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Volume 6 No. 213


After "too many empty promises and too many pending accounts," Spanish Basketball League (ACB) side Bilbao Basket's players "reached a decision to schedule a strike starting on Monday," according to Eduardo Rodrigálvarez of EL PAIS. The "difficulties in recent seasons have ended up with the club up against the wall and the damages have not been small." The "departure of majority shareholder Gorka Arrinda has not had the desired effect." New investors "have hit the same wall: a lack of sponsorship." Bilbao forward Roger Grimau said at a press conference to announce the indefinite strike, "We can't any more." A partnership recently signed with medical insurance firm IMQ "was followed by frustration when the firm realized that the club's debts are much bigger than what was initially announced" (EL PAIS, 3/22).

Former Super League rugby side Bradford Bulls player Abi Ekoku has "emerged as a key figure in the consortium who are expected to take over" the club, according to Andy Wilson of the London GUARDIAN. Ekoku, who was a "Super League champion with" and later the CEO of the Bulls, is now a "director of the Yorkshire-based property developers Candelisa Resorts," which is understood to have provided "substantial extra funding to the bid from the London-based businessman Richard Lamb that has previously been rejected by the administrators." The deadline for bids "was last Thursday and a decision was expected early this week" (GUARDIAN, 3/21).

Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia supporters were "sent into a scrambling frenzy after the official release of the club on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange," according to Alexander Krassimirov of INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. Fans bought more than 55,000 shares in "less than an hour after they went on sale" Friday. There are 3 million shares available "with price packages at about 3 leva (€1.5)." The minimum amount of shares that can be bought is 10. The club announced that the campaign will be "considered successful if 1,409,210 shares are sold" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 3/21).

Real estate company Greenland Group, the majority shareholder of Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua, has agreed to put "Shenhua" back in the "official name" of the club by the end of the year, but fan representatives "gave the promise a very cautious welcome," according to Cameron Wilson of WILD EAST FOOTBALL. At a meeting attended by Greenland and Shenhua's main fan groups, the club said that it would "alter the name 'as soon as circumstances permit,' declining to give a specific timeframe." Club Chair Wu Xiaohui explained that Greenland’s takeover of the club had been "rather abrupt, coming just before Chinese New Year at the end of January leaving no time to take care of naming issue problems." Shenhua fans reportedly "do not trust Greenland's pledge to return Shenhua to the club's name" (WILD EAST FOOTBALL, 3/23).