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Volume 6 No. 262

Finance

After "years of overspending," the Top14 is stabilizing as increased TV revenue has begun to "level the playing field for those clubs not backed by a millionaire owner," according to Julien Pretot of REUTERS. French clubs have won eight European Cups with another 13 runners-up since the competition was created in the '95-96 season "and, able to offer wages unmatched anywhere else, attracted world class players." Arguably the "two biggest names in the game over the last decade were tempted in" as New Zealand's Dan Carter joined Perpignan in '08 and England's Jonny Wilkinson signed for Toulon in '09. Yet those salaries and large squads "came at a heavy financial cost" and by '14, "about a third of the French elite clubs had an operating deficit" (REUTERS, 1/17).

Christmas "may not have come early at JD Sports," but that did not stop the retailer and analysts from "celebrating its holiday sales" on Tuesday. It "revised up its profit forecast for the second time this year" after announcing that like-for-like sales had risen by 3% since July, "including the festive period." As a result, the sports and fashion seller expects full-year profits to hit about £300M ($417.2M) in the year to Feb. 3 (LONDON TIMES, 1/17).

The Kelantan FA (KAFA) "is struggling to reach a budget" of $2.52M required to finance its football team for the upcoming Malaysia Super League season. Despite signing sponsorship deals with Malaysian sports retailer Al-Ikhsan, dairy product Yakult and Rohm Wako Electronics, KAFA President Bibi Ramjani Ilias Khan said that the association "has yet to reach even half" of its intended target (ASIA SPONSORSHIP NEWS, 1/17).