Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 10 No. 22

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Spanish basketball club Bilbao "could play the upcoming season" in the Spanish Basketball League (ACB) after submitting an appeal to the Spanish Sport Ministry's Administrative Court (TAD), according to LIBERTAD DIGITAL. The ACB "excluded the club for its debt to its players and its failure to deposit guaranteed salary payments." Bilbao later presented its appeal to the TAD, "which ruled in the club's favor," meaning the ACB could be forced to return Bilbao its league membership. The ACB said in a statement that it is "absolutely" uncomfortable with the resolution. The league announced it will "appeal the decision before a national court in defense of the interests of the ACB and its clubs." The statement added that the TAD's ruling "changes the good order of the competition and damages the interests of all the participants." The ACB decided to "terminate conversations with the club about the topic, immediately beginning the legal process of appealing the TAD's decision" (LIBERTAD DIGITAL, 8/8).

German Football League (DFL) CEO Christian Seifert "is expecting drastically higher income from int'l TV rights," according to Joachim Hofer of the SID. Seifert said that the medium-term goal is generating €200M-€250M ($268M-$335M) per season. The Bundesliga currently makes €70M ($94M) annually from the marketing of its int'l TV rights. Seifert: "Starting with the '15-16 season, we will make a jump. We originally planned with revenue of €100 million to €150 million ($134M-$201M). We soon will be at the higher end of the spectrum." To attract new fans to the league, Bundesliga clubs "are currently traveling the world." Seifert said that those tours are necessary to increase income from int'l TV rights. He said, "Today, football is part of a global entertainment industry. The thought process can't stop at the border" (SID, 8/7).

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone emerged from a Munich courtroom $100M poorer "but a free man," according to Robinson & Ross of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The 83-year-old billionaire "stood accused of bribing BayernLB banker Gerhard Gribkowsky in order to maintain control of Formula One." At the outset of the trial, the circumstances "had not looked good" for Ecclestone. Instead, in a quirk of German law, "prosecutors agreed to drop the charges" after Ecclestone wrote a cheque for $100M to the state of Bavaria. With the threat of criminal charges -- and a decade-long stint in jail -- no longer hanging over the F1 boss, "attention can again turn to the future of the motorsport." The end of the Munich trial means that Ecclestone "is likely to stay as head of the motorsport as long as private equity group CVC remains the largest shareholder," with 35% of the group. A senior F1 figure said that "this limits CVC’s options." The person said, “No IPO can take place with [Ecclestone] in place.” Even though German prosecutors "dropped their case," it is unlikely that Ecclestone could be the CEO of a public company. A sale "is thus the most likely option." Liberty Global and Discovery Communications, which are both controlled by billionaire John Malone, are suitors for a 49% stake in F1, "through a deal that would buy out both CVC’s share" and the 14% share owned by the estate of Lehman Brothers. Any new buyer "will have plenty of upside." CVC co-Founder Donald Mackenzie said that "the F1 deal was one of their top 10 deals." But F1 "has not been wrung dry by private equity." Insiders said that the motorsport "punches well below its weight on marketing, sponsorship and media rights." A former F1 employee said, “I don’t believe the media rights have been sold as cleverly as, say, the Premiership" (FT, 8/9).

BANK REJECTS OFFER: ESPN reported German bank BayernLB "rejected a settlement offer" of $33M from Ecclestone. Earlier this week "a Munich court dropped a bribery case against Ecclestone" in exchange for a $100M payment. A spokesperson for the bank said, "BayernLB has rejected Mr. Ecclestone's settlement offer." The bank's next step "remains to be seen, though options available are civil proceedings or negotiate a bigger settlement from Ecclestone." Ecclestone's lawyer in Munich "declined to comment" (ESPN, 8/9). The AP reported BayernLB "has been keeping open the option of civil proceedings" against Ecclestone. The bank "did preparatory work on a damages claim" against Ecclestone late last year, but did not "file it." Ecclestone's lawyers offered to pay the public-sector bank €25M ($33M), though they said that "damage to the company wasn't evident" (AP, 8/8).

The National Rugby League has "commenced negotiations to introduce one of the most sweeping reforms in the 106-year history of the code" by implementing a rookie entry draft system, according to Hooper, Massoud & Wilson of the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. NRL powerbrokers have been "researching the concept for six months." NRL CEO Dave Smith is a "huge supporter of the idea and confirmed the game's governing body was exploring a number of different rookie draft models." Smith: "A draft is a mechanism to ensure the competition remains even in the future. We would want its design to reward those clubs which develop juniors, rather than having them taken away by big spending clubs which do little to foster junior talent." One proposal currently being workshopped would "allow clubs with strong junior nurseries such as Penrith, Canberra, North Queensland and New Zealand the option of hand-picking their top five juniors." These players would be "exempt from the draft, guaranteeing clubs with a history of producing strong talent get first crack at maintaining their best juniors." For the NRL to be "successful with the rookie draft," it would need to garner "full support from the Rugby League Players Association in order to cut a deal under the Collective Bargaining Agreement" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 8/10). In Canberra, Walter & Chammas reported the NRL may fund "all junior development across the game under a major revamp of pathways" that could see the U20 National Youth Competition scrapped. The NRL is "likely to replace the Holden Cup" with new U18 and U20 state-based competitions when the broadcast deal concludes at the end of '17. Those costs, coupled with the expense of fielding a U20 team in a national competition, "have led to the review, which could see a centrally funded and centrally run development system across the game." NRL side Canterbury CEO Raelene Castle and Sydney Roosters CEO Brian Canavan said on Sunday that the game "needed to maintain elite junior competitions while having strong open aged second tier competitions, such as the NSW and Queensland Cups." Castle said the draft concept and the "future of elite junior competitions couldn't be considered in isolation." Castle: "You need to look at the whole development from end to end because all of those things are linked together" (CANBERRA TIMES, 8/10).

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that he wants his detractors to "stand up and take him on in a FIFA presidential election rather than just criticise him." Blatter said, "If I were not criticized, I would not have any value. People who say I should not be a candidate or I should not get elected, they can take the risk to be in an election. I took the risk in 1998." Blatter's words "appeared to be aimed" at UEFA President Michel Platini, who is seen as a "possible rival to Blatter." Blatter is seen as "almost certain to run for what would be a fifth term in next year's election although he has not made any official announcement" (REUTERS, 8/9). ... Boxing India on Friday said it will conduct "fresh elections" on Sept. 11 after being directed by the Int'l Boxing Association (AIBA). BI said in a press release, "Boxing India has decided to call fresh elections for the posts of President, Secretary General, Treasurer, 10 Vice Presidents and 7 members of Executive Council of Boxing India, in consultation with AIBA." The AIBA had "provisionally approved the Boxing India as the new governing body for the sport in the country in May this year" (PTI, 8/9). ... The French government has called on the French Football League (LFP) to take action after violence marred Saturday's Ligue 1 match between Bastia and Marseille. Police "clashed with supporters outside the stadium both before and after" the game in Corsica, with fans "throwing stones and explosive devices." A government statement said the violence "left 44 policemen injured" (BBC, 8/10).