Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 6 No. 217


A new basketball squad will be formed in St. Petersburg as part of a club structure that runs the flagship football squad Zenit. FC Zenit's sponsor, the natural gas giant Gazprom, may also provide funding for the basketball squad, according to press reports. A source in FC Zenit told SBD Global that a new department has been formed in the club, which will be in charge of running the new basketball squad. The new squad is being formed on the basis of the defunct Moscow region side Triumf, which went bankrupt last summer. Several former Triumf players are moving to St. Petersburg. The city was eager to acquire a new basketball squad after Spartak, which represented the city in the national league and the int'l VTB league, closed down last July. BC Zenit's home arena will be former Spartak venue Sibur-Arena.

SPONSORSHIP SUPPORT: Gazprom, which sponsors FC Zenit and the UEFA Champions League, could also become the new basketball club's sponsor, according to media reports. However, a spokesperson for Gazprom said that he did not have any information on that at this point. The VTB League published the '14-15 lineup, which includes BC Zenit alongside 16 other squads from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Finland, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Estonia.
Vladimir Kozlov is a writer in Moscow.

EPL side Newcastle United "could be the next English Premier League club to purchase a controlling stake of an A-League side" after former coal baron Nathan Tinkler is "understood to have approached their owner offering to sell" A-League club Newcastle Jets, according to Dominic Bossi of THE AGE. Tinkler has held "preliminary discussions" with Newcastle United Owner Mike Ashley about purchasing the club. Tinkler "specifically sought-out the English billionaire in his attempt to sell the Jets immediately in hope that Ashley would be interested in forging a sense of synergy between Newcastle United and their Australian namesake." Sources suggested a deal is "still some way off as the Jets are yet to present formal documents to potential buyers including a complete breakdown of their expenditure and revenue." Newcastle United is "one of a number of European clubs said to have signalled their interest in buying the Jets who could undergo a similar transformation as Melbourne Heart experienced following their purchase" by Man City. The identity of the remaining clubs is "yet to be revealed" but the Tinkler-owned Hunter Sports Group "also held preliminary talks with other potential buyers who have signalled their interest." Tinkler confirmed that EPL and "other European clubs have signalled their interest in purchasing the club." It is "understood no price tag has been attached to the A-League club" with Hunter Sports Group and the Jets "having asked interested parties to make them an offer." Tinkler is looking to sell the Jets "as soon as possible and could be enticed to agree to a fee much lower than the recent sale prices of Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Heart," which both sold for more than approximately A$11M ($10.2M) (THE AGE, 8/22).

Mercedes F1 Exec Dir Toto Wolff said that Nico Rosberg "will face serious consequences, but his comments were misinterpreted and he did not deliberately crash into Lewis Hamilton in the Belgian Grand Prix," according to the AFP. Wolff explained that Rosberg, "who was booed on the podium, had wanted to make a point by not giving way when the pair collided on lap two." But that, he said, "did not mean he had intended to crash with Hamilton" puncturing the Briton's left rear tire and wrecking his race. Rosberg, with a broken front wing, "survived and finished second to open up a 29-points lead over Hamilton in the title race with seven races remaining." Wolff: "Today we've seen the limits of the slap on the wrist. The slap on the wrist is not enough. If Lewis has said that it's going to be a slap on the wrist, and that there's going to be no consequence, then he's not aware of what consequences we can implement." Wolff declined to elaborate, but said that Mercedes could do "a lot" and added that the team would re-introduce strict team orders to avoid any repeat incidents that gift victories to their rivals. Wolff: "What we have to do is see it as a matter of principle and make sure it doesn't happen again" (AFP, 8/25). In London, Rick Broadbent wrote Rosberg "is refusing to accept the blame" for the incident. The  German driver released a video on his internet channel that "contrasted sharply" with Hamilton's interpretation. Rosberg said: “I have been told what Lewis said in the press and the way he has stated his version of events. All I can say is my view of the events is very different.” Stewards studied the collision and "dismissed it as a racing incident" (LONDON TIMES, 8/26).

A little more than a month since "assuming ownership" of National Basketball League team Wollongong Hawks, James Spenceley has "overseen new administration that has quickly signed new players and ­sponsors and instituted a new ­membership and marketing program," according to John Stensholt of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Having already spent "north of a ­million dollars" extracting the Hawks from its problems, Vocus Communications CEO Spenceley said that he did not "quite realise how close the Hawks were to going out of business." Spenceley: "It was probably days away from going into administration and having to call in the liquidator." Though the NBL has "had its success stories," it has "also been hit by a series of clubs going out of business in the past decade." Spenceley, though, said that "there is plenty of hope for the league." He said, "The NBL probably couldn't have got any worse. But there is such a potential around the sport and that is what has interested me" (SMH, 8/25).