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Volume 7 No. 106

International Football

Cedric Bakambu bought out his Villarreal contract, which could result in sanctions for his new team.

The Chinese FA ruled on the "potential luxury tax implications for transfers to Chinese Super League clubs," according to Jonathan White of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. Clubs that refuse to pay the transfer tax "will be liable for point deductions based on the fee for the player and they will also be unable to register the player with the CFA, rendering them ineligible" for official competition in China and under the Asian Football Confederation. That double punishment "leaves clubs with little option but to accept the luxury levy and pay up." The announcement comes ahead of the "expected confirmation" of Cedric Bakambu’s transfer from La Liga side Villarreal to CSL club Beijing Guoan. Possible points deductions "range from one to 15 points depending on the transfer fee involved," but the CFA announced that transfers "where players buy themselves out of their contracts" -- as Bakambu did at Villarreal -- and deals paid for by third-parties "are also subject to the regulation." Bakambu’s €40M ($49M) release clause "would mean that Beijing Guoan would be liable for a 10-point deduction" (SCMP, 2/13).

Premier League clubs have paid £134.2M ($186.2M) in wages to injured players so far this season, with ManU "topping the list by shelling out" more than £15.8M ($21.9M), a study revealed, according to Shrivathsa Sridhar of REUTERS. Insurance broker and risk consultant JLT Specialty, which compiled the study, said that the cost of injuries was "on track to surpass last year’s total" of roughly £175M pounds for the season, "raising concerns about demands on players even though the number of injuries is down." JLT Specialty Head of Sport Duncan Fraser said, "With many of the soft tissue injuries being down to fatigue, these figures will raise questions about fixture pile-ups, especially with the rising costs involved." Although ManU's injury count stood at 20, "well below" West Ham United's 41, it paid more because of "the club's big salaries and the severity of injuries." EPL leader Man City is in "good health" with only 16 injuries and a total of 442 days out, the second-lowest behind Southampton (REUTERS, 2/13).

La Liga President Javier Tebas

La Liga clubs on Tuesday approved, by a "wide majority," a salary increase for league President Javier Tebas, according to Alfredo Matilla of AS. The five clubs in the 20-team league that voted against the salary increase included Real Madrid, Celta Vigo and Athletic Bilbao. Tebas, who has received interest from Serie A, which wanted to make him its CEO, has an offer from La Liga that will take his pay from €879,033 (a salary of €629,033 plus bonuses of €250,000) to a base salary of €1.2M ($1.48M), plus up to €250,000 in bonuses. He has "not yet signed the contract," but all the clubs expect that he will. His deal "will include a clause preventing him working at a similar organization for two years after he leaves La Liga" (AS, 2/13).

TAKING SIDES: MUNDO DEPORTIVO reported FIFA rejected the complaint Neymar filed to the int'l body demanding a €40M ($49.4M) bonus from Barcelona. The case "will now be handled by the justice system." Neymar's claim relates to a bonus as part of a renewal he signed with Barcelona before moving to Paris St. Germain. Barcelona refused to pay Neymar the sum because he left the club less than a year after he signed it (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 2/13).

SAVE THE DATE: In Madrid, Orfeo Suárez reported the Spanish Football Federation's (RFEF) presidential election is scheduled for April 9. The vote on that date "will only be to decide the presidency," which was previously held by Ángel María Villar. Only Spanish Footballers' Association (AFE) President Luis Rubiales "has made public his desire to run for the presidency." Other possible candidates include former Valencia President Manuel Llorente and Juan Luis Larrea, who has been the interim president since Villar stepped down (EL MUNDO, 2/12).

Referees have been reminded by UEFA to "protect players by punishing serious fouls in European club competitions." It comes after Man City Manager Pep Guardiola urged English officials to take care of the game's "artists" when Leroy Sané was injured in the FA Cup win at Cardiff City in January. UEFA told referees they have a duty to "protect football's image" (BBC, 2/13).

League of Ireland Dir Fran Gavin announced a "new youth development fund" to help the league's clubs with the cost of running their youth teams." Gavin revealed the new fund of €250,000 ($309,000) at the launch of this year’s league at the Aviva stadium on Tuesday. That money will accompany the UEFA Solidarity Funding which already goes toward youth development, "bringing the minimum that will be spent in that area" to €1.15M ($1.42M) (RTÉ, 2/13).

Inter Milan launched the Inter Academy Indonesia in Bandung on Tuesday, marking the first step toward creating a first-class youth development program for coaches and young footballers across the country. The first stage of Inter Academy Indonesia will see Nerazzurri coaches sharing Inter's coaching methodology and expertise with young players and coaching staff of the elite teams in PERSIB Bandung’s youth academy (Inter Milan).