League Championship Leeds United has agreed to a “strategic partnership” with the NFL San Francisco 49ers, according to James McMath of the LONDON TIMES. The arrangement will see a delegation from the 49ers visit Leeds to "discuss matters including ticketing, sponsorship and merchandising." Leeds Chair Salah Nooruddin said, "The 49ers are market leaders in many respects, and they are excited to be working with us as we are with them. We have been talking with the 49ers for a good while now, and see this as an exciting opportunity for both of us" (LONDON TIMES, 1/11). In London, Luke Edwards reported Leeds "have been the subject of a management buyout this week" thanks to a consortium fronted by Managing Dir David Haigh and club sponsor Enterprise Insurance CEO Andrew Flowers, taking a 75% controlling stake in the business. However, the club is "also looking to expand commercially and have entered into a partnership with the one of American sport’s most successful franchises in order to do so." The 49ers will go to Yorkshire to "advise them on ways to improve their business." It is "not thought the York family that owns the American franchise are interested in investing any money in the Championship club at this stage" (TELEGRAPH, 1/10).
Neymar's "contract continues to cause controversy," according to Dídac Piferrer of MARCA. The Attorney General of Spain's National High Court has "requested the judge admit contractual documents into the complaint proceedings" brought against Barcelona President Sandro Rosell for "misappropriation in signing" Neymar. The attorney general's report indicated "evidence of criminal activity." Prosecutor José Perals confirmed the "accusations brought by the club member," Jordi Cases. Perals: "The contracts that have been signed between the parties do not, on occasion, correspond to that specified within them, the contracts, in some cases, being fake." Perals wants access to "all the necessary documentation in order to analyze Neymar's signing process -- the reason the prosecutor has asked the court to begin proceedings requesting that FIFA and Santos produce the relevant transfer papers" (MARCA, 1/10). MARCA reported Barcelona declared its "most energetic indignation" regarding the report. Barcelona said in a statement, "The prosecutor's decision puts in doubt an impeccable business operation that has allowed FCB to obtain, for €57 million, a player who is the envy of all our competitors. It is also lamentable that new proceedings ensue which will unnecessarily lengthen a process that we have always considered unfounded and reckless" (MARCA, 1/11).