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Volume 6 No. 216


Serie A Inter Milan Owner Massimo Moratti said that "the club's sale to Indonesian Erick Thohir may be sealed 'within the week,'" according to the BBC. Moratti hopes Thohir, a part owner of Major League Soccer club D.C. United and NBA Philadelphia 76ers, "will help ease debts of about" £250M ($406M). Moratti: "I hope to see an even stronger Inter. We could be close to signing contracts but, until it happens, I can't make any announcement. Maybe the signatures will arrive within the week." Thohir "is reported to be seeking a 75% stake in Inter" in exchange for €350M ($476M) (BBC, 10/2). FOOTBALL ITALIA wrote according to Corriere della Sera, Moratti "is quoted as praising the incomer at a board meeting earlier this week." The paper reports that Moratti said, "The Indonesians are not here to conquer us, they are here to give strength to the club and will make it grow further" (FOOTBALL ITALIA, 10/2).

Barcelona club members "looking to remove President Sandro Rosell from office have announced their intention to back down," according to FOOTBALL ESPANA. Go Barca on Monday announced its intention to "put forward a motion for a vote of no confidence in Rosell" and three of his four VPs -- Josep Maria Bartomeu, Javier Faus and Jordi Cardoner -- for the "'lies and deceptions' they see them accountable for." Though Go Barca was "expected to explain" at a press conference on Wednesday "their reasoning in more detail, they have instead confirmed their intention to withdraw the motion." Those heading the group, Joan Arnes and Jordi Cases, have explained that they "do not believe they will be able to gather enough support to carry the motion through to a referendum." To "reach a full vote among the club’s members, the group need backing from five per cent of members beforehand, approximately 6,000 people" (FOOTBALL ESPANA, 10/2). In Madrid, Nadia Tronchoni reported Arnes and Cases "believe that in no case would they gather the support of 15% of the club's members to bring the motion forward." Without these votes, "the action is not viable due to the agreement of Barcelona's statutes reform, which will be approved Saturday." Cases and Arnes said, "We have to be realistic. The 15% is impossible. We were always working with the idea of 5%, but they have changed the rules of the game" (EL PAIS, 10/2).

Three major supporters of Scottish League 1 Rangers supporters groups are having their say as Rangers' ''inexplicable'' losses are revealed, with Manager Ally McCoist's "salary under scrutiny," according to Scott McDermott of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Even with £14M ($22.7M) lost in little more than a year -- Rangers were "still trying to sign two new international stars last week." Rangers Supporters Assembly President Andy Kerr "finds it incredulous the club’s current board would risk a second financial meltdown by continuing to spend outwith their means." He criticized the salary and £300,000 ($486,000) bonus "hoovered up" by former CEO Charles Green -- and called some of the figures on Rangers’ balance sheet "ridiculous" for a club in Scotland’s lower leagues. And what concerns Kerr the most is that "the reckless spending may lead them into a second administration in the space of 18 months." Kerr: "We need to be trading in a manner where our expenditure isn’t exceeding our income. We know income. The gravy train isn’t going to last. We got into difficulty before taking that approach and it’s now time for sensible minds." And Kerr insists that the money Green walked away with in August "will stick in the fans’ throats the most." Kerr: "Green’s bonus was higher than his salary. That doesn’t square well with the ordinary punter, who is scraping together a couple of hundred quid to buy a season ticket" (DAILY RECORD, 10/2).

NO CASH CRISIS: In Edinburgh, Stephen Halliday reported Rangers CEO Craig Mather has insisted that "there is no cash crisis at the Ibrox club and accused the current board’s opponents of using 'smoke and mirrors' to paint a bleak picture of its finances." But Mather said they have been misled by the “rebel” group of shareholders. He addressed "specific claims that both Ibrox Stadium and the Murray Park training complex are not wholly owned by Rangers." Mather: "My ultimate concern is that a lot of these fans are being lied to. There is no sale and leaseback on Murray Park or Ibrox. Categorically, that is not the case and the club isn’t running out of cash" (SCOTSMAN, 10/2).

Australian Football League Sydney Chair Richard Colless has urged the league to investigate the club ''as soon as possible,'' saying that the Swans "have done nothing wrong" in their bid to lure player Lance Franklin, according to Andrew Wu of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Colless "has also defended the AFL's cost-of-living allowance to the two Sydney clubs in the face of mounting criticism from Victorian clubs." Colless described the reaction from Melbourne teams to the Franklin deal as ''breathtaking hypocrisy'' and said suggestions the Swans had acted inappropriately were ''insulting'' (SMH, 10/2). In Sydney, David Sygall wrote former footballer Bob Skilton expressed "shock and concern at the controversial coup." Skilton, whose name adorns the Swans' best-and-fairest award, said that there was "no doubt about Franklin's playing abilities." Skilton: ''I just hope he doesn't ruin the structure that we've built." Skilton said the effort that went into creating the Swans' "culture of focus and success should not be jeopardised for any one player." Skilton: "I'm just rapt in the way we are so respected by everybody now, and I want to maintain that'' (SMH, 10/3). In Melbourne, Mark Robinson reported Colless "admits there is a risk on and off the field in the recruiting" of Franklin. Colless was satisfied the club could help any player "curb" excessive social behavior. Colless: "Guys like this come along once in a generation and we think we have a pretty good record of curbing guys' excessive social behavior" (HERALD SUN, 10/3).