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Volume 6 No. 217


ManU Manager David Moyes "will be given substantial funds" to reshape his squad, with club owners the Glazer family "recognising that the manager requires world-class reinforcements to help to maintain Sir Alex Ferguson’s legacy of success," according to James Ducker of the LONDON TIMES. Moyes "is expected to make a foray into the transfer market in January providing leading targets become available" as ManU looks "to put the frustrations of a miserable summer behind them." ManU "have endured their worst start to a season for 24 years" after successive league defeats against Man City and West Bromwich Albion and "will hope their problems do not mount" when they face Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine in the Champions League. The Glazers "are thought to share Moyes’s view that the squad needs strengthening in key areas and will not balk at spending well in excess" of £100M ($162M) to "ensure they remain successful in the coming years" (LONDON TIMES, 10/1).

COMPETITIVE LEAGUE: In London, Jamie Jackson reported Moyes is "considering" a potential £50M ($81M) move for Everton's Leighton Baines and Athletic Bilbao's Ander Herrera. However, Moyes "will sanction bids in the market only if he feels there is requisite value, to keep in line with club policy regarding transfers." The Glazers' "willingness to back the Scot in January reflects an understanding" that the first transfer window for Moyes and new Exec Vice Chair Ed Woodward "was always going to be difficult." Beyond this, the owners "recognise that the Premier League has become far more competitive this season following the managerial changes not just at their club," but also at Man City and Chelsea, plus the "renewed investment in those squads challenging for a Champions League berth" (GUARDIAN, 9/30).

PREPARING FOR TRANSFER WINDOW: Also in London, Ian Herbert reported ManU is "likely to respond opportunistically in January rather than lay detailed plans to spend then." It is possible Moyes "will be asked to work until the summer with a squad he has said is six world-class players light of Champions League-winning quality." But after a third defeat in six games at the weekend, ManU "could fall so far behind that they will begin struggling for a top-four finish domestically, if the concerning start to the Moyes era extends through this month." After Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat, "there is an acceptance that the club should have bought out Moyes’ contract at Everton as soon as they appointed him" -- giving him six extra weeks to "prepare for the frantic summer transfer window" (INDEPENDENT, 10/1).

David Beckham is in the "final round of  negotiations with backers for his return to Major League Soccer as the owner of a new franchise in Miami," according to Charles Sale of the London DAILY MAIL. Beckham had a clause in his original contract with L.A. Galaxy allowing him to "buy an MLS club" with a 25% discount and he has "almost settled on Florida," where the MLS is keen to expand. He is expected to "announce progress before Christmas once his co-investors are in place." These could include "Bolivia-born billionaire Marcelo Claure, who tried unsuccessfully to launch an MLS franchise in Florida in 2009 and joined Beckham in looking at potential stadiums in the Miami area last June." NFL Miami Dolphins Owner Steve Ross "may also get involved, while another multi-millionaire certain to be part of the consortium is Beckham's business partner Simon Fuller." The "most likely home for the team" is Florida Int'l University's stadium in Miami (DAILY MAIL, 9/30).

A group of "disgruntled Barcelona members" calling themselves "Go Barca" are proposing an official "motion of censure" against Barcelona President Sandro Rosell and the club's current board, according to Dermot Corrigan of ESPN. On Monday, two Go Barca members, Joan Arnes and Jordi Cases, "reportedly submitted the relevant paperwork required at the club's offices." Go Barca is claiming that Rosell and three Barcelona VPs, Josep Maria Bartomeu, Javier Faus, and Jordi Cardoner, "have lied and tricked" the club's members. Go Barca is "particularly unhappy with the club's commercial dealings with Qatar and its handling of the exit of former defender Eric Abidal." Barcelona statutes mandate that the club now has "five days to provide the paperwork which could lead to a referendum to decide whether Rosell and the current board should be officially 'censured.'" The support of 5% of Barca's "approximately 110,000 members would be required to call this vote." At a Barcelona annual general meeting next Saturday, "a proposed change to its statutes to be proposed by the board would -- coincidentally or not -- raise this requirement" to 15%. Go Barca is not "thought to include any heavyweight potential challengers" to the current board, unlike the "'elefant blau' group led by Joan Laporta, in which Rosell himself was involved, which censured then president Josep Lluis Nunez in 1997, and led to Nunez eventually leaving the club in 2000." A press conference will be held Wednesday, when Go Barca figures "are to give more details of their issues with the current board and plans for change" (ESPN, 9/30). SOCCEREX reported that Barcelona's "contentious commercial agreement with Qatar Sports Investments has played a crucial part in its improving financial fortunes over recent years" (SOCCEREX, 10/1).

Scottish League 1 Rangers "declared its financial problems at an end on Tuesday two years after one of the British game's biggest names was ruined by a tax scandal and forced to drop to the bottom of the professional leagues," according to Keith Weir of REUTERS. As the club announced financial results for the 13 months to June 30, the AIM-listed club said in a statement that "cost-cutting and improved retail revenues should improve the club's profitability in the coming seasons." The club said that an operating loss of £14M ($22.7M) in '12-13 "would not be repeated in a bid to revive past glories." CEO Craig Mather said, "We will continue to keep a firm grip on expenditure. As we strive to progress through the leagues, revenues can be expected to rise and there will be greater opportunity to improve financial performance further." The club reported revenue of only £19M in the '12-13 period "as sponsorship and broadcast revenue shrunk" following its demotion from the Scottish Premier League (REUTERS, 10/1). 

MONEY IN THE BANK: The Scotland DAILY RECORD reported the club, which raised £22M through a share issue in December, revealed that it had £11.2M ($18M) cash in the bank on June 30, £4.5M ($7.3M) of which "came from season-ticket sales." The accounts also showed former CEO Charles Green "received a whopping salary" of £933,376 ($1.5M) for the 13-month period ending June 30. Manager Ally McCoist "took home a pay-packet" of £825,858 ($1.3M) for that period, while Finance Dir Brian Stockbridge received £409,308 ($663,000) (DAILY RECORD, 10/1). In Glasgow, a breakdown of the figures showed first-team wages were £7.8M ($12.6M) "while the club's biggest income stream by far was gate receipts and hospitality" (£13.2M) ($21.4M). Other "major sources of revenue included" sponsorship and advertising (£819,000)($1.3M), retail (£1.6M) ($2.6M), broadcasting rights (£778,000) ($1.3M) and commercial revenues of almost £1M ($1.6M). The club revealed that it had £4.2M ($6.8M) of non-recurring expenses, most of it from the repayment of oldco Rangers' football debts totalling £2.7M ($4.4M), "as agreed when the club's Scottish Football Association membership was transferred." The rest of this total was made up of investigation expenses and acquisition expenses totalling £600,000 ($972,000) each and share issue costs of £300,000 ($486,000). Rangers also revealed it had spent £600,000 "fighting Whyte's legal claim against the club" as part of an overall legal bill of £2M ($3.2M) (HERALD SCOTLAND, 10/1). Also in Glasgow, Keith Jackson wrote former Chair Malcolm Murray "could be poised for a surprise return to the Rangers board if Jim McColl's rebel shareholders win the battle for control of Ibrox." Murray "has been proposed by McColl's group as one of four non-executive directors they wish to have appointed." The investors "will vote for the removal" of Mather and Stockbridge at an AGM to be held before the end of the month (DAILY RECORD, 10/1).

ON TRACK: The FINANCIAL TIMES' Roger Blitz wrote the battle for control of Rangers "is set to flare up again at the club's annual meeting in three weeks' time." The board "is fighting off resolutions from minority shareholders calling for the appointment of a slate of directors" including Malcolm and Paul Murray. Malcolm Murray "has accused Rangers of lacking financial transparency since the flotation of the club on Aim in December," which raised £22.2M. But Stockbridge said that the club's results for the 13 months to June 30 "showed the club was on track with its long-term financial plan." Stockbridge: "We are not going to run out of cash. We have no bank debt" (FT, 10/1).

National Rugby League club Manly player David Williams has leapt to the defense of Sean Carolan, the personal trainer and nutritional guru who conducted "unsanctioned tests for human growth hormone" at Sydney Roosters in the preseason, saying his own association with the Nubodi Group owner consisted of being "either in the gym or eating at a sushi bar," according to Chris Barrett of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Carolan, 39, "was sacked by the Roosters in January after it was discovered his company, hired to implement a dietary and detox plan, had been testing players' HGH levels without the knowledge of club doctor John Orchard." Last week "blood test results were found on a seized telephone" belonging to Khan Alameddine, 28, a person with known links to organized crime. These showed six players "had elevated HGH counts." Later testing by club medical staff "did not show higher than usual levels of HGH in the players" (SMH, 9/30). In Melbourne, Andrew Wu wrote Australian Football League Sydney Swans Chair Richard Colless has urged the AFL to investigate the club "as soon as possible," saying the Swans have done nothing wrong in their bid to lure Hawthorne FC player Lance Franklin. He has also defended the AFL's cost-of-living allowance to the two Sydney-based clubs "in the face of mounting criticism from Victorian clubs, who have called for it to be scrapped by the league" (THE AGE, 10/1).