: In Munich, Matthias Kerber reported German Hockey League (DEL) EHC Red Bull Munich GM Christian Winkler said that "a new multi-purpose arena is expected to be built in the next three to four years." The new arena "would be paid for by Red Bull if the city provides the necessary infrastructure." The hockey club would share the new arena with Bayern Munich Basketball. The club's current home, the "old concrete monster" known as Olympiaeishalle (Olympic Ice Center), has been renovated for €3M ($4M) and received a new high tech video cube. In addition, the VIP area was increased to 300 square meters. A VIP season ticket now has a price tag of €3,000 ($4,050) (ABENDZEITUNG MÜNCHEN, 9/23).

National Rugby League CEO Dave Smith said that "there are no plans to move" the Cronulla Sharks to Queensland but said that "the code's governing body are carefully monitoring the financial viability of the club," according to Ian McCullough of the AAP. League powerbrokers "have reportedly discussed the option of relocating the Sharks north of the Tweed should the cash-strapped club be hit with a multi-million dollar fine" arising from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority probe into their '11 supplements program. Smith said, "The clear fact is we have no plans to relocate any team. The story stems from speculation to the outcome of the ASADA investigation" (AAP, 9/25). The AAP also reported Cronulla CEO Steve Noyce "has assured fans the Sharks are not going anywhere." Noyce, who was appointed CEO in July, said that "the story was untrue." He said, "I think it's clear in the story that Dave Smith, CEO of the NRL, says there are no plans to move any clubs. I know 100 percent, the Cronulla Sharks aren't going anywhere." Noyce insisted that "if Cronulla were fined by the NRL as a result of ASADA's investigation, it would survive" -- just like Australian Football League club Essendon -- which was hit with a A$2M ($1.8M) penalty over its controversial supplements program (AAP, 9/25). In Sydney, Brent Read reported Smith "has thrown his support behind his Head of Football Todd Greenberg, insisting he has absolute trust in the man he hand-picked to be his understudy." Greenberg "has been in the crosshairs over his handling of the Ben Barba situation earlier this year." In particular, there were "concerns raised over his failure to inform the NRL of allegations that Barba was involved in a case of domestic violence" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/26).

Former Scottish League 1 Rangers Dir Paul Murray "called for clarity from the Rangers board over the identity of its foreign backers," according to Keith Jackson of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Murray, who has teamed up with entrepreneur Jim McColl "to lead a shareholder uprising against the Ibrox regime, has urged the club to make public the identity of the money men behind investor groups Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita Holdings." Murray’s move "comes after the club’s lawyers asked him to hand over details of all those who are supporting his bid for control -- and following an announcement on Friday that Blue Pitch and Margarita will team up to back the current board at next month’s agm" (DAILY RECORD, 9/25).

MAKING A PITCH: In Edinburgh, Angus Wright reported Murray "is of the opinion" that Blue Pitch and Margarita -- which hold around 15% of the club’s shares between them -- "could garner enough votes" to keep CEO Craig Mather and Financial Dir Brian Stockbridge "in post." Blue Pitch "also funded" Charles Green’s £5.5M ($8.8M) takeover of the club. The former director "has called on the club to ensure that Rangers fans are not left in the dark over the identities of the two groups." Murray: "We spent all of last week identifying who we all are under the section 793 process [a legal mechanism to find out who owns shares]. Has the club done the same with Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita Holdings? Are they happy with the answers they got? And will they now make public the name of those involved in order that the Rangers supporters are afforded transparency?" (SCOTSMAN, 9/25).

Once mighty National Rugby League club St. George Illawarra Dragons has appealed to the NRL for urgent financial assistance to maintain its extensive junior development programs "as the joint venture reels from two poor seasons and enormous cuts to its Leagues Club grant," according to Josh Massoud of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. Dragons officials are seeking an advance in the vicinity of A$1M ($940,000) "to meet debts and expenses," including A$250,000 in outstanding rent for the use of Kogarah’s WIN Jubilee Stadium. St. George Illawarra CEO Peter Doust on Wednesday "declined to specify figures, but did confirm the club had requested advances of its monthly grant." The Dragons "are also sweating on help from the NRL’s discretionary fund, believing they have a right to additional resources because they support four junior representative teams across southern Sydney and the Illawarra" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/26).

Spanish men's volleyball club Zaragoza on Wednesday announced that the team will not participate in the '13-14 Superliga season because it was "unable to find the necessary sponsorship to guarantee the minimum budget to compete." Zaragoza's statement emphasized that the team "will not disappear and it will keep working" (EFE, 9/25). ... The "next three months will be key" for the future of Spanish second division side Deportivo La Coruña. The weeks to come "will produce three very important events in the transformation of the club: a presidential election, a creditors' agreement and a financial audit." A "good agreement with creditors is what will determine if Deportivo is able to continue its athletic activity" (MARCA, 9/25).