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Volume 7 No. 64

Franchises

A Sydney-based consortium will "proceed with its plans" to bring an A-League team to the city's southwest despite the "likely decision" of Football Federation Australia to block its proposed A$15M ($11.2M) purchase of Wellington Phoenix's license, according to Dominic Bossi of THE AGE. FFA looks set to reject the transfer of the Phoenix's license "on the grounds of maintaining the integrity of its current expansion process," despite Wellington reaching an agreement for its sale and relocation to Sydney. Wellington Phoenix's license expires in two years and it is "unlikely to be extended unless there is a drastic uplift in the club's off-field performances." The proposed terms of the sale to the Sydney consortium would have resulted in Wellington closing its doors and the A-League "effectively" ending its partnership with New Zealand football. It is understood the proposal included a 100% transfer of Wellington's ownership over a two-year period to the South West Sydney Football Club bid, leading to a new team playing out of Campbelltown Stadium in the short term. FFA is understood to have informed both parties it will "not allow the sale to go through while other entities are bidding for expansion to a 12-team competition." The "looming rejection" of the sale, however, has not deterred South West Sydney FC from going ahead with its bid for an A-League license after submitting a proposal to fund and build a stadium near Western Sydney Airport (THE AGE, 5/15).

Nissan will end its factory support of Kelly racing at the end of the '18 season.
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Nissan "is done" with Supercars, according to Will Dale of FOX SPORTS. The company will "pull its factory support from the championship" when its current two-year contract with Kelly Racing concludes at the end of this year. Nissan Australia Managing Dir Stephen Lester said, "Nissan has decided to exit the Supercars Championship in order to concentrate on the interests and needs of our current and future customers. We have obviously been talking to the Kellys for some time and making the announcement now suits both parties." Although Nissan’s factory support will end this year, Kelly Racing confirmed it "will continue to campaign the V8-powered Altima in the 2019 Supercars Championship." Nissan returned to the sport it "once dominated" five years ago, when the new Car of the Future regulations reopened Supercars to manufacturers other than Ford and Holden (FOX SPORTS, 5/14).

The American investor in talks to acquire Ligue 1 side St. Étienne was unveiled as PEAK6, according to LE PARISIEN. The Chicago-based global investment firm is a minority shareholder in Serie A side AS Roma, EPL side Bournemouth and League of Ireland Premier Division side Dundalk. PEAK6 looks to name French-American businessman Jérôme de Bontin the new president of St. Étienne if the acquisition goes through. St. Étienne co-Owners Bernard Caiazzo and Roland Romeyer said in a statement, “After receiving different options and potential buyers, we are excited to have entered exclusive negotiations with PEAK6” (LE PARISIEN, 5/15).

McLaren is exploring a possible full-time entry into the IndyCar Series in '19, according to sources. It would be part of a possible joint entry with either Andretti Autosport or Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. McLaren, the English car company with a flagship Formula 1 team, has been involved off and on in IndyCar since it started running Indy 500s in '70, but a full-time effort would mark a new level to its ties to the series. It did field a one-off joint-entry in last year's Indianapolis 500 with Andretti and driver Fernando Alonso. McLaren staff was on site at the Indianapolis Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past weekend developing the venture. A potential driver and sponsorship were unclear. The addition of McLaren to the IndyCar paddock would be a significant boost for the series, which saw substantial global interest when Alonso ran the 500. McLaren and RLL declined comment, while Andretti said, "We think McLaren would be a valuable addition to the IndyCar paddock. Our partnership for the 2017 Indy 500 proved to be successful and we would welcome the opportunity to work with them again. As for any of McLaren's 2019 plans, that is a question best directed to McLaren."

Tottenham has until the end of the month to tell the FA whether or not it wants to extend its 12-month tenancy at Wembley after "retaining a contractual option to play a number of games there next season." This may be necessary as the club’s new stadium will not be ready for the first matches. Tottenham is working toward a September opening for the new ground at White Hart Lane, but the timetable "remains fluid" and the club is considering other options in case of further delays (LONDON TIMES, 5/15).

Manager Sam Allardyce's "acrimonious" Everton reign is set to end this week, with the Premier League club recognizing his "unpopularity with the fans makes his position untenable." The former England manager "may have reached the same conclusion as he fights a forlorn battle to win over supporters who have made their displeasure with his appointment increasingly clear over the last few months." Allardyce will meet Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri in the coming days, when the terms of his departure can be negotiated (London TELEGRAPH, 5/14).

Ajax Cape Town was relegated from the South African Premier Soccer League after the end of season for "fielding an ineligible player." The South African FA ruled that Ajax should forfeit three matches in which Zimbabwean Tendai Ndoro appeared. In response, the club announced on social media it "is preparing papers to be filed urgently before the high court in Johannesburg for the matter to be heard tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at 10am" (BBC, 5/15).